NFL Mock Draft 2.0

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  1. Cleveland Browns: DE, Myles Garrett – Texas A&M:

The Browns should and likely will take Myles Garrett with the first overall pick.  Garrett is clearly the best player in the draft and should have an immediate impact on the Browns’ defense.

2. Carolina Panthers (via trade with SF): HB, Leonard Fournette – LSU:

Leonard Fournette would give the Panthers one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. Fournette, who many have called the next Adrian Peterson, boasts a rare combination of size, strength, and speed that will compliment the Jaguars’ deficient offense. With Cam Newton and Leonard Fournette playing side by side, the Panthers’ offense could be one of the best in the league.

3. Chicago Bears: S, Jamal Adams – LSU:

Jamal Adams is a great selection for the bears here. He can have a quick and helpful impact on the Bears’ struggling defense. He also has the versatility to defend against both the run and the pass. Adams’ should improve the Bears’ defense immensely, as he is a top-five prospect in the draft.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE, Jonathan Allen – Alabama:

Jonathan Allen is one of the top defensive lineman in the draft. After making some great acquisitions one defense in A.J. Bouye, Barry Church, and Calais Campbell, the Jaguars should take Allen to complete their defense.

5. Tennessee Titans: CB, Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State

With Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore is an easy pick for the Titans. Most experts consider Lattimore to be the best CB in the draft (possibly even the best pass defender in the draft). His strong ball skills and freak athleticism should give the Titans’ secondary a strong boost.

6. New York Jets: S, Malik Hooker – Ohio State

The Jets have very little talent on their roster, and Malik Hooker would be a great addition to their secondary. Calvin Pryor, one of the better players on the Jets, is already at SS, so adding Hooker to the lineup would give the Jets a strong combination at safety. Being a free safety, Hooker will be influential whenever he is on the field.

7. San Diego Chargers: DE, Solomon Thomas – Stanford

If Solomon Thomas falls to the Chargers, they should add him to their defensive front. Picking Thomas would give the Chargers one of the most elite pass rushes in the league by pairing him with Joey Bosa.

8. San Francisco 49ers(via trade with CAR): DE, Derek Barnett – Alabama:

Derek Barnett is one of the top pass rushers in the draft. Barnett would be a good choice for the 49ers’ struggling defense, as he could contribute to the team as an explosive pass rusher who can change the momentum in a game.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: DE, Taco Charlton – Michigan

Adding Taco Charlton to the Bengals’ front seven would make their defense a force to be reckoned with. His ability as a pass rusher can immediately help the Bengals’ defense, which was one of the top units in the league just a few years ago.

10. Buffalo Bills: WR, Mike Williams – Clemson

With Sammy Watkins injured most of the time, the Bills need a weapon to complete their offense. That receiver is Mike Williams. The 6’4” wide receiver out of Clemson should round out the Bills’ offense by giving Tyrod Taylor a strong, physical wide receiver.

11. New Orleans Saints: CB, Gareon Conley – Ohio State

The Saints’ secondary is in need of immediate help. Their best cornerback is Delvin Breaux and the rest of their secondary isn’t much better. This is why the Saints need Gareon Conley. Conley is one of the top prospects at cornerback in the draft and would compliment the Saints’ defense.

12. Cleveland Browns: QB, Mitchell Trubisky – North Carolina

After finishing last season with a record of 1-15, the Browns need a franchise player who can turn their team around. That player is Mitchell Trubisky. He is a good scrambler, clocking in at a 4.67 second 40-yard dash. Despite only one year of college experience, he has already shown good intangibles and throwing mechanics. While he does hold some risk, Trubisky has enough upside to be picked by the Browns at 12.

13. Arizona Cardinals: QB, Patrick Mahomes – Texas Tech

This is likely to be Carson Palmer’s last season, so the Cardinals need to find a man to replace him. Mahomes is a great choice here to do so. Mahomes has the highest physical skills in the draft and a year working behind Carson Palmer will help develop his intangibles.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: CB, Marlon Humphrey – Alabama

Humphrey is one of the top cornerbacks in the draft class. Philadelphia needs a strong corner to bolster their secondary, which is the weakest part of their defense. Humphrey elite coverage skills makes him a good fit for the eagles

15. Indianapolis Colts: RB, Christian McCaffrey – Stanford

McCaffrey is perfect for the Colts. His versatility on the offense will make him a good fit for Andrew Luck’s offense. He is the most athletic running back in the draft and will find immediate success in his new role. He will also take pressure off of Andrew Luck, as due to the Colts’ abysmal running back corps Luck receives extra attention from defenses.

16. Baltimore Ravens: WR, Corey Davis – Western Michigan

After Steve Smith retired last season, the Ravens’ receiving core is crippled. The Ravens should select Corey Davis to give their deficient receiving corps a boost.

17. Washington Redskins: LB, Haason Reddick – Temple

The Redskins have a very weak defensive front, but Haason Reddick could change that. His effectiveness against the run and the pass will make him a very useful asset.

18. Tennessee Titans: WR, John Ross – Washington

After running a 4.22 40-yard dash, John Ross’ draft stock has skyrocketed since the end of last season. The Titans should take the top 3 WR prospect here, as they need to fill their ranks with better receivers than Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe..

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB, Dalvin Cook – Florida State

Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Buccaneers have the chance to opt out of his contract, which lasts through 2020, and free 5.7 million dollars in cap space. The replacement for Martin they might need can be found in Dalvin Cook. Dalvin Cook is one of the most talented running backs in the draft and should improve the Bucs’ offense.

20. Denver Broncos: OT, Ryan Ramczyk – Wisonsin

Ramczyk’s impressive 2016 performance and strong combine makes him one of the best offensive tackles. The Broncos need an offensive tackle to protect their young quarterbacks and Ramcyzk is the answer.

21. Detroit Lions: DE, Takkarist McKinley – UCLA

The Detroit Lions have one of the better offenses in the league due to Matthew Stafford’s proficiency. They also have a decent secondary highlighted by Darius Slay and Glover Quinn. McKinley is the addition they need to bolster their defensive line.

22. Miami Dolphins: LB, Reuben Foster – Alabama

Reuben Foster is the most talented linebacker in the draft. However, after he failed his drug test at the combine, his draft stock plummeted. Still, the Dolphins could use a player like Foster at middle linebacker and a player with his talent cannot be passed up.

23. New York Giants: OT, Cam Robinson – Alabama

Cam Robinson is one of the top offensive lineman in the draft. His draft stock has dropped slightly due to injury concerns, but he is still a great addition to the Giants’ line.

24. Oakland Raiders: TE, O.J. Howard – Alabama

The big-play receiver out of Alabama is considered the best tight end in the 2017 draft by most scouts. The Raiders are struggling at tight end and Howard is the perfect weapon to take Derek Carr’s passing attack to the next level. His talent makes him worthy of a top-15 pick, but not many teams are in need of a tight end right now.

25. Houston Texans: QB, Deshaun Watson – Clemson

The Texans have one of the better rosters in the league. Despite losing A.J. Bouye in the offseason, their defense is still full of talent. They also have weapons on offense. However, they need a quarterback who can step up and make smart decisions. That man is Deshaun Watson, as he has the talent and leadership skills to win games with the Texans.

26. Seattle Seahawks: OG, Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky

The Seahawks’ line is one of the league, and Lamp could change that. He is considered the best offensive guards in the draft and can help protect the injury-prone Russel Wilson.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: DT, Malik McDowell – Michigan State

The Chiefs’ defensive front took a hit this offseason when they lost Dontari Poe, and McDowell is the right man to replace him. McDowell is a large run stopper who can contribute to the Chiefs’ elite defense.

28. Dallas Cowboys: CB, Tre’Davious White – LSU

After losing Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys need another cornerback next season. White, a first team all American, should be a worthy addition to Dallas’ secondary.

29. Green Bay Packers: CB, Kevin King – Washington

After an incredible combine, Kevin King’s stock has risen to the late-first round. His combination of size and athletic ability make him a versatile cornerback who can cover a wide range of players. The Packers could use help at cornerback to improve their secondary.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: TE, David Njoku – Miami

Big Ben has told the media that he wants a new tight end. Njoku is an athletic freak and should have an immediate impact on the Steelers’ offense.

31. Atlanta Falcons: LB, Tim Williams – Alabama

In Tim Williams the Falcons would be acquiring a great edge rusher. If they were to pair him with Vic Beasley, they would have a premier pass rush for years.

32. New Orleans Saints: DT, Caleb Brantley – Florida

After picking a cornerback earlier in the draft, the Saints will want to add to their defensive front. The self proclaimed “best defensive tackle in the country” will be effective in stopping the run in New Orleans.

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1-Round NFL Mock Draft 2017: 5 CBs, 6 DEs in First 30 Picks

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  1. Cleveland Browns: DE, Myles Garrett – Texas A&M:

The Browns should and likely will take Myles Garrett with the first overall pick.  Garrett is clearly the best player in the draft and should have an immediate impact on the Browns’ defense.

2. San Francisco 49ers: DE, Solomon Thomas – Stanford:

Most mocks have Thomas going second overall to the 49ers, and if they do not trade down, the 49ers will probably take him. Thomas should be a solid, three down asset to the 49ers’ pass rush.

3. Chicago Bears: S, Jamal Adams – LSU:

Jamal Adams is a great selection for the bears here. He can have a quick and helpful impact on the Bears’ struggling defense. He also has the versatility to defend against both the run and the pass. Adams’ should improve the Bears’ defense immensely, as he is a top-five prospect in the draft.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: HB, Leonard Fournette – LSU:

Leonard Fournette would give the Jaguars one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. After strongly enhancing their defense by acquiring Barry Church, A.J. Bouye, and Calais Campbell, the Jaguars need to strengthen their game on the offensive side of the football. Leonard Fournette, who many have called the next Adrian Peterson, boasts a rare combination of size, strength, and speed that will compliment the Jaguars’ deficient offense.

5. Tennessee Titans: CB, Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State

With Jamal Adams and Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore is an easy pick for the Titans. Most experts consider Lattimore to be the best CB in the draft (possibly even the best pass defender in the draft). His strong ball skills and freak athleticism should give the Titans’ secondary a strong boost.

6. New York Jets: S, Malik Hooker – Ohio State

The Jets have very little talent on their roster, and Malik Hooker would be a great addition to their secondary. Calvin Pryor, one of the better players on the Jets, is already at SS, so adding Hooker to the lineup would give the Jets a strong combination at safety. Being a free safety, Hooker will be influential whenever he is on the field.

7. San Diego Chargers: DE, Jonathan Allen – Alabama

In 2016, Jonathan Allen was given the Bronco Nagurski Award for being the top defender in the league.  There are worries about Jonathan Allen’s size, but he is still one of the best defensive players in this draft class. Picking Allen would give the Chargers one of the most elite pass rushes in the league by pairing Allen with Joey Bosa.

8. Carolina Panthers: DE, Derek Barnett – Tennessee

Barnett would be a great addition to the Panthers’ defensive line. They already have some talent up front on defense in Kawann Short, Thomas Davis, and Luke Kuechly. By picking him, the Panthers would acquire an elite pass rusher in Barnett.

9. Cincinnati Bengals: DE, Taco Charlton – Michigan

Adding Taco Charlton to the Bengals’ front seven would make their defense a force to be reckoned with. His ability as a pass rusher can immediately help the Bengals’ defense, which was one of the top units in the league just a few years ago.

10. Buffalo Bills: WR, Mike Williams – Clemson

With Sammy Watkins injured most of the time, the Bills need a weapon to complete their offense. That receiver is Mike Williams. The 6’4” wide receiver out of Clemson should round out the Bills’ offense by giving Tyrod Taylor a strong, physical wide receiver.

11. New Orleans Saints: CB, Gareon Conley – Ohio State

The Saints’ secondary is in need of immediate help. Their best cornerback is Delvin Breaux and the rest of their secondary isn’t much better. This is why the Saints need Gareon Conley. Conley is one of the top prospects at cornerback in the draft and would compliment the Saints’ defense.

12. Cleveland Browns: QB, Mitchell Trubisky – North Carolina

After finishing last season with a record of 1-15, the Browns need a franchise player who can turn their team around. That player is Mitchell Trubisky. He is a good scrambler, clocking in at a 4.67 second 40-yard dash. Despite only one year of college experience, he has already shown good intangibles and throwing mechanics. While he does hold some risk, Trubisky has enough upside to be picked by the Browns at 12.

13. Arizona Cardinals: QB, Patrick Mahomes – Texas Tech

This is likely to be Carson Palmer’s last season, so the Cardinals need to find a man to replace him. Mahomes is a great choice here to do so. Mahomes has the highest physical skills in the draft and a year working behind Carson Palmer will help develop his intangibles.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: CB, Marlon Humphrey – Alabama

Humphrey is one of the top cornerbacks in the draft class. Philadelphia needs a strong corner to bolster their secondary, which is the weakest part of their defense. Humphrey elite coverage skills makes him a good fit for the eagles

15. Indianapolis Colts: OT, Ryan Ramczyk – Wisonsin

Ramczyk’s impressive 2016 performance and strong combine makes him one of the best offensive tackles. The Colts need an offensive tackle to protect the injury-prone Andrew Luck, and Ramcyzk is the answer to fixing their 25th-ranked offensive line (Pro Football Focus).

16. Baltimore Ravens: WR, Corey Davis – Western Michigan

After Steve Smith retired last season, the Ravens’ receiving core is crippled. The Ravens should select Corey Davis to give their deficient receiving corps a boost.

17. Washington Redskins: LB, Haason Reddick – Temple

The Redskins have a very weak defensive front, but Haason Reddick could change that. His effectiveness against the run and the pass will make him a very useful asset.

18. Tennessee Titans: WR, John Ross – Washington

After running a 4.22 40-yard dash, John Ross’ draft stock has skyrocketed since the end of last season. The Titans should take the top 3 WR prospect here, as they need to fill their ranks with better receivers than Rishard Matthews and Tajae Sharpe..

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB, Christian McCaffrey – Stanford

Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Buccaneers have the chance to opt out of his contract, which lasts through 2020, and free 5.7 million dollars in cap space. This makes McCafrey a perfect addition to the Bucs. His versatility on the offense will make him a good fit for Jameis Winston’s offense.

20. Denver Broncos: OT, Garett Bolles – Utah

The Broncos’ offense is in need of help at most positions, but the place to start is offensive tackle. Bolles is one of the best offensive tackles in the draft and will help protect the Broncos’ young quarterbacks.

21. Detroit Lions: DE, Takkarist McKinley – UCLA

The Detroit Lions have one of the better offenses in the league due to Matthew Stafford’s proficiency. They also have a decent secondary highlighted by Darius Slay and Glover Quinn. McKinley is the addition they need to bolster their defensive line.

22. Miami Dolphins: CB, Teez Tabor – Florida

Teez Tabor is a top-five cornerback prospect in this draft class and the Dolphins need a lockdown corner. Tabor could be their guy.

23. New York Giants: OT, Cam Robinson – Alabama

Cam Robinson is one of the top offensive lineman in the draft. His draft stock has dropped slightly due to injury concerns, but he is still a great addition to the Giants’ line.

24. Oakland Raiders: TE, O.J. Howard – Alabama

The big-play receiver out of Alabama is considered the best tight end in the 2017 draft by most scouts. The Raiders; are struggling at tight end and Howard is the perfect weapon to take Derek Carr’s passing attack to the next level.

25. Houston Texans: QB, Deshaun Watson – Clemson

The Texans have one of the better rosters in the league. Despite losing A.J. Bouye in the offseason, their defense is still full of talent. They also have weapons on offense. However, they need a quarterback who can step up and make smart decisions. That man is Deshaun Watson, as he has the skills and leadership to win games with the Texans.

26. Seattle Seahawks: OG, Forrest Lamp – Western Kentucky

The Seahawks’ line is one of the league, and Lamp could change that. He is considered the best offensive guard in the league and can help protect the injury-prone Russel Wilson.

27. Kansas City Chiefs: DT, Malik McDowell – Michigan State

The Chiefs’ defensive front took a hit this offseason when they lost Dontari Poe, and McDowell is the right man to replace him. McDowell is a large run stopper who can contribute to the Chiefs’ elite defense.

28. Dallas Cowboys: CB, Tre’Davious White – LSU

After losing Morris Claiborne, the Cowboys need another cornerback next season. White, a first team all American, should be a worthy addition to Dallas’ secondary.

29. Green Bay Packers: RB, Dalvin Cook – Florida State

While their rushing attack was not very strong last year, after losing Eddie Lacy this offseason, the Packers need help at running back. The help they need can be found in Dalvin Cook. Cook does have slight injury concerns, but his talent makes him a great selection here.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers: TE, David Njoku – Miami

Big Ben has told the media that he wants a new tight end. Njoku is an athletic freak and should have an immediate impact on the Steelers’ offense.

31. Atlanta Falcons: LB, Tim Williams – Alabama

In Tim Williams the Falcons would be acquiring a great edge rusher. If they were to pair him with Vic Beasley, they would have a premier pass rush for years.

32. New Orleans Saints: DT, Caleb Brantley – Florida

After picking a cornerback earlier in the draft, the Saints will want to add to their defensive front. The self proclaimed “best defensive tackle in the country” will be effective in stopping the run in New Orleans.

Why Marshawn Lynch is a Top 25 Fantasy Running Back

In fantasy football, the hardest position to predict leaders at is running back. Due to poor performances, injuries, backfield turmoil, and poor offensive lines, some of the most highly drafted running backs can disappoint fantasy owners.

Marshawn Lynch, after coming out of retirement, agreed to a deal with the Oakland Raiders last week. He is not officially a Raider because Seattle still controls Lynch’s rights, but assuming he is a Raider next season. Lynch could find himself in a position to be very successful.

One of the biggest concerns with running backs, especially those as old as Lynch, is injury. However, Lynch does not carry large injury concerns. He missed nearly half of the 2015 season with a sports hernia, but besides that, Lynch has only missed one game since 2011.

Another large concern with running backs who arrive is workload. The Raiders’ backfield was a four-headed monster last season consisting of Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, and Jamize Olawale. Latavius Murray, who handled the most carries of the four, left the team in the offseason and joined the Minnesota Vikings. Murray, who served primarily as an early down and goal line back, recorded 195 carries for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 195 carries and 12 touchdowns show the Raiders’ commitment to their early down and red zone running backs. Lynch will likely assume Murray’s role in the backfield, which means he should see red zone opportunities and double-digit carries every game.

Finally, both Lynch and the Raiders have the talent to be successful next year. The Oakland Raiders’ offensive line, highlighted by LT Donald Penn and C Rodney Hudson, was ranked 4th in the NFL last season. Lynch also has the talent to succeed. In 2015, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 5th best running back in the NFL, even though he ran behind what was ranked the 30th best offensive line in the league.

Due to his offensive line, durability, and athletic ability, if he plays for the Raiders next season, Marshawn Lynch is in position to have a great year. He can be drafted with confidence as early as the eigth round.

Supervillain NFL Mock Draft 2017

With the 2017 NFL Draft just a few days away, this mock draft projects the first ten picks if the draft class were made up of supervillains.

  1. Lex Luthor (Cleveland Browns)

The Browns need a young fearless leader at quarterback next season, and that man is Lex Luthor. His genius level intellect, his robotic super suit, and most importantly, his intense anger towards Superman will turn him into one of the best quarterbacks of his generation.

  1. The Riddler (San Francisco 49ers)

With the second overall pick, the 49ers select the Riddler. While the riddler has an incredible level of intelligence, his physical weakness does not make him an ideal nfl player. Still, the king of questions is perfect for the San Francisco 49ers due to their questionable roster choices. Riddle me this: How many wins did the 49ers get last year? Answer: 2

  1. Voldemort (Chicago Bears)

With the third overall pick, the Chicago Bears select Voldemort. The Harry Potter villain is a great fit for the Bears, especially because his face looks more Bear than human. His magical ability and passion for death make him a good pick for the bears. In a city where the weather is always cold and gloomy, Voldemort should feel right at home. The bears also need a quarterback, and Voldemort has proven his skills by leading the infamous Death-eaters and by taming a poisonous snake.

  1. Mr. Burns (Jacksonville Jaguars)

With the fourth overall pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars select Montee Burns. The Jaguars will find a strong replacement for Blake Bortles, the king of garbage time, in Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. Burns’ intellect, draconian tactics, and arsenal of hounds makes him a strong addition at quarterback.

  1. Swiper (Tennessee Titans)

With the fifth overall pick, the Titans select Swiper from Dora The Explorer. Swiper is the king of stealing, and that makes him a great choice to play cornerback opposite Logan Ryan. With Swiper on the field, as long as he isn’t covering Dora the Explorer, his wide receiver will not touch the ball.

  1. The Joker (New York Jets)

With the sixth pick, the New York Jets select the Joker. The clown prince of crime will find a home in the Jets, as his green hair and white-painted face should match the Jets’ hideous uniforms. His affinity for jokes will also fit in with the Jets, as through the butt fumble and last season, the Jets are a joke of a team.

  1. Darth Vader (Los Angeles Chargers)

With the seventh pick, the Los Angeles Chargers select Darth Vader. Notorious for choking in big games, Darth Vader is perfect for the chargers. He can make plays in the secondary by using the force, but he can also his his combat skills and force choke to make plays at the line of scrimmage.

  1. King Kong (Carolina Panthers)

With the eighth pick, the Carolina Panthers select King Kong. The brutish ape will be a great addition for the panthers defense. He will fit right in at nose tackle, as his experience swatting planes and attacking people will make him great at batting down passes and stopping the run.

  1. Ultron (Cincinnati Bengals)

With the ninth pick, the Bengals select Ultron. The Bengals need a leader at Middle Linebacker, and Ultron is well equipped for the role. His superior intelligence makes him great at making quick decisions. His ability to fly makes him elite in coverage and his strong metal body makes it difficult to get past him.

  1. Godzilla (Buffalo Bills)

With the tenth pick, the Bills select Godzilla. The Bills need a star wide receiver to complete their offense, and that receiver is godzilla. His short arms limit his pass catching ability. However, his monstrous size makes him an easy target for Tyrod Taylor to hit. His fire breath also improves his draft stock, as he can literally burn defenders.

Why Mike Wallace is Currently the Most Undervalued Wide Receiver in the Draft

On most offseason rankings, Mike Wallace is ranked outside of the top 40. In fact, in many he is ranked outside of the top 50. However, Wallace should be able to return solid WR2/WR3 value for you this season. Last season, despite playing opposite Steve Smith Sr., Wallace finished 21st in the NFL in receiving yards, finishing with 1,017 yards on the season. He also finished 33rd in receptions at 72.

These stats alone suggest that Wallace is being undervalued, but the retirement of Steve Smith should also help Mike Wallace. Last year, Wallace finished second on the team in receptions, falling behind only tight end Dennis Pitta (86 receptions). Wallace led the rest of the rest of his teammates in receiving yards, finishing with over 200 more yards than anyone else on the team. With the No. 3 WR on the Ravens leaving as well (Kamar Aiken, 33 receptions), Wallace could be in for a monster year.

One of the biggest concerns regarding Mike Wallace’s volume could be the Ravens drafting a wide receiver in the first or second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. While that could affect his workload, Wallace should still see plenty of targets in an offense that is losing two of its top three wide receivers. Wallace’s year of experience with Joe Flacco should also help him get a higher target share than any receiver on the team (excluding Dennis Pitta).

Due to his opportunity for many targets and his skills at Wide Receiver, feel confident drafting Mike Wallace as a steal any time after the 8th round.

Where to Draft Rookie Running Backs in Your Fantasy Draft

After a Fantasy MVP performance from Ezekiel Elliott and 1300 rushing yards from Jordan Howard, expectations for a skilled 2017 running back draft class will be very high. However, when drafting, it is important to understand the risk that comes with drafting a rookie and the circumstances that can affect their fantasy performance.

Workload:

The rookies with the most carries in the 2016-2017 season were Ezekiel Elliott, Jordan Howard, Devontae Booker, Rob Kelley, and Paul Perkins. They recorded 322, 252, 174, 168, and 112 carries, respectively. Ezekiel Elliott led the league in carries, but Elliott was a special case. Howard finished 11th in the league, Booker finished 24th, Kelley finished 25th, and Perkins finished 36th. Howard, Kelley, and Perkins were all picked below the 135th pick of the 2016 draft. Rob Kelley was not drafted. The rookie running backs that are most successful are not necessarily the ones who get picked early, but the ones who get high workloads.

Team Situation:

Rookie running backs who are drafted early are not necessarily successful or given carries. After Ezekiel Elliott, the next three running backs taken were Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, and C.J. Prosise. Elliott displayed great running ability, but he also was drafted into a great system, where he was able to handle high workloads behind Pro Football Focus’ number one ranked offensive line in the Dallas Cowboys. Derrick Henry, picked in the second round, performed well when he saw action, taking 110 carries for 490 rushing yards. He also caught 13 passes for 137 receiving yards. However, given he was not drafted into a starting role, Henry’s impressive 4.45 yards per carry only translated into 67.7 points. CJ Prosise was also impressive, recording 172 yards on just 30 carries. Despite an average of 5.7 yards per carry, Prosise was not able to produce for fantasy owners because he was drafted into the three-headed mess of a backfield of Seattle. Kenyan Drake was drafted into a four running back system, and only 33 carries due to the quick rise of Dolphins’ running back Jay Ajayi. For a rookie running back to be successful, they need to be drafted into a good situation where they are set up to carry high workloads and run behind a successful offensive line.

Advice:

While drafting a rookie running back early brings high risk, as seen with Ezekiel Elliott, it can yield high rewards as well. Especially with a draft class with potential NFL first round picks such as Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, it is very easy to be tempted into spending your second or third round on a rookie. However, before spending a second or third round pick on one of these players, fantasy owners should probably consider taking a more reliable player instead. Running backs that come without much risk are difficult to find, so an early pick is better spent on a dependable player than an unpredictable rookie. This being said, rookie running backs are still an interesting use of a late round pick. This draft has many running backs with tremendous upside that are worth a 12-15th round pick such as Joe Mixon, D’Onta Foreman, Donnel Pumphrey, and Marlon Mack.