2017 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Rounds 2-3)
The second round of the 2017 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.
2.05 - Bills - WR Zay Jones, East Carolina
Jones helped his case with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. He’s explosive off the line and proved he has NFL speed with a 4.45 in the 40-yard-dash at the combine. Jones was wildly productive in East Carolina’s pass-friendly system, catching a ridiculous 158 balls for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns. Time will tell if Jones is a system player with inflated numbers, but he has a nice 6-foot-2 frame, uses his hands well, attacks the ball in the air, and plays with a strong competitive desire. Jones checks all the boxes and has the potential to be a WR1 if he can make the jump from smaller school competition.
The Bills lost Robert Woods in free agency, so Jones has a great opportunity to play a lot right from the get-go. It's a bump for Tyrod Taylor who desperately needs weapons in the passing game. The Bills are a run-oriented team, so Jones may not make much of a fantasy impact as a rookie, but from a playing time standpoint, this is a good spot for a receiver.
2.08 - Panthers - WR Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
Samuel is a hybrid player with the ability to catch the ball out of the slot position and also take handoffs. The Buckeyes used him all over the field and he compares favorably to a Percy Harvin-type of slash option in the backfield. He scored 15 total touchdowns last season and ran a 4.31 40-yard-dash at the combine, showing big-play potential. He’s also built with more power than a guy like Harvin or Tavon Austin. Samuel may not be used as heavily as a running back at the pro level, but with his speed and playmaking ability, he should be given every opportunity to excel in a hybrid role. A creative offensive coordinator is going to love drawing up plays for this talented kid.
After drafting Christian McCaffrey in the first round, the Panthers got another playmaker in the second. He figures to play all over the field, and is a very fast complement to the not-so-fast Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess. The pick does throw a little cold water on the possibility of seeing McCaffrey playing a lot in the slot.
2.09 - Vikings - RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Cook might be the most instinctive runner in this draft. He has functional size to go with a rare blend of speed and agility that makes him a nightmare to wrap up. He averaged 6.13 yards per carry last season and scored 19 touchdowns on the ground. Cook is also an accomplished receiver out of the backfield and offers the versatility needed to be a three-down back at the next level. Cook produced against some of the better teams in college football, including four touchdowns against Clemson last year, and he has excellent vision and burst. He may have some fumbling issues to work out and he’s had some off-field issues including a misdemeanor charge in 2015 – found not guilty – but if he can sort those things out, he has the potential to be an All-Pro.
This landing spot gets a B grade since the Vikings had so much trouble running the ball last season. They also acquired Latavius Murray in free agency and Jerick McKinnon is still on the roster. Cook has a great chance to win the job, but it's no sure thing.
2.12 - Rams - TE Gerald Everett, South Alabama
Everett flashes the ability to line up in multiple spots in a creative offense, and he has an uncanny ability to locate soft spots in zone coverage and work the middle of the field. Everett can get bogged down in press coverage and lacks the physicality to ever be a consistent blocker, but the right coach will find a use for him in the passing game. He could play an old H-Back role in the NFL and may wind up lining up in the slot position. If a team can put him in motion to get him a free release, he has the talent to blow by safeties and linebackers.
The Rams drafted Tyler Higbee last year, but new HC Sean McVay coveted Everett and reportedly thinks he's the next Jordan Reed. Time will tell, but the fact remains that rookie tight ends rarely make a big fantasy impact and Jared Goff didn't show a whole lot as a rookie.
2.13 - Bears - TE Adam Shaheen, Ashland
Shaheen has exceptional size, 6-foot-6, and strength at the tight position. He tied Pharaoh Brown of Oregon for the best at his position this year with 24 reps on the bench press at the combine. Additionally, he showed well in the 40-yard-dash and 20-yard-shuffle, showing impressive athleticism and quickness for someone his size. Shaheen is coming from a small school, but had 26 touchdowns over the past two seasons for Ashland and demonstrates a wide catching radius. Time will tell if he can make the big jump from Ashland to the NFL, but he checks all the boxes of a top-level receiving tight end and could develop into a special player if given time.
2.16 - Bengals - RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
Based on talent alone, Mixon might be the second best running back in this class. He has the ability to make big plays, hits holes with conviction, and gets from the first to the third level of a defense in a flash. Mixon is an all-purpose back who can line up in the slot, run up the middle, and even help in the return game. His 195.6 all-purpose yards per game ranked second in the FBS. The problem with Mixon is that he punched a woman in 2014, breaking four bones in his victim’s face. NFL teams will have to decide whether or not they think Mixon is past his off-field problems, whether he deserves another chance, and just how much his incredible talent outweighs the risks and public relations issues that come with drafting him. If he keeps his nose clean however, he has a chance to be an immediate impact player.
Mixon may get the chance to play right away, but the Bengals have a couple of solid backs on the roster in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Hill will be a free agent in 2018, so he's likely on his way out of town. The pick is a downgrade for both Hill and Bernard, whose touches are now under major pressure. Mixon is likely to go in the middle rounds (5th-7th) of fantasy drafts, maybe higher if he wins the job outright.
2.20 - Browns - QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
Kizer might be the most physically gifted quarterback in this draft class, with a tall frame and elite arm strength to go with deceptive athleticism that gives him excellent pocket mobility. Kizer was inconsistent in college, struggling against top level teams like Stanford and USC, while playing great against Syracuse and Navy. Kizer will need to work on the mechanics of his game and learn not to get sloppy with his technique when the pocket breaks down. He would be best suited in a position where he can sit for a year and learn, but he may have the most upside of any other passer available this year.
The Browns have long needed a quarterback, and they may continue with the Cody Kessler experiment while Kizer learns on the sidelines. Kizer is certainly capable of winning the job this summer.
2.30 - Steelers - WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
Every year there’s a quality college receiver available in the draft who fails to blow anyone away with his speed, making him hard to judge. A couple seasons ago, it was almost a sure thing that Smith-Schuster would be a top-10 pick. However, after a nagging back injury last season and a dismal showing – one catch, nine yards – against the NFL-caliber Alabama corners to start last season, scouts are concerned about his ability to translate to the pros. Smith-Schuster has good size, controls his body well, plays physically after the catch, and has excellent hands. He’s a willing blocker and should be able to develop into a quality WR2 at the next level, but his lack of explosiveness and his inability to get open against better corners is a red flag, making his bust potential high.
Martavis Bryant was just reinstated, but the Steelers clearly want to shore up the receiving corps after Markus Wheaton left via free agency this spring. Smith-Schuster should provide depth behind Antonio Brown and Bryant (and Eli Rogers?), but is capable of stepping in if the need arises.
3.03 - Saints - RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
Kamara is a slasher who hits the hole with excellent acceleration and demonstrated versatility as a multi-use back for the Volunteers. Kamara shared time with John Kelly last year, but caught 40 balls, scored a total of 13 touchdowns and contributed as a punt returner as well. Kamara has a low center of gravity with explosive athleticism, helping him break tackles as well as make defenders miss. Because he’s never had a full workload and has had some nagging knee injuries in the past, there is concern about whether or not Kamara can ever be a 20+ carry player, but his play-making ability and versatility should make him a valuable change-of-pace back at worst in the NFL.
3.05 - Rams - WR Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Kupp was incredibly productive at Eastern Washington, leading the FCS last season with 1,700 receiving yards on 117 receptions. He also scored 17 touchdowns on the season and had a monster game (12-206-3) in the season opening victory over Washington State. Kupp will need to show he can transition from being a slot receiver in the Big Sky conference to the NFL level, but he has excellent hands and plays with a competitive edge. Kupp flashes the ability to play inside or outside as a pro and moves well in space. If he can overcome a lack of top-end speed and learn the nuances of his position, he could be a very good pro.
Athletic Comparable: Austin Collie
Kupp will have a chance to contribute immediately, though the Rams have had the worst passing game in the league for the last couple of seasons.
3.08 - Titans - WR Taywan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Taylor caught 98 passes for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns last season for the Hilltoppers and came up big in the Boca Raton Bowl against Memphis, helping them to a 51-31 victory. Taylor, 5-foot-11, won’t wow you with his size, but he has tremendous short area quickness. He was the top receiver at the combine in the three-cone drill. Taylor is a demon with the ball in his hands and could thrive in the right system. He’ll likely be a slot receiver at the next level, but a smart offensive coordinator should be able to make use of this dynamic playmaker.
Taylor projects to be the Titans' slot receiver with Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews outside in three receiver sets. It's another bump for QB Marcus Mariota, who now has plenty of weapons to utilize in the passing game.
3.15 - Jets - WR ArDarius Stewart, Alabama
Stewart is a tough receiver who looks like a running back after he catches the ball. He attacks opposing corners off the line, able to release and get into his route quickly. Stewart wasn’t asked to run an NFL route tree, so he may have some developing to do there. He also needs to play with a little more discipline. He often goes after the big play instead of getting what the defense is giving him. Still, he has a chance to compete early as a WR2 or slot player, and his aggressive running style should translate well in the return game.
Athletic Comparables: Shaq Evans, Justin Blackmon
Brandon Marshall is gone, so there are targets available in New York. The quarterback situation is a major issue, and until that's sorted, it'll be hard to get excited about any Jet receiver not named Eric Decker.
3.18 - Broncos - WR Carlos Henderson, Louisiana Tech
Henderson didn’t perform well at the combine, which doesn’t help an undersized guy coming out of Conference USA, but his level of production will be enough to get him noticed by pro scouts. He had 19 touchdown receptions last season and returned two kickoffs for scores as well. Henderson projects well as a slot receiver due to his ability to stop on a dime and change directions fluidly. He sees the field well, runs great after the catch, and adjusts to poorly thrown balls so that his catch radius is bigger than his 5-foot-11 frame would suggest. He’s been nicked up in the past and he’ll need to adjust to the speed of the NFL, but he has a chance to contribute early in sub-packages and in the return game.
3.20 - Buccaneers - WR Chris Godwin, Penn State
Godwin’s numbers don’t pop out at you, but he showed up big in big games, including catching nine passes for 187 yards and a pair of touchdowns against USC in the Rose Bowl this year. He ran well at the combine, but didn’t show explosiveness on tape, which might cause problems for him against press coverage at the next level. However, he demonstrates excellent body control to play bigger than his 6-foot-1 frame, uses his hands very well, and had a 36-inch vertical, giving him legit WR1 potential if he develops as a route-runner.
Athletic Comparable: Pierre Garcon
Long-term, this is a good spot for a receiver, but in the short term, it's hard to find snaps and targets behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and fellow rookie O.J. Howard. It's another bump for Jameis Winston.
3.22 - Chiefs - RB Kareem Hunt, Toledo
Hunt is a versatile plugger with limited speed and burst, but excellent balance and just enough wiggle to make the first defender miss. He was very active in the passing game for the Rockets, catching 41 passes last season for 403 yards. He scored 44 rushing touchdowns during his career at Toledo and keeps his feet churning after contact. He’ll have every opportunity to develop into a three-down back at the next level and would really thrive in a one-cut, zone blocking scheme.
Spencer Ware is the incumbent, but Hunt could push him for touches since Ware didn't exactly set the world on fire in the second half of the season (3.77 YPC in his last seven games after averaging 5.01 YPC in his first seven games). I'm still a believer in Ware, but Hunt will be a factor in Kansas City.
3.23 - Giants - QB Davis Webb, California
Webb has a cannon for an arm and at 6-foot-5 has prototype NFL size. He can make every throw in the NFL and sees the field well, working quickly through projects. He needs a clean pocket to survive however, as he’s very heavy-footed and doesn’t feel the rush well yet. Webb has a reputation as a film junkie who loves the game, which should help him develop from the Bear Raid offense he was in at Cal to a pro scheme. He’ll need to work on taking a little heat off of short throws and get more consistent in his decision-making, but he has long-term upside for a team with the time to develop him.
3.25 - Texans - RB D’Onta Foreman, Texas
Foreman exploded last year for the Longhorns with 2,028 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns, and a 6.3 yard average per carry. He won the Doak Walker award and demonstrated a rare blend of speed and power. There is no doubting Foreman’s ability as a runner as he has the vision to see the hole, the patience to wait for it to open, the acceleration to get through it, and the power to break tackles on his way to the second and third level of the defense. However, Foreman wasn’t given the opportunity to catch the ball much at Texas and will need to develop as a pass-blocker if he’s going to be more than a two-down back. Additionally, he had a stress fracture in his foot that kept him out of the combine and may have ball security issues. He has the running ability to make an early impact in the NFL if he can overcome some of his deficiencies.
Foreman could push Lamar Miller for touches, but at the very least should serve as the team's change-of-pace back. As a talented backup on a run-oriented team, his ADP will probably land in the 8th-10th range.
3.32 - Lions - WR Kenny Golladay, Northern Illinois
Golladay is a big target with a long frame who was a nice safety value for the Huskies over the last two years due to his wide catching radius. He has fairly consistent hands and plucks the ball out of the air at the highest point, but he doesn’t always know how to put himself in the right position to make plays and will need time to develop the ability to run an NFL route tree. He’ll need to prove he can be explosive enough to get off the line without breaking up the timing of his route.
3.34 - Cardinals - Chad Williams, Grambling
Williams was productive in college and demonstrates above average hands and route-running ability for a young player. He doesn't play as fast as his 4.45 40-yard dash, and he’ll need to improve his football speed to prove he can make the jump from Grambling to the NFL. Williams is an interesting prospect because he has natural receiver skills, but has glaring weaknesses in his athleticism to overcome.
Athletic Comparable: Malcolm Mitchell
Michael Floyd is gone, Larry Fitzgerald is getting a little long in the tooth, and John Brown spent much of last season dealing with a sickle cell issue, so there's some opportunity in this receiving corps.
3.36 - Titans - TE Jonnu Smith, Florida International
Smith comes with some character concerns after burns during an altercation with his girlfriend – who was charged with aggravated battery – ended his final season for FIU. Smith is an excellent athlete who flashes quick-twitch movements at the line that should help him release against NFL linebackers, but he’s still developing his hands and doesn’t do a great job using his frame at this point. He has high upside as a receiving TE if he can spend some time developing.
3.40 - 49ers - QB C.J. Beathard, Iowa
The grandson of former Chargers GM Bobby Beathard, C.J. is a smart player who worked in a pro-style system at Iowa. He has great footwork and squares his shoulders when he throws, which helps his accuracy. His fundamentals help him overcome limited arm strength, which really shows up when he tries to throw the deep ball. The ball sails on him and his accuracy suffers because of it. Beathard will need to develop his arm a bit to excel at the next level, but his high football IQ and fundamentals should make him a good backup for several years.
The 49ers have major quarterback issues, so if Beathard lives up to his 3rd round capital, he could end up starting before long. The 49ers traded up to get him, so HC Kyle Shanahan clearly sees something in him.
3.41 - Steelers - RB James Conner, Pittsburgh
Conner is a powerful back who leaves it all on the field, but has some glaring concerns going into his pro career. He seems to lack natural vision on anything outside the one-gaps and a torn MCL in 2015 followed by a battle with Hodgkin Lymphoma will make him a medical risk. However, he runs with excellent balance and can shed blockers in short yardage situations. His hands are better than his 30 career receptions would lead you to believe, so if he can learn to block with a lower center of gravity, he could be a solid three-down back in the right power-running scheme. Conner is a high-floor player if he stays healthy, as his short-yardage abilities and surprising burst for his size should make him a red zone demon.
Athletic Comparable: Jeremy Hill
Conner will compete to be LeVeon Bell's backup (and handcuff).
3.42 - Seahawks - WR Amara Darboh, Michigan
Darboh clocked faster than expected in the 40-yard-dash at 4.45 seconds. That probably added a round to his draft stock, but he has some sneaky good upside as a strong receiver who tracks the ball well and had an excellent Senior Bowl week. Darboh runs hard after the catch, which could translate well in the right offense. He can play outside or in the slot and he gets off the line well. He’ll need to learn to catch the ball away from his body with more consistency and prove he can stay behind NFL defensive backs, but he has all the ability to develop into a starter.
The Seahawks aren't terribly deep at receiver, though both Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson flashed last season. Darboh will have to compete with those two players to get on the field.