PFF Dynasty Rookie Draft: Rounds 3-4
As we move into Rounds 3 and 4, feel free to refresh yourself by starting at the beginning and catching up on some of the metrics we’ll be employing.
With that concluded, let’s jump right in.
3.01 Matt Jones
At 231 pounds with a 6.84 three-cone, it’s easy to understand what scouts would see in Jones. Scot McCloughan used the No. 95 pick on a player he’s compared to Marshawn Lynch. Conversely, Jones’ overall athleticism gave him a SPARQ score in the 38th percentile which dovetails with a moribund college career.
3.02 Eric Kendricks
The top IDP in Jeff Ratcliffe’s rankings, Kendricks owns plus-plus athleticism and slides into the middle of an up-and-coming Minnesota defense.
3.03 Josh Robinson
The surprising star of the CFF’s tackle-breaking metrics, Robinson ranked second in Elusive Rating against Power 5 opponents with an 86.9. Proponents salivate at the fit with Andrew Luck and foresee an avalanche of future points. Unfortunately, Robinson is a one-year wonder with such poor athleticism that almost all RB projection systems agree with his draft slot outside the Top 200 picks.
3.04 Sammie Coates
The Auburn star is widely praised in the analytics community for his crazy athleticism – 97th percentile SPARQ with the full speed, explosion, agility trifecta – and the high market share 2013 season. By way of contrast, his performance cratered in 2014 amid a flurry of drops. He’s the 2015 prospect most similar to Stephen Hill and appears blocked by emerging star Martavis Bryant.
3.05 Paul Dawson
Dawson is the Jarvis Landry of linebacker prospects, although he might be even worse as an athlete and even better as a player. His run stop percentage of 23.2 bested No. 2 Jake Ryan (14.4) by a comical margin, while his pass rush productivity score (21.6) came in second, just ahead of Stephone Anthony.
3.06 Javorius Allen
Allen is slightly older than Lorenzo Taliaferro and very similar physically, but his pass-catching resume perfectly fits the Marc Trestman system. While he may have to bide his time behind Justin Forsett, Allen looks like a poor man’s Matt Forte and would deliver excellent ppr value if given an extended opportunity.
3.07 Chris Conley
Conley ran a 4.35 forty and jumped 45 inches at the Combine. With a 6-2, 213-pound frame, you can convincingly argue that Jeremy Maclin’s new running mate is the most athletic receiver to enter the NFL since Calvin Johnson. Of course, production trumps athleticism, and Conley never stuffed the stat sheet at Georgia. Playing with Alex Smith in a system that spreads the targets, many expect that trend to continue in the NFL.
3.08 Mike Davis
Entering 2014, Davis seemed positioned to battle Melvin Gordon and T.J. Yeldon to be the second back off the board this season. A disinterested campaign saw his stock crater. While Carlos Hyde projects as an early down bruiser/plodder – choose your own preferred connotation – and Reggie Bush as a middling third down back, Davis presents a well-rounded history of production. Unlikely to unseat the two players in front of him, he does hold better bell cow potential than either of them.
3.09 Kenny Bell
With a 4.37 forty and 41-inch vertical, Bell completes our SPARQ-y Round 3 trio of sleeper athletes at the receiver position. His advanced age and much lower draft status complicate matters. Old receivers drafted in Round 5 face extremely long odds to fantasy relevance.
3.10 Landon Collins
A dreadful Combine bolstered criticisms of Collins in coverage, but the box safety has two very important things going for him. He was selected No. 33 overall and enters a barren Giants depth chart.
3.11 DeAndre Smelter
Smelter led the receiver group with 4.31 yards per route in 2014, although his raw production numbers at Georgia Tech are almost identical to that of Stephen Hill. Several of the top fantasy experts are targeting him in this range, but reasons for caution abound. While his upside is immense, he’s also old, inexperienced, injured, and a late round reality pick.
3.12 Zach Zenner
Zenner is an exaggerated version of David Johnson. As an athlete, he slots in behind Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman, and the aforementioned Johnson at worst, and he has size/explosion arguments over many of them. Purely objectively, he was a far more athletic and productive player than T.J. Yeldon, Jones, Allen, Davis, Robinson, Jeremy Langford, and many others. It’s hard to know exactly how to price all of that after the South Dakota State star went undrafted. The fit in Detroit looks perfect, but there’s no guarantee he even makes the team.
4.01 Darren Waller
If you’re going to burn a selection on a sixth round reality pick with a limited production resume, you want it to be on a 6-6 burner in a wide open position battle.
4.02 Denzel Perryman
Perryman bombed the Combine with a 4.7 forty and 33-inch vertical and enters a depth chart clogged by the mediocre Donald Butler and Manti Te’o. San Diego still tabbed him at No. 48 overall, and Jeff Ratcliffe ranks him the No. 6 IDP.
4.03 Shaq Thompson
Billed as an athletic marvel, Thompson was a bigger disappointment than Perryman in offseason testing. As one of the youngest players in the class, he retains plenty of upside.
Thompson and Perryman both look like tremendous fantasy draft values when you consider the reality draft status involved. IDPs may be more easily replaceable than offensive players, but at certain point you want to seed your roster with players who will likely stick (and start) in the NFL.
4.04 Jeremy Langford
Langford is another value pick. Although an overrated athlete due to a 4.42 forty that overshadowed poor agility and leaping numbers, Langford was selected 99 spots earlier than Josh Robinson and should have an easier time consolidating second place on the depth chart.
4.05 Justin Hardy
A crafty, feisty draftnik favorite, Hardy’s scheme-adjusted resume meshes with his athleticism and draft slot to make him a deep bench player in dynasty. He may replace the departed Harry Douglas and see snaps immediately, but the ceiling appears low.
4.06 Devante Davis
Many believed Davis a fourth round prospect due to his size and excellent 2013 season. Going undrafted deals a blow to his prospects, although enthusiasts still like his chances to eventually triumph over Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, and Miles Austin in Philadelphia.
4.07 Rashad Greene
Greene was probably the one receiver in the draft who most needed to go early and into a plum situation. The draft community had him almost unanimously ahead of Tyler Lockett until only weeks before the draft, but gradually the narratives faded and scheme adjustments took hold.
4.08 Vic Beasley
Frequently compared to Von Miller after absolutely demolishing the Combine, Beasley ranked only No. 17 in pass rush productivity according to the CFF charters.
4.09 Clive Walford
Selected No. 68 overall, Walford fell right on the edge of the range where TE value historically falls off a cliff. Favored to best incumbent Mychal Rivera fairly quickly, the new Oakland starter owns a solid combination of athleticism and production.
4.10 Stefon Diggs
Diggs is a market share star with questionable size and athleticism, not to mention durability concerns. He goes to a crowded depth chart, albeit one where Mike Wallace and Cordarrelle Patterson are more name than production.
4.11 Dante Fowler
The No. 3 overall pick was the best of the big names in Third Down Pass Rush Productivity (17.7). He’s a perfect IR stash for defending champion Nate Jahnke.
4.12 Brett Hundley
Hundley’s career age-adjusted production at UCLA was vastly underrated, and some scouting narratives may be off. His 2014 accuracy under pressure was identical to that of Jameis Winston, but his sack percentage of 30.9 percent was among the worst in the class. (Winston sported an 11.5 percent sack rate despite equivalent pressure percentages.) Billed as a perfect landing spot for him to develop, this isn’t a Favre/Rodgers situation. Barring unforeseen injury, Hundley will be long gone when Rodgers retires.