Rookies have been slowly rising in DLF’s Average Draft Position mock drafts in the months following the NFL season, as the 2019 rookie class bursts onto the scene and takes center stage. Rookie Fever hits it’s fever pitch in the latest round of ADP mocks, wrapping up less than a week before the NFL Draft.
Since then, the NFL Draft came and went, and those rookies find themselves on NFL rosters, with far more defined dynasty values. This month’s ADP Round-Up is going to focus primarily on those rookies, now that the speculation is over and the guesses become more educated.
The team at DLF and the amazing readers worked together to run five superflex mock drafts to compile the most up-to-date superflex ADP, as a guiding tool for early startup drafts. Check out the full mock results and ADP here, and join a mock in the coming months by following coordinators John Hogue (@SuperFlexDude) and Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) on Twitter; watch for their tweets for mock draft participants in the coming months.
In the meantime, let’s dig into the latest round of mocks, the results of the NFL Draft, and the effect the latter will likely have on the former.
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The first rookie – QB Kyler Murray – doesn’t come off the board until the fifth round (5.11, pick 59 overall), but it’s a seven-spot jump for both Murray and the rookie class as a whole from March to April. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry remains the second rookie off the board, with a similar one-month rise, from 75th to 67th overall. Running back Josh Jacobs is the third rookie selected, but at virtually the same ADP as the 75th pick overall.
The spin cycle begins there, as the rookies get jumbled in one month’s time. Wide receiver AJ Brown, QB Dwayne Haskins, and WRs Hakeem Butler and DK Metcalf all go within a round of one-another. They all move up a few spots from March, but in last month’s mocks, Metcalf came off the board first. Running back David Montgomery was next, followed by Butler and Brown. Haskins jumped from 105th to 88th overall in the span of a month, leapfrogging Montgomery while en route.
Montgomery actually fell half a round from March to April, leaving him just three spots ahead of RB Miles Sanders (99th overall). Speaking of Sanders, he climbs 18 spots in one month, putting him ahead of TEs Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson. Hockenson goes from eight spots behind Fant in March to one spot ahead in April, even as Fant rises five spots. Wide Receiver Kelvin Harmon (118th overall) and RB Darrell Henderson (119th) just barely sneak in before the halfway point of the draft; they hold down the exact same spots in April as in March, when RB Damien Harris (114) also finished in the 10th round.
Harris follows WR Marquise Brown in the 11th round; Brown, QB Drew Lock and WR Parris Campbell all trend upwards from March into April, while WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside and RB Rodney Anderson slip a few spots. Quarterbacks Daniel Jones, Will Grier, Tyree Jackson and Brett Rypien all make appearances in the latest ADP, along with RBs Justice Hill, Devin Singletary, Bryce Love, Trayveon Williams, Benny Snell, Alex Barnes, Mike Weber, Elijah Holyfield, Devine Ozigbo and James Williams.
Irv Smith and Jace Sternberger are the only other rookie TEs in the April drafts, and both make small jumps in ADP since March. They’re joined by WRs Deebo Samuel, Andy Isabella, Miles Boykin, Riley Ridley, Emmanuel Hall, KeeSean Johnson, Terry McLaurin, Jalen Hurd, Greg Dortch, Stanley Morgan and Hunter Renfrow among the nearly 300 players drafted.
Post-Draft Impact: Rookies
Days after the mock drafts ended, the NFL Draft changed everything. Kyler Murray going first overall to the Arizona Cardinals (who then traded 2018 first round pick Josh Rosen, clearing the way for Murray to start unopposed on Day One) may not see a huge bump, but the clarity around him and his landing spot will help drafters feel more comfortable with him overall, if not among quarterbacks. He won’t necessarily catapult beyond Sam Darnold and Mitchell Trubisky – the last quarterbacks drafted ahead of him – but he likely leapfrogs Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Derrick Henry, all of whom were drafted ahead of him prior to the NFL Draft.
N’Keal Harry going to the New England Patriots may not provide the instant impact that the fantasy universe hoped for the dynamic receiver, but the combination of opportunity – particularly long term – and draft capital still boosts his value. Harry will almost certainly move ahead of Tarik Cohen and Josh Allen in overall ADP, and could even pass fellow WRs Chris Godwin, Calvin Ridley, Woods and Kupp. In fact, be prepared to take him early in the fifth round as his brand new, shrink-wrapped shine may even catch drafters’ eyes over objectively better (but more boring) options like DJ Moore and TY Hilton.
Josh Jacobs has been the consensus top rookie RB in the class for the entire off-season, slowly climbing to his early-seventh round apex. His hype was justified as he was drafted in the first round, by the playmaker-needy Raiders. It’s hard to imagine him climbing beyond his 75th overall perch, especially considering the spot ahead of him is occupied by Devonta Freeman. But a drafter who doesn’t trust Freeman’s health could rationalize the move, also taking Jacobs ahead of the next RB in line – Tarik Cohen – and possibly climbing all the way into the fifth round before he runs into Derrick Henry (57th overall) and Marlon Mack (51st).
The rookies beyond Jacobs are more likely to fall in ADP than rise. AJ Brown has the next highest pre-draft ADP, but his days of going ahead of Dante Pettis and Courtland Sutton are likely over after going to the competitive, low-volume Titans offense. Dwayne Haskins was expected to go much earlier in the first round, to a situation with less competition and better weapons than Washington; Josh Rosen’s new opportunity in Miami, Derek Carr’s reinforced starting job, and Marcus Mariota with a clean bill of health and two new receiving weapons (Brown and Adam Humphries) look far safer than Haskins, though his ADP was higher than all three before the draft.
Hakeem Butler joins a suddenly crowded receiving corps in Arizona, DK Metcalf gives Seattle a second deep threat (along with Tyler Lockett) and no one to move the chains, and both David Montgomery in Chicago and Miles Sanders in Philadelphia find themselves in crowded backfields. The running backs behind Montgomery and Sanders aren’t much better, but it could be a good point in the draft to address the pass catching positions, or even grab some QB depth instead, with Rosen, Carr or Mariota.
At this point in the draft, the names will change but the rookies actually start to rise again. Hockenson and Fant both belong in the TE conversation along with Eric Ebron, David Njoku, and even Hunter Henry and OJ Howard, which would mean a two-four round jump for both rookies. By virtue of being drafted in the first round by a team completely void of wide receivers makes Marquise Brown a candidate to jump up from his tenth round ADP, ahead of secondary targets like Marvin Jones, Will Fuller and Robby Anderson.
Darrell Henderson is nothing more than Gurley insurance and Damien Harris joins the black hole that is the Patriots’ RB depth chart. Daniel Jones and Drew Lock are signed up for multiple years of holding clipboards and wearing headsets. So the running back and quarterback positions are strapping on the lead boots and getting ready to plummet, but the pass-catchers are still looking great at their current ADP.
Parris Campbell, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Deebo Samuel all have 12th round ADPs, behind WRs like Larry Fitzgerald, Curtis Samuel and Marvin Jones, and all three rookies represent far greater upside. Even Terry McLaurin and Jalen Hurd look like end-of-draft steals, going in the 20th round behind Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett.
Mecole Hardman was certainly one of the biggest NFL Draft surprises as the WR chosen to replace the soon-to-be suspended/released Tyreek Hill; Hardman wasn’t drafted in any of the superflex mocks, but likely jumps past most of the rookies – regardless of position – beyond the top ten.
Post-Draft Impact: Veterans
It’s hard to imagine a bigger riser after the draft than Damien Williams, after Kansas City went the entire seven rounds without selecting a running back. Carlos Hyde still looms, and the Chiefs did sign two talented undrafted free agents in Darwin Thompson and James Williams, but the incumbent Damien Williams solidified his starting role, and his seventh-round ADP (79th overall) is likely to shoot up past Phillip Lindsay, Devonta Freeman and Tarik Cohen, and into Derrick Henry/Marlon Mack territory in the fourth-fifth round.
The Texans doubled down on their allegiance to Miller as their lead back, improving the offensive line and even adding a fullback in the seventh round, but leaving the ball-carrying duties to Miller. His tenth round ADP (114th overall) will most certainly improve, as he currently sits behind backups Royce Freeman, Tevin Coleman and Rashaad Penny.
Shepard became the alpha in the Giants’ passing attack when Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to Cleveland during free agency, and while the Giants did draft a WR (Darius Slayton, a burner from Auburn), his fifth round draft capital is zero threat to Shepard. There may be less room for Shepard to rise from his ninth round ADP (106th overall), but he’s likely to move ahead of rookies DK Metcalf (92), Hakeem Butler (89) and AJ Brown (80).
Speaking of AJ Brown, he’s the fly in the ointment for those holding out hope for a Corey Davis breakout campaign in 2019… at least in theory. Davis still figures to be the WR1, and could even see softer coverage with Brown and Adam Humphries commanding attention, but drafters will likely see the Brown pick as an all-out referendum on Davis’ value. Currently sitting at 62nd overall, Davis could freefall into the tenth round and the hundred-teens overall, below more attractive situations like Shepard, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and fellow 2017 first round WR Mike Williams.
Jordan Howard is also staring into the abyss after being traded from Chicago to Philadelphia, only to watch the Eagles take Miles Sanders in the second round in an effort to consolidate the RB workload. While the Eagles have never shown a strong interest in going away from the committee approach, Sanders is the do-it-all back that could be hard to take off the field… and his work is almost guaranteed to be on early downs, completely neutralizing Howard. The backs behind Howard’s 117th overall ADP aren’t anything special (Jerick McKinnon, Austin Ekeler, Latavius Murray, etc.), but they still represent a much higher floor than Sanders’ backup.
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