Draft Reaction Days 1 & 2
What Just Happened?
The NFL Draft is a rollercoaster of emotions. For some players the culmination of their dream of reaching the league, for GMs and owners hope springs eternal as they attempt to to restock their rosters ahead of the new season and for dynasty owners a whirlwind of peaks and valleys as draft crushes find their landing spots either cementing their status or finding themselves buried behind Todd Gurley.
This years draft was dominated by linemen with a particular run on what has been described as a “historic” defensive line class. The impact on skill players was stark with a dynasty wasteland developing as many pre-draft favourites crashed down the board.
There were some major winners. N’Keal Harry has probably established himself as the 1.01 in most rookie drafts; landing in a fairly barren wide receiver room in New England would have boosted any player but Harry’s game might see him pick up some up some of the Gronk role as well as being the number one outside receiver from day 1.
DK Metcalf couldn’t have landed in a better spot. Seattle will be patient with him allowing to round out his game all while Russell Wilson can use him as a deep threat from day one. It won’t be popular here at Kickers Matter but, for me, he’s now the 2nd player on the rookie board.
Tennessee probably wasn’t the dream landing spot for AJ Brown but if the Titans are to salvage Marcus Mariota as an NFL starter he’s exactly the kind of player they need. With Delanie Walker back and Brown’s strength both inside and out Mariota will have significantly better options in the short game and receiving options to take the pressure off of Corey Davis.
The 4th receiver coming out of the first 100 or so picks is JJ Arcega-Whiteside (Note to Jamie & Jack: Ar-Say-ga). The Eagles long term plan at receiver has been a big question. Both Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson will be north of 30 when the 2020 season kicks off. Arcega-Whiteside is a big powerful receiver with deceptive speed. He’ll be a red zone weapon almost immediately and will have time to develop.
There were some less pleasing spots for the receivers as well. Marquise Brown might now end up as little more than a deep threat diversion used to stretch the field and prevent teams stacking the box against the Lamar Jackson led running attack.
I’m also not convinced by Deebo Samuel in San Francisco, a team that seems desperate to recruit a whole stable of slot receivers. Not only do they already have Dante Pettis but they also added the intriguing Jalen Hurd out of Baylor. Samuel is player I really like but the 49ers remain a team who really need to find a number 1 receiver.
As most expected running backs dropped down the board with only one in the top 50 and two in the first two rounds. Both of the top two landed in good spots. Alabama’s Josh Jacobs looks to have a clear path to being the Raiders starter with a head coach who wants a balanced attack.
Miles Sanders couldn’t have landed in a better spot. A five star recruit who found himself stuck behind a generational talent at Penn State finds himself in a spot where he can contribute immediately but not one where he will be relied onto to be the number one guy from day one.
The Bears may well have wanted Darrell Henderson before the Rams tragically jumped ahead of them but they instead landed Iowa State’s David Montgommery. I’ve been skeptical of his lack of burst but the landing spot is perfect and he’s a nice fit with Matt Nagy; that combines to make him RB2 at the very least in rookie rankings for me.
Henderson will rightly plummet down boards. He can still be a productive back-up in LA, especially if the Rams follow through on suggestions that they want to reduce Todd Gurley’s workload but he’s not going to get nearly enough work to be fantasy relevant.
Damian Harris has the exactly the same problem landing in an already crowded Patriots running back room. Devin Singletary is going to have to wait out LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and TJ Yeldon to get snaps but long term if he performs well the opportunity is interesting.
We entered this season with huge excitement around the tight end class with speculation that two or even three could go in the top ten of rookie drafts. The landing spots didn’t exactly help. TJ Hockenson certainly has draft capital in his favour but Detroit doesn’t look like a great place to land. There is, perhaps, some upside in the gap left by Golden Tate as Matt Stafford’s most reliable, short pass receiver.
Noah Fant finds himself in Denver where the only bright spot would seem to be Joe Flacco’s love of throwing to tight ends and for me has been jumped by Irv Smith Jr. who looks the perfect tight end for Gary Kubiak and Kirk Cousins in Minnesota.
I won’t dwell too long on the Quarterbacks. Kyler Murray is clearly the number one option in single QB leagues and a potential 1.01 in Superflex. Dwayne Haskins landed himself a decent opportunity in Washington but, well, it’s the Redskins so it’s most likely going to be a disaster. The less said about Daniel Jones at 6 the better but he’s going to get an opportunity and he’s more mobile than most people think; his legs may well make him more fantasy relevant than anyone expects.