Just as in the NFL, the optimal way to build your fantasy team is through the draft. It is never too early to start researching the next batch of players that can help you rebuild your moribund franchise or help you maintain your standing as a top dog in your league. To that end, I bring you DFF’s initial 2017 rookie mock draft.
The players that we’ve included in this mock draft are either seniors or players we strongly believe will be declaring for the NFL draft. Keep in mind these are our initial thoughts on these players and we are a long way from the NFL draft in April. Still to come: conference championships, bowl games, the College Football Playoffs, college football all-star games, the NFL combine and pro days. Don’t worry though we’ll be bringing you many more mock drafts leading up to the NFL draft.
One last note, I’ve listed the writer’s twitter handle next to the pick, just in case you’d like to reach out to them directly to pick their brain regarding their selection.
1.01 Dalvin Cook, Running Back, FSU (@allpurposeyrd8g)
All-purpose back with above average athleticism, great in pass pro and elite change of direction ability. Outstanding burst out the gate and can be relied on in the passing game as he shows good route recognition and good hands.
1.02 Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson (@DFF_JohnIDP)
I like WR right here. I would have gone JuJu here a few months back but in my eyes, Williams has passed him as a prospect. Mike Williams can go up and secure the ball which is great in the red zone. Good route tree. Shows some quicks, and combined with his frame I like his chances in the pro game.
1.03 Leonard Fournette, Running Back, LSU (@DynoEconomist)
Debated going with John Ross but decided that Fournette is an asset that offers more liquidity. I am fairly confident he will be a high draft pick and will be given an opportunity to succeed. Not a ton of WR needy teams so Ross’s value could take a temporary hit if he falls out of the first and ends up on a team with a young established WR1. I would probably rather have Ross long term but I think I can get him cheaper later on.
1.04 Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, WMU (@dibari22)
I had a really hard time passing on Nick Chubb here, but I feel like there is more depth at RB this year than at WR. Davis is as solid as they come, very little risk here, high floor with potential for a very high ceiling.
1.05 Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, SMU (@pacificscouting)
Sutton is a big athletic receiver who has excellent body control and hands. He is able to adjust well, track, and use his ball skills to attack and high point the ball on most of his opportunities. Sutton has produced at a very high level at SMU and although he’s not asked to run the whole route tree, based off what I’ve seen he has the tools to do so. Sutton is built to be a solid WR1 in the NFL.
1.06 Royce Freeman, Running Back, Oregon (@DFF_BMack)
Freeman isn’t the typical speed back that you are used to seeing at Oregon. He has an impressive combination of size, speed, and elusiveness that other 230-pound running backs just don’t have. Vision and balance are his two biggest strengths. He lacks top end speed, but at the same time, his speed isn’t a liability. His burst, while not elite, allows him to get through running lanes before they close as well as take away angles from defenders. He’s not elusive in the conventional sense, but he is one of the most skilled running backs in this class at making the first tackler miss. I’d like to see more consistent footwork along with the willingness to punish defenders at the end of his runs. At Oregon, he showcased what he can do with space to run but there’s no reason to think that he won’t excel in a downhill scheme at the NFL level.
1.07 Christian McCaffery, Running Back, Stanford (@AndrewMiley)
McCaffery isn’t the biggest or the fastest. What he might be though is the smoothest runner in this draft class. Chubb was also a consideration here. Size and build are somewhat of a concern, but I liked Robert Smith who played similarly with the Vikings and Ohio State back in the day.
1.08 Nick Chubb, Running Back, Georgia (@DFF_Madman)
Balanced, but not an exciting runner. Has a pro skill set. Gets what is blocked, shows patience. Balanced and versatile. Seemingly not as fast or agile as he was before the injury, but still a top pro RB in this class. It takes time to return to form after a significant leg injury and deeper into the season Chubb looks to have found that burst again. Don’t call it a comeback…
1.09 John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington (@_CodyGarrett)
Ross is a fast rising WR out of the University of Washington. He has a nice combo of speed and quickness that he combos with excellent route running and solid hands and his footwork is second to none. He looks like a blend of DeSean Jackson and Brandin Cooks, which is a scary combination. Once he has the ball in his hands, he is electric and is a threat to take it to the house at any moment.
1.10 Malachi Dupre, Wide Receiver, LSU (@EyeOfTheOracle)
Malachi Dupre will be a steal in the late first round. His large frame, “flypaper hands”, and smooth route running ability will be an asset to any team that will be lucky enough to have him. Should he land in Phi, Sea, TB,or Ind he could be exceptionally dangerous. He gets good separation on plays and is underrated in his body control as he can contort his large frame to put him in a better position to catch the ball. Draft with confidence!
There you have it, round 1 of our 2017 rookie mock draft. Check back Wednesday to see how round 2 turns out.