Hello, and welcome back to the 2023 off-season mock series. Editions one and two focused on NFL mock drafts and the potential fantasy impact of players’ projected landing spots. Now. Finally, we are going to get into our first fantasy mock. I’ll use DLF’s free Mock Draft Simulator to conduct my first rookie mock of the year.
As far as draft settings, I set it up as a three-round, 12-team draft. I thought three rounds would be good to get the top names into the fantasy ether while not going too deep. It’s a non-tight-end premium superflex draft, and I was randomly assigned the seventh draft spot. Here are the results:
And we’re off! Things began pretty chalky with Bijan Robinson going 1.01. I suspect most of the time, we’ll see Bryce Young and CJ Stroud go second and third as we get closer to the fantasy season, but here we saw Jahmyr Gibbs go third. The middle of the round saw a small run on wide receivers, with Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, Jordan Addison, and Kayshon Boutte as four of the next five picks. We also saw two more quarterbacks off the board, with the final two projected NFL first-rounders in Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. Finally, we close the round with our first tight end, Michael Mayer, and another running back, Zach Evans.
With my pick at 1.07, I went with Jordan Addison. This selection was a heavily-biased luxury pick because I love Addison. He’s probably my WR1 right now, but my rankings are typically very fluid, especially this early in the process. Getting my top receiver with the seventh pick seemed like a fantastic value that was too good to pass up. The only other player I was considering here was Anthony Richardson. Much like NFL scouts, I love Richardson’s upside, but I’m terrified by his floor.
Onto round two! Running backs Devon Achane and Zach Charbonnet are familiar names, and that’s about it. One player I was thrilled to see there when I was on the clock was Zay Flowers. Flowers has been mocked in the late first in some real-life NFL mock drafts. So, if I can land a fringe first-round NFL talent halfway through the second round of a dynasty draft, that seems like a tremendous value.
I didn’t really consider anyone else with this pick, although I was hoping Hendon Hooker would fall to me. Being a superflex league, getting a player with Hooker’s talent and upside with the 19th pick, I would’ve been thrilled. His real-life draft capital and landing spot are going to have a monumental impact on his dynasty stock.
The final round! Tank Bigsby, Deuce Vaughn, Darnell Washington, and Max Duggan are all players I have scouted of heading into this mock draft. At this point in the draft, I would’ve been happy to land any of them at this point in the draft. I’ve seen some NFL mocks with Georgia tight end Washington slipping into the back end of the first round. Given the potential high-end draft capital, I was happy to pull the trigger on him here.
If this were a real-life rookie draft, I could see a world where I would pass on any tight end for a running back. However, Vaughn was the only running back on the board I would be interested in. Coming out of this superflex draft without a quarterback, a case can be made for throwing a dart on Duggan here too. As we get more familiar with the names in the class and see performances from the combine and Senior Bowl, I suspect we’ll see a different third round over the next few months.
After only 36 picks over three rounds, one thing became abundantly clear: There is still a lot more to discuss about this class. As always, the top players are well known, but as we slide deeper into things, some of the deeper rookie prospects deserve further scrutiny. With the Super Bowl only a couple of weeks away, this is typically the time savvy dynasty owners start kicking their research into high gear. In addition, the East-West Shrine game and Senior Bowl are a week away, the combine is a month away, and the draft is three short months away. So it’s never too late to start familiarizing yourself with the incoming rookie class.
The highest surprising pick was Syracuse running back Sean Tucker. If you look at last year’s DLF devy ADP, you’ll see Tucker was 69th overall and RB28. Subtracting the 2022 players (without any other ranking adjustments), he was 25th overall and RB12 a year ago among 2023 and 2024 players. According to DLF’s current rookie rankings, Tucker is RB4 and seventh overall in this class. I have written about dynasty football year around for nearly a decade, and I haven’t seen such a deep class of interesting RB prospects, so there is plenty of meat on the bone out there for all of us.
I came out of this draft with three players:
- Jordan Addison, WR USC
- Zay Flowers, WR Boston College
- Darnell Washington, WR Georgia
As my first mock, I didn’t come into the draft with any game plan or strategy; I was going to take the best player available and hopefully not get in too deep to the point where I had to start googling everyone’s names. Fortunately, I’m pleased with my results, as I’ve seen all three of my players mocked in the first round of the NFL draft. If I can come out of a draft with picks 7, 19, and 31 and can come out of it with three first-round talents, I would be beyond thrilled. Again, referencing DLF’s rookie rankings, I would have landed the WR2, WR7, and TE2, which is not too shabby.
Wrap It Up
I learned quite a bit going through my first rookie mock of the off-season, and hopefully, you did too. My biggest takeaway is that it is officially time to start heavily researching the 2023 class. It’s never too early to start building your knowledge base on all of these players, even if your rookie drafts aren’t until July. I’ll be clarifying my personal ranking over the next few weeks, and that will surely impact my future rookie mocks. That base of knowledge, combined with the data we can extract from the final two bowl games, the combine, and eventually the NFL Draft, should paint a clear picture of which players you’re going to want to target in your drafts. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you back here next week!
- 2023 Off-Season Mock Drafts: Scouting Combine Reactions - March 11, 2023
- 2023 Off-Season Mock Drafts: Pre-Combine Compare and Contrast - March 4, 2023
- 2023 Off-Season Mock Drafts: Four-Round DLF Superflex Rookie Mock - February 27, 2023