Pre-Combine Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft Round 1

Corey Davis accelerating after a reception against Wisconsin.

Prior to the NFL Combine I find it useful to mock out the first round of rookie drafts for my dynasty leagues. This technique provides me with some initial player value that I can reanalyze after more information is gathered. Mocking out the rookie draft also prepares me for making decisions regarding whether or not I want to move up or down in the draft. Here is a look at how I envision the first round in upcoming dynasty rookie drafts.

1.01 Corey Davis WR Central Michigan

Corey Davis is my favorite player in the upcoming draft. Dalvin Cook may provide more immediate assistance to a fantasy team due to the fact that the transition for running backs tends to be smoother. I think Davis will provide wide receiver two numbers in his first year and consistent long term value throughout his career.   

One of the criticisms of Davis is the lack of competition. However, according to Playerprofiler.com Davis absolutely dominated his competition with a 51.6% (96th percentile) college dominator rating and also had a young breakout age of 18.7 (95th percentile). These are both positive indicators for the future success of a wide receiver prospect. 

1.02 Dalvin Cook RB Florida State

Dalvin Cook is a dynamic player maker who should be productive as a rookie. Cook is a three down back who can be utilized in the passing game. He may not be the first running back off the board in the NFL draft due to off the field concerns. However, he is the first back I would select in a rookie draft. Additionally, he has not been involved in an incident since 2015 as discussed in this article by Kelvin Hunt.

1.03 Joe Mixon RB Oklahoma

Joe Mixon comes with off-field concerns, but the talent is there. As long as he gets drafted he will find as way onto the field. Mixon possesses the size and skill to be an every down workhorse in the NFL. He has great hands out of the backfield and I give him the edge over Leonard Fournette for that reason. He certainly comes with risk but provides massive upside.

1.04 Leonard Fournette RB LSU

Leonard Fournette would be a steal at this point in a draft. He has size, strength, and speed to dominate at the next level. My biggest concern is his lack of involvement in the passing game. In his 32 games over three years at LSU he only had 41 receptions.

1.05 Mike Williams WR Clemson

Williams possesses the prototypical height, weight, and speed for an NFL receiver. He is capable to using his size and strength to win 50/50 balls. Williams will instantly provide the team that drafts him with a formidable red zone target. Many view him as the number one receiver in this class and he provides good value at this point.

Stanford Christian McCaffery

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1.06 Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford

Christian McCaffrey has excellent vision, agility, and pedigree. He was extremely productive during his three years at Stanford, racking up over 3,900 yards rushing and 1,200 receiving despite only starting for two years. McCaffrey can be utilized in a variety of ways. His pass catching ability ensures that he will have instant value in ppr formats.

1.07 Alvin Kamara RB Tennessee

Alvin Kamara started only eight of 24 games during his time at Tennessee. In that time he accumulated over 2,000 yards and averaged a touchdown a game even though he never logged 20 carries in a single game. He is an intriguing talent and should be a valuable fantasy asset.

1.08 John “JuJu” Smith-Schuster WR USC

Juju Smith-Schuster has ideal size and strength which he is able to use to his advantage. Another quality that he has working in his favor is that he is one of the youngest prospects at 20.3 years old. He struggled with consistency but still managed to compile over 2,900 yards receiving during his three years at USC.

1.09 Samaje Perine RB Oklahoma

Samaje Perine has the potential to be a good NFL back. He is relatively limited in the passing game illustrated by the fact that he only had 35 receptions during his three years at Oklahoma. However,  Perine was productive in the running game accumulating over 4,100 yards and 49 touchdowns. I view him as a part of a running back by committee initially with potential to take on a three down role.

1.10 D’Onta Foreman RB Texas

I view D’Onta Foreman much the same way I see Perine. The reason I have Foreman below Perine is the lack of consistent college production. In my opinion, he would have benefited from an additional year of school to refine his skills. However, I will not fault an individual capitalizing on a huge year where he eclipsed 2,000 yards. Foreman should be part of a committee and handle carries inside the five for the team that selects him.

1.11 John Ross WR Washington

John Ross is a receiver with the ability to take the top off the defense. He is a true deep threat in the mold of DeSean Jackson and Will Fuller. On offense he scored 24 times on 134 touches over his three years at Washington. It will be interesting to see how his knees check out because he has major surgery on each. In addition, he is also having surgery to repair a torn labrum after the Combine. If everything checks out medically, I view him as a an ideal selection at this point in rookie drafts.

1.12 Carlos Henderson WR Louisiana Tech

Carlos Henderson is a name that is picking up steam heading into the Combine. I will be interested to see how he tests. He was impressive this year posting 82 receptions and 1,535 yards. He will be a player I will be keeping tabs on to see how NFL teams view him. 

The Combine will help provide some clarity as to where players will rank. You will notice that I did not include any tight ends or quarterbacks in the first round. This is a draft strategy that I personally utilize in rookie drafts. Tight ends like O.J. Howard, David Njoku, Gerald Everett, and Evan Engram are all intriguing. However, I simply do not place the same value on the tight end position as I do running back or wide receiver. 

My strategy with this class revolves around either trading up into the top five or trading back and accumulating second round picks or under valued veterans. I think the top players in this class have the talent to be special in the NFL, albeit they have some concerns. If I am unable to move up in the draft I see plenty of value in the second round. Players like Curtis Samuel, Malachi Dupre, Kareem Hunt, Taywan Taylor, and the tight ends mentioned earlier could all pay off for patient owners.

 

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