Fri May 8th 2020
Rookie Draft Analysis #1
Analyizing My "Diehards" Rookie Draft
My first rookie draft took place last week in my favorite league - "The DieHards" league. This league is my most active league with tons of trades and savvy owners. It's a single quarterback league with 6 points per touchdown pass and half PPR. Last year I had the best regular-season record but lost in the semifinals, so I was tenth in the draft order minus trades.
I gave up two first-round picks late in the season in a trade for Alvin Kamara so I can't comment on my first and second-round picks, but I will share what I thought of the first two rounds of this draft in addition to thoughts on the players I was eventually able to pick.
As you prepare for your drafts, I hope seeing this draft helps you assess rookie ADP so that you might know which player you can wait on and for which players you might need to reach.
- Biggest Stretch: Ke'Shawn Vaughn is the pick I disagree with most in this round, though I suspect he will be drafted in the first round in most rookie drafts. I would not draft him until the middle of the second round after many of the wide receivers and after the top two rookie quarterbacks. I feel like people are placing too much value on his landing spot in Tampa Bay as if Ronald Jones is not more talented and as if coach Arians drafted his next David Johnson. Jones improved in his second year, especially at the end of the year, and he's younger than Vaughn. I see this as a split backfield, one that Vaughn will never take over.
- My Pick: I traded two first-round picks for Alvin Kamara last year.
- Biggest Stretch: A.J. Dillon was a bit of a reach here, in my opinion. Aaron Jones is in a contract year, so there is speculation that Dillon was drafted to become Jones's replacement in Green Bay. I don't think that will happen. Jones is already proven, and Green Bay would be crazy to let him walk at the end of this season. There is almost always a way to make contracts work and stay under the salary cap. Jamaal Williams took 35% of the snaps last year, mostly on passing downs. Dillon is not a passing-downs back, so Williams could maintain his role and muddy the whole running back situation in Green Bay.
- My Pick: I traded this pick during the 2019 rookie draft. I received T.Y. Hilton and a 2020 first-round pick (which was part of the Kamara trade mentioned above) for my 2020 second-round pick.
- Biggest Stretch: It's hard to call anything a stretch at this point in the draft. Here is where many teams were reaching for guys they valued, and many surprise picks were made. That said, I'd say Albert Okwwuegbunam was the biggest stretch. He was a star at the Combine and is reunited with his college quarterback, Drew Lock, but he was drafted by Denver, who drafted two offensive weapons ahead of him this year (Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler) and will be stuck behind a better tight end, Noah Fant. In dynasty, it already takes too long for tight ends to break out. Let alone when he is buried on the depth chart and target chart.
- My Pick: I finally was able to make a draft pick and drafted Darrynton Evans. My running back depth is weak, though I do have Nick Chubb and Alvin Kamara. I wanted to draft a running back and was debating between Evans and Eno Benjamin. I like both players and have them only four spots apart in my rankings (#28 and #32), but the fact that Evans is excellent in the passing game and appears to be locked into the RB-2 role behind Derrick Henry who not used in the passing game made Evans an easy choice for me.
- Biggest Stretch: Joe Reed, I believe, was drafted to be a special teams player and overall athletic contributor rather than a starting wide receiver. K.J. Hill will be a better wide receiver to complement Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. The Chargers are building up their defense and look to become a more conservative offense with Tyrod Taylor or rookie, Justin Herbert, at quarterback. Reed is not on my 72-man draft board.
- My Pick: I was the team to draft a UDFA in Salvon Ahmed. As I said earlier, I needed running back depth in this draft. If Gandy-Golden or James Proche (who went right before me) were available, I would have drafted them. San Francisco signed Ahmed to a 3-year UDFA contract. The Shanahan's are known for their ability to turn UDFA running backs into stars, and their running back depth is a little weaker after trading Matt Breida in the draft. In the fourth round, I thought it was worth a risk to see what he does in the preseason. If he can make the final roster by the time I have to cut back my line-up, I'd be happy to have him on my roster.
- Biggest Stretch: It's hard to pick a stretch pick here in the 5th round, but I'll pick Jamycal Hasty. The owner who picked him was likely banking on the fact that Kyle Shanahan knows how to hit on UDFA running backs, which is true. However, Salvon Ahmed was given a longer contract in this crowded backfield. I don't blame an owner for waiting to see on Hasty, but he was already out of my rookie rankings before the NFL draft. Salvon Ahmed was still in my rankings and, while not drafted, moved up significantly after signing his UDFA contract.
- My Picks: Because I had five open roster spots in this draft and I only had two draft picks, I wanted to be sure to secure at least one player before having to fight for them among the UDFAs, especially since I would be 10th in the UDFA draft priority. Therefore, I traded my 2021 fifth-round pick to pick Isaiah Hodgins, who was my #37 ranked player overall. Hodgins, drafted in the sixth round by Buffalo, has a lot of competition with Stefan Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and their fourth-round draft pick Gabriel Davis, ahead of him. Still, I believe Hodgins has the size, talent, and productivity to become the WR-2 in Buffalo within 2-3 years. I'm committed to holding him for at least two years to prove it. His 1171 yard, 13 touchdown season his junior year before the draft is too impressive to me. I was trying to trade up to get him in this fourth round. If he falls to the fifth round, I'll pick him in every draft.
- Brian Hill was the first non-rookie draft and just a last-minute insurance pick for me. He could be the back-up behind Todd Gurley like he was last year behind Devonta Freeman. I needed running back depth and went with the semi-proven player with my last pick and targeted UDFA running backs in free agency since I had one roster spot available. Atlanta did not draft a running back, so Hill could be the primary back-up to Gurley if he can hold off Qadree Ollison, who I also considered drafted here.
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