2018 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Rounds 4-7)
The third and final day of the 2018 NFL Draft (Rounds 4-7) begins Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.
Here at 4for4, I am taking the baton from Senior Editor John Paulsen, who covered Round 1 on Thursday and Rounds 2-3 on Friday. I will be updating this page with analysis of the fantasy implications of each skill position pick. Since opportunity is crucial for a rookie, we assign a grade for each, given the player's opportunity for playing time in 2018.
Don’t get too excited about this crop of mid- to late-round rookies. While there may be a couple of players selected today who will beat the odds and prove valuable in 2018 fantasy football leagues, the odds are stacked heavily against them. Still, every year there seem to be a few late-round picks that find a way to contribute, so it's worthwhile to pay attention to the third day of the draft.
4.01 - Panthers - TE Ian Thomas, Indiana
Thomas is an excellent athlete, and he has the size and brute strength to be the best all-around tight end in this class. His route-running needs polish, as he tends to round off his breaks and struggles to gain separation when he’s unable to physically overpower defenders. However, he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.74 seconds at the combine and shows an ability to stretch the seam at the next level. With his bruising running style, Thomas will be difficult to bring down after the catch, and he’s shown the ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls, giving him high upside. Thomas might need some time to develop, but he has the ability to be not just a good, but a great player long-term.
With the Panthers re-signing Greg Olsen this week, it's unlikely that Thomas will have much of an opportunity as a rookie. He'll likely slide into the TE2 spot vacated by Ed Dickson, and only gain value in the event of another injury-plagued season from Olsen. Thomas has long-term potential in dynasty leagues, but he'll be undrafted in most re-draft leagues.
4.03 - Texans - WR Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
Coutee is a burner who ran a 4.43-second 40-yard-dash at the combine, and averaged 31.5 yard per kickoff return last year for the Red Raiders. He runs with great agility and has good hands as well, showing the ability to find soft spots in coverage and to turn short slants into long touchdowns. Coutee breaks more ankles than tackles however, and he’ll likely need to be disguised in the backfield at the pro level to avoid strong press-coverage. His deep speed and playmaking ability however should allow him to make a roster at least as a return specialist, with slot-reciever potential on the right team.
Athletic Comparable: De’Anthony Thomas
Coutee will likely fight with Bruce Ellington for the WR3 spot on the depth chart in Houston, with De'Andre Hopkins and Will Fuller firmly entrenched outside. While Coutee has the potential to get some early snaps in the slot, his likely contributions as a rookie will be in the return game, where he can use his blazing speed and elusiveness to set the Texans up on offense.
4.04 - Colts - RB Nyheim Hines, N.C. State
Hines doesn’t bring much power to his game, but he’s a dynamic playmaker and was the fastest running back at the combine this year, running a blazing 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard-dash. Hines is electric when he has space and he has experience as a returner, making it likely he makes a roster and contributes at least in sub-packages and on special teams right away. His diminutive size and unrefined receiving skills may be a barrier to getting more than a half-dozen touches per game, but he has a lot of upside as a long-term playmaker in the right situation.
It seems unlikely the undersized Hines will take over as a lead back in Indianapolis, but with a logjam of underwhelming backs on the roster inlcuding Marlon Mack as the main guy, Hines will have every opportunity to steal carries. Hines may not ever get more than 12 touches in a game, but his talent makes him an intriguing option on a roster that needs playmakers out of the backfield.
4.05 - Browns - WR Antonio Callaway, Florida
Callaway had a sexual assault charge in college that will cause scouts to question his character, but based solely on his on-field production, he’s a big-time playmaker. He ran a 4.41 second 40-yard-dash at the combine, averaged 19.4 yards per catch as a freshman, and was a dynamic return specialist for the Gators. Callaway is an unrefined, but explosive athlete who can appear complacent getting in and out of his breaks. His explosiveness will make him a wildcard for whichever team decides to give him a chance, but he’ll need the right situation to keep his nose clean and his work ethic in check.
For a guy with character concerns, this might not be the best place for Callaway, especially since he'll likely be battling Ricardo Louis for the fourth spot on the depth chart. The Browns have amassed a nice array of offensive weapons over the offseason, making it hard to think the troubled Callaway will get opportunities early on.
4.07 - Jets - TE Chris Herndon, Miami
Herndon was used heavily by the Hurricanes on short throws, where he was able to use his run-after-catch ability to make big plays. Herndon’s strength didn’t always show up on the field, but he recorded 21 reps on the bench at the combine, third in his position group. Herndon flashes the ability to be a good blocker, but plays passively, making it more likely that he stays in-line on passing downs, limiting his long-term fantasy potential. The right coach will be able to use his play-making skills, but he’s coming off an MCL injury and has some polishing to do as a receiver before he’ll develop into a legitimate starter.
The Jets are looking for a TE after Austin Seferian-Jenkins moved on in free agency, and Herndon will battle Clive Walford and Jordan Leggett for a starting job early on. Herndon is probably a better blocker right now than receiver however, making it likely he'll be a better football player than fantasy option, even with a good chance of earning the job as a rookie.
4.08 - Giants - QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
Lauletta is an excellent leader who is very accurate on short-to-intermediate throws. He reads through his progressions well and has a presence on the field that inspires teammates. He looks off defenders and can move safeties with his eyes. Lauletta had a great combine, showing more accuracy on his deep ball than what shows up on tape, but his arm strength will be an issue at the next level. With very little zip on the ball, Lauletta’s turnovers in college were largely a product of his inability to force the ball into tight spots, a problem that will be magnified with faster defenders in the NFL. Lauletta will be a valuable member of a roster, but he’ll need to use his significant intangibles, rather than his physical abilities, to developing into a starter.
Lauletta will battle with Davis Webb for the backup role behind Eli Manning this season, and is likely viewed as a potential heir-apparent, rather than an instant impact option for the Giants. New York has doubled down on giving Eli some support this draft, so unless Eli is wildly ineffective or suffers an injury, Lauletta is unlikely to see the field as a rookie. He's a speculative dynasty pick at best.
4.12 - Bengals - RB Mark Walton, Miami
Walton would likely go at least a round higher if he wasn’t coming off an injury-shortened season. Walton is small at 5-foot-9, but he’s thickly built with a low center of gravity, and he runs with explosiveness when given space. Walton needs to get a bit more patient and identify when to take what the defense is giving him. At the pro level, his dancing in the backfield and immediate tendency to bounce outside may result in more negative plays. Walton has a great deal of upside though as a change-of-pace back, with the potential to grow into a starter if the game slows down for him.
Athletic Comparable: Devonta Freeman
Walton is a nice change-of-pace option for the Bengals. He'll have an uphill battle to get carries behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, but because Cincinnati didn't get as much out of that tandem as they would've liked last year, there may be an opportunity for Walton to win some snaps in camp. Watch this battle, and see if Walton ends up beating out Bernard for the 53-man roster.
4.13 - Broncos - WR DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
Hamilton uses his 6-foot-1 frame well and demonstrates precise timing coming in and out of his breaks, making him an ideal fit as a slot receiver. He lacks the game-breaking speed to be a consistent threat outside, and he had some focus drops throughout his career with the Nittany Lions, but his size and work ethic should help him land a spot on a roster somewhere. Hamilton will know the playbook inside and out and would fit best in a timing-based scheme that will allow him to use his body and high football IQ to overcome his inability to win battles based on athleticism. Hamilton never gives up on a play and will likely catch a lot of bail-out balls when plays break down.
The Broncos clearly don't like their WR depth, as this is the second one they've drafted in the first four rounds. Hamilton will be battling Carlos Henderson the fourth spot on the depth chart as a rookie, barring any surprise roster moves before the season. This is likely a pick for the future as Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders both have two years remaining on their current deals.
4.20 - Seahawks - TE Will Dissly, Washington
Dissly plays with a tremendous amount of toughness, and already demonstrates consistent hand placement when facing up against opposing defensive linemen in pass protection. He moves when run-blocking, and seamlessly transitions from lock to release when he leaks out into the flat. Dissly offers very little as a receiver, but has good enough hands and matches up well against linebackers, so he should catch a few balls and find the end zone occasionally as a pro. Dissly is more likely to vulture a touchdown than he is to become a consistent receiving threat, but his ability to block will keep him on a roster and get him some early snaps.
Athletic Comparable: Chase Ford
Dissly goes to a Seahawks team that needs a TE, but Nick Vannett and Ed Dickson each have more natural receiving skills than Dissly, who will likely get a lot of snaps on running downs as an in-line blocker. The opportunity is there for Dissly if he can outshine Vannett and Dickson as a receiving option, but his tape suggests Seattle views him more as a blocking TE2 than a viable receiving threat, which gives him limited fantasy value.
4.23 - Dolphins - TE Durham Smythe, Notre Dame
Smythe was productive at Notre Dame, but will make his way in the NFL as a blocker. Smythe uses his 6-foot-5 frame well, locking onto opposing rushers and using a strong initial push to drive defenders back off the line. Smythe may catch the occasional short pass, and may develop into a red zone target with his considerable size, but he’s far more likely to be an in-line blocker on running downs than a consistent receiving threat.
Athletic Comparable: Anthony Fasano
Smythe will get early snaps in Miami, but only as a TE2 and blocker. In the second round, the Dolphins took a pure receiving threat at the position in Mike Gesicki, so it makes sense they'd grab a pure blocker in the fourth round to replace Anthony Fasano. Smythe has no fantasy value, but should help in pass protection and run blocking.
4.26 - Falcons - RB Ito Smith, Southern Mississippi
Smith demonstrates excellent burst through the hole and can get to the outside in a hurry, giving him playmaking skills. He lacks track speed but makes decisive cuts and has the ability to contribute in the return game. His role in the NFL will likely be as a receiver out of the backfield and a return specialist. He has great hands, catching 136 balls for the Golden Eagles. Smith should have no problems making a pro roster because of what he adds to special teams, but his diminutive size might make it difficult for him to ever get more than a handful of offensive touches per game.
Athletic Comparable: Shane Vereen
Smith goes to an Atlanta team that already has a two-headed attack with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, but he should slide into a role on special teams. His playmaking ability could give him some change-of-pace touches, but with two talented backs firmly entrenched in the Falcons' backfield, it's hard to imagine Smith making a big fantasy impact early on.
4.31 - Dolphins - RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Ballage was part of a three-pronged rushing attack for the Sun Devils last season, and he had productive games against New Mexico State and Oregon State. Ballage had a great combine, including showing off excellent straight-line speed for a 6-foot-1 back. He ran a 4.46 in the 40-yard-dash and had a broad jump of 122 inches. Ballage shows little explosiveness on tape however, and he struggles to turn direction without losing a lot of speed. He should be considered a downhill runner, or a one-cut player that would be best suited to a zone-blocking scheme as a complement to another, more explosive back. If he can learn to run with more leverage, then he could develop into an excellent short-yardage player, as he always keeps his feet moving through contact.
Ballage is a great complement to Kenyon Drake, but the problem is the Dolphins signed Frank Gore in the offseason. If Ballage can somehow push Gore down the depth chart, then it's very possible he makes an early impact as a two-down option next to Drake. However, it's more likely that he and Gore cancel each other out this season, making him a late-round dynasty option only at this point.
4.32 - Ravens - WR Jaleel Scott, New Mexico State
At 6-foot-6, Scott brings elite size and length to the position, and he catches the ball well. He walls off defenders and wins 50-50 balls downfield, which is what you look for in a receiver his size. Scott ran a 4.56 40-yard-dash at the combine, which was better than expected for a guy his size, and he caught 73 passes for 1,042 yards last season as a senior for the Aggies. Scott is a developmental prospect making the jump to the NFL, but with a couple years of development, he has the potential to become a WR1.
Athletic Comparable: Jacoby Jones
The Ravens grabbed Scott as a developmental prospect for the future. Baltimore added Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and John Brown to their receiving corps in the off-season, which means Scott will likely be battling Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore for the fourth spot on the depth chart, making it unlikely he makes a fantasy impact as a rookie. A couple years down the road, he could emerge as a starter, but for now, his fantasy upside is limited.
4.33 - Packers - WR D'Mon Moore, Missouri
Moore has nice size at 6-foot-3 and he shows speed and explosiveness on tape but ran poorly at the combine with a 4.6 40-yard-dash time. Moore cuts in and out of his routes extremely well and uses subtle leans to gain separation from opposing defensive backs. Moore will need to prove he get away from defenders on a more advanced route-tree and be more consistent with his hands, but the talent is there for him to be an outside-the-hashmarks starter at the pro level.
Athletic Comparable: Greg Salas
Moore lands in a perfect spot on a Packers team that is looking for a starting option on the outside opposite Davante Adams. Moore will be fighting with a group of other young players including Trevor Davis and Geronimo Allison for the role, but he has more raw talent than anyone else on the roster, and he should be able to keep Randall Cobb in the slot where he belongs. Moore is a risky fantasy option, but due to his potential opportunity in an explosive offense, he has the potential to be a rare day three player with immediate late-round fantasy potential.
4.34 - Cardinals - RB Chase Edmonds, Fordham
Edmonds is undersized at 5-foot-9, but he’s thickly built and keeps his legs churning through contact. His low center of gravity should give him more opportunities than a typical player his size, and he has a nice jump cut when he commits to a path. Edmonds’ problem is he doesn’t commit quickly enough, and sometimes struggles to consistently hit the correct hole. If he learns to read his blocks better and run with more decisiveness, he could be a nice change-of-pace back in the right offense.
Athletic Comparable: Dion Lewis
Edmonds is a nice change-of-pace option for the Cardinals, and he'll have an opportunity to beat out the like sof Elijhaa Penny, D.J. Foster, and T.J. Logan for complementary work behind David Johnson. With Johnson coming off an injury that wiped out his 2017 season, there's potential for additional snaps in Arizona, but it's unlikely that he gets more than a half-dozen touches per game. He may win a job in the return game however.
4.37 - Cowboys - TE Dalton Schultz, Stanford
Schultz wasn’t super productive at Stanford, but he flashed complete skills as an in-line blocker and a receiving threat. At 6-foot-6, 242 pounds, with a 4.75 40-yard-dash at the combine, Schultz could be a matchup nightmare if he can develop more as a receiver. Right now, he shows good hands and nice size, but the breaks in his routes look gradual and he doesn’t wall off defenders and catch the ball at it’s highest point like you want from a guy that big. Schultz will make a roster early on as a blocker, but his long-term future as a fantasy option will depend on whether or not he can develop the receiving part of his game.
Athletic Comparable: Luke Stocker
With the surprise retirement of Jason Witten on Friday, Schultz will have every opportunity to be an instant starter in Dallas. Schultz is still developing as a receiver, but he flashes the ability to be a complete tight end, and should become a nice safety valve early for Dak Prescott. Rookie TEs rarely make a fantasy impact, so he should still be treated with caution, but as a dynasty draft pick and speculative late-round pick in redraft leagues, he has the change to get a lot of targets in Dallas.
5.07 - Buccaneers - WR Justin Watson, Pennsylvania
Watson has nice size at 6-foot-3 and effectively used it to muscle opposing defensive backs to gain separation in college. He flashes start-and-stop ability that should allow him to run double-moves and get open deep at the next level, despite a lack of explosive speed. Watson projects as a possession receiver outside but will need to prove he can get open against NFL-caliber corners and press coverage. He won’t be able to bully defenders like he did at Pennsylvania, but he has the potential to develop into an average starting WR2.
Athletic Comparable: Jordan Matthews
Watson will struggle to see the field as a rookie. The Buccaneers already have Mike Evans entrenched outside, and between DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, and Adam Humphries, there's too much talent there for Watson to contend with. If Jackson gets hurt, as he often does, and Godwin disappoints, then Watson will have a chance to find a role, but until that happens, it's hard to expect much from the big possession receiver.
5.19 - Broncos - TE Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Despite missing the index finger on his left hand, Fumagalli catches the ball as consistently as anyone in this draft. He caught 93 balls over the past two seasons and was a reliable outlet option for the Badgers. Fumagalli will need to work on gaining leverage at the point of attack if he’s going to make it as a starter in the NFL, as he plays too upright when blocking and when coming off the line into a route. He has a natural feel for coverage and can find soft spots in zone defense, but he may lack the agility and athleticism to beat linebackers and safeties. Fumagalli has upside as a pass-catching threat, but he’s more likely to carve out a career as a backup and on special teams.
Athletic Comparable: Austin Hooper
Denver will be hoping for Jake Butt to emerge after being injured his entire rookie year, but there is no established option at the position for the Broncos, making it possible Fumagalli can win a job. He has very good hands and could develop into a nice receiving option for the Broncos, and Case Keenum used Kyle Rudolph effective last year. He's unlikely to be drafted in most fantasy leagues, but his name should be noted as a mid-season pickup or streaming option if he can win a job or if Butt struggles to get up to speed.
5.20 - Vikings - TE Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan
Conklin seemed to lose a step after suffering a foot injury last year, but he has advanced route-running ability for the position based on his pre-injury tape. He caught 42 balls as a junior for the Chippewas and caught 11 touchdowns over his past two years. Conklin will need to show he has enough burst to gain separation at the next level, but his competitiveness and feel for zone coverage give him enough upside as a receiver to make him an interesting prospect in the right situation. He’s a limited blocker right now but flashes the strength to contribute long-term in that capacity as well.
Athletic Comparable: Zach Miller
With Kyle Rudolph firmly entrenched as the starter in Minnesota, it's unlikely Conklin earns a starting role early on. He has the potential to beat out a slew of backups for the TE2 spot on the depth chart, but that isn't going to make him a viable fantasy option in any league format.
5.22 - Colts - WR Daurice Fountain, Northern Iowa
Fountain scored 12 touchdowns for the Panthers last season, and at 6-foot-2 and 208 lbs, he looks the part of a viable outside receiver. Fountain really emerged his final year in college, and with such a big jump in competition to the NFL, he may take some time adjusting to the speed of the game. Fountain is a very good athlete who will need to learn how to use that athleticism to gain separation. He lacks fluidity coming in and out of his breaks and is easily knocked off balance and out of his stride by physical corners. Fountain has upside as an outside starter, but he’s a work in progress and could just as easily fail to make a roster.
Athletic Comparable: Justin Hunter
The Colts lost Donte Moncrief in the offseason, and while they signed Ryan Grant and still have Chester Rogers on the roster, the WR2 spot on the depth chart is wide open. This is a great spot for a player like Fountain, who has the raw talent to be a starter, but will need to develop. He'll be a risky bet as an instant impact type of player, but he should have an opportunity to win a starting job, which is more than can be said for most players taken in the firth round.
5.25 - Ravens - WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA
Lasley was productive for the Bruins last season, 69 passes for 1,264 yards and nine touchdowns, but he didn’t run as well as expected at the combine, considering what a big-play threat he was in college. Lasley makes incredible catches, has elite feel for making plays after the catch, and he explodes off the line on tape. He also drops a ton of balls and was repeatedly suspended for off-field issues. Lasley’s mistakes thus far seem of the immature variety, which can be corrected in the right environment, but his inconsistent focus on and off the field will be his primary hurdle.
This is the second WR the Ravens have taken, and while Lasley flashes first-round talent at time, the depth chart looks way too crowded to assume he can win a starter job early. Lasley has a chance to push his way into playing time and might be even better than Jaleel Scott as a rookie, but he should be considered a long-term developmental prospect only.
5.28 - Steelers - FB/H-Back Jaylon Samuels, N.C. State
Samuels is a football player. It’s the best way to describe him. He’s too heavy to be a receiver and too short to be a tight end. He was labeled an H-Back in college, and he definitely fits into the role of a hybrid player on offense. Samuels ran a 4.54 40-yard-dash at the combine, showing solid quickness for his position, and he may even be tried out at running back as a pro. Most likely, Samuels will line up all over the field and contribute on special teams, but in the right system, his versatility could make him a productive weapon early on.
Athletic Comparable: Marcel Reese
Samuels will likely play a role early on for the Steelers, but it'll be a hybrid position, playing some fullback, tight end, short-yardage power back, and maybe even slot receiver. He's unlikely to earn conisistent enough snaps however to make a fantasy impact, but may find his niche in the red zone, giving him potential waiver pickup value in TD-only leagues.
5.30 - Vikings - K Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Carlson is huge at 6-foot-5, and he has a strong leg. With the emphasis on short-field accuracy since the extension of the extra point, Carlson’s 100% conversion rate on extra points over four years with the Tigers will be appealing. He was kicked a 56-yard field goal as a sophomore, and he should battle for a starting kicker job as a rookie.
Kai Forbath has missed eight extra points in 23 games with the Vikings, so Carlson will be given every opportunity to win the job in Minnesota. Teams don't often take a kicker in the fifth round without expecting him to start, and Carlson is the best kicker in this draft. Expect Forbath to start looking for a real estate agent this afternoon.
5.32 - Colts - RB Jordan Wilkins, Ole Miss
Wilkins was productive at Ole Miss last season with 1,011 yards and nine touchdowns. He has enough speed to go the distance and the size to fight through the line. However, he doesn’t often use his 6-foot-1 frame and averaged a mere 1.7 yards after contact. NFL defenders are a lot bigger and stronger than the ones he faced in college, so he’ll need to learn to run lower and use his size to push through arm tackles if he’s going to make it as a pro. Wilkins flashes natural running skills and he’s very agile for his size, making him an interesting player with the potential to be part of a committee in the NFL. He offers very little on third down.
Athletic Comparable: Khiry Robinson
The Colts already drafted Nyheim Hines, but Wilkins' size would complement Hines well in a two-back offense. Marlon Mack looks like just another guy, so it's very possible Wilkins takes over two-down work and pushes Robert Turbin off the roster. He has some work to do, but this is as good a spot as any for a fifth-round running back.
5.34 - Cowboys - QB Mike White, Western Kentucky
White took Conference USA by storm after transferring over from USF as a junior. White has a big arm, stands tall at 6-foot-4, and was productive for the Hilltoppers, throwing for over 4,000 yards in each of his two seasons as a starter. White’s production slipped a bit as a senior, but that was largely due to protection issues up front. White handled pressure with mixed results, his accuracy waning when he couldn’t get his feet set. He’ll need to work on pocket awareness and mobility if he’s going to be productive in the modern NFL, but he has all the tools to develop into a starter if given some weapons to work with.
With Dak Prescott firmly entrenched as the starter, White is unlikely to get much playing time barring injury. However, he should win the backup job and has starter potential if he ever does get an opportunity to step in.
5.37 - Packers - WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, South Florida
A transfer from N.C. State, Valdes-Scantling bring rare size to the position at 6-foot-5. He caught 50 ballast last season for the Bulls, gaining 746 yards and scoring five touchdowns. He's a raw talent who blew people away at the combine with 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard-dash. That size and speed combination will give him plenty of opportunities to develop at the next level, but he often looks lost on the field and he'll need to learn a lot about the mechanics of the position. He doesn't use his size to gain leverage, lets the ball get into his body when trying to catch it, and doesn't adjust well to inaccurate throws - which he saw a lot of at South Florida. He has a long way to go, but the sky is the limit with his athleticism.
Athletic Comparable: Marvin Jones
The Packers drafted J'Mon Moore already, but the WR2 spot is open on that roster. It's unlikely Valdes-Scantling can develop quickly enough to win a job early, but he's a very interesting prospect to keep an eye on due to his blazing speed. The Packers don't have a speed demon on the roster right now, and if they can teach him to extend his arms and track the ball downfield, he could find a niche role early on that gets him some playing time.
6.01 - Browns - WR Damion Ratley, Texas A&M
Ratley is a purely speculative prospect, as he only caught 26 balls last season for the Aggies. He did score six touchdowns, but teams will be looking at him as an athlete. He’s 6-foot-3 and shows speed downfield, averaging 23.2 yards per catch last year. Ratley needs to learn to play the position and he lacks focus when he’s on the field, often looking disinterested when the ball isn’t coming his way. If he does that as a pro, he’ll lose opportunities quickly.
Athletic Comparable: Justin Hunter
The Browns already Antonio Callaway in the fourth round, and Ratley has a lot more to learn to be ready for the NFL. With a crowded depth chart in Cleveland, it seems likely Ratley winds up on the practice squad during his rookie year. The Browns are probably enamored by his deep-ball potential and want to get a look at him in camp.
6.02 - Rams - RB John Kelly, Tennessee
Kelly compares himself to Alvin Kamara, which is probably a stretch, but he does show tremendous ability coming out of the backfield. Kelly has excellent short-area quickness and is a natural pass-catcher, making it likely that he earns a job on third down in the NFL. Kelly won't be able to hold up running between the tackles and needs to work on becoming more patient of a runner. He's quick to bounce outside and dances a bit too much. Expect Kelly to be looked at as a potential kick return option with pass-catching skills in the right offense.
Athletic Comparable: Kareem Hunt
The Rams have Todd Gurley firmly entrenched as the every-down starter in the backfield, but they don't really have a viable third-down back, which might give Kelly some deep-league PPR value if he can win the change-of-pace role. The Rams are looking to add speed and explosiveness to their offense, and Kelly definitely fits that theme.
6.11 - Colts - WR Deon Cain, Clemson
Cain has high upside as a 6-foot-2 receiver with deep speed. He ran the 40-yard-dash at the combine in 4.43 seconds, and as a sophomore he averaged 19.1 yards per catch. Cain caught more balls last year than he did in 2016 but was less effective with Kelly Bryant under center. He looked more explosive and consistent with DeSean Watson at the helm. Cain drops too many balls and will give up on routes sometimes, but if the right coach can teach him to clean up some of the undisciplined parts of his game, his size and speed combination could turn him into a viable starter outside.
If he can clean up the drops issue, Cain might be better than Daurice Fountain, the Colts' fifth-round pick. Ryan Grant has the inside track on the WR2 spot on the Colts' depth chart, but Cain and Fountain will both be given every opportunity to win that job. Watch the camp battle and Andrew Luck's health. If Luck is good to go, and Cain can win the job opposite T.Y. Hilton, he could work his way into WR3 territory.
6.13 - Bills - WR Ray-Ray McCloud, Clemson
McCloud is a slot receiver who demonstrated consistent hands and potential as a return specialist at Clemson. He’s not big or fast but uses short-area quickness and agility to get open and keeps fighting through coverage throughout the play. McCloud probably should’ve gone back to school for his senior season, but he may find a role somewhere in the league as a sub-package safety valve with contributions on special teams.
Athletic Comparable: Adam Humphries
The Bills haven't gotten a lot of production out of their group of wide outs, so it's possible McCloud can earn a spot in the slot and become a deep-league PPR option. He'll most likely fight with Jeremy Kerley for the WR4 and return specialist spot, giving him limited fantasy value as a rookie.
6.17 - Chargers - WR Dylan Cantrell, Texas Tech
Cantrell is a great athlete at 6-foot-3, with a 38.5-inch vertical and a 4.03-second 20-yard-shuttle – best at the combine. However, Cantrell’s play speed looks slow and clunky on tape and he didn’t seem to climb the ladder to make plays downfield. If he can learn how to use his size to wall off defenders, he could add a much-needed deep element to his game. More likely however, he develops into a quality depth guy with agility to get open on short and intermediate routes. He projects as a possession receiver that will hover at the back end of the depth chart.
Athletic Comparable: Chris Hogan
The Chargers' group of receivers outside of Keenan Allen were underwhelming last season, but it still seems unlikely Cantrell beats out Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, or Mike Williams on the depth chart. Cantrell will likely be the fifth receiver on the roster as a rookie and has no fantasy value.
6.20 - Falcons - WR Russell Gage, LSU
Gage offers very little athletically, and he looks stiff in his routes. He wasn’t very productive at LSU and in most cases wouldn’t be the type of player considered draftable. However, Gage plays with a relentless motor and a high football IQ, making it possible he contributes to a roster in sub-packages or, more likely, on special teams. He was an accomplished cover guy on kickoffs and punts, and if he makes a roster, it likely won’t be for his potential offensive production.
Athletic Comparable: Paul Turner
With Taylor Gabriel gone, there may be some slot snaps available in Atlanta, but with Calvin Ridley being drafted to the Falcons in the first round, it seems unlikely Gage can beat out Mohamed Sanu or Justin Hardy for the third or fourth spot on the depth chart. Gage has a chance to make the roster, but may end up on the practice squad in year one.
6.25 - Titans - QB Luke Falk, Washington State
Falk stands tall in the pocket and plays with excellent knowledge of the playbook. He uses his high football IQ to predict where his receivers will be, and his pin-point accuracy helps him take advantage of motion routes across the middle of the field. He hits receivers in stride and gets better as the game progresses. Falk has limited arm strength however, and he’ll need to be put in the right system to succeed. Falk doesn’t improvise well and is too quick to take off and run when the pocket breaks down. If he doesn’t add some muscle to his lean frame, he’ll get pummeled at the next level running into traffic. Falk has starter upside as a prospect, but projects more as an excellent career backup.
Falk isn't earning a starting job, but sitting behind Marcus Mariota, given his injury history and playing style, it's possible there could be some snaps available. He'll need to beat out Blaine Gabbert for the backup role, but Falk is a smart player who will put the work in and will benefit from an NFL conditioning program. Look for him to win the backup job longterm.
6.27 - Saints - RB Boston Scott, Louisiana Tech
Scott is an undersized playmaker with elite short-area quickness and agility. He can juke a linebacker out of his socks and shows track speed when he gets in the open field. Scott won’t be able to handle a full workload at the next level due to his diminutive size, but he caught 20 balls last year and he has the potential to contribute on special teams and as a change-of-pace, playmaking option out of the backfield.
Athletic Comparable: Kenjon Barner
It's nice to put Scott on a team with an innovative offensive mind like Sean Payton, but with Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, and Ted Ginn Jr. already on the roster, it's hard to see where Scott is going to fit in. He probably has a 50/50 chance of making the roster, with the potential of becoming a kick returner. Barring injuries to one of the top-two backs, Scott will have minimal fantasy value.
6.29 - Jaguars - QB Tanner Lee, Nebraska
After sitting out in 2016 following a transfer from Tulane, Lee put up 3,143 yards and 23 touchdowns for the Cornhuskers last season. Unfortunately, he also threw 16 picks, including four against Oregon. Lee has good size though and a great arm. He has a pro-ready release as well. He’ll need to process the game quickly and learn to throw players open if he’s going to stick on a roster however, as he currently waits for players to uncover and then uses his arm strength to get the ball in. Additionally, he locks in on receivers. Lee is an interesting prospect with high upside, but he’s just as likely to wash out of the league as he is to earn a job somewhere.
Athletic Comparable: Tom Savage
Lee will have to beat out Cody Kessler for the backup job first, but with Blake Bortles an inconsistent starter, Lee has a better chance than most late-round quarterbacks of getting a shot to play as a rookie. Lee has a long way to go to become a viable starter however, as he's currently a turnover machine.
6.30 - Jets - RB Trenton Cannon, Virginia State
Cannon is an interesting prospect who will need to prove his explosiveness wasn’t a product of the competition he faced at Virginia State. Cannon looks super-fast on tape, and he projects as a versatile option out of the backfield, with the ability to contribute in the return game as well. He’s not a patient runner and he has a lean frame that may lead to durability problems, but he has tremendous upside due to his speed.
Athletic Comparable: Shane Vereen
6.33 - Packers - WR Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
St. Brown has a rare blend of size and speed. Standing nearly 6-foot-5 and running the 40-yard-dash in 4.48 seconds at the combine, St. Brown has the potential to be a dynamic receiver downfield. He runs excellent routes and would be a good fit in any offense because of his advanced tree. St. Brown will need to learn how to use his tall frame better and not be bothered by press corners if he’s going to develop as a pro, but he has all the tools of a high-ceiling prospect. St. Brown seems like a boom-bust player who could wind up being a huge steal if he figures out how to maximize his physical abilities.
As the third receiver drafted by the Packers, it's clear Green Bay is looking for someone to replace Jordy Nelson on the outside St. Brown has tremendous raw talent and could wind up being the best of the bunch. Watch the camp battle and who starts outside. If it's St. Brown, having Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball could easily push him into WR3 territory in most leagues. Early dynasty drafters should be looking at one of these Green Bay rookies in the late rounds based on upside alone.
6.34 - Cowboys - WR Cedrick Wilson, Boise State
Wilson doesn’t wow you with speed or explosiveness, but he fights for the ball well against man-to-man coverage downfield, and he was very productive for the Broncos his final two seasons. Wilson benefitted from a fantastic showing in the Las Vegas Bowl against Oregon, catching 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown in a thrilling Boise State victory. Wilson will need to prove he can get open at the next level if he’s going to carve out a role as a starter, but his experience returning kicks and his 6-foot-3 size might help him contribute early in sub-packages and on special teams.
The Cowboys already drafted Michael Gallup in the third round and traded for Tavon Austin, but Wilson could push Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams for playing time if he has a good camp. He has an uphill battle however, with a slew of return specialists already on the Dallas depth chart, meaning he'll need to really distinguish himself during the preseason in order to separate from the pack. I like his chances, but primarly as a returner and depth guy.
6.36 - Patriots - WR Braxton Berrios, Miami
Berrios is an undersized slot receiver with excellent agility who has the potential to help in the return game. He has excellent hands and comes off the line with explosiveness. His small size might lead to durability issues – he’s coming off an injury-plagued season – and he lacks true downfield speed, but he has an uncanny ability to find the soft spots in zone coverage and has an array of moves to get open on underneath routes. He has a chance to earn a job as a punt returner and slot receiver at the next level.
Athletic Comparable: Ryan Switzer
On the surface, there doesn't seem like there's room on the Patriots roster for Berrios, but he's exactly the kind of player Tom Brady has made excellent use of over the years. If he can come back healthy, he's worth watching in camp to see if beats out some of the veterans on the roster, but he's not worth investing much draft capital in at this point given that he slots in around eighth on the depth chart as the roster stands now - he'll need to fight to make the final 53.
6.37 - Texans - TE Jordan Thomas, Mississippi State
Thomas looks the part at 6-foot-6, 265 lbs, with a 4.74-second 40-yard-dash. He’s an extremely raw prospect who played mostly as a receiver in college and also played basketball early in his career. He’s been all over the field, even playing defense and offensive line snaps at times. Thomas doesn’t have a natural feel for route-running and he relies on his physical advantages to beat coverage, something he’ll have a tough time doing with as much consistency against stiffer competition. The physical traits will likely help him land a spot on a roster, but he’s probably a year or two away from being a year or two away from being productive.
Athletic Comparable: Garrett Celek
The Texans need a starting TE, but they drafted Jordan Akins in the third round, a much more polished option. Thomas should be considered a purely developmental prospect, but there is a chance he could get some early snaps without an established option currently on the depth chart.
7.01 - Patriots - QB Danny Etling, LSU
Etling has good size and a nice arm but doesn’t wow you in any one area of his game. When he has time to throw, he is accurate at every level of the field and demonstrates excellent fundamentals from the pocket. Etling’s form and decision-making will break down when pressured however, and his eyes drop when he feels defenders coming off the edge. Etling doesn’t always see the field well and will lock in on his first read. He’s likely to make a roster as a developmental QB3.
Athletic Comparable: Thad Lewis
Etling has some developmental potential as an heir apparent to Tom Brady, but he's most likely a shot in the dark for the Patriots to evaluate this year before drafting someone with higher upside next year.
7.02 - Seahawks - QB Alex McGough, Florida Intl
McGough stands tall in the pocket at 6-foot-3 but his lean frame makes him a durability risk at the next level. McGough has a decent arm and uses his eyes well to look off defenders, showing tremendous potential. However, McGough throws too many picks and loses track of defenders in zone coverage, and he will need to learn when to throw the ball away. McGough projects as a high upside long-term backup in the pros.
Athletic Comparable: C.J. Beathard
Russell Wilson plays a dangerous style of ball, so there might be some backup snaps available if McGough can win the backup job. He has no chance of starting however, and even if he does, it seems unlikely the Seahawks would lean on a backup QB rather than just running the ball with first-round pick Rashaad Penny.
7.06 - Bears - WR Javon Wims, Georgia
Wims has excellent short-area quickness and is long at 6-foot-3 with 31.5-inch arms. Wims has tons of talent with the ball in his hands and flashes natural downfield instincts to fight for 50-50 balls. His issues come with everything before getting the ball. Wims gets knocked off his routes easily by press coverage and struggles to use his hands to separate. He gets sloppy in and out of his breaks, making it difficult for him to play out of the slot and take advantage of his considerable run-after-catch talent. All the issues Wims has look coachable, making him an intriguing long-term prospect, but he may have to make a roster as a punt returner and sub-package player while he continues to develop.
Athletic Comparable: Josh Morgan
The Bears need a WR to emerge, but they already signed Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in free agency, and drafted Anthony Miller in the second round. Wims will likely be fighting for the fifth spot on the depth chart as a high upside developmental player, and he may wind up on the practice squad.
7.08 - Broncos - RB David Williams, Arkansas
Williams is a straight up power back who looks like a capable two-down player in a backfield committee. He keeps his legs churning through contact and punishes defenders. Williams had injury issues throughout his college career however, and he offers very little on passing downs, making him a bit of a relic in the modern NFL. He has upside as a short-yardage back if he lands on a team that needs a bruiser, but there are too many limitations, combined with durability concerns, to get too excited about him as a prospect.
Athletic Comparable: BenJarvis Green-Ellis
The Broncos need a running back, but they drafted one in Royce Freeman on Day 2, making it seem unlikely that Williams finds a role early on. He has more power than the incumbent players in the Denver backfield, but Freeman will get the opportunity to be the primary back and he packs a big punch as well. Williams will likely be battling De'Angelo Henderson for a final roster spot.
7.10 - Raiders - WR Marcell Ateman, Oklahoma State
Ateman is long and lean at 6-foot-5 and 215 lbs. He lacks the deep speed to get downfield separation but can beat one-on-one man coverage to win jump balls thanks to his length. Ateman runs precise routes that look slow and sluggish as he struggles to stop and start without losing considerable explosiveness. Ateman will need to prove he can get off press coverage quickly enough to get into his routes or else he’ll never be more than a potential jump ball option. He has red zone potential but could also struggle to make a roster.
Athletic Comparable: Kris Durham
Ateman will be a back-of-the-roster or practice squad guy in Oakland after the Raiders signed Jordy Nelson and traded for Martavis Bryant during the draft. He may have some long-term potential due to his considerable size, but he's a long-shot to stick on an NFL roster.
7.11 - Dolphins - K Jason Sanders, New Mexico
Sanders made two field goals beyond 50 yards last season and he only missed one extra point throughout his career with the Lobos. Sanders has a good leg and stayed productive despite inconsistent holders at New Mexico, and his last-second 53-yard field goal over Tulsa last season was memorable. He has the talent to win a job at the next level.
The Dolphins need a kicker, so Sanders is likely to win the job. However, Miami lost Jarvis Landry and still has a quarterback problem, making it unlikely they become a productive enough offense to warrant giving their kicker anything more than streaming consideration.
7.18 - Cowboys - RB Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Part of Alabama’s three-headed backfield last season, Scarbrough brought the thunder to the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack. He runs with tremendous power, pushing through contact and always moving forward to make the most out of every run. Scarbrough doesn’t offer much as a receiver out of the backfield, but he flashes advanced pass-protection capabilities for a young back, which may allow him to see more snaps than a typical two-down rusher. Scarbrough only carried the ball 249 times over the past two seasons combined and was dinged up, but he should thrive in a part-time role for a team looking to add some power to their backfield.
Scarbrough has a legitimate shot at winning the backup job in Dallas, but with Zeke Elliott the primary ball-carrier, it's unlikely he gets much work. Scarbrough also isn't versatile enough to get change-of-pace consideration, even if the Cowboys wanted to reduce Elliott's workload. Scarbrough is the kind of player who could put up fringe RB1 numbers as a starter though, so if he wins the backup job in camp, he should be considered a viable handcuff.
7.19 - Lions - FB Nick Bawden, San Diego State
Bawden is a versatile player who has experience running, catching, and even throwing the ball as a converted quarterback. Bawden doesn’t improvise well or adjust to stunts or crafty speed rushers, but he’s a motivated run blocker, plays with tremendous physicality, and has natural hands in the passing game. Bawden will likely be an instant starter but will probably put up only modest fantasy production as a last read in the passing game, and a short-yardage runner.
Athletic Comparable: Alex Armah
The Lions have a very crowded backfield after drafting Kerryon Johnson and signing LeGarrette Blount in the offseason. Bawden will likely need to beat out Zach Zenner or Dwayne Washington to win a roster spot, and even if he does, there probably won't be enough touches to make him a viable fantasy option. He may catch a few passes and vulture a couple of touchdowns, but he won't be consistent enough to warrant a fantasy roster spot, even if he gets the starting FB job.
7.22 - 49ers - WR Richie James, Middle Tennessee
James was a dynamic playmaker for the Blue Raiders, catching over 100 passes in each of his freshman and sophomore seasons before ankle and collar bone injuries kept him out of much of last season. James ran a 4.48 40-yard-dash at the combine, but the tape from his early career makes him look like a sub-4.40 guy. His small size will likely make him a durability concern throughout his career, but he has tremendous potential as a game-breaking option out of the slot and on special teams.
Athletic Comparable: Ted Ginn Jr.
The 49ers already drafted Dante Pettis and they have several holdovers from last year that have similar skill sets to James, including Trent Taylor and Victor Bolden, but James is one of the most dynamic players in the draft and probably would've been drafted higher had he been healthy last season and ran a little faster at the combine. James is awfully talented for a seventh-round pick, and the 49ers need help in the receiving corps. It's too early in the offseason to suggest investing much fantasy capital in him, but watch the camp battles. If he can win a job in the slot and in the return game, he could be a viable best ball option in deep leagues as a quick-strike demon.
7.31 - Bengals - QB Logan Woodside, Toledo
Woodside is undersized at 6-foot-1, but he demonstrates excellent accuracy and a high football IQ, making solid reads in a pass-happy Toledo offense. Woodside is likely a system college quarterback, who will struggle to make the same completions in the NFL against more athletic defenders. Woodside struggled early in his college career with inconsistency, and he doesn’t have a great arm. He looks like a quality long-term backup who will know the playbook well and be a quality guy to have in the ear of the starter.
Athletic Comparable: Case Keenum
Woodside isn't dissimilar from A.J. McCarron as a prospect, making him a nice fit sitting behind Andy Dalton. He's not assured of winning the backup job over journeyman Matt Barkley or even making the roster over talented Jeff Driskel, but he has upside as a high-IQ player. He looks like he'll find a job as a backup somewhere long-term but is probably not a starter.
7.32 - Patriots - TE Ryan Izzo, Florida State
Izzo is going to be a good football player, but probably won’t be a top fantasy option at any point in his career. He has a mean streak as a blocker, so if he develops into a starter at the next level, then he’s likely to help the run game. He moves his feet well and initiates contact with ferocity. Izzo has good hands so he will develop into an all-around option at the position, but his production will likely be more in line with a short-yardage outlet player, rather than a seam-stretcher or consistent scorer. Izzo will need to tighten up his route-running, often losing leverage when he isn’t blocking and taking himself out of plays.
Athletic Comparable: Anthony Fasano
Izzo will be given every opportunity to beat out Dwayne Allen for the TE2 spot opposite Rob Gronkowski after Allen had a terrible first season in New England. The Patriots use main two-TE sets, making that position a more attractive fantasy option than on most teams. Plus, Gronk's injury history makes it likely that Izzo gets some snaps if he can beat out the other hopefuls on the roster. He's not worth drafting yet, but worth keeping an eye on.
7.33 - Chargers - RB Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Jackson is nimble-footed and has adequate speed coming out of the backfield, making him an interesting prospect. He has functional size but doesn’t use it, losing leverage as an upright runner and absorbing punishing hits. Jackson catches the ball well and shows excellent agility in space but doesn’t have a wide catching radius and fails to adjust to poorly thrown balls. His workload was heavy, making durability on his wiry frame a concern, but he has the potential to develop into a change-of-pace runner if he can add muscle to his frame and run behind his pads.
Athletic Comparable: Shane Vereen
Jackson is unlikely to beat out a surpringly effective Austin Ekeler for change-of-pace work behind Melvin Gordon. He does show the potential to be a more complete backup than Ekeler however, so if the Chargers don't sign anyone else, Jackson has a chance to be a handcuff in very deep leagues.
7.35 - Bengals - WR Auden Tate, Florida State
Tate is a huge target at 6-foot-5 with 34-inch arms and a 79-inch wingspan. Tate walls off defenders well and uses his body positioning to win jump balls. He projects as an elite red zone target if he ends up with a quarterback willing to throw it up to him while he’s covered. Tate caught 10 touchdowns last year, despite being limited to 40 receptions in 12 games due to a shoulder injury. Unfortunately, Tate is slow. Really slow. He has no explosiveness off the line, struggles to regain any speed when knocked off his route, and he will have a tough time getting downfield fast enough to take advantage of his considerable size. As a result, Tate could become a solid starting outside receiver, or he could struggle to ever get enough separation and wash out of the league.
The Bengals have been looking for a viable WR2 opposite A.J. Green for what seems like forever. Tate had wildly varying opinions on his ability to transition to the NFL given his lack of speed. However, he'll be given every opportunity to earn a job outside, making him an interesting name to watch throughout the preseason.
7.37 - Bills - WR Austin Proehl, North Carolina
Proehl is a quick slot receiver with good hands who caught 43 balls as a junior before a broken clavicle kept him out of most of his senior season. Proehl is undersized and struggles to hold up against bigger defenders, but he’s a crafty route-runner and has the quickness to excel out of the slot and as a return specialist if he can stay on the field.
Athletic Comparable: Darius Jennings
Proehl is the second slot receiver the Bills drafted, and while there should be an opportunity to earn a job, the camp battle to watch will be Proehl vs. sixth-rounder Ray-Ray McCloud. Proehl probably has better hands, but is coming off an injury. One of these players will likely beat out Jeremy Kerley in the slot and have more impact than most seventh-rounders, though neither are likely to excel as fantasy options, likely being fourth or fifth in line for targets.
7.38 - Redskins - WR Trey Quinn, SMU
Quinn was a productive slot receiver who transferred from LSU and was very productive during his one year at SMU. He caught 114 balls and shows an uncanny ability to find the soft spot in defenses and get open. He uses explosive start-stop ability to gain separation from man-coverage and plays stronger than his size. Quinn has a great chance of contributing early on as a slot receiver due to his reliable hands and route-running.
Athletic Comparable: Golden Tate
With Paul Richardson added in the offseason and Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson still on the roster, fourth seems to be the likely spot Quinn can hope for on the depth chart as a rookie. However, he's a talented player and he's worth watching throughout the preseason to see if he can push Doctson for snaps. Doctson has been disappointing thus far, even when healthy, and Quinn looks pro-ready. He easily could've gone three rounds earlier.