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.
The Rams selected Florida WR Van Jefferson in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Scouts consider Jefferson 1 of the top route runners in this class. “He’s got size, really good quickness and route savvy,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He can separate. He’s going to be a really good pro.” Jefferson’s college career got off to a strong start when he ranked top 3 on Ole Miss in catches (49), yards (543) and TDs (3) as a redshirt freshman — notably finishing ahead of A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. He flattened out from there, though. Jefferson posted a 42-456-1 line in 2017 before transferring to Florida, where he totaled 84 catches, 1,160 yard and 12 TDs over the past 2 seasons. He posted weak market shares in 2019 and ranked 24th in yards per route run among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. Jefferson is also already 23 years old and is currently sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a Jones Fracture in his right foot. He joins Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds in Los Angeles. Kupp and Reynolds are both set to be free agents after this season, while Woods is only signed through 2021.
The Bills selected Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Epenesa delivered strong production in college, with 30.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks over his 2 seasons as a starter -- plus 6 pass deflections and 8 forced fumbles. But then Epenesa went to the Combine and posted a 40 time that would have been unimpressive for a DT. He looks slow on tape as well, winning on power rather than beating tackles around the edge. Epenesa goes to a well-coached defense in Buffalo, though, and might present the versatility to play some DE and DT. Buffalo signed a similar player in free agency: Quinton Jefferson from Seattle. We're not excited about Epenesa's fantasy outlook, but he'll find a place in dynasty rookie drafts.
The Ravens added Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dobbins burst onto the scene in Columbus, setting the school’s freshman record with 1,403 rushing yards on 194 carries — good for a gaudy 7.2 yards per attempt. He sunk to 4.6 yards per carry on 230 totes as a sophomore but rebounded in a big way this past season: 301 carries, 2,003 yards and 21 TDs. Dobbins was a workhorse, toting it 20+ times in 8 of 14 games and topping 30 carries 3 times. The 5’10, 209-pounder is downhill, no-nonsense runner, finishing top 12 among draft-eligible backs in both yards after contact and missed tackles forced, per Pro Football Focus. Dobbins is also capable in the passing game, tallying 22+ catches in all 3 seasons at Ohio State and averaging 9.1 yards per catch for his career. He joins a crowded backfield in Baltimore alongside Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. We’ll see how the situation sorts out this season. But Dobbins projects as the lead back in the long term. Ingram turned 30 this past December.
The Eagles selected Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Hurts had an excellent college career. He became the 1st trust freshman QB to start at Alabama in over 30 years in 2016, finishing that season with 2,780 yards, 23 TDs and 9 INTs on a 63% completion rate and 7.3 yards per attempt. He tossed 17 TDs vs. just 1 INT as a sophomore before losing the starting job to Tua Tagovailoa in 2018. Hurts transferred to Oklahoma for his final season of eligibility and turned in a huge season in HC Lincoln Riley’s offense: 3,851 yards, 32 TDs, 8 INTs, 70% completion rate and 11.3 yards per attempt. Hurts’ 76.9% adjusted completion rate was notably better than Justin Herbert and Jordan Love; his 89.4 Pro Football Focus passing grade was better than Herbert, Love and Tagovailoa. This guy can make it as an NFL passer. But what makes him such an intriguing fantasy prospect is the rushing ability. Hurts racked up 1,809 rushing yards with 21 TDs over his 2 seasons as Alabama’s starter. Then he posted a 233-1,298-20 rushing line at Oklahoma last year. Hurts blazed a 4.59-second 40 time at the Combine and earned a 96th percentile SPARQ score. This is obviously a bad fantasy landing spot, though, with Hurts set to back up Carson Wentz, who’s signed through 2024.
The Rams selected Florida State RB Cam Akers in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Akers was tough to evaluate this past season because Florida State’s offensive line was so damn bad. Akers averaged a mediocre 5.0 yards per carry on his 231 attempts but ranked top 12 among draft-eligible RBs in both yards after contact and missed tackles forced, per Pro Football Focus. His 125.9 Elusive Rating was near the top of the class — notably ahead of guys like Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and J.K. Dobbins. Akers arrived at Florida State as a 5-star recruit after playing QB in high school. His 1,025 rushing yards in 2017 broke Dalvin Cook’s freshman school record. Akers also contributed in the passing game all 3 years in Tallahassee, posting 16-116-1, 23-145-2 and 30-225-4 receiving lines. He showed out at the Combine, running a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at 217 pounds and posting strong marks in the vertical and broad jumps. Akers joins Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown in the Rams’ Gurley-less backfield. This will likely be a committee, but consider Akers the early favorite to lead the group in touches.
The Seahawks picked Tennessee DE Darrell Taylor in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Taylor offered nice production over his final 2 college seasons, including 21 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks. He particularly ramped up his performance in 2019. Pro Football Focus credited Taylor with 53 total pressures across his 1st 3 seasons at Tennessee; 44 in 2019 along. His 87.0 pass-rushing grade ranked 18th nationally among EDGE players with at least 100 pass-rushing snaps. Taylor joins a Seattle D-line that needs him -- especially with Jadeveon Clowney still lingering on the open market.
The Falcons traded up in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft to take DT Marlon Davidson out of Auburn. Davidson showed the ability to play end or tackle in college. After playing at about 275 pounds last season, he weighed 303 at the Combine and then ran a 5.04-second 40. So Davidson is a DT with pass-rushing upside joining a defense that could use it. He tallied 6.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss as a senior. Davidson also finished each of his 4 seasons in the 38-48 tackle range and deflected 9 passes for his career.
The Steelers drafted Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He was notably announced as a WR. That’s where he played in college, but many scouts think he’d be better at TE. Claypool brings a freaky combination of size and athleticism. The 6’4, 238-pounder clocked a 4.42-second 40 time with a 40.5-inch vertical at the Combine. He finished with a 98th percentile SPARQ score. We didn’t see that level of athleticism on tape, though. It takes him a while to get to full speed, and he’s a bit lumbering when changing direction. On the plus side, he’s strong in contested situations and is tough to bring down after the catch. Claypool will battle with Diontae Johnson and James Washington for snaps behind JuJu Smith-Schuster.
The Buccaneers picked Minnesota S Antoine Winfield Jr. in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. Winfield closed out his Gophers career with a big stat line that included 83 tackles and 7 INTs. He presents the versatility to play either safety role and should immediately claim a starting job at a weak spot for the Bucs. We'll see whether Justin Evans can get back to full health from the foot issue that cost him last year and reclaim a spot alongside him. Give Winfield a look later in your dynasty rookie draft.
The Broncos added Penn State WR K.J. Hamler in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He joins 1st-rounder Jerry Jeudy in Denver. A hamstring injury prevented Hamler from running at the Combine. But if he had, he might have challenged Henry Ruggs for the fastest man in Indy. He’s a blur on tape and is also lightning quick in and out of his breaks. A 2016 torn ACL cost him his final high school season and had him redshirted for his 1st year at Penn State. But Hamler led the Nittany Lions with 42 catches and 754 yards as a redshirt freshman in 2018. Then he posted a 56-904-8 line this past year, accounting for 26% of the team’s receptions, 31% of the receiving yards and 32% of the receiving TDs. Not turning 21 until July, Hamler is 1 of the youngest WR prospects in this year’s class. The big concern is his size: 5’11 and 178 pounds with 17th percentile arm length. Only 3 sub-180-pound WRs — DeSean Jackson, John Brown and Jamison Crowder — have posted multiple 800+ yard seasons over the past 10 years.
The Browns selected S Grant Delpit in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. The LSU alum dealt with a high-ankle sprain in 2019 and saw his performance and production slip. Delpit posted his best season as a 2018 sophomore, including 74 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 9 passes defensed and 5 INTs. Delpit defensed 7+ passes in each of his 3 seasons. Cleveland provides him the opportunity to start right away. Delpit will be worth a look in dynasty rookie drafts and could land inside the top 36 when our 2020 IDP rankings come out.
The Bears selected Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Kmet goes 6’6, 262 pounds and tested as a 77th percentile athlete at the Combine, where he ran a 4.70-second 40-yard dash with a 37-inch vertical. He played both baseball and football for Notre Dame, emerging as the Irish’s top TE this past season. Kmet hauled in 43 balls for 515 yards and 6 scores, ranking 9th in yards per route run and 6th in Pro Football Focus’ receiving grade among 18 of this class’ top TEs. He doesn’t strike us as a high-upside fantasy prospect, and this isn’t a very inspiring landing spot. Kmet figures to sit behind Jimmy Graham this year but could take over as Chicago’s lead TE by 2021.
The Jaguars added Colorado WR Laviska Shenault in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Shenault looks like a RB playing WR. At 6’1 and 227 pounds, he’s an inch taller and a pound lighter than Ezekiel Elliott. As you’d expect, Shenault is awesome with the ball in his hands. His 44 missed tackles forced over the last 2 seasons are tops among all draft-eligible WRs. Colorado also regularly used Shenault on handoffs, end-arounds and even at Wildcat QB. He compiled a 42-280-7 rushing line over the past 3 seasons. We were also impressed with Shenault’s speed, ball-tracking ability and contested-catch skills on tape. His upside is a bigger version of Deebo Samuel. Shenault is on the raw side as a route runner, though. And durability is a concern. He missed 4 games over the last 2 years and has had foot, shoulder and core-muscle surgeries in the past 15 months. Shenault has a shot to earn a significant rookie-year role with D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley as the competition for playing time. QB play in Jacksonville, both short and long term, is a potential problem.
The Colts selected Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor with the 41st overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Taylor is as strong a rushing prospect as we’ve seen come into the league in recent memory. He ran for 1,977 yards as a true freshman, 2,194 yards as a sophomore and 2,003 yards in his 2019 junior campaign. Taylor won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top RB in both of the last 2 years and holds the NCAA record with an average of 2,058 rushing yards per season. He leaves Wisconsin with a big 6.7 yards-per-carry average and 50 total rushing scores. Taylor also blew up the Combine, running a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 226 pounds and earning a 90th percentile SPARQ (athleticism) score. The knocks: ball-security (18 career fumbles) and pass-catching ability (42 career catches). We’ve seen plenty of RBs improve their ball-security as pros, though. And Taylor took a big step forward as a receiver this past year, posting a 26-252-5 line and ranking 14th among draft-eligible RBs in yards per route run — notably ahead of D’Andre Swift and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. We’d expect Taylor to pretty quickly beat out Marlon Mack to become the Colts’ lead ball-carrier. We’ll see what kind of receiving role he can capture, but he’ll be running behind a strong offensive line.
The Texans chose DT Ross Blacklock with the 40th pick of the NFL Draft. Blacklock posted limited stats across 2 seasons at TCU, finishing with 9 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2019. He missed 2018 with a torn Achilles' tendon. ESPN's Louis Riddick and Anthony McFarland believe that Blacklock brings pass-rushing upside beyond what he showed in college. He joins a D-line that just lost D.J. Reader in free agency.
The Panthers selected EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos early in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. The DE racked up 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks over 2 seasons as a starter for Penn State. He ranked 7th in this EDGE class in tackles for loss per game. Gross-Matos could wind up a DE or LB for fantasy purposes, depending on what new Carolina DC Phil Snow decides to do with his base alignment. As a DE, Gross-Matos would present intriguing upside in IDP leagues. He follows 1st-round DT Derrick Brown to give much needed help to the Panthers' front.
The Giants spent the 4th pick of Round 2 in the NFL Draft on S Xavier McKinney. The Alabama alum brings a versatile skill set to a secondary that let FS Antoine Bethea walk after the season. McKinney tallied 169 tackles, 11.5 for losses, 6 sacks, 15 passes defensed and 5 INTs over 2 seasons starting for the Tide. He'll be worth a look later in your dynasty rookie drafts and on the 2020 redraft radar.
The Lions selected Georgia RB D’Andre Swift with the 35th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Swift earned playing time as a true freshman in 2017 in a backfield that included NFLers Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, averaging a big 7.6 yards per carry on 81 attempts and actually leading the backfield with 17 catches. He took over as Georgia’s lead back the past 2 seasons, totaling 2,267 yards and 17 TDs on 6.3 yards per carry. He also posted receiving lines of 32-297-3 and 24-216-1. Swift is on the smaller side at 5’8 and 212 pounds, never reached 200 carries in a college season and dealt with leg, foot and shoulder injuries at Georgia. So he doesn’t project as a workhorse ball-carrier in the NFL. But Swift looks like a lead back with ready-made ability in the passing game. We’ve heard multiple scouts compare him to Dalvin Cook. In Detroit, Swift will duke it out with Kerryon Johnson for 2020 snaps. Considering the draft capital invested in Swift here, we’d consider him the favorite to lead the backfield in touches.
The Colts selected USC WR Michael Pittman with the 34th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6’4, 223-pounder impressed at the Combine with a 4.52-second 40 time and 36.5-inch vertical. He finished with an 86th percentile SPARQ score. Pittman improved his numbers in each of his 4 seasons at USC, culminating with a big 101-1,275-11 line in 2019. He ranked 4th in the nation in catches, 10th in receiving yards and 19th in TDs. His market shares — 28% of the receptions, 29% of the yards and 31% of the TDs — are just mediocre, though. And Pittman’s 2.32 yards per route run ranked 22nd among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. He’s a strong route runner, especially for his size, and has a reliable pair of mitts, dropping just 2.8% of his catchable targets over the past 4 years. There’s just very little explosion to Pittman’s game, which would seem to limit his fantasy upside. He does have a clear path to a rookie-year role, though, with T.Y. Hilton the only established WR in Indianapolis.
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