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Fri May 3rd 2019

My 2019 Rookie Draft Board

My Top 24 Rookies

The 2019 draft has come and gone and dynasty rookie drafts are underway in the month of May. Two of my leagues start drafting next week. It's time to finalize my Rookie Draft Board.

Overall, I was super disappointed with where players landed in the NFL draft. A few players benefited greatly by where they were picked, but even more, players were downgraded based on their fits with their new teams.

If I don't have the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd pick this year, I will offer my 1st and 2nd round picks for 2020 1st and 2nd round picks to see if I can get any takers. Hopefully, I can. If I can't get 2020 picks, then I will follow my board with an eye toward my team needs as well.

All of that said, here is the top 24 on my 2019 Rookie Draft Board. You can see my full 2019 Rookie Draft Board here. I welcome your questions and/or feedback on where you agree or disagree.

1. Joshua Jacobs - RB, Oakland (1.24)

  • Jacobs moved up from #9 to #1 based on his landing spot, draft capital, and the fact that Isaiah Crowell was just lost for the season.  Mayock and Gruden will have plenty to prove after their first draft together, so he’ll get plenty of touches.   He’s never had that many touches before so I do have health concerns, but the upside is too high to move him from this #1 position.

2. Miles Sanders - RB, Philadelphia (2.21)

  • He was my #1 ranked RB before the draft.  His landing spot was fantastic for the long-term.  The Eagles are one of the teams I just trust when it comes to player evaluation.  They have long-term plans for Sanders.  It is a crowded backfield and they tend to like RB by committee, but I think that’s just because they’ve never had a 3-down RB.  Now they do.  He won’t be the best in his first year or two, but the cream will rise to the top.

3. David Montgomery - RB Chicago (3.10)

  • I was not nearly as high on him as most analysts but his landing spot was perfect.  Nagy is great offensive mind and he clearly has a vision for what kind of back he wants given the trade of Jordan Howard and the free agent pickup of Mike Davis.  I believe Davis was picked up in case they did not luck into their guy in the draft.  Well, they lucked into their guy.  Montgomery will be starting by midseason.

4. AJ Brown - WR, Tennessee (2.19)

  • He was my #1 ranked player before the draft.  I could not move him down much further than this, even though the landing spot is awful.  Here we have to remind ourselves that we’re playing dynasty football.  He won’t make an immediate impact, but he’s too good not to do so in time.  I have no faith in Marcus Mariota given that he could not make Corey Davis an every week fantasy starter, but I believe Brown is better than Davis and they could have another QB in the near future, perhaps even Mariota’s backup, Ryan Tannehill who did produce starting fantasy WRs in Miami.

5. N'Keal Harry - WR, New England (1.32)

  • I know I’m lower on him than most people.  Most like his landing spot whereas I do not.  New England always has a hard time drafting WRs.  That said, he does some of the things Brady and the Pats like to do.  He’s great on short routes and running after the catch.  I suspect that’s how they’ll use him.  His contested ball skills and deep ball skills, however, will not be used as much as if he landed on a different team.

6. Deebo Samuel - WR, San Francisco (2.4)

  • I’ve been higher on Deebo than almost anyone this offseason.  He was my #5 ranked player before the draft.  It was nice to see Lynch and Shanahan thought the same.  He’s a safe bet to be a starter right off the bat.  He’ll have to compete for targets with a lot of players (Pettis, Kittle and all the 49er RBs), but he’ll earn a more significant target count in the years to come.

7. TJ Hockenson - TE, Detroit (1.8)

  • I hate drafting a TE this early, but this is a weak draft class.  I’m willing to do so this year.  Questions remain about the kind of offense Detroit will run with their new OC Darrell Bevell, but all signs point to a focus on the running game, which may be part of the reason they drafted TJ.  He’s an excellent blocker.  That also means he’ll be on the field a lot.  I like that.  He’ll have a minimal impact early, but is a great long-term pick.

8. Damien Harris - RB, New England (3.24)

  • Harris has been my #1 or #2 RB throughout the offseason.  His landing spot is what made him fall a bit, though not as far as others have him.  While the Patriots seem to love the RB by committee model, they have also seemed to become more of a run-first team.  I think Harris is just about as good as Sony Michel, and Michel is more injury prone.  Therefore, I am still happy to take Damien here and suspect I will own him a lot as others get scared off.

9. Darrell Henderson - RB, LA Rams (3.6)

  • I always pay attention when a team trades up to get their player.  The Rams traded up 20 spots to get their man.  If they believe in him, I will do.  Henderson has been in my top 10 all offseason so he did not move much.  He’s one you’ll have to wait on, but he’ll be worth the wait.  We’ll see how Gurley’s knees hold up, but the Rams are giving us plenty of reasons to believe they will not.

10. Parris Campbell - WR, Indianapolis (2.27)

  • Parris has been one of the fastest risers on my board from pre-combine (#38) to post combine (#19) to now (#10).  I ranked him low because I did not like the kind of routes he ran at Ohio State.  He was more of a gadget guy.  Then he appeared much more versatile at the combine.  Then NFL teams speak by drafting him in the second round.  Indianapolis is a team I really trust with player evaluation.  They have a plan for him, and Andrew Luck makes everyone better.

11. DK Metcalf - WR, Seattle (2.32)

  • Metcalf moved up a bit for me, from #15 to #11 after the draft.  Russell Wilson is just the type of QB that can maximize his limited skills.  I see Metcalf in a role much like Jimmy Graham in his last years with Seattle when he was a red zone monster.  Metcalf could also excel on broken plays and no one keeps a play alive better than Wilson.

12. Kyler Murray - QB, Arizona (1.1)

  • I’ve learned my lesson the last few years when I have not drafted QBs early in 1-QB leagues.  A guy that can run and can be in Kingsbury’s new offense with all the newly drafted weapons is going to make an impact.  As the first overall pick, they also will give him every opportunity to succeed.  He’s not prototypical, but maybe there is no such thing anymore.

13. JJ Arcega Whiteside - WR, Philadelphia (2.25)

  • He stayed right about where I had him before the draft.  I love and hate the landing spot.  I love the Eagles’ evaluation of players, but I feel like he’s just another Alshon Jeffery.  Therefore, I suspect he’ll take some time to become a full-time starter.  Much like when Dallas Goedert was drafted last year behind Zach Ertz.  If I had Goedert, I’d love to hold him.  I’ll be happy to do the same with Whiteside.

14. Noah Fant - TE, Denver (1.20)

  • This was a great landing spot.  Fant will get starter reps right away with a QB in Flacco that loves to target TEs.  He’s not the best blocker, so his snap count may be limited, but he’s a freaky weapon.  He’ll likely do better than Hockenson in the short-term, but not the long-term.

15. Hakeem Butler - WR, Arizona (4.1)

  • I had to move him down quite a bit after (#7 to #15) the draft given the number of rookie receivers drafted by Arizona.  Still, I have him as the highest ranked WR in Arizona even though they drafted Isabella two rounds before Butler.  I believe he and Christian Kirk will become the #1 and #2 targeted WRs in Arizona after Larry Fitzgerald retires.

16. Marquise Brown - WR, Baltimore (1.25)

  • Even draft capital (the first WR drafted) could not move Marquise up my draft board.  He was #16 before the draft and after.  His size, lisfranc injury, and erratic young QB (Lamar Jackson) are a concern for me. 

17. Justice Hill - RB, Baltimore (4.11)

  • Same for Hill.  He was #17 for me before and after the draft, even though I really like his landing spot. I believe he will be the change of pace back right off the bat in Baltimore.  He’s super explosive, which will work well in a run option-oriented offense.  He’ll have a lot of lanes to burst through.

18. Mecole Hardman - WR, Kansas City (2.24)

  • I had to move him way up after Kansas City drafted him so early (from #45 to #18), but #18 is the highest I could go.  I know others will draft him before I can.  I love trusting the Chief’s evaluation of players, but Mecole is just too raw for me to believe in this high.  It seemed like a bit of a desperate move giving the Tyreek Hill situation.

19. Andy Isabella - WR, Arizona (2.30)

  • Like I said before, I still like Butler and Kirk more than Isabella.  I believe he will have a role in this new offense, but will never become a touchdown guy or the most targeted guy on the team.  I moved him up given his draft capital (from #25 to #19), but I bet others will draft him before I do.  

20. Diontae Johnson - WR, Pittsburg (3.2)

  • Pittsburg’s success in drafting WRs, let alone MAC players is amazing.  I moved him up more than any player.  He was #67 for me before the draft, so he moved up 47 spots!  He’s quick and has a smaller frame, but so did Antonio Brown.  He’s got a great QB to get him involved early.  I suspect he will start right away alongside Juju and James Washington.

21. Alexander Mattison - RB, Minnesota (3.39)

  • Draft capital and Dalvin Cook’s injuries made me move Mattison from #26 to #21 after the draft.  I had been holding Boone in a lot of leagues because of Cook’s injury history.  Now I will be drafting Mattison for the same reason. 

22. Irv Smith Jr. - TE, Minnesota (2.18)

  • This will be a long-term play, but I like it.  Smith should get a share of playing time this year and be the full-time starter next year.  He needs the time to adjust too.  Minnesota targeted a TE early in the draft so they will be sure to use him.  If Rudolph gets traded before the season starts, Smith will move up a few spots.

23. Kelvin Harmon - WR, Washington (6.34)

  • This was the biggest mystery of the draft for me.  I can’t believe he lasted until the 6th round.  I had Harmon as my #2 WR throughout the offseason.  I love that he tweeted after the draft that he’d prove everyone wrong.  I believe he will.  He has every chance to win a starting job in Washington among players that are just in years 1-3 in the league.  I’m glad he fell so far because now I will have him on about all of my teams.

24. Dwayne Haskins - QB, Washington (1.15)

  • Haskins should get every chance to be the starter game one or early in the season.   He walks into a rough spot with a ton of young WRs, but that could end up being a good thing over time.  He can ease his way into the system and develop a rapport with the guys that rise to the top, like Harmon.

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