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[Dynasty] 2021 NFL Draft Class


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This is where I am before we enter the meat of silly season: I think there are 13 great bets to be starters in our game Lawrence, Wilson, Fields Etienne, Harris, Williams Chase, Wa

I get a kick out of amateur sports writers trying to use fancy words. You're looking to use "innate" here, chief.

Strategic bump so that this article is near the top of a fresh page - dominator rating & breakout age are useful variables to consider when you are looking at NFL rookies for fantasy football purp

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2 hours ago, socrates said:

Is this really even a debate?  I could see debating Fields vs. Wilson vs. Lance, but Lawrence is pretty clearly heads and shoulders above the rest of this really good class of QBs.

Clearly you didn't read that interview with June Jones 😉

I do agree that Lawrence is the clear #1 but in all seriousness there are some people that think Wilson is better.  I for one won't be shocked at all if he ends up being better.  

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10 minutes ago, Jail said:

Clearly you didn't read that interview with June Jones 😉

I do agree that Lawrence is the clear #1 but in all seriousness there are some people that think Wilson is better.  I for one won't be shocked at all if he ends up being better.  

I just checked out the June Jones interview:  Mac Jones #1?  He must be a nephew or something!  

I agree with you.  It would not shock me if Wilson was ultimately the better QB, but it would shock me if Wilson is selected ahead of Lawrence.

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ESPN's Todd McShay releases 2021 NFL Draft big board

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The 2021 NFL Draft is just over two months away, and with two significant trades involving quarterbacks in the books, we now know a little bit more about what a few teams may look to target when the event rolls around. The quarterback debate is always a hot topic, and it is again this year with guys like Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and BYU's Zach Wilson all projected as first round picks.

Which order they should to in is where the debate comes in. In ESPN NFL Draft expert Todd McShay's top-32 prospect rankings posted Friday morning on ESPN+, Fields is last among the quarterbacks. On last Wednesday's edition Get Up!, McShay explained why Fields is sliding in mock drafts and in overall draft rankings.

“If you go back and study games against Indiana, Northwestern and in the College Football Playoff, national championship game against Alabama, he completed about 52% of his throws with five interceptions in those games,” McShay said. “In my opinion, you look at him physically he’s big, he’s sturdy, he’s strong, he’s mobile, he’s got a big arm. He’s got all the traits that you look for. He likes to see his receivers come open and gets stuck on that first read very frequently.”

To see where fields and every one of McShay's top 32 prospects land, check out the full set of his rankings below:

32. ILB Nick Bolton, Missouri

31. DE Joe Tyron, Washington

30. DT Christian Barmore, Alabama

29. OLB Azeez Ojulari, Georgia

28. QB Mac Jones, Alabama

27. CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina

26. OT Jalen Mayfield, Michigan

25. DT Levi Onwuzurike, Washington

24. OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech

23. OLB Zaven Collins, Tulsa

22. RB Travis Eteienne, Clemson

21. OG Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC

20. RB Najee Harris, Alabama

19. WR Kadarius Toney, Florida

18. DE Kwity Paye, Michigan

17. DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (Fla.)

16. DE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (Fla.)

15. S TREVON MOEHRIG, TCU

The word: Moehrig put up big numbers in his last two seasons as a starter and was a two-time First-Team All-Big 12 selection. He was named to seven All-American teams as well. In the past two seasons he took part in nine takeaways which tied for second in the FBS. This past season his 11 passes defended trailed only teammate Tre'Vius Hodges-Tomlinson (13) in the Big 12. He placed third on the Horned Frogs with 47 tackles, including 2.0 for loss.  
 

14. ILB JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH, NOTRE DAME

The word: After appearing in just two games over his first two seasons in South Bend, Owusu-Koramoah put together a breakout season in 2019, tying for the team lead with 80 tackles and posting a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss to go along with 5.5 sacks and four pass breakups over 13 games. In 2020, the senior racked up 62 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception, three pass breakups and three forced fumbles over 12 games this season en-route to being named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.  He finished his Notre Dame career with 142 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and one interception.

13. QB JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE

The word: Seeing Fields this low might come as a bit of a surprise to some.  In eight games this season, Fields was completed 70.2% of his passes for 2,100 yards to go along with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also added 81 carries for 383 yards and five scores. His best performance of the season came in the College Football Playoff semifinals as he carved up the Clemson defense for 385 yards passing with six touchdowns and one interception to lift the Buckeyes to a 49-28 rout of the Tigers.

12. QB TREY LANCE, NORTH DAKOTA STATE

The word: Lance has been near the top of mock drafts since the end of the 2019 college football season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Dakota State star only got to play in one game this fall, but his numbers from a year ago speak for themselves. In leading North Dakota State to the FCS national title in 2019, Lance passed for 2,786 yards with 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions in 15 games. Additionally, Lance ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. 
 

11. WR JAYLEN WADDLE, ALABAMA

The word: In four games prior to injuring his ankle, Waddle was responsible for 557 yards and four touchdowns on 25 catches for an average of 22.28 yards per reception. At the time, Waddle ranked fourth nationally in receiving yards and eighth in yards per catch entering the fifth game of the 10-game, SEC-only season.  He returned for the national title game against Ohio State, but was clearly hobbled, catching three passes for 34 yards. He is arguably the best pure deep threat in the class.

10. CB CALEB FARLEY, VIRGINIA TECH

The word: A former three-star recruit, Farley was a difference-maker during his career with the Hokies before deciding to opt out ahead of the 2020 season. He has been training since and should be the first or second cornerback off the board later this year. In 23 games in two seasons as a starter from 2018-19, Farley recorded 19 passes defensed and six interceptions.

9. CB PATRICK SURTAIN II, ALABAMA

The word: This past season, Surtain combined for 37 tackles (3.5 for loss), 11 passes defended and one interception that he returned for a 25-yard touchdown. In the Rose Bowl semifinal against Notre Dame, Surtain shined on the big stage. He had five tackles – one for a loss as he peeled back to take on the recipient of a swing pass – and a pass break up. The debate between who is a better corner between him and Farley is an interesting one, but McShay gives the Alabama product the edge.

8. OL RASHAWN SLATER, NORTHWESTERN

The word: Slater is a top Big Ten prospect who opted out of the season. Recruited as a guard, Slater still has the ability to play that position and says he can play anywhere on the line. Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported in July when he opted out scouts used the New England Patriots’ 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn as a comparison. His work against Chase Young in a 2019 matchup against Ohio State also caught the eyes of scouts. He had significant time at both left and right tackle before opting out.

7. WR DEVONTA SMITH, ALABAMA

The word: The 2020 Heisman Trophy winner had one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a player at the position. In just 13 games, caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards (15.9 average) and scored 23 receiving touchdowns. There were times when he got behind the defense at will, slicing through secondaries in so many different ways. At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, there have been some questions about his measurables, but that shouldn’t stop him from being a very productive player at the next level.

6. TE KYLE PITTS, FLORIDA

The word: Pitts is the top tight end prospect in every mock you lay your eyes on. Pitts is a mismatch for opposing defenders. He is listed at 6-foot-6 and moves like a receiver in open space. He had 43 receptions for 770 yards (17.9 average) and 12 touchdowns in his final year at Florida. He did that despite missing three games and opting out of Florida’s Cotton Bowl game against Oklahoma.

5. QB ZACH WILSON, BYU

The word: Wilson checks in as the No. 2 quarterback on McShay's big board. Wilson’s draft stock exploded this year as he blew right through his career highs in completion percentage (73.5), passing yards (3,962), and touchdown passes (33). How he translates from BYU to the NFL is a question everyone has, but the talent is without a doubt there. The accuracy on the deep ball really helped his case this season.

4. ILB MICAH PARSONS, PENN STATE

The word: Parsons transitioned from defensive end to linebacker upon Penn State enrollment and twice led the team in tackles. In 26 career college games, his statistical production included 192 tackles — 19 for loss — and 6.5 sacks. The Nittany Lions sure missed having him out there on the field this year, as he was one of a handful of stars Penn State was without this year for various reasons.

3. OT PENEI SEWELL, OREGON

The word: The 2019 Outland Trophy Winner, Sewell opted out of the 2020 season, but that won't stop him from going high come April 30. Sewell is also one of the youngest players in the draft, as he'll be 20-years old at the start of the 2021 NFL season. At arguably the most important position on the field besides quarterback, Sewell tops McShay's offensive tackle prospects.

2. WR JA'MARR CHASE, LSU

The word: After opting out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase saw some other receivers have big seasons which made a lot of people question whether he was still the clear-cut No. 1 for the 2021 draft. In yet another loaded wide receiver class, Chase tops the position for McShay. The 2019 Biletnikoff Award winner was dominant the last time we saw him play. Chase was a star, helping LSU to a national title as well. In his last season, Chase finished with 84 catches, 1,780 yards (21.2 average) and 20 touchdowns.

1. QB TREVOR LAWRENCE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

The word: McShay calls Lawrence "the best quarterback prospect I've seen come out of college since Andrew Luck was drafted by the Colts in 2012." Urban Meyer needs magic at the quarterback spot as he transitions to the NFL and Lawrence is the top prospect at the position. Over his college career (37 games), Lawrence has 9,181 passing yards, a 66.7% completion percentage, 85 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 820 rushing yards, and 14 rushing touchdowns.

 

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Eric Galko @EricGalko

Being under 185 pounds used to be a huge red flag for WR. 

But since 2015, we've had Dionte Johnson, Marquse Brown, Darnell Mooney, Dede Westbrook, KJ Hamler, Tyler Lockett.

And in 2021: Jaylen Waddle, Rondale Moore, DeVonta Smith, Marquez Stevenson, Tutu Atwell.

https://twitter.com/ericgalko/status/1362067608732852229?s=21

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2 hours ago, Faust said:

Not really inspiring as Lockett has been the only true year to year starter in FF. Dionte & Mooney flashed some this year. Westbrook flamed out, Brown hasn't done anything to date to justify his draft spot and Hamler at best is a wait and see.

I think Lockett is the exception to the rule and the rest (at least to date) are "who we thought they were."

 

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41 minutes ago, Penguin said:

Not really inspiring as Lockett has been the only true year to year starter in FF. Dionte & Mooney flashed some this year. Westbrook flamed out, Brown hasn't done anything to date to justify his draft spot and Hamler at best is a wait and see.

I think Lockett is the exception to the rule and the rest (at least to date) are "who we thought they were."

 

Diontae was a pretty solid starter this year, but I agree. Even among those outliers, only two (Diontae and Lockett) have proven anything. And Diontae was hurt quite a bit this year. Those two are real outliers in the game. It's a bigger issue than the guy who sent the tweet is acknowledging.

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Maybe I'm just being more picky this year, but I don't see anyone I really want after the top 10'ish WR's or the top 8'ish RB's. I've put more of an emphasis on true studs (or guys with that type of ceiling) so that makes some sense. 

Or maybe it's just that this class isn't as appealing to me as previous ones when it comes to depth. I still have my dark horse rookies I can get in the 5th, 6th or undrafted though. But that's just the allure of a low dart throw with a high ceiling. 

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45 minutes ago, Zyphros said:

Maybe I'm just being more picky this year, but I don't see anyone I really want after the top 10'ish WR's or the top 8'ish RB's. I've put more of an emphasis on true studs (or guys with that type of ceiling) so that makes some sense. 

Or maybe it's just that this class isn't as appealing to me as previous ones when it comes to depth. I still have my dark horse rookies I can get in the 5th, 6th or undrafted though. But that's just the allure of a low dart throw with a high ceiling. 

I agree that you are probably not going to get a true stud RB or WR after that point, as they all have some warts; however, I also think there is very good depth in this class.

Much will depend on where they wind up, but there is certainly some talent to pursue in the third round and later of dynasty rookie drafts.

Obviously, these rankings are very tentative, but I have Trey Sermon as my RB8.  After that, there are still a number of intriguing backs:  Khalil Herbert, Rhamondre Stevenson, Jaret Patterson, Kylin Hill, Larry Rountree III, Elijah Mitchell, Demetric Felton, Javian Hawkins and Rakeem Boyd.  They all have some sizeable flaws, but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head sideways, you can see some good potential!

Amon-Ra St. Brown is my WR10.  There are a number of intriguing wideouts available after that:  Dyami Brown, Elijah Moore, Sage Surratt, Seth Williams, D’Wayne Eskridge, Tutu Atwell, Marquez Stevenson and Amari Rodgers.  I think you might even find a potential gem late in the fourth round in players such as Ihmir Smith-Marsette or Simi Fehoko.

I get what you are saying, and the good majority of these players will likely flush out of the league in fairly short order, but finding that diamond in the rough is almost more satisfying than grabbing the obvious early-round stud.

 

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1 hour ago, socrates said:

I agree that you are probably not going to get a true stud RB or WR after that point, as they all have some warts; however, I also think there is very good depth in this class.

Much will depend on where they wind up, but there is certainly some talent to pursue in the third round and later of dynasty rookie drafts.

Obviously, these rankings are very tentative, but I have Trey Sermon as my RB8.  After that, there are still a number of intriguing backs:  Khalil Herbert, Rhamondre Stevenson, Jaret Patterson, Kylin Hill, Larry Rountree III, Elijah Mitchell, Demetric Felton, Javian Hawkins and Rakeem Boyd.  They all have some sizeable flaws, but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head sideways, you can see some good potential!

Amon-Ra St. Brown is my WR10.  There are a number of intriguing wideouts available after that:  Dyami Brown, Elijah Moore, Sage Surratt, Seth Williams, D’Wayne Eskridge, Tutu Atwell, Marquez Stevenson and Amari Rodgers.  I think you might even find a potential gem late in the fourth round in players such as Ihmir Smith-Marsette or Simi Fehoko.

I get what you are saying, and the good majority of these players will likely flush out of the league in fairly short order, but finding that diamond in the rough is almost more satisfying than grabbing the obvious early-round stud.

 

I have no doubt that it has depth for NFL franchises, I don't believe the depth is there for fantasy output. Going through the ones you mentioned, I'm already including Kylin Hill and Elijah Mitchell at RB. Not Trey Sermon. Which makes exactly 10 RB's I'm interested in. At WR I'm including Sage Surratt, Elijah Moore, Dyami Brown, Seth Williams which makes exactly 13 WR's I'm interested in as ceiling plays, another 3 that I might want as dart throws.

Out of that rough 25 I have, some are going to bust too. There's no way around that. So in reality there's probably only 10 players tops that are worth a damn. And that number will dwindle as their careers go on. 

For example from 2018: 3 years later the only ones of value here are Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones, Calvin Ridley, Michael Gallup, DJ Moore, Courtland Sutton, DJ Chark. 8 players

2019: Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, DK Metcalf. 6 players

2020 - which was thought to be ultra deep and by the looks of it those people are right: Swift, Dobbins, Akers, JT, Gibson, Dillon, CEH, Moss, Higgins, Lamb, Jefferson, Reagor, Shenault, Jeudy, Aiyuk. That's 15, with another ~5 or so that carry a little more than throw in value (Mims, Gabriel Davis, Pittman, Ruggs). They all carry high value right now. Some will fade into the distant. 

So unless you believe that 2021 is just as good as 2020, which I don't, there's no way there's that many quality guys. 

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6 hours ago, Zyphros said:

I have no doubt that it has depth for NFL franchises, I don't believe the depth is there for fantasy output. Going through the ones you mentioned, I'm already including Kylin Hill and Elijah Mitchell at RB. Not Trey Sermon. Which makes exactly 10 RB's I'm interested in. At WR I'm including Sage Surratt, Elijah Moore, Dyami Brown, Seth Williams which makes exactly 13 WR's I'm interested in as ceiling plays, another 3 that I might want as dart throws.

Out of that rough 25 I have, some are going to bust too. There's no way around that. So in reality there's probably only 10 players tops that are worth a damn. And that number will dwindle as their careers go on. 

For example from 2018: 3 years later the only ones of value here are Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones, Calvin Ridley, Michael Gallup, DJ Moore, Courtland Sutton, DJ Chark. 8 players

2019: Josh Jacobs, Miles Sanders, David Montgomery, Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, DK Metcalf. 6 players

2020 - which was thought to be ultra deep and by the looks of it those people are right: Swift, Dobbins, Akers, JT, Gibson, Dillon, CEH, Moss, Higgins, Lamb, Jefferson, Reagor, Shenault, Jeudy, Aiyuk. That's 15, with another ~5 or so that carry a little more than throw in value (Mims, Gabriel Davis, Pittman, Ruggs). They all carry high value right now. Some will fade into the distant. 

So unless you believe that 2021 is just as good as 2020, which I don't, there's no way there's that many quality guys. 

Not every fantasy starter can be the very elite, unless you are playing in an 8-team league.  You have to back-fill your roster with players to cover bye weeks and injuries, and even as weekly starters.

All of these players have offered some fantasy value or future potential, and they were left off your list.  They are rosterable in most leagues (and I am sure I have left some off).

2018:  Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Rashaad Penny, Nyhein Hines, Christian Kirk, MVS, Keke Coutee, Tre'Quan Smith, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Dalton Schultz

2019:  Kyler Murray, Damion Harris, Tony Pollard, Myles Gaskin, Benny Snell Jr., Terry McLaurin, Mecole Hardman, Parris Campbell, TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant, Irv Smith Jr.

If you are only skimming the talent off the top, you are missing out on a lot of talented players who can contribute in fantasy football, not just the NFL

Edited by socrates
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Just now, socrates said:

Aha, I was really off there!

Not a big deal, just thought that really bolstered the 2019 class a bit unfairly. I think Zyphros would have included Godwin. He was overall WR2 in PPR in 2019. On the whole though, I agree that there are contributors to be had.

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5 hours ago, socrates said:

Not every fantasy starter can be the very elite, unless you are playing in an 8-team league.  You have to back-fill your roster with players to cover bye weeks and injuries, and even as weekly starters.

All of these players have offered some fantasy value or future potential, and they were left off your list.  They are rosterable in most leagues (and I am sure I have left some off).

2018:  Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Rashaad Penny, Nyhein Hines, Christian Kirk, MVS, Keke Coutee, Tre'Quan Smith, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Dalton Schultz

2019:  Kyler Murray, Damion Harris, Tony Pollard, Myles Gaskin, Benny Snell Jr., Terry McLaurin, Mecole Hardman, Parris Campbell, TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant, Irv Smith Jr.

If you are only skimming the talent off the top, you are missing out on a lot of talented players who can contribute in fantasy football, not just the NFL

I left QB's and TE's off my list because in 1QB or non-TE premium they're relatively replaceable. Again I was looking at the elite gaining value guys. I think I left off McLaurin as the only one you added. For the ones you're looking at I'd argue none of them have gained valued on their initial draft capital. I'm on mobile now but without looking it up, Penny/Hines/Kirk were all late 1st early 2nd round rookies right? You'd be lucky to get that now. Pollard, Gaskin, Snell, Campbell were likely late 2nd or later and there MIGHT have been sell windows in there for more. You're not really gaining anything by taking them on to me unless the goal is to flip. Which is a very sound way of rebuilding. 

It depends on your team, if you're not competitive then more dart throws and cheaper guys are the way to build a roster. Trade them away as minor upgrades here and there, and boom you have studs. For competitors, getting elite guys is the end all. So I use that as the end goal. These are stepping stone pieces, not the guys I particularly want on top teams. 

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2 minutes ago, Zyphros said:

I left QB's and TE's off my list because in 1QB or non-TE premium they're relatively replaceable. Again I was looking at the elite gaining value guys. I think I left off McLaurin as the only one you added. For the ones you're looking at I'd argue none of them have gained valued on their initial draft capital. I'm on mobile now but without looking it up, Penny/Hines/Kirk were all late 1st early 2nd round rookies right? You'd be lucky to get that now. Pollard, Gaskin, Snell, Campbell were likely late 2nd or later and there MIGHT have been sell windows in there for more. You're not really gaining anything by taking them on to me unless the goal is to flip. Which is a very sound way of rebuilding. 

It depends on your team, if you're not competitive then more dart throws and cheaper guys are the way to build a roster. Trade them away as minor upgrades here and there, and boom you have studs. For competitors, getting elite guys is the end all. So I use that as the end goal. These are stepping stone pieces, not the guys I particularly want on top teams. 

So it is said and so it shall be... 

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