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Sun Mar 15th 2020

10 Rookies I Rank Differently Than Other Analysts

Comparing My Rookie Rankings With DLF Analysts

Over the last two weeks, I made minor adjustments to my rookie rankings based on players' performances at the NFL Combine. After doing so, I decided to compare my rankings with the analysts at Dynasty League Football (DLF).  These guys are the best of the best, in my opinion, so I like to see where we differ in our rankings.  I compared our rankings and noticed at least ten players whom I had ranked at least ten spots higher or lower than the pros at DLF. 

I'm a realist.  I know that more dynasty owners look to the DLF rookie board when they are on the clock in their rookie drafts than those that look to my rankings.  Knowing that, I can safely assume based on the differences in our rankings, that I have a high chance of owning the players I rank higher than DLF and almost no chance of owning players I rank lower than DLF.   So I present to you a list of five players I am likely to draft because I rank the players significantly higher than DLF and five players I am unlikely to draft because I have them ranked significantly lower than DLF.

One enormous caveat should be stated first.  Draft capital and landing spot change everything.  I am writing this more than two months before the draft and readily acknowledge that everything could change depending on where players are drafted and the opportunities on the teams that draft him.  Still, it's valuable and fun to consider the differences in our rankings before the NFL draft.

Five Players That I Rank Significantly Higher Than DLF

AJ Dillon

I have Dillon ranked #15, while DLF has him ranked #35.

  • Dillon is going to be the most polarizing prospect in this year's draft, with perhaps the exception of Henry Ruggs.  I've taken a stand in favor of Dillon while DLF and others stand against him.  The arguments made by those against Dillon are his lack of production in the passing game, and his frame is too big for the modern NFL.  While I do question his ability in the passing game, I believe that his frame does not prevent him from being useful in today's NFL.  Teams use a two-back system more than ever these days, and if Dillon was primarily and 1st and 2nd down back, he'd have a great chance to produce in the NFL.  He is a weapon from short and long-distance.  He's compared most to Derek Henry given his size and his similar Combine performance.  The most significant difference I see between them works in Dillon's favor.  Henry is fast, but it takes him time to get up to speed, but Dillon is much quicker to hit top speed. 
  • Draft capital a team will mean a lot, but if Dillion were drafted by Pittsburg, Indianapoils, Seattle, or Atlanta, he'd stay a top 15 player for me.

Isaiah Hodgins

I have Hodgins ranked #21, while DLF has him ranked #43.

  • Here's another two-round difference of opinion.  I see Hodgins as a second-round pick while DLF has him graded in the fourth round.  I'm not sure what they do not like about Hodgins, who looks to me like a prototypical outside wide receiver in the NFL.  His Combine was not stellar, but it rarely is for bigger outside receivers who don't necessarily win with speed or burst but with their body-frame and positioning.  Hodgins won in college with all types of routes, especially in the red zone, where he scored on slants, outs, and fades.  His breakout year was not until last year in his junior year, but it was a highly productive year with 1171 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He wins in a lot of the same ways that Tyler Johnson does, whom I have ranked #16 in this year's rookie class.  I have Johnson ranked higher because he produced similarly in his junior and senior season.  If Hodgins stayed in school for his senior year as Johnson did, I am sure he would do the same.  They are not too far apart in my eyes, but clearly, they are in the eyes of others.
  • Draft capital a team means a lot, but if Hodgins were drafted by Arizona, Buffalo, New Orleans, or the NY Jets, he'd stay a top 21 player for me.

James Proche

I have Porche ranked #24, while DLF has him ranked #59.

  • We couldn't be more different than this, and I am not backing down from my opinion that Proche should be drafted in the second round of rookie drafts.  Proche will likely never become the number one receiver on an NFL team, but he is already ready to become an ideal number two receiver and a top 25-35 dynasty wide receiver.  He wins by running great routes and by finding holes in zones, which is precisely the skill and intelligence needed to be a productive number two receiver in the NFL.  This skill set allowed him to score 12 and 15 touchdowns in his final two seasons at SMU.  It's just what he'll be able to do in the NFL.  Analysts are sleeping on Proche.
  • Draft capital a team means a lot, but if Proche were drafted by Dallas, Green Bay, San Francisco, or the LA Rams, he'd stay a top 24 player for me.

Cole Kmet

I have Kmet ranked #33, while DLF has him ranked #44.

  • Kmet is my #1 ranked rookie tight end, while DLF has him ranked as their #5 tight end in this class.  It's not the best tight end class, which leads to a lot of varying opinions in how the tight ends should be ranked, let alone where they should be ranked in the overall rookie class.  I am convinced that Kmet will be the first tight end drafted based on what I have heard from NFL draft analysts.   He's the best all-around tight end in this class, while others will be drafted to play more specific roles as "move" tight end to be used as a weapon in the passing game.  I prefer to draft "in-line" tight ends, whom I believe will ultimately play more downs in the NFL.  Kmet is the best "in-line" tight end in this class.
  • Draft capital a team means a lot, but if Kmet were drafted by New England, Atlanta, Pittsburg, or Chicago, he'd stay a top 33 player for me.

Patrick Taylor

I have Taylor ranked #34, while DLF has him ranked #60.

  • Taylor was injured in his senior season and has fallen off the radar a bit as a result, but I like his sophomore and junior season film more than most and believe he can be a productive RB-2 on an NFL team.  He caught 19 and 17 passes his 2nd and 3rd year at Memphis and scored 14 and 18 total touchdowns those seasons.  He has lead-back size at 6'1" and 217 pounds, which means he could be a great third-down back that could become more than that if a starter went down to injury ahead of him.
  • Draft capital a team means a lot, but if Taylor were drafted to pair with a lead-back on a team like Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cincinnati, or the NY Jets, he'd stay a top 34 player for me.

Five Players That I Rank Significantly Lower Than DLF

KJ Hamler

I have Hamler ranked #28, while DLF has him ranked #18.

  • Hamler is too small and not diverse enough in his skills for me to draft him in the second round.  He's an excellent deep-threat, averaging 16-18 yards per catch at Penn State.  Deep-threats are great additions for NFL teams, but few exceptions do not make for consistent dynasty assets.  These are the same reasons why I have Henry Ruggs ranked lower than most analysts.  His injury before the Combine causes me even more concern about his ability to stay healthy at his size in the NFL.

Antonio Gandy-Golden

I have Gandy-Golden ranked #31, while DLF has him ranked #20.

  • I'd love to draft Gandy-Golden, but it appears I won't be able to draft him.  The hype has gone too far.  It's was very difficult for me to watch him play at Liberty University against no NFL talent and judge how he will measure up against NFL competition.  It looked like watching high-school film of a five-star high school athlete playing against teams with no Division One recruits on their team.  I would be willing to take a chance on Gandy-Golden in the middle of the third round because he does have some rare athletic ability, but DLF has assigned him mid-second-round value, and that's too steep for me.

Lynn Bowden

I have Bowden ranked #44, while DLF has him ranked #33.

  • I'm tempted to call this the Ryan McDowell curve breaker.  I love Ryan and seriously weigh his intelligent opinions on players, but he is a Kentucky homer.  He has Bowden ranked #23, while two of the other 7 DLF analysts have him outside of their top 70 rookies.  Their composite rankings make him their #33 ranked rookie, but that's way too high for me.  Bowden is an excellent football player and will contribute to an NFL team, but he will not be a valuable dynasty asset, in my opinion.  I see him more like a Jaylen Samuels, who has helped a team like Pittsburg by being a versatile player but has not impacted dynasty teams.

Lamical Perine

I have Perine ranked #50, while DLF has him ranked #38.

  • I value college productivity too much to have Perine ranked as high as #38.  He played all four years at Florida but never gained more than 1000 all-purpose yards in a season.  Also, after getting past the rookie running backs that I think can be every-down backs, I tend to value running backs that specialize in the passing game or are fit for a particular zone-running scheme.  That's why I have guys like Eno Benjamin, Patrick Taylor, Darrynton Evans, and Anthony McFarland ahead of Perine, who did have 40 catches in his senior year but look as specialized as the guys I rank above him. 

Collin Johnson

I have Johnson ranked #56, while DLF has him ranked #34.

  • It pangs me to say that I have my fellow Longhorn ranked far lower than the pros at DLF.  Johnson has all of the desired size and traits of a starting outside NFL wide receiver, but he never became the dominant wide receiver at UT and was overshadowed by Devin Duvernay his senior year.  College production is too important in my evaluation, and not participating in the Combine drills that are most important to wide receivers is a red flag to me.  As a Longhorn fan, I wish him well, but I have him graded in the fifth round, not the third, like the analysts at DLF.

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