Sat May 16th 2020
Rookie Draft Analysis #2
Analyizing My "Good Times" Rookie Draft
My second rookie draft took place last week in my "Good Times" league. This league is my first dynasty league, and I am sad to say it has become my least active. Only 50% of the owners pay attention during the offseason. While we've removed a few owners over the years and replaced them with more active owners, the friendships have kept this league together more than the competition level has.
It's an old-school 10-team non-PPR league with 30-man rosters and 10-player line-ups, including kickers and defense. Unfortunately, in this league, I finished in the last place for the first time in my dynasty career. I fairly tanked last year by selling players and draft picks (including Michael Thomas, who carried that team to a championship) to acquire more picks in this rookie draft and younger players like A.J. Brown. Juju Smith-Schuster's injury-laden season contributed to my poor season last year. If he's back to himself this year, I think I am primed for a significant rebound after this rookie draft, though it does hurt to be without Michael Thomas.
Running back was my weakness in this league before this draft, but it is no longer!
- Biggest Reach: I already wrote about Ke'Shawn Vaughn as a first-round reach last week and suspect I could with every upcoming draft, so I will choose Joe Burrow as my first-round reach, instead. I like Burrow and have him as my #1 ranked quarterback in this class, but drafting him in the first round in a one-quarterback league is a bit of a reach for me. For context, the owner only has Mitch Trubisky and Ryan Tannehill as his quarterbacks, so I can see why he would make this pick. I would have rather made a low-level trade with another team during the offseason to get a quarterback, but this is one of those inactive teams in this league. They paid the price for it by having to reach for a quarterback in the first round.
- My Picks: On my running back needy team, I could not have been more thrilled t draft Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins, the top two rookies on my draft board. I am one of the only analysts to have Edwards-Helaire as my 5th ranked rookie running back in this class, and 8th overall. I believe in college productivity, and few players have proven it year-in and year-out in their college careers like J.T. and J.K. Both players will take time to emerge as the lead back on their teams, but I am not concerned about that. It is a dynasty league after all. Taylor lands behind one of the best offensive lines in the league - one that made Marlon Mack look great last year. Plus, the Colts traded up to get him. Baltimore's offense under Lamar Jackson has made every running back average more than 5 yards per carry because the defenses have to account for Jackson. Dobbins is more ready than any running back in this class to play in their RPO-shotgun offense since he did the same throughout his college career. Last year, I finished last in this league because of my poor running back play, but that will be the case for years to come.
- Biggest Reach: Antonio Gibson was drafted by one of the astute owners in this league, and he drafted Gibson in the draft I reported on last week. Clearly, he believes in him, which makes me second guess myself a bit here, but I still consider this a significant reach. While there are plenty of big plays that stand out in him on film, his career productivity and positional uncertainty made him fall considerably in my rankings. I have ranked as rookie #33, while here he was drafted at #19. This owner must see something like Ron Rivera saw in him, which is why he was drafted as the second pick of the third round in the NFL draft, and Washington coaches have been comparing him to Christian McCaffrey. I find it funny comparing a guy that had a 2000 yard season in college to a guy that never had more than 1000 yards in college. I don't buy it.
- My Pick: Not much to say here since I traded my second-round pick as a part of the trade for Michael Thomas last year.
- Biggest Reach: Cole Kmet was my # 2 ranked tight end, and my #34 ranked rookie overall, but he was drafted here at #26 to a team that needed a tight end. I would never draft tight end based on need, especially in this very weak tight end class. There are plenty of proven middle-of-the-pack tight ends on teams that he could have traded for instead. I made many tight end offers to this owner this offseason and during the draft, but he still shoe to try to rebuild via the draft, which does not usually work at the slow-to-develop tight end position.
- My Pick: Joshua Kelly was my #23 ranked rookie, and I drafted him here at #23. He was a target for me in this draft because I own Justin Jackson, and I would like to have whichever back becomes the #2 in LA behind Austin Ekeler. That was not the only reason, however. I believe he is bigger and better than Justin Jackson and will win the #2 role in LA and even the short-yardage and goalline role. He does not excel in anything, but he is good at everything. He's bigger and better balanced than any of the other Charger running backs. He has been moving up my draft board all offseasons as he checked boxes at every measuring point.
- Biggest Stretch: Raymond Calais was drafted by an owner whose talent evaluation I trust. Perhaps he is down on Ke'Shawn Vaughn like I am and suspects that Calais is the running back that will become the James White for Tom Brady. I've heard that comparison since the draft, but the fact that Calais was not ranked among my top 72 rookies means this was a huge stretch, or I seriously missed something.
- My Picks: In this league, like many of my leagues, unfortunately, I have Jameis Winston, which means I'm holding a quarterback for a year. I do have Russell Wilson as a starter but only had Teddy Bridgewater behind him for this year. Justin Herbert seemed like a smart investment at pick #31 since he was my #21 ranked rookie. I'll have time to wait for him to develop, and I am happy to draft him in the fourth round while I wait to see what he can prove. He has great weapons to throw to and an incredible defense to keep him in games. I like what he can do with his legs too, adding some cheap fantasy points on the ground. He could become my quarterback of the future if Winston does not become a starter in New Orleans after this year. James Proche was one of my favorite wide receivers in the pre-draft process, but his landing spot in Baltimore was less than ideal from a competition standpoint. It's a crowded wide receiver room in Baltimore, but everyone is young and relatively unproven. Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin are in their second years, while Proche and a third-round draft pick, Devin Duvernay, come in this year to compete with them. As a sixth-round draft pick, he'll have his work cut out for him, but Baltimore drafts well and gives the best players a chance. They value college production as I do. They have it in Duvernay and Proche, who each had more than 100 catches last year on their college teams. Proche has as good of a chance as anyone at becoming a starter in Baltimore.
- Biggest Stretch: Honestly, it's hard to find a stretch in the 5th round. I'd name one if I saw one, but I rather like all of the stabs people took on players in this fifth round.
- My Picks: Isaiah Hodgins is one of my late-round targets this year. I already wrote about why I drafted him in my first rookie draft here, but to prove how much I like him, I drafted him in this draft at #41, while in the previous draft, I traded up to get him at pick #56. Michael Warren was an incredibly productive running back in Cincinnati, rushing for more than a combined 2500 yards and 36 touchdowns his sophomore and junior season. I was very surprised that he was not drafted by an NFL team, but was very happy to see the Philadelphia Eagles, whose scout team I trust, pick him up as a UDFA. The Eagles also signed Corey Clement a few weeks ago, but they already let him walk the year before that, and Boston Scott was another guy they found off the waiver wire last year and made productive near the end of the season. Warren has a good a chance as anyone to become the #2 or #3 running back on a team that loves to rotate their backs. I have Miles Sanders on my roster too, so this was an easy final pick for me in this rookie draft.
This draft will be one of my most exciting drafts this offseason, primarily because I have pick #1 and #2. It's fun to be in rebuild mode, especially with a team that had some bad breaks last year that led me to the #1 pick. I like my roster going forward for next year and especially for the new 3-5 years.
Here is how my roster looks after this rookie draft.
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