Best Value Rookie Mock Draft

Updated: April 5th 2016

Last week in this space I presented some analysis on rookie value on the RSO platform.  As we learned after taking a deeper dive into the numbers, the rookie wage scale on RSO, as in the NFL, forces owners to draft for value more so than other formats.  In my round-by-round analysis, I identified three trends that we will use today to create an early mock draft.  Since rookie drafts can vary widely I decided to include picks both at the 3rd and 8th pick of each round so the insight could be useful for a wider range of readers.

1st Round Trend: Wasted Value

1.3 – WR Josh Doctson, TCU (2.90 ADP)

The heading of this section is “Wasted Value” and I fear I’ve already blown my mock draft by taking Doctson here.  Doctson has the height (6’4″), stats (79-1,327-14 despite missing nearly four full games to a wrist injury, including six consecutive multi-TD games) and story (former walk-on turned first team all-American) to be a great selection but the injury and TCU’s air raid offense give me pause.  1.2 through 1.4 will likely see three consecutive receivers this year (also in the mix are Laquan Treadwell from Ole Miss and Corey Coleman from Baylor) it’s just a matter of grabbing the right one.  Right now Treadwell has the highest ADP of the three so that left me with Doctson or Coleman with this pick and I decided to go with the bigger Doctson.

1.8 – WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers (8.4 ADP)

Call this a homer pick since I am a Rutgers season ticket holder but there’s just something about Carroo.  Despite seeing bracket coverage and occasional triple teams, Carroo remained uncoverable for large portions of the last two seasons.   Carroo had a bizarre 39-809-10 stat line in 2015 which saw him play just eight games due to injury and suspension.  In 2014 Carroo also scored 10 TDs (55-1,086) and in 2013 he scored 9 TDs (28-478).  So, over his three year career at Rutgers he played in 31 games and scored 29 TDs – that’s an incredible rate.  Carroo isn’t very big (6’1″) or fast (4.5 40-yard dash) and the missed games would scare me but he could prove to be a great rookie value if he lands with the right team.

2nd Round Trend: Long Term Value at QB

2.3 or 2.8 – QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota St (30.10 ADP)

Yes, I’m crazy.  Yes, I’m breaking all the “rules” with this pick.  But I just can’t unsee how valuable both Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota were in 2015 for RSO owners as mid-2nd round picks.  Wentz’s March ADP put him at the 30th rookie off the board, so far in April he’s already moved up about five spaces.  We’ll see him continue to rise up the ranks but regardless it’s probably safe to say you can get him in the 2nd if you’re willing to deal with the inevitable “reach” shouts from your friends.  Take your pick of combine recaps, most agree that Wentz was the best QB on the field – he may not beat out Jared Goff as the first QB off the board but I prefer the unknown upside of Wentz.  Ask a Winston or Mariota owner if they’re happy in their investment – I’m sure they answer will be yes.  Hitting on this pick let’s you free up valuable cap space to put towards free agency the following season (see: real life Russell Wilson) so take the gamble.

3rd Round Trend: Take a Safe WR

3.3 – WR Rashard Higgins (23.20 ADP)

If you reached for Wentz in the 2nd, you need more of a sure thing here in the 3rd round.  Higgins was a target monster at CSU, securing 68, 96 and 75 receptions over his three seasons.  His stellar sophomore campaign in 2014 saw him earn 1,750 yards and a whopping 17 TDs on those 96 receptions.  Impressively, some of his biggest games over the last two seasons came against the hardest teams on their schedule: Utah State, Boise State and Colorado.  I was surprised when I saw Higgins eye-popping cumulative stats so I was sure they were all earned against the weakest of opponents but that wasn’t the case.  Higgins definitely isn’t a sexy pick but he could feature right away in the NFL.

3.8 – WR De’Runnya Wilson, Mississippi State (25.10 ADP)

It’s a shame that Wilson didn’t “runnya” faster at the combine otherwise he’d be higher on the draft board.  Wilson is a big target at 6’5″ and 215 lb, the biggest by my research out of the top 20 WRs, so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that he only ran a 4.85, but I was still hoping for faster.  Wilson put together a solid junior season (60-918-10) but has never really imposed himself on opposing defenses (only nine 5+ reception games and only three 100+ yard games over three seasons).  Ultimately, I think Wilson can come in and contribute early as a rookie in the red zone which will guarantee him a fair share of snaps.

ADP data from, combine data from and college stats from

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

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