Two-Round Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft
When discussing early rookie mock drafts, the word “mock” has two meanings. Yes, it’s intention is that it is an exercise in understanding where players stand within the context of rookie drafts today. However, when we inevitably look back on them, mocking them in the more traditional form of ridicule is hard to resist. Players will rise, players will fall due to medicals, physical measurements, interviews, or doing something stupid before draft day. Regardless, dynasty players still need to consider the strength of the draft today to know where they should think about moving up or down with rookie picks or where to try to buy into or sell out completely.
This two-round mock rookie draft assumes a one quarterback league with PPR scoring, but no tight end premium. It also features four 4for4 writers including myself, Kevin Zatloukal, Chris Allen, and the newest addition to the team, Nick Whalen. Everyone provided comments on their picks, but I will also provide an overall analysis of the mock draft below.
|1.01||Nick||D'Andre Swift||RB||Georgia||21||5'9"||215 lbs|
|1.02||Kevin||Jonathan Taylor||RB||Wisconsin||21||5'11"||219 lbs|
|1.03||Chris||CeeDee Lamb||WR||Oklahoma||20.8||6'2"||189 lbs|
|1.04||George||Jerry Jeudy||WR||Alabama||20.7||6'1"||192 lbs|
|1.05||Nick||J.K. Dobbins||RB||Ohio State||21.1||5'10"||217 lbs|
|1.06||Kevin||Cam Akers||RB||Florida State||20.6||5'11"||212 lbs|
1.01 - D’Andre Swift
Nick: “Swift has the size, athleticism, agility and hands to become a force in fantasy football.”
Apt description by Nick as Swift is likely the first running back off NFL Draft boards, potentially to the Chiefs at the end of Round 1. He is a true three-down running back and will be the favorite to go through the draft process and end up as the dynasty rookie 1.01 pick. The biggest question will be around his ability to handle a heavy workload.
1.02 - Jonathan Taylor
Kevin: “Potential workhorse running backs still seem like the most valuable commodity. Taylor looks like a safe top-50 NFL pick at RB, making him a potential workhorse. (26 receptions and 5 receiving TDs in his final year back this up also.)”
There are several directions to go here with the second pick and as Kevin mentioned, this is the safe route. You get the second-best running back in my opinion and the other top tier option at the position. Taylor has been a monster in college, handling large workloads and showing explosive ability. Adding in the receiving work in 2019 helped to answer a big question around his potential to stay on the field and contribute in the passing game.
1.03 - CeeDee Lamb
Chris: “This would have been ETN, but alas. Back to back 1k seasons and his market share ticked up from ~17% to 26% with Hollywood going to the NFL. Definitely see the case for Jeudy over him.”
Sitting at four, I knew Chris was looking Lamb or Jeudy and I’d end up with whoever is left. He goes with Lamb, a great route runner with good hands and a true vertical threat. Likely, he ends up in the 11 to 13 range in the NFL Draft where the Jets, Raiders, and Colts all need help at the position. Not the best quarterback situations, but Lamb could step in as the top wide receiver right away (sorry T.Y. Hilton).
1.04 - Jerry Jeudy
George: “He is right there with Lamb for the top WR to get drafted. Smooth, technically sound, and capable of big plays. His only knock is playing with three other NFL caliber WRs.”
I stand by my in-draft comments here. Love watching Jeudy as he may be the most polished wide receiver coming out of college in a while. Yes, there will be questions about his market share rates and dominator ratings but sometimes, players break those “rules” and I’m betting a talent like Jeudy is one of those.
1.05 - J.K. Dobbins
Nick: “I was down on Dobbins coming into 2019 and he proved me wrong. He possesses all of the traits to become a three-down back at the next level, but lacks speed and some explosiveness.”
This was a surprising pick. Not because Dobbins doesn’t deserve consideration here, he does, but because Nick made the pick. I’ve known Nick for a while and he was down on Dobbins early on, but his willingness to change on a player evaluation based on growth and more evidence is a rare trait for analysts. Dobbins has great vision to find running lanes and some of the best hands in this draft. He has a chance to be a solid three-down back at the next level and there are few of those left even this early.
1.06 - Cam Akers
Kevin: “Looks good by my numbers, but I have some worries about him falling in the draft. We'll see…”
This was a true gamble of a pick but with the upside to be the best player out of this draft. Kevin knows it too as poor testing or negative reactions to Akers’ rough 2018 could lower his draft stock. Akers dealt with poor offensive lines, injuries, and ball security issues depressed some of his counting stats, but he is a complete runner with agility and power to pair with solid receiving skills. Are we dealing with DK Metcalf here or Dorial Green-Beckham?
|1.07||Chris||Tee Higgins||WR||Clemson||21||6'4"||215 lbs|
|1.08||George||Laviska Shenault Jr.||WR||Colorado||21.3||6'2"||220 lbs|
|1.09||Nick||Clyde Edwards-Helaire||RB||LSU||20.8||5'8"||209 lbs|
|1.10||Kevin||Jalen Reagor||WR||TCU||21.1||5'11"||195 lbs|
|1.11||Chris||Justin Jefferson||WR||LSU||20.6||6'3"||192 lbs|
|1.12||George||Henry Ruggs III||WR||Alabama||21||6'0"||190 lbs|
1.07 - Tee Higgins
Chris: “I may be too high on him. ~15% MS back to back seasons, but can't knock the air yards.”
This became personal as Chris sniped Higgins in front of me, who I see as the 1C option at wide receiver in dynasty rookie drafts today. He is insanely long, giving him an otherworldly catch radius that makes him dominate jump ball situations down the field and in the red zone. Over a third of his receptions in 2019 went for 20+ yards and 22% went for touchdowns, both high-end figures for the position. Thanks, Chris.
1.08 - Laviska Shenault
George: “Sure hands, great YAC ability, and a strong frame may earn him some A.J. Brown comparisons during the draft process. Shenault should be a top 60 NFL Draft pick and may slip into the first round, a sure-fire way to be a top 12 rookie dynasty pick.”
The only reason he gets overlooked amongst this wide receiver class is an abysmal Colorado offense. He is explosive, catches everything, and is a monster after the catch. If you are a fan of intangibles, Shenault is a good person too, refusing to cut his hair after his father passed despite having to give up basketball to keep up the memorial. He has all the intangibles as well as the skill to be a primary receiver on an NFL team.
1.09 - Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Nick: “Really excels with his short-area quickness, leverage, and hands. Makes some defenders look silly in the open field.”
Edwards-Helaire broke the mold of LSU backs as he showed versatility in the pass game, setting up on the boundary at times. Don’t mistake that for a pure receiving back as he is a punishing force as a runner and has the incredible balance to gain yards after contact. He should be a three-down contributor although a team may try and limit his overall usage due to Edwards-Helaire’s brutal running style.
1.10 - Jalen Reagor
Kevin: “Early NFL mock drafts list him as a first-round pick. That along with his college production make him the safest option here by my numbers.”
Kevin points out something important and distinctive about these early drafts, the importance of NFL Draft capital. Unfortunately, it’s hard to use that here when the NFL Draft is still months away but our counterparts conducting those NFL mock drafts can help us understand how teams view these players. As for Reagor, to call his ability in the vertical game devastating is an understatement. He’s a game-changer in that facet and uses every tool (quick first step, deep speed, route nuance, ball tracking, body control) to win in those moments. Reagor will be a starter and could be a top option in the right offense.
1.11 - Justin Jefferson
Chris: “24-25% market share over the past two seasons with a strong finish connected to Burrow. Impressive for his age and should stand out athletically at the Combine.”
Jefferson has the look of a long slot receiver. He catches everything and has surprising short-area quickness, packaging that with good route running skills to make up for a lack of deep speed. I don’t see him as a top option for an offense but there are many examples of second receivers thriving for fantasy players.
1.12 - Henry Ruggs
George: “His potential as a first-round NFL Draft pick may depend on breaking 4.30 seconds in the 40. Ruggs is a blazer and with the league stretching the field more than ever, there will be teams dialing him up come draft day.”
This could be the most important 40-yard dash for a speedster since John Ross. Ruggs wins vertically, not with physicality, but with blazing speed and an ability to track the ball in the air. His route tree is advanced for a deep threat and he has good hands, avoiding body catching like some past speed threats. Ruggs will never be a volume hog but will make the most of what he does get in an NFL offense.
|2.01||Nick||Ke'Shawn Vaughn||RB||Vanderbilt||22.7||5'10"||218 lbs|
|2.02||Kevin||Tyler Johnson||WR||Minnesota||21.4||6'2"||205 lbs|
|2.03||Chris||A.J. Dillon||RB||Boston College||21.7||6'0"||250 lbs|
|2.04||George||Brandon Aiyuk||WR||Arizona State||21.8||6'1"||206 lbs|
|2.05||Nick||Michael Pittman Jr.||WR||USC||22.3||6'4"||220 lbs|
|2.06||Kevin||Antonio Gandy-Golden||WR||Liberty||21.8||6'4"||220 lbs|
2.01 - KeShawn Vaughn
Nick: “Most productive RB in the SEC that nobody is talking about right now. Vaughn is athletic, tough, displays good vision and efficient with his movements.”
This is a Nick Whalen special. Vaughn is a guy who does well finding cutback lanes and making the most of every play. That said, there are clear questions out there, particularly in the passing game as a blocker and receiver. Right now, I’m nervous to go Vaughn this high but it’s a long draft process so things can (and will) change.
2.02 - Tyler Johnson
Kevin: “Top of my Tier 3 in my first run over the stats. (Tier 1 is Lamb and Jeudy. Tier 2 is Reagor, Shenault, & Jefferson.) A likely day-2 pick with a very high market share of his team's total offense (17.4%). Being at a smaller lower-tier school probably bumps those numbers, but this draft is like prior years, he is likely to be undervalued.”
Tyler Johnson is no stranger to heavy workloads. He had at least a 25% share of pass targets in every 2019 game and has been a favorite of mine going back to 2018. Johnson is a smooth runner who understands how to set up defenders and create separation. The downside is his lack of physicality, which could limit his ability on the boundary. Even as a slot receiver, Johnson could be a good piece for an NFL offense and a dynasty team.
2.03 - A.J. Dillon
Chris: “Stat compiler or good back? I think more of the latter, but hard to separate his massive numbers from the volume. Lack of receptions almost stands out more.”
Dillon has a clear niche where he excels and that’s as a runner between the tackles. His running style is violent but can be surprisingly agile at times avoiding defenders. What Dillon doesn’t do is catch passes or break outside on runs. Those deficiencies could turn him into a more athletic and effective Jordan Howard as a pro.
2.04 - Brandon Aiyuk
George: “Might be the most creative receiver in the draft when the ball is in his hands and that's saying a lot considering this crop of wide receivers. Can potentially play slot or outside and will be a homerun threat on every play.”
This is a player I was turned onto late in the process by people like Nick Whalen. His special teams' abilities alone will keep him in the league for a while but he’s more than that. Aiyuk has limited high-level production having started his career at Sierra college and unfortunately won’t be participating in the Senior Bowl, but there is still time to solidify a Day 2 NFL selection.
2.05 - Michael Pittman Jr.
Nick: “His father had a productive NFL career and Pittman didn't live up to his recruiting hype until 2019 with a monster season. Pittman is big, physical, athletic, but also shows good effort on the field.”
Sadly, I sold a devy share hastily last offseason before his productive 2019. Pittman has great size and solid hands, catching an astonishing 82% of his 2019 pass targets. There are some questions surrounding his ability to separate consistently and expand his route tree along with overall speed. That said, Pittman could be an X receiver for an NFL offense and find success similar to Mike Williams of the Chargers.
2.06 - Antonio Gandy-Golden
Kevin: “Probably a reach at this point, but without ADP, I'm not sure whether he'll be around in four picks.”
Kevin touches on another fundamental point to remember in your rookie draft: go get your guy. In this case, it’s Gandy-Golden, the small school receiver du jour. He has a huge frame with a ridiculous catch radius, but struggles with press coverage and doesn’t have the physical disposition expected of a receiver weighing 220 pounds. Gandy-Golden will need a good offseason to exceed a Day 3 NFL Draft slot.
|2.07||Chris||Zack Moss||RB||Utah||22.1||5'10"||222 lbs|
|2.08||George||K.J. Hamler||WR||Penn State||20.5||5'9"||176 lbs|
|2.09||Nick||Bryan Edwards||WR||South Carolina||21.2||6'3"||215 lbs|
|2.10||Kevin||Joe Burrow||QB||LSU||23.1||6'4"||216 lbs|
|2.11||Chris||Albert Okwuegbunam||TE||Missouri||21.7||6'5"||255 lbs|
|2.12||George||Tua Tagovailoa||QB||Alabama||21.9||6'1"||219 lbs|
2.07 - Zack Moss
Chris: “Interested to see how he tests. Decent short-area burst and contact balance, but always seeing him getting caught from behind if he makes it to the second level.”
I had my eye on Moss at 2.08 as the last draftable running back in this two-round mock draft. He represents the last three-down back I see currently in this class and most of his negatives are athletic profile related, something that has dinged many successful backs in the past. Moss is a high effort player who blocks well, is a capable receiver, and has a devastating one-cut approach that leaves defenses in the dust. This could be a steal if he gets the right landing spot.
2.08 - K.J. Hamler
George: “I was torn between Hamler and Edwards. Hamler provides another speed threat for a team and could be a Brandin Cooks (early career) option if he lands in the right offense. I'm talking to you, New Orleans!”
The NFL has become a more open approach that lends well to speed options like Hamler. There isn’t a great history with wide receivers who are under 180 pounds succeeding in the NFL and that may work against him in the NFL Draft. That said, he has otherworldly speed and would be a great slot option for a progressive offensive. He could rise half a round or drop off the map in the coming months.
2.09 - Bryan Edwards
Nick: “Edwards was productive from a young age at South Carolina, but never saw a leap in production. He's technically sound, but isn't going to win any contests at the combine.”
Of course, Nick goes with the other guy I considered just one pick earlier. Edwards gets credit as a vertical threat but only 11% of his catches in 2019 generated 20+ yards. That reputation is more a result of vertical routes and jump ball situations Edwards tends to win, which gives the perception of a deep option. He is a bull after the catch so even short gains can become longer ones quickly. The questions come with an unpolished route tree and an uncertain athletic profile. Some have him as a potential top 10 wide receiver from this class and others see him barely hanging on in Day 3.
2.10 - Joe Burrow
Kevin: “I'm at the end of the list of good RBs and WRs...going to another position.”
This feels like the right time to consider pivoting. Burrow is the consensus top pick, heading to the Bengals where there are weapons to work with. That will help as Burrow will need time to adjust and he is not the physically elite prospect that someone like Andrew Luck was. His mental game, however, is on par with any top quarterback as he is great at dissecting defenses and working through progressions.
2.11 - Albert Okwuegbunam
Chris: “Other than Moss he's the only TE I've heard in the discussion so far this offseason.”
There isn’t a singular tight end in this class who will warrant a selection in the top half of the first round like we have seen recently. Okwuegbunam is divisive as some have him near the top of their positional board while others have him outside their top five. He won’t be a traditional in-line option as Okwuegbunam is more valuable as a slot or even outside option who can win the jump ball battles against smaller defenders. He should be a red-zone weapon for an offense but will be scheme dependent.
2.12 - Tua Tagovailoa
George: “Tua's hip injury derailed the hype train heading towards the 2020 NFL Draft. Durability is becoming the only question as he has a strong arm, understanding of the game, and rare intangibles. He could be a top-five quarterback in the league in two years.”
Quite simply, Tua is a franchise quarterback at a time where dynasty league players are seeing an erosion of good, young options. If not for the hip injury, Tua would be right there with Burrow for the top overall NFL Draft slot and being considered three to six picks earlier in rookie drafts. I’m happy to take this gamble, my third Alabama player in this mock draft, on Tua’s injury healing and pre-injury potential.