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2023 Rookie Thoughts (1 Viewer)


After ~20 consecutive seasons of playing dynasty, I find myself in the strange position of not managing a team. I'd been shedding leagues for years and my final league folded after a 15 year run this past season. At present time I no longer have any vested interest in any players. I'm also watching less football than ever before. I don't have the passion or knowledge right now to put together comprehensive rankings, but I'm still playing in one redraft league and some people have inquired about rookie rankings, so I wanted to put some thoughts together.

Full disclosure: I watch very little football these days. These are just my rapid fire thoughts based on highlights.

I'm going to start out with the running backs and then hopefully get to the WR and TE later this week.

RB Bijan Robinson, Falcons - Nice player. Loose runner. Good size. Enough speed. No major weaknesses. At the same time, I can't help but feel that his talent is overstated. I've heard the term "generational" attached to his name. I don't see that. Barkley was appreciably bigger, more sudden, and possibly even faster. Peterson had more speed and vastly superior footwork/agility. Bijan is not among the top 3-4 RB prospects I've evaluated, but I do think he projects as a quality starter and probably a perennial top 10-15 fantasy RB. From a talent standpoint, I think he's closer to someone like Zeke or Jonathan Taylor than he is to someone like Saquon or Peterson. Very, very good, but not mind-bending. He doesn't have the "wow" reps that you would see from Bush, Peterson, Saquon, even Richardson in college. I'd feel good about getting him with the #1 rookie pick, but I don't think he's a freak.

RB Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions - Noticeably lean and lacking leg drive. He's not truly small, but he's not going to break tackles with regularity in the NFL. Shifty runner with elite stopwatch speed. Comparing his tape directly to someone like Reggie Bush, I felt like his subjective explosiveness was not quite on the same godly level. However, he may be a little bit cleaner in his interior running and more powerful. My sense is that Detroit used such a high pick on him because they envision him as a versatile chess piece who can add chunk plays to their offense. It makes sense and he looks pretty good to me, but he didn't have me standing up in my chair at many points either. I'm taking a medium stance on him. I'd pick him if he fell to his typical ADP, but I'm not trading up to get him or sweating it at all.

RB Zach Charbonnet, Seahawks - Kind of a B-grade mixture of Matt Forte and Ryan Mathews. He's a little bit upright like them. He runs with some inherent tightness like Mathews, but also has some of that Forte game of making sharp cuts to evade. However, he's not as smooth as Forte or as explosive as Mathews. I see him as a high-level stopgap/rotational guy. He's a competitive runner and can be an effective temporary starter. When you think about the talent needed to hold down a starting RB role in the long-term, I think he falls short of that mark. It would surprise me if 3-4 years from now he's still relevant as more than a rotational option.

RB Kendre Miller, Saints - You can see a bit of a like-for-like comparison between him and Kamara. They both have nice north-south burst and versatility. I think Kamara has a little more thump and juice, but Miller is a decent approximation. Fair value in the 3rd round and potentially a starter for the Saints down the line. In terms of negatives, he hunts the edge constantly and didn't flash a lot of cutback ability or interior running in his clips. He's a bit straight-line, but not an awkward or stiff runner.

RB Tyjae Spears, Titans - Very, very good in terms of functional athleticism. Sudden runner with a nice burst of acceleration and a sneaky second gear. The glaring issue here is a lack of size/power. He's not very big and doesn't run through contact. Troubled by arm tackles. If he were 15 pounds heavier, I might be making a Joe Mixon comparison. Without the bulk, he may end up more like Michael Carter or Chase Emonds, which is to say a viable NFL run talent who lacks starter thump. The risk of investing in Spears is potentially getting stuck with a low volume committee back. He's a dynamic runner though.

RB De'Von Achane, Dolphins - Given his reputation as a sprinter, he's a little more powerful and elusive than you would expect. I think he'll have functional value in the NFL. The question is whether or not he's really going to be more than a role player. He's not a big guy and his game seems tailored more to a supporting role. I'm thinking he may have a career trajectory that looks like Khalil Herbert, which is fine, but not very enticing for FF purposes.

RB Tank Bigsby, Jaguars - Probably the first clear fade for me in this rookie RB class. He has an upright body type with long legs, which interferes with his ability to redirect and make sharp cuts in traffic. Long strider. I think he'll have difficulty accessing his speed and power in the NFL. Probably headed for a backup role before washing out of the league.
RBs Part Two

RB Roschon Johnson, Bears - The Bears get a poor man's Matt Forte in the 4th round. Johnson is a medium talent with just okay size, power, and agility. Some violence and aggression in his run style. He can be functional in spot duty, but I don't think he's the long-term answer for a backfield.

RB Israel Abanikanda, Jets - One of those typical day 3 guys who has a decent all-around game without offering anything special. There are a few of these in every draft. I would compare his overall talent level, play style, and career trajectory to two day 3 guys from 2022: Isaiah Spiller and Zamir White. These guys are all very decent backs with quality tape, but there's just nothing special there to differentiate them from the hordes of similar talents entering the league every year.

RB Chase Brown, Bengals - I like this pick for Cincinnati. Brown is like a mini Ryan Mathews clone with a similar set of strengths and weaknesses. He's rocked up with good power and explosiveness. He runs slightly tight, but still offers some elusiveness and footwork. You have to be realistic about expectations when you're talking about day 3 RBs because very few of them amount to anything, but I think Brown has a chance to stick in the league and maybe become relevant at some point. Joe Mixon may be on borrowed time in Cincinnati. I like Chris Evans and believe he also has a chance to become something useful in the NFL, but Brown could push him in the event that this job opens up next year.

RB Eric Gray, Giants - He has some base strength and balance. Frame is good enough. The primary issue is the lack of a second gear. He doesn't offer much sizzle and seems unlikely to climb out of the backup ranks. Even the rosiest comparisons I can think of (someone like Bernard Pierce comes to mind) aren't that exciting.

RB Evan Hull, Colts - A workmanlike runner with good aggression and some straight-line burst, but very limited cutting and dynamic qualities. Labors in his cuts. Not creative or elusive. It's hard to see him lasting long in the NFL or carving out a prominent role.

RB Chris Rodriguez, Commanders - Has the right kind of body type, but everything he does is at 85% speed. Just doesn't have the sizzle or pop to excite as anything besides a backup option. The Commanders already have a better version of this in Brian Robinson, so I'm pretty lukewarm on the outlook here.

RB Deuce Vaughn, Cowboys - A fun player who may be able to beat the odds and carve out a role at the next level. The obvious issue is the atypical build. He's very short at just 5'5", but possesses plenty of bulk and power relative to that height. In that sense he justifies the inevitable Darren Sproles comparison. I don't think Vaughn is quite as electric, but he offers plenty of speed and elusiveness to threaten NFL defenses. He also has interesting potential as a screen/slot option in the passing game. Add it all up and there's enough there for me to feel good about kicking the tires, especially in deep PPR formats. A very nice value for Dallas in the 6th round. Last year I felt Kyren Williams was a poor man's Austin Ekeler, and I like Vaughn more than Williams.

RB Zach Evans, Rams - A JAG-y backup type. Bit of a long strider and edge hunter, kind of like Pierre Strong. I feel safe betting against these type of backs.

RB DeWayne McBride, Vikings - I actually liked his tape, considering the low expectations I have for 7th rounders. There's a little bit of everything here. He has decent size and runs loose. Surprisingly elusive and evasive in space. The speed and explosion are just adequate, so maybe he's not really much different from someone like Gray or Abanikanda. I still think he offers relatively good value this far down the board. I could see him being a Thomas Rawls or Spencer Ware type who randomly becomes relevant for a season or two. I'd look at him as a low risk roster stash in big leagues.

RB Lew Nichols III, Packers - Perfectly fine as a late day three depth selection. He's a slightly lesser version of Kareem Hunt. Solid mixture of size, power, burst, and moves. Won't wow you, but capable of being an effective plug and play guy.

RB Kenny McIntosh, Seahawks - Clean runner, but lean with average athletic traits. Similar to Travis Homer, who hung around for a few years in Seattle without ever really amounting to much. I expect a similar outcome here.

I'm not going to dive into all the UDFA possibilities at this time. I'll wait to see who sticks on a 53 before I spend time evaluating them, but I'll make an exception for...

RB Sean Tucker, Buccaneers - It's no secret that I'm a big fan of his game. Unless it was solely down to the medicals, it's inconceivable that he would not be drafted, as he's conservatively a top 10 talent in this RB class, if not top 3-5. Compact with plus speed and some flashy cuts/agility. I did not like Rachaad White in 2022. Vaughn is mediocre and Edmonds has never been able to rise above the committee level, so it's not totally inconceivable to me that this could be Tucker's backfield by the end of the season. The question is where to take him? I think below Achane and above Bigsby is a good slot for him, as it represents a bullish evaluation without totally shrugging off the UDFA downside. Gun to my head, I believe he's more talented than Charbonnet, Achane, and Miller though. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Bottom line is buy in dynasty at ADP, as the risk and entry cost shouldn't be crazy yet, even after a little bit of preseason hype.
"Full disclosure: I watch very little football these days. These are just my rapid fire thoughts based on highlights."

Man, this is terrific. Agree or disagree, you've laid a good case out there. I'd probably be amazed if you DID watch more football - this might be a thesis!
@EBF thanks for writing this up, much appreciated. You don't play dynasty any longer do you? I know you quit a few dynasty leagues we were in together a few years back.
@EBF thanks for writing this up, much appreciated. You don't play dynasty any longer do you? I know you quit a few dynasty leagues we were in together a few years back.

My last dynasty league ended after the most recent season (league started in 2008). I'm not in any dynasty leagues right now, though I guess I could still try to find one before the season starts. May be content to just play redraft and mess around in FanDuel for the time being.
I never post (lurker) but have been reading your posts for years. You’ve helped me score several great prospects. Always A++ analysis. Thank you good sir. Please know how much your thoughts are appreciated and valued.
I'm here to say that you can't say "I never post" again.

Congrats! And I agree, EBF has indeed been helpful to me as well. Thanks, Bro!
Took me a while to get to the WRs, as I was very busy last week. I watched highlights of all these guys and tried to watch some game cuts where possible to get a sense of route running.

WRs Part One (Rounds 1-3)

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks
- Hyper-fluid athlete. Elite agility and quickness. Glides through routes and separates with ease. RAC threat. Not huge, but solid frame. The body type is different, but the best NFL comp I can think of is Keenan Allen or maybe a plus version of Tyler Boyd. He won't be the world's most electric deep threat, but he'll be a great chain mover. High floor prospect with a quality ceiling. Not an ELITE WR1, but I'd be happy to get him with a mid 1st round rookie pick. Should be a safe projection for a productive NFL career, as his game and athletic qualities look like a natural fit.

WR Quentin Johnson, Chargers - I looked at him for my devy draft last summer and was not impressed, but his 2022 tape shows more promise than I gave him credit for. Decent quicks and vertical speed. Downfield threat. Flashes glimmers of decent route running. I had him down as a likely bust going into the season, but my take has improved from outright pessimistic to lukewarm. Best comps for him I can think of are Roddy White and Sammy Watkins. A bit of speed/power tweener like Sammy. Ostensibly a "big" WR at 6'3", but noticeably lean and lacking play strength. I consider him a work in progress and a bit of a project. I think it's going to be a Roddy White situation where the early returns are ugly and you might have to be patient with him. There's a useful ceiling here, but I'm middle of the road overall. Ball skills and innate WR skills seem ordinary. However, he's a plus athlete for the position. If he can add strength and consistency, he can succeed.

WR Zay Flowers, Ravens - There are lots of smallish WRs with big play skills in this draft, but Flowers stands out just a bit from the others. There's a bit of extra pop and sizzle to everything he does compared with his style peers in this class. Noticeable burst of speed and quickness. Sharp in all his movements and routes. A natural WR. The only major negative from a skill set standpoint is a lack of size. He's not very big and that limits some of what he can do, but the modern NFL is friendly for undersized WRs. I would compare his skill set to Santonio Holmes and TY Hilton, which is an optimistic evaluation. The other major drawback is the situation. I don't believe in pigeon-holing players solely based on team tradition, but it's hard not be concerned by Baltimore's tendency to be a WR wasteland. Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton, Hollywood Brown, Rashod Bateman. Not a one of them has lived up to his potential here, and the current Lamar factor can't be ignored. This team feeds Andrews first and second, and everybody else third. You can easily envision Flowers having some 5-150 weeks followed by 2-17 weeks. Lamar has not shown the ability to sustain consistent WR production. All the same, I like Flowers in a vacuum and think he's a solid prospect.

WR Jordan Addison, Vikings - Lean, but crisp and ultra productive. Natural WR talent. You see glimmers of people like Jerry Jeudy and Stefon Diggs. He's not going to win with power, but through running sharp routes and being elusive after the catch. The combine numbers are a bit of a concern. Given his lack of bulk, his top speed is merely good and not scary. There's a layer of bust risk here. I'm going to take a medium stance on his outlook overall. He's a natural football player, but some of the physical warts could interfere with his career. Low play strength and lacks overwhelming athletic traits to challenge pro DBs. He'll have to win as a technician. I'd compare him to Jeudy overall, which may or may not be a good thing.

WR Jonathan Mingo, Panthers - A power WR in the mold of AJ Brown or Deebo Samuel. Those players represent the high end of his potential career outcomes. Someone like Arrelious Benn represents the bad version of this type of WR. If I had to place Mingo on that spectrum, I'd say he's 2/3 AJ Brown and 1/3 Benn. Stocky frame with a nice north-south burst. His size and strength will pose problems for pro corners. A RAC threat, but somewhat linear, with just medium footwork and elusiveness. Often taken down by the first tackler despite his size. There's enough here to justify a gamble in the top 10-15 of rookie drafts, but he's a notch below the elite talents of this WR type.

WR Jayden Reed, Packers - Not a big target or a jump ball threat, but offers some speed and decent RAC ability. Pretty good athlete. Not "wow" level. He was a 2nd round pick and the overall impression I get reminds of other past 2nd round picks like Deion Branch and Elijah Moore, which is to say a useful complementary weapon who can get on the field and make some plays, but who may lack the special qualities to become a true impact player.

WR Rashee Rice, Chiefs - Jack-of-all-trades WR who offers a decent combination of size and mobility. The talent level, body type, and play style fall somewhere in Brandon LaFell and Michael Gallup territory. Kind of a poor man's Davante Adams. Could be serviceable as a #2. What you have to consider is how much the Mahomes factor could benefit him. He's not a sensation, but there's enough here to maybe win a starting role and be a reliable target for KC. To some extent, you'd be buying the situation more so than the player himself.

WR Marvin Mims, Broncos - A vertical WR in the mold of Diontae Johnson. That's probably his ceiling. He's primarily a deep threat. May be a little too limited otherwise to have reliable value. Lacks size and power for contested situations. Though he handled some returns and was used in screen situations, he's not a truly elusive player in the open field. Route ability looks mediocre. I skew slightly pessimistic on his overall outlook.

WR Tank Dell, Texans - Extremely athletic player. Both quick and fast. A threat to separate underneath, but can also blow the lid off the defense. He has more than a little DeSean Jackson in his game. Acutely undersized at just 5'8" 165, but I would not necessarily bet against him. If DeVonta Smith and DeSean can thrive in this league then there could be a place for Dell. He has had some drops in his career and the lack of size likely puts a cap on his potential target volume, but mark me down as a fan of his game.

WR Jalin Hyatt, Giants - One-dimensional vertical threat. Very lean. Tight athlete who lacks lateral quickness or guile. Fast in a straight line, but that's it. He's a less juiced up version of Tedd Ginn, which doesn't excite me that much. I'll be surprised if he works out as more than a situational deep threat.

WR Cedric Tillman, Browns - Biggish frame and some interesting combine traits, but ordinary movement skills on the field. Speed is just okay. Lack of fluidity and foot quickness limit some of his functional athleticism. I see him as similar to Tre'Quan Smith. I think he'll have a lot of trouble carving out a major role on Sundays. Competitive big body WR who is just too limited athletically to win consistently.

WR Josh Downs, Colts - A pure slot WR in the mold of Eddie Royal, but with a little less juice. Very effective player on the field. Good athlete and a reliable target. Crisp movement. Lacks the size or sheer speed to be ideally suited to an outside role. With Pittman and Pierce already on the Colts team, it's hard to see a pathway for Downs to become anything more than the third option at best in the short-term. So while he can get on the field and help his team, I don't think he's an exciting FF prospect.

WR Michael Wilson, Cardinals - Labors to get vertical, lacking the burst or speed to threaten corners off the snap. Has above average size, but is an ordinary functional athlete by NFL WR prospect standards. Not a dynamic athlete before or after the catch. Really doesn't do anything at an elite level. I see him as a backup level talent. There are some day three WR picks who I favor ahead of him.

WR Tre Tucker, Raiders - Offers some vertical speed and quickness. Another WR in this draft with limited size and murky projection to more than a complementary role. He's sort of like a poor man's version of Jaylen Waddle. Faster than average, but lacking the truly electric athletic qualities. I'm landing on a medium evaluation for him relative to his draft slot. It's a fair pick by Las Vegas at this stage of the draft, but for our purposes you wonder if he's ever going to be more than a role player.

WR Part Two is coming tomorrow. I'm through rounds 4-5, but still need to watch the 6th-7th rounders.
Done with the second WR section. For the sake of transparency, I spent less time on this group per-player. That's primarily down to the longshot nature of these picks. So few of these guys pan out that if there isn't something immediately compelling, I move on pretty quickly. I also skipped the two guys who were training camp cuts, as if they can't make their team's 53 then their odds of realizing significant long-term value seem negligible.

WRs Part Two (Rounds 4-7)

WR Derius Davis, Chargers - Small, linear deep threat deep. Limited possession value and low potential for volume. There are several of this WR species in this draft, and I'm not as bullish on Davis as I am on some of the others (i.e. Dell).

WR Charlie Jones, Bengals - A poor man's Alec Pierce. Quality athlete with an average frame. I liked the tape. Fluid mover. Has potential to stick as a 2nd-3rd option. Lack of superlative traits caps his upside, but he could emerge as a contributor for Cincinnati.

WR Tyler Scott, Bears - A Lance Moore type with modest size, but reasonable explosiveness and versatility. More of a deep threat than a possession guy, but can handle some shorter throws too. Play speed is just okay. Combined with lack of special size or RAC skills, he profiles as a depth piece more than a potential #1.

WR Justin Shorter, Bills - Devin Funchess-like TE/WR tweener. Above average height, but a sloppy mover who lacks precision and fluidity in cuts and routes. Separation and RAC may be a major challenge. I'll typically bet against this type of receiver.

WR Dontayvion Wicks, Packers - Interesting project for GB. Full disclosure: I drafted him with a dev pick last summer, though that league has since folded. I thought he was a day two talent based on 2021 tape. He had a nightmare 2022 for a variety of reasons. Still presents an interesting ball of clay for the Packers to work with. Plus size and shows some snap out of his routes, with some RAC ability and elusiveness. Quick feet and fluid. Long speed is just average though and he had a lot of issues with drops last season. There are some warts here to be sure, but the best version of him can be a productive pro starter, so I'm a buyer at all day in this price range.

WR Puka Nacua, Rams - Competitive possession WR with average size and athleticism. The NFL comp for him is someone like Kendrick Bourne. Bourne may actually be more athletic though. Nacua will have to fight and claw for everything at the next level because he doesn't have any standout physical traits. I wouldn't be against him working his way onto the field in a supporting role.

WR Parker Washington, Jaguars - Competitive slot talent. The poor man's Smith-Njigba in this draft. Limited speed. Presents no vertical threat. Potentially an effective chain mover. Can probably be ignored for FF purposes though.

WR Kayshon Boutte, Patriots - I liked him when I evaluated him last summer for my dev league. He's an interesting one because the horrendous combine numbers contradict the game tape to some extent. He may not be an explosive leaper or a true burner, but on the field he is crisp and elusive, with nice functional movement skills. Relatively slippery in routes and dangerous in space. Possession-oriented, without true home run speed. Not undersized, but on the thin side for a possession role. The draft plunge has to scare you, but I still think he offers a lot more talent than your typical day 3 WR and could emerge in a Christian Kirk type of capacity down the line. Worth a shot if the price is cheap.

WR Trey Palmer, Buccaneers - A Johnny Knox type. Thin frame with long speed. Somewhat one-dimensional. Lean and linear. Lack of possession value may limit role. Stopwatch speed is elite. Play speed is a little less special. He gets run down sometimes. There's a role for him on Sundays, but I'd bet against him becoming a consistent FF asset.

WR AT Perry, Saints - Quite an interesting talent to have fallen this far. His weight is low for his height, but I still think he offers above average play strength. Tall frame, yet surprisingly mobile. Has some shiftiness in routes and some elusiveness after the catch. Long speed is merely okay, but he doesn't always have to be open to make catches since he's bigger than any corner. Drops and consistency have been issues. I still skew positive here. The league meta has moved away from the king-sized WR model that was all the rage in the Keyshawn and Moss years. Perhaps they undervalued Perry, who projects as a solid #2 WR if he realizes his potential. Comparisons for him would be Michael Jenkins and Nico Collins. I think his statistical production could be useful if he's paired with a good QB in the future.

WR Elijah Higgins, Dolphins - Converted to TE? Did not survive roster cuts in MIA.

WR Xavier Hutchinson, Texans - Deliberate route runner who does not generate separation. A lesser version of Christian Kirk whose lack of special traits should relegate him to fringe status.

WR Andrei Iosivas, Bengals - Wispy straight-line deep threat restricted by lack of route guile, suddenness, and agility. I'm not optimistic.

WR Demario Douglas, Patriots - Squatty and athletic with nice speed and suddenness. Reminiscent of former NFL journeyman Andre Roberts, who parlayed similar traits into a long career as a role player in the league. I think the Patriots got a good value here, but as with Roberts, there's a limited ceiling on what he can become for FF purposes.

WR Antoine Green, Lions - Lean deep threat with low play strength and modest possession value. Just keeping a seat warm for Jameson.

WR Colton Dowell, Titans - Competitive project WR with some possession-big play hybrid value. Bigger frame than average. Just a moderate athlete though and doesn't have any one quality that really pops off the screen. Probably safe to ignore. At most, monitor his roster status and consider stashing if he begins to get reps in the future.

WR Jalen Brooks, Cowboys - Bad stopwatch speed. Average size. No sizzle or elite qualities. Can potentially be a useful chain-moving 3rd-4th WR, but there seems to be a clear lack of upside here.

WR Ronnie Bell, 49ers - Another thrift store JSN. Pretty good athlete with some play strength and toughness. Reminiscent of former Seahawks camp cut Kenny Lawler, a good WR who just didn't quite have anything physically to stand out. I like this pick for the 49ers, but as with many of these lottery ticket types, I'm skeptical that his ceiling is anything more than fringe FF asset.

WR Grant Dubose, Packers - Camp cut.
RBs Part Two

RB DeWayne McBride, Vikings - I actually liked his tape, considering the low expectations I have for 7th rounders. There's a little bit of everything here. He has decent size and runs loose. Surprisingly elusive and evasive in space. The speed and explosion are just adequate, so maybe he's not really much different from someone like Gray or Abanikanda. I still think he offers relatively good value this far down the board. I could see him being a Thomas Rawls or Spencer Ware type who randomly becomes relevant for a season or two. I'd look at him as a low risk roster stash in big leagues.
They cut him, re-signed him to the PS and brought in Myles Gaskin. Does that change your evaluation any?
RBs Part Two

RB DeWayne McBride, Vikings - I actually liked his tape, considering the low expectations I have for 7th rounders. There's a little bit of everything here. He has decent size and runs loose. Surprisingly elusive and evasive in space. The speed and explosion are just adequate, so maybe he's not really much different from someone like Gray or Abanikanda. I still think he offers relatively good value this far down the board. I could see him being a Thomas Rawls or Spencer Ware type who randomly becomes relevant for a season or two. I'd look at him as a low risk roster stash in big leagues.
They cut him, re-signed him to the PS and brought in Myles Gaskin. Does that change your evaluation any?
Long term it doesn’t. Dynasty is a marathon not a sprint.
I'm happy to see you like Flowers. His highlights popped when I was scouting prospects before rookie drafts. He was falling to the late 1st or early 2nd in my superflex leagues, making him one of the better values.

How would you compare Flowers and Waddle?
I'm happy to see you like Flowers. His highlights popped when I was scouting prospects before rookie drafts. He was falling to the late 1st or early 2nd in my superflex leagues, making him one of the better values.

How would you compare Flowers and Waddle?
Waddle is a different level of juice. ELITE play speed and explosiveness.

I like Flowers, but not that much. I had Waddle as the #1 skill prospect in the 2021 draft over Najee, Pitts, and Chase.
RBs Part Two

RB DeWayne McBride, Vikings - I actually liked his tape, considering the low expectations I have for 7th rounders. There's a little bit of everything here. He has decent size and runs loose. Surprisingly elusive and evasive in space. The speed and explosion are just adequate, so maybe he's not really much different from someone like Gray or Abanikanda. I still think he offers relatively good value this far down the board. I could see him being a Thomas Rawls or Spencer Ware type who randomly becomes relevant for a season or two. I'd look at him as a low risk roster stash in big leagues.
They cut him, re-signed him to the PS and brought in Myles Gaskin. Does that change your evaluation any?
It has to be a down arrow because it shows they were willing to risk losing him, which is a negative.

I like his film, but if there's a major concern, it's that he's a one speed back with no second gear. It's never THAT hard for teams to find a player of his ilk, so you're banking on him getting a chance because of injuries or unexpected opportunity. Spencer Ware had a different play style, but there's a perfect example. He was drafted late by Seattle when they were loaded with Lynch, Turbin, and Michael. My recollection is that they flirted with the idea of him at FB and ultimately cut him in his rookie camp or before his second season. He popped up in Kansas City a couple years later and nearly had 1k rushing yards before fading back into obscurity.

The reality for late day 3 RBs is pretty grim. The roster churn is so intense that there's no job security unless you're elite. You don't expect these guys to pop, but you hope that they have enough of a pulse to stick on a roster and be the next man up if someone gets hurt.
Super late to the TEs. Sorry about that. Just been busy and focused on other things. Gonna run down this list quickly.


TE Dalton Kincaid, Bills - The classic "WR playing TE" type of guy. More mobile than your average TE, with nice route running and suddenness. You can see why he was a first round pick. On the other hand, the burst and explosiveness are a notch below the elite players at this position. He's not Winslow, Shockey, Keller, or Engram when it comes to mobility. He also has just average play strength for RAC situations. The comparison that comes to mind for me is Todd Heap. That suggests an eventual top 10 FF TE, but perhaps not a super elite guy.

TE Sam LaPorta, Lions - Plays bigger and stronger than Kincaid, though he lacks a bit of the same suddenness. Not going to explode out of his routes or be an elite separator, but he's deceptively mobile and has some evasiveness after the catch. It's hard to think of an exact parallel. I think I'm landing on Heath Miller for a comp, though I think LaPorta may actually be a bit better. That also suggests potentially a low end top 10 TE career trajectory. Writing this, I have the benefit of hindsight, knowing that he's already getting PT and flashing some potential.

TE Michael Mayer, Raiders - You see shades of Gronk with the body type and RAC ability. Not the smoothest route runner and wears a lot of coverage. Separation is going to be an issue and his physical play style could take a toll, but I still think there's solid starter potential here. Another quality prospect from this TE class who looks like he could eventually hit top 10-15 territory at his position. I'd be fine taking him at ADP.

TE Luke Musgrave, Packers - Extremely interesting prospect with elite fluidity for the position. He moves better overall than Mayer or LaPorta. Although his north-south burst is just pretty good and not special, he moves and runs like a big WR. Very comfortable in his routes and changing directions in the open field. Tall frame with good range. I see a lot of upside here. The comparison for him is Jordan Cameron, who had exactly one great season with the Browns before falling apart. I'm not sure why Cameron couldn't stay productive, but he hit a high level for a short time. Musgrave has a similar ceiling. He can be a top 5-10 TE in FF if everything clicks for him.

TE Luke Schoonmaker, Cowboys - Wow, how good is this TE class? Schoonmaker also looks very promising. Not an elite athlete, but a very good one with a nice combination of speed, agility, and size. I'm thinking he'll land in Pat Freiermuth and Owen Daniels territory, meaning a quality starting option. The overall game reminds me of Freiermuth in the sense of being a complete TE prospect with no superlative traits, but no major flaws.

TE Brenton Strange, Jaguars - Okay, finally someone I'm not a fan of in this TE class. Strange isn't terrible, but his movement is more labored than the other TEs in this class. I see a lower ceiling here and more bust potential than with the guys drafted ahead of him. If he works out, I think he'll be a minor success ala Austin Hooper. The athleticism is too limited for him to become a high level starting option, so he's probably a low end NFL starter or rotational piece.

TE Tucker Kraft, Packers - Kind of a poor man's Hockenson with good height/weight and some sneaky verticality in his game. I think he's less talented than Musgrave, which is problematic in the short-term, but he's still a quality developmental pick for GB in the 3rd round. Eventual starting potential in the NFL and may have some relevance in FF, though I think you're not going to regret it too much if you fade him, as I'm not sure the ceiling is special.

TE Darnell Washington, Steelers - In that Marcedes Lewis or Levine Toilolo territory where he's almost too tall for his own good (6'7"). Wouldn't call him a stiff, but he lacks urgency and suddenness as a route runner, which is going to put a low cap on his big plays and RAC potential. In many respects he's reminiscent of Lewis, a long-time NFL veteran who has nevertheless been almost totally irrelevant in FF. There's some blocking and red zone potential here, but I think the yardage volume is going to leave you wanting, even if he carves out a nice role eventually.

TE Cameron Latu, 49ers - It feels lazy to compare him to another Alabama TE, but I do see some shades of Irv Smith Jr. Neither guy had glaring weaknesses or exceptional qualities. Latu has above average mobility and looks like he could develop into a useful rotational TE. However, he's on the light side for a TE and may be maxed out physically as a 5th year senior. While he's a good athlete, he's not sensational enough to dominate as a pass-catching specialist. There may not be the upside to justify drafting and holding while Kittle locks up most of the TE targets on this roster in the short-term.

Frankly too lazy to look at the day 3 guys right now, so can't comment beyond this point.

What I will say is that this might genuinely be the deepest TE class I've ever seen in terms of guys who really look like they have solid starting potential. I don't hate any of Kincaid, LaPorta, Mayer, Musgrave, or Schoonmaker. On paper it looks like a TE run with teams chasing the position, but really all of those guys look like they deserved to go that high in any year. Unusually fertile crop of talent, although it lacks the sensational headliner. I had Trey McBride as the top TE last year and I still like his NFL future, but there are maybe 4-5 guys near that level in this class. Much deeper group.

Musgrave might be my favorite value of the group, as he was the 4th TE drafted and thus should fall to a modest ADP in dynasty formats, yet clearly offers nice starting potential for the next level. Biggest fade for me is probably Strange. I often find myself disagreeing with Jacksonville's picks in recent years, as their scouts seem to key on qualities that I don't value.

That's probably it for my rookie thoughts to start the season. I'm not going to dig into the QBs because it's the most time-intensive position to evaluate, and I just don't have the motivation. I like what I have here for RB/WR/TE and am encouraged to see some of my favorites like Tucker and Wicks getting onto the field already. Not going to say I called Nakua's early dominance because I definitely didn't, but there was a TJ Housh comparison rattling around in my brain. I landed on Kendrick Bourne instead. They're all similar fundamentally: tall, lean, competitive, short-range possession types who win with quickness and route savvy. Not 100% shocked to see Nakua sliding in as an effective replacement for Kupp, as the role they're using him in caters to his strength, which is moving the chains without necessarily offering much downfield value.
Have you looked at ADP? Who would your targets be in TE premium or start two leagues?
I have not, but in TE-premium of course I'd be interested in that cluster of 2nd round guys like LaPorta, Mayer, Musgrave, and Schoonmaker. I think Musgrave fits what I look for in a WR/TE the most, but all of them seem to be quality options.

TE is a position where I've gotten mediocre results from some guys I was really bullish on (Eifert, Ebron, Njoku, Hurst, maybe Pitts) while hitting some massive home runs on guys that I got for cheap (Andrews, Graham). I also drafted Kelce cheap in one league.

It's been my experience that the 2nd tier guys often slide pretty far while people chase RB/WR, which often makes them good value picks. I'm guessing I'd have a lot of shares of Musgrave and Schoonmaker if I were still doing rookie drafts.

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