Mon Apr 12th 2021
Five Late-Round Rookies I Don't Like
Rookies I Like Less Than Most Analysts
Earlier this off-season, I wrote about rookies I like less than most analysts. At that time, I focused on players likely to be drafted in the first and second rounds of rookie drafts. Today I will write about players I like less than most analysts that will likely be drafted in the third and fourth round of rookie drafts.
I don't look at other analyst's rookie rankings during the off-season except for when I check in to see where we have differences for articles such as this. When I do, I always look first to the pros at Dynasty League Football (DLF) because they are the best group of analysts and have composite rankings. I like to see where my independent rankings compare with their group rankings to understand which players I like less than their expert analysts.
After weeks of listening to and reading from many full-time draft analysts and adding pro-day results into my evaluations, I have modified my rankings a fair amount. So have the pros at DLF. After these rankings adjustments, here is a list of the late-round players I like less than the analysts at DLF.
- As of April 1st, Brevin Jordon was my 34th ranked rookie, while he was DLF's 26th ranked rookie. Jordan was the top-ranked tight end recruit in his class when he signed with Miami, but he was not the game-changing tight end that the team expected. He played well, averaging 50 yards receiving and .5 touchdowns per game in his career, but he struggled with injuries throughout his college career. I really like Jordan, but I don't believe he's a better rookie draft pick than many of the guys I have ranked ahead of him compared to the pros at DLF. Several of the players I wrote about last week as players I like more than the analysts at DLF (Amari Rodgers, Javian Hawkins, and Josh Imatorbhebhe) I have ranked ahead of Jordan. I also have Tamorrion Terry, Jermar Jefferson, Mack Jones, Tutu Atwell, and Kylin Hill ranked ahead of Jordan. There is far more upside for those eight players than there is for Jordan. I have a much more significant gap between Pat Freiermuth, my second-ranked tight end, and Jordon, my third-ranked tight end. Freiermuth, I have ranked 24th overall and would draft at the end of the second round. I have Jordan ranked ten spots later at 34th, while DLF has them only five spots away from each other. We have the order the same, but I see a bigger tier between the two of them, which is why other players fill in the gaps between them. He's my third-ranked tight end, but I would not draft him until the end of the third round. In comparison, the DLF team would draft him at the start of the third round. It's not a huge difference, but I much prefer the eight players I have ranked ahead of Jordon that the DLF analysts have ranked behind him.
- As of April 1st, Sage Surratt was my 42nd ranked rookie, while he was DLF's 33rd ranked rookie. It's fun to watch Surratt's 2019 highlight film when he had 1001 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns in his sophomore season. It was a great breakout season that we like to see from young receivers, but it felt a little artificial. Their schedule was pretty weak that season and Wake Forest scored a lot of points. Surratt scored many touchdowns and had five games with more than 100 yards receiving and three multi-touchdown games, which would typically make me trust him more since I am a big believer in breakout age and college production. He opted out of the 2020 season, however, giving him just one year of production. In 2019, his routes seemed limited to slants, fades, and back shoulder throws in the end zone. He produced in those routes, but he didn't show me enough to believe he could do so in the NFL compared to the relatively weak ACC. He was a three-star recruit and ran a 4.66 and 4.69 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. I don't believe he will get drafted in the first two days of the NFL draft, making him a player who will have to compete for a role on an NFL team. I'd be willing to draft him in the middle of the fourth round in rookie drafts but not the back of the third round.
- As of April 1st, Rhamondre Stevenson was my 41st ranked rookie, while he was DLF's 34th ranked rookie. Stevenson is another player I value in the fourth round compared to the third round, as the DLF analysts value him. It's really rare to see a running back become a star in the NFL when he started their college career at a junior college. Plus, he never had a breakout year with Oklahoma. There are far too many questions about his ability to leap from a junior college to the NFL. It's one thing to dominate junior college, but if he cannot do the same in the NCAA, then why would he be able to do so in the NFL? Stevenson trimmed down to 230 pounds for his Pro Day, but he plays much bigger than that, and the NFL is overall moving away from backs his size, and I don't think he will be drafted before the fifth round of the NFL draft. He's a large power-back that shows some good things on tape, but many lighter and more versatile backs in the draft will be drafted ahead of him because they can fill various roles with their NFL teams. I will be shocked if Stevenson is drafted to a team that would cause him to rise in my rankings.
- As of April 1st, Nico Collins was my 50th ranked rookie while he was DLF's 35th ranked rookie. Collins is an incredible athlete and a four-star recruit to Michigan, but he never had a breakout season and opted out of the 2020 season. Jim Harbaugh can recruit great high school receivers, but he can't seem to make them productive college receivers. It was the same last year with Donovan Peoples-Jones, a five-star recruit drafted by the Browns in the 6th round. I believe the same will happen to Nico Collins this year. While his Pro Day was excellent with a 4.42 40-yard dash and a 6.78-second three-cone, he just has not been able to put it all together on the field, which is where it matters most. His career-high in receptions in a season was 38 in a 13-game season. If he were a better player, he'd receive more than three targets per game. He played a tough schedule in his 2019 season but never dominated a game. I hate to sound redundant, but Collins, like Sarratt, will get drafted behind the more versatile wide receivers in this year's deep wide receiver class. He has the physical talent to draft as a late-round dart in the NFL draft and dynasty drafts, but I would not pull the trigger until the fifth round, whereas the pros at DLF would do so in the third round.
- As of April 1st, Khalil Herbert was my 48th ranked rookie, while he was DLF's 40th ranked rookie. I don't have a significant difference in opinion from DLF analysts on Herbert. We both see him as a fourth-round pick, but I mention him here because he is getting some hype from the Football Guys recently on some of their podcasts. He does have some enjoyable highlight film, but his overall profile makes it hard for me to believe he will ever be a starting running back in the NFL. He was a three-star recruit who signed with Kansas by was surpassed in the line-up by a much smaller back, Pooka Williams. After red-shirting his senior season at Kansas, he transferred to Virginia Tech, where he did have the best season of his college career, but it's too little too late from a dynasty perspective. I'd caution dynasty owners from believing the hype around this late-breakout player. If he's not drafted on day two, he'll be among those backs like Rhamondre Stevenson, who get drafted behind smaller and younger players drafted earlier to play specific roles with their teams. They just don't fit the profile of a player who becomes an NFL starting running back, and they will not have an ancillary role on their teams. They're strictly drafted in late rounds for depth. There are many wide receivers I'd prefer to draft in the fourth round ahead of Herbert.
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