Many dynasty championships are won with quick thinking and more times than not a great deal of research. I get excited each year during bowl season, perhaps it’s the optimism in the air as a few good prospects that go under the radar can make all the difference in the world to building a competitive fantasy squad of tomorrow. Most of these players I am seeing for the first time, unless I indicate otherwise in their individual write-ups (I have seen each Michigan man in all their 2015 and 2016 games) . Here are some of the players I watched during the thrilling 2016 Orange Bowl game with Florida State narrowly beating Michigan:
TE-Jake Butt, Mich: The senior was one of the best two way tight ends in his class, but tore his ACL in this meaningless bowl game. The Jason Witten comparison has been thrown out there quite a few times and it seems a bit much. Perhaps my Steeler homerism takes a hold here, but I think he plays a lot like Heath Miller who was a sure handed player, but perhaps a better blocker. Butt has soft hands, seals the edge, and can make contested catches. His injury status will drop him to the end of your rookie drafts, which could make him a huge bargain for the 2018 season.
DE-Taco Charlton, Michigan: This defender played mostly a seven tech springing to action from either a four or two point stance. He anchors well against the run, while using his hands to keep blockers off his body. Charlton knifed between double teams using good leverage and his quick first step. By switching the gaps which he was rushing, the Wolverine wreaked havoc across the line of scrimmage. This defensive lineman can play up and down the line as he did all through the year changing spots and creating pressure wherever he went. He is a high effort defender as he chases the play ten to twenty yards down the field. Charlton should be in your top four rookie DL spots in this year’s rookie drafts.
WR-Jehu Chesson, Michigan: I’m not as excited about him at the next level as some of the other writers at DFF. The wide out has soft hands and runs clean passing routes, but he is not athletic enough to be more than an NFL WR3. Chesson does a good job of making contested catches while adjusting well to the ball in the air. He doesn’t create much separation from defenders or do a lot after the catch to warrant more than a late round rookie draft selection.
RB-Dalvin Cook, Florida St: The stories are true about this athletic junior who just declared for the NFL Draft. The words just flow out: explosive, slippery, lightning fast, amazing vision, and cat-like balance. He can start/stop his quick feet with ease, then go from a slight jog to a full out sprint much the same way Le’Veon Bell does on Sundays slicing thru lines of scrimmage. Once the back finds a seam in the open field, especially on counters, it might be all over. Cook is just as effective as a receiver with his soft hands, ability to line up on the outside, track the pigskin in the air, and make catches in stride. The runner has a great jump cut and uses a stiff-arm to keep defenders off his body. His plus 200 yards from the line of scrimmage on 23 touches against a tough Wolverine defense should make things easy for dynasty drafters. Unless this former Seminole goes to the Browns, he should be your number one overall rookie selection.
WR-Amara Darboh, Michigan: This was my favorite draft eligible receiver featured in this game, but he wasn’t relied on much finishing with five catches for 36 yards. Darboh does a good job of shielding the ball from defenders (using his 6’ 3” 215 lb frame), running crisp routes, and catching the ball cleanly. He is a decent blocker, but is not a dynamic option in the passing game. I think that he could begin his career as a WR3 and perhaps grow into a starting role with a good offensive coordinator and scheme. Only patient owners need draft him.
WR-Travis Rudolph, Florida St: Much like the other draft eligible wideouts featured in this game, he was overshadowed by good runners and great defensive players. Rudolph found soft spots in the seam and shielded the ball from defenders well. I liked that he worked the middle of the field and was not afraid to take a shot. The wide out caught the ball cleanly, but looked no more than a decent NFL WR2. I wouldn’t spend much draft capital on him.
DE-DeMarcus Walker, Florida St: He is a versatile weapon on the defensive line as he can play all four spots with reckless abandon. His first step off the line of scrimmage is amazing combined with his powerful and quick hands that help him disengage from blockers in seconds. Walker has the technique and power to eliminate double teams designed against him. The defender is a good open field tackler and is in my top six defensive rookie linemen.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my bowl observations with you throughout the next few weeks, so keep checking the site for more content. You can find my review of previous bowl game players here, here, here, here and here You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.