Underworld Rookie Mock Draft Recap #1

Draft Strategy
trevor-lawrence-fantasy-football

For the next few months, the RotoUnderworld community will be partaking in a series of 12-team, five-round rookie mock drafts. The first set of mocks began on February 22nd and will run bi-weekly through the summer. The mock drafters will be comprised of PlayerProfiler writers/analysts, our friends in the Patreon community and our friends over at The Breakout Finder. While these pieces will include quick-hitting notes from the drafters about why they made their selection, our writers will take turns recapping the festivities and adding their own unique perspectives.

Rookie Mock Draft Recap #1 – Single QB

Unlike the recently launched RotoUnderworld vs. RosterWatch Mock Draft Series, these mock drafts won’t be framed as a competition. I mean, I suppose we could pick a fight with the Breakout Finder guys, but that would border on oversaturation. It will, of course, be interesting to see where certain players are drafted in comparison to where they went in the RU vs. RW mock. Especially when adding some different names and faces to the equation.

fantasy-football-dynasty-league-rankings

Mock drafts are unpredictable as it is. Now add some devy specialists and Patreon wildcards and we should have ourselves a good old time.

1.01 – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@RayRayMarz)
Rationale: 
He’s got the size, he’s got the speed, he’s got the pedigree, he showed clear improvement in every college season and logged a 30.0-percent-plus College Dominator Rating in the SEC. What am I missing? Oh yeah, I’m sorry that he’s old. I don’t care.

1.02 – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@ndutton13)
Rationale: 
Damn you Ray, I was hoping you’d do something stupid with the 1.01 (editors note: I didn’t). Alas, as you didn’t, I’ll satisfy myself with the guy with the 87th-percentile College YPC average and the 86th-percentile College Target Share.

1.03 – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Analyst: Cory Pereira (@FF_Guitarist)
Rationale: 
Locked in WR1 with a bulletproof profile. Davante Adams-type upside at the next level.

1.04 – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@casey_g14)
Rationale: 
Williams checks all the boxes on the stat sheet and has great size to match; his athletic testing numbers could make his profile bulletproof if they are solid.

1.05 – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_itigator)
Rationale: 
I will gladly take Bateman at 1.05. He checks all the boxes with a 95-percentile Breakout Age and 88-percentile College Dominator Rating.

1.06 – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@mrkong90)
Rationale: 
Putting aside the reasonable concerns over his size, Smith will get plenty of chances to succeed as a first-rounder and the likely immediate number one receiver for his pro team.

1.07 – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Analyst: Nick Tabs (@NTabs33)
Rationale: 
At 5-9, his size is a concern, but this guy is a dynamic weapon and will be a great addition to any offense.

1.08 – Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State

Analyst: Garrison Mindrup (@GarrisonMindrup)
Rationale: Looks like Marshawn Lynch with the ball in his hands.

1.09 – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Analyst: Michael Schmidt (@iknowguacsextra)
Rationale: 
My head says fade TEs in non-premium formats, but my heart can’t ignore the best TE prospect I’ve ever seen.

1.10 – Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma State

Analyst: Corbin Young (@corbin_young21)
Rationale:
I still believe in the talent with his 2019 season where he rushed for over 2,000 yards and logged a 40.4-percent (91st-percentile) College Dominator Rating.

1.11 – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

Analyst: Lane Mitchell (@LaneMitchell96)
Rationale:
Moore checks the boxes. He has a sub-20 Breakout Age, a 90th-plus percentile College Dominator Rating, and a 95th-plus percentile College Target Share. He competed for targets with A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Dawson Knox, and Kenny Yeboah at Ole Miss. Oh, and as a junior this year, he reached nearly 1,200 receiving yards in only eight games in the SEC.

1.12 – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale: 
Though Waddle is a value pick here, I’d probably trade back from this position. But I’ll take the potential top-10 NFL Draft pick.

Round 1 Takeaways

Coming away with any real takeaways from the first round of any rookie mock draft will be difficult unless there’s a player or two that end up going higher or lower than consensus. Of the players picked in the first round, only Elijah Moore is not ranked among our top 12 dynasty rookies. He’s not that far off, but making an argument for him over a Terrace Marshall or a Kenny Gainwell in this spot is more than feasible given his advanced stats and metrics.

Kyle Pitts notably went at 1.04 in the RU vs. RW mock, but drops back to the 1.09 here. Though he’s been called a generational talent, the question of whether he’s good enough to justify using a top-5 rookie draft pick on him in any format will be among the most hotly contested of the offseason.

This isn’t necessarily news, but after Cody Carpentier shocked the system by picking Jermar Jefferson over Javonte Williams at 1.06 in the interpromotional battle, Williams returned to his more ‘normal’ 1.04 range this time around. Now the next question is how long it will take for a drafter in a future mock to pull the trigger on Williams over Travis Etienne.

2.01 – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@RayRayMarz)
Rationale:
Call me a crazy person, but when a player puts up 671 yards and 13 touchdowns while competing for looks with both Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, and then follows that up the next season by surpassing his catch and yardage totals in five fewer games, they should probably be picked in the first round of rookie drafts.

2.02 – Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@ndutton13)
Rationale:
Memphis has quietly turned into RB U in the last few seasons. You couldn’t call Gainwell a workhorse at the collegiate level, but he does boast an impressive College Target Share and his yards per carry mark of 6.3 is in the 79th-percentile. Could do worse.

2.03 – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

Analyst: Cory Pereira (@FF_Guitarist)
Rationale:
Four picks from Jaylen Waddle. Would have been a great snag, but Amon-Ra has one of the highest floors in this class. A route technician with some Keenan Allen to his game.

2.04 – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@casey_g14)
Rationale:
Wallace’s monster sophomore season production, solid Senior Bowl, and size provide alpha-level upside that outweighs that of any running back going in this area.

2.05 – Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_itigator)
Rationale:
Brown’s big play ability and above average age-adjusted college production presents too much upside and prevents me from being the first person to draft a quarterback in this mock.

2.06 – Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@mrkong90)
Rationale:
Still a lot of solid receivers left while the day two running back pool is drying up, so give me the other half of college football’s most explosive backfield.

2.07 – Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State

Analyst: Nick Tabs (@NTabs33)
Rationale:
At 6-4, 210-pounds, Terry has prototypical alpha WR size. He could develop into a fantasy WR1.

2.08 – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

Analyst: Garrison Mindrup (@GarrisonMindrup)
Rationale:
Big-bodied receiver that shouldn’t be overlooked for poor college QB play.

2.09 – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Analyst: Michael Schmidt (@iknowguacsextra)
Rationale:
QBs are an afterthought in this format, but it is still nice to lock up the QB1 and not have to worry about the position for the next decade.

2.10 – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Analyst: Corbin Young (@corbin_young21)
Rationale:
The quarterback position in the NFL is evolving. Give me the guy with mobility plus the passing ability.

2.11 – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

Analyst: Lane Mitchell (@LaneMitchell96)
Rationale:
Getting my TE2 at the back end of the second round feels like a steal. In almost any other class, Freiermuth would be the TE1.

2.12 – Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale:
The Deebo Samuel/A.J. Brown of this draft class, PPR points on PPR points.

Round 2 Takeaways

I promise that’s the last time I’ll include the video of Alan getting roasted by Matt and Nate for picking Trevor Lawrence at 1.07 in the interpromotional mock. The first QB being selected at 2.09 is more on-brand around these parts and his placement falls more in line with where he’s featured on our rookie rankings. On the surface, it sounds silly to say that the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck should be faded in the first round of a rookie mock. It’s why the popularity of the SuperFlex format is where it’s at today. Next question for those with the 1.01 in SuperFlex formats: TLaw or trade down?

Among the biggest upward movers from the RU vs. RW mock to this one is Michael Carter, who jumps from 3.05 to 2.06. Again, this draft’s landing spot is more in line with where we have him ranked. The bigger mover was Seth Williams, who jumps from 4.02 all the way up to 2.08. A Breakout Finder favorite for a long time, his NFL Draft capital will be huge in determining where his value should end up by the time rookie drafts roll around. If he falls into day 3, he may end up living in the bucket of ‘players to avoid from major programs that aren’t good enough to earn early round draft capital.’

3.01 – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@RayRayMarz)
Rationale:
Between now and the NFL Draft, I have to believe Trey Lance‘s spot in our dynasty rankings is going to rise, especially considering the likelihood that he gets drafted in the top half of the first round at the very worst. Picking a first-round QB at this spot of rookie drafts was a strategy that helped me come away with Justin Herbert in many mocks last year, and I’m going back to that well with this loaded class.

3.02 – Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@ndutton13)
Rationale:
Taking Atwell is a decision I’ll find 150-percent better to live with if he could somehow weigh in closer to 180-pounds than the 165-pounds PlayerProfiler has him listed at. Still, he was dominant at Louisville and he broke out early. There’s a lot to like here.

3.03 – Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State

Analyst: Cory Pereira (@FF_Guitarist)
Rationale:
Athleticism will be a big question, but Sermon carries good size and a three-down skillset at the position. Potential sneaky riser in a thin RB class.

3.04 – Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@casey_g14)
Rationale:
A 5-11, 215-pound build is ideal for a workhorse role in the NFL and Mitchell has a 20-reception season on his resume. If the athletic testing is there, he could be a small school guy with bellcow upside.

3.05 – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_itigator)
Rationale:
There are some other intriguing flyers currently on the board, but I’ll swing at the anticipated top 10 overall draft capital that Wilson brings to the table.

3.06 – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@mrkong90)
Rationale:
A standout Senior Bowl performance is skyrocketing Toney up NFL draft boards and he is just too dynamic to let fall any further.

3.07 – Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn

Analyst: Nick Tabs (@NTabs33)
Rationale:
Possibly the fastest WR in the draft, his explosiveness and big-play ability make him very attractive in dynasty.

3.08 – Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville

Analyst: Garrison Mindrup (@GarrisonMindrup)
Rationale:
Undersized player with big-play ability who’s shown he can handle 15-plus touches a game

3.09 – Brevin Jordan, TE, Florida

Analyst: Michael Schmidt (@iknowguacsextra)
Rationale:
Certainly not a need, but can’t let my TE2 fall any further as he’s by far my best player available.

3.10 – Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

Analyst: Corbin Young (@corbin_young21)
Rationale:
Although the college production isn’t great, the high College Dominator Rating and College Target Share stand out. Intriguing receiver.’

3.11 – Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford

Analyst: Lane Mitchell (@LaneMitchell96)
Rationale:
This 6-4, 227-pound, 21-year-old receiver has a Breakout Age, College Dominator Rating, College Target Share, and College YPR average all above the 60th-percentile. He’s a major sleeper for me.

3.12 – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale:
Top-10 Pick – Better college resume than Joe Burrow… at the 3.12 – Sign me up!

Round 3 Takeaways

OK someone has to give me something else on Simi Fehoko. A highlight video or something. He has the requisite size we look for and his college production and efficiency metrics are all well above average. The draft capital may not end up being there, but there are always exceptions to the general rule of avoiding big school WRs who fall to day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Simi Fehoko College Stats

Only the third and fifth rounds of this rookie mock saw fewer than six wide receivers selected. After three rounds, only 10 RBs have been selected to 18 WRs (three TEs and five QBs as well). All of this reinforces the notion that while this class is top-heavy at RB, it’s super deep at the WR position. This can also be seen in the biggest move from the interpromotional mock to this one being a WR in Louisville’s Tutu Atwell, who jumps up from 4.09 to 3.02. With a current Index average of pick No. 80 on the Dynasty Deluxe Big Board, Atwell is trending towards being a day 2 NFL Draft selection and dynasty rookie draft value.

4.01 – Kylin Hill, RB, Mississippi State

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@RayRayMarz)
Rationale:
Hill improved as a runner in each full college season, averaging 24 targets and 20 catches in 2018-19 and living in a non-sexy, mid-7.0-ish average College Target Share zone. Also, drawing 29 targets in three games last year before opting out is impressive no matter what scheme you’re playing in. There’s room for him to more than return value at the 4.01.

4.02 – Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@ndutton13)
Rationale:
3,884 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns in his three seasons with Bulls makes Patterson someone to consider at this stage in the draft. Granted, I’d prefer it if he had caught more passes. He had just 20 receptions in 32 college games, including ZERO in 2020.

4.03 – Dazz Newsome, WR, North Carolina

Analyst: Cory Pereira (@FF_Guitarist)
Rationale:
Newsome is a QB-friendly slot target and one of the best YAC receivers in this class.

4.04 – Marlon Williams, WR, UCF

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@casey_g14)
Rationale:
Williams has great size at 6-0 and 215-pounds, had 71 receptions in only eight games this past season, and his lack of early career production can be attributed to sharing a field with Gabriel Davis.

4.05 – Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_itigator)
Rationale:
Why draft Najee Harris in the first when you can get the dollar store version of Harris in the fourth?

4.06 – Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@mrkong90)
Rationale:
Herbert displayed impressive vision and burst during his breakout season with Virginia Tech and has the potential to be a lead back if drafted to the right team.

4.07 – Larry Rountree, RB, Missouri

Analyst: Nick Tabs (@NTabs33)
Rationale:
Rountree took a dip in production after his sophomore season that could have more to do with circumstance than skill.

4.08 – Warren Jackson, WR, Colorado State

Analyst: Garrison Mindrup (@GarrisonMindrup)
Rationale:
Big-bodied receiver that comes from a school where receivers have proved they can play at the next level.

4.09 – Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas

Analyst: Michael Schmidt (@iknowguacsextra)
Rationale:
Size isn’t ideal, but at this point I’ll take a shot on this dynamic player who scored a TD seemingly on every other catch this year.

4.10 – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest

Analyst: Corbin Young (@corbin_young21)
Rationale:
Big-bodied receiver that doesn’t get much separation, but uses his body to box out defensive backs. He can make tough catches and is a potentially solid red zone threat with his size and physicality.

4.11 – Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama

Analyst: Lane Mitchell (@LaneMitchell96)
Rationale:
This small school wide receiver checks a lot of boxes. His Breakout Age, College Dominator Rating, and College Target Share are all above the 50th-percentile. If he can get draft capital in the third to fifth round range, I see a lot of upside.

4.12 – Demetric Felton, WR, UCLA

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale:
A weapon – Tarik Cohen do-it-all type. Great value here.

Round 4 Takeaways

Who invited these Breakout Finder guys with their deep sleepers like Dazz Newsome? I’ve at least heard of Warren Jackson. That may be mainly due to our friends from The Undroppables, but we are in the dart throw/get your guy range of rookie drafts after all. Which means there will likely be some players that you don’t see in every mock going around here. Jalen Tolbert comes to mind. Basically, there’s no shortage of potential flag-plant players in this rookie class.

Demetric Felton was among the biggest fallers between the RU vs. RW rookie mock and this one, dropping from 3.12 to the final pick of the fourth. Where he went in this one is more in line with where we have him placed in our rookie rankings. A RB/WR hybrid type player with ability in the return game, there’s always room players of this ilk to carve out roles in the NFL.

5.01 – D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@RayRayMarz)
Rationale:
In every Underworld mock currently taking place (editors note: this pick was made on Friday 2/26), Eskridge has gone in a different round in each. In two Superflex/TE Premium leagues, he went in the third and fourth round. In the only other single QB mock (the Underworld vs RosterWatch main event), he went at 2.05. At this point in the draft, this is purely a value play.

5.02 – Hunter Long, TE, Boston College

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@ndutton13)
Rationale:
This is a deep and talented tight end class, with more than just Kyle Pitts to seize the imagination. Hunter Long broke out early and was fairly dominant with 21.8-percent College Dominator Rating. In the fifth round, I’m happy to hunt no longer (editors note: I don’t get it…..:>)

5.03 – Trey Ragas, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

Analyst: Cory Pereira (@FF_Guitarist)
Rationale:
Ragas moves well for a 230-pound back and has been a productive and efficient runner for the Ragin’ Cajums, displaying natural instincts in the open field. Overall athleticism is the biggest question, but Ragas is a great candidate to be this year’s James Robinson.

Trey Ragas College Stats

5.04 – Chris Evans, RB, Michigan

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@casey_g14)
Rationale:
Following the theme of all my selections, I’m going after players with the requisite size to be an outside receiver/bellcow back. Evans is 5-11 and 219-pounds, averaged 7.0 YPC as a Freshman, and has two seasons with 15-plus receptions. Michigan is known for recruiting great talent but not using it to the player’s full ability, which makes Evans a great dart throw late in the draft.

5.05 – Nico Collins, WR, Michigan

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_itigator)
Rationale:
Collins is a size-speed freak with an 80th-percentile Breakout Age. A nice landing spot or day two draft capital will send him skyrocketing up ranks.

5.06 – C.J. Marable, RB, Coastal Carolina

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@mrkong90)
Rationale:
Has the speed and hands that NFL coordinators want for todays game, is an endzone magnet and profiles very similarly to Austin Ekeler.

5.07 – Pooka Williams, RB, Kansas

Analyst: Nick Tabs (@NTabs33)
Rationale:
A dynamic third down weapon with upside, this guy is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

5.08 – T.J. Vasher, WR, Texas Tech

Analyst: Garrison Mindrup (@GarrisonMindrup)
Rationale:
Very athletic, big-bodied receiver with great body control and had D1 offers to play basketball.

5.09 – Stevie Scott, RB, Indiana

Analyst: Michael Schmidt (@iknowguacsextra)
Rationale:
Any time you can grab a 230-pound RB with a 3rd-percentile College YPC in the fifth, ya gotta do it!

5.10 – Marquez Stevenson, WR, Houston

Analyst: Corbin Young (@corbin_young21)
Rationale:
A bit of an older wide receiver, but he’s a speedster with a 40-yard Dash time in the 4.30 range. Stevenson could be a big play waiting to happen in the NFL.

5.11 – Tre McKitty, TE, Georgia

Analyst: Lane Mitchell (@LaneMitchell96)
Rationale:
Big, athletic freak at the TE position. Worth a late stash.

5.12 – Mike Strachan, WR, Charleston

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale:
Close your eyes, now imagine a 6-5, 210-pound WR running a 4.35 from a small town in West Virginia. Open your eyes – its not Randy Moss, but it’s close.

Round 5 Takeaways

After Ryan Lopes put the RosterWatch boys on full tilt by snagging Nico Collins from them, the Michigan WR drops to pick 5.05 here. Our rankings indicate he should be picked higher, so a nice value snag here in the final frame.


Check out Nico Collins on PlayerProfiler’s New DYNASTY DELUXE Rankings:


The best strategy I can give you? Find a guy to plant a flag on in this range of drafts no matter where he is on any set of rankings you utilize. Players making their debut in this mock after being passed over in the last one are Trey Ragas, Chris Evans, C.J. Marable and T.J. Vasher. Of them, only Ragas and Evans crack our top 60 rookies. Marable falls just outside and we don’t currently have Vasher ranked. Goes to show there’s no shortage of players to claim as ‘your guy.’ One of us will be right by process of elimination, maybe even two of us (!!), so pick your guy and plant the flag. And if you can’t find a guy, it’s never a bad idea to reference the Dynasty Deluxe Big Board to see where these players are projected to be picked in the NFL Draft.

Conclusion

We have a lot of rookie mocks and ADP trends to track between now and the start of hash tag Rookie Draft SZN (did I do any of that right?). If we can identify value plays this early in the process, it will make life a whole lot easier for us down the road.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s recap of our first SuperFlex/TE Premium mock draft.