The Eagles picked Colorado LB Davion Taylor in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. Taylor spent just 2 seasons with the Buffalos after beginning his career at the junior college level. Speed is Taylor's game. He ranked 6th in the off-ball LB class with a 112.2 speed score, but also ranked 11th in solo tackles per game (4.75). Taylor goes to a Philly defense with openings at LB. We'll see if he's ready to compete for a 2020 starting gig, but the opportunity is there.
The Saints selected Dayton TE Adam Trautman in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Trautman improved his production all 4 years on campus, topping out with a 70-916-14 line in 2019. That obviously came against relatively weak competition. But Trautman posted big market shares, tied for 3rd in yards per route run among 18 of this year’s top WR prospects and led that group in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grades. He’s also a capable blocker and tested as a 67th percentile athlete at the Combine. We weren’t overly impressed by his tape, but Trautman really checks all the analytical boxes. He’ll sit behind Jared Cook this season but has some longer-term upside with HC Sean Payton in New Orleans.
The Ravens picked Ohio State LB Malik Harrison in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. Harrison lands in a LB corps with 2 ILB openings, and thus faces immediate starting opportunity. The question will be whether he can earn 3-down duty. Harrison brings good speed and enjoyed a solidly productive career at Ohio State.
The Browns picked LSU LB Jacob Phillips in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. Phillips joins an LB corps that returns only Mack Wilson among 2019 starters. That presents immediate opportunity to the guy who took over play-calling duties for LSU's defense. Phillips' 113 tackles led the Tigers by 21 last season.
The Titans added Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 5’10, 203-pounder has the look of a change-of-pace back in the pros, which makes his fit in Tennessee behind Derrick Henry make perfect sense. “He’s a finesse guy,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s not a very strong inside runner, but get him on the perimeter and he’s got a really natural feel.” Evans helped himself by clocking a 4.41-second 40-yard dash and earning an 84th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. He averaged a nice 6.1 yards per carry as Appalachian State’s lead back over the past 2 seasons but was obviously facing weaker competition in the Sun Belt Conference. Evans didn’t fare well in Pro Football Focus’ 2019 Elusive Rating, ranking 19th among 21 of the top backs in the class. He looks comfortable in the passing game on tape, though, and tallied 32 grabs over the past 2 seasons. Evans will probably need a Henry injury to be a real fantasy factor this year. But Henry is currently set to hit free agency next offseason.
The Ravens added Texas WR Devin Duvernay in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Duvernay is coming off a huge 2019 campaign, ranking 3rd in the nation with 106 catches and 5th with 1,386 yards. He accounted for 35% of Texas’ receptions, 37% of the receiving yards and 28% of the TDs. His 2.99 yards per route run ranked 9th among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. The 5’11, 200-pounder ran a 4.39-second 40 time and tested as a 68th percentile athlete at the Combine. The concern with Duvernay is that he totaled just 70 receptions across his first 3 years on campus, failing to break out until he was a 22-year-old senior. And his 2019 production was largely manufactured, with 42 of his 106 catches coming on screens, according to Pro Football Focus. Still, Duvernay has reliable hands, dangerous speed and is a tackle-breaker after the catch. He played 97% of his snaps from the slot last year and projects to the same position as a pro. Duvernay joins Hollywood Brown and Miles Boykin to give Baltimore some serious speed at WR.
The Patriots made UCLA’s Devin Asiasi the 2nd TE off the board, moving up to take him with the 91st overall pick. Asiasi started his college career at Michigan before transferring to UCLA after his freshman season. He caught just 6 balls in his 1st year with the Bruins before breaking out for 44 receptions, 641 yards and 4 scores this past year. Asiasi averaged a big 14.6 yards per catch and ranked top 6 among 18 of the class’ best TE prospects in both yards per route run and Pro Football Focus receiving grade. The 6’3, 257-pounder is tough to tackle and is also considered a solid blocker. Asiasi joins a wide-open TE corps in New England alongside Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. We wouldn’t bank on a major 2020 fantasy impact, but Asiasi is an intriguing dynasty stash.
The Bills added Zack Moss to the backfield in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Moss was the Utes’ lead back for his final 3 years on campus, topping 1,000 rushing yards each season and averaging 5.9 yards per carry. That includes career highs in carries (235), yards (1,416) and TDs (15) this past year. Moss was a tackle-breaking machine, ranking 2nd among draft-eligible backs with 89 missed tackles forced and 8th with 1,042 yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. He’s also good in the passing game, totaling 65 catches for 681 yards (10.5 YPC) and 3 TDs over the past 3 seasons. He ranked 10th in yards per route run among draft-eligible RBs. Moss looks like a subpar athlete on tape, though, and registered a 28th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. He also carries a lengthy injury history, missing time in college with toe, knee and shoulder issues. We heard one scout compare Moss to a poor man’s Eddie Lacy. He figures to be the ‘thunder’ to Devin Singletary’s ‘lightning’ in Buffalo’s backfield.
The Raiders added South Carolina WR Bryan Edwards in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He joins Henry Ruggs in Oakland’s remade WR corps. Edwards’ college production profile is as impressive as any WR in this class. He posted a 44-590-4 line as a 17-year-old true freshman and then led the Gamecocks with 64 catches, 793 yards and 5 scores as a sophomore. Edwards set new career highs with 846 yards and 7 TDs in 2018. And he turned in a 71-816-6 line this past year, despite missing 2 games. He led the SEC with 7.1 catches per game and ranked 4th with 81.6 receiving yards per game. Edwards is a 6’3, 212-pounder who plays to that size. He’s a tackle-breaker after the catch and is comfortable in contested situations. The big concern is Edwards’ injury history. He tore the meniscus in his right knee as a high school senior, strained a hamstring in 2016, hurt his left knee in 2019 and fractured his left foot while training for the Combine in February. Edwards figures to compete with Tyrell Williams for snaps in 2020.
The Raiders selected Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Bowden was asked to move to QB for the final 8 games of this past season, ultimately earning the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most outstanding all-purpose player. He finished the year with 403 passing yards, 1,468 rushing yards and 348 receiving yards. Bowden spent his first 2 years on campus at WR, tallying 17 catches for 210 yards as a freshman and then leading the team with 67 catches, 745 yards and 5 TDs as a sophomore. He also averaged 22.9 yards per kick return and 22.1 yards per punt return with 2 TDs over the past 3 years. A hamstring injury prevented Bowden from working out at the Combine. The Raiders interestingly announced him as a RB when they picked him. We’ll keep a close eye on how they plan to deploy Bowden.
The Bucs selected Vanderbilt RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Vaughn brings lead-back size at 5’10, 214 pounds and ran a 4.51-second 40 time at the Combine, giving him an above-average 103.5 Speed Score. He transferred from Illinois after the 2016 season and operated as Vandy’s starter the past 2 years. Vaughn averaged a gaudy 7.9 yards per carry on 157 totes in 2018 but sunk to 5.2 yards per carry on 198 attempts this past year. He still ranked among the top 30 draft-eligible backs in both yards after contact and missed tackles forced in 2019, though, and finished ahead of guys like D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins in Pro Football Focus’ Elusive Rating. Vaughn is also capable in the passing game, totaling 41 catches for 440 yards (10.7 YPC) and 3 TDs over the past 2 seasons. Vaughn vs. Ronald Jones will be an interesting battle to watch this summer.
The Saints traded up to select Wisconsin LB Zack Baun in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. Baun finished his Badgers career playing almost exclusively on the edge. But at 230 pounds, he'd likely have trouble holding up there every play in the NFL. New Orleans' 4-3 base gives him more of an off-ball LB role, but we'd bet on plenty of pass-rushing. Baun's cross-category potential and impressive overall athleticism makes him worth a bet in dynasty rookie drafts. The risk is that he plays a role similar to what Anthony Barr has with the Vikings -- which has included plenty of real-life value but limited fantasy production.
The Lions chose DE Julian Okwara in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. The little brother of Lions DE Romeo Okwara enjoyed a breakout 2018 campaign that included 12.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. Pro Football Focus credited him with the 6th-most pressures (61) in the nation that season. Okwara's prediction fell back a bit in 2019, which ended early with a broken fibula against Duke in November. Landing with the Lions and their 4-3 base defense should mean a DE/DL designation for Okwara in fantasy. We're not chasing hard after him in dynasty rookie drafts, though.
The Bengals might have opened Round 3 of the NFL Draft with their new MLB. Cincinnati picked Wyoming LB Logan Wilson, who started 52 games for the Cowboys. Wilson racked up 94+ tackles in each of his 4 seasons, tallying 34.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks for his career. He added 14 passes defensed and 10 INTs. Wilson lands in a Cincinnati D with no proven starters at LB and finds a clear path to a starting job -- likely in the middle. Wilson looks very good for dynasty rookie drafts.
The Panthers closed out Round 2 of the NFL Draft by trading up to select S Jeremy Chinn. The 6'3, 221-pounder racked up big numbers across 4 seasons at Southern Illinois: 243 tackles, 13 INTs, 31 passes defensed and 6 forced fumbles. He faces an immediate opening at SS in Carolina, which let Eric Reid walk while retaining FS Tre Boston.
The Redskins added RB Antonio Gibson in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Here’s 1 of the biggest wild cards in this year’s draft. Gibson spent his first 2 college seasons at East Central Community College before transferring to Memphis. He tallied just 6 touches in his first year with the Tigers before breaking out as an offensive weapon this past season. Gibson caught 38 balls for 735 yards (19.3 YPC) and 8 TDs, while adding 369 yards and 2 scores on 33 carries (11.2 YPC). He also averaged a big 28.0 yards with 1 TD on 23 kick returns, earning Conference USA Co-Special Teams Player of the Year honors. Per Pro Football Focus, Gibson broke a ridiculous 33 tackles on his 71 offensive touches this past season. Then he went to the Combine and blazed a 4.39-second 40 time at 6’0 and 228 pounds and earned an 83rd percentile SPARQ score. We think Gibson would work best at RB — and that’s where he was announced when Washington picked him. Of course, this is a crowded backfield with Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson.
The Chiefs grabbed LB Willie Gay Jr. with the penultimate pick in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Gay flashed impressive ability despite limited on-field experience at Mississippi State. He lost 8 games last season to an academic-fraud suspension and also punched a teammate, who then missed the Music City Bowl. Gay lands in a nice situation for immediate opportunity, though. Kansas City finished last season with no LB consistently playing full time. We'll see if he's ready to seize that opportunity in 2020. Gay certainly carries long-term intrigue for dynasty leagues.
The Patriots picked up Michigan EDGE Josh Uche in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Uche posted limited production in college, with 7 and 7.5 sacks in his final 2 seasons and 18.5 total tackles for loss over that span. But his impressive tape left many evaluators wondering why the Wolverines didn't get him on the field more. Uche shows nice play strength for a guy who measured in at just 6'1 and 245 pounds at the Combine. That profile likely means he'll settle for a LB designation in fantasy, which would ding Uche's IDP upside. He's at least in the right place for getting deployed properly.
The Packers added Boston College RB A.J. Dillon in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dillon served as his team’s workhorse in all 3 seasons on campus, registering rushing lines of 300-1,589-14, 227-1,108-10 and 318-1,685-14. His 4,382 career rushing yards and 38 career rushing scores are both school records. Dillon crushed the Combine, running a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at 6’0 and 247 pounds to earn a 97th percentile Speed Score. He also posted 96th and 97th percentile marks in the vertical and broad jumps, finishing with a 97th percentile SPARQ score. Dillon doesn’t look like an uber-athlete on tape, though. He needs a runway to hit top speed and has very little wiggle. He’s also a near-zero in the passing game, totaling just 21 receptions over the past 3 seasons. Dillon joins Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in Green Bay’s backfield. HC Matt LaFleur has been hesitant to make Jones a feature back — and this pick likely means that will continue. Longer term, it's worth noting that both Jones and Williams are set to become free agents next offseason.
The Jets added Baylor WR Denzel Mims in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6’3, 207-pounder blew up the Combine, clocking a 4.38-second 40 time and registering marks in the 84th percentile or better in the vertical, broad and 3-cone. Mims finished with a 95th percentile SPARQ score. That athleticism shows up on tape. He has explosive acceleration, plus speed and excellent body control to reel in off-target throws. Mims broke out with a 61-1,087-8 line as a 19-year-old sophomore in 2017, took a step back to 55-794-8 in 2018 but rebounded to tally 66 catches, 1,020 yards and 12 TDs last year. The biggest knocks against him are inconsistent hands and a limited route tree. Mims dropped 13% of his catchable targets over the past 2 seasons. And over 46% of his targets and nearly 45% of his yardage last year came on ‘go’ and ‘hitch’ routes, according to Pro Football Focus. “He’s got vertical speed, he does have tracking skills and he understands how to use his size in the red zone,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s going to need a lot of work on how to run routes … He’s got inconsistent hands. He’s going to need work on how to get off press.” This is a strong value pick for the Jets, though — and a nice landing spot for Mims. He has a shot to earn a significant 2020 role alongside Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman. And Mims could emerge as QB Sam Darnold’s long-term #1 WR.
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