The Watch List: 2020 Rookie Mock Draft v1.0

Updated: May 21st 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday April 23rd. So, why am I bothering to create a mock draft so far in advance? I’ve found that creating mock drafts forces me to create both my positional rankings and my overall rankings. It would certainly be easier to ride the fence but I’d rather start thinking critically about these players now and edit as I go. The usual caveats apply here. This mock draft is a snapshot of my thinking at this moment. We have yet to see the best that many of these players are capable of producing so this list is very much a living document. A number of these underclassmen will decide to return to school and will create a gaping hole in my rankings. Some will be injured or lose their starting role for myriad reasons. Some will grow and mature physically, while others will do so mentally. There’s a lot we don’t know yet about this draft class but there is one thing I am sure of: I have never been so excited to study and write about a group of players!

1.01 | D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Swift appears to be the full package. He is a combination back who combines effortless cutting ability with a desire to fight through contact. He is a natural receiver who has great hands and adjusts well to the ball. He has long speed to outrun chasing defenders even if he does take an extra beat to get up to top speed. Jerry Jeudy will give Swift a run for his money so I doubt he’s an unanimous 1.01 but he has my vote right now.

1.02 | Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama

Jeudy is an A+ route runner who also utilizes that change of direction to be a handful after the catch. He’s explosive and can create big plays seemingly out of nothing. He can stop on a dime which helps him feint defensive backs both on a route and with the ball in his hands. As of today, we haven’t seen a glaring weakness in his game. Jeudy could be a Top 10 NFL Draft target after two years without a can’t miss wide receiver prospect.

1.03 | JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

Dobbins has ascended to RB2 in my 2020 rankings. He’s an old school style player who will appeal to NFL scouts. He’s short and compact with a sturdy base. That base and his play strength help him excel in pass protection. He’s a decisive runner who plays with more power than speed. Although, that’s not to say he’s slow, he’s probably 4.45-4.50 quick. Dobbins is also a good pass catcher. I expect him to project as a three-down back at the next level.

1.04 | Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Etienne has the speed to outrun just about any defender to the boundary before he cuts up field and jets to pay dirt. He’s a fun guy to watch because he’s a seventy yarder just waiting to happen. He has not yet been a factor as a receiver (17 career receptions) but I don’t think he’s incapable, just under utilized. If he shows as a pass catcher this year he’ll solidify his spot in the top tier of backs.

1.05 | CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Lamb’s upside is immense so I pushed him all the way up to 1.05. I originally had him in the 2.01 range but decided I’d rather bet on his potential, now that he’ll be the Sooners’ top target. He has elite body control, easily tight-roping or toe-tapping the sideline. He is a one-hander extraordinaire with hands that are strong yet soft. His long speed is bettered by his long stride. Even though he weighs in at just 189lb he blocks with a tenacity and effectiveness that surprised me. Lamb has an alpha male attitude on the field that I loved. He has the rare combination of opportunity and talent that will help him blossom in 2019.

1.06 | Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado

Shenault is a versatile playmaker who lines up all over the field. In fact, he often lines up in an h-back role and serves as an energetic blocker. He has a thick lower body that drives a powerful running style that can kick into an extra gear in the open field. He fights for extra yardage with above average play strength. Shenault catches the ball with his hands, utilizing great hand placement. Two injuries sidelined a promising 2018 campaign so I’m excited to see what we can do with a full season.

1.07 | Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Taylor leads my second tier of running backs right now. He’s an effective one-cut runner with power back wallop. He rarely goes down on first contact. I did observe that Taylor sometimes stutters too long at the line of scrimmage, so I’d like to see him more decisively select his lane. Like Etienne, he will need to get more involved as a receiver to avoid being type cast as a two-down back. As a Rutgers fan, Taylor is the one that got away. Instead, I have to watch him dominating Big Ten defenses in a different shade of red.

1.08 | Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri

Okwuegbunam surprised me in that he plays as an in-line tight end more than I anticipated. He lacks suddenness and explosion in his blocks but at least he has that experience. Okwuegbunam has good body control and tracks the ball well over his shoulder. He’s a hands catcher who uses his fingertips to snag the ball which is a great trait to have so early in a career. Okwuegbunam will start the season as the prohibitive favorite to be the first TE off the board next April, as such he should be atop our fantasy boards too.

1.09 | Trey Sermon, RB, Oklahoma

Sermon is a running back well suited for the zone read offense. He slashes through holes, sells his fakes and gets upfield to block for the quarterback. I think Sermon’s “Football IQ” is very high too. He knows his pass blocking assignments, understands the game situation and runs a variety of routes from the backfield. He has a great stiff arm and doesn’t shy from contact. Sermon should get the lion’s share of the carries in the Sooner backfield this season and if he does he has first round rookie draft potential pending scheme fit.

1.10 | Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Herbert was my QB1 last season before he decided to return for his senior year. He retains that mantle to start the 2020 NFL Draft campaign. Herbert has the size that NFL teams covet (6060/233). He has enough athleticism to pick up short yardage conversions and keep the defense honest but he’s certainly not a high volume runner. The biggest knock right now would be his accuracy (59.4% completion percentage last year was a career low). In 1QB RSO leagues, I believe it’s a good strategy to grab your preferred passer here because you get that fifth year option. If you’re playing Superflex/2QB, you’ll need to target him much earlier in the round.

2.01 | Collin Johnson, WR, Texas

Johnson is the biggest of the top receivers in the class at 6060/220. Whether he’s high-pointing the ball or making a full extension diving catch, he uses that long and lean frame to get to balls that others couldn’t. Johnson releases well with quick feet and is an adept hand fighter to get the corner’s hands off of him. He also has excellent situational awareness, I noted many times when he made a smart decision about how deep to run a route or when to protect the ball instead of fight for yardage. If he can add a few pounds without sacrificing his quickness, Johnson will be the best prototypical X receiver in this class.

2.02 | Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota

Johnson, one of the rare seniors in this mock draft, can win from both outside and slot alignments. He has explosive feet off the snap and out of his route breaks. He uncovers well which helps make him a target for the quarterback on most plays, even when the defender is closely trailing him. Johnson shines after the catch where he pairs elusiveness with elite breakaway speed. I may be lower on Johnson than other writers so I owe him a thorough study this offseason.

2.03 | Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU

Reagor is a literal track star: he excelled in the long jump and relay races in high school. He brought those talents with him to Fort Worth where he’s shown off his elite speed and athleticism for Horned Frog fans. What surprised me was how well he wins in the air despite being just 5110/195. He’s nearly impossible to cover, especially against Cover 2 when he can split the safeties on a deep post and leave his man in the dust. He also wins after the catch where his strength and contact balance help him rack up yards. Unfortunately there was no game film to watch so my exposure was limited to highlight reels. Reagor will be a first round consideration if his full game films live up to the expectations his highlights set.

2.04 | Cam Akers, RB, Florida State

Akers is a tough study because of how poor his offensive line play has been both years in Tallahassee. The film I watched of Akers showed that he has a balanced running style with 4.50 speed and more power than I expected. He’s adept at submarining for additional yardage by getting lower than the defender. The Akers I see in my mind’s eye, perhaps from expectations in his freshman season, has more wiggle than I saw. He runs a ton of routes out of the backfield but I didn’t get to see him pass protect much. I’m hopeful that the Seminoles are a better team in 2019 so we get to see how well Akers plays when his team is competing.

2.05 | Kennedy Brooks, RB, Oklahoma

Brooks plays larger than his 5110/205 frame, running with an upright and downhill style. He’s a patient runner who waits for his blocks and follows them through the hole. Brooks is not a flashy runner but he’ll get every yard that’s available by powering through defenders and falling forward. He keeps his feet well and can break low tackles. I didn’t get much exposure to his pass blocking and catching ability but what I did see appeared average, at worst. Brooks, a redshirt sophomore, will continue to split touches with Trey Sermon so who knows if he’ll come out early with a small sample size. If he does, keep an eye on him.

2.06 | Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Harris is a big back at 6020/230 and it’s hard not to see Derrick Henry when watching him (the 2s on the jersey and hairs poking out of his helmet certainly help make the connection). He’s a former top recruit but has not had many carries yet in his career due to the depth at the position for the Tide. He shows excellent vision, seeing cut back lanes and hitting them strongly. His size and strength lend some power to his evasive moves. He’s largely a projection at this point but Harris should have plenty of opportunity to show us his skills in 2019 and is likely to creep up my draft board.

2.07 | Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State

Benjamin is fun to watch because of his elusiveness. He has a Swiss army knife’s worth of moves at his disposal: spins, jukes, cuts, hurdles. His feet are dynamic and never stop moving. Benjamin is susceptible to getting tripped up or being caught by his jersey so I would like to see him improve his strength and balance. It could be a one game coincidence but ball security could be a concern as well. Where Benjamin excels is as a pass catcher, he has good hands and knows how to get open. His receiving upside will help increase his value early in his NFL career.

2.08 | Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina

Edwards is a powerfully built outside receiver who started his Gamecock career strong in 2016. His numbers have failed to bloom like draft fans had hoped though. He’s still a solid prospect whose floor projects as a reliable possession receiver in the NFL. He has strong hands which he uses to consistently catch the ball away from his body. There was only one game film available, and that from 2017, so I still have a lot to learn about Edwards. I am comfortable putting him here though because I feel that he has a high floor as a prospect.

2.09 | Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Tagovailoa is undeniably talented and his name has been on everybody’s lips for a year. So, why do I have him as my QB2 and so low in my overall rankings? I think we first need to see that Tua can make it through a full season unscathed. He loves to improvise and takes a lot of hits which lead to some wear and tear as the season progressed. As much as we remember his game-winning relief performance in the championship game as a freshman, let’s not forget that he himself was pulled in this year’s championship. He’s now the unquestioned starter and will contend for QB1 if he puts together a complete and successful season. Tua has first overall potential: he is athletic, throws a beautiful deep ball and has impeccable character.

3.10 | Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Higgins uses his length to box-out defenders and win at the catch point. He’s a curl and comeback king, running smart routes and making sure-handed catches for first downs. He attacks the ball with his hands when he comes out of his breaks, not wasting precious moments for the ball to come to him. He has elite separation for somebody of his height (6040). Chances are that you saw a few of Higgins circus catch highlights last year because his concentration helps him snag batted or tipped balls with regularity. Higgins will be catching passes from one of the country’s most ballyhooed quarterbacks, sophomore Trevor Lawrence, so it’s inevitable that we see his highlights all season long.

Honorable Mentions

AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College

Dillon is a big and powerful back, likely the best thumper in the class. He’s rarely brought down on first contact and often dishes out more punishment than he receives. He doesn’t have top end speed (4.60?) but he doesn’t need it for his playing style. Dillon ran more routes than I anticipated based on his number of receptions so I think there is room for growth in that area. Similarly, he needs to improve as a pass blocker. He was hampered by an ankle injury for much of 2018 so I’m excited to see Dillon bounce back and show us he has every down potential.

Grant Calcaterra, TE, Oklahoma

Calcaterra is the lightest TE on my watch list at 221 so we’re likely looking more at a “big slot” than an in-line tight end for the purposes of his NFL Draft evaluation. Regardless, he’s a playmaker with soft hands and is a big play threat up the seam. Oklahoma does have a lot of mouths to feed and is losing another Heisman winning quarterback, so it’s possible we see Calc’s numbers dip this year. Even if that’s the case, I don’t think his draft stock should.

 

Notes: Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When studying a player I rely on game film “cuts” which are most frequently found on Youtube. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels.  Keep in mind these highlight reels are the best plays of that player. When I have the option, I will choose to watch a game versus the better defense. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources. I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2020 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters, depth charts and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a certified park and recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper

The All About Reality Podcast League Rookie Draft Results

Updated: May 17th 2019

Hey Folks, Matt Goodwin here coming out of writing retirement to compile this article summarizing our All About Reality first rookie draft in our second season of the league.

Here GMs will divulge their strategy and picks in our 2 round, 16 team, 32 pick rookie draft which started almost a week after the draft on May 1st and concluded on May 2nd. Please note that our world-class Chief Technology Officer Kyle English has developed a slick new slow rookie draft interface which enables trades during the draft and removes the pesky 3 day no trading window prior to league rookie drafts. A big collective shout-out from the rooftops to Kyle for that enhancement.

First item of note was that there were a whopping seven draft day trades as noted in the table below. For context for all Reality Sports Online GM’s who want intel for their upcoming rookie drafts, here were the exact trades that went down with my podcast co-host Luke Patrick O’Connell making several trades including trading 1.02 and 1.03 to stock up on what many believe is a super-talented and deep 2020 class (our own Bob Cowper included as he’s already starting scouting the 2020 potential rookie class.  Feel free to reach out on Twitter with thoughts on who won trades, if picks went down as expected, etc.

Trade # Headline Team Names Traded Received Player Contracts Pick Made
1 Luke Trades Down 1.02 for Players/Picks Pontifex Minimus (Luke) 2019 Pick 1.02 Hunter Henry
2019 Pick 1.07
2020 Mistress of Mayhem Jenna (1st)
Hunter Henry 2 yrs, $7.21MM N’Keal Harry, WR
1 Luke Trades Down 1.02 for Players/Picks Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) 2019 Pick 1.02 Josh Jacobs, RB
2 Luke Trades Down 1.03, Hunter Henry for 2019/2020 Picks Pontifex Minimus (Luke) 2019 Pick 1.03
Hunter Henry
2019 Pick 1.08
2020 Pickyouoff24 (1st)
2 Luke Trades Down 1.03 for 2019/2020 Picks Pickyouoff24 (Stacy) 2019 Pick 1.03
Hunter Henry
Hunter Henry 2 yrs, $7.21MM Dwayne Haskins, QB
3 Ryan N Trades Up to get his guy Miles Sanders The Teal Curtain (Curtis) 2019 Pick 1.05 2019 Pick 1.09
2019 Pick 2.06
3 Ryan N Trades Up to get Miles Sanders Karl Hungus and the Nihilists (Ryan N) 2019 Pick 1.09
2019 Pick 2.06
2019 Pick 1.05 Miles Sanders, RB
4 Bubble Boy Gets a QB (Drew Lock), Luke gets his first RB Pontifex Minimus (Luke) 2019 Pick 1.08 Derrick Henry
2020 McAfee’s Canal Swimmers (1st)
Derrick Henry 2 yrs, $26.78MM
4 Bubble Boy Gets a QB (Drew Lock), Luke gets his first RB Bubble Boy and The Moops (Pat) Derrick Henry
2020 McAfee’s Canal Swimmers (1st)
2019 Pick 1.08 Drew Lock, QB
5 Ashley Gets Her Coveted Darnold/Robby Anderson stack, Jenna Gets 1.16 House Stark (Ashley) 2019 Pick 1.16 Robby Anderson
2019 Pick 2.07
Robby Anderson 1 year, $7.14MM
5 Ashley Gets Her Coveted Darnold/Robby Anderson stack, Jenna Gets 1.16 Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) Robby Anderson
2019 Pick 2.07
2019 Pick 1.16 Irv Smith Jr., TE
6 Bobby Trades 2020 1st with Devonte to pick Hockenson RSO PodFather (Devonte) 2019 Pick 1.13
2019 Pick 2.13
2020 RSOooo Super Chargers (1st)
2019 Pick 2.09
6 Bobby Trades 2020 1st with Devonte to pick Hockenson The New Hampshire Waterboys (Bobby) 2020 RSOooo Super Chargers (1st)
2019 Pick 2.09
2019 Pick 1.13
2019 Pick 2.13
T.J. Hockenson, TE
7 Ryan N Trades Up in 2nd The Teal Curtain (Curtis) 2019 Pick 2.05 2019 Pick 2.08
2021 Karl Hungus (2nd)
7 Ryan N Trades Up in 2nd Karl Hungus and the Nihilists (Ryan N) 2019 Pick 2.08
2021 Karl Hungus (2nd)
2019 Pick 2.05 Andy Isabella, WR

Following, here are picks 1-16 of each of our two rounds in the All About Reality Podcast league rookie draft with context and commentary from the GMs who made these moves.

Round 1 Teams Picks POS Round 2 Teams Picks POS
1.01 Teal Curtain (Curtis) Kyler Murray QB 2.01 Teal Curtain(Curtis) Kelvin Harmon WR
1.02 Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) Josh Jacobs RB 2.02 Bubble Boy and The Moops (Pat) Noah Fant TE
1.03 Pickyouoff24 (Stacy) Dwayne Haskins QB 2.03 Lucha Vikings (Ryan S) Deebo Samuel WR
1.04 Brian Brennan’s Stadium Shakers (Goody) David Montgomery RB 2.04 Barkley Owner (Ashley) Darrell Henderson RB
1.05 Karl Hungus (Ryan N.) Miles Sanders RB 2.05 Karl Hungus(Ryan N) Andy Isabella WR
1.06 Waterboys (Bobby) Daniel Jones QB 2.06 Teal Curtain (Curtis) Josh Oliver TE
1.07 Pontifex Minimus (Luke) N’Keal Harry WR 2.07 House Stark (Ashley) – from Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) Devin Singletary RB
1.08 Bubble Boy & The Moops (Pat) Drew Lock QB 2.08 Teal Curtain (Curtis ) Will Grier QB
1.09 Teal curtain (Curtis ) Parris Campbell WR 2.09 RSO PodFather (Devonte) JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR
1.1 The Fantasy Affliction (Tim) D.K. Metcalf WR 2.1 Brian Brennan’s Stadium Shakers (Goody) Jace Sternberger TE
1.11 Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) A.J. Brown WR 2.11 House Stark (Ashley) Ryan Finley QB
1.12 The New Hampshire Waterboys(Bobby) Hakeem Butler WR 2.12 RSO PodFather (Devonte) Damien Harris RB
1.13 The New Hampshire Waterboys(Bobby) TJ Hockenson TE 2.13 The New Hampshire Waterboys (Bobby) Justice Hill RB
1.14 House Stark (Ashley) Mecole Hardman WR 2.14 RSOooo Super Chargers (Marcus) Alexander Mattison RB
1.15 Bubble Boy (Pat) Marquise Brown WR 2.15 Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) Preston Williams WR
1.16 Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna) Irv Smith Jr. TE 2.16 Waterboys(Bobby) Riley Ridley WR

 

Team name: The Teal Curtain (Curtis Burleson)

Team needs: RB,WR,TE,Flex

Team picks: 1.01, Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

1.09, Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts

                          2.01, Kelvin Harmon, WR, Washington Redskins
                          2.06, Josh Oliver, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars
                          2.08, Will Grier, QB, Carolina Panthers
With so many holes to feel I wanted to get a player of every skill position and max out my QB’s with the position  being so important in this league. So with no trade partners for the 1.01, Kyler Murray was my no-brainer pick. At 1.09 Parris Campbell was the top wide receiver on my board and again no trade partners to be found to keep me in range of my target players. 2.01 Kelvin Harmon was one of my favorite receivers pre-draft and landed in a great situation/fit. I felt I could not risk losing him after missing on Irv Smith going off the board one pick ahead of me. With my favorite and last target at RB, Darrell Henderson, again going off the board one pick ahead of me, I chose to finish my draft taking the last two players on my shortlist. At 2.06 I took Josh Oliver my 4th and last TE on my board and at 2.08 I took Will Grier, my top QB in the class.

Team Name: Mistress of Mayhem (Jenna Davis)

Team Needs: RB, 2nd QB, depth

Team Picks: 1.02, Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

                           1.11, AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

                           1.16, Irv Smith Jr., TE, Minnesota Vikings

                           2.15, Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins

I set two separate strategies up heading into the draft (Murray first or Jacobs first).  When Murray went first, it was go time. I knew I had to make a play for Jacobs. I hated trading away my future, but I had to make a play for him given my RB situation, what is left in free agency, and the contracts other RBs had.  There was no way to afford 2 RB’s in free agency even with my cap situation.  My 1.11 pick was the stuff of dreams.  I got way too excited about all the talent that was left on the board, and I made a play for the 1.16 because Ashley had already shown interest in Robby Anderson on my roster.  I went with Irv Smith for the simple reason that his quarterback Kirk Cousins loves TE’s.  Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, and even Niles Paul were fantasy relevant with him under center.  I should have taken Miles Boykin with the 2.15 pick, but I was driving and thought he went off the board already. I ended up taking Preston Williams.  He would have been in the top prospect conversation if not for off-field issues.  If he can keep himself in check, he could end up being my favorite pick in this draft.

Team Name:  Pickyouoff24 (Stacy Hess)
Team Needs: QB, Flex, RB
Team Pick:  1.03, Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington

I went into the rookie draft with only 1.08.  I Knew I needed a QB as first priority or I was grabbing Miles Sanders or N’Keal Harry.  Luke had sent out several offers about trading down leading up to the draft.  I was not sure how the draft was going to play out and did not want to make any moves until after the NFL Draft commenced.  During the draft, Luke hit me up again about trading down.  Having already been a part of two separate rookie drafts before our listener league, I had a solid feel that Murray, Haskins, Sanders and Harry would all be gone.  I assumed I would be sitting on Daniel Jones at 8.  I felt the opportunity cost of trading up to 1.03 could not be avoided.  I ended up trading Luke 1.08 + my 20 1st to move up to 1.03.  Having a young QB on a rookie contract is a huge advantage both in reality and Reality Sports Online leagues.  Haskins becomes an immediate starter, assuming he plays majority of games in 2019.  I tend to err on the side that future picks are typically bad because I expect to compete at a high level every year. Hunter Henry at 3.5 was also a very welcoming throw in.

Team Name: Brian Brennan’s Stadium Shakers (Matt Goodwin)
Team Needs: Tight End, Flex Talent, Salary Cap Relief
Team Picks: 1.04, David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
                           2.10, Jace Sternberger, TE, Green Bay Packers
Coming into the rookie draft with most of my starting lineup intact, my philosophy kind of mimicked a Phife Dawg lyric on Midnight Marauders as my goal is to win “not now, but RIGHT now!”. I was hoping to either trade down to land a starting TE and save cap space or that Dwayne Haskins would fall to me at 1.04 so I had a Tom Brady succession plan, as Brady’s large contract expires after this season. My podcast co-host Luke appropriated good trade value with 1.02 and 1.03 ahead of me, so I figured someone would snipe and take a quarterback. While Harry was on the board, I didn’t feel he addressed a large team need and his lack of separation speed makes me fear that he is Josh Doctson 2.0. So, fresh off watching film of Montgomery, I went with traits I usually bank on–elusiveness and pass catching ability, as well as liking the signaling when a team trades up to get their guy. Enter Montgomery, who I think can contribute this season and take the reins next season, which essentially is when I need him to be a fantasy starter for me. After some more obscure TEs went in the second round, I went with Sternberger as a flier as a hopeful future key cog in Aaron Rodgers aerial attack. Lastly, post draft, I traded Keenan Allen and his 3 years remaining around $100 million for T.Y. Hilton and his 2 years, $41 million remaining and a 2021 2nd rounder to get out of my 2019 cap issues and then traded Devonta Freeman on a 1 year, $25 million deal for Jameis Winston on a two year, $34 million deal to complete my Brady succession plan. While I’m now carrying three starting QBs in this Superflex league (Jared Goff is my other), I’m confident I can get solid value for Brady for a QB needy team either now or after a league QB gets injured.
Team Name: Karl Hungus and the Nihilists (Ryan Nicholson)
Team needs: RB, WR depth
Team Picks: 1.05, Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

                          2.05, Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Going into the draft, I evaluated my team as a strong contender this coming season. My core lineup containing quarterbacks Jimmy G and Mitchell Trubisky, Alvin Kamara and Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chris Godwin and then George Kittle at TE, gave me some urgency to get players that would have the talent, draft capital, and landing spot to be instant contributors. With Miles Sanders available at 1.05 (as the RB1 on my own board) and with there being no viable RBs left after 2 had already gone off the board, I traded from 1.09 to 1.05 by way of including the 2.06.  Depth was not the hallmark of this draft so getting specific players when they fell within trading range was key. I anticipate Sanders gaining an increasing share of the backfield, in a proficient offense, as the season progresses.  Watching the rest of the draft unfold, Andy Isabella continued to slide to the point where I felt there was a massive gap between him and the remainder of the players on the board, so trading up to 2.05 by packaging the 2.9 and 2021 first to get my WR5 made perfect sense. In the end, I was able to acquire two players in my top 10 and feel good about their ability to put up points this season.  I look forward to drafting at pick 16 in 2020!

Team Name: New Hampshire Waterboys (Bobby Hoyt)

Team Needs: Wide Receiver, Tight End, Flex talent, and a QB succession plan.

Team Picks: 1.06, Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

                           1.12, Hakeem Butler, WR, Arizona Cardinals

                           1.13, TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

                           2.13, Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens

                           2.16, Riley Ridley, WR, Chicago Bears

Coming off of a 9-win season last year (just missing the playoffs) I began to feel a sense of overwhelming dread coming into this year with a team that was possibly destined for the “middle of the pack purgatory,” that many dynasty players fall into. Therefore, I pre-emptively traded many of my big-name, big-salary players that helped me compete last year for a culmination of some younger talent and a lot of draft picks. Some trades were decent, others I regret entirely – but what’s done is done. On draft day, everyone kind of knew who my target would be at 1.06 as I wore my Giants fandom firmly on my sleeve. This knowledge culminated many trade talks to move up in the draft allowing me to secure Daniel Jones, knowing the other top two QBs would probably go in the first three picks. After some agonizing debate – I decided to stay put and Jones ultimately fell to me at 1.06 (which I had a feeling might happen anyway because everyone but me seemed to be hating the pick for the Giants).  That said, I still took him with great consternation, because fantasy darling Harry was also on the board. However, I also knew Jones wouldn’t last to 1.12. Having Eli Manning on a one-year deal, Jones made sense for me in case Eli got injured or the team was not in contention due to poor team play. It ensured I would have his successor in place. Plus, I love having guys I can root for on my team – so, Haskins was out for me anyway. Suck it Washington. Working the overnight shift proved a bit problematic as I woke in a sleepy haze and perhaps mistakenly picked Butler over Hollywood Brown (who would have a more secure role in the Ravens offense) but, I still believed in the reverence of experts like Evan Silva, Matt Harmon and Matt Waldman, plus I enjoyed watching Butler’s tape – so, you know, no ragrets…not one letter. Devonte (Podfather) was next on the clock and he messaged me as I was about to fall back asleep with an offer to move out of my next 2.09 pick back up to the 1.13. I haggled for a bit and settled for maybe a little too much to climb back into the first round. I had a TE need and one of my favorite players in the draft, TJ Hockenson, had not been picked yet. I loved the kid’s game and I think the landing spot is just fine despite the critics balking. I rested easy until I had to return to work that night. When the next morning broke, I still had 2 second round picks left to go and I went onto make my next two selections at 2.13 and 2.16. I went with Justice Hill first, envisioning the speed demon as having a poor man’s Alvin Kamara type role in the Ravens backfield with Mark Ingram (those other guys on the roster don’t scare or concern me). My Mr. Irrelevant pick, I felt was a massive steal as I grabbed Riley Ridley and exited the draft room guns blazing. Personally, I thought the younger Ridley brother was one of the best route runners in the class (a trait I value very highly) and his competition on the Bears roster is not something I’m afraid of. I think he will be lining up opposite Allen Robinson week one with second year guy Anthony Miller running the slot. I think he’s got potential to make some big plays this year. Really happy with my overall draft haul, and while I don’t anticipate making a huge run this year – I’m hoping next year I will be primed to push for the playoffs and contend with the big boys. Providing I don’t sabotage myself before them, which I am want to do from time to time.

Team Name: Pontifex Minimus (Luke Patrick O’Connell)
Team Needs: Running Back, Flex
Team Picks:  1.07, N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots (after many trades)
There are few things that prompt more unadulterated fun than a fantasy football draft, trading in fantasy football, and the esteemed luminary of 90s rap – Coolio.  So, like the aforementioned lyrical master I entered the “All About Reality” Podcast League with a newly minted doctorate, feeling like “an educated fool with money on my mind/Got a 10 in my hand and a gleam in my eye.”  In this case the “money” was 2019 draft picks and the 10 in hand were the 1.02 and 1.03. My partner Goody was prescient enough to know that such assets would change hands a few times and so they did. 1.02 went the way of Mayhem making moves to net a starting RB in Josh Jacobs.   For her efforts I landed the 1.07, a 2020 1stand Hunter Henry.   The 1.03 was also a person of interest with Haskins still on the board for a 16 team superflex league.   So I flipped that and the 1.03 to Pickyouoff24 for the 1.08 and a 2020 1st and he promptly landed Washington’s presumptive starter.   The picks broke right for arguably the top overall dynasty asset to fall to 1.07 so I took the inestimable N’Keal Harry before QB thirst drove another trade up for Drew Lock at 1.08.  Moops offered Derrick Henry and a 2020 1st in what is likely a winnable bet against the “elite” Joe Flacco’s tenure in Denver.  My draft began with a team largely devoid of RBs but set at all the other starting spots and ended with Derrick Henry for $13 million per year for two years.  Harry on a rookie deal at 1.07 and 3 newly minted 2020 1sts.   The new draft features on RSO will make all future drafts painless as we witnessed in the Writer’s League, and much credit goes to our tireless listeners that made fearless offers and kept the action going across 32 picks.  As Coolio would say…a gangsta’s paradise.
Team Name: The Fantasy Affliction (Tim Aylesworth)
Team Needs: Tight End, Wide Receiver
Team Picks:  1.10, DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
Due to some serious salary cap concerns, the off-season saw the Affliction trading away future Hall Of Famer Julio Jones and unable to retain the services of Tight End Eric Ebron.  And with only one draft pick to their name, it was going to be difficult (ie impossible) to fill all the team’s needs.  The expectation was that the top 5 players on my Draft Board would be long gone but pick 1.10, and serious consideration would have to be given to trading down to acquire more picks.  The TFA roster is a contender, with star power at the top, but absolutely zero depth behind it. As the draft began to get through the first round, we began to feel that maybe we might be able to get a top WR after all.  The major run on QBs and RBs meant that our top 2 choices at WR fell all the way to pick 1.09, and we knew we would get one of them at 1.10.  DK Metcalf, The Fantasy Affliction’s #1 rated WR brought Christmas early to Coach Aylesworth and the Afflicted Fans.  It was only one pick, but it was better than we dared hope for. Some people have asked if consideration was given to outstanding TE Noah Fant, but Tight Ends take longer to develop than Wide Receivers and the Affliction believe we are ready to compete now.
Team Name: Lucha Vikings (Ryan Svenson)
Team Needs: Starting WR, More FLEX Depth
Team Picks: 2.03, Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Unfortunately, I came into the draft with very little draft capital.  I traded my 1st round pick pre-draft in a deal to acquire Julio Jones.  But with a high 2nd round pick I had hopes that somebody I liked would fall to me.  And thankfully, I was correct.  I had a bevy of options available to me when I was on the clock at 2.03 (19 overall), which can be attributed to the cut-throat nature of a 16-team Superflex league (4 QBs were taken in the first 8 picks) allowing positional players to fall further than they would in a different type of league.  I considered 3 players at the pick, which also made me explore trade-back options.  There were no trades to be made, so I had to make a choice between the 3 guys on my board; Andy Isabella, Deebo Samuel, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside.  Now I know rookie WRs don’t typically make a big impact, but I need SOME impact from mine at the least.  And I like Isabella but feel like he’s got a slightly longer road to success than the other 2 guys.  Ultimately, I just like Deebo better as a prospect over JJ, and I think he has a legitimate chance of carving out a big role in the SF offense in year 1.  It didn’t hurt that Deebo was the #5 WR on my board heading into the draft and I got him as the 9th WR drafted.
Team name: House Stark (Ashley Bowling)
Team needs: WR/RB (Flex)
Team Picks: 1.14 Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
                          2.04 Darrell Henderson, RB,  Los Angeles Rams
                          2.07 Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

                           2.11 Ryan Finley, QB, Cincinnati Bengals

My goal coming into the rookie draft was finding a player I felt could possibly start for me throughout the year. Based on where my picks were, I felt I had a handful of darts and hoped someone would hit. My first order of business was getting Robby Anderson via trade with Jenna, Mistress of Mayhem. He’s had a special place in my heart the last couple years and I felt like he could start for me on a weekly basis. I moved the 1.16 for Robby and 2.07. I had in my mind if Mecole Hardman was there at 1.14 that’s who I planned on taking. There were a couple other WRs here I was looking at, but the possibility of Hardman being on the field with Mahomes and that KC offense was one I didn’t want to pass up. I had pretty much the same mindset at the 2.04 with Darrell Henderson. I’m not sure any of us know what is going on with Todd Gurley, so just the possibility of Henderson getting carries in the Rams offense was intriguing. I’ve got very little cap space, so I was thrilled getting those two in hopes one of their situations worked in my favor. Now at the 2.07 I was still torn between taking a RB or WR. Being the RB lover that I’ve always been, I had to go with Singletary here and his running behind a couple of old men in Buffalo. I finished my draft off with the 2.11 pick of Ryan Finley. I live in the greater Cincinnati area, and a couple of the radio personalities kind of talked me into this pick here. With this being a superflex league, I felt he was a solid grab, and if things don’t go well for the Bengals and Dalton, maybe he will make some starts.

Team Name: The RSO PodFather (Devonte Cleveland)
Team Needs: Starting RB, WR depth, and picks for depth/upside
Team Picks: 2.09, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
                           2.12, Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
Before the draft started, The RSO PodFather possessed the 1.13, 2.12, and 2.13. Going into the draft I figured I would be trading the 1.13, to either move up, move back, or move out. As the draft moved forward, I didn’t start actively trade talking until 1.10 when I noticed DK Metcalf dropping. There was an agreed trade that I backed out of last minute that involved all 3 of my picks for the 1.10. Though DK would have been a great addition to my team as I start my 2019 rebuild, I couldn’t get myself to go all in on him. Finally, the 1.13 came and at this point had 5 different way I could have gone… I debated on taking (in this order) Noah Fant, Samuel, Hollywood Brown, or JJAW. I was completely indecisive and felt so overwhelmed, I looked to trade out. Once again, being in a rebuild mindset, and already having (4) 2020 1st, why not make it five and moving up a tad in this years 2nd? 2.09 finally came around the next morning and I SCREAMED!!! The guy I was genuinely considered taking at 1.13 is now here at 2.09!!!! (do not ask me how or why….) One of my major needs is WR, though, Arcega-Whiteside may not get a ton of targets this year, next year I hope he sees a ton of red zone catches. When 2.12 came around, I saw plenty of upside WRs that would be a great pick ups, but I understand RBs are much more valuable, so I took the guy I had pretty high on my board. I know better not to draft Alabama RBs, but I trust New England to do this man right, if not this year, than next. Post draft: I have a couple expiring contracts that (if I’m not a playoff contender) I’ll sell for picks in 2020 to teams that are contenders.
Team Name: RSOooo Super Chargers (Marcus Corbould)
Team Needs: Starting RB, TE, WR depth
Team Picks: 2.14, Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
I had traded my 2019 and 2020 1st rounders along with Russell Wilson and Leonard Fournette for Aaron Rodgers/OBJ earlier in the offseason. Steep price, but it gave me a then-elite core of OBJ/Tyreek (highest scoring WR in our format) and Rodgers/Rivers. That left me with just the 2.14 for this draft. Once JJAW miraculously fell into the 2nd, I tried to trade up to the 2.03 onwards but no one wanted to trade as far back as the 2.14. It didn’t help that one person ended up holding the majority of the picks at one time or another from 2.03-2.09. Once JJAW went, I was content to just take the player with the highest chance at a return on investment. RB Alexander Mattison was my choice because he has good draft capital and went to a landing spot where the primary backup has had a fair amount of opportunity in Minnesota. He is also being pegged as a better Latavius Murray. It also helped that there are 2 Vikings fans in our league who were both interested in picking him. I expect him to have some flex value in a league this deep and be a bargaining chip in future trade talks.
More Analysis by Matt Goodwin

2019 Post-Draft RSO Rookie Tiers

Updated: May 8th 2019

Rookie drafts for Reality Sports Online teams involve a number of considerations different than a typical dynasty league.  Selected rookies are typically given three or four year contracts at, hopefully, a below market contract.  RSO GMs then have the option of extending a player with franchise tags, extensions, or final year options (depending on the chosen settings in your league) which typically are near or above market value for a given player.  This makes the initial rookie contract years potentially extremely valuable and the real measure of worth for a rookie contract.  It is nice to be able to hit on your rookie and keep them on your team in later years, however, your team does not typically gain much by keeping those players at top-of-market costs.  This leads to a number of areas which should be emphasized more highly with regards to rookie values in RSO leagues.

  1. Early Production. The limited years of cheap rookie contracts puts a premium on early potential production.  Young players sitting on your bench waiting to develop do not just cost roster spots, they also take up salary cap dollars which could be spent on veteran players contributing to your team.  The emphasis on early production gives a boost to positions like running back which typically does not take as long to develop in the NFL.
  2. Situation.    “Talent over situation” is one of the long-time mantras in fantasy football for a couple of reasons.  Many believe firstly, we can not predict the situation of a player over the long-term.  This might be correct but does not apply to RSO leagues.  RSO rookie deals apply only over a short to medium-term window due to the contract lengths.  While there will always be some fluctuations, we can reasonably predict many surrounding factors which affect the performance of a player.  Secondly, others think talent trumps situation.  The data strongly suggests this is simply incorrect.  Wide receiver fantasy value is typically a function of quarterback play.  Running backs score more on high-efficiency passing attacks and usually run more efficiently with better offensive lines.  Situation must be a significant factor in determining rookie values.

With those conditions, we examine my top rookie tiers in 2019.

Tier 1

Josh Jacobs, RB1, Pick 24, Oakland

Jacobs is an outlier for first round running backs with a part-time college resume and subpar athletic testing.  He performed well at the run and receiving game in a limited role while at Alabama however.  First round rookie running backs typically receive big workloads and Jacobs projects as the top back in Oakland with Richard taking some passing down snaps.  That is enough to put him tier 1 of this draft class.  Jacobs is a player with far more uncertainty and a wider range of outcomes than is typical of this draft spot.

N’Keal Harry, WR1, Pick 32, New England

Harry produced from the minute he stepped on the field as a freshman in college and performed over expectation at the combine.  He should slot in immediately as a starter in New England on a team which lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and Josh Gordon to yet another suspension.  Harry is the only rookie in this class without any real objective question marks with regard to talent or situation.  Draft him with confidence.

Tier 2

Miles Sanders, RB2,Pick 53, Philadelphia

Sanders was a quality producer when given the opportunity at Penn State and measured as a plus athlete at the NFL combine.  The main danger for Sanders is that the Eagles have utilized a committee-type approach to running back under head coach Doug Pederson no matter whom the running backs have been.   He should start as a main part of a committee with Howard this season and possesses the room for his role to grow next year in a good overall offense.

David Montgomery, RB3, Pick 73, Chicago

Montgomery should have the chance to take over the previous Howard role in Chicago in short order possibly putting him in the lower RB2 or flex discussion.  He does not have the athleticism desired from the position but does have many of the desired skills including contact balnce, power, and short-area movement.  His upside will always be capped with Tarik Cohen on the team taking a big chunk of the passing game work.

Tier 3

Mecole Hardman, WR2, Pick 56, Kansas City

The diminutive speedster has an extremely small college profile but is possibly the most explosive wideout in the draft.  This is a pure projection by Kansas City but Hardman apparently was coveted by many teams earlier than most thought.  Tyreek Hll is in the last year of his contract if not suspended or outright released before the 2019 season.  Hardman moves down if Hill unexpectedly remains with the Chiefs.

Parris Campbell, WR3, Pick 59, Indianapolis

Campbell gobbled up short yardage throws and turned them into big gains at Ohio State.  He is another projection with limited work on deeper and intermediate routes.  Indianapolis is ripe with opportunity and has been looking for a quality number two receiver for years in a high volume passing offense headed by Andrew Luck.

Deebo Samuel, WR4,Pick 36, San Francisco

San Francisco gets another wide receiver with experience at a variety of locations and the ability to win in a variety of ways.  Built more like a running back, Samuel offers explosive after the catch potential.  The depth chart is loaded with quality pass catching options at wide receiver, tight end, and running back which puts Samuel’s potential volume in question for the near future.

Tier 4

Diontae Johnson, WR5, Pick 66, Pittsburgh

This pick will surprise many but should not when consider his play at Toledo and Pittsburgh’s relatively high investment.  He is among the best receivers in this class getting separation both with his releases at the snap and out of breaks.  Johnson enters one of the top passing teams in the league on a wide open receiver depth chart after JuJu Smith-Shuster.

Andy Isabella, WR6, Pick 62, Arizona

Arizona will be one of the most fascinating teams to watch with how the college air-raid offense transitions to the NFL.  Isabella does not have the best hands in this class.  He is among the fastest wide receivers in this class, has experience playing both slot and boundary positions, and was one of PFF’s top-graded wide receivers in this class.  There is massive volume potential here.

Marquise Brown, WR7, Pick 25, Baltimore

Brown possesses game-breaking ability on every play in a tiny package.  Unfortunately, there is no worse landing spot than Baltimore for wide receivers.  Lamar Jackson averaged 159 yards per game as a starter, worse than any ESPN qualified passer and just 63% of the average passer.  John Brown, another very small speedster, saw his production absolutely tank in games Jackson started with zero games of at least 30 yards.  While there is hope for some progression from Jackson, the odds are firmly stacked against consistent fantasy production for Brown in the near future.

D.K. Metcalf, WR8, Pick 63, Seattle

If one could mold a receiver out of clay it would look a lot like Metcalf with incredible size seeming cut from stone.  Metcalf is among the fastest linear receivers in the draft despite his size but is also among the slowest into and out of breaks.  Will he become more than a deep vertical threat?  Seattle is also an under-the-radar below average landing spot.  Wilson ranked among the lowest in passing yardage per game, despite his superb efficiency, thanks to one of the heaviest run offenses in the league.  There simply might not be enough volume for any receiver in this offense to become a consistent fantasy option.

A.J. Brown, WR9, Pick 51, Tennessee

The true alpha from Mississippi, Brown is an extremely thick wide receiver who possesses a well rounded game before and after the catch that should transition well to the pros.  Unfortunately he landed in Tennessee, a grave yard for fantasy wide receivers.  He is stuck in a run-first offense with Mariota, Ryan Tannehill, and/or a rookie quarterback in 2020 at the helm for the near future.  Brown saw my biggest decline from pre-draft rankings.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR10, Pick 57, Philadelphia

There is a lot to like about the kid from Stanford.  He was an endzone producer throughout his career bodying up smaller cornerbacks and graded out as a top receiver in this class.  While not a plus athlete, he tested faster at his pro day than most people predicted.  JJ likely redshirts at least his first year for the Eagles unless injuries take hold which decreases his value somewhat.

Kyler Murray, QB1, Pick 1, Arizona

Murray had a phenomenal 2018 season at Oklahoma which bested Baker Mayfield’s best seasons.  His extreme quickness allows for extensive rushing, scrambling, and avoiding big hits.  His dual-threat traits give top-5 quarterback upside and make him a worthy pick in this range of a relatively weak draft class.  The primary questions some people will have is if his body can handle NFL-level hits and how the new offense in Arizona will translate to the NFL.

T.J. Hockenson, TE1, Pick 8, Detroit

Many consider Hockenson the best all-around tight end prospect in years.  He is one of the only tight ends in recent memory who appear immediately ready to block in the NFL.  He runs nice tight routes, finds holes in zones, has good hands, and is strong after the catch.  He is also a strong athlete for the position.  There really is nothing to dislike.  Hockenson should start immediately for the Lions.

Noah Fant, TE2, Pick 20, Denver

The “other” Iowa tight end, Fant still garnered first round status to the Broncos.  He possesses phenomenal athleticism with upper-level tight end metrics for all combine workouts and is a better blocker than many observe.  Fant is a fairly one-dimensional speed receiver at this point with questionable hands and has not shown much ability to break tackles.  Teaming up with Joe Flacco in Denver gives Fant the possibility of rare early production at the tight end spot.  Flacco consistently peppered tight ends in Baltimore no matter the talent-level.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

The Watch List: 2019 NFL Mock Draft, Picks 1-16

Updated: April 21st 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

For the first time in my mock draft career, I decided to do a mock NFL Draft using draft pick trades.  Let me tell you, it was incredibly fun!  In addition to doing a full two round mock, I included some “best of the rest” players that I expect to outperform their late round draft stock.   Over the next two weeks, you’ll see the full mock broken into four parts, released in reverse order.  At the end of this post I have included a number of important notes that you may want to read before diving in.  To view the other parts, click here.

1.16, Carolina Panthers | DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

[ESPN 30 for 30 Music Plays] What if I told you that in 2019 the Carolina Panthers built the most athletic offense ever fielded in the NFL. They accomplished this feat by adding the incomparable DK Metcalf to the nucleus of QB Cam Newton, RB Christian McCaffery and WR DJ Moore. Unfortunately, they still finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

1.15, Pittsburgh Steelers | Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Pick 15 would be the furthest CB1 has fallen since 2001. The Steelers need CB help and jump up to greedily grab Williams. They did sign Steven Nelson from KC but his roster bonus and escalating salary mean it’s unlikely he sticks around past 2019.

1.14, Atlanta Falcons | Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi St

Despite spending first rounders on Tak McKinley and Vic Beasley, the Falcons pass rush still stutters: they finished 27th in sacks in 2017. Beasley and DT Grady Jarrett are both free agents after 2019 so Atlanta should invest another pick on the defensive line now.

1.13, Cincinnati Bengals | Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

New head coach Zac Taylor should resist the urge to make a splash pick. In my scenario, I have the Bengals trading back twice consecutively to pick up additional mid-round picks so they can build out their depth. Even after trading back, the Bengals still land the top tackle in the class.

1.12, Miami Dolphins | Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

The Bengals trade back again since they don’t plan on taking a quarterback yet and could use the extra picks. The Dolphins need to add a young quarterback after trading Ryan Tannehill and signing Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason. Jones is an athletic QB who needs to work on his consistency and accuracy. Ironically, he compares well to Tannehill.

1.11, Green Bay Packers | Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

The Packers should add more playmakers to the offense to placate QB Aaron Rodgers and I have them moving up to grab one here. Fant lacks the size of the departed Jimmy Graham but he’s an athletic freak. You don’t draft a first round tight end to block, you draft him to create mismatches.

1.10, Denver Broncos | Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

John Elway loves to constantly tweak his QB depth chart. Out goes Case Keenum after one year, in comes Joe Flacco via trade. There’s no easy “out” in Flacco’s contract but there’s no way he’s the starter through 2021. If they take a QB now he can sit for a year without the urgency to start. I have not been a big fan of Lock but he has a great arm and a high ceiling.

1.09, Buffalo Bills | Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Jerry Hughes, Shaw Lawson and Jordan Phillips are all free agents after the 2019 season. Ed Oliver’s size was a concern heading into the combine but he did end up weighing in at 287 and plays with the athleticism of an OLB. There were some rumors about standing Oliver up and having him start as an inside linebacker but that’d be a poor use of his explosiveness. He’ll earn snaps at both DT and DE depending on the game situation.

1.08, Detroit Lions | TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa

The Lions signed Jesse James from the Steelers this offseason but I don’t think anybody believes he’s a long term answer. After Ebron exploded in Indy, Lions brass might feel the need to reinvest in the position to appease their fans. Hockenson is the most complete tight end in the class and upgrades the offense right away.

1.07, Jacksonville Jaguars | Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

The Jags have used five Top 100 picks on their front seven in the last four drafts. That investment, plus the addition of veteran Calais Campbell, was a big factor in their 2017 success. I think they’ll return to the DL at 1.07 even though there’s more pressing needs elsewhere.

1.06, New York Giants | Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio St

I really hope this is the pick the Giants make because I can’t quite possibly survive another season of NYC sports talk if they don’t. Haskins is a pure pocket passer who could learn a thing or two from Eli Manning. If the Giants get cute and wait on quarterback, expect them to add an edge rusher here.

1.05, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Devin White, ILB, LSU

The Bucs lost MLB Kwon Alexander in free agency so this is a natural fit. White will be a talented off-ball linebacker but he’s my pick for a “Top 5 guy” who could fall. My original version of this mock had him falling out of the Top 10.

1.04, Oakland Raiders | Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

The Raiders have three first rounders and as such, the luxury of going BPA. Quinnen Williams is the best player in the class, let alone left on the board, according to some draft analysts so getting him at 1.04 is great value. The Raiders did invest three picks on the DL last year but none of those players established themselves yet. Williams will leapfrog all of them on the depth chart immediately.

1.03, New York Jets | Josh Allen, DE, Kentucky

The Jets should actively shop the third overall pick. After trading up last year they have a dearth of picks and could use the extra draft capital to build around QB Sam Darnold. However, it’s a weak quarterback class so I doubt teams will be angling to move up. If the Jets have to pick here I think they should go for Josh Allen. Quinnen Williams is the best player available but Allen is also very good and fills an immediate need at edge rusher.

1.02, San Francisco 49ers | Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

The 49ers will end up being the beneficiary of the Kyler Murray hype. Two months ago they wouldn’t have thought that landing Bosa would be an option but here we are. There’s been some recent negative news about Bosa and his political leanings but ignore that unless something truly damning comes out. On the field he’s a dominating pass rusher so don’t overthink it.

1.01, Arizona Cardinals | Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I wouldn’t make the pick myself but it sounds like this is what GM Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury want to do. We all have questions about Kyler and how his body type will hold up in the NFL. There’s no questioning his arm or dynamism though so it will be fun to watch, that’s for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few housekeeping notes:

  • The full mock draft was written between April 4-10.  Any moves or news released after that point would not be taken into account.
  • To help me track my mock draft, I used a very useful tool I found on Reddit called RST’s 2019 Draft Tracker.
  • This spreadsheet lets you easily trade draft picks and uses a pick value chart so you can try and keep trades fair.  All of the trades except for Washington/Arizona were pick for pick and I required that the team moving up offer more value than the value chart suggested was fair.
  • Since the trades all included late picks not covered in this mock I didn’t bother noting each individual trade.  Instead, I described my general thinking for the trade.
  • For each pick, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the GM.  If given the chance, I would not necessarily make all of the same picks as I value some players and positions differently.
  • Keep in mind that my predicted draft order does not necessarily correspond to my personal positional rankings.
  • I could not have put together the roster and contract notes without the help of two invaluable sites: Our Lads and Spotrac.

Notes: In an effort to standardize the description of key positional traits, I frequently use the following adjectives: elite, good, above average, average, below average, poor.  Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When writing a full report for a player, I typically pick two games of film to watch.  When time permits, I may add a third game. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had so they really need to jump off the screen. I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability. If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, foxsports.com, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2019 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, 247Sports College Football, College Fantasy Football: On Campus, Underdog Pawdcast, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com (the media home for FWAA members)
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper

The Watch List: 2019 NFL Mock Draft, Picks 17-32

Updated: April 21st 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

For the first time in my mock draft career, I decided to do a mock NFL Draft using draft pick trades.  Let me tell you, it was incredibly fun!  In addition to doing a full two round mock, I included some “best of the rest” players that I expect to outperform their late round draft stock.   Over the next two weeks, you’ll see the full mock broken into four parts, released in reverse order.  At the end of this post I have included a number of important notes that you may want to read before diving in.  To view the other parts, click here.

1.32, New England Patriots | Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Lawrence doesn’t really fill a positional or schematic need for the Patriots but I think Bill Belichick would have a hard time passing on somebody with his combination of size and athleticism. One of the most beloved Patriots of the Belichick era was DT Vince Wilfork who anchored the team’s 3-4 for years. Since the team doesn’t have a defensive coordinator at the moment it’s possible they could draft a player like Lawrence and then mold a scheme, or at least sub-packages, around him.

1.31, Los Angeles Rams | Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina St

The Rams have a lot of money invested in their two starting tackles but not much on the interior. C John Sullivan left in free agency leaving 2018 fourth rounder Brian Allen the only center on the roster. It’s not an exciting pick but Bradbury would be an instant starter, so it’s a prudent selection given how strong the rest of the roster was in 2018.

1.30, Green Bay Packers | AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss

The Packers tried to give QB Aaron Rodgers some new toys last year by drafting three mid- to late-round receivers, none of which emerged. Brown, a dominant slot receiver at Ole Miss, would be the second pass catcher drafted by the Packers in the first round and could instantly replace Randall Cobb’s production.

1.29, Kansas City Chiefs | Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

The Eric Berry era has ended in KC after the team designated him as a June 1st cut. Per Spotrac, the move saves them nearly $10mil each of the next two years so the move was worth it even it was bittersweet. Adderley could also line up at corner in certain situations and offer much needed flexibility for the Chiefs who had a putrid pass defense in 2018.

1.28, Los Angeles Chargers | Andre Dillard, OT, Washington St

QB Phillip Rivers doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon so the Chargers should heavily invest in the offensive line to protect him. LT Russell Okung is 31 and nobody has the RT spot locked down. Dillard, who showed his supreme athleticism at the combine, is a little light to be a starting LT but could work on the right side or shift inside.

1.27, Oakland Raiders | Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Simmons had a rough winter. He ended the season as a potential Top 10 pick but had his combine invite rescinded due to a 2016 incident and then suffered a torn ACL. Simmons may not be a factor in 2019 so few teams would still consider pulling the trigger in the first round. The Raiders can because they have three first rounders. The four DTs already on the depth chart can all be cut with little or no cap penalty after the 2019 season so I think this could be a smart pick for the future. Imagine starting the 2020 season with a healthy Simmons alongside Quinnen Williams? (Note: grabbing Simmons in the first also means you get a fifth year option, even more valuable when he’s likely to miss all of his first season.)

1.26, Indianapolis Colts | Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Mocking a receiver to the Colts at 1.26 has been a popular choice and it makes sense now that Andrew Luck is back on track. It may be a reach based on my positional rankings, but I like the idea of Butler to the Colts. Butler has the measurables of an elite outside receiver but found great success as a big slot at Iowa State. Butler and TY Hilton can alternate who lines up in the slot, making it tough for defenses to account for their different skill sets. Or, they can set the newly signed Devin Funchess and TE Eric Ebron outside and put both Butler and Hilton inside. The more I think about it, the more I love the potential of Butler on the Colts.

1.25, Philadelphia Eagles | DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Eagles have the fourth lowest cap total invested in corners and gave up the third most passing yards per game last year. So, it’s time they spend a little at the position. Earlier in the process it seemed that Baker might challenge for the CB1 spot but his stock has since fallen, in part due to mediocre combine measurables.

1.24, Oakland Raiders | Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

The Raiders signed RB Isaiah Crowell to a one-year deal and just resigned pass catching back Jalen Richard. I’m not sure either move precludes the Raiders from taking a running back with one of their first three picks. My preferred RB is David Montgomery but it seems that the NFL leans towards Jacobs.

1.23, Houston Texans | Cody Ford, OG, Oklahoma

The Texans priority must be protecting franchise QB Deshaun Watson. I can see them going for a tackle or center here too, just so long as it keeps Watson upright. Ford has the size of a tackle so he may be able to move back outside once he gains some experience.

1.22, Minnesota Vikings | Devin Bush, ILB, Michigan

The Vikings have LBs Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks locked up for a few years each but I still had a hard time ignoring Bush at this spot. I can see his speed being valuable in nickel situations, freeing up Barr to rush the passer (a role that nearly led him to leave for the Jets in free agency). The Vikings should probably look at the OL too but otherwise they feel complete enough as a team to go BPA rather than reach for need.

1.21, Seattle Seahawks | Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson

The name brand defensive line that the Seahawks had for so many seasons is gone. Frank Clark is the lone remainder but he may not be around long term if he doesn’t sign a long term deal (unlikely if the team resigns QB Russel Wilson). Wilkins would be a good interior presence to help pull attention away from Clark in 2019.

1.20, Washington Redskins | Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

The Redskins managed to hold onto the 1.15 pick by dealing their 2nd and 5th for QB Josh Rosen. Rather than picking at 1.15, they traded back and are still able to get the second tackle off the board to help protect their newest investment.

1.19, Tennessee Titans | Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

The Titans aren’t drafting for need here and instead are trying to build their roster to suit their changing division. The passing outlook for all three AFC South opponents has improved since this time last year so the Titans should double down on a position of strength and add a corner with good ball skills in Byron Murphy. Murphy was PFF’s top rated corner in 2018.

1.18, Baltimore Ravens | Rashan Gary, DT, Michigan

As the Vikings GM, I didn’t see anything must-have at this spot so I traded back to the Ravens. Baltimore seems like a team that would love to take a chance on a physically gifted work in progress like Gary. He was the darling of draftniks for the last three seasons who thought his production would catch up with his raw ability. Unfortunately, Gary feels like a project at this point, albeit one with a very high ceiling.

1.17, New York Giants | Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

The Giants should leave the first round with future starters at both QB and DE. I would argue that Haskins + Ferrell is a best case solution, and a better duo than what the Giants would get if they waited on quarterback and went for the edge rusher first.

A few housekeeping notes:

  • The full mock draft was written between April 4-10.  Any moves or news released after that point would not be taken into account.
  • To help me track my mock draft, I used a very useful tool I found on Reddit called RST’s 2019 Draft Tracker.
  • This spreadsheet lets you easily trade draft picks and uses a pick value chart so you can try and keep trades fair.  All of the trades except for Washington/Arizona were pick for pick and I required that the team moving up offer more value than the value chart suggested was fair.
  • Since the trades all included late picks not covered in this mock I didn’t bother noting each individual trade.  Instead, I described my general thinking for the trade.
  • For each pick, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the GM.  If given the chance, I would not necessarily make all of the same picks as I value some players and positions differently.
  • Keep in mind that my predicted draft order does not necessarily correspond to my personal positional rankings.
  • I could not have put together the roster and contract notes without the help of two invaluable sites: Our Lads and Spotrac.

Notes: In an effort to standardize the description of key positional traits, I frequently use the following adjectives: elite, good, above average, average, below average, poor.  Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When writing a full report for a player, I typically pick two games of film to watch.  When time permits, I may add a third game. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had so they really need to jump off the screen. I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability. If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, foxsports.com, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2019 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, 247Sports College Football, College Fantasy Football: On Campus, Underdog Pawdcast, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com (the media home for FWAA members)
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper

The Watch List: 2019 NFL Mock Draft, Picks 33-48

Updated: April 21st 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

For the first time in my mock draft career, I decided to do a mock NFL Draft using draft pick trades.  Let me tell you, it was incredibly fun!  In addition to doing a full two round mock, I included some “best of the rest” players that I expect to outperform their late round draft stock.   Over the next two weeks, you’ll see the full mock broken into four parts, released in reverse order.  At the end of this post I have included a number of important notes that you may want to read before diving in.  To view the other parts, click here.

2.16, Miami Dolphins | Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M

I have the Dolphins drafting a quarterback in the first round, so I think it makes sense to add to the offensive line in the second. Center Daniel Kilgore is 31 and coming off a season-ending triceps injury. Per Spotrac, the Dolphins spend startlingly little on their o-line. Just 5.3% of their cap is currently devoted to the line, with the next lowest total being the Vikings with 11.79%.

2.15, Carolina Panthers | Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech

Ferguson has been slapped with the “off field issue” label so his value has dipped a bit even though he’s the NCAA’s all-time leader in sacks. As a freshman he got into a fight and was convicted of simple battery; he also had a public intoxication citation. It may be unwise to compare transgressions from one player to the next, but these don’t seem like the type of incidents that will prevent Ferguson from being a second round draft pick. Three of the four projected DL starters for the Panthers this season are 30+ so they would be wise to inject some youth into the unit.

2.14, Arizona Cardinals | Irv Smith, TE, Alabama

In my mock’s narrative, the Redskins did well by acquiring QB Josh Rosen without giving up their first. This is the pick that the Cardinals received and I think they should use it to add a weapon for new QB Kyler Murray. Smith isn’t a traditional TE but I don’t envision the Cardinals running a traditional offense. I believe Smith will be best deployed in motion, from the slot or off the line of scrimmage where he can avoid the jam and use his speed to get past mismatched linebackers.

2.13, Atlanta Falcons | Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame

I have the Falcons going with defensive linemen with both picks in my mock. I think they should target an edge rusher with the first pick and wait on tackle. When I watched Tillery heading into 2018, I thought he could end up as a first rounder but I think the consensus now has him on Day Two. He can learn from DT Grady Jarrett and then take over the starting role next season if the team cannot sign Jarrett to a long term deal.

2.12, Detroit Lions | Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

The Lions are pleased to net an extra mid-round pick by moving down a pick and still get their corner in Rock Ya-Sin. Ya-Sin’s stock has continued to grow over the last few months so I would not be surprised if he actually went 10-15 picks earlier than this.

2.11, Green Bay Packers | Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

After a run at safety to start the second round, I think the Packers would consider moving up a pick or two to grab Chauncey Gardner-Johnson who is the last safety in this tier. The Packers just signed FS Adrian Amos but I think Gardner-Johnson can compete with Josh Jones for the starting SS spot.

2.10, Cincinnati Bengals | Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo

The Bengals need a lot of help so it made sense for them to trade back in the first and pick up some extra picks along the way. The hate on QB Andy Dalton has gone too far, I believe. He can still be a serviceable starter in the league but that doesn’t mean the Bengals shouldn’t invest in the future. Jackson has tremendous physical tools but needs some work to become a polished passer. He can sit behind Dalton for 2019 and maybe into 2020 until he’s ready to take over. The Bengals have a limited window with WR AJ Green (age and injury history) and RB Joe Mixon (running back shelf life seems to keep getting shorter). However, they conversely brought in a young and unproven coach, so it feels like they are in a weird win-now but rebuild mode.

2.09, Denver Broncos | Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama

I have the Broncos drafting a new offensive signal caller in the first round so I thought there would be some nice symmetry in doing the same for the defense in the second round. Wilson could lineup next to sophomore Josey Jewell in Denver’s 3-4 and make for a young and talented duo between edge rushers Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.

2.08, Buffalo Bills | Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

The Bills signed two corners in free agency: Kevin Johnson and EJ Gaines. Both were signed to one-year deals so it’s clear to me that Buffalo plans to address the position high in the draft. Lance Zierlein’s scouting report of Oruwariye suggests he’s best in a zone-heavy coverage scheme which the Bills employ with Sean McDermott.

2.07, Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia

The Buccaneers could use some help at both CB and S so I think they could reach a bit for a player like Juan Thornhill, who played both positions at Virginia. Recent Twitter rumors have circulated saying that Thornhill interviewed poorly but I decided to keep the pick as-is. At this point in the process it’s possible that a team that really wants him is putting out negative stories to ensure they get their guy.

2.06, Jacksonville Jaguars | Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

If the Jaguars don’t go for a tackle at 1.07, I think they should look to the offensive line here at 2.06. Much of the Jaguars’ offensive salary cap is tied up in G Andrew Norwell. Per Spotrac, the Jags have a “potential out” after the 2019 season to avoid paying him nearly $50mil over the three subsequent seasons. Lindstrom has experience at both RG and RT which would be a good fit because Norwell and LT Cam Robinson line up on the other side.

2.05, Oakland Raiders | Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Jon Gruden has showed us that he’s willing to buy and sell his draft capital so I have him making two consecutive trade-backs to gain even more pieces to play with. The cherry on the sundae would be having speedster Marquise Brown fall this far because of his recent foot injury. Al Davis famously loved drafting receivers with blazing speed. If Brown is still on the board, Mark Davis makes this pick in honor of his late father.

2.04, San Francisco 49ers | Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

Like the Giants and Colts, the 49ers need help at safety too. They may be disappointed not to get Thompson or Abram but Rapp will appeal to them for his durability. Rapp played all 13 games in each of his three seasons at Washington. Meanwhile neither 49ers starter, Jimmie Ward nor Jaquiski Tartt, played more than 9 games the last two seasons. San Francisco did resign Ward to a one-year deal but it’s inevitable that they add a safety.

2.03, Arizona Cardinals | Dalton Risner, OG, Kansas State

After drafting QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals focus should be protecting him. Risner is an interesting prospect because he has experience at both tackle and center. Risner performed well at the combine in the shuttle, 3-cone and broad jump drills. Adding a versatile and athletic linemen to the depth chart would be a boon for Murray.

2.02, Indianapolis Colts | Johnathan Abram, S, Mississippi St

The Colts are set at FS with Malik Hooker but adding a run supporting box safety would greatly improve the defense. Abram fits the bill if he lasts this long. The offense and front seven are looking solid so the Colts should concentrate on shoring up the middling secondary. If they do, the Colts could be a sneakily complete Super Bowl contender.

2.01, New York Giants | Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

The Cardinals continue their wheeling and dealing by moving back two spots so the Giants can grab their replacement for Landon Collins. Thompson struggled down the stretch but is my pick for the best free safety on the board. The Giants did acquire Jabril Peppers in the OBJ trade but he’s on a team-friendly contract and the Giants can move on after 2019 without a cap hit. Peppers has been a bit of a disappointment so maybe a return to the rover position that made him so successful at Michigan would help – having Thompson in the fold would make that possible.

 

A few housekeeping notes:

  • The full mock draft was written between April 4-10.  Any moves or news released after that point would not be taken into account.
  • To help me track my mock draft, I used a very useful tool I found on Reddit called RST’s 2019 Draft Tracker.
  • This spreadsheet lets you easily trade draft picks and uses a pick value chart so you can try and keep trades fair.  All of the trades except for Washington/Arizona were pick for pick and I required that the team moving up offer more value than the value chart suggested was fair.
  • Since the trades all included late picks not covered in this mock I didn’t bother noting each individual trade.  Instead, I described my general thinking for the trade.
  • For each pick, I tried to put myself in the shoes of the GM.  If given the chance, I would not necessarily make all of the same picks as I value some players and positions differently.
  • Keep in mind that my predicted draft order does not necessarily correspond to my personal positional rankings.
  • I could not have put together the roster and contract notes without the help of two invaluable sites: Our Lads and Spotrac.

Notes: In an effort to standardize the description of key positional traits, I frequently use the following adjectives: elite, good, above average, average, below average, poor.  Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When writing a full report for a player, I typically pick two games of film to watch.  When time permits, I may add a third game. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels, but keep in mind these are the best plays that player had so they really need to jump off the screen. I do not necessarily want to watch games where they did very well or very poorly as that may not be a great illustration of their true ability. If possible, when comparing players at the same position I also like to watch film against common opponents. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources, I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, foxsports.com, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2019 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com (but be wary of highlight only reels)
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, Strong as Steele with Phil Steele, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, 247Sports College Football, College Fantasy Football: On Campus, Underdog Pawdcast, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com (the media home for FWAA members)
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper