During rookie draft season I do this thing where I keep ranking rookies in my head. I’m assuming at least 100% of you reading this do the same thing. So that my head doesn’t explode due to me re-ranking these rookies every 14 minutes I thought I’d memorialize my thoughts. Because I love superflex leagues this mock draft is based on a 12 team superflex format. Some players will rise based on landing spots and more importanly which round they are selected in the NFL Draft, but I’ve done my best to slot players where I believe they deserve to be drafted regardless of their landing spot.
1) Kyler Murray
I don’t think this is a surprise. Murray has a chance to be special. And even if he isn’t special in his rookie season, his value should still hold steady at least another season. Rookie quarterbacks generally aren’t judged harshly for poor rookie seasons. Unless of course, it’s Josh Rosen, but that’s a story for another day. If Murray does land with the Cardinals, it’s going fun to see what Kliff Kingsbury can draw up for him. Even if the Cardinals line doesn’t improve Murray at least has the wheels to escape the pocket, unlike Rosen.
2) N’Keal Harry
Harry broke out immediately as a freshman with 58 receptions and 659 yards. Following that stellar freshman season, he proceeded to dominate in his following two college seasons.
Harry has elite size adjusted speed, an almost elite burst score, and a large catch radius. With his elite college production and near elite physical attributes, he is what we look for in a wide receiver prospect. He also has punt returner chops. If had enough returns to qualify, his 16.9 yards per punt return would have ranked sixth in the nation last year. Concerns about his separation skills don’t concern me. Dez Bryant and Alshon Jeffery both have or had successful NFL careers, and both seemed to have coverage draped all over them on every reception they ever made (perhaps an exaggeration). He’s physical and polished enough to get open, and he’ll do so in the NFL just as he did successfully in college.
3) A.J. Brown
Brown is less impressive physically than Harry, and he’s also less impressive from a college production profile. His production was still impressive and even more so when you consider that he’s played multiple seasons with future NFL wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and Damarkus Lodge. He’s produced out of the slot, and yes even on the outside. Brown is outstanding in every aspect of the game. He does everything well. While he’s not the sexiest receiver in the draft, he could end up being the most consistent.
4) Josh Jacobs
Jacobs is the only running back in this class that has ever had his name associated with the first round of the NFL Draft. I’m no slave to draft capital, but it does mean something. Running backs drafted on day one have a very good success rate and I’m not going to ignore that. One of maybe four running backs in this class with actual three-down ability it’s hard to let him fall any further than this.
5) D.K. Metcalf
I don’t care if Metcalf has terrible agility. He’s a freak of a human being with the upside to be the best wide receiver in this draft class. But he also reminds me of Kevin White and Breshad Perriman. Considering the range of outcomes 1.05 feels like the right time to take a shot on a player with his upside in a weak draft.
6) Noah Fant
Yes, this is way too early to draft a tight end. Yes, I’m aware that tight ends often take several years to produce. No, I do not care. My mindset during rookie drafts is simple. Which player has the best chance to succeed in the NFL based on all available information? There are no other players in this draft I feel confident enough in to pass on Fant here. His upside is a top three tight end. Fant checks every box. Elite college production, early college breakout, and elite physical tools. I’m fine with everyone telling me I overpaid for a tight end.
7) Drew Lock
If Lock makes it past Denver at 10 in the NFL Draft this will look extremely silly. That’s okay. When choosing between Lock and Dwayne Haskins as the second quarterback off the board I want the guy who is more impressive physically, broke out at a younger age and has started for more than one season. Lock didn’t have the weapons that Haskins had in Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, but he still produced.
8) Hakeem Butler
Butler is a massive human being. He produced at an elite level in college. In start one QB leagues I’d slide him up to my 1.07.
9) Miles Sanders
After sitting behind Saquon Barkley his first two seasons at Penn State, Sanders finally got an oppurtunity to show what he could do in 2018. He showed why he was one of the most highly touted high school recruit’s entering college. Sanders displayed three-down ability rushing for 1,274 yards and chipping in with 24 receptions. Fumbling is an issue that he’ll need to work on, but he could be a starting running back in the league for years to come.
10) Dwayne Haskins
Haskins still has a chance to be drafted early in the NFL Draft. He’s a quarterback. This is a superflex mock, so I have to draft Haskins here.
11) David Montgomery
If Montgomery lands with the Eagles or Tampa Bay within the first three rounds of the NFL Draft I’m moving him up my board. All Montgomery did in college was produce. His 4.7 yards per carry in college was a little underwhelming, as was his NFL Combine showing. Watching Montgomery play though never left you feeling underwhelmed. He’s a complete running back who had 71 receptions in his three seasons at Iowa State while rushing for over 2,925 yards.
12) Marquise Brown
During a recent appearance on the Dynasty Owners Manual podcast, I talked myself into Brown as a late first round rookie pick. His weight does scare me, but it’s hard to ignore how good he is on the football field. You can’t teach speed and Brown has the type of speed that results in 80-yard touchdown receptions. He’s not just speed though, he’s a more complete receiver than the player he’s often comped to in John Brown. There’s also the persistent talk of him being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, again I can’t ignore draft capital. If he does get drafted in the first it’s likely he won’t he be available this late in your rookie drafts.
There it is. My top 12. It’s now set in stone and will not change, until the NFL Draft. Probably.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to let me know what I got wrong, or if I happen to get something right. You can find me on Twitter @DFF_Shane. And if you want to enjoy a podcast that informs you as well as entertains you, make sure you check out the DynastyTradesHQ podcast.