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Crazy Early Dynasty Rookie PPR Draft Board (2022 Rankings Page 3) (1 Viewer)

socrates

Footballguy
This is way early.  Pro Day workouts and the NFL Draft will drastically change my draft board, but I figured I would share this as a work in progress.  Links to Shark Pool player profiles are provided (compliments of @Faust) where they were available, otherwise, I linked to some highlight tape, so you can familiarize yourself with the player, if you wish.

I left off my player analysis for now, as well as my "range of comparisons".  I will add those later, but it seemed a bit premature yet. (Update 3/04/2021 to add First Round analysis)

Most of my rankings are penciled in, with the idea that they are very preliminary.  Tiers will be narrowed following pro day workouts.  Your feedback is welcome!

1.01   Najee Harris   RB1 (Tier 1)   6-2   229   Alabama 
Najee Harris has a rare blend of size, speed and vision.  Harris doesn’t have Etienne’s breakaway speed, and he runs a bit upright, but he is a tremendous athlete in a 6-2, 229 pound frame.  He is an explosive, punishing runner with excellent footwork and contact balance.  Harris has developed into a very reliable receiver, so he projects as a rare every-down back in the NFL.  Harris needs to refine his pass-blocking skills (doesn’t every rookie runner?), but he certainly has the size and strength to be a dominant blocker.
Range of Comparisons: Steven Jackson/Matt Forte/Arian Foster/Demarco Murray
1.02   JaMarr Chase   WR1 (Tier 1)   6-0   207   LSU
Chase is easily the top wideout in this class for me.  Chase lacks the height of his former teammate, Justin Jefferson, but he checks every other box.  He has great burst off the line of scrimmage and game-breaking speed once he gets in the open field.  He plucks the ball from the air effortlessly.  His hands are elite and sudden.  He bullies smaller defenders.  He understands how to break down a defender to get open, tracks the ball well, and once he gets the ball in his hands, he has excellent RAC skills.  I know RBs typically dominate the early picks of a fantasy draft, but JaMarr Chase is one of those WR talents who deserves to be in consideration for the top spot in your dynasty drafts.
Range of Comparisons: Justin Blackmon/Odell Beckham, Jr./Chris Godwin, with Amari Cooper/Davante Adams/ DeAndre Hopkins upside
1.03   Travis Etienne   RB2 (Tier 1)   5-10   205   Clemson
Etienne will be 1.01 on many dynasty draft boards.  He is the most explosive and dynamic RB in his class.  Etienne is a threat to score any time he touches the ball.  A criticism you hear often is that Etienne cannot run effectively between the tackles, but he has made improvement in this part of his game.  He sometimes reverts back to relying upon his speed to beat defenders to the corner, but Etienne has also shown he has the vision and patience to press the line of scrimmage and allow a crease to open.  Etienne needs to work on his pass protection, and while he is generally effective as an outlet receiver, his hands and route running are merely adequate at this point.  If he can develop the receiving element of his game, Travis Etienne could emerge as the top back from this class.
Range of Comparisons: David Wilson/CJ Spiller/Reggie Bush, with Alvin Kamara/Aaron Jones/Jamaal Charles upside
1.04   Javonte Williams   RB3 (Tier 1)   5-10   220   North Carolina
Excellent balance and body control.  Williams easily sheds arm tackles, and his contact balance is the best in his class.  He has nimble feet for a big back.  Javonta Williams also has natural hands.  I see shades of LaDanian Tomlinson with the way he runs, although he lacks the speed to be in LT’s class.  Williams is one of the younger prospects in this class and has low mileage.  However, Javonte Williams is not without his flaws.  In addition to lacking break-away speed, Williams’ absorbs a lot of punishment.  Williams has to be in consideration for the top spot in this draft, and is an almost certain lock to be top 4.  Javonte Williams has arguably the highest ceiling in this RB class, and his floor is similarly high.
Range of Comparisons: Josh Jacobs/Mark Ingram, with Nick Chubb/Chris Carson upside
1.05   Kyle Pitts   TE1 (Tier 1)   6-6   240   Florida
NFL offenses thrive on creating mismatches, and Kyle Pitts is the ultimate mismatch nightmare for defenses.  I have seen many tremendously talented TE prospects fall short, so there is a risk anytime you take a TE with an early pick; it is an extremely difficult position to project.  The floor for TE prospects is always low.  I have seen my share of sure-fire TE prospects never live up to the hype.  Johnny Mitchell was going to take the league by storm.  Kyle Brady was going to be the face of the Jets’ franchise (in a sense, he was).  Bubba Franks was going to be the next Kellen Winslow (Sr).  Rickey Dudley was an athletic freak.  Kellen Winslow, Jr. was a can’t-miss prospect.  OJ Howard was touted as the most complete TE prospect in a decade.  All first-round busts.  Eric Ebron (2014, 1.10) was drawing comparisons to Vernon Davis, and while he has not been a total bust, he certainly has not lived up to his draft status.  Meanwhile, Tight Ends like Ben Coates (5th Round), Shannon Sharpe (7th Round), Antonio Gates (3rd Round), Travis Kelce (3rd Round), Darren Waller (6th Round), Mark Andrews (3rd Round) and George Kittle (5th Round) were not the top Tight End prospects in their draft classes.  Even Rob Gronkowski (2nd Round) was drafted a round behind Jermaine Gresham.  Pitts may indeed be the next Tony Gonzalez, but Tight End has proven to be an incredibly difficult position to scout.  I would jump at a chance to grab Pitts with a mid first, but I am generally reluctant to take a rookie TE in the first half of Round One of my fantasy drafts.  Then again, Kyle Pitts, is one of the premiere talents in this draft, regardless of position; he is a dynamic playmaker who could join the ranks as one of the elite pass-catching Tight Ends in the NFL.  Kyle Pitts would be one of the top wideouts in this class, and while that does not guarantee success at the TE position (see Exhibit A, Bucky Hodges) (see also Exhibit B, David Njoku), it sure helps in this pass-first age of NFL offenses.  Temper your early expectations, but the long-term ceiling for Pitts is incredibly high.  Draft Destination is going to be key here.  If Pitts is drafted with the idea of deploying him as a plus-sized receiver, and not as a traditional in-line TE, he is a top 5 rookie dynasty pick.  (Pro Day update:  Pitts showed off a spectacular 83 3/8 inch wingspan, a 10-9 broad jump and a 4.44-40.)
Range of Comparisons: Jimmy Graham/Darren Waller/Vernon Davis, with Calvin Johnson upside
1.06   Trevor Lawrence   QB1 (Tier 1)   6-6   220   Clemson
I am sure to catch some pushback for putting a QB this high on my list in a start-1-QB league, but Trevor Lawrence is quite simply the best player in this draft.  He is being discussed in the same breath as John Elway, Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck.  You want him on your NFL team, and you want him on your fantasy roster; he is a set-it-and-forget-it type of prospect.  Barring some catastrophic injury, you are likely to be reaping dividends for 10+ years from this draft pick.  He is as safe a pick as you can make; both his floor and his ceiling are incredibly high.  Keep it simple.  Don’t try to get cute.  Draft the most talented player, and his name is Trevor Lawrence.  People will undervalue QBs in rookie dynasty drafts, citing impressive-sounding concepts like “positional scarcity”, but do not get fooled.  This is dynasty we are talking about here, not redraft.  A QB the likes of Trevor Lawrence is scarce indeed, and he will lock the position up for your dynasty team for many seasons to come, allowing you to focus instead on other positions.  This is not your run-of-the-mill, dime-a-dozen QB prospect.  Dynasty RBs have a dreadfully short shelf life.  The miss rate on dynasty receivers is incredibly high, and even higher for TE prospects.  Your league mates may roll their eyes and utter “amateur”, but you are not trying to impress them on draft day, you are building a winning dynasty franchise.
Range of Comparisons: Andrew Luck/Josh Allen
1.07   Jaylen Waddle   WR2 (Tier 2)   5-10   183   Alabama
He doesn’t glide through defenses quite like Henry Ruggs did at Alabama, but he is every bit as fast.  Defenses have to play off of him due to his extra gear, and he knows how to make teams pay if they give him even the hint of a crease.  Waddle is electrifying; he is the most explosive wide receiver in his class.  Waddle also has the footwork and body control to create space in the blink of an eye.  If you are looking for the next Tyreek Hill, Waddle fits the mold and is the best candidate I have seen since, well, Tyreek Hill.  Waddle did miss time this season with a bum ankle, and durability is an obvious concern for any undersized receiver, but Waddle is fearless and tough as nails.  He gritted it out in the Championship game, showing toughness and desire.  He could prove to be a better pro than his college teammate DaVonta Smith.  Waddle has the ability to flip a game script at any moment.  In this monkey-see-monkey-do world of the NFL, there is a premium on elite playmakers who can create mismatches, and Waddle is precisely that; he has route versatility.  Defenses will be forced to account for Waddle at all times.  He can win at every level.
Range of Comparisons: Keke Coutee, with Steve Smith/Tyreek Hill upside
1.08   DeVonta Smith   WR3 (Tier 2)   6-1   174   Alabama
DaVonta Smith is rail thin: he is still a couple of dozen Quarter Pounders away from a buck-eighty!  When Devonta Smith refused to be weighed and measured at the Senior Bowl weigh-in, he was telling NFL teams to measure his potential with his body of work at Alabama, which culminated in a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy, rather than with a scale and a measuring tape.  He checks nearly all of the boxes you want from an elite receiver, but with his slight build, he may struggle to dominate in the NFL like he has at Alabama.  College success and a Heisman Trophy do not guarantee success in the NFL.  Ask Desmond Howard.  Still, Smith has elite skills.  He accelerates smoothly into his routes, his route running is top notch, and his hands and body control are arguably the best in his class.  DeVonta Smith would have been an elite pick even in last season’s historic WR class.  If he runs a sub-4.40 forty, Smith will vault up most draft boards.  For all of the accolades, however, there is reason to remain cautious about Smith’s prospects as a pro.  He has been compared to Anthony Carter and Marvin Harrison, and he certainly looks the part, but each of those receivers ran a 4.35 forty.  Calvin Ridley ran a 4.45 forty.  If Smith turns in a comparable time, he could share the success that Ridley has enjoyed.  If Smith checks in much slower, I am likely to move him down for fear he goes the way of Peter Warrick.  (Pro Day update:  Smith elected not to workout, but even worse, he is not getting anywhere near a scale.  He claims he weighs 170; I suspect it is somewhere in the 160s, or he would weigh in.  He appears to me, on tape, as a 4.45-4.48 athlete, which is plenty fast, although not elite.  It is getting increasingly more difficult to ignore the warning bells.)
Range of Comparisons:  Paul Richardson/Calvin Ridley, with Stefon Diggs/Anthony Carter/Marvin Harrison extreme upside
1.09   Rashod Bateman   WR4 (Tier 2)   6-2   209   Minnesota
Bateman is not a twitchy receiver; nor does he have especially loose hips or the ability to generate space with shiftiness.  However, Bateman does create space with an excellent release off the line of scrimmage, he is an advanced route runner, and he possesses the physicality to beat press coverage. I have seen no evidence of Bateman being a "body catcher".  Rather, I have seen him pluck the ball with excellent hand strength, which allows him to beat defenders in tight coverage. 
Range of Comparisons: Alshon Jeffery/Brandon Marshall with Allen Robinson/Keenan Allen upside
1.10   Rondale Moore   WR5 (Tier 3)   5-7   181   Purdue
The difference in skillsets between Moore and Waddle is minimal, but Moore checks in a couple of inches shorter.  Moore also has a tendency to body catch at times, and although he has an impressive vertical, at 5-7, Moore is not going to make his living going up over defenders for contested passes.  But put the ball in Moore’s hands, and watch him go to work: instant offense!  He is like a RB once he has the ball, and he generates surprising power for a small guy.  (Watch Moore squat 600 pounds!)  Moore is not as fast or “twitchy” as Tyreek Hill, but he will break ankles and distance himself from defenders in a heartbeat.  The biggest knock on Moore has been his durability.  He has appeared in just 7 games over the past two seasons.  He has the mentality of a much bigger player, but his 181-pound frame can only endure so much abuse.  Moore initially opted out of the 2020 season, then opted back in before an “unspecified lower body injury” sidelined him once again.  There were some who believed Moore was unwilling to play without an insurance policy in place, again causing some concern.  Contrast that with Jaylen Waddle who took the field in the National Championship game despite injury.  As exciting a prospect as Rondale Moore is, it is going to be difficult to justify spending your first-round pick on a player who spends more time in the trainer's room than on the field.  (Pro Day Update:  Moore blew his Pro Day workout away.  Although he checked in shorter than expected, at a Bilbo-Baggins-like 5-7, he impressed with a 4.29-forty, a ridiculous 42.5-inch vertical and a 3-cone time of 6.65!  Those are freakish numbers!  Can you say "Baby Cheetah"?  Emphasis on the "baby" part of that.)
Range of Comparisons:  Jakeem Grant/Tavon Austin/Dante Hall, with Steve Smith/Tyreek Hill upside
1.11   Kenneth Gainwell   RB4 (Tier 2)   5-11   201   Memphis
Gainwell is one of my favorite players in this draft.  He does so many of the small things instinctually.  At 194 pounds, Gainwell is a bit undersized, but he has the frame to add some bulk.  If you are drafting in the back end of Round One of your dynasty draft, chances are you already have a strong team, and here is an opportunity to add another potential gem to your roster.  People forget that Antonio Gibson spent a lot of time split out wide as a receiver due to the talented Gainwell’s presence in the backfield.  Gainwell has often been compared to the NFL’s most elite, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara, and those are fair comparisons.  Gainwell has excellent vision, and his first-step burst is among the best.  Despite his lean frame, Gainwell shows exceptional body control and contact balance to fight through defenders.  Gainwell also has very natural hands, and once he gets the ball in space, look out!  He will need to develop his pass protection, but the sky is the limit for this incredibly talented playmaker.  Look for Gainwell to move up draft boards as the draft season progresses.  (Pro Day update:  Gainwell checked in at 201 pounds, and he ran a 4.42-40.)
Range of Comparisons:  Trung Candidate/Matt Breida/Tony Pollard/Raheem Mostert, with Aaron Jones/Christian McCaffrey/Reggie Bush/Alvin Kamara upside
1.12   Terrace Marshall   WR6 (Tier 3)   6-3   201   LSU
The former five-star recruit emerged this season from the ominous shadows of Justin Jefferson and JaMarr Chase.  Marshall has the height and catch radius to be a solid redzone threat for an NFL team.  He has long speed, although he is a bit of a straight-line, long strider.  Like former teammate Justin Jefferson, Terrace Marshall offers versatility.  He can win on the outside as well as out of the slot.  Marshall's ceiling is extremely high.  (Pro Day update:  Marshall impressed with a 4.38-40 time and 39-inch vertical.)
Range of Comparisons: Rueben Randle/Mohamed Sanu, with Justin Jefferson upside

2.01   Michael Carter   RB5 (Tier 2)   5-8   201   North Carolina
Carter shows good vision and patience running between the tackles.  I see shades of D’Andre Swift in his game, although Carter lacks the size and power to shed tacklers.  Like Swift, Carter patiently presses the line, then has the vision and acceleration to hit the gaps, and enough wiggle to gain extra yardage.   Carter may not be suited to be a bellcow-type back, but he could certainly find a role with the right team as a complementary receiving back who brings the lightning to a bigger back’s thunder.  (Pro Day update:  Carter's 40 time was not especially exciting (4.50), but it is sufficient.  However, Carter’s 3.98-second short shuttle time would have been the second-best time among all players at last year’s combine, and his 6.87-second three-cone time would have been tied for fourth-best.)
Range of Comparisons: Nyhein Hines/Giovani Bernard/Dion Lewis/Duke Johnson, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire/Austin Ekeler upside
2.02   Elijah Moore   WR7 (Tier 3)   5-9   185   Mississippi
Elijah Moore is about the size of Steve Smith, and when you watch Moore’s highlights, you cannot help but see the similarities.  Elijah Moore is scrappy like Steve Smith and, like Smith, has excellent quickness and athleticism.  Moore posted a blistering 4.32-40 at his Pro Day workout, along with a 4.00 short shuttle and a 6.65-second 3 cone drill.  Moore's stock is rising quickly.  Moore uses his elite speed and athleticism to get open, and he is a terror once he gets the ball.  In an 8-game, COVID-shortened 2020 season at Ole Miss, Moore put up ridiculous numbers:  86 receptions, 1,193 yards and 8 TDs.  Moore is smaller than desired, but he checks every other box.  This kid is a dynamic receiver with explosive playmaking ability.  Put him with the right team, and Moore is a sure first-round dynasty pick.
Range of Comparisons: Cole Beasley, with Johnnie Morton/Steve Smith upside
2.03   Justin Fields   QB2 (Tier 2)   6-3   228   Ohio State
Justin Fields has a big-time arm, and he can make all of the throws at the next level.  He isn’t the most instinctive QB in this class at reading a defensive alignment and going though his progressions, but I would not consider it a fatal flaw, either, but more of a byproduct of the Ohio State offense.  Fields has a sturdy build, in the mold of Dak Prescott or Cam Newton, and he is as much of a threat to throw the ball on the move as he is to tuck the ball and run.  It is his running ability, however, which pushes Fields this high as a fantasy signal caller.  Zach Wilson may be taken ahead of Fields in the NFL Draft, but Fields arguably offers the higher fantasy value.  (Pro Day update:  Fields ran a 4.45 second 40-yard dash, which was really fast for the position. He later dazzled with some high difficulty throws on the field.)
Range of Comparisons: Byron Leftwich, with Cam Newton/Deshaun Watson/Dak Prescott upside
2.04   Jermar Jefferson   🔻RB6 (Tier 2)   5-10   210   Oregon State
I have read some criticism of Jefferson’s vision, but I believe that one of Jermar Jefferson’s best strengths; he combines good patience working off of his blocks with instinctive running.  He can explode through a crease quickly and runs with surprising power, good contact balance, excellent lateral agility and quickness, and adequate speed.  Jefferson does have a tendency to rely a bit too much upon his speed, and while that may have proven effective against PAC-12 opponents, it may not bring great success in the NFL.  Jermar Jefferson can be an effective check-down receiver; he has reliable hands, and once he is in space, he has the run skills and creativity to generate yards in chunks.  Jefferson is a multi-faceted back, and at 5-10, 210-215, he has the size and frame to develop into a three-down back.  You are drafting Jefferson for his tremendous upside potential.  His destination, however, will play a huge role in determining his fantasy draft slot.  
Range of Comparisons: Mike Weber/Ronald Jones, with Aaron Jones upside
2.05   Zach Wilson   QB3 (Tier 2)   6-3   209   BYU
Wilson is a bit of a late bloomer, and there is some understandable concern he will prove to be a one-year wonder, but his arm is for real.  Zach Wilson version-2020 routinely made some of the best throws I have seen from any QB in this class, and I am not talking strictly off-platform throws.  He makes quick reads and throws from various angles and on the run extremely well, and his quick release is reminiscent of Aaron Rodgers.  Wilson can extend plays with his legs, and he is able to tuck the ball and make positive yards when he needs to.  This top-4 QB group is mostly interchangeable after Lawrence.  With a number of the old guard QBs reaching the end, a new class of young signal callers is emerging, and if your fantasy regime is seeking a dose of youth at the position, this is a good year to make that investment.  Grab Wilson with confidence.  If there is a reason for concern, it is green and rhymes with "regrets".  The Jets have been a QB wasteland.  This is a new coaching regime, so hopefully the curse is lifted.
Range of Comparisons: Blaine Gabbert/Baker Mayfield/Tony Romo, with Aaron Rodgers upside
2.06   Trey Sermon   🔺RB7 (Tier 2)   6-0   221   Ohio State
Sermon is not going to wow you with his athleticism; he is merely an adequate athlete in most regards.  However, he has good size for the position, and the traits he possesses lend themselves well to success in the NFL.  Sermon attacks the line of scrimmage, and he has the vision, short-area burst and agility to exploit holes in the defense.  Sermon sheds tackles as well as any back in this class not named Javonte Williams, churns out yards on contact and routinely falls forward.  His contact balance rivals his vision as his best trait.  Sermon will also endear himself to an NFL coach with his ball security:  In 423 college carries, Sermon did not fumble the football once!  Sermon does not have breakaway speed, and his usage in the passing game has been limited, but Sermon could find a sizeable early-down role with the right team, and he has shown glimpses of some ability in the passing game, as well.  (Pro Day update:  Sermon measured 6-foot 3/8 inches and 215 pounds with 9 3/8 inch hands, 33 3/8 inch arms and a 77 1/8 inch wingspan. He clocked a 4.57 second 40-yard dash and posted a 37 inch vertical jump, 10-feet, 5-inch broad jump, 4.28 second short shuttle, and a 6.83 second 3-cone drill. Sermon was moving quickly through his 3-cone drill.)  When I heard Matt Waldman has Sermon as his top RB in this class, it made my ears perk up.  Sermon tested well at his Pro Day.  Sermon was pretty mediocre with Ohio State until the end of the year.  He put up 112 yards on only 10 rushing attempts against Michigan State, then he destroyed Northwestern  in the Big 10 Championship game, rushing for 331 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  He followed that up with an impressive 193 yards rushing to beat Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.  Sadly, a shoulder injury knocked Sermon out of the National Championship game on the opening drive.  Depending on what occurs in the NFL Relocation Program (a/k/a NFL Draft), Sermon could vault his way up dynasty draft boards considerably.  (Imagine Sermon as a Steeler!)
Range of Comparisons: TJ Yeldon/Jordan Howard/Carlos Hyde, with Josh Jacobs upside
2.07   Pat Freiermuth   TE2 (Tier 2)   6-5   260   Penn State
Freiermuth is the most complete TE to come out of college since T.J. Hockenson.  He does not bring the elite athleticism of Kyle Pitts, but he is perhaps more well-rounded.  It is always difficult to project rookie TE prospects, but Freiermuth is arguably a TE1 immediately upon being drafted.  He is athletic, runs advanced routes, tracks the ball well, and he is a natural-hands catcher with the size, physicality, catch radius and quickness to be a red zone nightmare for defenses.  He is too big and physical for safeties and too quick for linebackers.  Freiermuth lacks the breakaway speed to routinely beat defenders deep, but he understands how to get open on short and intermediate routes.  His run blocking is still a bit inconsistent, although he shows excellent leverage and technique.  Freiermuth will quickly endear himself to his QB with his reliable hands and physicality; in three seasons at Penn State, Freiermuth did not drop a single red zone target!  Freiermuth's 2020 season ended with a shoulder injury, and he is working his way back from surgery to repair a torn anterior and posterior labrum, but he should be back to full speed in time for training camp.  Nicknamed "Baby Gronk",  athletically, Freiermuth compares favorably to Gronk, although he does not come into the NFL with Gronk-like blocking dominance.
Range of Comparisons: Hunter Henry/TJ Hockenson, with Rob Gronkowski upside
2.08   Trey Lance   QB4 (Tier 2)   6-4   224   NDSU
Trey Lance may be the most physically gifted QB in this class, but he is still extremely raw, and when you combine limited playing time with a lack of top-shelf competition, it makes Lance a very difficult evaluation.  Trey Lance has a howitzer for an arm, and he shows a nice touch on his deep passes, but sometimes he struggles with reads and accuracy.  An alarmingly low 44% of Lance’s career passes beyond the line of scrimmage were deemed accurate, according to PFF. "Comparing that to all the first-round quarterbacks since 2017, it would be the worst by a considerable margin." He is a punishing runner, reminiscent of Cam Newton, but he too often defaults to his running ability.  You are probably not drafting Lance to be your 2021 fantasy QB, but his long-term ceiling is ridiculously high.  (Pro Day Update:  Lance confirmed what we already knew, for the most part; he has an elite arm, but he is raw and struggles some with accuracy issues.  Daniel Jeremiah compared him to Josh Allen, noting, "He was able to stretch the field with that power arm. Some touch throws down the field got away from him, particularly to the right side, but . . . he is dripping with ability.")
Range of Comparisons: Colin Kaepernick/Steve McNair, with Josh Allen/Cam Newton upside
2.09   Chuba Hubbard   🔻RB8 (Tier 3)   6-0   208   Oklahoma State
Much has been made of Hubbard’s 2020 regression, but he did play through a nagging ankle injury, which may have contributed to his declining numbers.  Hubbard has excellent straight-line speed, but his game is not limited to speed.  He shows good interior patience and vision at the line of scrimmage and the ability to plant his foot and burst through a hole when it presents itself.  Hubbard generally runs with good pad level, although he lacks the power in his legs to drive through defenders.  His contact balance is merely adequate, and he will need to improve in the receiving game to maximize his value in the NFL, but the 2019 version of Chuba Hubbard put up a ridiculous stat line; that Chuba Hubbard can play on Sundays.  Hubbard may need to carve out a rotational role as he develops some areas of his game, but he has the raw tools to become a team's primary back.  (Pro Day update:  Hubbard ran a 4.48-40, 4.26-short shuttle and 7.24 second 3-cone drill while posting a 36 inch vertical jump, 10-feet broad jump, and 20 repetitions on the bench press.)
Range of Comparisons: Raheem Mostert/Tevin Coleman/Jerious Norwood, with Darren McFadden/Robert Smith upside
2.10   Kadarius Toney   WR8 (Tier 4)   5-11   194   Florida
Toney isn’t an especially big guy, but this kid is tough as nails and extremely quick and agile.  There are times when he appears to simply be uncoverable.  Toney knows how to get open, and he plays with maximum effort – he has a high-energy motor, and he shows that same effort as a blocker.  Toney is fearless over the middle and on jet sweeps.  He is a jitterbug in traffic and fights for every yard.  Kadarius Toney is the classic “offensive weapon”.  It is a concern that he did not breakout until his age 22 season, but the breakout is real.  His value will depend on who drafts him; Toney could either be an exciting returner and offensive gadget player or a potential offensive game-breaker.  One of the key traits I look for in a WR prospect is an ability to create separation from defenders, and Toney possesses this quality in spades.  I do worry, however, about how his game translates to the NFL.  Toney isn't an especially smooth athlete.  He moves like his pants are on fire, with all of his limbs sometimes flailing.  (Pro Day Update:  Toney ran a blazing 4.39-40 at his Pro Day workout, along with a 39.5-inch vertical jump, 11-4-in broad jump, 4.25-second short shuttle, and 6.88-second 3-cone drill.)
Range of Comparisons: Ryan Switzer, with Percy Harvin/Diontae Johnson/TY Hilton upside
2.11   Tylan Wallace   WR9 (Tier 4)   6-0   190   Oklahoma State
Wallace needs to show more of a route tree, although the routes Wallace does run are effective.  A former track star, Wallace is not a Tyreek Hill-like burner, but he has very good speed.  Wallace shows good vision and strength once he gets the ball in his hands, but he needs work to develop as a blocker.  His ball tracking skills and timing on jump balls are perhaps his best strengths.  He generally shows good hand strength snaring the ball, and he quickly turns upfield once he has secured it.  Wallace exploded onto the scene in 2018 with a dynamic sophomore season, before a 2019 knee injury set him back.  (Tylan Wallace clocked in at 4.39 in the 40 at EXOS pro day.)
Range of Comparisons: Kenny Stills/Nelson Agholor/Christian Kirk
2.12   Amon-Ra St. Brown   WR10 (Tier 4)   6-1   195   USC
Younger brother of Packer wideout Eqaunameous St. Brown, Amon-Ra projects as a better NFL wideout than his bigger brother.  St. Brown doesn’t have the size or athleticism of many of the top receivers in this class, but he attacks the ball and wins at snaring contested passes.  His route running is precise, although his route tree at USC was limited.  He is quick in and out of his breaks, and he creates separation with feet and technique.  St. Brown lacks top speed, but his short-area quickness and agility are excellent; he uses a variety of moves, head fakes, excellent route running, and physicality to gain an advantage at the line of scrimmage.  Amon-Ra St. Brown is a technician with sticky hands, and there is a role on Sundays for a player with those qualities.
Range of Comparisons: Antwaan Randle-El/Willie Snead/Daesean Hamilton, with Jarvis Landry/Hines Ward/Keenan Allen upside

3.01   Dyami Brown   WR11 (Tier 4)   6-0   185   North Carolina
Dyami Brown has the speed to take the top off a defense, and he puts defenders in an immediate deficit with his release off the line of scrimmage.  He gets off the line as well as nearly any receiver in this class, but I worry he will struggle to beat press coverage in the NFL.  Brown was limited to mostly vertical routes at North Carolina, and he shows inconsistent hands, but he is only 21 years old, and his ceiling is incredibly high.  Brown will endear himself to an NFL team with his willingness and effectiveness blocking downfield.  Brown doesn’t excel at winning contested balls downfield, and he will need some work to become effective out of the slot.  I really like Dyami Brown’s competitiveness and toughness.  Brown is still a bit raw as a prospect, and he may need to grow into his role in the NFL, but you are drafting Brown for his substantial upside.  He may never be a true WR1 for an NFL team, but he could grow into a complementary role.  (Pro Day update:  Brown measured 6-foot 5/8 inches and 189 pounds with 9 5/8 inch hands, 32 3/4 inch arms and a 77 inch wingspan. He posted a 4.46 second 40-yard dash, 35 inch vertical jump, 10-feet, 8-inch broad jump, 4.35 second short shuttle, 6.87 second 3-cone drill and 18 repetitions on the bench press.)
Range of Comparisons: Mike Wallace/Sterling Shepard, with Calvin Ridley upside
3.02   Elijah Mitchell   🔺RB9 (Tier 3)   5-11   217   Louisiana
3.03   Mac Jones   QB5 (Tier 3)   6-3   214   Alabama
Excellent pocket awareness.  Mac Jones is competitive, and he has excellent accuracy along with a high football IQ.  Jones does not have an especially powerful arm, but he throws an accurate deep ball.  Mac Jones can escape the pocket, but his athleticism is merely average, and he is not going to make plays downfield with his feet.  Jones has an advanced understanding of the game, he processes his reads rapidly, instinctively looks off defenders and has the accuracy and confidence in his arm to put the ball in tight windows.  This past season at Alabama, Jones didn't put up quite Joe Burrow 2019 passing numbers, but they were nearly as impressive (4,500 yards passing with 41 TDs and only 4 ints).  McShay’s comparison to Brady and Marino is extremely lofty praise -- and undeserved.  Mac Jones is a high-IQ pocket passer like those two NFL elites, but that is pretty much where the comparisons start and end.  Brady and Marino are generational talents.  Mac Jones may be drafted as high as the first half of Round One in the NFL Draft, so he should get a chance early to make his mark.  In the right system, I believe Mac Jones could be an efficient starter, but I am not especially excited about Mac Jones in a start-1 QB fantasy league.
Range of Comparisons:  Matt Barkley/Chris Weinke/Andy Dalton, with Chad Pennington/Kirk Cousins upside
3.04   Tamorrion Terry   WR12 (Tier 5)   6-3   207   Florida State
If Terry tests as well as I believe he may, he could easily move up my board.  If you are looking for this season’s potential Denzel Mims or Chase Claypool, look no further.  Tamorrion Terry is a size-speed specimen in that mold.  He is still pretty raw as a prospect, but you simply cannot teach his size and speed.  He is inconsistent, and he is no sure thing to develop, but if you like to aim high, go with Scary Terry.  His issues look coachable to me. He is big, and he can run; he just needs to refine his route running and spend some time with the jugs machine.  My biggest concern with Terry is not with his raw abilities -- he is oozing with talent -- but rather with his dedication and discipline.  (Pro Day update:  Terry measured 6-foot-2 6/8 inches, 207 pounds with 9 1/2 inch hands, 33 3/8 inch arms and a 78 1/8 inch wingspan. He ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash, 32.5 inch vertical jump, 10 feet, 6 inch broad jump, 4.53 second short shuttle, 7.00 second 3-cone drill and 15 repetitions on the bench press.)
Range of Comparisons: Cordarelle Patterson/Marquez Valdes-Scantling
3.05   D’Wayne Eskridge   WR13 (Tier 5)   5-9   190   Western Michigan
Eskridge was one of the media darlings at Senior Bowl practices.  He dazzled reporters with his speed in and out of cuts, and easily separated from defenders.  That answered, in part, one of the questions about Eskridge: coming from a small school, how would he fare against upper echelon competition?  However, Eskridge failed to capitalize upon his success, evidently opting out once he generated some buzz.  There are still a number of things that will likely drive down his draft stock.  First, Eskridge is an older prospect (he turns 24 in March).  In an age when many receivers are coming out of school early, Eskridge played a redshirt senior season.  Which brings me to my next point: Eskridge had switched primarily to corner before sustaining a season-ending broken collarbone early in the 2019 season.  Eskridge switched back to receiver for his COVID-shortened 2020 breakout campaign, but prior to that, he was never a WR1, and he has never logged more than 38 receptions in a season.  Eskridge is a versatile player with elite change-of-direction skills and quickness, and the speed and athleticism to gash a defense, and he could carve out a role as a receiver, but those hoping Eskridge will be the next Antonio Brown are going to be terribly disappointed.
Range of Comparisons: Artavis Scott, with Emmanuel Sanders upside
3.06   Nico Collins   WR14 (Tier 5)   6-4   218   Michigan
Collins feasts on smaller defensive backs.  He has the size to box them out and the strength to outmuscle them for contested balls.  Collins does not create a lot of separation, although he has decent speed for a plus-sized receiver.
Range of Comparisons: Quintez Cephus/Hakeem Nicks
3.07   Kylin Hill   RB10 (Tier 3)   5-11   215   Mississippi State
3.08   Khalil Herbert   RB11 (Tier 3)   5-9   205   Virginia Tech
Herbert’s running style reminds me a bit of Tre Mason.  Herbert may have a little better speed, but not quite as much ability to run through tackles.  Herbert doesn’t show a lot of wiggle or great lateral agility, but his vision is an asset, and he hits a crease with good burst.  Herbert easily sheds arm tackles, but his contact balance is nothing special.  He has not been used much in the passing game, but he looks natural catching the ball and quickly tucks it away and bursts upfield.  Herbert will need to work on pass protection, but he shows decent leverage and effort.
Range of Comparisons: Olandis Gary/Devin Singletary/Tre Mason/ with Thomas Jones upside
3.09   Brevin Jordan   TE3 (Tier 3)   6-3   235   Miami
3.10   Ihmir Smith-Marsette   WR15 (Tier 5)   6-2   186   Iowa
I feel like we may all be whiffing on Ihmir Smith-Marsette.  He profiles similar to Tylan Wallace, who projects considerably higher.  I feel like Smith-Marsette could end up being the steal of the draft.  Smith-Marsette's numbers at Iowa were not spectacular, but that may be more of a consequence of playing in a conservative offense than a reflection of Smith-Marsette's abilities.  Smith-Marsette may have to cut his teeth on special teams initially, but his speed, versatility and ball-tracking skills could earn him a role on offense.  Smith-Marsette's season did not end well.  He was arrested in November for driving intoxicated, plus he suffered a season-ending high ankle sprain doing a front flip as he celebrated a TD.  smh  (Pro Day Update:  Smith-Marsette addressed his November drunk driving incident, and he at least said all of the right things.  Hopefully, he learns from this moving forward.  Fully recovered from the high-ankle sprain, Smith-Marsette reportedly ran a 4.43-40 and had an impressive 1.44-10-yard split, which is incredibly fast.)
Range of Comparisons: Markus Wheaton/Trevor Davis, with Christian Kirk/Darius Slayton upside
3.11   Rhamondre Stevenson   RB12 (Tier 4)   6-0   232   Oklahoma
I like Stevenson as an underrated prospect.  Stevenson looks to me like a downhill runner with good feet, but he also offers some value as an outlet receiver.  Although his feet are nimble, Stevenson doesn’t show much lateral agility.  I would love to see him land in a situation where he can excel, but recent history does not bode well for his chances to become a feature back in the NFL.  The ground-and-pound running attacks of the past are not the current mode in the NFL.  Stevenson is probably best suited for a rotational role, but he has some intrigue as at least a short-yardage goal-line back, with some LeGarrette Blount-like workhorse potential.
Range of Comparisons: Bo Scarbrough/Michael Bush/Rudi Johnson, with Eddie Lacy/LeGarrette Blount upside
3.12   Demetric Felton   🔻RB13 (Tier 4)   5-10   189   UCLA
The terms often associated with Demetric Felton are “versatility” and “hybrid player”.  Felton has rare receiving skills for a RB.  He is a converted WR, and his route running and hands are among the very best in his class at RB.  Felton also has excellent quickness and agility.  Felton is elusive once he gets the ball in space, and he is dangerous once he gets free.  While he may be undersized for every-down duty at RB, Felton could be an underrated offensive weapon, if he lands with an offensive coordinator who can take advantage of his skills.  He could offer a team some value as a slot receiver, as well as on special teams.  However, as a runner, Felton will be scheme specific, as he offers little as a between-the-tackles runner.  His vision is merely average, he lacks the power to shed tackles, and he doesn’t offer much in pass protection.  Felton could find some success in a Curtis Samuel/Percy Harvin type of role.  Felton does appear to have the frame to add some additional weight, so perhaps he can develop as an effective NFL runner.  Felton's PPR potential could be largely determined by which team drafts him, but it will also depend on whether he is considered a RB or WR.  There is plenty to get excited about with Felton's college tape, but he will need to be drafted to the right team to have much more than reserve-level fantasy value.  (Pro Day update:  Felton had a very disappointing Pro Day, and he has moved down my board.  He ran a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at 189 pounds and posted mediocre numbers in the vertical (31.5 inches) and broad jump (9 feet, 6 inches).)
Range of Comparisons: J.D. McKissic/Justin Forsett/Theo Riddick, with Curtis Samuel/Randall Cobb/Jacquizz Rodgers upside

4.01   Sage Surratt   WR16 (Tier 5)   6-3   215   Wake Forest
4.02   Larry Rountree III   RB14 (Tier 4)   5-10   210   Missouri
Underrated back who has some every-down back potential.  Rountree was not used as a receiver much at Missouri, but his hands look solid.  Rountree could be a fast-riser on draft boards as fantasy drafts approach.  (Pro Day Update:  Rountree measured 5-10.5, 211 lbs. with 9 1/8 inch hands, 30 3/4 inch arms and a 73 7/8 inch wingspan. He also ran a 4.62 second 40-yard dash and posted a 30 inch vertical jump, 9 feet, 0 inch broad jump, 4.47 second short shuttle, 6.96 second 3-cone drill and 18 repetitions on the bench press.)  Rountree worked both with RBs and receivers, and reportedly impressed with natural hands.  Rountree has good size, and although his 40-time is not going to help his draft stock, his 3-cone time was impressive, which matches the short-area quickness he shows on tape.
Range of Comparisons: Devin Singletary/Ke’Shawn Vaughn, with James Robinson upside
4.03   Jaret Patterson   RB15 (Tier 4)   5-9   200   Buffalo
4.04   Seth Williams   WR17 (Tier 6)   6-3   224   Auburn
Prototypical size.  Williams has very strong hands and could develop into a redzone mismatch, although he lacks elite speed and elusiveness.  His speed is decent, however, especially when he catches the ball in stride. Williams will need to develop his route tree as a pro, but as a raw prospect, Williams brings some intrigue, especially later in rookie drafts.
Range of Comparisons: Mike Williams, with Kenny Golladay upside
4.05   Amari Rodgers   WR18 (Tier 6)   5-10   210   Clemson
4.06   Marquez Stevenson   WR19 (Tier 6)   5-10   182   Houston
4.07   Simi Fehoko   WR20   (Tier 6)   6-4   220   Stanford
4.08   Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell   WR21 (Tier 6)   5-9   155   Louisville
4.09   Javian Hawkins   RB16 (Tier 5)   5-9   182   Louisville
Speed.  Javian Hawkins has an abundance of speed packed into his 5-9, 182 lb. frame.  Nicknamed “Playstation”, Hawkins is electric, and his speed is not strictly open-field speed; his short-area agility and elusiveness allows him to put defenders on their heels, and he combines that with surprising strength and contact balance.  Despite his diminutive stature, Hawkins attacks the line of scrimmage fearlessly.  He can string together moves then burst through a small crease, and once he is through, he has the ability to rip off huge chunks of yardage.  Hawkins will be limited, however, due to his size and limitations in pass protection.  He has surprising strength for his size, but he lacks the beef to be more than a rotational back at the NFL level.  Hawkins was not used much as a receiver at Louisville, although he appears to have solid hands.  Space players with speed are at a major premium in the NFL, but he will need to develop the receiving aspect of his game to be a factor for an NFL offense.
Range of Comparisons: Dexter McCluster/DeAnthony Thomas/Andre Ellington/Noel Devine
4.10   Jaelon Darden   WR22 (Tier 7)   5-9   170   North Texas
4.11   Rakeem Boyd   RB17 (Tier 5)   6-0   213   Arkansas
4.12   Josh Imatorbhebhe   WR23 (Tier 7)   6-2   220   Illinois

5.01   Shi Smith   WR24 (Tier 7 )   5-10   186   South Carolina
5.02   Anthony Schwartz   WR25 (Tier 7)   6-0   180   Auburn
5.03   Hunter Long   TE4 (Tier 3)   6-5   240   Boston College
5.04   Davis Mills   🔺QB6 (Tier 3)   6-4   225   Stanford

There is limited game film on Mills.  He could emerge as a franchise QB in this deep QB class, but he is probably more of a developmental player than a pro-ready QB.  Mills has the requisite size, and he is a better athlete than most give him credit for.  He has the arm talent to make all of the throws at the next level, and it doesn't hurt that he comes out of Stanford, where they play a west coast, pro-style offense.  I like Mills' toughness in the pocket, and I think that is an underrated aspect of his game.  Mills to a QB-needy team would vault him up rookie draft boards, but he may benefit from landing behind an aging veteran where he will have some time to develop.  Mills is an intriguing late-round dynasty prospect who could return handsome dividends, but you may need a deep bench and some patience.
Range of Comparisons:  Ryan Tannehill/Jared Goff
5.05   Damonte Coxie   WR25 (Tier 8 )   6-3   197   Memphis
5.06   Spencer Brown   RB18 (Tier 5)   6-0   235   UAB
5.07   Frank Darby   WR27 (Tier 8 )   6-1   200   Arizona State
5.08   Austin Watkins   WR28 (Tier 8 )   6-3   205   UAB
5.09   Marlon Williams   WR29 (Tier 9) 6-0   215   UCF
5.10   Jalen Tolbert   WR30 (Tier 9)   6-3   195   South Alabama
5.11   Whop Philyor   WR31 (Tier 9)   5-11   185   Indiana
5.12  Jalen Camp   WR32 (Tier 9)   6-2   220   Georgia Tech


The best of the rest . . . 

QB:
Kyle Trask   QB7 (Tier 3)   6-5   240   Florida
Kellen Mond   QB8 (Tier 4)   Texas A&M
Jamie Newman   QB9 (Tier 4)   6-3   235   Wake Forest
Newman!  It is a shame we never got to see what Newman could do at Georgia under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Todd Monken.  Newman is extremely raw.  His footwork is sloppy, and his accuracy is inconsistent.  Yet, if you were to design the ideal QB, he might look a lot like Jamie Newman.  Newman is a physical specimen.  He is a dual threat, which is in vogue with NFL offenses.  Newman has a powerful arm and good athleticism, and he possesses the patience and fortitude to slide in the pocket and allow a play to develop, rather than relying on his feet.  There is a lot to really like about Newman, but he is not likely to challenge for a starting gig early.  A poor showing during Senior Bowl week hurts Newman, although after missing the 2020 season, it was expected that his timing would suffer.
Range of Comparisons: David Garrard/Jalen Hurts, with Donovan McNabb/Cam Newton upside
Feleipe Franks, Arkansas
Shane Buechele, SMU
Ian Book, Notre Dame
Sam Ehlinger, Texas
K.J. Costello, Mississippi State
Brady White, Memphis
Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern
Jack Coan, Wisconsin
Tommy DeVito, Syracuse
Charlie Brewer, Baylor
Zac Thomas, App State
Zach Smith, Tulsa
Brady Davis, Illinois State
Collin Hill, South Carolina
Kevin Thomson, Washington
Noah Johnson, S. Florida
David Moore, C. Michigan

RB:
Jah-Maine Martin   5-10   214   North Carolina A&T
I am unclear if Martin is foregoing the NFL Draft.  It appears so.  North Carolina A&T has now cancelled its spring season, which Martin had announced he was going to play, but he did not indicate if he would return for fall 2021.
Pooka Williams Jr.   RB19 (Tier 5)   5-8   175   Kansas
Lightning quick back with excellent hands, but Williams lacks the size to be anything more than a situational back.  Pooka has video-game-like start-stop and change-of-direction ability.  Despite his diminutive stature, Pooka runs well in traffic and easily makes defenders miss.  Pooka is extremely dangerous as a receiver, where his elite quickness is a mismatch for covering linebackers.  There are some character concerns, although nothing too recent.  The real knock on Williams is his size, although we have seen Tarik Cohen enjoy success, with a similar stature and skills.  He is worth a shot for your PPR squad, depending on where he lands. (Pro Day update:  Williams measured 5-foot-8.5 inches, 175 pounds with 30.70-inch arms. The running back posted a 31.5-inch vertical jump, 108-inch broad jump, 4.38 second 40-yard dash and 7.02 second three-cone drill.)
Range of Comparisons: Lance Dunbar/Dexter McCluster, with Tarik Cohen upside
Chris Evans   RB20   5-11 (Tier 6)   216   Michigan
Evans missed the 2019 season due to academics, and in his 2020 return, he was pretty much an afterthought for the Michigan offense.  When you turn on tape of Evans, you see glimpses of a back who could be in the top 5-10 of this class.  He has the size/speed combo to be an every-down back, and he parlays that with some receiving ability; however, despite the talent, Evans hasn’t put that type of ability together consistently, and, after all, foot ball is a performance sport.  With such a long gap since any meaningful production, Evans is strictly an NFL project who will likely go undrafted.  As a fantasy sleeper, Evans has some intrigue, but he is an obvious longshot to make any noise in the pros.
Brenden Knox   RB21   6-0 (Tier 6)   220   Marshall.  
Knox is an underrated prospect who combines bruising power with good quickness, footwork and vision, and he is an asset in the passing game.  Knox is likely to rise up draft boards, including my own, as the draft season progresses
C.J. Marable   RB   5-10   200   Coastal Carolina
Josh Johnson   RB   5-9   209   UL-Monroe
Gerrid Doaks   RB   6-0   230   Cincinnati
Justin Henderson   RB   5-10   218   LA Tech
Greg McCrae, UCF
Otis Anderson Jr., UCF
JaQuan Hardy, Tiffin
Stevie Scott, Indiana
Jake Funk, Maryland
Trey Ragas, Louisiana
Deon Jackson, Duke
Tory Carter, LSU
Mekhi Sargent, Iowa
Caleb Huntley, Ball St.
Asim Rose, Kentucky
Gary Brightwell, Arizona
Garrett Groshek, Wisconsin
Dedrick Mills, Nebraska
Mason Stokke, Wisconsin
Kene Nwangwu, Iowa St.
Shane Simpson, Virginia
Corey Taylor II, Tulsa
Harry Trotter, Kansas St.
Bryson Denley, Bowling Green
Myles Fells, Navy

WR:
Jonathan Adams Jr.   WR   6-2   210   Arkansas State
Cade Johnson   WR   5-10   184   South Dakota State
Warren Jackson   WR   6-6   215   Colorado State
Tyler Vaughns   WR   6-2   190   USC   
Jacob Harris   WR   6-5   29   UCF
Trevon Grimes   WR   6-4   217   Florida
Desmond “Dez” Fitzpatrick   WR   6-2   210   Louisville
Kawaan Baker   WR   6-1   215   S. Alabama
Javon McKinley   WR   6-2   215   Notre Dame
Mike Strachan   WR   6-5   228   Charleston

Racey McMath   WR   6-2   220   LSU
Dax Milne, BYU
T.J. Vasher, Texas Tech
Cornell Powell, Clemson
Tre Walker, San Jose State
Dazz Newsome, North Carolina
Jhamon Ausbon, Texas A&M
Bailey Gaither, San Jose State
Rico Bussey Jr., Hawaii
Damon Hazelton, Missouri
Blake Proehl, E. Carolina
Isaiah McKoy   WR   6-2   200   Kent State
Brennan Eagles, Texas
Tre Nixon, UCF
Osirus Mitchell, Mississippi St.
Tarik Black, Texas
Eli Stove, Auburn
Brandon Smith, Iowa
Dillon Stoner, Oklahoma State
Terrell Jana, Virginia
Branden Mack, Temple
Antonio Nunn, Buffalo
Eric Kumah, Old Dominion
Connor Wedington, Stanford
Khalil McClain, Troy
DJ Turner, Pittsburgh
Jacob Harris, UCF
Antwan Davis, Ball State
Adrian Hardy, LA Tech
DeVontres Dukes, S. Florida
Ramaud Chaiokiao-Bowman, Northwestern
Jeremiah Haydel, Texas State
Keyion Dixon, E. Kentucky
Myron Mitchell, UAB
Adam Krumholz, Wisconsin

TE:
Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame
Quintin Morris, Bowling Green
Matt Bushman, BYU
Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss
Tre’ McKitty, Georgia
Zach Davidson, Central Missouri
Cary Angeline, NC State
Noah Gray, Duke
Kylen Granson, SMU
Zaire Mitchell, Notre Dame College
Dylan Soehner, Iowa St.
Tony Poljan, Virginia
Josh Pederson, Louisiana-Monroe
Luke Farrell, Ohio State
Nick Eubanks, Michigan
John Bates, Boise State
Pro Wells, TCU
Miller Forristall, Alabama
Briley Moore, Kansas St.
Jack Stoll, Nebraska
Artayvious Lynn, TCU
Shaun Beyer, Iowa
Hunter Kampmoyer, Oregon
Scooter Harrington, Stanford
Carl Tucker, Alabama

 
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Zyphros

Footballguy
This is fantastic and overall I’d call it pretty close.

I sneakily like Brendan Knox a lot from a traits standpoint. He looks legit but he played at Marshall so he won’t get the recognition or the hype. 

 

socrates

Footballguy
This is fantastic and overall I’d call it pretty close.

I sneakily like Brendan Knox a lot from a traits standpoint. He looks legit but he played at Marshall so he won’t get the recognition or the hype. 
I have not seen any tape or discussion about Knox, but I will definitely look into him more.  Thanks!

 

Zyphros

Footballguy
I have not seen any tape or discussion about Knox, but I will definitely look into him more.  Thanks!
I find it way more fun to find under the radar guys who are under the first radar. Brendan Knox is one, Chris Evans and Pooka Williams are other RB's from your not ranked guys. Evans is more of a solid type of guy, but then again I haven't found any recent videos of him so he could have improved a lot. Pooka is explosive as all can be. Insane quickness and acceleration. Let's just say there's some questionable character flaws behind him, and he's listed at 170 pounds. 

I doubt any become anything, but it's fun to dream a .01% (guess) longshot kind of deal. 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Evans is more of a solid type of guy, but then again I haven't found any recent videos of him so he could have improved a lot.
Evans was the name that jumped out at me. He was impressing some Twitter scout people that were calling his game elevated and was a sleeper that everyone was trying to tell the author to be quiet about. He looked good in highlights. Impressive and correctly sized, quick enough and with some breakaway speed. He could be somebody to really watch.

 

socrates

Footballguy
I find it way more fun to find under the radar guys who are under the first radar. Brendan Knox is one, Chris Evans and Pooka Williams are other RB's from your not ranked guys. Evans is more of a solid type of guy, but then again I haven't found any recent videos of him so he could have improved a lot. Pooka is explosive as all can be. Insane quickness and acceleration. Let's just say there's some questionable character flaws behind him, and he's listed at 170 pounds. 

I doubt any become anything, but it's fun to dream a .01% (guess) longshot kind of deal. 
Both Evans and Pooka Williams are intriguing.  Evans has the measurables and natural talent to be a top 5-10 RB in this class, but, unfortunately, his tape does not always measure up to his natural abilities.  He missed a season due to academics, then came back and was an afterthought for Michigan.  He may go undrafted, but he is certainly worth keeping an eye on.  

Pooka Williams is fun to watch, but he is so undersized.  He might be able to carve out a role as a rotational back ala Lance Dunbar or Tarik Cohen, but his upside will be capped by his size.

 
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-OZ-

Footballguy
:blackdot:

:thanks:

Great stuff. I haven't gotten past the first round and a few locals, this will help a lot.

Sitting at 2 and 10 in a SF league, needing RB and TE. this should shake out well I think. 

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
Player development has been a disaster under Harbaugh, so I agree about keeping an open mind with Evans. All of my dyno's are idp, so consider that when I say if he gets drafted then I'll start thinking about him in the late 4th. He showed the traits of a potential 3 down back in 17 after sparking the offense in a CoP role in 16. 18 was a mess though. Then he was suspended all of 19. Then covid. He wasn't the same guy in 18, so the less interesting but more trustworthy Higdon was leaned on. Why? If that info's out there then it never got to me. 

 

socrates

Footballguy
I don't see Dyami Brown falling to the 3rd round.
This is such an incredibly deep class.  Where would you rank Dyami Brown, and who would you move down?  Amon-Ra St. Brown probably deserves to be higher as well, plus Tamorrion Terry could climb up draft boards if he interviews well (I am assuming he will test well).  I have D'wayne Eskridge, Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Josh Imatorbhebhe even later, as my board stands right now, and they are all also candidates to move up.

I considered Dyami Brown higher, but I ultimately decided to slot him behind Kadarius Toney, Tylan Wallace and Amon-Ra St. Brown -- for now.  Pro Day testing (March 29) will be huge for Brown.  If he runs a sub 4.40 or even in the low 4.4's, he could leapfrog Toney/Wallace/St. Brown.  Dyami is only 21 years old, and while he has some areas to improve, his potential is incredibly high!

So much, too, depends on the NFL draft, of course.  

 

barackdhouse

Footballguy
He went a full 5 rounds later than the previous rookie WR, T Marshall, who was clustered with the rest of the top WRs. I took the next rookie about a round later with Amari Rodgers. So it does appear there is a bit of a tier break after Marshall/R Moore. T Wallace and E Moore are still on the board. 5 rounds between rookies though.

 
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JohnnyU

Footballguy
socrates said:
This is such an incredibly deep class.  Where would you rank Dyami Brown, and who would you move down?  Amon-Ra St. Brown probably deserves to be higher as well, plus Tamorrion Terry could climb up draft boards if he interviews well (I am assuming he will test well).  I have D'wayne Eskridge, Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Josh Imatorbhebhe even later, as my board stands right now, and they are all also candidates to move up.

I considered Dyami Brown higher, but I ultimately decided to slot him behind Kadarius Toney, Tylan Wallace and Amon-Ra St. Brown -- for now.  Pro Day testing (March 29) will be huge for Brown.  If he runs a sub 4.40 or even in the low 4.4's, he could leapfrog Toney/Wallace/St. Brown.  Dyami is only 21 years old, and while he has some areas to improve, his potential is incredibly high!

So much, too, depends on the NFL draft, of course.  
Definitely before Felton.  I rank him above all QBs not named Lawrence in a start 1 QBs league.  I like him more than Toney, Wallace and Sermon.  For sure more than Toney.

 
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socrates

Footballguy
Another way to say that is he was the 1st receiver taken in the next tier.
All of my rankings are very tentative, but for now, my Tier 3 WRs are as follows:

Terrace Marshall
Elijah Moore

Kadarius Toney
Tylan Wallace
Amon-Ra St. Brown
Dyami Brown

Tamorrion Terry
D’Wayne Eskridge
Sage Surratt

My tiers are especially large right now, but Pro Day workouts will separate them.  I have Marshall going at the end of Round 1, but I think there is a drop-off after Rashod Bateman/Rondale Moore to Marshall.  Marshall and Elijah Moore are pretty clearly the top of this tier for me.  I have Toney ranked probably higher than I would prefer, but with so much speculation that he will actually be a first round pick in the NFL draft, I feel compelled to put him atop the next sub-tier of Toney/Wallace/St. Brown and Dyami Brown (draft capital matters, although it does not trump talent).  For me, these four receivers could be shuffled in almost any order.  Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of my favorites.  He is a technician, but his lack of elite speed will hurt him in the NFL.  Dyami Brown may be the rawest prospect of this group, but he also has arguably the highest ceiling.

Definitely before Felton.  I rank him above all QBs not named Lawrence in a start 1 QBs league.  I like him more than Toney, Wallace and Sermon.
I could see taking Brown ahead of Felton, although I do really like Felton's PPR potential.  It depends on league scoring and your roster, but in a dynasty, even starting 1 QB, I rank Fields clearly above these receivers, and Wilson/Lance about equal to this group of receivers, although I suspect I am in a minority with that view.  Sermon is a player I have warmed up to considerably, but his draft destination is going to determine, to a large degree, where he is slotted, probably more so than with the WRs.

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
Player development has been a disaster under Harbaugh, so I agree about keeping an open mind with Evans. All of my dyno's are idp, so consider that when I say if he gets drafted then I'll start thinking about him in the late 4th. He showed the traits of a potential 3 down back in 17 after sparking the offense in a CoP role in 16. 18 was a mess though. Then he was suspended all of 19. Then covid. He wasn't the same guy in 18, so the less interesting but more trustworthy Higdon was leaned on. Why? If that info's out there then it never got to me. 
Works both ways though. Yes payer development might have been bad so the player didn't put up the stats and plays to catch eyes, but also player development was bad so maybe the player hasn't developed which puts him at a huge disadvantage heading into the NFL. 

 

JohnnyU

Footballguy
All of my rankings are very tentative, but for now, my Tier 3 WRs are as follows:

Terrace Marshall
Elijah Moore

Kadarius Toney
Tylan Wallace
Amon-Ra St. Brown
Dyami Brown

Tamorrion Terry
D’Wayne Eskridge
Sage Surratt

My tiers are especially large right now, but Pro Day workouts will separate them.  I have Marshall going at the end of Round 1, but I think there is a drop-off after Rashod Bateman/Rondale Moore to Marshall.  Marshall and Elijah Moore are pretty clearly the top of this tier for me.  I have Toney ranked probably higher than I would prefer, but with so much speculation that he will actually be a first round pick in the NFL draft, I feel compelled to put him atop the next sub-tier of Toney/Wallace/St. Brown and Dyami Brown (draft capital matters, although it does not trump talent).  For me, these four receivers could be shuffled in almost any order.  Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of my favorites.  He is a technician, but his lack of elite speed will hurt him in the NFL.  Dyami Brown may be the rawest prospect of this group, but he also has arguably the highest ceiling.

I could see taking Brown ahead of Felton, although I do really like Felton's PPR potential.  It depends on league scoring and your roster, but in a dynasty, even starting 1 QB, I rank Fields clearly above these receivers, and Wilson/Lance about equal to this group of receivers, although I suspect I am in a minority with that view.  Sermon is a player I have warmed up to considerably, but his draft destination is going to determine, to a large degree, where he is slotted, probably more so than with the WRs.
Don’t forget draft capital of RBs.  It plays a huge role in opportunity, James Robinson notwithstanding.  No RB taken in the fourth round or later in the last 5 years has amounted to much.  Only 4 of 14 drafted in the 3 rd round has.

 
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socrates

Footballguy
Don’t forget draft capital of RBs.  It plays a huge role in opportunity, James Robinson notwithstanding.
Draft capital and draft destination will largely determine opportunity.  We see players rise above that and climb a depth chart, but I agree with your point that they generally have a further climb.  Opportunities are not equal; they are generally directly correlated to draft capital and, hence, salary.    

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
Works both ways though. Yes payer development might have been bad so the player didn't put up the stats and plays to catch eyes, but also player development was bad so maybe the player hasn't developed which puts him at a huge disadvantage heading into the NFL. 
Well, of course. But we're taling about day 3 draft picks/dynasty fliers. They have flaws or else they'd be valued more. Which ones have the ingredients to potentially overcome them.

 

Ilov80s

Footballguy
Well, of course. But we're taling about day 3 draft picks/dynasty fliers. They have flaws or else they'd be valued more. Which ones have the ingredients to potentially overcome them.
That’s fair. I’m just saying I don’t think the Harbaugh doesn’t develop guys narrative is a selling point for why to take give a late round player the nod over another.

 

socrates

Footballguy
Don’t forget draft capital of RBs.  It plays a huge role in opportunity, James Robinson notwithstanding.  No RB taken in the fourth round or later in the last 5 years has amounted to much.  Only 4 of 14 drafted in the 3 rd round has.
While I agree with your premise that draft capital is a pretty good indicator of opportunity, there are other RBs over the past 5 years, aside from James Robinson, who have been selected outside of the first three rounds and been at least fantasy relevant.

Tarik Cohen (4th Round), Nyheim Hines (4th Round), Aaron Jones (5th Round), Chris Carson (7th Round), Myles Gaskin (7th Round), Austin Ekeler (Undrafted), all were less than top 3-round picks.  Others, like Jamaal Williams, Jordan Howard, Benny Snell, Chase Edmonds, Tony Pollard, J.D. McKissic and Jeff Wilson have had spells of fantasy relevance, too.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
While I agree with your premise that draft capital is a pretty good indicator of opportunity, there are other RBs over the past 5 years, aside from James Robinson, who have been selected outside of the first three rounds and been at least fantasy relevant.

Tarik Cohen (4th Round), Nyheim Hines (4th Round), Aaron Jones (5th Round), Chris Carson (7th Round), Myles Gaskin (7th Round), Austin Ekeler (Undrafted), all were less than top 3-round picks.  Others, like Jamaal Williams, Jordan Howard, Benny Snell, Chase Edmonds, Tony Pollard, J.D. McKissic and Jeff Wilson have had spells of fantasy relevance, too.
Thanks.

Aaron Jones is one of the top paid RB in the NFL and was a 5th round pick. Of course draft position matters, but to say that guys who are not picked in the first 3 rounds of the NFL draft are not useful for fantasy purposes is incorrect every year someone says it.

I know I commented on my perception of the depth of the 2021 draft class in another thread and we seem to have a different view about the quality of depth of the 2021 compared to other draft classes before. You are saying the 2021 is deep and I am not seeing it that way. I do think you have spent more time looking at these players, and some times the time invested in research can lead us to think the players are more important than they are, at least that has happened to me at times. I dont like using hours of my time for nothing.

As a thought experiment I wonder if you could try to rank the 2021 class combined with the 2020 class? I know that is hard as we now know what the 2020 rookies did and that will influence an attempt at such a ranking. However to test if a group is deep or average or shallow that requires us to compare the 2021 draft class to previous ones. For example if you had 4 1st round grades on WR from 2020 and only 3 1st round grades on WR from 2021 then 2020 would be a bit stronger at the top or vice versa and similarly for each tier.

I am open to your assertion that the 2021 draft class is deep but I guess I would like to see you further expand on that if you do actually think that is true.

I will do the thought experiment as well. Just curious what you or other folks might come up with.

 

socrates

Footballguy
I know I commented on my perception of the depth of the 2021 draft class in another thread and we seem to have a different view about the quality of depth of the 2021 compared to other draft classes before. You are saying the 2021 is deep and I am not seeing it that way. I do think you have spent more time looking at these players, and some times the time invested in research can lead us to think the players are more important than they are, at least that has happened to me at times. I dont like using hours of my time for nothing.
Agreed.  I have been guilty of over-analysis at times, and I am open to the idea that I have been blinded by rookie excitement with the "fake numbers" of Pro Day workouts.  I made my argument for the depth of this class in the other post, so I won't repeat it all here.  The 2020 class was one of the deeper classes in recent memory, and I think this class stacks up well against it, but it is too early to really tell, and it is not usually a fair comparison, since, like you say, we see past classes with the knowledge of actual NFL performance (or non-performance). 

Looking back beyond the 2020 class, in 2019, the only skill-position players to be taken in the top 20 were 3 QBs (Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and D'Wayne Haskins) and 2 TEs (Hockenson and Fant).  Josh Jacobs was taken at pick 24, Marquise Brown at 25 and N'Keal Harry at 32.  That is the sum of first-round picks we had to draft from. 

The 2018 first-round class consisted of 2 WRs (DJ Moore and Calvin Ridley), 3 RBs (Barkley, Penny and Sony Michel), and a TE (Hayden Hurst).  It was a deep QB class, however, with 5 QBs going in the opening round, although probably not as high, collectively, as this class.

I am not suggesting that a class is only graded by its first-round prospects, but it is difficult to compare classes without the bias of actual performance bias.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Agreed.  I have been guilty of over-analysis at times, and I am open to the idea that I have been blinded by rookie excitement with the "fake numbers" of Pro Day workouts.  I made my argument for the depth of this class in the other post, so I won't repeat it all here.  The 2020 class was one of the deeper classes in recent memory, and I think this class stacks up well against it, but it is too early to really tell, and it is not usually a fair comparison, since, like you say, we see past classes with the knowledge of actual NFL performance (or non-performance). 

Looking back beyond the 2020 class, in 2019, the only skill-position players to be taken in the top 20 were 3 QBs (Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and D'Wayne Haskins) and 2 TEs (Hockenson and Fant).  Josh Jacobs was taken at pick 24, Marquise Brown at 25 and N'Keal Harry at 32.  That is the sum of first-round picks we had to draft from. 

The 2018 first-round class consisted of 2 WRs (DJ Moore and Calvin Ridley), 3 RBs (Barkley, Penny and Sony Michel), and a TE (Hayden Hurst).  It was a deep QB class, however, with 5 QBs going in the opening round, although probably not as high, collectively, as this class.

I am not suggesting that a class is only graded by its first-round prospects, but it is difficult to compare classes without the bias of actual performance bias.
I know its a difficult experiment to do.

I have kept records of my previous tiers and rankings of draft classes. Its always painful to look back as some of the mistakes stand out like sore thumbs. What in the world was I thinking there?? But it is perhaps the most fair way to compare them, as prospects prior to the NFL draft.

If we went through say 10 years and just looked at the draft position of the players, that would be another way to make the comparison, as you started to do. Perhaps if we did that we would find 2021 WR class would be deeper than a 10 year average, even if 2020 ends up being better than 2021. Now for the 2021 guys we are just anticipating draft position, the actual draft might be different than we think, but we could quickly make a comparison based on draft position after the draft.

You have pretty detailed rankings for the 2021 rookies. Do you have similar rankings for 2020 by which to compare them?

 

socrates

Footballguy
I know its a difficult experiment to do.

I have kept records of my previous tiers and rankings of draft classes. Its always painful to look back as some of the mistakes stand out like sore thumbs. What in the world was I thinking there?? But it is perhaps the most fair way to compare them, as prospects prior to the NFL draft.

If we went through say 10 years and just looked at the draft position of the players, that would be another way to make the comparison, as you started to do. Perhaps if we did that we would find 2021 WR class would be deeper than a 10 year average, even if 2020 ends up being better than 2021. Now for the 2021 guys we are just anticipating draft position, the actual draft might be different than we think, but we could quickly make a comparison based on draft position after the draft.

You have pretty detailed rankings for the 2021 rookies. Do you have similar rankings for 2020 by which to compare them?
I agree, this is probably the only way to compare classes, aside from getting hold of a copy of Gray's Sports Almanac from the future!  

I have most of my draft boards going back many seasons, but they are my adjusted rankings, usually through Week #3 of the preseason, since I typically have rookie drafts in August.  Still, I will go back and compare.  Like you, I find myself cringing as I look back on my abysmal ignorance!  lol

2020 DRAFT RANKINGS (for comparison)

1.01    Jonathan Taylor    RB1    Wisconsin    IND
1.02    D’Andre Swift    RB2    Georgia    DET
1.03    C. Edwards-Helaire    RB3    LSU        KC
1.04    J.K. Dobbins        RB4    Ohio State    BAL
1.05    CeeDee Lamb        WR1    Oklahoma    DAL
1.06    Cam Akers        RB5    Florida State    LAR
1.07    Jerry Jeudy        WR2    Alabama    DEN
1.08    Justin Jefferson    WR3    La State    MIN
1.09    Brandon Aiyuk    WR4    Arizona State    SF
1.10    Henry Ruggs III    WR5    Alabama    LV
1.11    Jalen Reagor        WR6    TCU        PHI
1.12    Tee Higgins        WR7    Clemson    CIN

2.01    Antonio Gibson    RB6    Memphis    WAS
2.02    Michael Pittman    WR8    USC        IND
2.03    Joe Burrow        QB1    LSU        CIN
2.04    Denzel Mims        WR9    Baylor        NYJ
2.05    Laviska Shenault    WR10    Colorado    JAC
2.06    Zack Moss        RB7    Utah        BUF
2.07    Bryan Edwards    WR11    So. Carolina    LV
2.08    Chase Claypool    WR12    Notre Dame    PIT
2.09    Tua Tagovailoa    QB2    Alabama    MIA
2.10    AJ Dillon        RB8    BC        GB
2.11    Van Jefferson        WR13    Florida    LAR
2.12    Justin Herbert        QB3    Oregon    LAC

3.01    Ke’Shawn Vaughn    RB9    Vanderbilt    TB
3.02    A. McFarland Jr.    RB10    Maryland    PIT
3.03    KJ Hamler        WR14    Penn St    DEN
3.04    Darrynton Evans    RB11    App. State    TEN
3.05    Joshua Kelley        RB12    UCLA        LAC
3.06    A. Gandy-Golden    WR15    Liberty    WAS
3.07    Jordan Love        QB4    Utah State    GB
3.08    Gabriel Davis        WR16    UCF        BUF
3.09    Devin Duvernay    WR17    Texas        BAL
3.10    Tyler Johnson        WR18    Minnesota    TB
3.11    Lynn Bowden Jr.    RB13    Kentucky    LV
3.12    DeeJay Dallas        RB14    Miami        SEA

4.01    La'Mical Perine    RB15    Florida    NYJ
4.02    Adam Trautman    TE1    Dayton    NO
4.03    Cole Kmet        TE2    Notre Dame    CHI
4.04    Devin Asiasi        TE3    UCLA        NE
4.05    Jalen Hurts        QB5    Oklahoma    PHI
4.06    Darnell Mooney    WR19    Tulane    CHI
4.07    Quintez Cephus    WR20    Wisconsin    DET
4.08    Isaiah Coulter        WR21    Rhode Island    HOU
4.09    A. Okwuegbunam    TE4    Missouri    DEN
4.10    D. Peoples-Jones    WR22    Michigan    CLE
4.11    Collin Johnson    WR23    Texas        JAC
4.12    Harrison Bryant    TE5    Fla Atlantic    CLE

5.01    J.J. Taylor        RB16    Arizona    NE
5.02    Dalton Keene        TE6    Virginia Tech    NE
5.03    Eno Benjamin        RB17    Arizona State    ARI
5.04    John Hightower    WR24    Boise State    PHI
5.05    Isaiah Hodgins    WR25    Oregon State    BUF
5.06    Joe Reed        WR26    Virginia    LAC
5.07    JaMycal Hasty    RB18    Baylor        SF
5.08    Salvon Ahmed    RB19    Washington    SF
5.09    K.J. Hill        WR27    Ohio State    LAC
5.10    Quez Watkins        WR28    So. Miss    PHI
5.11    Jason Huntley        RB20    NM State    DET
5.12    Marquez Callaway    WR29    Tennessee    NO

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Seeing your list and that your draft from Rounds 1-3 look almost exactly like mine gives me a heartened view of what I believe to be my own failure this past draft. Lots of people had guys where I did, it seems. It also seems they all had suspect years. Thanks for posting!

 

socrates

Footballguy
As a thought experiment I wonder if you could try to rank the 2021 class combined with the 2020 class?
It is not a combined ranking, but here is the 2020 vs. 2021 Rookie Dynasty Picks head-to-head (just for some fun). (I highlighted in red the player I gave the "superior grade", and green where the difference was nominal):

  • 1.01    Jonathan Taylor (RB1) ----------------------------- Najee Harris (RB1)
  • 1.02    D’Andre Swift (RB2) ------------------------------- JaMarr Chase (WR1)
  • 1.03    C. Edwards-Helaire (RB3) ----------------------- Travis Etienne (RB2)
  • 1.04    J.K. Dobbins (RB4) -------------------------------- Javonte Williams (RB3)
  • 1.05    CeeDee Lamb (WR1) ----------------------------- Kyle Pitts (TE1)
  • 1.06    Cam Akers (RB5) ----------------------------------- Trevor Lawrence (QB1)
  • 1.07    Jerry Jeudy (WR2) --------------------------------- Jaylen Waddle (WR2)
  • 1.08    Justin Jefferson (WR3) ---------------------------- DeVonta Smith (WR3)
  • 1.09    Brandon Aiyuk (WR4) ------------------------------ Rashod Bateman (WR4)
  • 1.10    Henry Ruggs III (WR5) ----------------------------- Rondale Moore (WR5)
  • 1.11    Jalen Reagor (WR6) -------------------------------- Kenneth Gainwell (RB4)
  • 1.12     Tee Higgins (WR7) -------------------------------- Terrace Marshall (WR6)
Round One is pretty much a wash.  On my board, Jonathan Taylor grades out as the best RB, and JaMarr Chase grades out as the highest-rated WR.  I called it even between Lamb and Pitts, as well as Akers and Lawrence.  Some may disagree, but Pitts and Lawrence represent elite, perhaps even generational, talents at their respective positions.  I tried to evaluate this based on each player as a prospect, without regard to rookie success (or lack thereof) or even draft destination, since we do not have any similar data for the 2021 class.  The 2020 rookie draft class was one of the strongest in recent memory, and that the 2021 class is able to hold its own head-to-head says how strong this draft is at the top.

Round Two . . . 

  • 2.01    Antonio Gibson (RB6) ------------------------------- Michael Carter (RB5)
  • 2.02    Michael Pittman (WR8) ----------------------------- Elijah Moore (WR7)        
  • 2.03    Joe Burrow (QB1) ----------------------------------- Justin Fields (QB2)
  • 2.04    Denzel Mims (WR9) -------------------------------- Jermar Jefferson   RB6
  • 2.05    Laviska Shenault (WR10) ------------------------- Zach Wilson (QB3)
  • 2.06    Zack Moss (RB7) ------------------------------------ Pat Freiermuth (TE2)
  • 2.07    Bryan Edwards (WR11) ---------------------------- Trey Sermon (RB7)
  • 2.08    Chase Claypool (WR12) --------------------------- Trey Lance (QB4)
  • 2.09    Tua Tagovailoa (QB2) ------------------------------- Chuba Hubbard (RB8)
  • 2.10    AJ Dillon (RB8) --------------------------------------- Kadarius Toney (WR8)
  • 2.11    Van Jefferson (WR13) ------------------------------- Tylan Wallace (WR9)
  • 2.12    Justin Herbert (QB3) -------------------------------- Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR10)
The early portion of Round Two was strong in 2020, but overall, the round was pretty close, with only a slight edge to the 2020 class.

Round Three . . .

  • 3.01    Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB9) --------------------------- Dyami Brown (WR11)
  • 3.02    A. McFarland Jr. (RB10) ---------------------------- Elijah Mitchell (RB9)
  • 3.03    KJ Hamler (WR14) ----------------------------------- Mac Jones (QB5)
  • 3.04    Darrynton Evans (RB11) ---------------------------- Tamorrion Terry (WR12)
  • 3.05    Joshua Kelley (RB12) ------------------------------- D’Wayne Eskridge (WR13)
  • 3.06    A. Gandy-Golden (WR15) -------------------------- Nico Collins (WR14)
  • 3.07    Jordan Love (QB4) ----------------------------------- Demetric Felton (RB10)
  • 3.08    Gabriel Davis (WR16) ------------------------------- Kylin Hill (RB11)
  • 3.09    Devin Duvernay (WR17) ---------------------------- Khalil Herbert (RB12)
  • 3.10    Tyler Johnson (WR18) ------------------------------- Brevin Jordan (TE3)
  • 3.11    Lynn Bowden Jr. (RB13) ----------------------------- Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR15)
  • 3.12    DeeJay Dallas (RB14) ------------------------------- Rhamondre Stevenson (RB13)
I gave a slight edge to the 2020 class here, but this is shaping up as a pretty even match, so far.  I know some ranked Ke'Shawn Vaughn considerably higher than I did, and, interestingly enough, I seem to rank Dyami Brown lower than the consensus.  Joshua Kelley vs. D'Wayne Eskridge could go the other way, but I give the slight edge to Eskridge.  Conversely, I gave the edge to the 2020 class on a close call between Darrynton Evans and Tamorrion Terry.  I liked the comparison of DeeJay Dallas vs. Rhamondre Stevenson.  Even Steven(son)!

Round Four . . .

  • 4.01    La’Mical Perine (RB15) ---------------------------- Sage Surratt (WR16)
  • 4.02    Adam Trautman (TE1) ----------------------------- Larry Rountree III (RB14)
  • 4.03    Cole Kmet (TE2) ------------------------------------ Jaret Patterson (RB15)
  • 4.04    Devin Asiasi (TE3) ---------------------------------- Seth Williams (WR17)
  • 4.05    Jalen Hurts (QB5) ----------------------------------- Amari Rodgers (WR18)
  • 4.06    Darnell Mooney (WR19) --------------------------- Marquez Stevenson (WR19)
  • 4.07    Quintez Cephus (WR20) -------------------------- Simi Fehoko (WR20)
  • 4.08    Isaiah Coulter (WR21) ----------------------------- Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell (WR21)
  • 4.09    A. Okwuegbunam (TE4) --------------------------- Javian Hawkins (RB16)
  • 4.10    D. Peoples-Jones (WR22) ------------------------- Jaelon Darden (WR22)
  • 4.11    Collin Johnson (WR23) ----------------------------- Rakeem Boyd (RB17)
  • 4.12    Harrison Bryant (TE5) ------------------------------- Josh Imatorbhebhe (WR23)
Here is where the 2020 class really shines.  As deep as the 2021 WR class is, the 2020 class was arguably even deeper.  (Note:  Jalen Hurts had dropped down my draft board when he was drafted behind Wentz, but he should be higher in this comparison.)

Round Five . . . 

  • 5.01    J.J. Taylor (RB16) ------------------------------- Shi Smith (WR24)
  • 5.02    Dalton Keene (TE6) ---------------------------- Anthony Schwartz (WR25)
  • 5.03    Eno Benjamin (RB17) -------------------------- Hunter Long (TE4)
  • 5.04    John Hightower (WR24) ----------------------- Kyle Trask (QB6)
  • 5.05    Isaiah Hodgins (WR25) ------------------------ Damonte Coxie (WR26)
  • 5.06    Joe Reed (WR26) ------------------------------- Spencer Brown (RB18)
  • 5.07    JaMycal Hasty (RB18) -------------------------- Frank Darby (WR27)
  • 5.08    Salvon Ahmed (RB19) -------------------------- Austin Watkins (WR28)
  • 5.09    K.J. Hill (WR27) ---------------------------------- Marlon Williams (WR29)
  • 5.10    Quez Watkins (WR28) ------------------------- Jalen Tolbert (WR30)
  • 5.11    Jason Huntley (RB20) --------------------------- Whop Philyor (WR31)
  • 5.12    Marquez Callaway (WR29) -------------------- Jalen Camp (WR32)
The sheer depth of the 2021 WR class shines as you get very late in the draft, as it did with the 2020 class.  I know some will say Salvon Ahmed was ranked too low on my board, and perhaps so, but keep in mind this is without regard to his success at Miami after he was released as an UDFA by the Niners.  Still, the 2020 rookie RB depth was impressive.

Overall, I would say the 2020 class was arguably stronger, but it truly was one of the best crops of rookies we have seen come into the league in quite some time, top to bottom.  That we are even having this debate says volumes about the quality and depth of the 2021 class.  So much will change with the NFL draft, but this 2021 class is shaping up to be a very good crop of rookies!

 

socrates

Footballguy
No Tremble on your list huh?
Yes, TE5 (see the original post).  I only included the top 4 Tight Ends in the projected Draft Board, but I could easily see Tommy Tremble as a late-round dynasty pick.  

 
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Biabreakable

Footballguy
It is not a combined ranking, but here is the 2020 vs. 2021 Rookie Dynasty Picks head-to-head (just for some fun). (I highlighted in red the player I gave the "superior grade", and green where the difference was nominal):

  • 1.01    Jonathan Taylor (RB1) ----------------------------- Najee Harris (RB1)
  • 1.02    D’Andre Swift (RB2) ------------------------------- JaMarr Chase (WR1)
  • 1.03    C. Edwards-Helaire (RB3) ----------------------- Travis Etienne (RB2)
  • 1.04    J.K. Dobbins (RB4) -------------------------------- Javonte Williams (RB3)
  • 1.05    CeeDee Lamb (WR1) ----------------------------- Kyle Pitts (TE1)
  • 1.06    Cam Akers (RB5) ----------------------------------- Trevor Lawrence (QB1)
  • 1.07    Jerry Jeudy (WR2) --------------------------------- Jaylen Waddle (WR2)
  • 1.08    Justin Jefferson (WR3) ---------------------------- DeVonta Smith (WR3)
  • 1.09    Brandon Aiyuk (WR4) ------------------------------ Rashod Bateman (WR4)
  • 1.10    Henry Ruggs III (WR5) ----------------------------- Rondale Moore (WR5)
  • 1.11    Jalen Reagor (WR6) -------------------------------- Kenneth Gainwell (RB4)
  • 1.12     Tee Higgins (WR7) -------------------------------- Terrace Marshall (WR6)
Round One is pretty much a wash.  On my board, Jonathan Taylor grades out as the best RB, and JaMarr Chase grades out as the highest-rated WR.  I called it even between Lamb and Pitts, as well as Akers and Lawrence.  Some may disagree, but Pitts and Lawrence represent elite, perhaps even generational, talents at their respective positions.  I tried to evaluate this based on each player as a prospect, without regard to rookie success (or lack thereof) or even draft destination, since we do not have any similar data for the 2021 class.  The 2020 rookie draft class was one of the strongest in recent memory, and that the 2021 class is able to hold its own head-to-head says how strong this draft is at the top.

Round Two . . . 

  • 2.01    Antonio Gibson (RB6) ------------------------------- Michael Carter (RB5)
  • 2.02    Michael Pittman (WR8) ----------------------------- Elijah Moore (WR7)        
  • 2.03    Joe Burrow (QB1) ----------------------------------- Justin Fields (QB2)
  • 2.04    Denzel Mims (WR9) -------------------------------- Jermar Jefferson   RB6
  • 2.05    Laviska Shenault (WR10) ------------------------- Zach Wilson (QB3)
  • 2.06    Zack Moss (RB7) ------------------------------------ Pat Freiermuth (TE2)
  • 2.07    Bryan Edwards (WR11) ---------------------------- Trey Sermon (RB7)
  • 2.08    Chase Claypool (WR12) --------------------------- Trey Lance (QB4)
  • 2.09    Tua Tagovailoa (QB2) ------------------------------- Chuba Hubbard (RB8)
  • 2.10    AJ Dillon (RB8) --------------------------------------- Kadarius Toney (WR8)
  • 2.11    Van Jefferson (WR13) ------------------------------- Tylan Wallace (WR9)
  • 2.12    Justin Herbert (QB3) -------------------------------- Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR10)
The early portion of Round Two was strong in 2020, but overall, the round was pretty close, with only a slight edge to the 2020 class.

Round Three . . .

  • 3.01    Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB9) --------------------------- Dyami Brown (WR11)
  • 3.02    A. McFarland Jr. (RB10) ---------------------------- Elijah Mitchell (RB9)
  • 3.03    KJ Hamler (WR14) ----------------------------------- Mac Jones (QB5)
  • 3.04    Darrynton Evans (RB11) ---------------------------- Tamorrion Terry (WR12)
  • 3.05    Joshua Kelley (RB12) ------------------------------- D’Wayne Eskridge (WR13)
  • 3.06    A. Gandy-Golden (WR15) -------------------------- Nico Collins (WR14)
  • 3.07    Jordan Love (QB4) ----------------------------------- Demetric Felton (RB10)
  • 3.08    Gabriel Davis (WR16) ------------------------------- Kylin Hill (RB11)
  • 3.09    Devin Duvernay (WR17) ---------------------------- Khalil Herbert (RB12)
  • 3.10    Tyler Johnson (WR18) ------------------------------- Brevin Jordan (TE3)
  • 3.11    Lynn Bowden Jr. (RB13) ----------------------------- Ihmir Smith-Marsette (WR15)
  • 3.12    DeeJay Dallas (RB14) ------------------------------- Rhamondre Stevenson (RB13)
I gave a slight edge to the 2020 class here, but this is shaping up as a pretty even match, so far.  I know some ranked Ke'Shawn Vaughn considerably higher than I did, and, interestingly enough, I seem to rank Dyami Brown lower than the consensus.  Joshua Kelley vs. D'Wayne Eskridge could go the other way, but I give the slight edge to Eskridge.  Conversely, I gave the edge to the 2020 class on a close call between Darrynton Evans and Tamorrion Terry.  I liked the comparison of DeeJay Dallas vs. Rhamondre Stevenson.  Even Steven(son)!

Round Four . . .

  • 4.01    La’Mical Perine (RB15) ---------------------------- Sage Surratt (WR16)
  • 4.02    Adam Trautman (TE1) ----------------------------- Larry Rountree III (RB14)
  • 4.03    Cole Kmet (TE2) ------------------------------------ Jaret Patterson (RB15)
  • 4.04    Devin Asiasi (TE3) ---------------------------------- Seth Williams (WR17)
  • 4.05    Jalen Hurts (QB5) ----------------------------------- Amari Rodgers (WR18)
  • 4.06    Darnell Mooney (WR19) --------------------------- Marquez Stevenson (WR19)
  • 4.07    Quintez Cephus (WR20) -------------------------- Simi Fehoko (WR20)
  • 4.08    Isaiah Coulter (WR21) ----------------------------- Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell (WR21)
  • 4.09    A. Okwuegbunam (TE4) --------------------------- Javian Hawkins (RB16)
  • 4.10    D. Peoples-Jones (WR22) ------------------------- Jaelon Darden (WR22)
  • 4.11    Collin Johnson (WR23) ----------------------------- Rakeem Boyd (RB17)
  • 4.12    Harrison Bryant (TE5) ------------------------------- Josh Imatorbhebhe (WR23)
Here is where the 2020 class really shines.  As deep as the 2021 WR class is, the 2020 class was arguably even deeper.  (Note:  Jalen Hurts had dropped down my draft board when he was drafted behind Wentz, but he should be higher in this comparison.)

Round Five . . . 

  • 5.01    J.J. Taylor (RB16) ------------------------------- Shi Smith (WR24)
  • 5.02    Dalton Keene (TE6) ---------------------------- Anthony Schwartz (WR25)
  • 5.03    Eno Benjamin (RB17) -------------------------- Hunter Long (TE4)
  • 5.04    John Hightower (WR24) ----------------------- Kyle Trask (QB6)
  • 5.05    Isaiah Hodgins (WR25) ------------------------ Damonte Coxie (WR26)
  • 5.06    Joe Reed (WR26) ------------------------------- Spencer Brown (RB18)
  • 5.07    JaMycal Hasty (RB18) -------------------------- Frank Darby (WR27)
  • 5.08    Salvon Ahmed (RB19) -------------------------- Austin Watkins (WR28)
  • 5.09    K.J. Hill (WR27) ---------------------------------- Marlon Williams (WR29)
  • 5.10    Quez Watkins (WR28) ------------------------- Jalen Tolbert (WR30)
  • 5.11    Jason Huntley (RB20) --------------------------- Whop Philyor (WR31)
  • 5.12    Marquez Callaway (WR29) -------------------- Jalen Camp (WR32)
The sheer depth of the 2021 WR class shines as you get very late in the draft, as it did with the 2020 class.  I know some will say Salvon Ahmed was ranked too low on my board, and perhaps so, but keep in mind this is without regard to his success at Miami after he was released as an UDFA by the Niners.  Still, the 2020 rookie RB depth was impressive.

Overall, I would say the 2020 class was arguably stronger, but it truly was one of the best crops of rookies we have seen come into the league in quite some time, top to bottom.  That we are even having this debate says volumes about the quality and depth of the 2021 class.  So much will change with the NFL draft, but this 2021 class is shaping up to be a very good crop of rookies!
Thanks for this. I hope you have gained something from the exercise.

I have some disagreements of course.

First of all it seems you have Jamar Chase as the 2nd best players out of both draft classes and a higher grade than Swift. In some ways I can understand that but putting this in a fantasy focus RB > WR and I am guessing Swifts ADP is and will be higher than Chase. In my opinion Ceedee Lamb is the best WR prospect from both classes (yes I know Justin Jefferson outperformed him) and I still did not rank him ahead of Swift last year.

I think Travis Etienne is a better RB than CEH although I have compared their play styles before. I had ETN as possibly better than Taylor and I guess I am still on the fence about that. I had CEH as the 5th best RB of 2020 prior to KC drafting him before any other RB. He only vaulted the other 4 2020 RB post draft because of the landing spot. I do not think he is the same talent level as ETN.

To have Pitts as even with Ceedee Lamb also doesn't work for me. I prefer Lamb over any and all non RB from both draft classes.

At 6 you have Trevor Lawrence being the same grade as Cam Akers. Again unless this is a superflex league these players will be no where near each other in terms of ADP

At 7 you have Waddle as better than Jeudy and I disagree with that. I think Jeudy is the better WR of the two.

I cant really argue against Justin Jefferson after he set records. I greatly under estimated what Jefferson can do in a similar fashion as I did with Michael Thomas. If you put him as the top WR from both classes that is what the numbers say. I used to say Michael Thomas would not have been as good without Brees and I think there is some truth to that. I have also said he wouldnt have been as productive playing for the Vikings as the Saints, but after what Jefferon just did. I seem to be wrong about that too.

At 10 I think Rondale Moore is better than Ruggs. Very different players though makes it kind of hard to compare them.

At 11 I am higher on Reagor than you are. I had him ahead of Ruggs last season before the draft and despite the injury I still do. The draft position made that difficult but I am going to stick to my guns on this one at least for another season. I had Reagor ahead of Aiyuk and Justin Jefferson as well. I do seem to be wrong about that in regards to Jefferson.

Kennth Gainwell is someone I should likely watch as you have him at 11 in this combined list. Just a name to me. Total SGT Shultz right now.

I wont go into detail for the later guys although that is where the depth is. I have not delved into the 2021 prospects enough to really evaluate the depth with any confidence which is why your comments about that were interesting to me.

I dont see the top 12 as being a wash as you say. 2020 group looks quite a bit stronger to me.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Oh btw I am learning about Gainwell now. He didnt play in 2020 but he was with Memphis in 2019 along with Antonio Gibson. I have not watched him but I know that school has had very high powered offense recently Darrell Henderson is from there as well.

I am guessing his numbers not as good as Henderson or Gibson and while I will keep an open mind I dont think he belongs in any top 12 list.

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
Oh btw I am learning about Gainwell now. He didnt play in 2020 but he was with Memphis in 2019 along with Antonio Gibson. I have not watched him but I know that school has had very high powered offense recently Darrell Henderson is from there as well.

I am guessing his numbers not as good as Henderson or Gibson and while I will keep an open mind I dont think he belongs in any top 12 list.
Gibson got (a lot) less touches in 2019 than Gainwell

 

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