The 2018 rookie class is set and I couldn’t wait to get a group of our writers together for some mock drafts. While there is little intrigue at the top of rookie drafts this season, where running backs Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice are expected to have the top two picks on lock, there is plenty of room for disagreement from the 1.03 on. With disagreement comes value and it is never too early to begin tracking the value of your favorite rookies.
Here are the results of the first DLF Rookie Mock Draft of the off-season. The draft was based on a typical 1QB, PPR league.
Here are the participants, listed in draft order:
- Travis May
- Anthony Santigate
- Jake Anderson
- Curtis Patrick
- Kyle Holden
- Ryan McDowell
- Richard Jenkins
- Noah Ballweg
- Joseph Nammour
- Michael Zingone
- Joe Redemann
- Adam Tzikas
1.01 – Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
As I already mentioned, Barkley is the clear favorite to be the top pick in rookie drafts. Despite the talent and depth of the rookie class, he doesn’t seem to have much competition. Travis agreed, saying Barkley will “keep his spot unless something drastic changes.”
1.02 – Derrius Guice, RB LSU
Guice is also viewed as a lock to be a top two pick and Anthony called him a “supreme talent when fully healthy.” Anthony also wonders if Guice was “held back by a bad LSU offense” which is a very fair question.
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1.03 – Courtland Sutton, WR SMU
As I mentioned, the possibilities are endless as early as the 1.03 pick. Jake opts for SMU receiver Sutton, who he called the “WR1 of the class.” Jake also predicted that if Sutton tests well at next month’s Combine, he would lock in his spot as the consensus 1.03 pick in rookie drafts.
1.04 – James Washington, WR Oklahoma State
With the next pick, Curtis grabs Washington, noting his “power five pedigree and unrivaled pure receiving production” in comparison to other wideouts in the class. Washington seems to be a player that dynasty owners already strongly disagree on, so he could be selected in this range in some drafts, or fall to the late first round of others.
1.05 – Nick Chubb, RB Georgia
If not for a severe knee injury during his sophomore season, former Georgia running back Chubb might have been much higher on this list. In fact, Kyle noted that Chubb “might never get all of his athleticism back, but is still a powerful runner with great vision.”
1.06 – Sony Michel, RB Georgia
In the middle of the round, I was glad to grab another Georgia back Michel, whose draft and dynasty stock has climbed after his big performances in the pair of playoff games. If the Michel hype continues to grow, this might be the low end of his potential draft value.
1.07 – Calvin Ridley, WR Alabama
Richard chose Ridley, the Alabama receiver who is being routinely projected as a top ten pick, calling him a “great route runner who should find immediate success as a slot receiver.” Richard was also encouraged by Ridley’s immediate impact during his freshman season for the Crimson Tide.
1.08 – Ronald Jones II, RB USC
Another potential victim of the bias against west coast teams is Jones II, even playing for a traditional power like Southern Cal. Noah didn’t overlook him though, suggesting Jones has the “potential to get a lot of reps out of the gate,” and calling him “the best of the rest” when looking at the available running backs.
1.09 – Kerryon Johnson, RB Auburn
Next up for Joseph is Auburn’s Johnson, who ended the season on a hot streak to boost his dynasty value. Joseph called him an “underrated, patient back that has a three-down skill set.” He also agreed with me that Johnson “seems to be gaining steam as a Day Two pick.”
1.10 – Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State
Michael also pegged his choice, Penny, as a “second-day pick with playing time opportunities.” Michael says Penny “has all of the tools,” which I agree with. He should be able to help his future NFL team as a runner, receiver and in the return game.
1.11 – Christian Kirk, WR Texas A&M
Joe isn’t concerned if Texas A&M’s Kirk is “only a slot receiver”. He expects the dynamic receiver to “catch a ton of passes and has the explosiveness to do things with them.” Joe is also spot on when he says Kirk has “big time PPR value.”
1.12 – Auden Tate, WR Florida State
The first round concludes with Adam’s selection of Florida State receiver Tate, who, according to Adam is “dripping with WR1 upside.” Adam goes on to say that Tate could “one day be a massive force in the league. Picking from the last spot in the round, Tate could be a huge boost to a contending team.”
2.01 – Mark Andrews, TE Oklahoma
Travis is back on the clock and takes the player most consider to be the TE1 in the class. Travis suggests Andrews can “plug in and produce right away,” and expects him to be an early pick on the NFL Draft’s second day.
2.02 – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Notre Dame
Next off the board is the receiver with the fantastic name, hailing from Notre Dame. Anthony grabs St. Brown here, but did express some concern that the “Draft committee gave him a bad grade”. However, he ultimately made this pick because St. Brown “has the highest ceiling of any receiver in the class.” I tend to agree with him, though we’re in the minority.
2.03 – Kalen Ballage, RB Arizona State
Arizona State’s running back Ballage had a disappointing final college season. But Jake grabs him here, calling the big back “one of the freakiest athletes in this class.” Jake likes Ballage’s size and says he is “explosive and can catch the ball.”
2.04 – Royce Freeman, RB Oregon
Many expected Freeman to leave Oregon a year ago, but he returned to school for his senior season, though his value wasn’t exactly helped by this decision. It can be argued Freeman regressed in each college season, so this feels like his ceiling until we see how he tests at the NFL Combine.
2.05 – DJ Moore, WR Maryland
Many might not be very familiar with Maryland’s Moore, but he seems to be gaining attention now, especially after ESPN’s Mel Kiper called him a top three receiver in the class. Here, Kyle adds Moore to his team, saying he’s “fantastic with the ball in his hands,” and calling him “one of the more underrated receivers in this class.” I could see Moore moving way up the board by the time most rookie drafts take place in the spring.
2.06 – Josh Adams, RB Notre Dame
I chose Notre Dame’s Adams, who I feel is being very undervalued in this early portion of the off-season. At 6’2” and 225 pounds, Adams is a big, upright runner, but can also catch the ball reasonably well. He also has some serious injuries in his career, so that could keep him in the second-round range.
2.07 – Anthony Miller, WR Memphis
In this mid-point of the second round, Richard admitted to being torn between Memphis receiver Miller and another pair of talented wideouts, Deon Cain and Simmie Cobbs. Richard did settle on Miller though, noting he had “excellent yards after the catch numbers” and comparing him to Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry.
2.08 – Michael Gallup, WR Colorado State
This second round will be flush with receiver talent. Another comes off the board here in the underrated Gallup. Noah expects Gallup’s “physical game to translate to the pro level,” but noted he “has a lot to prove” prior to the NFL Draft.
2.09 – Deon Cain, WR Clemson
After he was strongly considered earlier in the round, Cain is the pick here. Although, as Joseph points out, “Cain has never been a stellar producer,” he’s a value pick at this later portion of the second round.
2.10 – Josh Rosen, QB UCLA
The first quarterback off the board is Rosen from UCLA. Michael suggests that Rosen “could fall further in 1QB leagues,” but feels that Rosen has “top ten quarterback upside.” While Rosen might not be the first quarterback drafted in the NFL Draft, he seems to be the current favorite of dynasty players.
2.11 – Richie James, WR Middle Tennessee
Joe seemed torn on this pick, but eventually settled on James, the small-school wideout who missed much of the season with an injury. Regardless, Joe noted James has “impressed so much in college”. He expects him to be a mid-round steal.
2.12 – Tre’Quan Smith, WR Central Florida
The final pick of the draft is Smith, who starred for the undefeated and self-proclaimed National Champions at Central Florida. While Adam did admit this was somewhat of a homer pick, he expects Smith’s profile to rise throughout the draft process. Adam also considered Iowa’s Akrum Wadley at this spot.
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