Dynasty Zone Rookie Mock Draft

Joe Mixon

The countdown is on for the 2017 NFL Draft and the excitement is building as we inch closer to the big day in Philly. We decided to do our own Dynasty Rookie Mock draft on Fakepigskin Dynasty Zone podcast. My co-hosts and I are all hardcore Dynasty fanatics and share in the passion for building our teams and scouting the incoming draft class. This year’s rookie draft class is loaded with very talented players that can make an immediate impact in the NFL. It’s headlined by a deep running back class but also offers the best tight end class that we’ve seen in years. While those two skill positions have stolen the show, the class also offers a talented and very deep group of wide receivers.

We will each breakdown our round 1 mock player selections but if you really want in-depth analysis and good fun entertainment be sure to check out our Fakepigskin Dynasty Zone Rookie Mock podcast that’s available for download on iTunes and Stitcher. Please give us a follow on Twitter @FP_DynastyZone and feel free to ask us any and all of your Dynasty rookie draft and trade questions. Without further ado here is our player breakdowns for all of our first round rookie mock draft picks.

1.01- Joe Mixon RB Oklahoma Sooners (Tom)

This isn’t about what he did off the field. I’m strictly talking about the player on the field here. I know it is all connected when it comes to the draft, but I’m taking the most talented player here, and that’s Joe Mixon. What he did was horrible, but it seems like he’s confronted it head on. He’s answered every question asked of him and has shown some real remorse to what he did it, which is a big deal for NFL teams because of the risk they put into drafting players with an early selection. They have to consider a lot of different variables and this includes character issues which are considered red flags. Some teams may look past his past given his immense talent while others will take him off their draft boards completely. 

Truth be told without the graphic video of Mixon punching a woman out, I’m convinced he’d be the first running back off the board and a top 15 pick. He’s got the most talent and his tape proves it. He can do everything a team asks him to do on the field. He’s a blend of Zeke, Le’Veon Bell, and Arian Foster with the way he glides. He can punish you when he finishes runs. Mixon can catch almost as well as Christian McCaffrey, but he’s a lot bigger. Much like Bell, Mixon possesses patience, sometimes to a fault which is the only real knock on him on the field.

If you look at stats, you will constantly find him near the top of every category. He’s going to come in hungry and compete for a starting job in the backfield similar to David Johnson in his rookie season. I can see him going in the late first or early 2nd. I’m hoping he lands in Oakland. If Green Bay decides they want to take the PR hit, he would be good fit there as well. If he falls to Philly in the 2nd or if they trade back in the 1st, he’s a great match there as well. I could have gone with Corey Davis here and played it safe, but I feel like Mixon’s upside is that of a top 3 running back, whereas Corey Davis is a WR1, but not necessarily a top 4 or 5 guy. He is a swing for the fences type of selection that could pay off big-time if he’s matched with the right team and situation.  

 1.02- Corey Davis WR Western Michigan (Chris)

Will Corey Davis be the top wide receiver selected in the NFL Draft?

Will Corey Davis be the top wide receiver selected in the NFL Draft?

I’m going to take my top wide receiver here, Corey Davis. Although I think the running backs in this class offer a higher ceiling, it’s hard to be sure since we don’t know their landing spots yet. To me I think Davis offers a higher floor. Plus wide receivers have shown to have a longer career shelf life than running backs in the NFL and in Dynasty.

When you watch his tape you see a player who has the ability to both create separation and adjust to the ball while it’s in the air. He displays excellent footwork off the line and has an ability to keep defenders off balance at the top of his routes. To be clear I don’t think Davis has the freak athleticism that the elite WRs have, guys like Julio, Odell, and AJ Green.

At this point, he reminds of is DeAndre Hopkins, who many thought would be a high floor WR2 when he was a draft prospect. Over his brief career Hopkins has obviously shown the ability to put up high-end WR1 numbers.  In terms of landing spots I’d love to see Davis land with the Titans, maybe even the Cardinals or the Ravens. He did tear two tendons in his ankle but I don’t think there are any concerns that rehabbing that injury will linger into the season or be a long term concern. Don’t let this deter you from taking arguably the consensus No.1 wide receiver and 1.01 in your Dynasty rookie drafts.

1.03- Dalvin Cook RB Florida State (Ron)

FSU Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook should be in consideration to be the top back selected in NFL draft and rookie drafts. (Mark Wallheiser-AP)

First off I was shocked that Dalvin Cook fell to me here at 1.03. Thank you Tom and Chris! Arguably the top running back in the 2017 draft class, Cook checks all the boxes for your prototypical NFL running back.

If you turn on his tape you’ll quickly notice how patient he is as a runner waiting for his blocks to open up a hole for him. Cook uses his excellent vision to spy a crease in the defense and then mashes the gas petal to the floor, bursting through into daylight. His acceleration on the field is elite but it’s what he does after hitting the hole that makes him a special player. For those of you who aren’t aware Cook ran behind one of the worst offensive lines in the FBS. Despite the poor offensive line play at Florida State Cook was still able to average 4.1 yards per carry after contact which accounted for 1,100 yards rushing. According to Pro Football Focus Cook led the nation with 99 missed tackles forced last season. They’re top-notch at evaluating talent at the collegiate level. They also ranked Cook as their No.1 running back while also grading him as the second-most elusive back in the class. This is what cements Cook as my RB1 in this year’s class.

This leads me to where we are right now. Cook has supposedly been free-falling on NFL draft boards and Dynasty draft boards after a subpar performance at the NFL Combine. Sure I wish he had performed better than he did at the drills but is that really the most important piece of the puzzle when analyzing NFL prospects? He may have fell short of everyone’s lofty expectations in some areas in Indy but I witnessed some positives from Cook at the Combine.

For example, in the running back pass-catching drills he looked natural and fluid running routes out of the backfield, making it look effortless. He made a couple impressive highlight-reel catches in these drills on some off-target passes. Again just go back to the tape and you’ll see the same thing I did. The proof is in the pudding considering his career receiving numbers (79 receptions/978 yds/2TDs). I’m choosing to gloss over his slower than expected 40-time and 3-cone drill time. I feel strongly that what he’s displayed on the field is what matters the most and his body of work proves that. If anything, from the Dynasty perspective I see this as a prime opportunity to acquire Cook at a discount, whether it be during my rookie mock drafts or via trades. Keep in mind that his landing spot could significantly have a negative or positive impact on his Dynasty value moving forward.

1.04- Leonard Fournette RB LSU (Tom)

Is Leonard Fournette the next <a rel=

I’m taking Leonard Fournette, which right now, is the consensus No.1 for a lot of scouts and analysts. If not, he’s No.2 after Corey Davis. People say he’s the next coming of Adrian Peterson and we’ll see about that. We heard this all before with Todd Gurley so who knows.

My main concern with Fournette is his durability so I’m really hoping he can stay on the field. That might be a challenge with his running style. He’s been able to bully everyone at every level he’s played at, so it will be interesting to see him adapt to a league where he’s not the most physically gifted player on the field. Maybe he still will be and this won’t be an issue.

On the field the only real knock on him his lack of pass-catching skills, but they didn’t really give him a chance or ask him to be involved in that aspect of his game at LSU. He looked good at his pro day catching the ball and running routes. His adjusted speed score is ridiculous at 116 in the 96th percentile. For me personally I see how physical he is and I see shades of Bo Jackson. That’s high praise, but physically he can play like that at times. He’s not as good laterally, but that’s not his style. I don’t think he’s the next Zeke, I think that’s Mixon, but Fournette will be a damn good player and he’s one of the safer picks in the class. As far as landing spots, I could see him winding up in San Francisco, Jacksonville, Carolina or Cincinnati. Let’s all hope the Jets don’t take him and ruin him like everyone else.

1.05- Christian McCaffrey RB Stanford (Chris)

Christian McCaffrey is one of the biggest pre-draft risers.

Christian McCaffrey is one of the biggest pre-draft risers.

In my eyes, McCaffrey has the highest floor of any offensive player in the draft. There are just so many positives about his game that stand out to me. I’m only going to be able to scratch the surface here with what I like about him. He checked almost every box possible at the combine, putting up one of the best 3 cones by a running back in the past decade. He looked excellent during drills, especially catching the ball, which wasn’t all that surprising given his usage at Stanford.

I know Ron and Tom were concerned about the lackluster bench press, but I’m not all that worried as upper body strength isn’t a deciding factor to a running backs’ success in my eyes. On tape, you see a patient runner that is able to navigate in heavy traffic. He’s excellent at making reads once he reaches the line of scrimmage and has the shiftiness to jumpcut into a hole and accelerate. Also evident, is how effective a weapon McCaffrey will be in the passing game. I wouldn’t be shocked if he has multiple games in a season where he catches 6-8 balls, and that kind of PPR upside can’t be overlooked.

You can expect fantasy production from the moment he steps onto the field. He may not be a TD machine, but the consistency you’re going to see from his receiving production will offset that, think Devonta Freeman minus the touchdowns. I know Matt Waldman has compared him to Brian Westbrook, so wouldn’t it be ironic if he lands with the Eagles? I also view the Panthers and Colts as nice fits for his versatile skill-set.

1.06- Mike Williams WR Clemson (Ron)

Mike  Williams is the most NFL-ready WR in the draft. (David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Williams is the most NFL-ready WR in the draft. (David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)

I’m pleased to have another great rookie prospect fall into my lap in this Dynasty mock draft. Mike Williams is hands down the most distinguished and proven wide receiver in this year’s draft class.

His measurements and frame profile him as your prototypical NFL wide receiver at 6-foot-4 and 218 pounds. While he decided not to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, his elite ball skills were on display in Indy as he caught everything thrown his direction. He has the ideal size and speed combo to beat opposing defensive backs at the next level. Williams’ doesn’t possess track speed but he makes up for it with elite ball skills that make NFL scouts drool.

Williams’ is also blessed with long arms and big hands that allow him to climb the ladder and high-point 50/50 balls over defenders. This is his most appealing trait which should allow him to be used as a possession receiver and more importantly a top red zone target for his quarterback. Williams also tracks the ball very well while possessing great body control, along with great hands. He works the middle of the field without any reservations and has experience working all three levels of the field at Clemson. He’s at his best in crunch time under the bright lights as he proved in the National Championship game vs Alabama. Add it all up and you have a future WR1 who can contribute from day one for whatever team selects him.

He’s a near lock to be selected in the first round and his possible landing spots could be Tennessee, Philadelphia, Arizona, and New Orleans. As far as comps go I think he has some Alshon Jeffery to his game. I’d consider him one of the safer real-life and Dynasty rookie picks this year.

1.07- O.J. Howard TE Alabama (Tom)

Alabama OJ Howard

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I’m taking O’terrious Jabari (O.J.) Howard over John Ross here due the safety of the pick. I think he’s going to be a top 5 tight end for years to come. He’s going to be on the field a lot due to his complete skill set at the tight end position. Howard is a BIG red zone target and a great YAC guy. These key ingredients will be the recipe for lots of touchdowns at the next level.

He reminds me of Travis Kelce when he gets the ball in his hands. Playerprofiler.com has Greg Olsen as his closest comparable but I see Travis Kelce when he gets going. He runs away from linebackers and you can see the 4.51 speed on the field once he gets in some space.

Good fits are Buffalo, Tennessee (even though they have Walker), and New Orleans. I could envision Cleveland making a play for him at 12 if he’s there and also Arizona. I don’t think he gets past pick 13 and he’ll probably be a top 10 player with the ceiling of going in the top 5. This is an easy pick, especially if it’s a tight end premium league.

In rookie drafts I could see Howard creeping into the top 6 if one of the consensus top 6 goes to a bad landing spot and OJ lands in a great spot. However, Evan Engram has been creeping  up on him and I wouldn’t be surprised if Engram has a better rookie year statistically. Long term though…the glove fits here for OJ at 1.07.

1.08- John Ross WR Washington (Chris)

John Ross has track speed but there's much more to his game.

John Ross has track speed but there’s much more to his game.

For this selection, I’m going to go with the fastest player in the draft. Ross ran a 4.22 40 at the Combine, and his tape definitely confirms that speed. He’s a real burner but he’s not just a one trick pony.

He displays the ability to create separation all over the field, and even displayed proficiency in the redzone using hard jab steps to make defenders bite in one direction and then use his speed to create space.

Let’s be clear, he’s not the go up and snatch the ball in traffic type of receiver, but he can track the ball well over his shoulder on deep balls a la TY Hilton or Brandin Cooks. Now there are some concerns, in that he’ll be facing much more technically sound corners in the NFL compared to in college, where DBs backed off him and rarely played press coverage. Ross will need to show that he can consistently beat press coverage, as corners in the NFL will definitely be more physical with him.

Unfortunately there are injury red flags, as Ross has dealt with ACL injuries, microfracture surgery, and most recently a torn labrum. I’d like to see Ross land with the Titans, Eagles, and maybe even the Cowboys opposite Dez Bryant. It’s possible that we could see John Ross be the first wide receiver drafted leapfroging Mike Williams and Corey Davis. If this happens and he lands in the ideal situation for immediate production, his Dynasty value would skyrocket.

1.09- Zay Jones WR East Carolina (Ron)

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

I know this pick is going to turn some heads and cause an uproar in the Dynasty community but I will stand by my guy Zay Jones. I’ll gladly go to bat for one of the most overlooked and underrated rookies in this years draft class.

I had the pleasure of watching Jones up close and personal in Mobile at Senior Bowl practices. It was clear at North Team practices that Jones came to Mobile with a chip on his shoulder and that he had something to prove. Zay has an unbelievable catch radius and catches everything thrown his way. Well almost everything, according to Pro Football Focus Jones amassed an incredible 462 targets over the past three years, dropping only 17 of his 360 catchable targets. He’s got incredible hands and can climb the ladder versus smaller corners. Jones moves well with the ball in his hands and thrives on making big plays. It’s amazing how much body control he has which allows him to contort his body and make incredible highlight reel catches.

After acing the Senior Bowl he continued to turn heads and increase his draft stock at the biggest pre-draft stage, the NFL Combine. Jones (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, adding a 36.5-inch vertical jump, 133-inch broad jump, and 4.01-second 20-yd shuttle. His 3-cone time was also very impressive at 6.79 seconds. I think one of the most appealing things about Jones isn’t his eye-popping collegiate stats or what he’s accomplished during the pre-draft process.

What stands out the most to me about Jones can’t be measured or seen on tape, it’s the burning desire and motivation within to succeed that drives him. Jones is a high-character player who is mature beyond his years on and off the field. In Dynasty circles he’s miscast as strictly a slot wide receiver, but he’s way more than that. I hope the rest of my Dynasty league mates are sleeping on him like some scouts but something tells me he’s not going to be a secret for much longer.

The ideal landing spot Jones for immediate production would be the Dallas Cowboys lining up opposite Dez Bryant. I could also envision the Tennessee Titans or the Carolina Panthers drafting him if he falls in the draft. Both teams have a need for a secondary receiver who could play a major role from day one. I wouldn’t be surprised if he quickly earned players and coaches trust and became the top receiving option in Tennessee or Carolina, if he was to land on either team. 

1.10- Curtis Samuel WR/RB Ohio State (Tom)

Greg Bartram - USA TODAY Sports

Greg Bartram – USA TODAY Sports

I LOVE this guy! I think he could potentially be this year’s Tyreek Hill. Everyone knows the effect that Hill had on the Chiefs and it was huge for his Dynasty value. I actually have him above John Ross right now as my No.3 rookie wide receiver. He’s a cross between Hill, Randall Cobb, and Reggie Bush.

He’s not traditional in any sense, so we have to see where he goes. This is a guy who is going to have a ton of hype around him after he gets drafted. Coaches are going to fall in love with what he brings to the offense. Players are going to gush over his unique skill set and lobby with coaches to involve him more in the offense similar to how Percy Harvin was utilized early in his career. Media personnel watching practice are going to fall in love with his speed from day one. On the field he plays at that 4.31 speed that he ran at the combine.

Without John Ross running a 4.22, people would be talking a lot more about Samuel. Oh and by the way Hill ran a 4.36 last year at the Combine. In comparison Randall Cobb ran a 4.46 and Reggie Bush a 4.42. You can use this guy anywhere and everywhere on the field in a hybrid role. Pay close attention to where he lands because if he gets designated as a running back, his Dynasty value will spike. Just keep in mind the effect that Hill had on his team last year and how valuable he was in fantasy for his owners.

I’m really excited about Samuel since I believe he could he utilized in the same way as Hill was last year. I’d love to see the Eagles select him in the 2nd if they decide to go defense in the 1st. He might possibly sneak into the 1st round if a team falls in love with him as much as I have. If Dallas selects him, I’m going to be pissed as an Eagles fan, but I realize he’d be a great fit there. Can you imagine that? Put him in motion and you still have to account for Zeke when he runs it down your throat or they give Samuel the ball on an end around. This would take the Dallas offense to another level. Hopefully, Dallas takes a cornerback, because if not, I might actually cry. I’ve read reports that say he could sneak into the first round and go ahead of Dalvin Cook. Honestly I could see it happening if a team covets him and wants to add that non-traditional element to their offense. He’s going to be a baller. Get your shares while you can!

1.11- Evan Engram TE Ole Miss (Chris)

Ole Miss Evan Engram

Doug Pensinger – Getty Images

This was my toughest choice of the draft so far as I have a lot of guys I like here, but I’m going to go with Evan Engram. He put up fantastic numbers at the Combine, including a 4.42-second 40 Dash and a sub 7 3-cone. Those numbers would grade him out near the top of the rookie receiver class, yet he’s a tight end by trade. What I like the most about his tape is that you see a player that displays the ability to make tough contested catches in traffic. He’s a hands catcher and you can see that he adjusts well to the ball in the air.

Where you do see his shortcomings are as a blocker, but teams shouldn’t be drafting Engram expecting him to be an in line tight end. Ultimately, I think you’ll see Engram operate as an H-Back where he’s paired with a more traditional in line blocking tight end. If you’re drafting Engram as a TE, you need to be aware (especially in TE premium leagues), that there’s a chance that a team drafts Engram and utilizes him as a wide receiver. This would then cause his offensive position to be reclassified down the line and could ultimately impact his fantasy value as a result.

As a TE I could see him being utilized similarly to Jordan Reed, and if he is moved to WR potentially like Marques Colston. Speaking of Colston, I think Sean Payton is the type of offensive mastermind who would know how to utilize Engram. Therefore I see the Saints as a potential fit in the 2nd round if Engram lasts that long. Make no mistake he’s not going to drop any further than Day 2 considering his elite athleticism and high ceiling.  

1.12- D’Onta Foreman RB Texas (Ron)

D'Onta Foreman might fall in the NFL Draft but not in this mock. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

D’Onta Foreman might fall in the NFL Draft but not in this mock. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

I considered taking a few different players for the last pick in our Dynasty rookie mock draft. I could have gone wide receiver here and taken one of the biggest pre-draft risers, Chris Godwin. I also considered Semaje Perine here but ultimately I decided to take the highest running back remaining on my draft board. I guess I’m a sucker for my running backs but I strongly feel that D’Onta Foreman is a special running back who is being overlooked and wrongfully labeled as a short-yardage or goal line specialist at the next level.

For a big back (233 lbs) Foreman possesses outstanding athleticism and surprising smooth lateral movement. He has a low center of gravity and utilizes his thick/compact build to push defenders forward, gaining extra yards. Foreman has the size to profile as a bell-cow back at the next level along with the physical running style that will translate well in the right situation. In other words he can take a pounding from NFL defenders and is durable enough to stay on the field. These are traits that coaches will admire about Foreman which should move him up draft boards. 

It’s easy to forget or overlook what Foreman accomplished last year at Texas, beating out Dalvin Cook and Donnel Pumphrey to win the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back. Foreman lead the FBS in rushing yards and rushing yards per game with 2,028 and 184.3, respectively. Much like Leonard Fournette he wasn’t relied on at all in the passing game but was decent in pass-pro, displaying the ability to cut block when necessary.

What hurt Foreman’s draft stock the most was not being able to run or compete at the NFL Combine drills. NFL doctors found a small stress fracture in Foreman’s foot during medical testing at the combine. Foreman has shed some weight and at his Pro Day he ran a blazing 4.42 sec 40-yard dash. As far as comps I think he’s got a mix of Michael Turner and Jonathan Stewart to his game. He’s got Turner’s pinball-type of running style along with his toughness.

I think the ideal landing spot for Foreman would be either with the Packers or Raiders. They both lack a powerful North-south type of back with the toughness of Foreman. I think he’ll end up being a steal on Day 3 of the NFL Draft and a steal in Dynasty rookie drafts if he falls into the second round. 

Be sure to give us a follow on Twitter @FP_DynastyZone and check out our Dynasty Zone Round 1 rookie mock draft podcast. We give our hot takes on these picks and our Dynasty outlook for these players. Lastly please give my co-hosts a follow on Twitter for their valuable Dynasty insight and NFL Draft coverage.

Tom Corson- @corsontm

Chris Donikian- @ChrisDonik

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