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Top 26 Rookies 2021 (1 Viewer)

Deamon

Footballguy
Ok I was hoping maybe there was something out there to back up this idea, which I think is totally plausible by the way.

Since we were talking about this I went back and looked at who was producing with Tua in college.

2017 Tua didnt play as much as Jalen Hurts did. He does play in 8 games but not many attempts at all. Calvin Ridley dominated what receiving they did have that season (less than 2000 yards passing) and Bo Scraborough had the 2nd most receptions with 17. Whatever.

2018 Tua wins the job and plays almost all of the QB snaps. Jerry Jeudy leads the team in receptions ( 68) followed by Ruggs (46) Waddle (45) Irv Smith (44) and Devonta Smith (42). To me this isnt showing a strong preference for any of these players besides Juedy and a QB who spreads the ball around with almost even distribution to 4 players after Juedy. Waddle does have his best season in 2018 with Tua.

2019 Tua plays in 9 games before being injured.  Jerry Jeudy leads the team in receptions (77) Devonta Smith (68) Ruggs (40) Waddle (33)

So what happened to Waddle in 2019? If what you are saying is true that Tua thinks Waddle is a better WR than Smith then why didnt he use Waddle more in 2019?

It doesnt really add up does it?
Maybe Waddle improved immensely during the 2020 off-season? Numbers don't mean everything... tua and him likely worked out a ton that summer and it showed in the first 4 games. 

 

rockaction

Footballguy
Its probably not said enough but you are a nice man Joe and I appreciate that about you.
Yeah, I second that. I think it's really cool that somebody from the forum -- a part of the site that could be just a glamorized comment section -- gets a shout-out in the mailing. Comment sections are usually the places authors are told not to read. That there is content that is singled out for praise and reading is a testament to how the owner views the community of people that are on the site -- people that are generally in it for the betterment of everyone.

 

SoBeDad

Footballguy
No Fuller for game 1 versus NE,  so we'll get some indication of Waddle's use for 2022 when Fuller will be gone. I think Miami would've selected either Pitts or Chase ahead of Waddle, although we may never know. When Miami held the #3 draft spot, the discussion was Chase vs Smith. Chris Simms has been accurate predicting QBs & WRs, had DK Metcalf #1 in 2019, and Lamb & Jefferson top 2 in 2020, has Chase #1 in 2021, and Waddle at #4. 

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
In general, I've found typing that out or using words to that effect have a dramatically positive effect on discussion. 

It's a way more productive way to communicate. Meaning people are much more likely to interact and discuss. Instead of argue with shots or zingers back and forth. At least that's been my experience. 

And I'd love to see us do more of that here. 
Fair enough. Personally when I see @Dez type out "player X is too low", in my opinion, he's not stating that as fact but is engaging in conversation by giving his view, and if some one takes that as an attack that's on them.

But I get that there's certainly people on this board that like to play the victim whenever some one disagrees with them, so I'll keep it in mind. 

 

kko2212

Footballguy
Did you really like any prospects? It feels like it was raining all day there, wherever there is. From the sounds of it, most of these guys don't stand a chance to even make rosters. Good luck to all! LOL

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
But I get that there's certainly people on this board that like to play the victim whenever some one disagrees with them, so I'll keep it in mind. 
No. That's not what I'm saying at all. 

Humans in general have way better discussions when things are discussed in more of a "in my opinion..." style.

Has ZERO to do with playing victim or anything like that. Trying to drag shots like that into it is the opposite of what I want here. 

 

Dr. Octopus

Footballguy
No. That's not what I'm saying at all. 

Humans in general have way better discussions when things are discussed in more of a "in my opinion..." style.

Has ZERO to do with playing victim or anything like that. Trying to drag shots like that into it is the opposite of what I want here. 
I suppose the point I was trying to make (perhaps poorly) is that "in my opinion" should be implied with most posts unless one was looking to fight back.

Sorry to derail a good thread.

 

Zyphros

Footballguy
Totally on board with Waddle being the most exciting, Chase was a bit underwhelming too but still very good. Overall this class looks to provide more FF depth than actual elite studs. And there's caution in the wind for most of these prospects. 

The only write up I disagree with here is the Bateman one. For Waddle/Chase it's more of a "how they win" type of profile instead of an complete all around player. With Bateman though he arguably has the highest ceiling because he does do everything. I wouldn't call him a technician but he is detail oriented although unrefined as of now. There's a ton to like about him and because of college production and a more all around skillset, I'd easily put him ahead of Moore and Toney on this list. Safer floor and higher ceiling. 

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Maybe Waddle improved immensely during the 2020 off-season? Numbers don't mean everything... tua and him likely worked out a ton that summer and it showed in the first 4 games. 
I think Tua was playing for the Miami Dolphins in 2020 so your statement doesnt make sense.

 

Deamon

Footballguy
I think Tua was playing for the Miami Dolphins in 2020 so your statement doesnt make sense.
Ah yes, I got my years mixed up.

I don't know the answer to your question.  Maybe they still did work out together.  Maybe they still did talk.  Maybe Tua saw him as more of a pro style WR in that 2018 year.  Maybe it was situational why he went to Smith more.  Maybe Tua still watched a lot of his games early in the season when he went off at Bama.  Maybe Tua still is close with Saban and Saban told him Waddle would be the pick.  I have absolutely no clue, but I am confident that Tua would have been involved in the process of that pick, and likely gave his glowing endorsement for Waddle over Smith.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Ah yes, I got my years mixed up.

I don't know the answer to your question.  Maybe they still did work out together.  Maybe they still did talk.  Maybe Tua saw him as more of a pro style WR in that 2018 year.  Maybe it was situational why he went to Smith more.  Maybe Tua still watched a lot of his games early in the season when he went off at Bama.  Maybe Tua still is close with Saban and Saban told him Waddle would be the pick.  I have absolutely no clue, but I am confident that Tua would have been involved in the process of that pick, and likely gave his glowing endorsement for Waddle over Smith.
Well I think that is all unsubstantiated speculation and that you may be trying to hard.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Ah yes, I got my years mixed up.

I don't know the answer to your question.  Maybe they still did work out together.  Maybe they still did talk.  Maybe Tua saw him as more of a pro style WR in that 2018 year.  Maybe it was situational why he went to Smith more.  Maybe Tua still watched a lot of his games early in the season when he went off at Bama.  Maybe Tua still is close with Saban and Saban told him Waddle would be the pick.  I have absolutely no clue, but I am confident that Tua would have been involved in the process of that pick, and likely gave his glowing endorsement for Waddle over Smith.
Yes. My guess it was likely more the asking Tagovailoa about him the same way you'd ask your key person what they thought about hiring someone they'd worked with in the past. 

Just makes sense. 

 

Deamon

Footballguy
Well I think that is all unsubstantiated speculation and that you may be trying to hard.
None of it is speculation, it was brainstormed reasons that possibly could have happened.  If you think that Tua was not asked in depth about Waddle and how they would fit together in Miami's offense, you're out to lunch.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
None of it is speculation, it was brainstormed reasons that possibly could have happened.  If you think that Tua was not asked in depth about Waddle and how they would fit together in Miami's offense, you're out to lunch.
I never said they didnt talk to him about it. I said earlier that the idea seems plausible.

However its speculation unless there is actually evidence of this occurring which I have not seen. 

I am sure Miami has talked about why they selected Waddle. I havent read any of that but I would guess the information is out there.

 

Deamon

Footballguy
I never said they didnt talk to him about it. I said earlier that the idea seems plausible.

However its speculation unless there is actually evidence of this occurring which I have not seen. 

I am sure Miami has talked about why they selected Waddle. I havent read any of that but I would guess the information is out there.
A lot of things happen behind the scenes in the NFL that don't hit the media.  It's easy to take the "well we don't know for sure" route.  Sure, I don't know 100% for sure. But "in my opinion" , there's no chance that Tua was not involved in the process of choosing Waddle over Smith.  But this info will never come out.

As for why they selected him, it's probably a number of reasons.  But Tua is on record saying that he asked them for 'more speed' in the draft, and that points directly to Waddle over Smith.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
I never said they didnt talk to him about it. I said earlier that the idea seems plausible.

However its speculation unless there is actually evidence of this occurring which I have not seen. 

I am sure Miami has talked about why they selected Waddle. I havent read any of that but I would guess the information is out there.
We get it. Let's drop and move on please. 

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
This is what the GM said about it:

"Just as we went through it, it's the explosiveness that Waddle gives you as well as the return game," Grier said in a conference call with reporters. "And for us, just that dynamic trait ... but for us, it was getting to know the kid and we were really, really happy and knowing how competitive and tough (he is). 

"They're both really good players. DeVonta is going to be a really good player in this league. For us, it was the explosive playmaking ability and the return ability for us that we really liked. At the end of the day, they're both really good players and really good kids and very competitive." 

Hard to blame the Dolphins for pairing Waddle up with Tagovailoa again, after the success the two had in 2019 on a Crimson Tide team that also boasted the likes of Smith, Jerry Jeudy, and Henry Ruggs. Waddle was the 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year after having 45 catches for 848 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns in Tagovailoa's breakout campaign. Thirty of Waddle's receptions went for a first down or touchdown that season, showcasing the dynamic playmaker he was for the Crimson Tide -- and exciting Tagovailoa in the process.  (There is a video link of Tuas reaction to the pick) 

"His role is going to be what he makes it," said Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. "Based off of all the film we've seen, we think he'll fit inside or outside. We think he'll add a speed element. Obviously he has some value in the return game. I think his versatility is a big part of this. His ability to play inside, play in the slot, play on the perimeter, play in the return game. Again, we're very, very excited to have him." LINK
So speed and return ability is my interpretation of this.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Not enjoying the discussion?

eta - I was just complimenting you for being nice to everyone, but your comment here is not being excellent to me or anyone.
I don't think that's not being excellent. I think we all get it and we'd all like to move forward. 

Please let's get back to 100% football. Thanks. 

 

socrates

Footballguy
A few notes before I get into this list:

- I watched at least two games (condensed into all-snap highlights) for all of the first round QBs, but QB is the hardest position to evaluate and the one that requires the most time commitment, so I feel like I still don't have a great handle on those guys. Mainly I am going with the party line at that position, and not moving anything around too radically. I'm not the guy to ask for a lot of insights on the finer points of these QBs.

- These rankings are for standard PPR and non-PPR formats where RB/WR positions are emphasized. If you are in a league that lends added weight to another position like TE or QB, you will have to think about how that might change the equation.

- Overall, I felt this class lacked true marquee talent at the top. However, it's deep with viable QB prospects and has some day 2-3 players with a pulse. I'm sure it will yield a fair share of strong FF contributors. The third tier is the most interesting spot to me, as it features a variety of interesting talents who don't carry a huge price tag. There's most likely some great value to be mined there if you can pick the right players.

- The trend in the NFL is obviously towards specialists and players who can add value-over-replacement with chunk plays, which is reflected in this population of players. In particular it's an odd WR class that lacks conventional outside X receiver types, but offers a variety of smaller gadget and hybrid weapons. It's the year of the chess piece.

FIRST TIER

1. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins - His tape is better than Chase's, so he's my WR1. Waddle is like a human joystick, with instant speed, agility, and acceleration. ELITE athleticism. One of the most explosive and sudden WRs you will see. He can burn people down field, but also shed coverage and tacklers in small windows with his top tier quickness. Think of him as an even better version of TY Hilton. I call him the WR version of Darren Sproles because he's the smallest guy on the field, but also the most athletic. The only limitation on his game is size and durability. He's shorter than ideal and relatively light. What kind of workload can he handle at 182 pounds? He should thrive, though he may end up as more of a WR2 in FF terms than a WR1 depending on target volume. Without size, he doesn't automatically project as someone who can handle 140+ targets.

2. RB Najee Harris, Steelers - He's an easy evaluation. High-floor prospect with a mid-level ceiling. The B+ version of Steven Jackson. Above average size coupled with quality speed, cutting ability, and receiving skills. You know what you're getting here: a reliable three down player who can step in and handle a high volume of touches from year one. A lot of big backs struggle with agility, but Harris plays on a swivel and has pretty good feet and hips for a taller back (not elite, but good enough). He's not a generational talent or a special prospect, but he projects to be a solid starter at a position of high value in most FF formats. The role itself is valuable. Consider him as high as 1.01 depending on team needs and league format.

3. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons - He's a 6'6" WR with TE eligibility. Pitts is very athletic and mobile, with rare vertical speed for a TE. He was a big play waiting to happen in college, and a lot of that should translate to the next level. He'll be a seam threat with exceptional RAC ability and strong red zone value. In terms of negatives, he runs a bit pigeon-toed and can get caught up in his routes sometimes, so defenders may be able to frustrate him in the short-intermediate game with tight coverage. The other glaring issue is that TE is a tertiary position in most FF leagues. If you spend a top 3-4 rookie pick on Pitts, you need him to become a Gonzo/Gronk/Kittle type of producer to justify the price tag, and there's always some risk that he won't hit that ceiling. Prospects usually don't become the best version of who we think they can be. Moreover, you can typically find high-ceiling TEs late in a rookie draft (i.e. Gronk/Graham/Kelce/Kittle/Witten), so it may not be maximizing the value of your picks to select a TE this high. I would compare Pitts to a pre-injury Tyler Eifert, another athletic TE who was quick enough to be split out wide and win against defensive backs in 1v1 situations. Injuries derailed Eifert's career, but Pitts can become a better version of him. He might be the best skill position prospect in this draft, but low positional value makes him a questionable choice over Waddle or Harris. You'd need him to become an all-timer.

4. WR Ja'Marr Chase, Bengals - When a team drafts a WR in the top 5, they are saying he's a special talent and likely Pro Bowler. I can't say Chase is a guaranteed bust, but I found his tape slightly underwhelming for a player with such a lofty reputation. He has an atypical, squatty frame for the position. He lacks elite open field agility and has a questionable vertical push off the line of scrimmage, often wearing a lot of coverage. He lacks elite body control and suddenness. Hindsight is 20/20 now that we've seen Justin Jefferson thrive in the NFL, but when you watch them side by side at LSU, Jefferson is the more elastic, explosive, and agile athlete. Chase is more compact and powerful, relying on solid break point separation and physicality to generate production. He has some other things going in his favor. He was a prolific stat machine in college. He tested well at his pro day. Perhaps more importantly, all of his film is from the 2019 season, so we haven't really seen him play lately. What we saw in 2019 may not be the maxed out version of Chase. The lofty draft spot also can't completely be ignored. Still, my sense is that he's closer to a Golden Tate type of player than a truly elite WR prospect. Squatty straight-line bull with toughness and burst. Not a top tier Pro Bowl type though. I feel more comfortable with the other options in the top 4 and would be inclined to trade out of Chase and let someone else see what they have.

SECOND TIER

5. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles - Immensely productive. Mobile, loose, and has a real vertical burst. Quality route runner with good position-specific skills. The elephant in the room is more like the flamingo in the room in his case: he's painfully skinny at 6'0" and just 170 pounds. Can he hold up in the NFL? Will cornerbacks be able to smother him? I tend to be more comfortable with prospects who fit a well-defined mold than with players who are unprecedented, and I've never seen a WR as skinny as Smith with the same play style. Even Marvin Harrison and Calvin Ridley were significantly heavier. Ridley is the most logical comparison for Smith given size/play style/draft slot/alma mater. He has become a good pro and that bodes well for Smith's chances, but Smith is a unique proposition. Hard to classify. From a skill standpoint, I like what I see. The rail thin frame adds a significant layer of risk though. It could be a Paul Richardson type of situation where he's just never able to stay on the field.

6. RB Trey Sermon, 49ers - A nice synergy of talent and situation. Sermon isn't an elite back and probably doesn't have the ceiling to supernova in the NFL, but he has a well-rounded skill set and should push Mostert for a starting role as a rookie. Sermon has decent size and adequate quickness, with added value as serviceable receiving option out of the backfield. In terms of body type and play style, he's a poor man's Adrian Peterson. He has a similar frame, but lacks the elite wheels and evasiveness. His agility is not bad, but not special. He should be a useful starter in the NFL. Long-term, there's some risk that he gets Kerryon'd by a better talent because he's not sensational, merely solid.

7. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars - The hype and college career might have you thinking he's an Andrew Luck level QB prospect, but my sense is that he's closer to Eli Manning or Matt Ryan, albeit more athletic than either. Seemingly a high-floor QB prospect with a quality ceiling. He's tall and fast, though he's not Cam or Lamar from an athleticism standpoint. You'd want him in the pocket in the NFL, not running often. He's decisive and accurate, keeping his eyes active when forced to run. The arm strength looks good to me and he generally makes good decisions. He's an experienced player with a long track record of elite production against quality opposition. However, he'll sometimes throw off his back foot when pressured. With four other QBs selected in the first round and several more on day two, it's likely that one of them will end up being better than Lawrence in the long run. Still, he seems to be a quality franchise QB prospect with a high floor. You can take him as high as #5 in standard formats if you have acute QB needs. Also a strong option in superflex and QB-premium leagues, but his tape fell a little short of wowing me.

8. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars - This is a low ranking for Etienne, but I don't see him becoming a reliable franchise back in the NFL. He's a bursty home run threat who lacks consistency, agility, and functional power. He is not a natural or smooth RB. Questionable feet. He's a one-cut-and-go sprinter who takes a lot of punishment and struggles to create in the second level of the defense. Elite speed is enough to dominate in college, but the windows are smaller in the NFL, so cutting ability and elusiveness are stressed to a much greater degree. Etienne is sub par in these categories and projects as a Duke Johnson type on Sundays. His chunk play potential and versatility may explain his high draft slot. He presents value-over-replacement in these areas, but his overall game is lacking to become a true lead back. If you are in position to draft him and your dynasty team has RB needs, I would look into trade possibilities for Edwards-Helaire, Josh Jacobs, or Mixon. They are ranked in similar territory on overall dynasty RB lists, but offer more talent than Etienne. I'm fading Etienne at his market value. Avoid.

9. RB Javonte Williams, Broncos - The Broncos RB spot has a been a graveyard for overrated mediocre RB prospects in recent years. Will Williams become another Devontae Booker or Royce Freeman, an early pick who yields disappointing returns? He has good size and straight-line burst. His reputation is as a tough, competitive runner. When I watched his clips, I felt he had some clear limitations. He lacks true agility and is clearly inferior to his college teammate Michael Carter in terms of cutting ability and elusiveness. You don't see him weaving through traffic or making a lot of great cuts in the second level. Instead he looks to break everything to the outside and rely on his linear speed. He's faster than quick, reminiscent of someone like DeMarco Murray or Leonard Fournette in that regard. Once he reaches full speed, he struggles to throttle down or redirect his momentum. I think he'll have a chance to be a productive starter if his team can highlight his positive traits (straight-line speed, momentum) and minimize his weaknesses (agility, creating in small windows). I would say he's unlikely to become an elite pro back though, and will be vulnerable to replacement. Given the nature of FF leagues, he'll be a coveted asset if he has a strong rookie year, which is possible, but I don't see enduring starter talent, so I'm ranking him lower than where most probably have him. Overrated and overdrafted, but has short-term boom potential by virtue of opportunity.

10. WR Elijah Moore, Jets - I think he's essentially Brandin Cooks-lite. He's not quite as sudden in his routes as Cooks was and that may be why he fell further in the draft, but he has a similar frame and does some similar things. Fast. He can get vertical and is also a dangerous open field runner due more to his high end speed than his average quickness. He's not a naturally elusive player, but his sheer speed makes him a RAC threat on short throws and crossing patterns. Route running is just okay and he's a little undersized to handle a heavy workload. That could lead to Cooks-like issues down the road with big hits and durability. Still, I like his tape and think he can be a 1000 yard receiver in the NFL. He's the best WR talent on the Jets and even if they go out and get an elite #1 in the future, Moore will be a dangerous complementary piece. Not an elite prospect, but a solid value around the 10-12 range of rookie drafts as a possible long-term WR2-WR3 for your FF team.

11. WR Kadarius Toney, Giants - He's the second best athlete in this WR class behind Waddle. Very elastic and smooth in his movement. Fluid and sudden. Adequate size to play outside. The issue is that his usage makes it difficult to project exactly what he'll be on Sundays. Like Jalen Reagor last year, you don't quite know what you're getting. He did a lot of work out of the slot at Florida, which makes it hard to evaluate his ability to thrive as an outside receiver. Purely as a slot, he doesn't have "wow" speed or figure to be a high volume target. Essentially what you have here is a ball of clay, an athletic project that the Giants will try to develop into a receiver. You could compare him to former Gator Percy Harvin in that regard, but Harvin was a more explosive athlete and flashed more pure WR skill in college. A player like Cordarrelle Patterson illustrates the risk of these athlete types. Sometimes they never develop into more than a gadget player/return man (although Patterson had a very different body type + movement compared to Toney). Still, Toney is athletic enough to justify a gamble relatively early. The Giants spent a high pick on him and have a barren WR situation, so he'll have an opportunity to thrive. He'll add value in year one as a chess piece. From there, his ceiling will be determined by whether he can become more than just a dynamic situational threat.

12. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens - Sneaky linear speed. Apparently he tested in the high 4.3 range. I wouldn't say he's a burner on film, but he can get vertical. It's one of his better qualities. His size is merely okay. He's on the lean side. More of a technician than someone who's going to overwhelm people with athleticism. There's some tightness in his lateral movement. There are shades of Justin Jefferson in terms of body type and play style, but he's not that fluid or athletic. I'll make a comparison to younger Robert Woods. Both are leaner, technical finesse WRs who lack any one single elite trait, but thrive with decent athleticism and crisp routes. Woods has gradually become a productive NFL player, but it took many years to reach that level. He was mostly anonymous when he was in Buffalo. Bateman doesn't have the "wow" talent to dominate on a mediocre team and the Baltimore offense is not known to be WR-friendly, so you could be looking at several 500-700 yard seasons before you can even figure out what you have. I don't hate him as a prospect, but I'm not super excited about the overall synergy of talent and situation. Feels like a guy who could plateau as an 800 yard WR without a favorable system/situation to prop him up.

13. QB Zach Wilson, Jets - A slightly different style compared to Lawrence. He's shorter and more compact, but mobile and active. His play style reminds of Baker Mayfield. He's a good athlete. I thought his arm looked solid, but some sources question his deep ball velocity. The level of competition is also slight concern, as he wasn't facing many great teams. He often had a lot of time to throw the ball, but in the NFL the clock will be faster and the pressure will be greater. The overall vibe I get from the tape and other scouting sources is somewhere in the Romo/Mayfield territory as an accurate, intelligent QB with sneaky mobility to buy time and create openings.

14. QB Trey Lance, 49ers - Elite frame and very good athleticism. He's big and straight-line fast (not elusive though). Strong arm. It feels lazy to compare him to Kaepernick just because the 49ers drafted him, but there are undeniable similarities. Both are tall and mobile, but inconsistent as pure passers. In the games I watched, Lance struggled with ball placement. Questionable accuracy. His level of competition can be seen as both a positive and a negative. He never got to prove himself against elite opposition, yet the fact that the 49ers were still willing to pay a premium to draft him third overall indicates an extremely optimistic assessment of his long-term value. Lance is a project who will require some patience, but the potential payoff is high and in a few years you could be looking at a high level FF starter. Seemingly the boom-or-bust pick of the top three QBs. If you have strong QB needs, you can take Lance and Wilson 4-5 spots higher than where I have them here, but the position is devalued in many leagues.

THIRD TIER

15. QB Justin Fields, Bears - Might be the best pure athlete of all the QBs. He's built solid, but also has very good mobility. An ideal physical talent for the position. He makes some great throws and had gaudy stats in college. In terms of negatives, his field recognition seemed questionable at times. He also became panicky against the pass rush, with the instinct to tuck the ball and take off running rather than trying to keep the pass play alive. Considered by most evaluators to be a slow processor, which could lead to issues with sacks and interceptions. Like Lance, a boom-or-bust project with a high ceiling. If you already have a strong QB1 in place, consider Fields as a cheaper dart throw once the top 3 QBs come off the board, as he'd be a good QB2 to stash for the potential upside.

16. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions - A gritty chain-mover. He's been on my radar since his freshman season at USC. I had him as a day two talent going into the NCAA season, and he ended up going at the top of day 3. His lack of any one single elite trait may be part of why he slipped. St. Brown is merely average in terms of size and speed. He's not going to be an elite vertical threat. He's similar to former Trojan JuJu Smith-Schuster in terms of route suddenness and fluidity, but lacks the size or RAC skills. There's nothing really special here. There's no "wow" factor to his game, but I would bet on him finding some type of niche in the NFL. He's a natural football player who can do the dirty work in the short-intermediate game as a second or third option. Good route running and toughness. The best version of what he can be is someone like Adam Thielen, but you have to factor some long-term JAG risk into the equation, given draft slot and ordinary size/speed.

17. WR Rondale Moore, Cardinals - A tough FF asset to gauge because he's a pure slot WR. He's only 5'7" and doesn't look like someone who will ever be lining up outside. However, I liked his tape and think he's a high end slot prospect. Productive player with good play strength, movement, and burst. A good chain mover with occasional big play potential (he's not going to be Tyreek Hill though). There are no major warts. He should be a useful player for Arizona. The question is whether or not the volume will be there to make him relevant in FF leagues. We've seen some slot receivers like Cole Beasley and Wes Welker have significant FF value in recent years. Arizona seems like a team that may want to air it out and rack up a lot of pass attempts, which bodes well for Moore's chances. You may be looking at a lot of 4/40 and 5/50 type of weeks with a player like this. Potentially a nice PPR option, whose upside will ultimately hinge on usage.

18. RB Michael Carter, Jets - Athletic. He's a better athlete than Javonte Williams, with better agility and cuts. Don't be totally surprised if he ends up having a better pro career. Carter is one of the only backs in this draft who can make sharp lateral cuts at high speed, and that can be a very valuable skill set in the NFL. The questions involve size and consistency. He's only 200 pounds, built approximately the same as someone like Ameer Abdullah or Jerick McKinnon. Like those two backs, he lacks sheer bulk and runs with marginal power. This type of smaller, hyper athletic back sometimes struggles to transition to a full-time role, and that's the real risk with Carter. I'm pretty confident that he has the run talent to be a useful NFL player, but I don't know if he's going to be able to transition into a starting position. McKinnon and Abdullah have hung around the NFL for years without ever really being startable. Another comparison is Chase Edmonds, who has flirted with FF relevance the last few years without yet taking the next step. I like Carter and would happily roll the dice on him for a 2nd round rookie pick, but anything higher would be too risky.

19. WR Josh Palmer, Chargers - The biggest enigma in this WR class. Despite playing four seasons in a major program (Tennessee), he never topped 500 receiving yards in a single season. That's concerning. Is he an underutilized hidden gem or an underachiever? He flashes interesting potential at times, as a big body WR with good break point separation skills. He is sudden out of his plants and has the frame to shield the ball from DBs at the catch point. Some of the stuff he does is reminiscent of NFL success stories like DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas, and there's a sense that maybe his best football is in front of him. The Chargers invested a relatively early pick on him and have a spotty WR corps, so there could be an opportunity to impact within a year or two. Palmer is a risky home run swing as an FF asset, but I like the value and potential at his modest ADP.

20. WR Terrace Marshall, Panthers - On paper, he's very light for his height, but he has a solid base and may be able to accommodate more bulk without the loss of speed. A three year collegiate, he's younger than most of this WR class. Solid athlete. Smooth on the field, but not the route runner that Jefferson was in the same system. Speed is good, but not "wow" level. A work-in-progress with a limited ceiling, but can become a system-dependent WR2 in the NFL.

21. WR D'Wayne Eskridge, Seahawks - Vertical threat. His best attribute is his speed. He can run by people and is a constant big play threat. While not tall, he's built relatively solid and shouldn't have obvious problems with durability. He may be a little underrated by virtue of attending a low profile program (Western Michigan). He's not without faults though. A 5 year collegiate, he's probably a maxed out physical talent. He lacks height and has a small catch radius. His hands can be inconsistent. He is more straight-line fast than elusive, though his speed threatens defensive backs and helps him create separation on a variety of routes. Perhaps the biggest immediate issue is that he goes to a Seahawks team that has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett locked into multi-year contracts already. Even an elite QB like Wilson may struggle to sustain startable production for 3 WRs, so the most likely short-term scenario for Eskridge is being a boom-or-bust lid lifter who catches a few bombs per season without really having reliable FF value. There's a route to a DeSean Jackson type of long-term upside, but it's not a guarantee and you will have to be patient.

22. RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots - Bowling ball type. Surprisingly light on his feet. For a guy with terrible combine numbers, his tape is not bad. He has more athleticism than the numbers would suggest. He can pick through traffic and make some decent cuts. Sometimes he gets caught up in his own legs and struggles to redirect, but he's not a total plodder. Big backs with mobility typically translate well to the NFL, but there may be a ceiling on what this type of back can become. I'm thinking of people like LenDale White and LeGarrette Blount. You could look at Eddie Lacy's first few years with the Packers as an optimistic best-case scenario. If a team commits to Stevenson, he can produce. Damien Harris is probably a more talented overall back though, so it's unclear what Stevenson's role will look like out of the box. My sense is that he will be a useful power back who is capable of thriving in spurts. A worthy stash at his ADP. He's more talented than most 4th round RBs. Think of him as Blount 2.0 for New England.

23. WR Nico Collins, Texans - 15-20 years ago, he might have been a first round pick. He presents something different and unique in this WR class: a jumbo deep threat who specializes in the jump ball. There was a time when 6'3"+ WRs were all the rage in the league, but lately it seems that speed and quickness are more coveted than height. Collins has modest burst off the line and average quickness. He is fluid, but not sudden. He cannot reliably separate on short-intermediate routes. That's why he's not a safe projection as a productive starter. He specializes in galloping downfield and using his height/length/strength to sky for the deep throw. He would've fit well with a QB like Ben Roethlisberger who can utilize deep threats effectively (Burress, Wallace). In a system that caters to his strengths, it's not impossible for him to be a 1000+ yard WR. However, he presents some limitations in the possession game that may cap his potential.

24. QB Mac Jones, Patriots - Off the charts production, albeit with a sensational supporting cast. He's above average as a pure passer compared his peers in this draft, but he's also regarded as a limited athlete with a lower ceiling. Vulnerable to pressure. The comparison I've seen is Kirk Cousins, and that seems to fit in terms of talent level and play style. Look for him to become a mid-level NFL starter whose athletic shortcomings prevent him from ever hitting the elite category. It's not a compelling outlook in 1QB leagues, but in superflex formats he may be a sneaky pick.

25. TE Pat Freiermuth, Steelers - A high-floor, low-ceiling two-way TE. He'll be somewhere between Kyle Rudolph and Hunter Henry in the NFL. Solid athlete and can develop into a quality possession outlet, but lacks explosiveness and big play ability. The modest ceiling makes him a lukewarm option in most FF formats.

26. WR Dyami Brown, Team - He's a Mike Wallace/Will Fuller type. One trick pony deep threat with a wispy frame. Vertically explosive, but that's basically all he provides. It's always tough to rely on this type of player, but there's a chance that he can carve out a niche.

OTHERS

QB Kyle Trask, Buccaneers - Regarded as a bit of a throwback to the 90s type of QB, a statuesque pocket passer with limited mobility and slow operation time. He goes to a team with experience protecting an immobile QB and a head coach with a quality history of developing QB talent, so it's not the worst landing spot. Consider him a long-term stash with modest starter potential.

QB Kellen Mond, Vikings - Inconsistent college production compared to other QBs in this class. He offers some mobility and has made strides as a passer, but is still regarded as unreliable and enigmatic with his decisions and passing ability. Given all the marquee talent in this QB class, there's no real impetus to prioritize someone like Mond, but he could get a chance as a starter in the future.

QB Davis Mills, Texans - Raw player with a high ceiling as a pocket passer. His best football may be ahead of him, but he's still a work-in-progress and will likely be on the sidelines for a while. It would actually be a good thing for him if Watson were to stick around, as it would give him time to learn. Think about him as a stash in deep leagues.

RB Chris Evans, Bengals - His film is intriguing and there are individual reps where he really looks like an NFL back. For a bigger back, he is mobile and agile. Think James Starks or Thomas Rawls. Spot starter potential if Mixon continues to have durability issues.

RB Larry Rountree, Chargers - A no-nonsense banger. I don't view Ekeler as well-suited to full-time duty and Rountree might be the favorite to win whatever carries are left over, but he's a long-term backup in all likelihood.

RB Brenden Knox, Cowboys - I was intrigued by him when I reviewed this class for last year's devy drafts. I think he was a draftable talent on day 3. Dallas got him as a UDFA and he'll have a chance to win the backup job. Compact power back with okay feet, but limited burst. David Cobb type.

WR Amari Rodgers, Packers - Squatty slot WR with a running back body type. Agile and mobile, but his explosiveness is merely good and not elite. Decent player, but I don't know if there's a big ceiling here, especially with Aaron Rodgers trending towards the exit.

WR Tutu Atwell, Rams - Tiny slot WR. A Tavon Austin type. Limitations cap his upside.

WR Tylan Wallace, Ravens - A competitive Cecil Shorts type of player or poor man's Robert Woods. Not a great ceiling, but has the talent level to become a relevant FF player as a second or third option for his NFL team. Limited athletic traits.

WR Cornell Powell, Chiefs - You can't help but notice him when you watch Trevor Lawrence's film. Powell lacks separation ability, but is a physical possession outlet. He'll be a less talented Dwayne Bowe type of player as a complementary piece in Kansas City. Getting a piece of this passing attack might be wise, and Powell could outproduce his talent by virtue of Mahomes.

WR Jalen Camp, Jaguars - The typical Georgia Tech workout freak type, like another Darren Waller. Very raw and may face an uphill battle to make a roster, but if you're going to go mining for day three WRs, he at least presents a useful ceiling.

TE Zach Davidson, Vikings - Small school project. Maybe too limited to pan out, but has a compelling blend of height and vertical explosiveness. Straight-line player. Reminiscent of a Gesicki or Jared Cook type. Reasonable flyer in TE-premium.
Well done!  

I have Chase 1 and Waddle 2, but I agree Waddle has special qualities which could justify him as WR1.

It is interesting to see Sermon as your RB2.  Sermon finds himself in an offense in SF where he could thrive.  I have been steadily moving Sermon up my board, but I am not ready to leapfrog him to RB2 yet.  His vision and ability to run through contact are outstanding, and he has the short-area quickness and burst which I find tends to be more important than long speed.

Many folks in the fantasy community are pretty down on Kadarius Toney, so I am intrigued by your relative high ranking.  Toney is difficult to cover, but I would not really describe him as a smooth athlete.  The fear I have is that Toney could have more real-world value as a chain mover than fantasy value.  He is a tremendous athlete and tough as nails, and the first-round capital is meaningful.  We will see if Toney can become a volume target from the slot or develop his downfield game.  I will not hesitate to take Toney in the mid-2nd, but 1.11 may prove too rich for me.

 
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Reactions: EBF

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
I selected Smith over Waddle for a couple reasons. One is that foot/ankle injuries scare me off like a small accident does when buying a car - once the frame gets bent, things often just never go back to normal. Sure, things could turn out okay but there are other players to draft & cars to buy.

Second is that after you're done taking measurements and comparing this guy did that guy, it's important to remember what you saw when the guy played football. And Smith wrecked everyone.

The San Francisco backfield can be someone else's headache. There will be weeks it looks great and weeks it doesn't. They're the crypto investment of the FFB world.

 
Thanks for all your work here EBF, it was a fun and interesting read.  I've put my stake in the ground in a few other places but of the Chase, Waddle, Smith debate put me in the camp of Smith being best.  All he does is produce.

 

EBF

Footballguy
Well done!  

I have Chase 1 and Waddle 2, but I agree Waddle has special qualities which could justify him as WR1.

It is interesting to see Sermon as your RB2.  Sermon finds himself in an offense in SF where he could thrive.  I have been steadily moving Sermon up my board, but I am not ready to leapfrog him to RB2 yet.  His vision and ability to run through contact are outstanding, and he has the short-area quickness and burst which I find tends to be more important than long speed.

Many folks in the fantasy community are pretty down on Kadarius Toney, so I am intrigued by your relative high ranking.  Toney is difficult to cover, but I would not really describe him as a smooth athlete.  The fear I have is that Toney could have more real-world value as a chain mover than fantasy value.  He is a tremendous athlete and tough as nails, and the first-round capital is meaningful.  We will see if Toney can become a volume target from the slot or develop his downfield game.  I will not hesitate to take Toney in the mid-2nd, but 1.11 may prove too rich for me.
RE: Chase vs. Waddle, I don't think it's an obvious slam dunk, but I am surprised at the amount of pushback on that one considering they were drafted one spot apart. Maybe it's valid or maybe it's because Chase was the marquee name all summer whereas Waddle was more of a late-riser. I know from being in dev leagues for many years that preseason takes can calcify and bleed into post-draft feelings, even when new information suggests they should be modified. If we go by draft position, it's the slimmest margin possible between those two, which suggests it should at least be open to debate as to who's better.

I'm not a gigantic Sermon fan, but it's a thin RB crop and obviously I have some reservations about Etienne and Williams, who were the only other RBs drafted higher that I didn't rank higher (also Najee). I've always favored agile backs over straight-line backs, and that's part of the rationale here. I'm worried that Etienne and Williams are too limited, and too straight-line as runners. It's one-cut-and-go with them, whereas a player like Carter, Sermon, or Najee does a better job of changing momentum and evading tackles. The catch with Williams is that the Broncos spent big draft capital on him, so will surely give him chances to shine. I'm just skeptical of the long-term outlook.

Toney is a really tough player to slot into the list because he's a non-traditional type of WR who doesn't necessarily have the overwhelming physical qualities to translate into a full-time outside WR, so there's some risk that he tops out with a low ceiling like 700-800 yards. I do have Elijah Moore ahead of him, which is notable because he was drafted lower. I also think there's some genuinely interesting talent in that R Moore/Eskridge/Palmer/St. Brown/Collins cluster. That's one of the most interesting regions of these rookie drafts and there's likely 1-2 great NFL players hiding in there, but it's hard to say exactly who's going to do what. Almost all of them have some type of red flag or situational issue. Bateman is another guy whose raw value seems restricted by his landing spot, as Lamar has shown no real ability to sustain multiple useful FF WRs. That's why I made the Robert Woods comparison, because even if he's a solid player, he doesn't obviously have transcendent talent to overcome a bad landing spot.

So it's a little bit strange with Toney. #11 sounds high, but this is a WR who was picked 20th overall in the draft. Typically a WR picked that high would be top 4-8 on my list. I'm somewhat down on Toney relative to his NFL draft slot, just not as down on him as most other people seem to be.

 

Jail

Footballguy
Ok I was hoping maybe there was something out there to back up this idea, which I think is totally plausible by the way.

Since we were talking about this I went back and looked at who was producing with Tua in college.

2017 Tua didnt play as much as Jalen Hurts did. He does play in 8 games but not many attempts at all. Calvin Ridley dominated what receiving they did have that season (less than 2000 yards passing) and Bo Scraborough had the 2nd most receptions with 17. Whatever.

2018 Tua wins the job and plays almost all of the QB snaps. Jerry Jeudy leads the team in receptions ( 68) followed by Ruggs (46) Waddle (45) Irv Smith (44) and Devonta Smith (42). To me this isnt showing a strong preference for any of these players besides Juedy and a QB who spreads the ball around with almost even distribution to 4 players after Juedy. Waddle does have his best season in 2018 with Tua.

2019 Tua plays in 9 games before being injured.  Jerry Jeudy leads the team in receptions (77) Devonta Smith (68) Ruggs (40) Waddle (33)

So what happened to Waddle in 2019? If what you are saying is true that Tua thinks Waddle is a better WR than Smith then why didnt he use Waddle more in 2019?

It doesnt really add up does it?
Good question.  There are other possibilities though.  I wonder if maybe Ruggs and Waddle were used in a similar way in the offense? If they were that could explain some of it.  I guess we'd have to know what Waddle production was per snap compared to the other WR to really get a good idea. Very possible he was just getting less snaps while deferring snaps to guys with more seniority. Also possible he just hadn't developed enough skills yet in 2019. 

It will be an interesting comparison to watch now that all these guys are in the NFL now. 

 

Deamon

Footballguy
This is what the GM said about it:

So speed and return ability is my interpretation of this.
Yes, the speed that Tua asked them for.

What are they gonna say, "We asked Tua and he thought Waddle was better so we took him".  PR Nightmare.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Good question.  There are other possibilities though.  I wonder if maybe Ruggs and Waddle were used in a similar way in the offense? If they were that could explain some of it.  I guess we'd have to know what Waddle production was per snap compared to the other WR to really get a good idea. Very possible he was just getting less snaps while deferring snaps to guys with more seniority. Also possible he just hadn't developed enough skills yet in 2019. 

It will be an interesting comparison to watch now that all these guys are in the NFL now. 
I think you make a good point about the possibility that Ruggs and Waddle had a similar role in the offense and perhaps Ruggs departure increased Waddles opportunity.

I wonder if some Alabama fans around here could shed more light on this as I would like to know what happened with Waddle in 2019.

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Yes, the speed that Tua asked them for.

What are they gonna say, "We asked Tua and he thought Waddle was better so we took him".  PR Nightmare.
Of course that would be for them so they will coach speak on it.

That doesn't mean that they did it because it's what Tua wanted. It could be that but I am still a doubting Thomas on this until I see proof.

 

Deamon

Footballguy
Of course that would be for them so they will coach speak on it.

That doesn't mean that they did it because it's what Tua wanted. It could be that but I am still a doubting Thomas on this until I see proof.
Ya I'm not saying or implying the decision was totally Tua's.  But I do think they asked him and he preferred Waddle or at least pushed for waddle. If he pushed hard for Smith I don't think waddle would be the choice, and I think they probably talked to tua in length about waddle and his thoughts on working with him. 

 

Biabreakable

Footballguy
Ya I'm not saying or implying the decision was totally Tua's.  But I do think they asked him and he preferred Waddle or at least pushed for waddle. If he pushed hard for Smith I don't think waddle would be the choice, and I think they probably talked to tua in length about waddle and his thoughts on working with him. 
Its an interesting angle and as I said before it totally could be that Tua influenced their decision.

Of course Tua might also just like the same music as Waddle does or for some reason unrelated to football that he likes Waddle more than Smith if indeed his opinion did influence their decision.

 

Deamon

Footballguy
Its an interesting angle and as I said before it totally could be that Tua influenced their decision.

Of course Tua might also just like the same music as Waddle does or for some reason unrelated to football that he likes Waddle more than Smith if indeed his opinion did influence their decision.
Well I don't think theyre good friends. Waddle was asked what qb he liked better between tua and Mac and he straight up said mac for sure 😛

 

beto

Footballguy
Who did you get in your drafts, and where?   I'm guessing a lot of St. Brown, Palmer and maybe Eskridge

 

EBF

Footballguy
Who did you get in your drafts, and where?   I'm guessing a lot of St. Brown, Palmer and maybe Eskridge
The HyperActive leagues folded this offseason, right as I was set to bow out of them, so I lost three dynasty teams.

I now just have two dynasty teams remaining and both formats are unique, so the draft outcomes are misleading.

League #1 (QB premium): Lawrence (1.03), Elijah Moore (2.03), Eskridge (2.08), Stevenson (3.03)

My second choice was Waddle here and he was still available when I picked at 1.03, but as my only two QBs of note are the unreliable Mayfield and the aging Roethlisberger, I felt it was time to finally pay the piper and get a top tier QB prospect onto the squad. I have a pretty solid RB/WR/TE group in this league (Chubb, M Sanders, C Edmonds, Diggs, JuJu, A-Rob, Deebo, M Andrews, Jonnu Smith, H Henry), so didn't feel forced to take a RB/WR or Pitts.

League #2 (TE premium + devy): Freiermuth (1.10), irrelevant flyers with my last two picks (Rountree, Knox)

This league wiped out most of the top talents in the dev draft last summer (Chase, Pitts, Knox, Bateman, Waddle, etc). So the 1.10 here is effectively like a mid-late 2nd in a normal league.

I would never prioritize Freiermuth in a standard format. I went with him here because, in a deep 14 team league with 1.5 PPR for TE and lots of flex spots, a Hunter Henry type can be an every week starter. St. Brown went one pick before me, and someone traded into that spot to take him, so they probably thought I was going to take him, which I might have. I was surprised to see him go so high.

This roster is also pretty strong and I just wanted a high-floor depth body instead of a home run swing (I have Mahomes, Saquon, Mixon, J Jacobs, Edmonds, Gaskin, Tyreek, M Andrews, JuJu, Ruggs, and a few other warm bodies). In hindsight I would probably take Palmer, Eskridge, or Collins here for the upside though, as they are more likely to become league-winners than Freiermuth.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
I was talking about football until you "nicely" told me to shut up. Which isnt a kind thing to say to anyone 
I apologize. It seemed to me the conversation was stuck on back and forth accusing each other of "unsubstantiated speculation and that you may be trying to hard." and after repeated back and forth on that, it seemed clear and I asked to move on.

I said, "We get it. Let's drop and move on please."

That's not telling anyone to "shut up". I meant it exactly as we said. I think we all get the point. Let's please move on. I was trying to be  as nice as possible. Clearly I failed there and I apologize.

As I've said repeatedly, we have an awesome community here made up of super smart football folks. I want to try and do all we can to facilitate good discussion there. I think we all do. Thanks for being part of it. 

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Ya I'm not saying or implying the decision was totally Tua's.  But I do think they asked him and he preferred Waddle or at least pushed for waddle. If he pushed hard for Smith I don't think waddle would be the choice, and I think they probably talked to tua in length about waddle and his thoughts on working with him. 
I think that makes sense. Just about any organization not named Green Bay seems to understand the value of cohesiveness and taking care of the most important part of the team. Looking at how their teams treat Brady, Mahomes, Wilson and Allen, it just seems like the normal thing to do. No different than "team building" with any business. So I'm sure Tagovailoa was in the conversation to some degree. But let's be fair too, it's FAR from a given Tagovailoa is the sure answer at QB there. His input into the conversation is likely miles different than Brady's input into the conversation. 

Still interesting though.

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
@EBF and others, I'd be interested in discussion on Trevor Lawrence.

I don't know many that disagree he's in the Elway/Peyton Manning/Luck class of "can't miss". I'm not sure I totally buy it so I found it interesting you see him closer to Eli Manning.

Can you elaborate more on what you wrote or maybe why it is you think others disagree so strongly?

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
On Lawrence, I was thinking about how he played on a team that had elite talent across the board. Teams with that level of talent advantage in recent years are few - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State. How often do QBs coming from those situations get drafted highly, and how often do they match the hype/draft capital? I can't think of any QBs from those programs in these recent dominant periods who have impressed other than Watson. Thinking back further, the USC QBs from their dominant period didn't really live up to the hype... I suppose one could argue Palmer did, but Leinart certainly didn't. Texas was dominant for a period, but Vince Young wasn't. Etc.

I could easily be forgetting about many others, but when I look at the list of elite NFL QBs, I don't see many who came from talent-dominant programs. I suppose Burrow qualifies. Watson qualifies. Who am I missing? Are we putting Texas Tech or Oklahoma on that level?

This is not to say I think Lawrence will be a bust. Clearly, his situation is his own, and has nothing to do with all of those others. I'm just saying the hit rate on QBs from situations like his has not been great.

 

Shrek

Having a great season
Just Win Baby said:
On Lawrence, I was thinking about how he played on a team that had elite talent across the board. Teams with that level of talent advantage in recent years are few - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State. How often do QBs coming from those situations get drafted highly, and how often do they match the hype/draft capital? I can't think of any QBs from those programs in these recent dominant periods who have impressed other than Watson. Thinking back further, the USC QBs from their dominant period didn't really live up to the hype... I suppose one could argue Palmer did, but Leinart certainly didn't. Texas was dominant for a period, but Vince Young wasn't. Etc.

I could easily be forgetting about many others, but when I look at the list of elite NFL QBs, I don't see many who came from talent-dominant programs. I suppose Burrow qualifies. Watson qualifies. Who am I missing? Are we putting Texas Tech or Oklahoma on that level?

This is not to say I think Lawrence will be a bust. Clearly, his situation is his own, and has nothing to do with all of those others. I'm just saying the hit rate on QBs from situations like his has not been great.
The always overlooked aspect of those players being big fish in a small pond when they're still in college. And it's absolutely relevant because it bears out year after year.

 

miqws

Footballguy
Joe Bryant said:
@EBF and others, I'd be interested in discussion on Trevor Lawrence.

I don't know many that disagree he's in the Elway/Peyton Manning/Luck class of "can't miss". I'm not sure I totally buy it so I found it interesting you see him closer to Eli Manning.

Can you elaborate more on what you wrote or maybe why it is you think others disagree so strongly?
Wildcard is the unknown effect of the coaching staff.   Nevertheless I am high on Lawrence - competitive spirit, "early breakout", can "win" with arm and legs, productive in high level games, has handled "top prospect" hat well for a long time.  High floor, pretty high ceiling (in my opinion :-)).  

 

Joe Bryant

Guide
Staff member
Just Win Baby said:
On Lawrence, I was thinking about how he played on a team that had elite talent across the board. Teams with that level of talent advantage in recent years are few - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State. How often do QBs coming from those situations get drafted highly, and how often do they match the hype/draft capital? I can't think of any QBs from those programs in these recent dominant periods who have impressed other than Watson. Thinking back further, the USC QBs from their dominant period didn't really live up to the hype... I suppose one could argue Palmer did, but Leinart certainly didn't. Texas was dominant for a period, but Vince Young wasn't. Etc.

I could easily be forgetting about many others, but when I look at the list of elite NFL QBs, I don't see many who came from talent-dominant programs. I suppose Burrow qualifies. Watson qualifies. Who am I missing? Are we putting Texas Tech or Oklahoma on that level?

This is not to say I think Lawrence will be a bust. Clearly, his situation is his own, and has nothing to do with all of those others. I'm just saying the hit rate on QBs from situations like his has not been great.
That's an excellent point. And one I go back and forth with. 

Burrow jumps to my mind. He was throwing to great players. But also facing NFL defensive backs and pass rushers. So I wonder how it washes.

I think it does come into play more outside the SEC. Ohio State and Clemson players have a more dramatic advantage over their competition than LSU or Alabama. But it's still a thing. 

And a fascinating angle. 

 

Gally

Footballguy
The fact that Miami took him is the most telling thing to me.  I truly believe that of all the people who know who is better between Waddle/Smith, it's Tua.  We may have the small sample size of 4 games, but he has known and worked out with him for a LONG time, and probably a ton leading up to last season.  I'm confident that the Miami brass asked Tua's opinion on the two players and that he told them Waddle was the man and more talented.
or it could be that he was just a better friend off the field and they liked hanging out and Tua thought it would be awesome to play on the same pro team like they dreamed about.  There could be 100 different reasons why Tua would (or would not) like one of the guys over the other.  Maybe Smith blocked him at a party once and he never forgave him for it.  Who knows?

 

Deamon

Footballguy
or it could be that he was just a better friend off the field and they liked hanging out and Tua thought it would be awesome to play on the same pro team like they dreamed about.  There could be 100 different reasons why Tua would (or would not) like one of the guys over the other.  Maybe Smith blocked him at a party once and he never forgave him for it.  Who knows?
I think and would hope that an NFL starting qb would push for a player that was going to be better for the team and get more wins than to get his buddy on the team. If that was the case, tua shouldn't be leading the dolphins. 

Yes there's 100 reasons, but by far the most likely would be that he thinks he would be better for the team to win games. 

 

Gally

Footballguy
I think and would hope that an NFL starting qb would push for a player that was going to be better for the team and get more wins than to get his buddy on the team. If that was the case, tua shouldn't be leading the dolphins. 

Yes there's 100 reasons, but by far the most likely would be that he thinks he would be better for the team to win games. 
or they are both really good WR's and Tua gave the nod to his better friend.  There are tons of reasons why and they are likely not all football related.  I know I would rather get a guy on my team that is a little worse but a better teammate.  Obviously there is a point on that scale where talent trumps team player but I don't see that being the case (talent drastically different).  In that case the better team player may be the nod.  

 

TVT 0 N S T A

Footballguy
Just Win Baby said:
On Lawrence, I was thinking about how he played on a team that had elite talent across the board. Teams with that level of talent advantage in recent years are few - Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State. How often do QBs coming from those situations get drafted highly, and how often do they match the hype/draft capital? I can't think of any QBs from those programs in these recent dominant periods who have impressed other than Watson. Thinking back further, the USC QBs from their dominant period didn't really live up to the hype... I suppose one could argue Palmer did, but Leinart certainly didn't. Texas was dominant for a period, but Vince Young wasn't. Etc.
You certainly have good points, but I don't think Leinart or Vince Young were ever considered can't miss prospects.  Heck, even Watson had questions about his arm strength, etc.  The difficult thing with your stance on "elite players" around him - it is almost the "what came first, the chicken or the egg" philosophy.  Were those players able to produce at a high level aided by having Lawrence on the team or would they have been great players with anyone throwing them the ball.  

I still think Lawrence is going to be a stud.  I don't see any reason from mechanics, to reading progressions, to footwork and escapability to indicate why he wouldn't be successful.  Now, he may not be able to create the team success Peyton Manning did, because I think the Jacksonville Jaguars refuse to be a good, contending franchise. 

 

Deamon

Footballguy
or they are both really good WR's and Tua gave the nod to his better friend.  There are tons of reasons why and they are likely not all football related.  I know I would rather get a guy on my team that is a little worse but a better teammate.  Obviously there is a point on that scale where talent trumps team player but I don't see that being the case (talent drastically different).  In that case the better team player may be the nod.  
Well they aren't buddies, especially given waddle's response pre draft saying publicly that mac jones is his guy and he'd rather play with mac than tua. 

Tua was also on record saying he wanted Miami to get him "more speed".  Waddle is the more speed. 

Like Joe said, every team will usually run a pick by a QB especially if he's a positional player. You don't think Bengals brass even SPOKE to burrow about his thoughts on playing with Chase again?   You don't think Meyer in his many pre draft chats with Lawrence even asked him how it would be too play with ETN again or how he saw him fitting in their offense together?  

I'm confident Tua was also asked about Smith and Waddle and very likely told him he thought Waddle would be better for them. Waddle was already mocked above Smith in almost all the mocks done within a few days of the draft.  I think waddle is the better player (but I hope he's not) and I think Miami took him that high in PART due to Tua's wishes (for more speed) or reference check they did on him, etc. 

 

EBF

Footballguy
I watched a few of Lawrence's games, but I didn't dive in enough to have an extremely nuanced perspective on every aspect of his game. I noted his poise, accuracy, arm, and decision-making as the main positives. He is a good athlete, but his athleticism is somewhat overstated. Like Rodgers or Luck, he's faster than average to buy time and evade the pass rush, but not someone that you want doing Lamar/Cam stuff as a designed runner. I also noted that the pass rush could affect him negatively, which is true of basically every QB in history. The main reason the Giants beat Brady was because of their pass rush.

Lawrence seems to have more innate passing skills than people like Carson Palmer and JaMarcus Russell, who also went first overall. I compared him to Eli and Matt Ryan, but he's a more physically gifted version of that, both in terms of speed/athleticism and arm talent. That starts to shade towards Andrew Luck territory. Luck was a prodigy with rare improvisational skills. He made more "wow" type of throws, IMO. But If Lawrence is a more athletic Palmer/Ryan or a slightly less instinctive Luck, that's still a pretty rosy outlook. That suggests probably a top 5-6 dynasty QB trajectory.

Hitting the elite level is difficult and it's not always the guys you expect (Russ, Rodgers, Mahomes, Brees, Brady). I don't think I've ever projected a QB to be that level of player except for Luck, who was a generational talent that I also happened to be very familiar with (watched basically his whole college career). 

 

menobrown

Footballguy
Biabreakable said:
I think you make a good point about the possibility that Ruggs and Waddle had a similar role in the offense and perhaps Ruggs departure increased Waddles opportunity.

I wonder if some Alabama fans around here could shed more light on this as I would like to know what happened with Waddle in 2019.
I'm not sure Waddles dip in 2019 was due to similar skill set as Ruggs. I think it as more likely due to the ascent of Devonta who rose up form WR3 in 2018  to being basically the Co-#1 with Jeudy in 2019.  I don't have access to snap count data but I'd  guess Devonta's gains in snap share from 18 to 19 came at expense of Waddle.

 

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