Underworld Rookie Mock Draft Recap #4

by , March 20, 2021

The RotoUnderworld community will be partaking in a series of 12-team, five-round rookie mock drafts, running 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 #4 – Single QB

The Underworld speaks!

We are back once again to give you the latest single quarterback rookie mock draft, featuring some of the top minds from this site, and me. The landscape ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft continues to shift, and players are moving up and down draft boards. Past favorites are falling, longshots are rising, and patterns are beginning to emerge. Let’s get right into it with Round 1.

fantasy-football-dynasty-league-rankings

1.01 – Najee Harris, RB, Alabama

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@NDutton13)
Rationale:
Dominant at the college level, decent yards per attempt average, exceptional receiving profile. Don’t overthink this.

 

1.02 – Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@Casey_g14)
Rationale:
It looks like Travis Etienne decided to bulk up to 215-pounds for his pro day. That cements him as a bell-cow back at the next level. Etienne is tailor-made for where the NFL game is going (speed, pass-catching, and big runs).

 

1.03 – Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@MrKong90)
Rationale:
First-round draft capital, nearly 1,800 receiving yards plus 20 touchdowns in 2019 while sharing the field with Justin Jefferson, and the freshest legs in the draft after opting out of 2020. The upside is immense; you won’t see Ja’Marr Chase go any later than 1.03 in this format.

 

1.04 – Javonte Williams, RB, North Carolina

Analyst: Rob Johnson
Rationale: Javonte Williams
profiles as a three-down, bellcow back with the potential to be the best RB in this draft class.

 

1.05 – Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale:
I would normally trade out in this situation, but for now, give me the most pro-ready WR in the class. Lock IN Rashod Bateman.

 

1.06 – Jermar Jefferson, RB, Oregon State

Analyst: Joshua Benjamin (@FantasyTopGun)
Rationale:
Would love to have a few of these wide receivers, but the last running back I’d take in the first remains in Jermar Jefferson. I had to pull the trigger given the format!

 

1.07 – Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

Analyst: John Croke (@jstro31)
Rationale: Rondale Moore
has youth on his side and is expected to be pretty athletic.

(editors note: “pretty athletic!?”)

 

1.08 – Devonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Analyst: Mike Valverde (@RFLRedZone)
Rationale: Devonta Smith has an incredible Catch Radius and is a 50/50 winner. But he is scrawny and may find it difficult to beat jam coverage at the pro level. However, he is a natural route runner with speed.

 

1.09 – Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_Litigator)
Rationale: Kyle Pitts
, with elite size-speed, and college production, is the only remaining player left that has the upside to be considered the best player selected in the first round one year from now.

 

1.10 – Chuba Hubbard, RB, Oklahoma St

Analyst: Jesse De Luca (@JesseDeLucaFB)
Rationale: Chuba Hubbard
possesses track speed and will be a home-run hitter at the next level. He could be drafted early on Day 2.

 

1.11 – Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Analyst: Chris Buonagura (@valuedraftpicks)
Rationale: Jaylen Waddle
felt like the best player available.

 

1.12 – Terrace Marshall, WR, LSU

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@rayraymarz)
Rationale:
Both Terrace Marshall and Elijah Moore rank highly in all of the Breakout Finder metrics and boast top-5 Breakout Ratings among this rookie WR class. Though Marshall has no Dynamic Score, the tiebreaker is that he projects to be an early second-round draft pick per the Dynasty Deluxe Big Board while Moore and Kenny Gainwell (also considered here) project to be picked in the mid-third. Although Marshall does look a lot like fellow LSU alum Rueben Randle, and now I’m getting the shakes.

 

Round 1 Takeaways

In the words of Radiohead, no alarms and no surprises after the first round. While the players were not necessarily taken in the same order, all 12 currently sit in the top 12 places of the latest single quarterback rookie rankings on PlayerProfiler.

 

2.01 – Kenny Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@NDutton13)
Rationale:
Memphis is the new Running Back U. Kenny Gainwell was not a dominant college prospect, but you have to appreciate a 6.3 (79th-percentile among qualified running backs) College YPC average and you have to LOVE a 51-reception season being on the resume.

 

2.02 – Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma St

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@Casey_g14)
Rationale:
The anti-Big 12 bias exists and is real, but Tylan Wallace checks too many boxes to be overlooked. Elite sophomore production, 93rd-percentile College Dominator Rating, 71st-percentile College YPR, 83rd-percentile College Target Share, and 84th-percentile Breakout Age, plus favorable size at 5-11, 193-pounds makes him rock solid. I wish he came out early, but his Senior Bowl was solid, proving his worth.

 

2.03 – Elijah Moore, WR, Ole Miss

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@MrKong90)
Rationale:
I would love to get a running back here. But Elijah Moore will be a beast out of the slot at the next level after checking all the boxes in a competitive Ole Miss receiver room.

 

2.04 – Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

Analyst: Rob Johnson
Rationale:
I was torn on taking Trevor Lawrence here given the single QB format. But I couldn’t pass up the chance to get in on the ground floor of a future franchise QB (editors note: plus, The Podfather is not in this draft, so you likely don’t need to worry about being roasted ?) .

 

2.05 – Dyami Brown, WR, North Carolina

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale: Stefon Diggs
with draft capital – Dyami Brown has one of the cleanest profiles in this class top to bottom.

 

2.06 – Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina

Analyst: Joshua Benjamin (@FantasyTopGun)
Rationale:
Possibly the best RB value if you’re getting Michael Carter at pick No. 15 or later in this format come July.

 

2.07 – Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida St

Analyst: John Croke (@jstro31)
Rationale:
Upside! Tamorrion Terry is one of the few alpha frames in this class. I can’t wait to see his athletic stats.

 

2.08 – Trey Sermon, RB, Ohio State

Analyst: Mike Valverde (@RFLRedZone)
Rationale: Trey Sermon has great contact balance and can stop on a dime, but he isn’t tall for a running back. He won’t run away from second-level defenders but will break tackles and is well-built at 215-pounds.

 

2.09 – Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_Litigator)
Rationale:
With an elite, 18.9 (93rd-percentile) Breakout Age, Amon-Ra St. Brown has the best age-adjusted profile of all the players left on the board.

 

2.10 – Amari Rodgers, WR, Clemson

Analyst: Jesse De Luca (@JesseDeLucaFB)
Rationale: Amari Rodgers
is a player who fits the mold of a big-slot receiver. He faced heavy competition for targets at Clemson while remaining productive.

 

2.11 – Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

Analyst: Chris Buonagura (@valuedraftpicks)
Rationale: I’m swinging for the fences and buying the Zach Wilson hype. I don’t want a “safe” quarterback this late, I want the high-risk, high reward option

 

2.12 – Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@rayraymarz)
Rationale:
With no guarantee that any of the other first-round projected quarterbacks fall to 3.12, I’m taking the guy that would arguably be the NFL Draft’s No. 1 selection if not for the presence of Trevor Lawrence. Though there are plenty of running back and wide receiver prospects I can talk myself into at this spot, none are guaranteed to be as impactful from day one as Justin Fields, which is why (if possible), I usually lean higher-profile QB in this realm of rookie drafts.

 

Round 2 Takeaways

And with that, the quarterback run begins. Cannot say with all honesty I’d have been looking to take Trevor Lawrence as early as Rob did, given the other options available. Also slightly surprised to see Zach Wilson taken ahead of Justin Fields. Especially with Trey Lance still sitting in the virtual green room. Still, I’m sure it won’t be long before he is snapped up.

That’s called a tease, gentle reader. On we go.

 

3.01 – Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@NDutton13)
Rationale:
You’d be lying if you called Kadarius Toney dominant at the college level with his 23.7-percent (30th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) College Dominator Rating and 17.8-percent (28th-percentile) College Target Share. But there are some things to like about his game. He did average 11.3 yards per target in 2020 and 7.3 yards after the catch per reception.

 

3.02 – Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana Lafayette

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@Casey_g14)
Rationale:
I come away with Elijah Mitchell in almost every mock draft. I’m on the hunt for potential bellcow backs and Mitchell has the size at 5-11, 215-pounds, has logged a 1,100-rushing-yard season and a 20-reception season, AND stole the starting job from another NFL prospect. He’s the biggest sleeper in the entire draft if he runs a sub-4.50 40-yard Dash.

 

3.03 – Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@MrKong90)
Rationale:
Depending on draft capital, you might be able to get Jaret Patterson in Round 4 or later. But I want the guy who followed up a school-record 301-yard game with a 409-yard one the next week in 2020. That is special, I don’t care what conference it is in!

 

3.04 – Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

Analyst: Rob Johnson
Rationale:
My second favorite Williams in this draft, Seth Williams has the frame, 50/50 ball skills, and playmaking ability to be an X-receiver at the next level.

 

3.05 – Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota St

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale:
The upside is limitless with Trey Lance. He’s a Cam Newton or Jalen Hurts with accuracy.

 

3.06 – Anthony Schwartz, WR, Auburn

Analyst: Joshua Benjamin (@FantasyTopGun)
Rationale: Anthony Schwartz
! Olympic level speed! Excellent on bubble screens! A combo that could accelerate his NFL Draft stock! Oh yeah, he’s only 20 years old!

 

3.07 – Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn St

Analyst: John Croke (@jstro31)
Rationale: Pat Freiermuth
could be the TE 1 in the class taken 20-plus picks after Kyle Pitts.

 

3.08 – Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

Analyst: Mike Valverde (@RFLRedZone)
Rationale: Tutu Atwell has aget him the ball and watch him go” kind of style. He has great speed, explosiveness, and agility. He can get deep, but his route tree is limited, and so is his size at 5-9 and 165-pounds. But he will be difficult to stop when teams use him all over the field and get him in open space.

 

3.09 – Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_Litigator)
Rationale:
The only player left on the board with projected first-round draft capital. Mac Jones may not have the Konami-code ability, but he will likely be given the opportunity to start games, something that many of the players picked in this range may never see.

 

3.10 – Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

Analyst: Jesse De Luca (@JesseDeLucaFB)
Rationale: Shi Smith
broke out in a big way once Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards left SC, posting a 46.6-percent (92nd-percentile) College Dominator Rating.

 

3.11 – Marlon Williams, WR, UCF

Analyst: Chris Buonagura (@valuedraftpicks)
Rationale: 
Excellent size. Logged 71 receptions and 10 TDs in only eight games this season, and the lack of early career production can be attributed to sharing a field with Gabriel Davis.

 

3.12 – 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 3.12.

 

Round 3 Takeaways

Matt’s selection of Jaret Patterson will likely raise some eyebrows, given the modern NFL’s attitude towards running backs with no pass-catching pedigree. Patterson was undoubtedly one of the most productive players in this class at his primary function, i.e. running the ball. But he didn’t record a single reception in 2020.

– Check out the Dynasty Deluxe “Big Board” for 10+ Mocks from across the industry.

 

This round also saw the last two quarterbacks who are viable starters as rookies going off the board. Whatever format you play in, the talent pool is decidedly shallow once the last of Trey Lance and Mac Jones leave it.

 

4.01 – Jaelon Darden, WR, North Texas

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@NDutton13)
Rationale: 
North Texas is not exactly a powerhouse of college football. But what do we want to see from players from “lower” levels? We want dominance. That is what Jaelon Darden provides. A 99th-percentile College Dominator Rating, a 95th-percentile College Target Share. Yes, yes. I will take this in the fourth round of any rookie draft.

 

4.02 – Nico Collins, WR, Michigan

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@Casey_g14)
Rationale: Nico Collins
is 6-4 and 215-pounds. This is elite size and carries starting outside alpha-level upside potential with it. He outproduced Donovan Peoples-Jones for two of their three college seasons together, and was held back by the poor Michigan offense. He adds an 80th-percentile Breakout Age and 92nd-percentile College YPR average. No other players have this kind of upside at this point in the draft.

 

4.03 – D’Wayne Eskridge, WR, Western Michigan

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@MrKong90)
Rationale:
D’Wayne Eskridge led the nation in all-purpose yards, holds an 89th-percentile College Dominator Rating, a 98th-percentile College YPR average, a 93rd-percentile College Target Share, and has the same frame and (possibly) speed as Tyreek Hill. The small school and age issues are reasonable concerns, but this man was playing corner while also returning punts and running routes!

 

4.04 – Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma

Analyst: Rob Johnson
Rationale:
I’ll take a shot here on Rhamondre Stevenson; a big, physical, one-cut running back who could eventually work his way into a starting role. At worst, his size means he’ll get an opportunity for goal-line touches.

 

4.05 – Jonathan Adams, WR, Arkansas St

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale: Jonathan Adams
has everything you want in a red zone target. Look for him to garner mid-round draft capital and work into a DeVante Parker-type role in the NFL.

 

4.06 – Brevin Jordan, TE, Miami

Analyst: Joshua Benjamin (@FantasyTopGun)
Rationale:
Getting Brevin Jordan in the fourth round here could be considered stealing. He is agile with legit blocking skills and he’s a certified  “YAC Mack,” who happens to own a 99th-percentile Breakout Age! Sign me up!

 

4.07 – Rakeem Boyd, RB, Arkansas

Analyst: John Croke (@jstro31)
Rationale:
Could be vividness bias via last chance U, but I need a running back and love the upside Rakeem Boyd offers.

 

4.08 – Larry Rountree, RB, Missouri

Analyst: Mike Valverde (@RFLRedZone)
Rationale: Larry Rountree has a good build and can carry the heavy workload of an NFL running back. He doesn’t have multiple gears, but he runs with an attitude and has some AA to leap over the trash at the LOS.

 

4.09 – Hunter Long, TE, Boston College

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_Litigator)
Rationale:
I was hoping that Brevin Jordan would fall here. But I’ll take Hunter Long as he offers above-average age-adjusted production at the TE position.

 

4.10 – Kenny Yeboah, TE, Ole Miss

Analyst: Jesse De Luca (@JesseDeLucaFB)
Rationale: Kenny Yeboah
is a fun prospect who transferred to Ole Miss as a fifth-year senior. He posted a 19.4 (98th-percentile) College YPR mark.

 

4.11 – Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest

Analyst: Chris Buonagura (@valuedraftpicks)
Rationale: Sage Surratt
was the best player available here, per PlayerProfiler’s dynasty rankings.

 

4.12 – Javian Hawkins, RB, Louisville

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@rayraymarz)
Rationale: 
Hawkins surprisingly boasts a top-10 Breakout Rating in this rookie RB class. If he can break the 196-pound mark that PlayerProfiler currently lists him at, that number will rise even more. Better scoop him up at value now while you have the chance.

 

Round 4 Takeaways

Round 3 saw a hunger for quarterbacks, while tight end became something of a fetish in this latest round. It is very possible that the best tight end from this class will not be Kyle Pitts, since we have been hurt before by prospects unable to justify their draft capital. Brevin Jordan is an enticing prospect, and his selection at the 4.06 is another solid pick from Joshua.

 

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

Analyst: Neil Dutton (@NDutton13)
Rationale:
Coastal Carolina seemed to catch the public imagination in 2020, and C.J. Marable seemed to be a big part of that. Granted, he’s a little older than I generally like my rookies, but he did break out early and he has serious receiving chops.

 

5.02 – JaQuan Hardy, RB, Tiffin

Analyst: Casey Gruarin (@Casey_g14)
Rationale:
In Round 5 of a rookie draft, I’m shooting for the moon on small-school players who could have some upside. Give me a guy in JaQuan Hardy with an 88th-percentile BMI, 96th-percentile College YPC average, and a chip on his shoulder to prove he can play with the big boys. Logging 10-plus receptions in all three college seasons show he isn’t a complete liability in the passing game.

 

5.03 – Khalil Herbert, RB, Virginia Tech

Analyst: Matt Dunleavy (@MrKong90)
Rationale: Khalil Herbert
is one of my favorite sleeper picks in this running back class and I am able to get him nearly ten picks later than I did in the last mock draft.

 

5.04 – Demetric Felton, RB, UCLA

Analyst: Rob Johnson
Rationale: Demetric Felton
might be transitioned to WR at the next level. But a smart team will manufacture touches for the versatile Bruin who has proven he can produce anywhere on the field.

 

5.05 – Warren Jackson, WR, Colorado State

Analyst: Cody Carpentier (@CarpentierNFL)
Rationale: Warren Jackson
enters the NFL after leading Colorado State in receiving yards in 2019, following in the footsteps of Preston Williams, and then opting out in 2020.

 

5.06 – T.J. Vasher, WR, Texas Tech

Analyst: Joshua Benjamin (@FantasyTopGun)
Rationale:
T.J. Vasher has great pedigree and size. He has shown he can utilize his frame to make post-up catches down the field! Could be a late-round flyer in the “real” draft.

 

5.07 – Pooka Wiliams, RB, Kansas

Analyst: John Croke (@jstro31)
Rationale: Pooka Williams
does not have bellcow size. But in the right situation, could he use his playmaking to carve out a role as a high-volume third-down back? It’s possible.

 

5.08 – Chris Evans, RB, Michigan

Analyst: Mike Valverde (@RFLRedZone)
Rationale: Captain America himself, Chris Evans has good contact balance with the ability to cut. This allows him to garner big runs, but he does come with some baggage due to an academic suspension. He is a capable three-down back and has a physicality to him.

 

5.09 – Spencer Brown RB UAB

Analyst: Edward DeLauter (@FF_Litigator)
Rationale: Spencer Brown
is a late-round flyer who profiles as a grinder at the NFL level. He would need to force his way into a running back committee to remain on any dynasty roster of mine.

 

5.10 – Stevie Scott RB Indiana

Analyst: Jesse De Luca (@JesseDeLucaFB)
Rationale:
An awesome name, Stevie Scott showed some potential as a big back who can catch at Indiana.

 

5.11 – Tyler Vaughns, WR, USC

Analyst: Chris Buonagura (@valuedraftpicks)
Rationale: 
Simply a dart-throw pick at this stage of the game.

 

5.12 – Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa

Analyst: Ray Ray Marz (@rayraymarz)
Rationale:
He may be Mr. Irrelevant, but he does boast the highest Breakout Rating of all the remaining WRs, and a top-20 mark in the 2021 rookie class. Though he currently lands near the bottom of our rookie rankings, his elite dynamism gives him a higher ceiling than one would normally own as the 60th overall pick in a rookie draft.

 

Round 5 Takeaways

The fifth round of any rookie draft is a time to shoot for upside. This seems to have been the mission of all the drafters here. Cody’s selection of Warren Jackson, the owner of one of the sternest headshots in the entire PlayerProfiler catalog, is an intriguing one. We’ve seen Colorado State produce some legitimate NFL talent recently. If Jackson is the next cab off this particular rank, then this could be one of the steals of the entire draft.

 

In Closing

That will do it for the latest RotoUnderworld rookie mock draft. This is a deep class at all the major positions, with the exception of quarterback, and particularly at tight end. In 207, we saw a slew of first-round draft picks at the tight end spot all pale into insignificance behind a player taken in the fifth round out of Iowa. While Kyle Pitts could be a generational talent, it should surprise no one if an even better dynasty player were to emerge in the later rounds.

Stay tuned here at PlayerProfiler for future mock draft recaps as we approach the 2021 NFL Draft, and regular season.