The Cowboys selected Stanford WR Simi Fehoko in Round 5 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fehoko went on a 2-year religious mission after high school, so he’s already 23 years old despite spending just 3 seasons at Stanford. After a quiet freshman year, he ranked 3rd on the team with 566 yards and was tops with 6 TDs as a sophomore. Then he easily led the Cardinal with 37 catches, 574 yards and 3 TDs in 6 games this past season. Fehoko has plus size at 6’4, 222 pounds and impressed at his Pro Day with a 4.44-second 40 time, a 34.5-inch vertical and strong times in the agility drills. He has work to do in the route-running department, but there’s intriguing developmental upside here. He'll have room to develop on a loaded WR depth chart in Dallas, led by Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Fehoko's best early bet might be challenging for Noah Brown's #5 spot. He'll be just a late-draft consideration for dynasty managers.
The Texans made Miami (FL) TE Brevin Jordan a Round 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A top ranked TE out of high school, Jordan posted 32-287-4 as a true freshman at Miami before combining for 73-1,071-9 over his final 2 seasons. Jordan brings slot experience along with impressive post-catch ability. However, he’s undersized (6’3, 247) and unimpressive as a blocker. Despite the negatives, it’s still a shock that he came off the board as the TE9. Houston is a solid long-term landing spot given how desperate they are for playmakers. Beyond Jordan, the Texans current TE depth includes Jordan Akins, Pharoah Brown and Kahale Warring, among others.
The Bengals selected Florida K Evan McPherson in Round 5 of the 2021 NFL Draft. He’ll head into the offseason program as the favorite for kicking duties over veteran Austin Seibert. McPherson made 85% of his 60 career FG attempts; he went 5 of 8 from 50+ yards.
The Eagles have selected RB Kenneth Gainwell in the 5th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Before opting out for COVID concerns in 2020, Gainwell posted a huge sophomore campaign at Memphis. He ran for 1,459 yards and 13 TDs on 6.3 yards per rush, adding 51 receptions for 610 yards and 3 more scores. Gainwell finished that season 12th in the nation in rushing yards and 6th in scrimmage yards per game. Gainwell played at just 190 pounds but still clocked a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, at 201. His college tape shows a player with run strength and experience running WR routes. Gainwell’s size figures to limit his touch upside, but he could prove nicely efficient on a per-play basis. His slide to Round 5 also doesn't speak well of his status with NFL decision makers. Landing in Philly not only limits Gainwell's upside, it also challenges the touch volume for Miles Sanders. At worst, Gainwell is a good-looking pass-catcher.
The Jaguars selected Ohio State TE Luke Farrell in Round 5 of the 2021 NFL Draft. The 6’5, 251-pounder was recruited by current Jags HC Urban Meyer. A subpar all-around athlete with 4.81 speed, Farrell projects as an in-line TE. Already going on 24 years old, Farrell is unlikely Jacksonville’s long-term answer at the position. What works in his favor in the short term is a barren TE depth chart.
The Saints spent a 4th-round pick on Notre Dame QB Ian Book in the 2021 NFL Draft. Book spent most of the past 3 seasons starting for the Irish, tossing 68 TD passes vs. just 16 INTs over that span. He also sports some rushing upside, going for 1,311 yards and 17 TDs on the ground over that span. Book backed that up with a 4.65-second 40 at his pro day. Going to New Orleans obviously presents long-term opportunity upside if he can develop -- and if Jameis Winston doesn't simply take over the situation.
The Ravens selected WR Tylan Wallace in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Wallace has 1 of the strongest production profiles in this year’s WR class. He posted a huge 86-1,491-12 line as a true sophomore in 2018, accounting for 37% of Oklahoma State’s receiving yards and 36% of the TDs. He was on a similar pace through the first 8 games of 2019, averaging 6.6 catches, 113 yards and 1 TD per contest. But Wallace tore his right ACL in practice that October. He was ready for the start of last season and was productive again, averaging 5.9 catches, 92 yards and .6 TDs per game. The concerns? Wallace is on the small side at 5’11, 194 pounds with below-average athleticism. That’s more concerning since he did a lot of his damage in college in contested situations. He probably won’t be as effective in that department in the NFL. And he’s just a mediocre route runner. Then there’s the ACL. Wallace has the 1 tear behind him -- and his twin brother has torn his ACL 3 times. It makes Wallace genetically more likely to suffer another ACL injury in the future. He joins a run-heavy Baltimore offense that boasts Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews and Round 1 pick Rashod Bateman. Wallace is certainly a long-shot for year 1 fantasy value.
The Buccaneers have taken North Texas WR Jaelon Darden in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Darden is undersized at 5’8 and 174 pounds but clocked a 4.46-second 40 time at his Pro Day, along with a 91st percentile 3-cone and 79th percentile short shuttle. Those traits show up on tape. Darden toyed with Conference USA defenders last year on his way to an 1,190-yard, 19-TD 2020 campaign. He faces a huge step up in competition moving to the NFL, of course. So we’ll see if that athleticism translates. He lands, of course, in a crowded receiver corps with at least Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Tyler Johnson currently ahead of him.
Oklahoma State RB Chuba Hubbard has landed with Panthers in the 4th round of the NFL Draft. Hubbard made himself a household name with 2,094 rushing yards and 21 TDs in 2019. His production slipped quite a bit to his final season, however, including a drop from 6.4 yards per rush to just 4.7. Hubbard brings plenty of speed, but he might not present enough all-around ability to turn into a lead back in the NFL. If he settles in as merely a committee piece, then the fantasy upside will be limited. Carolina's not a bad landing spot. Christian McCaffrey obviously stands to dominate backfield work for as long as he's healthy and with the team. But Hubbard could be the handcuff by the end of summer. He'll compete with Reggie Bonnafon and Rodney Smith for that honor.
The Colts selected SMU TE Kylen Granson in the 4th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Granson, a Senior Bowl participant, stands just over 6’1 and 241 pounds. A strong athlete, he played WR for 2 seasons at Rice but left the program due to a coaching change. He spent the past 2 seasons at SMU, racking up 78-1,267-14 in 23 games. Indy’s current TE depth looks thin with Mo Alie-Cox and Jack Doyle, but Granson profiles more as a part-timer/H-back.
The Vikings spent a 4th-round pick on RB Kene Nwangwu in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Nwangwu likely raised his stock with tremendous testing numbers at his pro day. He ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at 6 feet, 210 pounds. He added 85th percentile or better measurements in the vertical, broad and 3-cone. Nwangwu totaled just 143 carries and 7 catches across 4 seasons at Iowa State. He did averaged a strong 26.8 yards per kick return for his career. That could be Nwangwu's entry point to significance in Minnesota. He's obviously not going to challenge Dalvin Cook's standing and might not even present much competition to Alexander Mattison. Ameer Abdullah might want to beware, though.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson goes to the Patriots in the 4th round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Stevenson bloomed late in college, averaging 7.2 yards per rush across 2 seasons at Oklahoma after 2 years at a California junior college. He took over the Sooners backfield for 6 games in 2020 after opening 2019 behind Trey Sermon (pre-transfer) and Kennedy Brooks. Stevenson missed the beginning of his final season because of a suspension for a positive marijuana test, but even his college coach, Lincoln Riley, railed against the “archaic” rule that produced the situation. So there’s no off-field concern with Stevenson. On the field, he’s a big runner who also averaged 3 receptions per game as a senior. Stevenson lacks big-play speed and isn’t likely to turn into an NFL workhorse. But he has the upside to lead his backfield for stretches and/or emerge as a favorite option in the red zone. New England's current RB depth chart includes Damien Harris, Sony Michel, James White and JJ Taylor, among others.
Detroit picked WR Amon-Ra St. Brown in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Equanimeous’ brother was the #2 WR in his recruiting class and became just the 4th true freshman to lead USC in catches when he hauled in 60 balls for 750 yards and 3 scores in 2018. St. Brown then posted a 77-1,042-6 line as a true sophomore, although that came on a strong Trojans passing attack. His market shares were mediocre: 21% of the catches, 24% of the yards and 17% of the TDs. St. Brown led USC with 41 catches and 7 TDs in an abbreviated 6-game 2020 season, but sophomore WR Drake Jordan beat him 502 to 478 in yards. St. Brown is a solid all-around receiver on tape, with good contested ability, decent route running and some juice after the catch. “Steady,” “dependable” and “average” were 3 words used by scouts to describe St. Brown’s game in Bob McGinn’s excellent article on The Athletic. Durability is also a question mark here after St. Brown suffered a hand injury as a high school senior, sprained the AC joint in his shoulder in 2018 and 2020 and needed sports hernia surgery after the 2019 campaign. He lands in an offense with a clear need at the position, though. Detroit's WR depth chart currently appears to be led by Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus. We'll see how quickly the rookie can climb it.
The Titans have taken WR Dez Fitzpatrick in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick turned in an impressive 2017 redshirt freshman season, leading the Cardinals with 9 receiving scores and ranking 2nd with 45 catches and 699 yards. He never really progressed from there, although it’s worth noting that his 833 yards last year were a career high and beat Tutu Atwell's total by more than 200. Fitzpatrick also checks the size and athleticism boxes at 6’2, 208 pounds with 4.49 speed and a 35-inch vertical. He lands in a spot with opportunity. Tennessee let Corey Davis walk in free agency, dumped WR Adam Humphries and added only WR Josh Reynolds on a 1-year contract.
The Jets have selected RB Michael Carter with the 2nd pick of Round 4 in the 2021 NFL Draft. As a true freshman, Carter led the Tar Heels in yards per carry (5.8) and TDs (8). He finished his 4-year career with 3,403 rushing yards, playing the past 2 in a near-even timeshare with Javonte Williams. At only 5’8 and 201 pounds, Carter doesn’t have workhorse potential. But he projects as a strong receiver (82 career catches) with excellent elusiveness and agility in all facets. A role with ~15 touches per game could certainly put him in the future RB2 discussion. Landing with the Jets presents obvious opportunity. The biggest challenges already on the roster look like Tevin Coleman and La'Mical Perine.
The Chargers grabbed Georgia TE Tre McKitty in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The 6'4, 246-pounder caught 50 balls across 3 seasons at Florida State before transferring to Georgia last year and totaling just 6 grabs. McKitty tested as an above-average athlete at his Pro Day, including a 4.71-second 40 time. He joins Jared Cook and cult hero Donald Parham in the Chargers' TE room.
The Browns took Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz with the 91st overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. A legit track star in high school and college, Schwartz unsurprisingly blazed a 4.27-second 40 time at his Pro Day. He’s just 6’0 and 186 pounds, though, and was below average in the jumping and agility drills. Schwartz was used as more of a gadget player than true WR at Auburn. He averaged just 12.2 yards per catch over his 3-year career and scored more rushing TDs (7) than receiving (6). The speed is intriguing, but Schwartz has a long ways to go to be a real fantasy factor. The Browns have Odell Beckham signed through 2023 and Jarvis Landry through 2022.
The Texans traded up to take Michigan WR Nico Collins with the 89th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Bad Michigan passing games muted Collins’ numbers in 2018 (38-632-6) and 2019 (37-729-7). Then he opted out of the 2020 campaign. But Collins posted solid market shares, flashes dominant contested-catch ability on tape and is 1 of the biggest, most athletic WRs in this class. Collins measured 6’4, 215 pounds at his Pro Day and ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash with a big 37.5-inch vertical. He earned a 95th percentile Relative Athletic Score. Collins is a boom/bust prospect but has the upside to develop into a fantasy difference-maker. Houston’s QB situation is a concern, but there’s plenty of opportunity for immediate playing time here with Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb the only established WRs on the depth chart.
The 49ers traded up to select Ohio State RB Trey Sermon with the 88th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Sermon opened his college career solidly at Oklahoma, averaging 5.9 yards per rush and scoring 20 total TDs over his 1st 2 seasons. But he fell out of favor with the coaching staff there before transferring to Ohio State for his final season. Sermon spent most of 2020 splitting touches with Master Teague but closed out the year with a 29-331-2 rushing line in the Big Ten championship game win over Northwestern and then a 31-193-1 outing in the semifinal win over Clemson. Sermon brings enough size (6’0, 215), tested well athletically and put a nice blend of running skills on his college tape. There’s 3-down upside to his game, though he’s more likely headed for some level of backfield share in San Francisco alongside Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. It’s a strong running game under HC Kyle Shanahan, though, so this is a nice landing spot.
The Packers finally added a WR for Aaron Rodgers, grabbing Clemson’s Amari Rodgers in Round 3. Rodgers’ college career was disrupted by a March 2019 torn ACL. He unbelievably made it back for the 2nd game of that season -- just about 6 months after the injury -- but was noticeably limited. He bounced back to set career highs across the board in 2020 with 77 catches, 1,020 yards and 7 scores. All 3 marks led the Tigers. The 5’10, 212-pounder is at his best after the catch, with good vision, enough wiggle and strong contact balance. The concerns: he doesn’t create a lot of separation, has a small catch radius and is subpar in contested situations. Rodgers tested as an average athlete at Clemson’s Pro Day, including a 4.52-second 40 time. There was some pre-draft talk about him moving to RB, but the Packers announced him as a WR. Rodgers doesn’t look like a difference-maker in the NFL, but this is a solid landing spot as long as Aaron Rodgers sticks around. Amari has a chance to win the slot receiver job right out of the gate.
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