The Raiders nabbed Alabama RB Josh Jacobs with the 24th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Jacobs never led his college backfield in carries or touches, finishing his ‘Bama career with just 251 carries and 48 catches across 3 seasons. But he was plenty impressive when he got the rock, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and 11.9 yards per catch. The 5’10, 220-pounder is a smooth mover with plenty of power. And he’s super smooth in the passing game. Jacobs ranked 13th in this RB class in yards per route run last year, per Pro Football Focus. On the ground, he finished 7th in Elusive Rating, which measures a RB’s productivity beyond the blocking he receives. Jacobs has the look of a 3-down back as a pro — and he has a good shot to capture that role right out of the gate in an Oakland backfield sporting Isaiah Crowell and Jalen Richard.
The Packers traded up in the 1st round of the NFL Draft to select Maryland DB Darnell Savage. Listed as a safety, Savage figures to play there primarily but has also been lauded for his ability to cover receivers in the slot. He profiles as an upside IDP option, albeit at 1 of fantasy's most fungible positions.
The Titans spent the 20th pick of the NFL Draft on DT Jeffery Simmons. The Mississippi State product racked up 30 tackles for loss and 7 sacks over the past 2 years. He's recovering from an ACL tear that figures to slow the start of his rookie year, but there's significant long-term upside. A healthier Simmons was a top-10 prospect on some boards.
The Broncos selected Iowa TE Noah Fant with the 20th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Fant was considered the best TE on Iowa a year ago at this time after posting a 30-494-11 line as a sophomore. Teammate T.J. Hockensen usurped Fant this past season, finishing with more catches and yards. Fant still tallied 39 catches for 519 yards himself, though, and led the Hawkeyes with 7 receiving scores. He ranked 6th in this TE class — just behind Hockensen — with 2.15 yards per route run. Fant blew up the Combine, clocking a 4.50-second 40 time and finishing with a 98th percentile SPARQ score. The biggest knock against him is his 12.1% drop rate over the past 2 seasons, but his hands didn’t look like a major problem on tape. Fant is also a serviceable blocker — although he’ll be a catch-first TE for the Broncos. Joining a depth chart alongside Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt, Fant has every opportunity to capture a big rookie-year role. Longer term, he has top-5 fantasy upside.
The Panthers spent their 1st-round pick on DE Brian Burns in the NFL Draft. Burns tallied 9.5, 13.5 and 15.5 tackles for loss in 3 seasons at Florida State, including 8.5, 4.5 and 10 sacks. Burns might need to add weight beyond the 249 he logged at the Combine before he's ready for regular NFL duty. But he should at least be a rotational factor soon in a Carolina D desperately in need of new edge talent. The DE designation will help his IDP outlook.
The Redskins nabbed Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Haskins was just a 1-year starter at Ohio State … but it was a super impressive year. He completed 70% of his passes and set Big Ten records with 4,831 yards and 50 TDs. Haskins did a lot of damage on short and intermediate throws — his 9.1 average depth of target ranked 42nd in this draft class, per Pro Football Focus — but he also finished with the 8th best passer rating on throws 20+ yards downfield. Haskins’ 77.1% adjusted completion rate was 5th best in the class. He’s not going to boost his fantasy value with his legs, but Haskins has the size (6’3, 231 lbs.) and arm to stick as a long-term NFL starter. Despite his relative inexperience, Haskins has a good shot to win Washington’s Week 1 starting job over Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.
The Dolphins spent the 13th pick of the NFL Draft on DT Christian Wilkins. The Clemson product tallied 13, 9 and 14 tackles for loss over 3 full starting seasons. Wilkins played multiple spots across the line and added 15 pass deflections. He should compete for a starting job right away in Miami. We'll see about the stat production for IDP owners. Wilkins looks like a later-round option in dynasty-league rookie drafts with DT slots.
The Packers spent the 12th pick of the NFL Draft on OLB Rashan Gary. The Michigan product tallied just 9.5 total sacks across 3 seasons with the Wolverines and managed only 23 total tackles for loss. He tested wonderfully at the Scouting Combine, including the 2nd-best speed score among edge players. Gary will be blocked on the edge in Green Bay early, after the Packers signed both Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith in free agency. It's hard to like Gary's IDP outlook.
The Steelers have moved up from 20th to 10th in the 1st round of the NFL Draft to select LB Devin Bush. The former Michigan LB delivered the class' 2nd-best speed score at the position (121.5) and ranked 8th in the class in 2018 sacks per game (0.38). Bush supplied just 44 and 41 solo tackles over 2 seasons as a starter. He should fight for a starting job right away at a position where the Steelers' top 2 played 71% and 54% of the snaps last season. Pittsburgh also added former Ram Mark Barron in free agency.
The Bills spent the 9th overall pick in the NFL Draft on DT Ed Oliver. The former Houston DT could fight for a starting job next to Star Lotulelei or at least join a rotation right away. Oliver enjoyed a wildly productive college career, starting with 22 tackles for loss in his freshman season. He tallied another 16.5 and 14.5 tackles for loss the past 2 years. Oliver also tallied 11 career passes defensed and 192 total tackles. He'll be a high-upside selection for dynasty fantasy football leagues with DT slots.
The Lions selected Iowa TE T.J. Hockensen with the 8th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. After playing 2nd fiddle to Noah Fant in 2017, Hockensen emerged as Iowa’s top dog this past season. He led the Hawkeyes with 760 receiving yards, finishing 2nd to WR Nick Easley with 49 catches and 2nd to Fant with 6 TDs. A seam-stretching threat, Hockensen averaged 15.5 yards per catch and ranked 4th in this TE class in yards per route run, according to Pro Football Focus. He made a ton of catches in traffic and dropped just 1 pass all season. Hockensen boosted his stock by registering an 85th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. He’s also a plus blocker and projects as an every-down TE for Detroit. Hockensen should at least be a spot-start fantasy option as a rookie and brings difference-making long-term upside.
The Jaguars spent the 7th pick of the NFL Draft on DE Josh Allen. The former Kentucky star exploded for 17 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss in his senior season, after tallying 14 sacks and 19 tackles for loss over his previous 2 seasons. Allen should work into the edge rotation right away. Jacksonville has Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell starting at DE currently, but Campbell often moves inside for passing situations. Most importantly for IDP owners, going to Jacksonville's 4-3 base scheme should start Allen with a DE designation. That helps his value for dynasty rookie drafts.
The Giants used the 6th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on Duke QB Daniel Jones. Jones made 36 college starts but leaves school with underwhelming numbers. He completed just 59.9% of his career passes, averaged 6.4 yards per attempt and tossed 52 TDs vs. 29 INTs. He ranked just 11th in this draft class in adjusted completion rate, according to Pro Football Focus. It’s worth noting, though, that Jones played behind a shaky offensive line and saw his receivers drop 9.2% of his passes last year. He has prototypical size (6’5, 231 lbs.), is lauded for his football IQ and boasts nice athleticism. Jones ran for 1,323 yards across the past 3 seasons and registered a 79th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. That makes him a more exciting prospect in fantasy football than real life. Jones figures to open his NFL career behind Eli Manning. But with Manning running on fumes, Jones stands a good shot to see the field at some point this year.
As many have expected for a while, the Buccaneers spent the 5th pick of the NFL Draft on LB Devin White. The former LSU star delivered the class' top speed score at the position (124.2) after a productive pair of starting seasons. White racked up 133 and 123 tackles the past 2 years, including 13.5 and 12.0 tackles for loss. He also tallied the class' 6th-highest market share of solo tackles for 2018: 15.0%. White should step right into the MLB role vacated by Kwon Alexander's free-agent departure and deliver quick IDP value.
The Raiders delivered the 1st surprise of the 2019 NFL Draft by taking Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell with the 4th overall pick. Ferrell enjoyed a highly productive college career, racking up 12.5, 18.0 and 20.0 tackles for loss over the past 3 years. That included 6.0, 9.5 and 11.5 sacks. Ferrell skipped the 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine and then didn't work out at Clemson's pro day because of a toe injury. His 7.26-second 3-cone drill at the combine was just 42nd percentile for his position. A weak Oakland defense presents opportunity for Ferrell to start right away.
Despite rumored attempts to trade down, the Jets picked Alabama DT Quinnen Williams 3rd in the NFL Draft. Williams spent just 1 season as a full-time starter for the Crimson Tide, but he racked up 71 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 8 sacks. Williams carries big upside for dynasty leagues with DT-specific slots and should fight for a starting job right away on a strong Jets D-line (with Leonard Williams and Henry Anderson). Getting Quinnen Williams might make the Jets more likely to let Leonard Williams walk when his rookie deal runs out after the coming season.
The 49ers selected DE Nick Bosa with the 2nd pick of the NFL Draft. He'll quickly find time in a front 7 that sports DeForest Buckner primarily on the inside and just traded for Dee Ford. The Niners tied for just 22nd in the league in sacks last year (37). Bosa missed most of his final season at Ohio State but racked up 8.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss as a 2017 sophomore. Expect him to be a productive player quickly, and he should be a high pick in dynasty rookie drafts with IDPs.
The Cardinals selected Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray with the 1st pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray spent his first 3 college seasons — 1 at Texas A&M and 2 at Oklahoma — on the bench. He followed Baker Mayfield as the Sooners’ starter this past year and turned in a massive campaign. Murray completed 69% of his passes and averaged an NCAA record 11.6 yards per attempt on his way to 4,361 yards and 42 TDs. He ranked top 2 in this draft class in adjusted completion rate, adjusted completion rate vs. pressure and adjusted completion rate vs. the blitz, according to Pro Football Focus. But what makes Murray such an exciting fantasy prospect is his elite athleticism. (He was also the 9th overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft.) He cranked out 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground last year, showcasing RB-like speed and quickness. His transition to the pros will be made easier in Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury’s college-style Air Raid offense. Kingsbury, of course, has no NFL coaching experience — so this marriage with Murray certainly has bust potential. Murray’s size is also a concern: at 5’10, he’ll be the league’s shortest QB. We’ll see what happens with QB Josh Rosen, but Murray is the heavy favorite to be under center for the Cardinals in the season opener against Detroit.
Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill won't be charged in connection to an incident that left his 3-year-old son with a broken arm, the Johnson County District Attorney announced on Wednesday. The DA added that he believes a crime was committed but can't prove who did it. So Hill is off the legal hook. But the NFL is still investigating the situation, so a suspension remains a possibility. We'll continue to keep a close eye on the situation. Hill has been going in the middle of Round 2 in recent fantasy drafts.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that RB Marshawn Lynch "is not planning to play football again." That likely increases Oakland's focus on the position for this week's NFL Draft. The Raiders signed Isaiah Crowell in free agency to join a backfield that returns Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and 2018 rookie Chris Warren. Last year's carry leader, Doug Martin, remains on the open market. Richard ranked 3rd on last year's Raiders with just 55 rushing attempts but also tied for the team reception lead. Washington tallied only 31 total touches over 10 games and doesn't appear likely to be a significant factor. We'll see how/whether Oakland addresses the position in the draft before projecting others forward. Warren looks intriguing after a strong 2018 preseason, but adding an early-round RB this week would make him harder to like.
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