2020 Dynasty Rookie Draft

Tammy Anthony Baker, Photographer [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

As we race headlong into the 2nd half of the NFL season now seems as good a time as to give those of you with lost seasons a sneak peak of what lies ahead next April as Dynasty leagues look for reinforcements in draft season.

College football rankings are starting to sort themselves out as the usual suspects of Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State start to pull away. This year they have been joined by a resurgent LSU and a still undefeated Penn State. Right now the playoff looks likely to be contested by 4 of these 5 teams.

Of course these teams will contribute a significant amount of draftable talent next year and will, in fantasy provide a number of the top skill players. That said there is a wide range of talent set to declare and, right now, this coming year looks like a better skill position draft than we’ve seen in a few years.

I’d offer a very strong caveat that these rookie rankings and draft prospects will fluctuate dramatically between now and the spring. More detailed analysis, landing spots and injury will play havoc with the outlook for this draft class. Just this week standout Oklahoma State wideout Tylan Wallace tore his ACL most likely meaning he’ll return for his senior year rather than entering the draft.

So with all that considered this would be my top 12 at the moment:

  1. Travis Etienne (RB, Clemson) – I’m starting to feel a bit lonely holding to my view that Clemson’s Travis Etienne will be the outstanding back in this loaded running back crop. Etienne has elite speed and burst, qualities that make him a great fit for today’s NFL. There are some questions about his production in the passing game but that feels as much down to the teams limited use of passes to their backs than any really inability to contribute.
  2. D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia) – It’s a real 1a/1b situation with Etienne and Swift. Etienne’s speed gives him the edge for me but I’d struggle to fault anyone who has Swift ahead. He’s shown a rounded skill set, impressive burst and some ability to catch the ball. Georgia is a conveyor belt for NFL running backs and it may well be that Swift’s Bulldog bloodlines elevate him above the rest of the field.
  3. Jerry Jeudy (WR, Alabama) – Alabama’s number 1 receiver looks NFL ready now. His all round skill set and athleticism will likely make him a top 5 pick in the NFL draft. If he lands on a team with a good Quarterback and a decent situation it’s entirely possible that he’ll be the number 1 pick in a lot of leagues.
  4. CeeDee Lamb (WR, Oklahoma) – Last year Oklahoma’s lead receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was an intriguing draft prospect. Lightening quick with a well developed skill set he looked (and looks) good value for the Ravens late 1st round pick. If anything Lamb looks and even better prospect. All of the explosiveness (though not the speed) but with more prototypical size, Lamb will intrigue a lot of NFL teams. I’d say he’s landing spot proof, but while the Titans exist you can never really say that.
  5. Jonathan Taylor (RB, Wisconsin) – Wisconsin’s outstanding running back will divide opinion as we approach April. There is no doubting his production or skill set, but he’s seen heavy usage in his time in Madison. By the end of the season he’ll have had 900 rushing attempts. That’s likely to be double the work that Swift and Etienne have seen. I’d expect that to count against him in both fantasy and in the NFL.
  6. Laviska Shenault (WR, Colorado) – If it wasn’t for a number of niggling injuries I’d have Shenault even higher. A prototypical wide receiver who doubles as a multi purpose offensive weapon looks well equipped for the modern NFL. He really needs to stay healthy for the rest of the season if he is to establish himself in the top tier of receivers but his talent is undeniable.
  7. Chuba Hubbard (RB, Oklahoma State) – The best running back in the big 12 has already rushed for nearly 1400 yards. If he keeps up the same pace for the rest of the year he might break 2000. Hubbard may very well decide to stay in school, especially with such fierce running back competition but if he declares he may catapult up the board. A ferocious runner with great size and speed, another year may see him as the number 1 prospect in 2021.
  8. Henry Ruggs (WR, Alabama) – You can mark it down already that Ruggs will run a blistering 40’ at the combine next February. Couple that with his overall skill set and explosive, big play ability and he’ll be a hot commodity in April. With a good landing spot Ruggs may end up being an even better NFL receiver than Jeudy, his more celebrated partner.
  9. JK Dobbins (RB, Ohio State) – Dobbins had been overshadowed by the star packed running back class but he is as consistent a contributor as any running back in college football. Last weekend he shot passed 1000 yards for the third season in a row. He’s also shown steady, year on year improvement in the passing game. He significantly outperformed Jonathan Taylor as Ohio State pulverised the Badgers recently. He may end up being a mid round pick, but he looks like he’ll contribute a the next level.
  10. Tee Higgins (WR, Clemson) – Higgins will be an interesting case. Along with South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards he will test the theory that the NFL has fallen out of love with bigger receivers who are at their best in contest catch situations. Higgins has shown impressive ball skills and is a reliable target for Trevor Lawrence. It may take him some time to establish himself but he seems likely to contribute if he lands with a team willing to throw it up for him.
  11. Eno Benjamin (RB, Arizona State) – I’d have had Benjamin higher earlier in the season but Arizona State’s offensive inconsistency hasn’t helped him. He looks unlikely to repeat last seasons spectacular 1600 yard season but he remains a consistent runner who even with ASU’s offensive woes always seems able to churn out 100 yards every week.
  12. Jalen Reagor (WR, TCU) – Reagor’s production has fallen off somewhat this year and that may end up making him a bargain come dynasty draft time next year. He’s a spectacular athlete who could be used in multiple ways by a creative offence in the NFL. His punt return ability will mean he sticks in the league for a long time and his elusiveness will make him a intriguing option.

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