The combine is in the books and we are just getting our first tastes of NFL free agency. It is a very busy and very exciting time for the NFL and by extension us dynasty owners. In order to help you sort out at least some of this, I got together with 11 of DLF’s finest to put together a rookie mock draft for you. The goal isn’t to tell you ADP or the exact rankings of these rookies (after all, we have ADP and rankings lists for those things!), but rather give you an idea of what could happen if a rookie draft was held today. We also hope to give your rookie process a kickstart if you are just starting to get into the 2017 draft class.
For this mock, we did three rounds with twelve teams. We assumed PPR scoring and traditional lineups (so not a 2QB or superflex league). All of the drafters were asked to give a brief intro to their selection, and I’ll be providing some additional thoughts on each one as well. Keep in mind it is very early in the process. There are going to be opinions shared in this mock which will completely change in the next few weeks and months. There will be players selected in the top 36 who go undrafted in most rookie drafts this summer, and there might be some future first rounders we didn’t draft. It happens when you are doing things like this early, but that is a part of the fun! Enjoy!
If you missed the first round, you should check it out here! Now it is time for round two.
2.01 – Chris Godwin, WR Penn State
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Doug’s thoughts: Godwin is one of my favorite receivers in this draft and I knew there was no way he was going to be there at 3.01. This might be a little high for him, but he has solid tape and he tested quite well athletically at the combine. The second round WRs are kind of a grab bag, so you may have preferences other owners don’t.
My thoughts: Once everything is said and done, I don’t think people will look at this as a reach at all. Godwin has been and will continue to rise up draft boards as the process continues. He is a very hard working receiver who will do anything and everything that is asked of him. He has solid hands, creates nice separation, and he has room to grow. He put up some nice numbers at the combine, and I think he is going to be drafted earlier than most people expect during the NFL draft. He is one of those guys I’m really hoping drops a bit in the second round of fantasy drafts, because I really like him.
2.02 – Carlos Henderson, WR Louisiana Tech
Bill’s thoughts: Carlos Henderson at 2.02 was an easy pick for me. He’s a lock as a WR2 right away. He has all the tools in his arsenal to be a great complimentary pick. I believe Sterling Shepard is a fair comparison. He has a rock solid flex option with a safe floor.
My thoughts: I’m not as high on Henderson as some other people. The whole one year of production thing scares me off a bit, especially when playing at a slightly lower level. I also expected him to be a bit bigger than what he was measured at during the combine. When it comes to ability, he is a bit confusing to me. I love how he catches the ball as he seems to make a habit out of bailing his quarterback out when a poor throw is made; however, at the same time, he seems to lack instincts and will make a mental error when reading a defense or running a route. Maybe I’m wrong, but I view him as more of a three or a four on an NFL team with some special teams upside than an every snap player.
2.03 – Curtis Samuel, WR Ohio State
Joseph’s thoughts: Samuel is a toolsy prospect without a clear projection to the next level. After splitting his playing time between running back and slot receiver for Ohio State, he’s expected to move to wideout at the next level. Samuel has blazing speed – he has the unfortunate task of following shortly after John Ross set the NFL Combine record – but ran a 4.31 time. Samuel is an explosive athlete with versatility in spades and big play potential with the ball in his hands. He’s Percy Harvin-esque, but a better ball carrier, and a player that opposing defenses have to game-plan against.
My thoughts: Samuel is going to be a very interesting player to watch on draft day. He is one of those players I would give the “athlete” designation to because he lacks a true position. Guys like Harvin, Cordarrelle Patterson and Terrelle Pryor. Some of them have obviously worked out better than others. Samuel has massive speed, but it is very linear as evidenced by his three cone and shuttle times. He also isn’t a great catcher as he lets the ball get into his body a lot and will often make easy catches look difficult, not a trait I look for in a receiver. However, with his speed and a creative playcaller, he could be useful.
2.04 – Samaje Perine, RB Oklahoma
Matt’s thoughts: If not for teammate Joe Mixon, Perine very likely would have been a 2,000 yard back this season At 5’11, 233 lbs Perine has the size and strength to be a solid back at the NFL level. He doesn’t have the vision or athleticism to be a true feature back but Perine is a bruising, physical runner that can withstand a heavy workload as a two-down smasher in a committee.
My thoughts: Perine first popped up onto my radar about two and a half years ago when he broke the single game rushing record for the NCAA. That’s right, Perine is the single game record holder. He broke the record just one week after Melvin Gordon broke LaDainian Tomlinson’s record. Granted, Gordon basically broke the record in three quarters, but I digress. As Matt said, Perine isn’t a super athletic, make you miss kind of running back. He is a no nonsense, hit you in the mouth kind of player. He is going to be a great bruiser to pair up with a shiftier back. From a fantasy perspective, he isn’t going to get you many explosive plays, but he will get you consistent production with goalline upside.
2.05 – Kareem Hunt, RB Toledo
Mike’s thoughts: Hunt has good vision and can make the first defender miss. He understands blocking angles and has the patience to allow it to develop. His spin move allows him to burst free at the second-level but seems to struggle with explosion once free from the tackler. He knows how to get forward lean and get his knees to bend. Hunt has good hands. Hunt needs to learn how to be a better inside runner. He has the size to plow, but would rather dance when it comes to the A-B gaps. Hunt will never be a home run hitter, but once he understands how to use his size, he can become someone that just wears down the defense and gets the tough yards. At this point, Hunt may not be more than a backup, but that doesn’t mean he can’t transfer his skills to more playing time down the road.
My thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of Hunt, because to me he is a rusher with an identity crisis. At 5’10” and 216 pounds, he is built a bit like a bruiser and a tough between the tackles rusher. However, he runs like he wants to be a make you miss and rush to the perimeter kind of player. He seems to have good vision and feel for a play, but it is almost like he just doesn’t want to get the tough yards. He does have some passing game ability though and could be a nice fit in the correct scheme.
2.06 – D’Onta Foreman, RB Texas
My thoughts: I was a little surprised that D’Onta was still available at this point in the mock, because I have him as a fringe first round rookie draft talent in my books. Prior to the combine, he was neck and neck with Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey in my second tier of running backs. After the good combine performances from the other two and Foreman’s lack of participation, I think he is likely slipping just a bit behind them. With that said, I think I like him better than any of the other players selected in this round of the mock.
He led the FBS in yards per game this last season and won the Doak Walker Award this past year. He’s more than just stats and awards though. At 6’ and 230 plus pounds, he has the size to carry the load. He also seems to have great athleticism for someone his size. Not quite on Fournette’s level, but he has some nice moves for a 230 pounder. He has the balance and power to stay upright through weaker tackles as well.
On the downside of things, there is a reason he’s likely to be a second round pick in rookie drafts. He has some glaring holes in his game. He really needs to work on his pass protection skills as well as his ability to hang on to the football. He is also a non-factor when it comes to catching the ball. He’s going to be restricted to a two down role early in his career, and will need to work on the finer points of playing the position to turn into anything else. The upside as a rusher is here, but it could take some time.
2.07 – Evan Engram, TE Mississippi
Travis’s thoughts: We already knew that Evan Engram was a spectacular tight end prospect before the NFL Combine. After he logged a better forty-yard dash than 51 of the wide receivers at the Combine he cemented his elite athletic status. Engram can hit the ground running in virtually any offense in year one. Just like Hunter Henry did in 2016 for the Chargers, Engram could be plugged into the slot right away causing disruptive mismatches. After a few years Engram could end up producing similar to Jordan Reed (in a similar role) in the right situation. At pick 2.07 in rookie drafts the value at running back and wide receiver begins to get a little questionable. I’ll take Engram in that slot every day.
My thoughts: I almost feel like Engram should be listed as a wide receiver, because that is really more of what he has been. Think of him as a small Julius Thomas or Aaron Hernandez without the whole gang issue. He isn’t going to be doing a ton of run blocking, because he is a pass catcher. He is highly athletic as the combine showed, and he has a very nice pair of hands. He was able to get by on athleticism in college, so his route running is rather unrefined. That just means he has room to grow. I don’t know that he will ever be more than an adequate blocker, but NFL teams have shown they can forgive that for a top flight pass catcher.
2.08 – Jamaal Williams, RB BYU
Scott’s thoughts: I wanted Engram and was bummed to see him go at 2.07. Williams had a solid Combine, and showed well in the Senior Bowl. He has NFL size for a running back. Productive player at BYU. I think he’s a good value at this point in the rookie draft.
My thoughts: After the first six or seven running backs in this draft class, there really isn’t much left at the position which gets me too excited. Once the NFL draft happens and we know the teams, there will likely be one or two of them with the opportunity to do something, but at this point in time it is tough to tell which one. As for Williams, he has nice size but is a pretty one dimensional runner in my opinion. He goes full speed ahead and that’s about it. He tends to bounce off tacklers and fall forward, but will very seldom make someone miss or actually break a tackle. I see him as a short yardage specialist and a career backup.
2.09 – Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson
Mo’s thoughts: Dominating elite competition is the strongest trait any prospect can show us when we’re trying to gauge their potential at the next level. Of this year’s top four quarterback prospects, only one has proven his ability to thrive under the kind of pressure awaiting them all in the NFL.
Clemson’s Deshaun Watson took Alabama to the brink in two National Title games, coming away with a narrow defeat in 2016, and a gutsy comeback victory this January. In those title tilts against a ‘Bama team who’s won half of the National Championship games played in the last eight years, Watson racked up 941 yards of offense, and nine touchdowns, with just a single interception. Watson went 9-1 against ranked opponents in his two seasons leading the Tigers’ attack. His only loss came in that first championship game with ‘Bama. Expecting him to have a Marcus Mariota-like run of fantasy success is realistic by year-two. Ride out the bumps in the runway, and wait for Watson to soar. It won’t be long.
My thoughts: Twenty players off the board and then we get our first quarterback of the mock. That seems about right to me. The exact ranking of this year’s quarterback draft class has been and will continue to be one of the major story lines leading up to the NFL draft. I think it will also be a story line for years to come as a few franchises will be hanging their future on one of these guys. Like Mo, I think Watson is the one I would pick if I had to choose. With that said, I really hope my Bears pass on all of these guys in round one. From a fantasy perspective, I think Watson has a chance to be a back end QB1 or a high end QB2 in a few years. It likely won’t be pretty at the start, but top 15 is realistic for him.
2.10 – KD Cannon, WR Baylor
Adam’s thoughts: The next great Baylor receiver had an early second ADP before the combine, and I don’t think he showed anything to detract from that, so to get the 5-11 182lb burner at the end of the second seems like a steal to me. Sure he only runs one route, but with a 4.41 40 time, he can be a dynamic part of any offense with time. I can see him being a nice WR3/4 for fantasy owners with some boom potential.
My thoughts: When I look at Cannon I think his last name is quite fitting. He has one speed and it is fast. He is a pure deep threat and not much else. He tracks the ball fairly well, has the speed to get behind defenders and take the lid off of a defense. How much is this worth? From how high we’ve seen guys like Will Fuller and Devin Smith go in the NFL draft, NFL teams clearly value that skill. At the same time, think about their fantasy value. Cannon is going to be inconsistent and the quality of his quarterback’s deep ball is going to have a big impact on his upside.
2.11 – Mitch Trubisky, QB North Carolina
Jeff’s thoughts: This is a standard selection for me in drafts and a move I’m very confident in making year over year. And the later in the second I’m able to do it, the better. Every year sees quarterbacks slide in rookie drafts and I can’t argue that they shouldn’t. But how you define “slide” ultimately makes a big difference. I’m not a fan of selecting non-elite quarterbacks in the first round, but when good quarterbacks, selected very highly (potentially first overall) in the NFL draft fall to the back half of the second round in fantasy, it’s an immediate opportunity to get a player that is certain to see the field early in his career. And at the quarterback position, if that the player has any level of success, you have the potential to secure a 15 year player at a bargain-basement cost with little risk. While other coaches reach for long shots in the second round that likely have less than a 20% chance of ever seeing consistent fantasy production, selections of Watson or Trubisky have major upside potential.
My thoughts: Jeff raises a great point. Look back at the late second and third rounds of past rookie drafts. How many of the running backs and receivers selected after pick 20 in your rookie draft turned into valuable fantasy assets? Of course there have been some, but most of them have fizzled out. However, most of the top two or three quarterbacks are still in the league and at least viable in fantasy leagues as at least a bye week filler. Going with a quarterback in this year’s draft is a straight value play. They are very unlikely to be stars, but they could fill a need on your roster for years to come.
2.12 – Malachi Dupre, WR LSU
James’s thoughts: We reached the point in the draft where everyone is taking stabs at their personal favorites in less clear tiers, but Dupre presented himself to me as one of the more intriguing prospects. He didn’t exactly thrive in terms of production during his LSU career, but we’re looking for transferable traits and skills. Dupre was once a devy darling and a highly-rated prospect, and I want to see what he is capable of on a team that doesn’t have a quarterback and passing offense as woeful as LSU. If he is a third or fourth round NFL pick, I will certainly take a chance on him.
My thoughts: I think James is dead on when it comes to what happens at this point in the rookie draft. You really can’t call someone a reach when they are going this late, so it all comes down to personal preference. A former track star, Dupre has the physical ability teams look for to go with fairly decent size. I think he could bulk up just a little bit more to help with more physical coverage. When it comes to production, the fact that he lead his team with under 600 yards receiving tells you a lot about LSU’s offense. I think he has a future as either a small possession receiver or as a bigger slot receiver in the NFL. I’m not sure if he has huge upside, but he could definitely be productive.
Round two is in the books, which means we are 24 players in with only 12 more to go! Who are you favorite picks from round two, and who do you think we missed who will be in round two by the time most rookie drafts actually happen?