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Sat Feb 16th 2019

7 Rookies I Am Higher On Than Most Experts

Differences between my rankings and DLF

I spent the last few weeks looking at film and creating my super-early rookie rankings.  This week I finally compared my rankings to others.  I compared them to the Dynasty League Football (DLF) website to see how my rankings compared to their experts.  I like comparing to DLF rankings because they have 5 experts ranking players and list the composite rankings of these experts.

Here I am noting the 7 players I am higher on than the DFL experts as of last Saturday, February 9th.  This is just a list of the players whom I am higher on than they are at DLF.  For my full rookie rankings, go to my Rookies Page.

Of course, rankings will change drastically after the combine and after the draft, but it’s very a valuable exercise to rank players based on what you see on film first.  I’ve done this valuable exercise, and here is where I differ from DLF… for now at least.

Damien Harris (8 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #1 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #9. 

•    I have him as my #1 rookie RB, while they have him as their #4 ranked RB.

•    I get why everyone is suddenly super high on Josh Jacobs because he is a great prospect too, but I don’t see why they have Jacobs ranked higher than Harris when Harris outperformed him every year at Alabama.   People see Jacobs as a better receiver, but Harris caught just as many balls at Alabama.   I think he’ll be a better three-down back than Jacobs, and I see him as the best running back available in the draft.  I happen to prefer weightier, thinker built backs and Harris fits that mode well.  He’s fast, powerful, and elusive.  He’s a great between the tackles runner and that is more needed in the NFL than it is in college.   He played all four years at Alabama, which brings in the most four an five-star recruits in the country to compete for playing time.  I am not worried about the fact that he has had 477 carries and may be worn down.  To me, that’s a sign of strength.  He can be a 200-plus carry RB in the NFL.  Ultimately, this feels a lot like the difference between Chubb and Michel last year when both Georgia RBs came out for the draft.  I was higher on Chubb last year because of his size and running style.  I believe I was right last year, and I believe I’ll be right this year.  I hope he falls to me in some of my drafts.

Miles Sanders (12 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #5 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #17. 

•    I have him as my #2 rookie RB, while they have him as their #11 ranked RB.

•    It’s very hard to get playing time when you’re running behind Sequan Barkley.  That’s the only reason we have not seen more of this powerful RB.  When he finally got his chance to start, he played incredibly well.  He ran the ball 220 times for 1274 yards and he caught 24 passes too.  He can be a 200-carry, three-down back too.  Like Damien Harris, he has the more prototypical NFL RB build, and that means a lot to me.  He runs tough with a low center of gravity and has fantastic contact balance. I think some people still don’t see it because they still have visions of Barkley running at Penn State and no one can compare to him.  I see it though.  I don’t know why others don’t.  I assume I’ll be getting a lot of Mile Sanders in my drafts as a result.

Deebo Samuel (8 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #7 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #15. 

•    I have him as my #5 rookie WR, while they have him as their #8 ranked WR.

•    He’s a do-it-all wide receiver.  He can play inside and outside.  He’s the best blocker in this draft class.  He’s a great runner after the catch, and he’s an excellent return man in special teams.  Plus he shined in the most important games of the year and against the best cornerbacks he played this year.  That’s because he is incredibly competitive.  He has a super high floor and will make an impact in the NFL for sure.  He was already a standout in the Senior Bowl, in practices more than in the game itself.  I’ll gladly draft him in the first round of all of my drafts if others continue to rank him outside their top 12.

Elijah Holyfield (7 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #8 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #15. 

•    I have him as my #3 rookie RB, while they have him as their #7 ranked RB.

•    Holyfield had the same trouble that Miles Sanders had with Barkley.  Holyfield was buried in the depth chart behind Chubb and Michel for several years.   When he got the chance to start this year, he took advantage by carrying the ball 159 times for 1018 yards and 7 touchdowns.  He’s shifty between the tackles and has great jump cuts.  He’s explosive too and can get to top speed quickly.  I’m higher on him than most because I think we’ll shine at the combine and his value will rise.  He has a couple red flags in that he likes to bounce things outside too often and hardly ever catches passes.  If he surprises me by not doing well in the combine, I will likely move him down quite a bit.  He’s a bit of a “wait-and-see” guy for me now.

Riley Ridley (8 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #13 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #21. 

•    I have him as my #7 rookie WR, while they have him as their #9 ranked WR.

•    Ridley will likely be one of the most divisive players in this year’s rookie draft.  He does not have incredible stats other than his 9 touchdowns last year.  My assessment of him is purely on the way he wins.  He’s a technician.  He wins by route running, finding soft spots in zones, beating guys off the ball on his first steps, high-pointing balls, and using great body positioning.  He’s another guy that I believe has a really high floor. I don’t see him becoming a #1 WR for an NFL team, but he could be a solid #2.   He’s a safe second round pick in our rookie drafts.

KeeSean Johnson (8 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #28 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #36. 

•    I have him as my #11 rookie WR, while they have him as their #14 ranked WR.

•    Being from Fresno State, he did not play against the best competition, but he dominated the teams he did play.  He had 1000 yards receiving each of the last two years.  His senior year he had 95 catches for 1340 yards.  That’s domination!  He’s great at tracking deep balls, does a wonderful job working over the middle and running great out routes, and he has the prototypical size and frame to be a WR #1 on an NFL.  He’s a great guy to take a chance on early in round #3 of rookie drafts.

Andy Isabella (9 spot ranking difference)

•    I have him ranked #35 player overall, while DLF has him ranked #44. 

•    I have him as my #15 rookie WR, while they have him as their #20 ranked WR.

•    Isabella’s career stats are ridiculous.  He senior year alone is better than the career stats of many of the guys in this year’s rookie class.  He caught 102 passes for 1698 yards last year, leading the nation in receiving yards.  UMass, of course, does not play against the toughest teams in the nation, but you can’t argue with his production.  He’s going to be a fantastic slot WR and special teams player in the NFL.  He’s a quick-twitch, savvy, make-you-miss, kind of prospect.  He’s going to destroy the combine with his 40-yard dash, 3 cone, and shuttle drills.  I can’t see him being a dominant dynasty prospect, but he could be a steady and reliable WR 3 on a roster for sure.   He’ll help his NFL team more than any dynasty team.  I’ll try to grab him in the 3rd round of rookie drafts.

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