Now that we’ve had a couple of days to process the 2016 NFL Draft, here are some further reactions from the DS staff …
I love this pick: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Ravens
A week ago, Baltimore's backfield comprised a band of complementary pieces with nary a feature back. Now a 4th-round rookie is their best RB.
Dixon averaged 17.1 carries per game as a 4-year starter at Louisiana Tech and finished as FBS' #2 all-time TD scorer (barely behind Navy QB and fellow Ravens draftee, Keenan Reynolds). And he's probably an even better receiver, with 63 catches and 13 receiving scores over the past 2 years, plus 11.1 yards per reception career.
Dixon flashed good speed and deceptive strength on his college tape and is just 22. He has a lot of production ahead of him.
I hate this pick: Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos
I might be the biggest fan on this staff of both Booker and C.J. Anderson, so watching the draft stuff them into the same backfield left me crying in the shower.
Anderson finished each of the last 2 years with promising 2nd halves, delivering strong rushing averages and looking good as a pass-catcher in 2014. Booker might have slid in the NFL Draft because of a knee injury, but he flashed impressive receiving ability and clear 3-down potential over 2 years at Utah.
Both players should earn regular touches in Denver, a setup that only continues to grow in popularity around the league. But it'll be tough to know just how the work will get split. And that uncertainty hurts at draft time. I hoped to get Booker into a situation with feature-back opportunity for dynasty rookie drafts. Instead, he'll start out behind a guy who's only 15 months older and just signed a 4-year contract.
I'll be drafting this Day 3 guy in dynasty: Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Patriots
Surprisingly, Mitchell's 4th-round spot made him just the 11th wideout drafted over the weekend, but going on Day 3 might mask his terrific landing spot.
Mitchell snagged 29.1% of Georgia's total receptions in 2015, along with 36% of the receiving yards and 35.7% of the TD catches. Combine that with a size-speed profile that delivers Nelson Agholor as the top match on PlayerProfiler.com, and you get a guy that seems to belong earlier in the draft.
Instead, Mitchell lands in a Patriots offense that boasts 30-year-old (as of May 22) Julian Edelman as #1 wideout, and then Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, 32-year-old Nate Washington ... oh, and Aaron Dobson, that guy you're supposed to believe in each year. I wouldn't be shocked if Mitchell's the #1 wideout in New England by 2018.
I love this pick: Alex Collins, RB, Seahawks
Because this pick, along with Thomas Rawls’ presence, should suppress C.J. Prosise’s dynasty and redraft price.
Prosise will run circles around his fellow rookie. He’s bigger (6’0, 220 pounds vs. 5’11, 217), he’s more athletic (64th percentile SPARQ vs. 14th) and he averaged more catches over the past 2 seasons that Collins totaled over his 3-year college career (27.5 to 27). Seattle also invested significantly more in Prosise (3rd round vs. 5th), which gives him a built-in advantage.
Prosise figures to fall into the 2nd round in dynasty rookie drafts, where he’ll be a prime target. He’ll also be worth a look as a potential spot starter in 2016 redraft PPR leagues with a shot to carve out a change-of-pace, pass-catching role alongside Rawls.
I hate this pick: Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
Cincinnati was a sneaky-good landing spot for a WR. Brandon LaFell, Mario Alford and James Wright topped the pre-draft depth chart behind A.J. Green.
But it wasn’t a great spot for big volume. The Bengals have ranked 25th and 26th, respectively, in pass attempts over the past 2 seasons. Green is locked in as the lead dog and TE Tyler Eifert will continue to be a big part of the passing game. Marvin Jones ranked 30th among WRs with 103 targets as Cincinnati’s #2 WR last year.
The job would have been best filled by a big-play WR who could produce on somewhat limited volume. Boyd is not that guy. He averaged a modest 13.2 yards per catch with an 8.3% TD rate in 3 college seasons. And he’s not particularly big or athletic at 6’1, 197 pounds with a SPARQ score in the 34th percentile.
Boyd will struggle for even WR3 value as a secondary option in a run-heavy offense. A guy like Leonte Carroo or even Malcolm Mitchell would have been more intriguing in Cincinnati.
I’ll be drafting this Day 3 guy in dynasty: Mike Thomas, WR, Rams
St. Louis: Where WRs go to die.
Well, good thing the Rams moved to Los Angeles. While this will remain a run-heavy offense as long as HC Jeff Fisher is around, there’s hope for the passing game with the arrival of #1 overall pick Jared Goff.
Thomas has a shot to be a big part of that revival. Despite not being invited to the Combine and lasting until the draft’s 6th round, he has the size (6’1, 200 pounds), athleticism (48th percentile SPARQ) and ball skills to quickly carve out a significant role. His competition for snaps and targets consists of the perennially disappointing Kenny Britt, a gadget-type in Tavon Austin and underwhelming rookie Pharoh Cooper.
I love this pick: Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
Talent. Opportunity. Supporting cast. Shepard has it all with the Giants.
The pro-ready WR stands just 5’10, but he wins with dynamic route running and a pair of sticky hands. Shepard dropped only 8 balls on 253 career catches. His raw numbers really jump off the page, too: 233 catches, 3,482 yards (14.9 YPC) and 26 TDs over 4 years.
Shepard joins a WR corps that lacks stability behind Odell Beckham. Victor Cruz hasn’t played since October of 2014 and remains iffy following a pair of leg injuries. Shepard should easily breeze past depth WRs like Dwayne Harris, Myles White and Geremy Davis.
The Giants have finished 9th and 4th in total plays over the last 2 seasons. Offensive mastermind Ben McAdoo returns for his 3rd campaign – 1st as HC – so Shepard shouldn’t hurt for volume. Eli Manning is now 35, but he’s maintained a high level of play over the past 2 years.
Ultimately, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Shepard push for WR3 value – especially in PPR leagues.
I hate this pick: Roberto Aguayo, K, Buccaneers
A 6-10 team last year, the Bucs traded up for Aguayo in Round 2. He’s the 4th kicker drafted in the first two rounds over the last 25 years.
Let that sink in.
Now, I’ll certainly give credit to the FSU standout. His college career ended with an impressive 88.5% FG conversion rate. Last year, though, he hit only 5 of 10 attempts from 40+ yards.
There’s no doubt that Tampa Bay needed an upgrade at kicker. Connor Barth and Kyle Brindza hit only 29 of 40 FG attempts (72.5%) last season.
But to spend such an early pick on a specialist … and trade away picks to acquire him? Aguayo must be an Iron Chef.
I’ll be drafting this Day 3 guy in dynasty: Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
Howard landed in a great spot for instant fantasy value.
Sophomore RB Jeremy Langford currently sits atop the depth chart. Langford dazzled as a receiver last season, snagging 22 passes for 279 yards (12.7 YPC) and 1 score. He struggled on the ground, however, gaining only 3.6 yards per carry. Pro Football Focus says he notched an NFL-low 2.7 YPC against base defenses.
Meanwhile, Howard (6’0, 230) showed that he has the thumping frame to excel on early downs. He busted off a video game-like 196-1,213-9 line at Indiana last season. He also led the nation in yards after contact per attempt (3.69), per PFF. So it’s no surprise that he’s drawn comparisons to Arian Foster and Chris Ivory.
Howard might not carry much receiving upside, but he could quickly earn a goal-line role and handle 10+ touches per game. He certainly has the upside to be Chicago’s long-term starter.
I Love this Pick: Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
Just so we're clear … there were TWO Michael Thomas' at WR taken in the draft this year.
This Thomas was 1 of the million Ohio State players selected among the 1st 3 rounds, going 47th overall to the Saints. What might be lost in all of that is the immediate fantasy value.
Thomas should compete with Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman for #2 WR looks in an offense replacing longtime slot man Marques Colston. The Saints love to throw the rock, so even if he's further down the charts to start the season, there will be targets.
The 6'3", 212-pound WR comes off back-to-back 50+ reception seasons with the Buckeyes and added 9 TDs his junior year. Thomas has huge hands and an excellent catch radius. Thomas might never become the #1 WR as long as Cooks is there, but the Saints have enough to go around.
I hate this pick: Cody Kessler, QB, Browns
The Browns haven't done well drafting QBs the last 20 years -- and now comes Kessler. A good-not-great starter at USC, Kessler boasts little upside. That made him a surprise pick before the likes of Connor Cook, Dak Prescott and Cardale Jones.
The Browns cut Manziel and brought in RGIII in the offseason, so Griffin will be the main man under center in Cleveland. Maybe Kessler will be a decent backup if he can make some serious improvements learning the system, but Kessler's a good 2-3 years away from making any impact for the team. And if Griffin gets injured again, the entire Cleveland offense could crumble.
Head Coach Hue Jackson responded to the questionable decision to draft Kessler with, "You've got to trust me." Jackson must see something in him that others don't. Cleveland had a pretty good draft otherwise, but this one is certainly a head-scratcher.
I'll be drafting this Day 3 guy in dynasty: Jerell Adams, TE, Giants
The 6th-round pick didn't put up huge numbers at South Carolina, but I expect him to immediately compete for the starting TE job. The 6'5, 244-pounder will be a nice addition to an already explosive offense that could use another threat in the middle of the field.
TE Larry Donnell has proved limited over the past 2 years. TE Will Tye filled in nicely for the back end of 2015 but also presents a limited ceiling.
Adams scored 3 TDs and set career highs in receptions (28) and yards (421) in his senior year while spending much of his time blocking in a run-heavy offense. When the Gamecocks did throw, WR Pharoh Cooper dominated the targets.
Give him a year in the pros to figure out the system and watch Adams take over the lead TE role in the offense in 2017.