2015 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Rounds 4-7)
The third and final day of the 2015 NFL Draft (Rounds 4-7) begins Saturday at 12 p.m. ET. Television coverage continues on ESPN and the NFL Network.
Here at 4for4, I am taking the baton from Senior Editor John Paulsen, who covered Round 1 Thursday and Rounds 2-3 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 2015.
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 2015 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.
Off we go…
4.04 – New York Jets – QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
Bryce Petty is a thickly built competitor who can take hits due to his bulky frame and has a powerful, if unrefined arm. Petty has the ability to develop as a starter with a nice release and a level of confidence that rubs off on his teammates. He’s accurate and can make every throw necessary in the NFL, giving him the ability to make an impact in the right situation. Petty has shown a propensity to lose his form and accuracy under pressure however, and he had some consistency issues at Baylor. This is often difficult for passers to overcome at the next level, and could shorten his chances at starting long term if the game never fully slows down for him, especially in pressure situations and when the pocket breaks down. He has limited mobility and athleticism to fall back on, though his frame allows him to take some hits.
Petty couldn’t have landed in a better spot for a mid-round QB. He’ll need to contend with Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick for playing time, so he may not start immediately, but Petty is going to a situation where he’ll have a legitimate chance to compete for a job. Fantasy owners should monitor his training camp battle in New York.
4.06 – Washington Redskins – WR Jamison Crowder, Duke
Crowder is an undersized receiver who is an overachiever. He plays with a fearless intensity and has excellent short area quickness, allowing him to gain separation, even against corners that are bigger and stronger than him. He lacks straight line speed however, and while he catches the ball with his hands, he doesn’t possess the physical traits to make him the kind of player who can go get the ball in traffic. Crowder will need to make his way as a slot receiver.
4.07 – Chicago Bears – RB Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
Langford was productive as a two year starter at Michigan State, scoring 30 touchdowns on the ground in his final two seasons. A versatile and agile runner, Langford excels when he can get to the edge or catch the ball in space. He has flashed the ability to identify holes quickly and he doesn’t shy away from contact, despite his tall and lean frame. Langford will need to bulk up at the next level, as he runs with willingness, but not necessarily a lot of power. Whether or not he loses his playmaking ability with added bulk will be the difference between a situational back, and a potential starter. Langford’s open space ability is elite, but he hasn’t shown consistency enough in the passing game to believe he’ll translate quickly into a pass catching role at the next level.
This is an awful landing spot for the agile Langford. He will be stuck behind Matt Forte in Chicago, battling out change of pace carries with second year back Ka’Deem Carey and free agent acquisition Jacquizz Rodgers. Chicago will hope that Langford works into a role, but he’s most likely an insurance policy in case Forte’s days as a Bear are numbered.
4.08 – Atlanta Falcons – WR Justin Hardy, East Carolina
Hardy is a tough player who runs great routes, plays with a tremendous amount of energy, and has excellent hands. He lacks elite measurable and has to sneak downfield in order to provide any kind of big play threat, but he’s a tough runner who will fight for yards after the catch. Hardy is a hard competitor who translates best as a slot receiver at the next level where he can use his short area quickness and competitive fire to get the ball quickly and move the chains.
In Atlanta, Hardy will have a chance to replace Harry Douglas as the third receiver on the depth chart. He has little to no chance of beating out Roddy White or Julio Jones for a starting job, but he offers more natural receiver skills than Devin Hester and shouldn’t have a hard time beating out Leonard Hankerson for a role on the team. For a 4th round receiver, this isn’t a bad spot to end up.
4.09 – Tennessee Titans – FB Jalston Fowler, Alabama
Fowler isn’t going to add a whole lot blocking and running, but he catches the ball well and does an excellent job chipping opposing defenders before leaking out into the flat. He’ll play a fullback position at the next level and should be able to develop into a solid pass catching safety valve in the right situation.
Fowler is already the favorite to start as the primary fullback in Tennessee, with very little on the depth chart to contend with. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he’s likely to play a limited role in his fullback position with a few catches a game and perhaps the occasional short yardage carry. His blocking isn’t exceptional enough to provide a boon to the Tennessee running game either.
4.18 – San Francisco 49ers – TE Blake Bell, Oklahoma
Bell is a fantastic athlete with size and excellent leaping ability. He played well enough in the East West Shrine game to indicate that he could succeed against a higher level of competition, but his inexperience at the position keeps him from getting too much notice. He’s a converted quarterback still learning the position, and he offers virtually nothing as a blocker at the next level, but his raw potential will make him enticing for teams looking for a tight end with long term potential as a playmaker.
Bell will take a backseat to Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald in year one as the 49ers try to groom him to take over should they lose Davis in the long run. His athleticism should help him make the roster, but it would be a stretch to assume he’ll play a big fantasy role in his rookie year.
4.24 – Cleveland Browns – WR Vince Mayle, Washington State
Mayle projects as an X receiver prospect that needs to get his hands to be more consistent if he’s going to make an impact on the next level. He lacks the speed to be a legit deep threat, but he’s a big, physical receiver who should be able to carve a role going across the middle. Best case scenario for Mayle is that he becomes a proven chain mover and puts up modest numbers while outmuscling defenders, but he needs to work on his hands a bit before he gets there.
The Browns brought in Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, which will make it hard for Mayle to crack the lineup in his rookie year, but if either player falters in training camp, then Cleveland becomes a better spot than most for a mid-round receiver prospect.
4.26 – Baltimore Ravens –RB Buck Allen, USC
Allen is a hard, decisive runner, with just enough burst to be a little dangerous. He excels at quicklky identifying the hole in front of him, and hitting it hard. He’s a one cut runner who would excel in a zone blocking scheme to take advantage of his ability to cut and go. Strength could be an issue as he tries to finish runs, but ultimately, Allen looks like he should be able to carve himself a nice role at the next level.
Baltimore is injecting youth in their offense with their third skill position player of the draft. Allen doesn’t have a good opportunity to be a starter this year behind the returning Justin Forsett coming off a career year, but he’ll be in the mix for the long term solution at the position, fighting it out with second year power back Lorenzo Taliaferro. He’s unlikely to get a lot of snaps this year, but he’s a talented player and with Forsett turning 30 this season, he has some value in large roster dynasty leagues as a long term stash.
4.27 – San Francisco 49ers – RB Mike Davis, South Carolina
Fluctuating between looking like a first round prospect and looking like an eventual role player, Davis' biggest concern is that he was banged up most of last season. When healthy, Davis is a versatile playmaker who looks like a third down pass catching back, but runs like a between-the-tackles power back. He’s tough to bring down once he gets a head of steam going, and he has the patience and burst to take advantage of good blocking up front. While concerns about his injury plagued 2014 season are legit, and questions about his scheme fit will be evident, Davis has enough talent to make him a nice risk/reward prospect.
The 49ers have made a habit of taking talented players coming off injury issues, and Davis is actually the second South Carolina back they’ve gambled on. The strategy didn’t work with Marcus Lattimore, but Davis’ issues aren’t as severe as Lattimore’s were. Davis will probably be used sparingly this season behind Reggie Bush and Carlos Hyde, but he has some long term potential as a talented tandem back with the more bruising Hyde. His fantasy value is very limited in 2015 however.
4.33 – San Francisco 49ers – WR DeAndre Smelter, Georgia Tech
Smelter is a good after the catch runner who can power through smaller defensive backs to gain extra yards. He’s got good size, adequate speed, and gets off the line well. He’s a good athlete, but hasn’t fully figured out how to use it, and he needs to improve explosiveness in and out of his cuts. Smelter translates as an across the middle receiver with the occasional deep post, but he doesn’t have the deep speed or tracking ability to be a long term deep threat. Smelter is coming off a torn ACL which will undoubtedly affect his short term availability.
San Francisco uses back to back picks on players coming off injury issues. The opportunity for a WR in San Francisco would be higher if it was clearer that Smelter would be available, but as it is, it looks like another stash-away for later pick. Fantasy owners should remember him for 2016, not for 2015.
5.02 – Tennessee Titans – RB David Cobb, Minnesota
Cobb thinks he’s more dynamic than he is, and he dances too much in the backfield. However, he had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, showing his highly productive career at Minnesota wasn’t a fluke. Cobb leaves a bit to be desired as a prospect, but there is also a lot to like. He runs hard, finishes even harder and always keeps his legs moving. The right coaching staff might be able to take advantage of the best parts of Cobb’s game and turn him into a starting back in the NFL.
Last year’s 2nd round pick Bishop Sankey was a disappointment, so Cobb will be given a chance to show what he can do in Tennessee as a rookie. He’ll be fighting with Sankey and veteran Shonn Greene however, limiting his immediate value. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on the training camp value though, because it’s unlikely that the Titans’ coaching staff views the position as settled after last year, and Cobb will be given a chance to take the job.
5.03 – Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Rashad Greene, Florida State
Greene was a productive, sure-handed receiver at Florida State, but he has a slight frame and is only 5’11. Concerns about his long term durability and whether or not he has the speed to get separation at the next level are legitimate, despite his advanced route tree he ran in college. Greene looks crisp coming in and out of his breaks and makes the position seem effortless at times, but he’ll need to stay healthy and overcome his physical limitations in order to make an impact at the next level.
Greene enters a crowded Jaguar receiving corps, with draft capital invested in the position last year, and undrafted free agent Allen Hurns surprising everyone in his rookie season. Because none of the Jaguar receivers are established veterans or sure fire WR1’s, Greene has a moderate chance to find a role early on, especially as a trusty security blanket for Blake Bortles. As far as a mid-round prospect goes, Greene has the skill set and as much ability as anyone to challenge for a role early, and fantasy owners should watch him in training camp to see if he outplays either Hurns, Allen Robinson, or Marqise Lee for a spot on the depth chart.
5.07 – Minnesota Vikings – TE Mycole Pruitt, Southern Illinois
Pruitt is a willing blocker but hasn’t shown the kind of strength and technique to make it in that category on the next level. However, he’s explosive running routes and plays a little bigger than his size, locating the ball and snatching it out of the air. He can run the seam and is fearless across the middle, sometimes running a little too hot at times. Ultimately, Pruitt has some boom-bust traits to his game, but he’s a hard worker with soft hands, and those traits will take you a long way as an NFL prospect at the TE position.
The Vikings have a hodge-podge of players at the TE position, but between injuries and inconsistency, haven’t figured out a long term solution. Pruitt will start out behind Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison on the depth chart, but he’ll be given consideration as a seam stretcher in Norv Turner’s offense and has some sleeper potential this year for fantasy owners if he wins the job.
5.10 – Minnesota Vikings – WR Stefon Diggs, Maryland
Diggs had a serious kidney injury that kept him out of several games last year, but returned to have a great performance against Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl, catching 10 balls. Diggs has adequate measurables and hands, but is a tough runner who can make plays after the catch. He’ll need to prove he can stay healthy and that long term durability isn’t a concern, but if he can find a role catching the ball in space, he can carve out a nice NFL career.
Diggs will struggle to find playing time in Minnesota behind Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson, unless Cordarrelle Patterson dissipates further into nothingness. He does have enough talent and playmaking ability to provide some potential in the Vikings offense, but ultimately it will be hard for him to crack the rotation in any kind of significant way.
5.11 – Green Bay Packers – QB Brett Hundley, UCLA
Opinions on the strong armed Hundley vary from fantastic to average. On the one hand, Hundley is an excellent athlete with prototype size. He flashes elite athleticism and spins the ball well on a quick release. On the other hand, his decision making came under question after finishing with a 19-8 record as a starter. When the pocket breaks down around him, he often misses reads and fails to look off opposing defenders, showing vulnerability to defensive spies and causing concerns about his pocket awareness. Additionally, his accuracy suffers the longer he holds on to the ball, and has not been able to consistently drop the deep ball into catchable positions. Hundley is known as a hard worker and should have the opportunity to be coached up, but his accuracy and decision making issues make him a risky prospect. He has top level potential though if he can elevate his game at the next level.
Hundley is in a nice spot long term, as he’ll be able to learn behind All-Pro Aaron Rodgers, but it’s not a good spot for him to make an immediate fantasy impact. He should be able to win the backup job, but he’s not going to get any playing time while Rodgers is healthy, making his fantasy value negligible at this point.
Ajayi is a powerful runner who has enough speed to break off big runs when he gets into the secondary. His upright running style may get him in trouble from a durability standpoint in the long run, especially with concerns about a knee condition. Ajayi is a very good runner with a nose for the end zone who seems to pick it up a notch when he smells pay dirt. Ajayi is also an exceptional pass blocker for a young back, and catches the ball fluidly. He had 50 catches last season and already has an advanced route tree for a rookie.
Ajayi dropped in the draft because of concerns his knee, but he’s a first or second round talent and an all-around back that will complement Lamar Miller well in Miami. It’s a good spot for Ajayi, and the physical player from Boise State will be considered a prime sleeper candidate this year as a tandem back if his knee holds up.
5.19 – Buffalo Bills – RB Karlos Williams, Florida State
Williams is an aggressive player who runs with a nasty streak. However, he’s a tall player who struggles to run under his pads. He’ll need to refine his running style to make use of the power he should be able to have at 230lbs. Williams also comes with some baggage, as he’s been investigated for domestic battery in the past and most scouts have him flagged for character concerns.
5.20 – Miami Dolphins – WR Tony Lippett, Michigan State
Lippett is a converted defensive back with nice size that is still learning the position. He’s not explosive and may get gobbled up by opposing corners with any level of physicality at the next level, but he flashes the ability to climb the ladder and provides size and potential as a red zone target for teams that can coach him up.
The Dolphins need a WR with Lippett’s potential skill set but he’s too raw at this point to think he’ll develop fast enough to challenge Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, and first round pick DeVante Parker for playing time his rookie year. He’s a likely practice squad candidate.
5.21 – Cincinnati Bengals – TE C.J. Uzomah, Auburn
Uzomah wasn’t productive in the Auburn offense and is a former wide receiver still learning the tight end positon, but he’s a big, talented athlete who displays soft hands and the raw athletic ability to stretch the seam at the next level. He offers little to nothing as a blocker however, and because his production was minimal at the college level, he’s a project and an upside guy, rather than a polished prospect. He may benefit from a redshirt year at the next level.
The Bengals have talent at the tight end position and they already drafted Tyler Kroft in the third round, making it unlikely that Uzomah will earn a spot on the depth chart. He may be carried at the end of the depth chart or he may wind up on the practice squad his rookie year while he continues to learn the position.
5.23 – Arizona Cardinals – WR J.J. Nelson, UAB
Nelson averaged nearly 19 yards per catch last year at UAB and he might be the fastest player in this draft, with his combine leading 40 yard dash time of 4.28 seconds. He’s an undersized receiver with return specialist experience and may find his role as a special teamer and slot receiver at the next level. He’ll need to add some weight to hold up in the NFL, but his speed should allow him to make a roster.
The Cardinals will view Nelson as a return specialist to replace the departed Ted Ginn, and it’s unlikely that he’ll win the WR4 job over Jaron Brown. He may get a chance on some deep routes due to his speed, but fantasy owners should expect his immediate opportunities to be limited to the return game.
5.24 – Pittsburgh Steelers – TE Jesse James, Penn State
James is huge, standing at 6’7, and his 261lbs are pure muscle. He lacks any kind of suddenness in his routes however and had little production at Penn State. He was inconsistent catching the ball and doesn’t seem to have the quickness to stretch the field in the seam. He has the size to develop as a blocker, but his technique remains unrefined in that area as well. He’s a pure potential option in this draft and will need to be coached up to take advantage of his tremendous size.
The Steelers need to look at a TE to challenge Matt Spieth for the backup role behind Heath Miller and they’re looking for a long term replacement for the veteran Miller as well. The opportunity is there for James to challenge in a backup role early, but he’s far more likely to redshirt his rookie year as he learns how to use his bulk.
5.26 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska
Kenny Bell has excellent hair, pretty good measurables, and needs some work when it comes to polishing up his route tree. But he’s a hard working, competitive guy who loves football and will put in the time in the weight room and in the film room. With those kinds of traits, Bell has the kind of upside to develop as a starting caliber player at the next level. To do that however, he will need to tighten up his cuts enough to the point where he’ll be able to find the open spaces against NFL defenses. Bell is a risky pick, because he may get gobbled up in traffic running a crossing route, but he’s very coachable and has enough physical ability to make the transition from the college to the pro game.
Bell will have more opportunities in Tampa after Vincent Jackson moves on then he will this year. He should be able to use his skills to make the roster, and the team will like having him on the squad, but the best he can hope for in targets is to challenge Louis Murphy and Robert Herron for slot duty. He’ll be in the mix for sub-package targets, but he’s unlikely to make a big fantasy impact in his rookie year.
5.32 – Detroit Lions – FB Michael Burton, Rutgers
Burton didn’t carry the ball much at Rutgers, but he caught 47 balls last year and will be drafted as a pass-catching player out of the backfield. He’s a hard worker, but doesn’t punish opposing defenders, limiting his effectiveness as a blocker. Burton may play H-Back at the next level.
Detroit needs a fullback, so Burton may start immediately at the position, but as a fullback there’s no reason to expect he’ll contribute much for fantasy owners. He’ll catch some passes and might fill an H-Back style of role in the best case, but he’s still unlikely to be draftable in fantasy leagues.
5.35 – Baltimore Ravens – TE Nick Boyle, Delaware
Boyle is a big, physical, blocking tight end who has just enough hands to be functional as a leak out option in the passing game. He lacks the speed to be a dedicated receiving tight end, but will provide a team at the next level an option for an additional blocker at the goal line with better hands than that of a sixth offensive lineman. He will likely make a roster, but will struggle to put up any kind of fantasy statistics.
The Ravens will likely carry Boyle as a blocking tight end his rookie year and he has enough talent to carve out a role in that position. However, he’s unlikely to challenge Dennis Pitta or 2nd round pick Maxx Williams for targets and will likely only play a handful of snaps on running downs this year.
5.37 – Kansas City Chiefs – TE James O’Shaughnessy, Illinois State
A pure receiving option, O’Shaughnessy has excellent size and speed for the position and has good hands. He struggles to find separation however and doesn’t seem to recognize the soft spot in the defense. He’s unrefined in his release and will need to be coached up at the next level, but the talent is there as a receiving threat if he can develop.
Kansas City will have O’Shaughnessy battle for a backup spot behind Travis Kelce his rookie year, but he’s too raw to think he’ll have a big impact, especially in an offense that hasn’t been prolific with Alex Smith at the helm. He has little fantasy value in year one.
5.38 – Carolina Panthers – RB Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn
At Auburn, Artis-Payne put up over 1,600 yards last year and was an aggressive runner who consistently keeps his legs churning to pick up extra yards. He generally falls forward and doesn’t seem to wear down as the game goes on. He has a short, compact frame that bodes well for keeping his balance at the next level, but he has very little breakaway ability and doesn’t always choose the right holes to hit, showing questionable vision. He wasn’t used much in the passing game at Auburn and will likely always be a liability in pass protection.
Artis-Payne has a good chance to carve a role in Carolina as a between the tackles, grind it out type of player. He’s unlikely to put up big numbers, but he may be used to eat the clock early in his career while the Panthers keep Jonathan Stewart fresh.
5.39 – Houston Texans – WR Keith Mumphery, Michigan State
Mumphery is an undersized effort guy who is thickly built and can take a hit. He’s unlikely to threaten defenses over the top, and he doesn’t have the short area quickness to juke out defenders, but he’s fearless across the middle and might be able to make a roster based on toughness. He’ll have to prove he can get off the line and not get swallowed up by the defense to stick however.
Houston is looking for a slot receiver and Mumphery will get a crack at it. However, he’s unlikely to beat out third rounder Jaelen Strong or Cecil Shorts for the role and will struggle to stick on the roster even in year one.
6.08 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – WR Kaelin Clay, Utah
Clay is a quick, shifty receiver who uses explosiveness off the line to burn past opposing defenders. His straight line speed is adequate but he’s an undersized player who will need to prove himself against physical defenders at the next level. Clay is a basket catcher, which limits his ability as a slot receiver and his skill set makes him a tweener between a traditional slot guy and a flanker. Clay will need to improve his hands and route running to stick on an NFL roster.
Tampa Bay is looking for a slot receiver to emerge on their roster, but it seems unlikely that Clay will beat out Robert Herron or fifth round pick Kenny Bell for the role. Clay will be fighting for a roster spot in September.
6.10 – New York Giants – WR Geremy Davis, Connecticut
Davis has a good feel for opposing defenses and can locate the soft spots in coverage. He also has a nice frame and pretty good speed that will help him get open at the next level. Davis had a nagging hamstring injury that kept him from running at the combine though, and he had a leg injury last year, calling into question his long term durability. Davis also doesn’t have a natural rhythm catching the ball, and he disappears against talented cornerbacks who cover him man-to-man.
The Giants would like Davis to be a consistent outside option for the, but it’ll be hard for Davis to find enough targets behind Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle, and Victor Cruz. He has a little upside if he can find a role, but the holes in his game make it tough to trust that Davis will make an impact as a rookie. He should make the roster though.
6.11 – Washington Redskins – WR Evan Spencer, Ohio State
Spencer is a raw talent with adequate size, pretty good speed, and he looks natural when he’s running and catching the ball in drills. However, he struggled to find a legitimate role in the Buckeye offense and had very little production in college. He’ll be looked at as a developmental prospect based on his physical ability.
Washington took Spencer as a developmental player that they’ll hope can turn into a legitimate outside threat. However, he’s got a long ways to go to compete with the incumbents in Washington and he will likely be fighting for a roster spot in his rookie year.
6.18 – Buffalo Bills – TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State
O’Leary isn’t a great athlete and he doesn’t show a tremendous amount of natural talent as a blocker or receiver. However, O’Leary is a tough player who plays with a nasty streak and gets under the skin of opposing defenders. He can leak out and make tough catches in traffic, and he’s always the hardest working guy on the field. O’Leary may not make a pro bowl at the position, but he’s likely to carve out a role on some NFL roster and he was very productive at Florida State.
The Bills need a good tight end after the departure of Scott Chandler. They overpaid Charles Clay, so O’Leary will start out behind Clay on the depth chart, but O’Leary has a similar skill set and should easily win the backup job. The presence of Clay and the questionable QB situation in Buffalo limits O’Leary’s potential, but he has some sleeper ability for a late round pick and is a name worth remembering.
6.19 – Cleveland Browns – TE Malcolm Johnson, Mississippi State
Johnson isn’t a big guy, but he plays tough and he has a little bit of quickness that may allow him to find a role in the NFL as an H-Back option in the passing game. Johnson doesn’t wow you, but he’s been productive in college and he’s an aggressive player. He’s a willing, albeit unrefined blocker and has the mentality of a football player.
Johnson will be fighting with Rob Housler, a better athlete, for a spot on the depth chart, but Housler has been disappointing thus far in his career and Cleveland needs football players like Johnson in their passing attack. The situation in Cleveland is dismal at the QB position, limiting Johnson’s upside, but he could be a sneaky sleeper option due to the lack of legitimate passing options in Cleveland. Fantasy owners should watch Johnson throughout the offseason to see if he can win a job as a late round pick.
6.22 – Cleveland Browns – TE Randall Telfer, USC
Telfer is a hard worker and a good football player, but he’s not a particularly talented pass catcher. He’s slow getting in and out of his breaks, lacks the speed to stretch the seam, and is an overachiever on the field. Telfer does flash good hands and has a nice release off the line, which means he should be able to get open in the flat at the next level, but he’ll most likely be drafted as a blocker.
The Browns double down on the TE position in the 6th round, taking two within three picks. Telfer offers more of a blocking skill set than the other players they have at the position, which might help him make the roster but is unlikely to make him worth fantasy consideration.
6.25 – St. Louis Rams – WR Bud Sasser, Missouri
Sasser had a productive senior season at Missouri with 1,003 yards and 12 touchdowns on 77 catches, but he shows very little quickness and may struggle to get open at the next level. He will likely be drafted as a developmental red zone threat, due to his large frame and his potential as a guy that can climb the ladder and outmuscle his way to the ball. He needs to work on his positioning in order to have similar success fighting for balls in the NFL, but he has developmental talent.
St. Louis has a crowded depth chart, but one short on top level talent. Sasser will be given more of a chance than most late round picks, but he seems to still be too raw to rise up above the rest of the options. He seems much more likely to redshirt this season, fight for a roster spot, and probably spend the year on the practice squad.
6.26 – New England Patriots – TE A.J. Derby, Arkansas
Derby is a very tough receiving tight end who does an excellent job finding holes in the defense and getting off the line. He’s an eager receiver, quick to get his eyes and hands up, but also quick to lose focus trying to get up field and lose a little bit of awareness around him. He’ll need to feel a big hit at the next level and learn to play within himself.
New England has a pretty large stable of tight ends right now, but Derby is the kind of tough, versatile player that can thrive in the Patriot’s system. He’s unlikely to make an impact early, as he’ll be buried on the depth chart, but he has a decent chance of at least making the final 53 man roster.
6.28 – Baltimore Ravens – WR Darren Waller, Georgia Tech
Waller is yet another Georgia Tech receiver with amazing measurables and little production. The offense emphasizes receivers with size, but mostly for blocking, and Waller stands 6’6 and runs a sub-4.5 40 yard dash. He’ll be drafted based on raw physical ability alone, because his receiver skills are extremely unpolished. For his speed, he’s slow getting in and out of his breaks and he hasn’t shown he can shake a defender despite his size.
Baltimore will give him the opportunity to be a player in that offense, and this is a good spot for Waller to learn how to run routes from one of the best: Steve Smith Sr. Waller has a great opportunity but is too unrefined to count on for fantasy owners. Still, he’s an intriguing prospect due to the lack of options in the passing game for Baltimore, though he’s unlikely to beat out first round pick Breshad Perriman for targets as a rookie. Fantasy owners should file his name away for later.
6.29 – Indianapolis Colts – RB Josh Robinson, Mississippi State
Robinson is called the Bowling Ball for a reason. He’s a slow footed, powerful back, despite his diminutive size, and he has an uncanny ability to stay lower than would-be tacklers and rumble for additional yards. He has little to no speed at all though, and won’t make anyone miss. He could find a role in the NFL as a short yardage back, but offers only a single skill set in a league that emphasizes versatility which may make it hard for him to stick on a roster.
Robinson will have to fight through Frank Gore, Dan Herron, and Vick Ballard for playing time, which doesn’t bode well for the productive, power back. He may win some work as a short yardage player, but right now he translates as a poor man’s Herron and he seems unlikely to win a job with the Colts.
6.30 – Green Bay Packers – FB Aaron Ripkowski, Oklahoma
Ripkowski is a versatile and hardworking player who is more of a receiving threat than a blocker. He has a little wiggle for his size, but will mostly be counted on to develop as a blocker and flank out into the flat after chipping opposing pass rushers. He doesn’t have the elite athleticism to stretch the field.
The Packers likely brought Ripkowski in to be the replacement for John Kuhn, but for now, the fullback position still belongs to the veteran. He’ll likely get some looks at H-Back, but he may not be big enough to line up inline. Ripkowski will probably have to contribute on special teams in order to make the final 53 man roster this year.
6.34 – Green Bay Packers – TE Kennard Backman, UAB
Backman is an athletic player who was a nice safety valve at UAB. He wasn’t wildly productive in college, but he has the ability to get off the line, and has some suddenness in his breaks that make him appear to be a developmental prospect as a receiving tight end. He’s shown flashes as a blocker, but his technique remains raw and he’ll need to work on his hand positioning at the next level to make an NFL roster.
The Packers like developmental and athletic tight ends, and Backman fits that mold. It’ll be difficult for the raw UAB product to beat out Richard Rodgers though, and fantasy owners should consider him a longshot to make a big impact his rookie year.
7.03 – Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Neal Sterling, Monmouth
Sterling is a big-bodied receiver who may have to transition to a tight end position at the NFL level due to his limited speed. He is an athletic player however and does a good job positioning his body against opposing defenders. Sterling will need to gain a little more explosiveness off the line if he’s going to find a way to get open at the next level, but he’s a physical player who should get a chance at a roster spot.
Sterling gives the Jaguars a bigger target in the passing game, but it’s hard to envision him finding a spot on the roster with how loaded they currently are with young talent. If he moves to tight end, then he’ll be contending with Julius Thomas and Mercedes Lewis for playing time which doesn’t bode well for the big guy from Monmouth.
7.04 – Oakland Raiders – WR Andre Debose, Florida
Debose flashed raw ability at Florida as a receiver, but he made a name for himself in the return game. Debose struggled to get on the field as a receiver in Florida before breaking out as a return man, but then tore his ACL in 2013 and missed the entire season. He came back last year and played as a return specialist before moving on from the program. He’ll be looked at purely as a return specialist by NFL scouts, who will hope that he can add something to the offense with a creative coordinator.
Debose will struggle to find room on the receiver depth chart in Oakland, but he has a good chance of winning the returner job early on. Even if he does, it’s unlikely he cracks the offensive rotation and fantasy owners shouldn’t put much stock into this former highly touted Gator.
7.12 – Jacksonville Jaguars – TE Ben Koyack, Notre Dame
Koyack is a tall receiving tight end prospect who shows the ability to reach out and snatch the ball. He has good body control to go up and get it, and times his routes and jumps well. He’s not going to be strong enough to be an impact blocker at the next level, and his lack of explosiveness and speed might make it difficult for him to gain separation in the NFL. Overall, Koyack is an upside receiving prospect who has some natural receiving ability but needs a lot of coaching up and strength training in order to develop into a starting caliber pro.
Koyack will struggle to make the roster in Jacksonville, and even if he finds himself on the final 53, he’ll be buried on the depth chart behind free agent acquisition Julius Thomas. He has little to no fantasy value.
7.13 – New Orleans Saints – RB Marcus Murphy, Missouri
Murphy is a quick scat back that flashes ability in open space. He has some experience in the return game and will try to make it on the next level by playing on special teams and in sub packages on offense. He may struggle because he lacks the speed of a true third down back, but lacks the size of an inside runner. However, he flashes quickness and excellent vision, which might be enough for him to surprise some people at the next level.
It’ll be hard for Murphy to get touches in New Orleans over free agent acquisition C.J. Spiller, but overall this is a great fit for Murphy, who should stand a good chance to win the returner job and get a few looks on offense. If he makes the roster, he has a little sleeper ability because of the injury history of the guys who will be in front of him on the depth chart and Sean Payton’s history of using other backs with a similar skill set.
7.14 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – FB Joey Iosefa, Hawaii
Foot injuries are the biggest concerns for this hard working back from Hawaii. Iosefa runs hard and catches the ball well from the fullback position. He caught 60 passes last year, and he was an effective runner as well. May be a tweener, as he doesn’t run well enough to be a tailback and doesn’t block as well as a traditional fullback, but he’s a tough football player who coaches will like.
Iosefa is a better offensive weapon than Bucs fullback Jorvorskie Lane with the same blocking issues. It wouldn’t be a surprise for the 7th round pick to win the fullback job in Tampa and fight for carries with Doug Martin and Bobby Rainey. He’s not likely to make a huge impact from the fullback spot, but he has a little upside going to a team that has struggled so heavily to run the ball with it’s current stable of backs.
7.16 – Kansas City Chiefs – WR Da’Ron Brown, Northern Illinois
Brown is a player who uses his size well and fights for the ball in traffic. He has limited quickness which may cause problems at the next level, but if he can find a role at the NFL level as a red zone target, then he might stick on a roster. His skill set would look much better on a 6’2 frame, rather than the 6’0 one he possesses, but Brown is the type of late round prospect who can sometimes find a spot in the league.
The Chiefs are the kind of team that Brown could find a role with. Kansas City needs a guy who can go up and get it, and a guy who Alex Smith can lay out a duck to. Brown isn’t a lock to make the roster, but if you’re looking at opportunities for sleepers in the later rounds of the draft, there’s no reason Brown shouldn’t be on your list. He’ll be fighting with raw rookie Chris Conley and Junior Hemingway for the WR2 spot opposite Jeremy Maclin, and he provides a different skill set than the former Eagle.
7.17 – Buffalo Bills – WR Dezmin Lewis, Central Arkansas
Lewis is a big and talented receiver with a very unrefined skill set. At 6’4, he’ll be viewed as a developmental player who got better each year in college, but never showed elite level play at the receiver position. Lewis doesn’t have any wiggle to his game and struggles to recover after getting hit off the line. Additionally, he plays passively, which keeps him from getting open as easily as his athleticism would suggest. He’ll need to gain a little more field awareness to make it at the next level, and teams will hope to see more intensity from him on the field.
The Bills have a crowded depth chart, albeit nobody with Lewis’ measurables. It’s very possible that Lewis makes the roster as an end of the roster developmental prospect, and he has a tremendous amount of upside. His transition will likely be a slow one though, and the lack of a legitimate quarterback in Buffalo hurts his potential.
7.18 – Houston Texans – RB Kenny Hilliard, LSU
Hilliard is a punishing runner, but he’s a slow footed plodder who adds nothing to the passing game. He caught only 11 passes in three years at LSU. Hilliard does flash exceptional power though and he runs angry, which might allow him to carve out a role as a short yardage back at the next level. Good coaching might turn him into a good fullback, but he’s not a gifted runner.
The injury history of the players in Houston give Hilliard a small chance of contributing early, but overall he’ll have a hard time getting looks over the likes of Arian Foster and Alfred Blue. His best hope would be to win a job as a short yardage back, but he looks to have limited fantasy upside in year one.
7.21 – Cincinnati Bengals – WR Mario Alford, West Virginia
Alford is a quick slot receiver who can also get downfield in a hurry. He’s undersized and looks small on the field, bringing long term durability concerns into play, but he has the kind of versatility that should allow him to make an NFL roster, even if it’s just as a return specialist. Alford would probably go higher if he had better hands, and whether or not he can be an NFL player may come down to his ability to turn into a reliable target, because at this stage in his development, he drops too many balls.
The Bengals will give Alford every chance to win a job either in the return game or as a slot receiver. If he can shore up his hands, he may beat out veteran Brandon Tate, but if he can’t, he may find himself looking for a job during the season.
7.28 – Tennessee Titans – WR Tre McBride, William & Mary
McBride is versatile and fast but isn’t a natural pass catcher, allowing too many balls to come into his body. He looks like he’s fighting the ball, even though he usually comes down with the catch. McBride has adequate size, above average speed, and gets in and out of his cuts well, but he struggles against physical man-to-man coverage. If he can get a little stronger and learn how to overcome bumps and shots during his routes, then he has the upside to develop into an NFL player.
The Titans already drafted a receiver this year, and they just picked up the fifth year option on Kendall Wright. McBride will have to fight with talented but inconsistent Justin Hunter, and newcomers Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks for a roster spot, which makes it unlikely that he makes an impact in year one.
7.29 – Dallas Cowboys – TE Geoff Swaim, Texas
Geoff Swaim has all the physical tools to be a great pass catcher at the next level, but he never put it together at Texas. He doesn’t flash blocking ability, and he’s tight hipped as a receiving prospect. Swaim will need to be coached up for his tremendous physical attributes to translate well to the pro game.
Dallas went for athleticism and upside with this local pick, but behind Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar, it’s very unlikely that Swaim makes any kind of impact this season. He will fight for a roster spot.
7.33 – Denver Broncos – QB Trevor Siemian, Northwestern
Siemian is coming off a torn ACL last November, but he’s a quarterback with adequate size who is heralded at Northwestern and was an experienced starter. He did have a tendency to force the ball in college and it remains to be seen if the spread style offense he played in at Northwestern prepared him to read defenses and go through progressions at the NFL level.
Siemian had some fans on the Denver coaching staff supposedly, but it’s unlikely he challenges even for the backup quarterback spot in Denver this year. Fantasy owners shouldn’t bother with him at this point.
7.37 – San Francisco 49ers – TE Rory Anderson, South Carolina
Anderson flashes elite athletic ability and will be a developmental receiving threat coming out of South Carolina. He struggles with consistency catching the ball however and he’s had nagging injuries that have limited his effectiveness. Anderson might by time on an NFL roster while he develops his receiving game due to his already accomplished run blocking.
San Francisco takes their second tight end prospect in this year’s draft, and Anderson will have a hard time making the roster on a crowded depth chart over fellow draftee Blake Bell. Anderson might be destined for the practice squad in year one.
7.39 – Arizona Cardinals – TE Gerald Christian, Louisville
Christian is a blocking tight end who has just enough receiving ability to leak out occasionally and provide a safety valve for his quarterback. He has soft hands, but struggles getting in and out of his routes. He knows how to play in space and can flash exceptional athleticism, but struggles to create space and can be shut down. Christian is a good run blocker right now, but will need to get stronger to help in pass protection at the next level.
The Cardinals have been looking for a tight end for what feels like forever, and each year they draft an athletic guy to challenge for the spot. Christian probably won’t beat out John Carlson or Troy Niklas on the depth chart, but he’ll be given every opportunity to steal the job. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on his progress as the offseason progresses, as he very well might outplay the guys in front of him.