With the Shrine game and Senior Bowl both wrapped up, we’re through the first leg of the offseason activities and eagerly awaiting the NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Day workouts. We have all the tape available to us that these prospects can generate, so it seems like a 2020 dynasty rookie mock draft will help gauge where we stand on the incoming NFL talent.
With names like Devonta Smith, Travis Etienne, Tylan Wallace, Sage Surratt, and Najee Harris announcing they would not declare for the 2020 NFL Draft, many in the dynasty community saw such an incredibly talented and deep class as suddenly lacking a little more pizzazz than it once did. I assure you, working my way through this, that there is still plenty of goodness beyond the first round.
1.01 CeeDee Lamb – WR – Oklahoma
It’s going to be incredibly difficult for anyone to knock Lamb off of my pre-draft ranks. Of the four top WRs that are all able to make an impact on day one, Lamb is my personal favorite. Lamb is an aggressive hands-catcher that seems like he’s always looking to make a move when he’s got the ball. One thing I feel like I don’t see mentioned enough is how fluid Lamb moves. With how sudden his movements can be, that fluidity is a game-changer.
1.02 Jerry Jeudy – WR – Alabama
No slouch at number two, Jerry Jeudy will join Julio Jones, Amari Cooper, and Calvin Ridley as standout wide receiver prospects from Alabama. Yes, landing spot can shake things up a bit, but if it helps, Jeudy could be considered the 1B to Lamb’s 1A with similar strengths to his game.
1.03 Laviska Shenault – WR – Colorado
Jeudy and Lamb represent tier 1 of this WR class, and it is so difficult to say Shenault doesn’t make the cut there. An explosive receiver with plenty of eye-popping plays, Shenault has low-end WR1 upside, especially if he ends up a mid to late day one pick, going to a stronger overall team.
1.04 Tee Higgins – WR – Clemson
Higgins finished 2019 as Clemson’s leading receiver and benefitted from defensive coordinators not being able to focus solely on him or teammate Justyn Ross. Higgins should finish 2020 as a WR 2/3 and could become a high-end option by his third year in the NFL.
1.05 J.K. Dobbins – RB – Ohio State
A lot of RBs will shuffle based on landing spots, but in a vacuum, Dobbins is currently my top choice. His impressive speed and acceleration mixed with a receiving talent that hasn’t hit its ceiling have Dobbins with the most flexibility in terms of fit. Best suited to a zone-blocking scheme, Dobbins is the safest of the impressive RBs.
1.06 D’Andre Swift – RB – Georgia
Insanely tough to take down one-on-one, Swift can hit the hole quick but has occasional bouts of happy feet when he can’t find a lane. I wouldn’t call it a decision-making problem, but adjusting to tighter lanes in the NFL could be a real hump to get over. Still, severely downgrading him due to this would be something of an overreaction. He’s still a tier-one RB in this class.
1.07 Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB – LSU
Coming off that impressive national championship victory, Edwards-Helaire made the most of the spotlight and declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. With 57 carries for 456 yards to go along with 21 catches for 229 yards over his final five games, Edwards-Helaire’s stock couldn’t possibly be higher. A situation similar to the one Josh Jacobs found himself in, (drafted by a team with an established receiving back but no leading ball carrier) would best suit his rookie season.
1.08 Jonathan Taylor – RB – Wisconson
Taylor is a favorite of PFN Analyst Jordan Woodson. While I like his talent and think he has a diverse skill set, there are two things I’m hung up on. Ball security is an issue Taylor needs to improve upon as a rookie if he wants to see the field consistently. Additionally, and this one is harder to put on him, Taylor just finished his college career running behind five eventual NFL players. There are situations he hasn’t seen often enough.
1.09 Henry Ruggs III – WR – Alabama
Speed thrills, and Ruggs has it in spades. He’ll walk in as the go-to deep threat wherever he is drafted. But it would be foolish to list him as a nine route specialist. Ruggs will likely see a big swing in landing spot depending on where he is drafted. If he’s in a beneficial situation, he could end up in the top ¼ of rookie drafts.
1.10 Jalen Reagor – WR – TCU
Reagor is my personal favorite to point out how deep this class is. Last year, DK Metcalf was my WR 1, and Reagor would have been in play at 2 or 3. He finds himself at WR 6 here, and a player of his caliber isn’t available in the back half of the first round too often. Everyone who got a steal on AJ Brown last year can re-up on that good feeling with Reagor in 2020.
1.11 Cam Akers – RB – Florida State
The shifty Akers may best be suited as a 1B in the running game for his rookie season. His quickness is impressive from the moment he has the ball in his hands, but too often he bounces outside looking for the home run rather than taking the double. It’s an excellent trait to have in certain situations, so situational awareness in limiting negative plays will be something he needs to develop.
1.12 Justin Jefferson – WR – LSU
Joining Edwards-Hilarie as champions going in the first round of rookie drafts, Jefferson was a chain mover at LSU and should continue that role in the NFL. A good old fashioned security blanket doesn’t scream can’t miss prospect, but when the tape is on Jefferson pops. He won’t threaten deep too often, but pairing up Jefferson with a young QB who can quickly trust him would be the stuff that fantasy success is made of.
While the first round seems set based on tape, there will be many risers and fallers through the pre-draft process. From here on, the rounds will have a brief synopsis, but order here will change so often from now through April that locking oneself into a specific spot for a prospect would be unwise.
2.01 Zack Moss – RB – Utah
2.02 Denzel Mims – WR – Baylor
2.03 Brandon Aiyuk – WR – Arizona State
2.04 KJ Hamler – WR – Penn State
2.05 Tyler Johnson – WR – Minnesota
2.06 Devin Duvernay – WR – Texas
2.07 Gabriel Davis – WR – UCF
2.08 Cole Kmet – TE – Notre Dame
2.09 Albert Okwuegbunam – TE – Missouri
2.10 Joe Burrow – QB – LSU
2.11 Donovan Peoples-Jones – WR – Michigan
2.12 Bryan Edwards – WR – South Carolina
The likely first overall pick of the NFL Draft, Joe Burrow, may end up in the mid to back end of the second round of rookie drafts. A few of the WRs selected here (Aiyuk, Mims, Johnson) have the potential to post a couple WR 1 finishes in fantasy leagues throughout their careers. Two of the more athletic TEs go here, and I believe even the most tantalizing landing spots will see them in the mid-second round range. Duvernay has a skillset and talent that should keep him in the WR 2 range for the bulk of his career. The most volatile pick in terms of the spot here is Peoples-Jones, who may go here if he is a third-round NFL pick. If he falls to the fifth or sixth round, then he could see a 20 spot drop in rookie drafts.
3.01 Collin Johnson – WR – Texas
3.02 Tua Tagovailoa – QB – Alabama
3.03 Chase Claypool – WR – Notre Dame
3.04 Adam Trautman – TE – Dayton
3.05 Eno Benjamin – RB – Arizona State
3.06 Anthony McFarland Jr. – RB – Maryland
3.07 Ke’Shawn Vaughn – RB – Vanderbilt
3.08 Van Jefferson – WR – Florida
3.09 Justin Herbert – QB – Oregon
3.10 Salvon Ahmed – RB – Washington
3.11 Lynn Bowden Jr. – WR – Kentucky
3.12 Lamical Perine – RB – Florida
Medical rechecks will be the story of Tagovailoa, but much in the same way Lamar Jackson is a more valuable fantasy asset than his class contemporaries, Tagovailoa could be vs. Burrow. Johnson and Claypool will be size/speed additions for NFL teams. Trautman is my sneaky choice to pick up steam during the offseason. Jefferson and McFarland Jr. are both solid players that need one strength to pop a little more on tape for me. The spread of analysts’ value of Vaughn is due to what they find valuable. I see a lack of speed that won’t hold up, and very deliberate movements. I wasn’t early on Bowden Jr., but this piece by our own Andrew DiCecco has me wondering if I have him just a bit too low.
4.01 Antonio Gandy-Golden – WR – Liberty
4.02 Jared Pinkney – TE – Vanderbilt
4.03 Isaiah Hodgins – WR – Oregon State
4.04 Joshua Kelley – RB – UCLA
4.05 Michael Pittman Jr. – WR – USC
4.06 AJ Dillon – RB – Boston College
4.07 Jordan Love – QB – Utah State
4.08 Hunter Bryant – TE – Washington
4.09 James Proche – WR – SMU
4.10 Brycen Hopkins – TE – Purdue
4.11 KJ Hill – WR – Ohio State
4.12 Jalen Hurts – QB – Oklahoma
I cannot quit the excellent story that Hurts has through his college career. Love is more than an intriguing character on a Netflix show, he is currently my favorite of the rookie QBs in dynasty, strictly from a value perspective. Pittman Jr. is at the moment a more prominent name than any other specific thing. Pinkney has NFL tape but not numbers, I’m not calling him George Kittle, but they are both unheralded in a similar fashion. Dillon and Kelley may both end up as more valuable NFL players than dynasty ones, but impressive athletic testing could move them into the third round of rookie drafts. It seems like Gandy-Golden did a reverse Ben Bartch and lost a little value as a small school guy at Senior Bowl practices. Hopefully, he rebounds well during the combine, specifically in positional drills.