As our unprecedented fantasy football breakdown of the NFL Draft continues, we turn our attention to winners and losers from each division of the NFL. With new rookies in tow, many veterans are now fighting for their jobs. Some teams also failed to address some key positions, leaving some players with newfound opportunities. We continue our journey today with a look at the winners and losers from the NFC East which is now looking very much like fantasy football heaven for running backs.
Round 1 – Pick 2 (2): Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
Round 2 – Pick 2 (34): Will Hernandez, G UTEP
Round 3 – Pick 2 (66): Lorenzo Carter, EDGE Georgia
Round 3 – Pick 5 (69): B.J. Hill, DT N.C. State
Round 4 – Pick 8 (108): Kyle Lauletta, QB Richmond
Round 5 – Pick 2 (139): R.J. McIntosh, DT Miami
One of the biggest winners for the Giants was quarterback Eli Manning. While there were plenty of rumors connecting them to Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen with the second overall pick, they ended up going with generational running back Saquon Barkley instead. While they did select Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round, it appears they plan on giving Eli Manning another chance. Rosen and Darnold figured to have pushed Manning for the starting role quicker than Lauletta might. In addition, the offensive line should be able to protect Manning better than they did last year with the selection of talented guard Will Hernandez to go along with the free agent signing of Nate Solder. The threat of Barkley in the backfield and running routes should also open up the field for Manning in the passing game. Eli might be one of the most underrated quarterbacks entering the 2018 season.
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Let’s be honest, Barkley was going to be the bell-cow running back on nearly any team he went to. The fact he went to a Giants team filled with young offensive talent is just another reason to be excited about this kid’s potential. Barkley figures to see plenty of touches as early as his rookie season and could very well end up being a key cog in one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL.
Drafting Saquon Barkley pretty much eliminated any fantasy relevance Gallman, Stewart, and Perkins might have had. They are all strictly handcuffs now.
It appears the Giants are not very high on backup quarterback Davis Webb. Drafting Lauletta in the fourth round signals they are looking for a better quarterback to backup Eli and possibly take over for him down the road.
While not huge losers from the 2018 NFL Draft, Engram and Shepard do get a slight bump down. Drafting Barkley and Hernandez with their first two picks signals the Giants seem intent on running the ball more in 2018, an area they have really struggled with over the last few years. In addition, Barkley is an exceptional receiving back and figures to also see a good amount of targets in the passing game. Both of these factors should slightly decrease the number of targets Engram and Shepard will see. Odell Beckham Jr. did not make this list because he is simply too talented to see his target share drop.
Round 1 – Pick 13 (13): Da’Ron Payne, DT Alabama
Round 2 – Pick 27 (59): Derrius Guice, RB LSU
Round 3 – Pick 10 (74): Geron Christian, OT Louisville
Round 4 – Pick 9 (109): Troy Apke, S Penn St.
Round 5 – Pick 26 (163): Tim Settle, DT Virginia Teach
Round 6 – Pick 23 (197): Shaun Dion Hamilton, ILB Alabama
Round 7 – Pick 23 (241): Greg Stroman, CB Virginia Tech
Round 7 – Pick 38 (256): Trey Quinn, WR SMU
UDFA: Simmie Cobbs, WR Indiana
Washington’s draft selections included many defensive players, with running back Derrius Guice being the highlight on the offensive side of the ball. How fun will it be to see Ezekiel Elliot, Saquon Barkley, and Derrius Guice all in the same division?
A good running game can often benefit the quarterback. Just look at how Smith performed last year with Kareem Hunt leading the league in rushing or how much better Dak Prescott played his rookie season with 15 games of Ezekiel Elliot compared to just ten in his second year.
I am not saying Hunt’s success was the main reason for Alex Smith’s career year, but having a strong running game often opens the field for the passing game. Derrius Guice is a very talented running back who can take pressure off of Smith much like Hunt did last season. Washington also added offensive tackle Geron Christian in the early third round as they look to shore up their offensive line that struggled with injuries last year.
Perine’s and Kelley’s stocks took a tumble on the second day of the draft. Guice is much more talented than both and Perine often struggled with fumbles last year. Although many thought the Redskins might take Guice in the first round, using a second-round pick on him still signals they are planning on him being their lead back. Chris Thompson is still on the roster as well, but his third-down receiving role figures to remain intact, regardless.
Round 2 – Pick 17 (49): Dallas Goedert, TE South Dakota St.
Round 4 – Pick 25 (125): Avonte Maddox, CB Pittsburgh
Round 4 – Pick 30 (130): Josh Sweat, EDGE Florida St.
Round 6 – Pick 32 (206): Matt Pryor, OT TCU
Round 7 – Pick 15 (233): Jordan Mailata, OT Australia (former Rugby player)
UDFA: Josh Adams, RB Notre Dame
The Eagles only made five selections in the 2018 NFL Draft. As a result, there are not many immediate winners and losers of their selections.
The Philadelphia Eagles are starting to have an embarrassment of riches on both offense and defense. The drafting of Dallas Goedert gives Wentz another talented receiving target to grow with throughout his career. Add Goedert into the already talented group of Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins and the Philadelphia offense figures to be prolific for many years to come.
All Eagles running backs
The Eagles did not draft a running back, but they did sign Josh Adams soon after. They also re-signed veteran Darren Sproles. The addition of these two to an already crowded group consisting of Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood, and Donnel Pumphrey will make figuring out which Eagles running back to start each week very difficult. We might be looking at the next “New England Patriots backfield.”
Goedert was my top rookie tight end entering the NFL Draft but he landed in arguably one of the worst spots for fantasy relevance in the near future. Zach Ertz is one of the best tight ends in the league and barring injury is probably not going anywhere for several years, which is a tough blow to Goedert’s immediate dynasty outlook.
Tight ends usually take a while to develop anyway, but Goedert could still be stuck behind Ertz a few years down the line. I have very little interest investing much in a player who will likely sit on my bench for at least two to three years and still might have questions about him even then. Unless Goedert is available late in rookie drafts, I would rather select someone else and try to trade for Goedert later in his career.
Round 1 – Pick 19 (19): Leighton Vander Esch, ILB Boise St.
Round 2 – Pick 18 (50): Connor Williams, G Texas
Round 3 – Pick 17 (81): Michael Gallup, WR Colorado St.
Round 4 – Pick 16 (116): Dorance Armstrong Jr., EDGE Kansas
Round 4 – Pick 37 (137): Dalton Schultz, TE Stanford
Round 5 – Pick 34 (171): Mike White, QB Western Kentucky
Round 6 – Pick 19 (193): Chris Covington, OLB Indiana
Round 6 – Pick 34 (208): Cedrick Wilson, WR Boise St.
Round 7 – Pick 18 (236): Bo Scarbrough, RB Alabama
The Cowboys’ offensive line was already a strength, but they failed to live up to expectations last year as they battled injuries. As a result, they added guard Connor Williams in the middle of the second round. Maybe they thought receiver Courtland Sutton would fall to them there, but Williams was a good pick nonetheless. He figures to make the Cowboys’ offensive line even stronger than it was before, which should only help Ezekiel Elliot.
Dallas did draft Bo Scarbrough in the seventh round, but I do not see him affecting Elliot much. Elliot should continue to see a plethora of carries as well as potentially more receptions this year. The Dallas offense will need to be centered around their star running back once again.
Is it finally time for Rico Gathers to be unleashed on the NFL? It’s hard to say, but at least it looks like he might finally get a chance to show off his ability. With surprising news of future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten retiring, Gathers is expected to finally see playing time in an NFL regular season game. He set the preseason on fire last year before suffering a season-ending concussion and jaw injury. Dallas did draft tight end Dalton Schultz in the fourth round, so the two figure to compete for playing time.
The Cowboys drafted a pair of receivers, Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson, in the third and sixth rounds, respectively. While possibly an upgrade to their current wide receiver group, these were not the flashiest of draft picks. Some expected Dallas to select Courtland Sutton, Calvin Ridley, or DJ Moore with the 19th overall selection. Instead, they drafted a couple of receivers who could end up being solid players but do not have the highest of upsides. It appears the Dallas offense will focus heavily on Ezekiel Elliot and the run game, possibly leaving very little upside for the pass catchers.
Besides Prescott, there were not any clear losers of the Cowboys’ recent draft. Maybe Bo Scarbrough takes over as Elliot’s main backup, pushing Rod Smith down the depth chart, but barring injury, Elliot’s backups rarely sees many carries anyway. Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams will see competition for targets from Gallup and Wilson (and perhaps even Tavon Austin), but was anyone really expecting Hurns and Williams to be the Cowboys’ main two receivers heading into the season? Many of Dallas’ new skill players were selected in the later rounds of the draft. They add depth to the Cowboys roster but do not necessarily threaten the players ahead of them on the depth chart.
Thanks for reading and as always feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @TheDevyDude if you would like to discuss.