2019 Rookie Bust Mock

Doug Green

If there’s anything that rivals talking about which rookies are going to make it, it’s talking about which ones are going to fall flat on their faces. So it’s time for my favorite mock of the year, the annual Rookie Bust Mock.

The rules are simple: you select who is most likely to bust. They must be in the top 36 of the DLF overall rookie rankings, which is why you won’t see Daniel Jones on the list (but he would have gone second overall).

So let’s get into the busting.

1.01 Marquise Brown, WR BAL

Drafted by: John DiBari

Thoughts: I was lucky enough to get the first pick in the “Rookie Bust Draft,” and when I was on the clock, I couldn’t wait to run to the podium with my pick. I already thought Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was going to be a bust, but after the Ravens made him the first wide receiver taken in the 2019 NFL Draft, I knew he had to be my pick.

Brown is only 5’9-3/8″ tall, an eighth-percentile height. The only decent NFL wide receiver in history at that height or shorter is Jamison Crowder. As short as he is, his weight is an even bigger concern. Brown tipped the scales at a first-percentile 166 pounds. The only recognizable names who weighed less than Brown over the last 30 years are JJ Nelson and Damiere Byrd.

1.02 AJ Brown, WR TEN

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Drafted by: Dwight Peebles

Thoughts: Taking AJ Brown at 1.02 has nothing to do with the talent – I love him as a player and think he’s one of the most talented in this year’s class. However, I don’t trust Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense to support him, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries with targets. The immensely talented Davis has struggled to consistently put up numbers and the offense funnels through the ground game first. Brown will be a factor in the NFL but not until the offense gets a new field general or evolves to a more passer-friendly attack.

1.03 Andy Isabella, WR ARI

Drafted by: Doug Green

Thoughts: People are in love with his speed and his college production, but all I see is an undersized wideout who is going to spend more time on the IR than on the field. Against top-level competition at the Senior Bowl, he was pretty much shut down.

1.04 Devin Singletary, RB BUF

Drafted by: Ryan Miller

Thoughts: Singletary is a one-dimensional RB in a league that is becoming more and more pass-heavy. Singletary only had a 2.7% receiving share in his final year at Florida Atlantic, and receiving work is the only way I see him earning any short-term playing time sans injury to LeSean McCoy or Frank Gore.

This third-round pick was a head-scratcher to me because of his lack of receiving prowess, and he is nothing more than a longer-term stash in my opinion. If McCoy is cut before the season begins then, of course, this opinion will change, but I stopped trying to guess what the Bills front office will do a long time ago…

1.05 Deebo Samuel, WR SF

Drafted by: Joe Sydlowski

Thoughts: There is plenty of analysis on underclassmen receivers projecting to be better pros than four-year players. Samuel had sub-par college production and breakout age. There is lots of competition for targets in an average offense in San Fran, and I am happy to let someone else draft this bust.

1.06 Riley Ridley, WR CHI

Drafted by: NP Merrill

Thoughts: A ‘meh’ athlete, younger brother Ridley is going to have to find another arena in which to compete with his older sibling. Maybe chess? Or handball. Yeah, handball: he does have big hands. I think he’ll get a shot at playing time in Chicago, but I’d be surprised if his lack of collegiate production and subpar combine performance translate into NFL success.

1.07 Hakeem Butler, WR ARI

Drafted by: Levi Chappell

Thoughts: When I watched him play, he disappeared at times. He has freaky athleticism and build, yet wasn’t able to dominate like you think he would. He fell to the fourth round, yet still is being drafted around the late first, early second in rookie drafts. He wasn’t even the first wide receiver drafted on his own team.

1.08 DK Metcalf, WR SEA

Drafted by: Kyle Holden

Thoughts: I like the landing spot and the upside is definitely there but so is the risk. I would have been much more comfortable with the risk if he had been selected in the first round of the NFL draft like some had projected. Lower than expected draft capital just adds another risk to his profile to go along with injuries and lack of production. He could definitely be a boom player but you will likely need to risk a mid first to acquire him.

1.09 N’Keal Harry, WR NE

Drafted by: Mike Havens

Thoughts: Harry is a possession receiver. How many possession WRs has Tom Brady had success with over his career? He’s not a deep threat either with that 4.5 speed. How many more seasons do you think Brady will be the starting QB? How about Bill Belichick? Brady’s passing yards per game have declined each of the last four seasons, and his interception rate has climbed to its highest level since 2011. In other words; his accuracy is going down.

Possession WRs need accurate QBs. Brady loves shorter over-the-middle targets (Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman). Not to mention, the Patriots have a long history of drafting poor WRs over the last 20 years, with the only successful WR in that span being the QB-turned-WR Edelman. No, I don’t like this at all.

1.10 Josh Jacobs, RB OAK

Drafted by: Austin DeWitt

Thoughts: I can’t believe he’s still available. Where to begin? The lack of production and sub-par athleticism are major red flags. The fact he’s in discussion for the 1.01 is crazy and fueled purely by draft capital aka opportunity. Oakland will run with him despite the fact that he continues to prove that he is a replacement-level talent.

Sure, he forced his way into a committee with another replacement-level talent in Damien Harris. Who cares? Add in the fact that the 2020 class is coming and that there will be third round players more talented than Jacobs that could find themselves in Oakland after Jacobs’s predictable under-performance in his rookie year. He’s screaming bust, especially at his cost. Pass.

1.11 Kelvin Harmon WR WAS

Drafted by: Nathan Powell

Thoughts: I was a big Harmon fan as a devy player and that fandom waned as we got closer to the NFL draft. Harmon went from a late first in rookie drafts to pick 24 in large part due to his fall in the NFL draft into the sixth round. While his stock has dropped, I don’t think it has dipped enough. Sixth round NFL draft picks have no business being in the second round of rookie drafts. A sixth-round selection doesn’t even guarantee you a roster spot. Harmon is a prime candidate to go from second-round pick to waiver wire within one season.

1.12 Mecole Hardman, WR KC

Drafted by: Tan Ho

Thoughts: An NFL team spending a high draft pick on a sub-4.35-second 40-yard dash receiver does not erase the flaws in their pre-draft profile, even when marrying them to a great QB. Tyreek Hill won’t be so easily replaced – spend your first round pick elsewhere!

2.01 TJ Hockenson, TE DET

Drafted by: John DiBari

Thoughts: One of the hottest names heading into NFL draft season was Iowa tight end, T.J. Hockenson. We saw Hockenson go off the board to the Detroit Lions with the tenth overall pick in the draft. With former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia at the helm in Detroit, everyone got all sorts of excited imagining the next Rob Gronkowski emerging in the motor city. Not so fast.

Over the last eight seasons as a starter, Matthew Stafford‘s tight ends have averaged 41 receptions for 457 yards and only 2.88 touchdowns per year. Yuck. New Lions’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has 12 years of experience as an NFL OC, during those 12 seasons, Bevell’s top tight end has averaged 42 receptions, 484 yards, and four touchdowns. Combining Stafford and Bevell’s totals would give you an average stat line of 41-470-3. For a first-round fantasy draft pick, I’m going to need a little more return on my investment as we’ve seen top-ten tight end flame out in Detroit before (Eric Ebron).

2.02 Irv Smith Jr., TE MIN

Drafted by: Dwight Peebles

Thoughts: Smith Jr. at 2.02 will likely take several years to emerge and I don’t see him being a successful TE in the NFL. Smith needs to add upper body mass and strength, and blocking could be a liability for him. He is a solid pass catcher but doesn’t play fast consistently and isn’t a ‘natural’ pass-catching tight end. There are some attributes there – he is a strong route runner, strong hands, and is a bear to tackle in the open field. I don’t see him being a top tight end and he is being drafted behind Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson as being a possible top player.

2.03 Diontae Johnson, WR PIT

Drafted by: Doug Green

Thoughts: When I was combing through the rankings, I literally said: “Who?” And knew I had found my man. He’s neither big nor overly fast. Couple that with a crowded Steelers receiving corps and I’ll pass right on by.

2.04 Parris Campbell, WR IND

Drafted by: Ryan Miller

Thoughts: Over 800 of Campbell’s receiving yards last season came after the catch. There is a very crowded short-field situation in Indianapolis, as Nyheim Hines/Jack Doyle/Eric Ebron/and even TY Hilton have substantial shares of this part of the field. It’s much harder to create yards after catch in the NFL vs NCAA, and think it will be hard for Campbell to replicate this production in the NFL.

2.05 Miles Sanders, RB PHI

Drafted by: Joe Sydlowski

Thoughts: I like Miles Sanders as a prospect and this isn’t to say he shouldn’t be the second running back in rookie drafts, but I think he’s more likely to bust than some of the WRs that are taken after him. RB scarcity may push him up people’s boards but Doug Pederson is one of a few coaches with a well-documented commitment to a committee and that could cap his upside.

2.06 Damien Harris, RB NE

Drafted by: NP Merrill

Thoughts: Harris is good, not great. In deep leagues, he is certainly roster-worthy. The Patriots backfield is always one to be wary of, however. I see him as merely another decent rotational player for the flagging despotic regime that is New England. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking.

2.07 JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR PHI

Drafted by: Levi Chappell

Thoughts: I actually really like JJAW as a big, strong prospect. But this feels a bit like Dallas Goedert last year… It wasn’t a “need” pick but a value pick for the Eagles who already have some good pass catchers. With DeSean Jackson coming back, he will take up a good amount of outside routes, Alshon Jeffery is the big possession receiver down in the end zone, and Nelson Agholor handles the slot. Then you add in Zach Ertz, Goedert, and Miles Sanders… seems like a lot of mouths to feed and at JJAW’s price-tag of a mid to late first rounder, you may not get a ton of production.

2.08 Miles Boykin, WR BAL

Drafted by: Kyle Holden

Thoughts: Elite testing at the combine helped him get selected on day two of the NFL Draft. As a result, it looks like you might need to spend a late second or early third-round rookie pick on him and I would much rather spend it on running backs or tight ends in that range. While I do like how Baltimore is surrounding Lamar Jackson with speed, I think their passing game will continue to be limited. Not to mention they also invested a first round pick on Hollywood Brown. I could very easily see this selection not helping your dynasty team very much or taking years to pay off.

2.09 Darrell Henderson, RB LAR

Drafted by: Mike Havens

Thoughts: He’s a power back in a zone-blocking scheme who carries the ball in the same hand (left) every time. He doesn’t have the frame necessary to play the way he’s been accustomed his entire collegiate career.

2.10 Alexander Mattison, RB MIN

Drafted by: Austin DeWitt

Thoughts: We’ve seen running backs from Boise State “look” like good-ish prospects only to do absolutely nothing in the NFL. What can Mattison do that Jeremy McNichols didn’t do better? I know people are hyped about him possibly taking the Latavius Murray role, but I would bet that Dalvin Cook gets a much bigger workload this year, leaving scraps for the underwhelming Mattison.

2.11 Jace Sternberger, TE GB

Drafted by: Nathan Powell

Thoughts: Jace Sternberger, the next in the long line of tight ends that the Packers are unable to develop into productive fantasy options. He may be fairly cheap, but I see Sternberger as a possible waiver cut as early as August 2020.

2.12 David Montgomery, RB CHI

Drafted by: Tan Ho

Thoughts: With the last selection of the rookie bust draft, I’ll flag Montgomery as someone I’m fading expectations on. I’m starting to see people earmark him for a workhorse role – but it’s far more likely the Bears go with an RBBC, mixing in Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis. It’s very possible that Cohen will eat up all of the targets and leave Montgomery to a two-down/TD-reliant role.


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