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Monday Mocks: 2020-21 Rookie Draft Classes

Another Monday morning mock draft, this time featuring players from the 2020 and 2021 rookie classes.

Welcome to Monday Mocks, where I’ll bring you (you guessed it), a new mock draft every Monday during the off-season. In my opinion, drafting is the best part of fantasy football, so I do as much of that as I can. This series will be filled with all types of mocks. We’ll draft startups, rookies, devys and more.

Obviously, I love mock drafts but not all mocks are built the same. There are varying purposes for mocks, whether you are a participant or simply an observer. Last week, we began this series with a 2022 superflex rookie draft. There will be many more of those to come and they offer a good idea of currently projected rookie value and may even give individual dynasty managers a hint of which incoming rookie may soon be added to their roster.

This one is a little different. I invited my fellow DLFers to join me in this unique superflex mock draft, choosing only from players in the rookie classes of 2020 and 2021. The past two draft classes have shaken up the overall dynasty landscape as many of the names that showed up here would also claim a spot in the top-20 picks of a full dynasty startup draft.

Also, this type of exercise helps offer a retrospective look at recent classes that could impact upcoming rookie selections. Also, keep in mind we have our unique cornerstone rankings, where we group the most recent three classes together to give you an indication of how the future draft classes stack up with our young stars.

Round One

1.1 Joe Burrow, QB CIN
1.2 Justin Herbert, QB LAC
1.3 Ja’Marr Chase, WR CIN
1.4 Jonathan Taylor, RB IND
1.5 Trevor Lawrence, QB JAX
1.6 Justin Jefferson, WR MIN
1.7 Mac Jones, QB NE
1.8 Kyle Pitts, TE ATL
1.9 D’Andre Swift, RB DET
1.10 CeeDee Lamb, WR DAL
1.11 Tee Higgins, WR CIN
1.12 Javonte Williams, RB DEN

The pair of elite second-year signal-callers are deservedly the first off the board. As valuable as Taylor, Chase and Jefferson are in a dynasty league, I think Burrow and Herbert are worth even more in the superflex setting. With the way they each finished the season, it is fair to consider pushing both young quarterbacks into the top tier with Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson. While I don’t agree on the order of each pick here, this is a good reminder of just how valuable quarterbacks are in the format, with rookies Lawrence and Jones being selected in the middle of the first round, ahead of many talented position players.

Sophomore receivers Lamb and Higgins are seemingly headed in two different directions when it comes to their respective dynasty value and meet here late in the first round. At this point, I won’t be shocked if their startup ADP gap continues to narrow as well. Broncos’ rookie running back Williams continues to gain value early in the off-season. Already considered a top-five dynasty back by many, in this specific exercise, he jumps ahead of fellow rookie Najee Harris, at least in this exercise.

Round Two

2.01 Antonio Gibson, RB WAS
2.02 Justin Fields, QB CHI
2.03 Najee Harris, RB PIT
2.04 Jaylen Waddle WR MIA
2.05 Travis Etienne, RB JAC
2.06 Cam Akers, RB LAR
2.07 Jerry Jeudy, WR DEN
2.08 JK Dobbins, RB BAL
2.09 DeVonta Smith, WR PHI
2.10 Trey Lance, QB SF
2.11 Michael Pittman, WR IND
2.12 Tua Tagovailoa, QB MIA

Things got wild in the second round as Washington’s Gibson leads things off. When I consider the players selected here, the uncertain value stands out. The trio of injured backs are all drafted here with Etienne surprisingly being chosen before Akers and Dobbins. Disappointing rookie quarterbacks Fields and Lance are also among this group of 12. Even after two seasons of play, both fantasy managers and the Dolphins leadership still seem unclear of what to make of Tagovailoa.

Some of these high-upside young players will meet and exceed expectations while some will disappoint and slowly fade away. As dynasty managers, we just have to decide which players to bet on for the future. Personally, I want Akers, Dobbins and Fields among this group – this group of players is a good example of value volatility with young players. Not so long ago, dynasty managers had patience with rookies and second-year players, but some impressive early-career performances, namely from the classes of 2014 and 2017, along with the past two years, has changed that outlook.

I was surprised at how far a pair of high-scoring rookies fell in this mock draft. Harris was the RB3 on the season while Waddle finished as the WR13. Despite those strong debut campaigns, Harris was just the RB5 among these two years’ worth of rookie classes, with Waddle coming in as the WR5. For reference, Waddle is the WR8 in our latest dynasty startup ADP data – this just goes to show both the depth of this group as well as varying opinions.

Round Three

3.01 Elijah Moore, WR NYJ
3.02 Jalen Hurts, QB PHI
3.03 Elijah Mitchell, RB SF
3.04 Zach Wilson, QB NYJ
3.05 Pat Freiermuth, TE PIT
3.06 Michael Carter, RB NYJ
3.07 AJ Dillon, RB GB
3.08 Brandon Aiyuk, WR SF
3.09 Rashod Bateman, WR BAL
3.10 Darnell Mooney, WR CHI
3.11 Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR DET
3.12 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB KC

I originally planned on doing only two rounds in this mock draft but was shocked at the talent still on the board after 24 picks, thus we had to continue. I’m glad we did because it would have been shameful to not include Hurts – he’s the QB7 in our January dynasty ADP but was somehow the QB8 in this mock draft. That’s another example of the value volatility I referenced earlier. Perception about a player, especially one as hotly debated as Hurts, can vary wildly from manager to manager.

You might be asking yourself, “What about…?” There were quite a few noteworthy players who were not selected. Chief among them were a pair of my personal favorite young wideouts, Chase Claypool and Rondale Moore. Each struggled and disappointed this past season and their values have clearly taken a hit. Other undrafted players worth mentioning include Kadarius Toney, James Robinson, Cole Kmet and Laviska Shenault.

See you next Monday!

Ryan McDowell
Monday Mocks: 2020-21 Rookie Draft Classes
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Scott Webber
4 months ago

Future sure looks bright for Cincy!

Andy Cook
4 months ago

Love this

billjenn98
3 months ago

This is awesome!!! I would love to see 2022 blended into the draft to see if it is as bad of a class as everyone says it is.

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