2019 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Round 1)

2019 NFL Draft: Live Fantasy Recap (Round 1)

The 2019 NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 25th with the first round. The second and third rounds will be held on Friday (beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET), while the remainder of the draft will finish up on Saturday (12 p.m. ET). Coverage is on ESPN, the NFL Network and ABC.

Throughout the first round, I'll be updating this page with player evaluation from our very own Brandon Niles, along with my take on the player's opportunity and potential fantasy impact in 2019. Brandon has also provided athletic comparables from Player Profiler and Mockdraftable. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second and third rounds. Brandon will be taking over on Saturday to summarize the mid- to late-round picks.

1.01 - Cardinals - QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

It’s amazing that Murray could show up to the combine, participate in none of the drills, and still improve his draft stock. Such is the case however, after he weighed in at 207 pounds and was measured to be 5-foot-10. Those numbers may be just enough to warrant Russell Wilson comparisons. The size concerns are still there, but the arm talent is unquestionable. Murray put up 4,361 yards in his lone season as a starter for the Sooners, and threw 42 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. He also ran for 1,001 yards, but he’s not a run-first quarterback. Murray shows a propensity to make plays at all three levels of the field, and he has a strong enough arm to make every throw. He’ll be counted on to make an immediate impact and could thrive in the right system.

Athletic Comparable: Russell Wilson

Opportunity: A
Murray should start immediately so the playing time will be there. He'll have Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk to throw to, so the receiving corps isn't bad, either. I have a regression model that I use to generate a starting point for rookie quarterbacks and Murray comes in with the highest projected touchdown percentage, the highest projected yards per attempt, the third-highest projected rushing yards per game and the fourth-highest projected rushing touchdowns in the 39-player sample. His passing numbers (in the same system) are eerily similar to Baker Mayfield's and he's a much better runner. Depending how the offensive line comes together, Murray should be in the streaming conversation in his rookie season.

1.06 - Giants - QB Daniel Jones, Duke

Jones is a tall, 6-foot-5, lanky player with excellent accuracy and above-average mobility for his position. He’s capable of making quick reads and hitting receivers in stride to maximize plays. His deep ball wanes on him a little and he lacks the arm strength to fire into small windows, though that doesn’t keep him from trying. Jones handles the blitz as well as any college player and he was well-coached at Duke, giving him a leg up for the transition to the pros. Jones will need to work on tightening up his release and adjusting to the speed of NFL defenders, but he has the tools and mental makeup to be a great long-term starter.

Athletic Comparable: Matt Ryan

Opportunity: B+
Jones likely sits at least one season behind Eli Manning, though if the Giants' season goes off the rails again, Jones could make a few starts as a rookie. In my aforementioned QB regression study, Jones did not fare particularly well, coming in at No. 33 (out of 39 passers) in projected completion %, No. 33 in touchdown % and No. 37 in yards per attempt. He does have the ability to run the ball, finishing No. 10 in projected rushing yards per game, once he gets to start. Keep in mind that the model is strictly numbers-driven, and clearly Brandon Niles feels that Jones could be a "great long-term starter." I'm not expecting much out of Jones in 2019.

1.08 - Lions - T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

Hochenson had 760 yards and six touchdowns for the Hawkeyes last season as a redshirt sophomore. He’s a rare talent at the position, with a full range of receiving traits, as well as above-average in-line blocking. Hockenson isn’t a burner, but has enough speed to make life difficult for linebackers trying to cover him downfield, and he has rare athleticism coming in and out of his breaks, showing excellent quickness. Hockenson is often late to adjust to poor ball placement, but he is possibly the best overall offensive prospect in this draft class and should be an immediate starter in the NFL.

Athletic Comparable: Austin Hooper

Opportunity: B+
The Lions want to go run-heavy and Hockenson can help as a blocker and as a receiver. Rookie tight ends rarely make much of a fantasy impact, but Hockenson could enter the streaming conversation if he starts as a rookie. The Lions signed Jesse James, so Hockenson will have to earn his snaps in his first season.

1.15 - Washington - QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

Haskins had a wildly prolific season last year for the Buckeyes, leading all of Division 1-A with 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns. He’s a well-rounded prospect with excellent accuracy who thrives in the pocket. He has excellent short-area mobility which enables him to climb the pocket, though he won’t beat linebackers to the edge if he wants to take off and run with it. Haskins has limited experience as a one-year starter and will need to show he can produce under pressure if he’s going to make it as a pro, but he’ll be expected to be a franchise quarterback as a high draft pick.

Athletic Comparable: Jameis Winston

Opportunity: B+
The opportunity is there, but there isn't much receiving talent in Washington at the moment. Jordan Reed is hanging on at tight end, but Washington's top three receivers are Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn. Haskins did fare well in my rookie QB model, posting the No. 8 projected completion % (out of 39 passers), the No. 7 projected touchdown % and the No. 13 projected YPA. This looks like a solid long-term pick, but I'm not expecting much fantasy production in 2019 given the team's receiving corps.

1.20 - Broncos - TE Noah Fant, Iowa

After scoring 18 touchdowns over his last two seasons at Iowa, Fant blew up the combine in preparation for the draft. He led all tight ends in five combine categories, including a 4.50-second 40-yard-dash and a 6.81-second three-cone drill. Fant shows tremendous explosiveness in his route-running for a 6-foot-4, 249-pound behemoth, and his ability to line up along the line as well as in the slot make him a versatile receiving tight end. Fant has excellent hands and should earn a starting job early.

Athletic Comparable: George Kittle

Opportunity: A-
Fant is a ridiculous athlete who could start right away if he's able to beat out Jeff Heuerman. It's well-known that rookie tight ends rarely make a big fantasy impact so Fant likely posts TE2-type numbers if he gets starter's snaps. 

1.24 - Raiders - RB Josh Jacobs, Alabama

Jacobs only had 252 carries as he split time over his three years with the Crimson Tide, but he averaged 5.9 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns on the ground, including 11 last season. Jacobs has excellent vision and runs with patience, a good sign for making a quick transition to the pro game. He’s scheme-versatile and runs with effective lower-body strength and balance. Jacobs caught 20 balls last year and has the ability to run a rudimentary route tree. He tracks the ball well down the seam and may find early success on wheel routes and leaking out into the flat. He’s still figuring out how to block in pass protection, but he demonstrates enough physicality to think he’ll become an every-down contributor in a hurry.

Athletic Comparable: Kareem Hunt

Opportunity: A
Oakland has roughly 18.2 vacated touches per game after Marshawn Lynch's retirement and Doug Martin's departure, so this is a great landing spot for Jacobs, who was the consensus top running back in this draft. He has dual threat ability and could play on all three downs, though Jalen Richard will have something to say about that. From an ADP standpoint, I expect that he'll go in the third or fourth round in fantasy drafts as the summer wears on.

1.25 - Ravens - WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

Brown is an electrifying talent who showed elite speed and elusiveness throughout his two seasons as a regular starter for the Sooners. He had at least one catch over 45 yards in eight of his 12 games last year, and scored 17 touchdowns in two years. A foot injury kept Brown from working out at the combine, but no one doubts his incredible speed. His tiny frame, 5-foot-9 and 166 lbs, could keep him from succeeding in the NFL, as long-term durability and an inability to win contested catches may be problematic. He’s an incredible talent though. He has good hands, can start and stop on a dime, and will force opposing defenses to account for him on every play.

Athletic Comparable: Dede Westbrook

Opportunity: B
This is a tough situation to gauge since the Ravens are going to go extremely run-heavy with Lamar Jackson at quarterback and noted run enthusiast Greg Roman calling the plays. The Ravens do have 19.2 vacated targets per game up for grabs, though that number is misleading because it includes half of a season of Joe Flacco at quarterback. Still, there is opportunity available in this offense. As a rookie, Brown looks like a better best ball pick than an every-week fantasy starter. Remember, John Brown's production took a nosedive once Jackson took over at quarterback. Jackson will need to improve as a passer and the Ravens will need to throw more for Brown to turn into an every-week fantasy starter.

1.32 - Patriots - WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State

Harry plays with intense swagger and looks intimidating off the line. He plays with every single inch of his 6-foot-2, 228 lbs frame, and shows an elite ability to locate and adjust to the ball. The right quarterback will throw the ball high or to his back shoulder, even in tight coverage, knowing he’ll use his body effectively to make the catch. He has great hands and runs with determination after the catch. Harry’s issues lie in his lack of explosiveness. While a 4.53-second 40-yard-dash at the combine was better than expected, he runs with tight hips, and at times looks like he’s lumbering through routes. Harry has the kind of attitude and work ethic that could make him an elite player if he lands in the right spot, but if he can’t separate at the next level, he could be a bitterly disappointing pro.

Athletic Comparable: Allen Robinson

Opportunity: A
With the retirement of Rob Gronkowski and the departure of Chris Hogan, there are 14.4 targets up for grabs in New England, so there is plenty of opportunity for Harry. The Patriots have had trouble drafting effective receivers and Harry will have to work to earn Tom Brady's trust, but if he's playing starter's snaps, he'll certainly be fantasy relevant as a rookie.

 

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