This is the last of three articles reviewing the best and worst landing spots of this year’s draft prospects. Day One and Day Two can be found in the links. In this installment, I’ll cover the third and final day of the draft, as I give my thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly. Which players’ landing spots were the best for fantasy owners and which ones will be hurt by their new homes? So let’s jump right in and start dissecting the opening round.
Maurice Hurst, Oakland Raiders: It’s a shame that a player this talented slipped this far in the draft due to a medical reason, that he was cleared on. I understand the concern, but it is unfortunate for Hurst. I had him rated as my #1 DT in my positional rankings and 9th overall in IDP. The Raiders may have the best steal of the draft here. They get a first round, potential top 15 talent in the 5th round. That is unheard of. Hurst is an absolute backfield disrupter and a fierce hitter. His burst and quickness off the snap is elite. He instantly puts pressure on opposing o-lineman and creates havoc. He led the nation with 49 QB pressures from the interior. The Raiders have a new HC in John Gruden, and he’s changing the personnel on the team to fit his needs. Hurst will be a great fit for what he wants to do. His interior presence should open up things on edges for the beast Khalil Mack and co. The only concern is health! In fantasy, as long as he’s healthy, Hurst will be a star at a position that is hard to get good scoring. He will be a DT1 in position specific leagues and DL2 in all other IDP leagues.
Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos: The Broncos already got the best defensive player in the draft, in Bradley Chubb and got one of the top 3 LBs in Josey Jewell. I had Jewell ranked as my #3 LB and 6th overall in IDP. There was a lot of negativity made out of Saquon Barkley making Jewell look bad, but the truth is Barkley makes everyone look bad. Plus if you continue to watch as the game went on, Jewell adjusted very nicely. I have watched a lot of Iowa games and saw a ton of Jewell’s play, and I can tell you, that he is a star LB. He can do everything that you need and want your ILB to do. An absolute tackling machine, who can drop in coverage with no issues. He takes excellent angles and can blitz when needed. He’s just a solid all-around player, who plays with smarts and heart. The Broncos have Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis ahead of him on the depth chart, but he will get his fair share of playing time. This is a preparation pick for if/when one of those two moves on. Jewell will start out as a backup in heavy rotation and a lot of special teams. I can see him being the full-time starter as early as 2019 and beyond. In the fantasy world, he will be a massive scorer as he will record significant tackle numbers. I grade him as an LB2 with LB1 ceiling
LB Shaquem Griffin, Seattle Seahawks: This has to be one the biggest feel-good stories of the year. Amazing to see what he’s overcome and be able to reach his dream. Plus to see him reunited with his twin brother on the same team was nice. But enough of the mushy stuff, but the fact is that this kid can play and can bring a lot to a defense that is rebuilding. They have Bobby Wagner in the middle and K.J. Wright at WLB but have only Barkevious Mingo penciled in at SLB. I can easily see that spot belonging to Shaquem. I have seen some of his games and was impressed, but he opened my eyes at the Senior Bowl and Combine. That made me go back and dig into his tape. What I saw is a flat out football player and I never even thought about him not having a hand. It is a non-factor as it doesn’t limit him in any way. He has blazing speed and great form on his tackles. He has the talent to start, but Seattle may give him a year to get acclimated to the pro game. I’m not sold on the veteran Mingo, so the opportunity for Shaquem is there. He most likely will slot in as a backup and special teams player to start his career, but should get a starting job soon. In fantasy you may have to stash him for a season or two, but worth holding on too. I grade him as an LB2/3.
LB Jack Cichy, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: A good player that landed in a bad spot. It’s not that he doesn’t fit what they want and do schematically, but more of him being buried on the depth chart and having to wait to get any significant playing time. He’ll get in line and be a decent backup and play a lot of special teams. Barring an injury, which is possible here, I wouldn’t expect a lot from him, at least for a couple years. In fantasy, he’s not going to offer very much, even in deep leagues. He might be worth a stash on taxi squad if you have room.
LB Genard Avery, Cleveland Browns: Probably will get some slack on this, but this is another bad landing spot for a good player. I like Avery’s game and think it’s a good fit for Cleveland, but he will be buried on the depth chart unless an injury or free agency strikes shortly. The Browns have a lot of really good LB’s ahead of him, so it will be hard for Avery to make an immediate impact. He’ll slide into a backup role and be a special teams contributor until something opens up. His fantasy value for me is a little difficult because I really like the kids game, but it could be a few years before we can see him get the chance to start. He has a high ceiling and a low floor in my assessment of his game. I have to grade him as an LB3/4, with better long-term value. Worth stashing on a taxi squad, if you can wait and have the room.
OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Los Angeles Rams: This is one of those picks that I don’t like at all, the player, the team need, the fit. Uggggggh is just awful. The Rams need LBs that can cover and tackle, not pass rushers. Even if that was their most significant need, I don’t like what Okoronkwo brings, as he plays too tight and statuesque. Not a lot of fluid movement and is a one-dimensional player. They have pass rushers, so finding playing time for him will be scarce. A defense this loaded and talented needs players that can do multiple things and not be one trick ponies. At best, he could be a backup or situational pass rusher, but even those opportunities will be limited. He will not be worth owning in fantasy, as he just won’t get enough reps.
Thanks for reading! We have you covered all off-season with IDP content to prepare you for your drafts. If you want to know more about some of these IDP rookies that were drafted or UDFA additions, download the 2018 IDP Rookie Roundup.