First Round Rookie Mock Draft
With the Combine only a couple of weeks away, now seems like a good time to start evaluating not just who to target in dynasty rookie drafts, but where those targets may go in your league. I got together with Davis Mattek (@DavisMattek) to do a first round rookie mock draft.
Our objective in this draft is to give you an idea of how we think the first round will go at this juncture of the off-season. There may be some personal opinion injected into the picks, particularly when players are close, but first and foremost we are attempting to predict average draft position.
This mock was done with PPR scoring in mind, and a single-quarterback format. Mattek took the odd picks, while I made the even selections.
1.01 - Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
Alabama running backs generally are over-drafted and while I don't think he should go in round 1, he likely will go round 1 or 2. He put enough on tape for me to think that he can stand up to 200+ carries. I have significant concerns about his ability to catch passes, but think his agility numbers will test out well enough to suggest he can be used in that role. With no bonafide star, I will take the guy who is consensus top running back for most guys even if I personally am unlikely to end up ranking him RB1 in the class.
1.02 - N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Most draft boards right now have Harry and Ole Miss wideout D.K. Metcalf, meaning both are in play at this selection. I will side with Harry on the basis of production. He accounted for 38 percent of Arizona State's receiving yards, and 47 percent of receiving TDs in his final season. His 42 percent Dominator Rating (average of the two statistics) is top five in this class.
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1.03 - Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
He might not end up being the first rookie running back taken in the NFL but he is pretty clearly the most talented. He averaged over eight yards per carry for his college career and actually got better after each individual season at Memphis while showing some ability to catch the ball. Henderson is my favorite RB of the class and I am happy to take him here.
1.04 - Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
Williams is another talented back out of the SEC, racking up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in 2018 despite playing for an A&M team that won just nine games. He averaged six yards per carry for his career, caught 66 passes, and even returned some kicks. Some folks will be concerned that he is on the small side, weighing just 200 pounds, but I think the changing NFL game favors multi-faceted RBs who are quick and agile. Williams fits that profile.
1.05 - D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi
Unlike Henderson, I am not really a Metcalf guy. I tend to focus very heavily on production in rookie rankings and rookie drafts but there are flaws in that methodology. Namely, draft equity has to be built into what you project NFL prospects to be. NFL teams and scouts clearly think that Metcalf has WR1 ability and he will be given plenty of chances to prove that on his rookie contract.
1.06 - Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama
Jacobs is the Metcalf of RBs. He is widely considered to be very talented, coming in as the top back in NFL Draft Scout rankings, but has only 2,062 scrimmage yards for his career at Alabama, with less than 900 in each of his three years there. The expected draft capital is enough to keep Jacobs inside the top half of the first round of rookie drafts, and if he ends up in the right spot, he could end up going as high as 1.01.
1.07 - T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
This one, much like Henderson, is pretty easy. If you are not needing production from your first round rookie pick in dynasty right away, Hock is the best stash out of all of them. He is expected to have an absurd combine, is one of the best run blockers that I have ever seen and had a more productive college career than Travis Kelce or George Kittle. Hock is likely to be a first-round NFL draft pick and whichever team selects him will have a plenty of incentive to let him shine.
1.08 - Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest
Of all the picks in the first round, this one is admittedly the biggest reach. That said, I think just about every pick in the second-half of this mock is up in the air. Dortch is one of my favorite players in the whole draft. He is third in the class in career receiving yards per team pass attempt, and has accrued over 3,000 all-purpose yards in just two collegiate seasons. He is small, but profiles as a guy with the potential to be utilized similarly to Tyreek Hill in Kansas City with the right Combine performance. If he is less athletic than expected, we're probably looking at someone like Jamison Crowder.
1.09 - A.J. Brown, WR, Mississippi
The more productive Ole Miss wide receiver gets much less attention than Metcalf, but has a better prospect profile. Ultimately, what will keep Brown from projecting like a true future stud is that he is a bit older than we would like for a Day 1 or Day 2 WR pick so, his projectable ceiling is lower than that of Metcalf or Harry.
1.10 - Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
Snell looks the part of a workhorse, having carried the ball over 21 times per game in his final two seasons at Kentucky. He also caught 29 passes in his career. Though he never had a truly dynamic collegiate season, Snell does the things that NFL coaches like to have in a RB. Even if talent-wise he only ends up being someone like Jamaal Williams, the name of the RB game is volume, and Snell is a candidate to receive plenty of it with the right team at the next level.
1.11 - J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
Whiteside is a really interesting player to me, as he offers most of his present-day value as a redzone weapon for whatever team drafts him. He is one of those players than an NFL announcer will say "It's almost like he is playing power forward out there!" as he catches passes over much smaller defensive backs. He had only 2,219 yards over three seasons at Stanford but caught 14 touchdowns in his final season. I will bite on upside like that.
1.12 - David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
The range of rookie draft outcomes on Montgomery is quite wide, and he will have to test well at the Combine to prove he has legitimate upside. Montgomery averaged less than five yards per carry for his career at Iowa State, though many consider that to be a result of poor offensive line play. He also has 26 career TDs and 71 career receptions. At 216 pounds, he appears to be a candidate for a traditional featured-back role at the next level. I'll take that upside at the tail-end of round 1.
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