Rookie Mock Draft

The Footballguys staff assembled for a rookie mock draft with commentary

The dynasty staffers at Footballguys got together for a Rookie Mock, complete with commentary.

Round 1 Selections

1.01 Phil Alexander - RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia

Josh Jacobs was drafted higher, landed in a less crowded backfield, and is the consensus 1.01 in rookie drafts. I'm therefore expecting this to be an unpopular pick in this draft room, but I'm taking Sanders over Jacobs for three main reasons:

  1. Sanders is the better athlete by every measure.
  2. His team's offense is markedly better. With Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson, and Carson Wentz's arm stressing defenses downfield at every level, Sanders will face light boxes behind one of the best offensive lines in the league.
  3. Howie Roseman is a shrewd GM. Paying a second-round price tag for a running back is not in his nature, yet he did it for Sanders. Yes, the Eagles have deployed a committee backfield under Doug Pederson, but they also haven't had a do-it-all back like Sanders on the roster.

Jordan Howard is an obstacle to early-down work in year one, but it's certainly possible Sanders can beat him outright in training camp to lead Philadelphia's backfield committee as a rookie. And looking beyond this year, who knows how long Howard, who only has one year on his deal, will be with the team.

Overall, there isn't much separating the entire first-round of this rookie class, so reaching a bit at the top is unavoidable unless you believe Jacobs is an elite talent (I don’t). Ideally, I would have tried trading down to take Sanders at 1.03 and collect another pick.

1.02 Daniel Simpkins - RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland

Josh Jacobs is an easy choice due to a variety of factors. The Draft capital spent on acquiring him by the Raiders was significant given their lack of depth and needs at many positions across the roster. He’s a skilled pass catcher and runner with no glaring holes in his game, which is not really something that can be said of any other running back in this class. He’ll have the volume from the get-go because this is a team that favors the run. In a rookie draft class where there were very few marriages of both talent and premium Draft capital at the running back and wide receiver positions, Jacobs stands out as a player that should be off the board in the first two picks.

1.03 Sigmund Bloom - WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City

In most drafts, I would be trading down to someone that wants Harry, but since I cannot, I choose Mecole Hardman.

This is quite simply a bet on Patrick Mahomes II. Tyreek Hill may play again, but it is not going to be for the Chiefs. Hardman has good enough speed, acceleration, toughness, and skills to harness fantasy relevant value, and he has a lot of room to grow being new to the position.

The 1.03 pick is a prime spot to trade down from unless you are set on Harry or Sanders. I'm not and see them as close to the value of the players you can get in the late first.

1.04 Dan Hindery - WR N'Keal Harry, New England

Harry on the Patriots is the wide receiver fit I am most comfortable with and excited about. New England was a top-5 in passing yards yet again and there is a ton of opportunity. Looking at New England's top five pass catchers last season: Rob Gronkowski is retired. Josh Gordon is suspended indefinitely. Chris Hogan left for Carolina. Julian Edelman is back but turns 33-years old this month.

All that being said, in a real dynasty draft, I would take a similar approach to Sigmund and look to shop this pick. While Harry is at the top of my wide receiver board, it isn't by a large margin and I think you can get similar players in the late-1st round because the strength of this wide receiver class is depth, not elite players at the top.

1.05 Jeff Haseley - RB David Montgomery, Chicago

So Sanders, Jacobs, Hardman, Harry...

I'll take David Montgomery.

The Bears, along with the Raiders, have the most running back carries available entering the 2019 season. The usurper, David Montgomery is coming for Mike Davis' role and it could happen before Week 1. Montgomery probably won't be a three-down back, at least not initially in his career, simply due to the presence of Tarik Cohen, however, there's easily 200 carries available at his disposal.

1.06 Devin Knotts - QB Kyler Murray, Arizona

I'm not a fan of any of the receivers or running backs at the top of this draft. Murray is a guy whom I'm targeting everywhere as I believe he is as good of a passer as Baker Mayfield and an electric runner. Murray goes to the Air Raid offense that should give significant upside if the Kingsbury system works. The only knock on Murray is his size which is an issue, but the Cardinals have a defined plan and Murray could be an elite quarterback for the next decade.

1.07 Jason Wood - WR Hakeem Butler, Arizona

Butler was a popular player leading into the NFL Draft.His drop in the draft led to him falling in rookie drafts.Butler could be the top receiver in Arizona as early as this season.

1.08 Andy Hicks - WR Parris Campbell, Indianapolis

Parris Campbell lands in a perfect situation. With an elite quarterback in Andrew Luck, an established but aging star wide receiver in T.Y. Hilton and tough competition for playing time. Campbell will be allowed to find his feet before becoming the star he is destined to be. He has speed, grit, and the room to grow into an elite NFL receiver. Remember how Indianapolis introduced Reggie Wayne while Marvin Harrison was still playing at a Hall of Fame level? While the potential for a 1a and the 1b situation is possible, especially once Campbell finds his NFL feet, Campbell should be the number one receiver by year three and a fantasy WR1 for years to come.

1.09 Justin Howe - TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit

Of the rookie tight ends from Iowa, I prefer Hockenson’s talent and situation.He has a chance to contribute right away.

1.10 Aaron Rudnicki - WR A.J. Brown, Tennessee

Brown slid in the draft and landed in a less-than-desirable situation but is arguably the top talent of the rookie receiver class. He is a long-term buy.

1.11 Will Grant - WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle

Metcalf is a boom or bust kind of player. He's a great talent but has challenges staying healthy. He's on a team with a great quarterback but the Seahawks only threw for 3400 yards last season. The key for me is that Russell Wilson knows how to get the most out of his offense, and his 35 passing touchdowns compared to just seven interceptions means that he makes every throw count. With Doug Baldwin released, Metcalf could be the top rookie wide receiver in 2019. I like his upside.

1.12 Jeff Tefertiller - RB Darrell Henderson, LA Rams

The doom and gloom surrounding Todd Gurley make Henderson a high-ceiling selection.I have been nabbing him at this spot in many rookie drafts.As Gurley continues to be slow in his recovery, expect Henderson’s stock to skyrocket.

Round 2 Selections

2.01 Phil Alexander - WR Andy Isabella, Arizona

I'm thrilled to get Isabella six picks after Hakeem Butler came off the board. Butler was a luxury pick for Arizona, while Isabella was the receiver they prioritized. Nothing against Butler as a prospect, but Isabella's draft position gives him the clearer path to playing time and his 4.31 speed makes him a natural fit with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury.

2.02 Daniel Simpkins - TE Noah Fant, Denver

The Footballguys who picked prior to this selection did a good job of clearing the board of guys who sometimes fall into this range that I like, such as Hakeem Butler and A.J. Brown. Noah Fant isn't a terrible consolation prize. Fant is a great receiver who makes difficult catches routinely and tracks the ball well over his shoulder. At this time, he's not a blocker to be trusted. That's exactly the kind of guy I want to take for fantasy purposes. The Broncos took him with a premium pick, signaling that he'll be part of the game plan early and often.

2.03 Sigmund Bloom - WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore

A first-round pick who will be a No. 1 receiver for a young quarterback. Yes, the pass offense was anemic last year. Yes, third-round pick Miles Boykin is a good prospect in his own right. But the potential for long-term growth and big plays at the end of Lamar Jackson scrambles is enough to merit strong interest at the current cost in rookie drafts.

2.04 Dan Hindery - WR Deebo Samuel, San Francisco

The 49ers have Samuel penciled in as the starting X-receiver, a role that was previously filled by Pierre Garcon (when healthy). This is the position that has typically been featured in Kyle Shanahan's offenses, producing many WR1 fantasy seasons.

2.05 Jeff Haseley - RB Damien Harris, New England

The Patriots draft running backs who can be inserted into the lineup and play a role. Sony Michel is currently in the driver’s seat for New England, but knee injuries and ball security problems have plagued him. Harris has the skill set to fill in when necessary and produce sound results, and he'll get the chance to receive goal line carries as well. If Harris was drafted by Philadelphia, Oakland or Chicago, he'd be a Top 3 pick.

2.06 Devin Knotts - WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia

There's a reason that the Eagles used their second-round pick on Arcega-Whiteside. While he is still a little bit raw in my eyes and will need to become a better route-runner, he reminds me a lot of Alshon Jeffery and should line up to be Jeffery's replacement in a year or two as Jeffery has had an injury-riddled career and is approaching 30 years old. Arcega-Whiteside has a unique skill-set with size and acceleration and while he lacks top-end speed much like Jeffery, and if he can improve his route-running to overcome the lack of top-end speed, he should be a tremendous replacement for Jeffery in that offense.

2.07 Jason Wood - WR Miles Boykin, Baltimore

Under-utilized at Notre Dame, Boykin has too much potential to pass up in the middle of the second round.He has a strong athletic profile and could take a huge step forward in his development. Baltimore is void of talented receivers outside of the pair of rookies.

2.08 Andy Hicks - WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh

Diontae Johnson is another wide receiver who lands into a perfect situation. A very production offense looking for a playmaker opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster following the departure of Antonio Brown. James Washington will have the inside track, but with Pittsburgh’s sterling reputation of developing wide receivers over the last decade or more, expect Johnson to be developed quickly into a productive NFL starter. He was considered a reach by many NFL draft projections, but the landing spot is what really matters. This is an outstanding group of 23 and under wide receivers to send Ben Roethlisberger into retirement eventually.

2.09 Justin Howe - RB Justice Hill, Baltimore

Hill has a chance to emerge in the Ravens offense with only a pair of middling veterans as competition for carries.He is a slippery runner between the tackles and could produce fantasy RB2 numbers this year.

2.10 Aaron Rudnicki - RB Devin Singletary, Buffalo

Singletary was very productive in college but did not show well at the NFL Combine so he slipped to the third round.Buffalo has only aging veterans at the position so the rookie may need an extra year before fantasy expectations are raised.

2.11 Will Grant - TE Jace Sternberger, Green Bay

Jimmy Graham is still the No. 1 tight end in Green Bay, but his lack of touchdowns last season kept the veteran out of the Top 12 for fantasy tight ends after two years in the Top 5 in Seattle. At times, he looked slow and plodding. Sternberger won't pass him this season, but the rookie should push for a starting role in 2020.

2.12 Jeff Tefertiller - WR Terry McLaurin, Washington

McLaurin quietly steps into a sweet role, catching passes from his college quarterback on a team without NFL-quality receivers. Parris Campbell received more press clippings at Ohio State, but McLaurin may be the better professional.

Round 3 Selections

3.01 Phil Alexander – RB Dexter Williams, Green Bay

Williams was a solid producer at Notre Dame and his burst and agility can translate at the next level. Aaron Jones has missed four games in each of his first two seasons and plodder Jamaal Williams is all that stands between Williams and the No. 2 spot on the depth chart in one of the league's best offenses.

3.02 Daniel Simpkins – TE Irv Smith, Minnesota

I know, I know. I'm taking another tight end. He's just the best value on the board at this point in the draft. In my eyes, Smith is on par with T.J. Hockenson in terms of ability. My only concern is that the Vikings will want to run the ball frequently and Smith is already an excellent blocker. He's also more of a patience play with Kyle Rudolph still on the roster, but Rudolph is on the last year of his deal. I will take the chance that the team will realize Smith's receiving upside and put him to work in that capacity.

3.03 Sigmund Bloom – RB Bryce Love, Washington

This is a swing for fences since the Top 22 who are the core of my board dried up when Sternberger went off the board. Love looked like an elite big-play threat with passing game application in 2017 but went down in 2018 with a torn ACL. Washington knows how to mine fantasy relevance out of a limited touch back with Love's skillset and that back, Chris Thompson, is breaking down. Love won't overtake Derrius Guice on early downs long term, but that's ok because he can be more than Thompson was and stay on the field more than Thompson did, which is worth the modest cost in rookie drafts. It's all about ceiling in the later rounds of rookie drafts.

3.04 Dan Hindery - RB Alexander Mattison, Minnesota

Mattison looks ticketed for the Latavius Murray role as the top backup behind Dalvin Cook, which should at least make him an option as a bye-week fill-in. However, if Cook misses significant time with injury for the third straight season, Mattison could see his fantasy value skyrocket.

3.05 Jeff Haseley – WR Jalen Hurd, San Francisco

The former Tennessee tailback has transformed himself into a WR/TE who offers value in several roles.The San Francisco offense has few locked-in roles so Hurd could see an expanded role if he shows well early.

3.06 Devin Knotts – QB Dwayne Haskins, Washington

This was purely a value play for me at this point, as I mentioned with the Kyler Murray pick, I don't like a lot of running back or receivers in this class. I think that the quarterbacks are undervalued as both Murray and Haskins came out of nowhere this year and didn't have the traditional hype around them. Haskins is an old school type of quarterback where he is not mobile and a traditional drop-back passer. He showed tremendous short-mid range accuracy and decision making at Ohio State, that should serve him well in the West Coast offense. The questions for Haskins are his ceiling as he only started at Ohio State for one season and the need to work on his deep throwing, but has all the tools to be a Carson Palmer- or Eli Manning-type of drop-back quarterback where he is a mainstay in the NFL.

3.07 Jason Wood - RB Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville

With T.J. Yeldon now in Buffalo, there is little talent behind Leonard Fournette.With Fournette’s injury history and ineffectiveness, Armstead is a good stash in the third round of rookie drafts.

3.08 Andy Hicks – RB Darwin Thompson, Kansas City

I’m not usually a proponent of drafting running backs taken after Round 3, but we must always analyze what team they land on and the associated talent ahead of them. Darwin Thompson lands with Andy Reid, who has decades of taking running backs drafted late and turning them into highly productive starters. We just must look at the two most recent starters for the Chiefs in Damien Williams who was undrafted, performed modestly in Miami and looked like a pro bowler for Kansas City late in the year. Kareem Hunt before that was a late third rounder, who reached the pro bowl in his rookie season and looked to be on track in his second year before off-field issues put an end to that. Darwin Thompson doesn’t look like a stud on paper, but here is a situation where I trust a team who knows what they are doing.

3.09 Justin Howe - WR KeeSean Johnson, Arizona

Johnson is a solid route runner who will have a chance to perform for more playing time.Given his limited athletic profile and the two other rookie receivers drafted before him, Johnson will need to play well in training camp to see the field as a rookie.

3.10 Aaron Rudnicki – WR Kelvin Harmon, Washington

Harmon excels in the air with a my-ball mentality.The lack of receiver talent in Washington will help him play as a rookie.The lack of speed and change-of-direction may confine Harmon’s usage to the redzone and throws down the field. He does not profile as a high-target receiver early in his career.

3.11 Will Grant - RB Bruce Anderson, Tampa Bay

To say the Tampa Bay backfield is crowded is an understatement. But neither Peyton Barber nor Ronald Jones II is a lock going into next season. If Anderson can make the team, he could work his way into action. He's a local guy to Tampa, and that extra motivation and fan support might be enough to carry him forwards. At the end of the third round in a rookie draft, you're looking at flyer type picks anyway.

3.12 Jeff Tefertiller – TE Dawson Knox, Buffalo

Knox was a third-round pick on a team (Buffalo) without an established tight end.Charles Clay is now in Arizona. Knox is very athletic and profiles as an overgrown wideout playing tight end, the best type of tight end for fantasy owners.

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