2016 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Rounds 2-3)
The second round of the 2016 NFL Draft begins at 7:00 p.m. ET, while the remainder of the draft will finish up on Saturday (12 p.m. ET). Coverage is on ESPN and the NFL Network.
Throughout the second and third rounds, I'll be updating this page with player evaluation from Brandon Niles and my own live analysis of the fantasy implications of each skill position pick. Brandon will be taking over tomorrow to summarize the mid- to late-round picks. Since opportunity is crucial for a rookie, I'll provide a grade for each early pick given the player's opportunity for playing time and overall situation.
To see our fantasy recap of the first round, click here.
2.04 - San Diego Chargers - Hunter Henry, Arkansas
Henry wasn’t extremely productive at Arkansas, catching only nine touchdowns throughout his three-year career with the Razorbacks. However, he did haul in 51 passes last year, and his measurables are excellent. He ran a 4.66 second 40-yard-dash at his pro day, and at 6-foot-5, 250 lbs, he has the size and athleticism to be a premier receiving threat. Henry is a better blocker than many receiving tight ends coming out of school, but his real value will be stretching the seam and creating mismatches against opposing linebackers and safeties. Henry isn’t a sure thing, but he’s the best TE prospect in this draft and will be drafted with the intention of using him in the passing game.
Athletic Comparables: Tyler Kroft, James O’Shaughnessy
This pick should have a redraft/dynasty grade, but 4for4 is a redraft site so we'll go with a "D" since Antonio Gates is still around. Long-term, this looks like a good spot for Henry because he should be ready to take over once Gates retires. Rookie tight ends rarely become fantasy factors, and I doubt Henry does much in 2016 barring a long-term injury to Gates.
2.09 - New York Giants - WR Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Shepard is a prototype slot receiver and won’t likely wind up playing on the outside. However, his route-running and elite hands will give him an opportunity to see a ton of snaps in multiple receiver sets at the NFL level, and his ability to separate and run after the catch will make him an excellent pro. Shepard catches nearly everything thrown his way and he runs decisively after the catch. While he lacks elite straight-line speed, Shepard is fast enough and runs with patience and explosiveness. He should be a valuable contributor in the return game and is ready to make an impact immediately as a slot receiver.
Rueben Randle is gone, Victor Cruz is soon-to-be 30 and is coming off of serious knee and calf injuries. Even if Cruz is playing, Shepard could play in three-WR sets in the slot. Long-term, this is a very good landing spot given the quarterback situation and Ben McAdoo's slot-friendly offense.
2.14 - Tennessee Titans - RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
It’s not often you see shiftiness in a 247-pound runner, but Henry uses his size and power to the best of his ability, weaving in and out of traffic and using deceptive speed to make big plays into the second level. Henry runs hard and doesn’t shy away from contact, always finishing forward to grind out extra yards. Scoring 28 touchdowns last year for the Crimson Tide on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy, Henry has shown a nose for the end zone and an uncanny knack for finding small creases. He runs decisively and has a high floor as at least a two-down back in the NFL.
The Titans just traded for DeMarco Murray, so Henry has a lot of work to do to earn a role that will make him fantasy relevant as a rookie. David Cobb and Bishop Sankey are cooked in Tennessee, and Murray's stock takes a hit as well.
2.16 - New Orleans Saints - WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Thomas is a solid possession receiver with the ability to move the chains and make clutch catches for his quarterback. He’s a physical player who flashes the ability to develop into an elite blocker outside the hash marks, and he’s the quintessential jack-of-all-trades type of receiver, doing everything well without any particular skill standing out. He gets downfield, but doesn’t have an extra gear. He catches the ball well and runs good routes, but he isn’t going to beat top level corners. His production is hard to ignore, even if his tape doesn’t jump out at you, and he’s considered a rather safe prospect after the elite players are off the board.
The Saints are pretty solid at receiver with Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, but Thomas could push Snead for snaps if he has a good camp. Marques Colston is gone, so at worst Thomas will have to beat ot Brandon Coleman to be the team's third receiver. Both the offense and QB situation are receiver-friendly.
2.20 - New York Jets - QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Hackenberg was plagued by inconsistency in college, but he has a big time arm and can make every throw at the next level. His accuracy leaves much to be desired and he can seem stiff in the pocket, often making him prone to take big hits. Hackenberg showed improvement reading defenses last year and he has the talent to make it in the NFL if he’s given time to develop. His 56 percent career completion rate in college is concerning, as was his inability to improve as a passer over three years as a starter. His skill set is very similar to that of Zach Mettenberger and Derek Anderson.
This grade assumes Ryan Fitzpatrick is not re-signed, though I believe that he'll eventually return to the team. If he does, this grade drops to a "C." The Jets have two great receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and the team just signed pass-catching extraordinaire Matt Forte. Hackenberg is considered a project, so there's no need to draft him in one-QB redraft leagues given all the passing talent around the league.
2.24 - Cincinnati Bengals - WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
The most prolific receiver in Pittsburgh history, Boyd is a savvy route-runner who demonstrates excellent short area quickness. He fights for his position in the defense, runs with abandon after the catch, and has excellent hands. Boyd translates to the NFL as a slot receiver, and he should be able to use his crafty route running to gain separation at the next level, even though he ran a 4.58 second 40-yard dash at the combine. Boyd had a DUI last summer, but aside from that, he’s known as a hard worker on and off the field and should thrive in an NFL environment.
Athletic Comparables: James Jones
The Bengals lost both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency, so they needed to address the receiver position after missing out on the receiver run in the 1st round. Boyd looks like a good fit and he just needs to beat out Brandon LaFell to play starter's snaps opposite A.J. Green. He should be fantasy relevant in 2016. He's currently going in the 17th round and given this landing spot his ADP should rise several rounds by August.
3.10 - Miami Dolphins - RB Kenyan Drake, Alabama
Drake is an athletic player with tremendous playmaking ability. He ran a 4.31 second 40-yard dash at the combine, and he catches the ball cleanly coming out of the backfield. Drake won’t be able to run between the tackles, he doesn’t block, and his route-running isn’t polished enough to line up outside as a receiver, but he’s as dangerous as anyone in the open field and he could be a game-breaker at the next level if he refines his technique a bit. He’s also a threat to make an early impact on special teams.
Drake projects to be a part-time player in 2016, sharing the backfield with Jay Ajayi, who is better able to run the ball between the tackles. It looks like there's a committee brewing in Miami, and Drake could be a good "wait on RB" target in PPR leagues.
3.18 - Atlanta Falcons - TE Austin Hooper, Stanford
The Falcons haven't had a weapon at tight end since Tony Gonzalez retired. Rookie tight ends rarely make much of a fantasy impact, but Hooper is a player to monitor this offseason. If he's tearing it up during camp, it's possible that he'll work his way into the TE2 conversation.
3.22 - Houston Texans - WR Braxton Miller, Ohio State
Miller is a converted quarterback who was a star recruit as a passer, but moved to the receiver position after an injury left him fighting with Cardale Jones for a starting role. Miller’s competitiveness and willingness to change positions lends credit to his character, and his elite athleticism made the transition a successful one. While he only had 25 catches last year, he showed surprisingly consistent hands, and averaged 13.6 yards per catch. Miller has only adequate size and speed, but he demonstrates elite after-the-catch ability and his obvious versatility should allow him to find a role quickly in the NFL.
3.23 - Miami Dolphins - WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
Carroo has been banged up and suspended off and on, but he has great hands and a wide catching radius, despite being a hair under six feet tall. He’s not a burner, but he can get downfield once he gets moving. He can easily get bumped off his route in press coverage, and he doesn’t cut with any kind of explosiveness, using technique rather than athleticism or speed to get open, which could be a problem if he doesn’t get stronger at the next level. Ultimately however, he uses his frame very well, and could be an excellent red zone target. He had 29 touchdowns in three years at Rutgers.
The Dolphins have two young and talented receivers in Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, and Kenny Stills is still around, so Carroo has his work cut out for him. His college receiving market share indicates that he has a good chance to become a solid pro, but he'll have to beat out some good players to get on the field.
3.27 - Seattle Seahawks - RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame
Prosise is a good kid with raw athleticism and he can bowl over defenders when he gets up a head of steam. However, he recently converted to the position, playing receiver in high school and his first two years in college. He catches the ball well, but he’s still learning the running back position. Prosise works hard but lacks natural instincts as a back, and doesn’t have the speed to play receiver as a pro. It may take time, but his football intelligence and his powerful running style could be strong assets as a long-term developmental project. One thing is for sure with Prosise, he’ll outwork the rest of the depth chart.
Given the way Thomas Rawls played last year, it's hard to see Prosise pushing him for playing time, so assuming Rawls is healthy, Prosise will likely compete with Christine Michael to serve as Rawls' primary backup.
3.28 - New England Patriots - QB Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Brissett is a big, athletic quarterback who throws hard and plays with a competitive edge. His accuracy suffers when he tries to throw precision passes on short-to-intermediate routes, but his ability to extend plays and move in the pocket is unparalleled in this draft class. Brissett takes a lot of risks, but he’s a gunner by nature and NFL scouts will need to determine if they can live with that. He’s a born leader who has the athletic tools to thrive at the next level if he can keep himself out of turnover trouble.
The Patriots appear to be planning for the future with this pick.
3.30 - Cleveland Browns - QB Cody Kessler, USC
Kessler is a smart player who gets by on short-to-intermediate accuracy and solid decision making. His experience running a pro-style offense will help him transition to the next level, but he’s not dominant physically and he has one of the weakest arms in this draft class. The ball doesn’t come out with much velocity, and this affects his ability to throw deep outs and long balls with consistent accuracy. He’s got a little gamer in him though, and should have a shot at a backup role in the NFL.
The Browns are still looking for a quarterback, though it's not a particularly good spot for a passer to land given the dearth of talent at receiver.
3.31 - Seattle Seahawks - TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State
Vannett has the potential to develop into an excellent red zone target in the NFL. At 6-foot-6, he showed the ability to use his large body to wall off defenders when going after jump balls at Ohio State. Vannett only caught 55 passes over four years in college, but he had five touchdowns as a junior, and he’ll be looked at as a developmental prospect. He’s a project, but his upside is as high as any of the tight ends in this draft aside from Hunter Henry.