Combined Rookie Draft Board

A visual look at a full offense-IDP rookie draft board with position-by-position commentary

The consensus rookie rankings at Footballguys are one of the strongest features we produce each season. However, despite embedded commentary, the consensus rankings can be light on context. If you look carefully, you can see tiers, but it can be difficult to compare players within their position and across multiple positions.

Knowing Player X is the consensus RB3 is clear from the rankings. Knowing how nearly Player X was to being ranked RB2 or RB6, or how Player X compares to the WR5 or TE1 or LB2 is much less clear.

I prefer a more visual approach, one that tiers players by position but also shows the value of one position relative to another across my draft board.

NOTES ON THE DRAFT BOARD

  • The first version of this feature is based on limited information. Coaching comments, mini-camp observations, debate within the fantasy community, and the clarity that comes from testing this board in my own drafts will bring changes to future versions.
  • I build this draft board with the following league parameters in mind: 12-14 teams, PPR, balanced IDP scoring, and full IDP lineups that include defensive tackles and cornerbacks. The commentary that follows the draft board will sometimes address modifications for leagues that provide bonuses for tight end scoring, big play IDP systems, etc.
  • There may be more than 12-14 players listed in a given draft round. That's a function of the tiering approach. It's also a natural reflection of the wide range of ADP valuations we always see as a rookie draft moves into the deeper rounds. In some years, there may be fewer than 10-12 players in a draft round. Drafting trends may change from year-to-year, but it’s important to recognize when to trade for a future pick than to reach for a clearly less valuable talent now.
  • This board reflects my personal drafting philosophy. I prioritize upside over floor within tiers. I'm willing to accept a higher bust risk in all rounds. I prefer to draft players who are likely to be successful sooner if other variables are equal. And I'm not afraid to trust my evaluations of defensive players and draft a second-tier IDP over a third-tier offensive prospect -- regardless of positional scarcity.
  • The offensive columns of this draft board are informed by the in-depth process and work of Matt Waldman, Matt Harmon, Sigmund Bloom, Cecil Lammey, as well as Josh Norris, Dane Brugler, Mark Schofield, Emory Hunt, Evan Silva, J.J. Zachariason, Gary Davenport, and many others. I have also relied on the rankings of Bob Henry, John Norton, and Jason Wood at Footballguys for years. If you have other evaluators on your shortlist and they differ greatly from this board, tweak accordingly.

The draft board is designed to be read top to bottom and left to right. Each position is tiered from top to bottom in its own column. Separations within the columns represent relative tiers and the players are ranked by preference within those tiers. Relative value between positions can be tracked from left to right. The "suggested" draft rounds are based on my view of a player's value, with some consideration given to keeping the number of players with a given draft round grade to a reasonable total.

Positional commentaries can be found after the draft board.

2020 Combined Draft Board

Round 1
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Edwards-Helaire, KC
Lamb, Dal
Taylor, Ind
Jeudy, Den
Dobbins, Bal
talent gap
Swift, Det
Akers, LAR
Mims, NYJ
Jefferson
Young, Was
Young, Was
Simmons, Ari
Round 2
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Dillon, GB
Ruggs, LV
Reagor, Phi
Queen, Bal
Burrow, Cin
Aiyuk, SF
Murray, LAC
Tagovailoa, Mia
Edwards, LV
Pittman, Ind
Vaughn, TB
Shenault, Jac
Round 3
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Gibson, Was
Higgins, Cin
Wilson, Cin
Moss, Buf
Claypool, Pit
Gay, KC
McFarland, Pit
Chaisson, Jac
Herbert, LAC
Kelley, LAC
Jefferson, LAR
Trautman, NO
Kinlaw, SF
Gross-Matos, Car
Gross-Matos, Car
Taylor, Phi
Chinn, Car
Round 4
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Perine, NYJ
Devernay, Bal
Asiasi, NE
Brown, Car
Chaisson, Jac
Dallas, Sea
Hamler, Den
Epenesa, Buf
Love, GB
Cephus, Det
Round 5
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Evans, Ten
Bowden, LV
Okudah, Det
Delpit, Cle
Warren, Phi
Johnson, TB
Muse, LV
Benjamin, Ari
Gandy-Golden, Was
Brooks, Sea
Baun, NO
Lewis, LAR
Davis-Gaither, Cin
Round 6
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Okweugbunam, Den
Epenesa, Buf
Bryant, Cle
Taylor, Sea
Greenard, Hou
Eason, Ind
Jennings, SF
Uche, NE
Hurts, Phi
Mooney, Chi
Kmet, Chi
Harrison, Bal
Arnette, LV
McKinney, NYG
Round 7 - Free Agents
Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Tackle
End
Edge Rusher
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Fromm, Buf
Huntley, Det
Davis, Buf
Keene, NE
Davidson, Atl
Taylor, Sea
Okwara, Det
Strnad, Den
Terrell, Atl
Dugger, NE
Gordon, Sea
Hasty, SF
Reed, LAC
Moss, Was
Madubuike, Bal
Davidson, Atl
Highsmith, Pit
Phillips, Cle
Gladney, Min
Winfield, TB
Dowdle, Dal
Johnson, Jac
Bryant, Det
Zuniga, NYJ
Walker, Atl
Henderson, Jac
Davis, NYJ
Morgan, NYJ
Anderson, Dal
Parkinson, Sea
Blacklock, Hou
Okwara, Det
Jennings, NE
Dye, Min
Luton, Jac
Phillips, Hou
Peoples-Jones, Cle
Hopkins, LAR
Davis, Mia
Madubuike, Bal
Weaver, Mia
Diggs, Dal
Burgess, Ind
Montez, Was
Williams, Bal
Hightower, Phi
Pinkney, Atl
Gallimore, Dal
Weaver, Mia
Anae, Dal
Lewis, LAR
Johnson, Chi
Wallace, Phi
Watkins, Phi
Deguara, GB
Anae, Dal
Uche, NE
Fulton, Ten
Lipscomb, KC
Greenard, Hou
Dantzler, Min
Thomas, NE
Igbinoghene, Mia

***Email me at bramel@footballguys.com and I'll send a more easily readable Excel file so you can modify this draft board to better fit your player evaluations, draft philosophy, and league parameters.

THE BIG PICTURE

I hope everyone is well. We've all been touched by the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from the critical risk to personal health some have faced, the risk of social isolation to behavioral health and the financial struggles many of you continue to battle make this a very trying time.

This is where I usually ramble about which position makes sense where or how to attack the relatively deeper and weaker spots on the draft board. This year, I might also have discussed what fragmented OTA schedules could mean to rookie production.

But the big picture in 2020 is different.

My very best to your families. Stay well. When and where you can, look out for those you know and those you may not.

Quarterbacks
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Cin
Poised and accurate. Begins career as a starter w/ strong supporting cast. High floor.
I
Mia
Medical reports on hip reassuring. All-around talent. Rebuild not a major concern.
II
LAC
Big body, big arm, rush ability. High ceiling, low floor.
III
GB
Stuck behind Rodgers. Has tools but struggles w/ decision making.
IV
Ind
Underrated prospect but crowded room w/ Rivers, Brissett, Kelly.
IV
Phi
Valuable backup behind Wentz.
Buf
Questionable arm drafted to backup Allen.
Sea
Priority FA w/ talent. Thin depth chart allows a chance at a backup gig.
NYJ
Jac
Was

With the strong depth at other positions, I'm not likely to draft a quarterback. It's not that I don't believe in the QB1 upside for Burrow and Tagovailoa. I prefer the upside at the linebacker position at the end of the first round, a likely falling wide receiver, or the Chase Young prize. No other quarterback excites me - I've tiered them and slotted them on the draft board where I think their likely ADP may settle, but I'll be drafting other positions in that range, too.

Running Backs
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
KC
Has every-down upside in a high-powered offense. 1st round suggests priority for KC.
I
Ind
Talented back behind elite OL. Committee now but Mack in a contract year.
I
Bal
Ravens couldn't pass him up. Big talent w/ added upside next to Jackson.
II
Det
All-around talent drafted highly by OC not known for every-down RB usage.
II
LAR
Depth chart crowded but no veteran frontrunner. Receiving upside provides edge.
II
GB
Long-term upside w/ Jones in a contract year but Packers' QB situation muddy.
III
TB
Arians likes every-down backs, but the depth chart has Jones and elite WR mouths to feed.
III
Buf
Complementary back to Singletary but could become more.
III
Pit
Crowded running back room but Steelers wanted more from Conner and company.
IV
LAC
Talented w/ great chance to win a complementary role alongside Ekeler.
IV
NYJ
May not be bellcow NFL caliber talent but depth chart behind Bell is thin.
IV
Sea
Durability concerns for Carson and Penny could provide an opportunity.
V
Ten
Heir to Dion Lewis as a limited-usage change of pace behind Henry.
V
Michael Warren
Phi
Monitor for possible upside role as early-down thumper.
V
Ari
Worth monitoring carefully despite Drake's and Edmonds' breakouts in 2019.
SF
Monitor during the preseason.
Dal
Durability and ball security concerns but favorite of multiple trusted scouts.
Dal
Cowboys bringing in multiple intriguing options to compete behind Elliott.
Hou
Monitor during the preseason.
Ty'Son Williams
Bal
Waldman favorites always worth extra look during the preseason.

I have no preference in the first tier. Edwards-Helaire reminds Andy Reid of Brian Westbrook, which could mean a majority target share if the rookie can prove himself reliable enough to protect Patrick Mahomes II when needed. Taylor has immediate and long-term upside behind a strong offensive line. Dobbins won't be an immediate hit but will soon remind you of Nick Chubb -- a rookie without a clear path to playing time whose talent won out sooner than later.

Wide Receivers
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Dal
A versatile stud in an elite offense. Will be more than a third wheel to Elliott and Cooper.
I
Den
Elite route runner complements Sutton well.
II
NYJ
Aggressive and fluid w/ improving technical skill. The depth chart lacks true WR1.
II
Min
Lacks downfield explosiveness but projects as skilled, well-rounded target hog.
III
LVR
A deep threat, depth chart suddenly crowded w/ options for targets.
III
Phi
Opportunity abounds but so do questions about craft and consistency.
III
SF
Questions about separation skill but playmaker w/ ball. Depth chart favorable.
III
LVR
WR1 upside if hands improve. Still lots to be sorted out on depth chart.
III
Ind
More technical than explosive. Colts graded very highly, see WR1 potential.
IV
Jac
Boom-bust multi-use project w/ size and separation skill but durability concerns.
IV
Cin
Athletic and explosive complementary receiver w/ upside for more.
IV
Pit
Elite size-speed combination but route-running needs work.
V
LAR
Polished route runner w/o elite speed. Questionable fit w/ Kupp on the roster.
V
Bal
Has upside, especially if proves more than a movable piece in the creative offense.
V
Den
Small, dynamic slot playmaker w/ immediate upside. Unlikely to rack up targets.
V
Det
Underrated and well-rounded prospect waiting for a role behind Jones.
LVR
Dynamic playmaker but crowded depth chart limits opportunity.
TB
High floor slot option who could carve a role in a potentially explosive offense.
Was
May not have explosive speed or BCS polish but traits worth following.
SF
Possible upside as big slot receiver but lack of speed is a major limitation.
Chi
Small, but dynamic. Monitor during the preseason.
Buf
LAC
Jac
Cle
Phi
Phi
KC
NE

Do not shy away from Lamb in the early first round. Explosive offenses can support multiple elite fantasy performers. Lamb has an elite skill set and opposing defenses will not be able to key on him. I'm partial to Mims and Jefferson as clear second-tier options but there are lots of intriguing options in the second round -- Edwards and Pittman in particular.

Tight Ends
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
NO
All-around talent w/ TE1 upside if traits translate to NFL.
I
NE
Skilled but upside difficult to project w/ NE offense in transition.
II
Den
Athletic prospect faces crowded depth chart to earn targets.
II
Cle
Move tight end w/o elite athleticism behind Hooper.
III
Chi
Reasonable floor but limited upside due to average athleticism and hands.
NE
Might be more of an H-back/fullback than a passing game contributor.
Was
Depth chart favorable but lack of vertical game limits upside.
Det
Upside limited by durability, average separation skills, Hockenson.
Sea
LAR

Rookie tight ends are big producers and the two most attractive options this year have lots of long-term uncertainty. Trautman is blocked by Jared Cook for now and Drew Brees is retiring. The New England offense is a huge unknown for the foreseeable future, casting doubt on Asiasi's production. You can fully expect Kmet to be drafted long before I'll consider him.

Defensive Tackles
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
SF
Disruptive, quick, powerful. Elite if develops more consistent pass rush.
I
Car
Athletic and explosive but more run stopper than pass rusher.
II
Atl
Outside in base w/ potential to kick inside in passing situations. DE classification?
II
Bal
Athletic and explosive rotational end/tackle w/ upside. DE classification?
Hou
Mia
Dal

I was too excited about Quinnen Williams and Ed Oliver last year. Kinlaw and Brown aren't in their class. In general, positional scarcity in DT-only leagues means you'll need to consider the one or two viable tackle prospects in the mid-third or fourth-round range.

Defensive Ends
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Was
All-around edge prospect w/ elite and immediate upside.
II
Car
Aggressive and quick off edge, willing run defender. Most likely classified DE.
II
Jac
More edge than power. Could see OLB snaps. Most likely classified DE.
II
Buf
Powerful and technically skilled w/o elite speed rush. Defends run well.
III
Sea
Speed rush w/ motor. May need to develop counter moves for consistent production.
III
Atl
Outside in base w/ potential to kick inside in passing situations. DT classification?
Det
Boom-bust speed rusher. Could be classified at LB.
Bal
Athletic and explosive end/tackle w/ upside. DT classification?
Curtis Weaver
Mia
Dal

Young won't need any developmental time and is a plug-and-play fantasy stud. He's a first-round value. There aren't any other prospects with a clear path to immediate impact. I like Chiasson better in sack-heavy leagues but he'll move up here in 2020 if he is classified at DE but gets linebacker snaps.

Edge Rushers
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Was
All-around edge prospect w/ upside.
II
Jac
More edge than power. Could see OLB snaps.
II
Car
Aggressive and quick off edge, willing run defender.
III
LAR
Explosive, powerful, fluid off edge but raw w/ durability concerns.
III
Buf
Powerful and technically skilled w/o elite speed rush.
III
Sea
Speed rush w/ good motor. May need counter move for consistent production.
III
Hou
Quick, strong, relentless w/o much coverage upside.
III
NE
Undersized speed rusher and chase run defender.
Det
Pit
NYJ
NE
Curtis Weaver
Mia
Dal

Young remains the prize in this group and is a no-doubt, first-round option in edge leagues. Lewis, Taylor, and Greenard all get sizable bumps in value in sack-heavy leagues and those that allow edge rushers as a separate position.

Linebackers
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Ari
Elite coverage and blitz ability. Rangy run defender. Will play LB.
II
Bal
Every-down inside linebacker. Likely projects to WILB. Immediate starter.
II
LAC
Every-down inside linebacker will bring stability to a high-opportunity situation.
III
Cin
Physical and fundamentally sound. Opportunity to win MLB job immediately.
III
KC
Aggressive and powerful, athletic in pursuit. Questionable fit in subpackages.
III
Phi
Run-and-chase prospect. More athletic than instinctive. Will compete at WLB.
IV
LVR
Could be the long-term answer at WLB w/ every-down upside.
IV
Sea
Heir to Wright at OLB. Draft capital suggests an every-down role but coverage iffy.
IV
NO
Likely fits better at SLB than DE but will see some edge rush opportunity.
IV
Cin
Undersized but relentless chase linebacker. Needs to improve in coverage.
V
Bal
Physical, disciplined, aggressive. Rotational SILB w/ limited coverage upside.
V
Justin Strnad
Den
Depth chart favorable if marginal athleticism translates to the NFL.
V
Cle
Productive and reliable. Coverage limitations may prevent an every-down role.
Atl
Troy Dye
Min
LAR
NE
Hou

It's been a long, long, long time since I've seen a linebacker class this deep.

The Cardinals told reporters Simmons will play linebacker. That gives him the half-tier bump over Queen and Murray. However, unless you see Simmons as a generational, must-have player, you can let your leaguemates draft him and go get Queen or Murray at the end of the first or early second round. Both would be clear top IDP overall options in most seasons.

I may be a little low on Wilson due to coverage concerns but he's another high-floor option. Brooks is also tiered very low for a first-round draftee -- the Seahawks likely see him as an every-down player but I'm not convinced.

Every other linebacker tiered -- all the way through Dye in the free-agent group -- has a chance to carve out an every-down role at some point. My read of the scouting reports on Phillips and Harrison has me questioning their every-down projections; both are tiered relatively low when compared to their draft position.

When in doubt in the later rounds, add a linebacker.

Cornerbacks
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Det
Footwork and physicality of elite CB in all coverage schemes, willing run defender.
II
LVR
Quick, fluid, aggressive. Could be an elite run defender.
II
Atl
Physical w/ strong ball skills. More aggressive than technical.
II
Min
Small but quick, athletic, competitive. Physical tackler.
II
Jac
Press corner w/ strong ball skills, average run defender.

You're looking for aggressive tacklers with elite ball skills and a path to immediate playing time. I've listed a bunch of options for deep leagues but I'll only be considering Okudah and only at the end of drafts. I can't see a scenario where I'm not continuing to draft linebackers in the late rounds this season.

Safeties
Tier
Player
Team
Notes
I
Car
Should win the SS job immediately. There is opportunity behind a transitioning LB group.
II
Cle
Interchangeable safety w/ well-rounded skill and should play immediately.
II
NYG
First safety drafted, projects as cover safety next to Peppers.
II
NE
Targeted early by Patriots. Crowded depth chart, probable heir to Chung.
III
TB
Third safety, for now, possible nickel duty.
III
NYJ
Rotational safety behind Maye w/ potential after Adams moves on.

I think Chinn will prove to be the class of this group. However, I fully expect to appease the fantasy gods by drafting Winfield whenever I can. It's good karma to have an Antoine Winfield Jr on your roster. Many, many, many fantasy titles in IDP leagues have been won that way over many years.

Follow and ask questions on Twitter @JeneBramel. Subscribe to The Audible on iTunes.


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