Chiefs HC Andy Reid reportedly told GM Brett Veach that he thinks 1st-round rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire is better than Brian Westbrook. Westbrook, of course, spent 8 seasons playing for Reid in Philadelphia, topping 1,200 total yards 5 times. The 2 backs are definitely similar from a size and athleticism standpoint. Westbrook checked into the Combine at 5'9 and 200 pounds, ran a 4.57-second 40 and posted a 37-inch vertical. Edwards-Helaire: 5'7, 207 pounds with a 4.60-second 40 and 39.5-inch vertical. If CEH truly is better than Westbrook, he's in for big fantasy production. Westbrook turned in 4 career top-10 finishes and 2 more inside the top 20.
The Seahawks chose Texas Tech LB Jordyn Brooks with the 27th pick of the NFL Draft. Brooks spent 4 years starting for the Red Raiders: 3 on the outside before moving to the middle as a senior. Brooks ranks 5th in this class of off-the-ball LBs in speed score with a 96th-percentile mark. He also produced on the field: 4th-most solo tackles per game for 2019, 6th in market share of solos, 1st in tackles for loss per game and 5th in career solos per game. In Seattle, Brooks might shove K.J. Wright out of the lineup this year. We'll see about the Seahawks' plans.
The Ravens selected LSU LB Patrick Queen with the 28th pick of the NFL Draft. Queen started just 16 games over his 3 seasons with the Tigers and didn't even open 2019 as a starter. He looked impressive after stepping in for suspended LB Michael Divinity, though, and then delivered a 90th-percentile speed score for the position. Queen goes to a Baltimore defense in desperate need of ILBs and should start right away. That makes up for the lack of college production in projecting him to the NFL. He'll land high in our rookie-draft IDP rankings and figures to be a redraft factor in 2020.
The Chiefs selected LSU RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. CEH was a huge part of LSU’s high-powered offense this past season, taking 215 carries for 1,414 yards (6.6 YPC) and 16 TDs. He also ranked 3rd on the team with 55 catches and 5th with 453 receiving yards. The biggest knock on Edwards-Helaire is that he did virtually nothing prior to 2019. He barely got on the field as a true freshman and played behind plodder Nick Brossette in 2018, averaging just 4.5 yards per carry and tallying 11 catches. So you could argue that Edwards-Helaire is mostly a product of LSU’s record-setting 2019 offense. But turn on the tape and it’s tough to not get excited about this guy. He has excellent vision, agility and balance, earning Pro Football Focus’ 2nd-best rushing grade in the nation last year. And he’s 1 of, if not the best, pass-catching RB prospects in this year’s rookie class. That makes him an excellent fit in Kansas City. With 1st-round draft capital, Edwards-Helaire should be expected to step right in as the Chiefs’ lead back.
The Packers traded up to select Utah State QB Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. This comes 15 years after Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers to sit behind Brett Favre. Love is much more project than NFL-ready prospect. He has prototypical size (6’3, 224 pounds), a big arm and tested as a 76th percentile athlete at the Combine. “He has the most physical upside of any of [this year’s QBs],” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. But Love is coming off an ugly 2019 campaign that saw him post a 62% completion rate with 20 TDs and 17 INTs. His 70.6% adjusted completion rate ranked 67th among draft-eligible QBs, according to Pro Football Focus. He also ranked 101st in PFF’s turnover-worthy play rate. In his defense, Love was much better with a stronger supporting cast back in 2018, tallying a 64% completion rate with 32 TDs and just 6 INTs. There’s big ‘bust’ potential here. But if Love hits, his combination of arm and athleticism will give him exciting fantasy upside. He’ll obviously sit behind Rodgers for now. Rodgers is 36 years old and has 4 years remaining on his current contract.
The 49ers traded up to select Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Aiyuk is coming off a big 2019 campaign: 65 catches for 1,192 yards and 8 TDs. He ranked 15th in the country in receiving yards and 13th among players with 40+ grabs with 18.3 yards per catch. Aiyuk’s 3.04 yards per route run was good for 7th among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. The concern is that 2019 qualified as his breakout season — and it came as a 21-year-old senior. Aiyuk spent his first 2 college seasons in JUCO and caught just 33 balls playing behind N’Keal Harry in 2018. Aiyuk did help his cause by earning an 89th percentile SPARQ score at 6’0, 205 pounds at the Combine. Quickness, burst and speed shows up on tape — especially after the catch, where Aiyuk averaged 10.9 yards last year. “He has ranginess to him, yet he’s compact enough where his change of direction is great,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s really explosive on tape.” With Deebo Samuel the only locked-in WR in San Francisco, Aiyuk will have every opportunity to capture a big rookie-year role.
The Chargers traded up from Round 2 to select Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray with the 23rd pick of the NFL Draft. Murray offered big production the past 2 years: 155 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2018; and then 102 tackles, 17 TFLs and 4 sacks last season. L.A.'s move to get him points to an immediate 3-down role in a defense that has been desperate for full-time LBs. Expect immediate IDP impact from Murray.
The Vikings selected LSU WR Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft — the pick they acquired from the Bills for WR Stefon Diggs. No WR in this class had a more productive 2019. Jefferson’s 111 catches tied for most in the country, he ranked 3rd with 1,540 receiving yards and finished 2nd with 18 TDs. That, of course, came on an LSU offense that led the nation in passing yards and TDs. So Jefferson’s market shares — 26% of the receptions, 26% of the receiving yards and 30% of the TDs — are less impressive. We came away a bit underwhelmed by his tape. Jefferson did a bunch of damage vs. zone coverages but can struggle to separate from man. On the plus side, he’s excellent in tight quarters, leading all draft-eligible WRs with a 92.4% contested-catch rate in 2019, per Pro Football Focus. Jefferson has extensive experience at all WR spots, playing 81% of his snaps on the outside in 2018 and 78% in the slot last year. And he impressed at the Combine, running a 4.43-second 40-yard dash and earning an 82nd percentile SPARQ score at 6’1, 202 pounds. While we wonder how high Jefferson’s fantasy ceiling extends, he looks like 1 of the higher-floor WRs in this class. And he should immediately slide in as Minnesota’s #2 WR, making him a good bet for 2020 fantasy value.
The Eagles selected TCU WR Jalen Reagor with the 21st overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Reagor might be the biggest risk/reward prospect in this year’s WR class. The good: He led the Horned Frogs in yards (576) and TDs (8) as a true freshman, posted a big 72-1,061-9 line as a sophomore and earned a 93rd percentile SPARQ score at 5’11, 206 pounds at the Combine. Reagor’s highlights — explosive speed, a big catch radius and sublime hands — are exciting. “Holy sh*t, he’s exciting,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “His speed and run after … we’re looking for explosive playmakers … His skill set is outstanding.” But Reagor’s 2019 was ugly: 43 catches, 611 yards and 5 TDs. TCU’s passing game struggled under freshman QB Max Duggan, but Reagor still tallied disappointing market shares and ranked dead last among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects in yards per route run. This is a great landing spot both short and long term with HC Doug Pederson and QB Carson Wentz. We’ll see if Philly hangs on to WR Alshon Jeffery, but Reagor has a good shot to at least win a top 3 role this season alongside DeSean Jackson.
The Cowboys added Oklahoma WR CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. He joins Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup in a loaded WR corps. Lamb turned in a brilliant 3-year college career. He made an immediate impact as a true freshman, ranking 3rd on the Sooners behind Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews with 46 catches and 807 yards and tying for 2nd with 7 TDs. Lamb’s numbers grew to 65 catches, 1,158 yards and 11 scores in 2018. And he pumped out a massive 62-1,327-14 line this past year. Lamb’s 15.1 yards per target and 3.99 yards per route run in 2019 were easily tops among 30 of this year’s best WR prospects. The 6’2, 198-pounder is a beast after the catch, ranking top 5 among all draft-eligible players in both missed tackles forced and yards-after-catch average. He’s also a weapon downfield with his long-striding speed and plus ball skills. We see a lot of Demaryius Thomas in Lamb’s game — although DeAndre Hopkins seems to be his most popular comp. Lamb is joining what was 1 of the most efficient passing games in the NFL last year, although he’ll be battling for targets with Cooper and Gallup. QB Dak Prescott’s stock gets a significant boost here.
The Falcons selected Clemson CB A.J. Terrell with the 16th pick of the NFL Draft. Terrell totaled 5 INTs over 2 starting seasons but just 6 other pass breakups. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. said Terrell needs to work on his tackling, while Louis Riddick cited inconsistency in his performance. Terrell joins an Atlanta secondary that needs him to start immediately, though. That will help his chances of quickly putting up numbers.
The Broncos selected Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy with the 15th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. We learned on Wednesday that Jeudy had surgery in the spring of 2018 to repair a torn meniscus. He didn’t miss a single game over the past 2 seasons, but some teams are reportedly concerned about arthritis developing down the road. The Broncos apparently aren’t one of those teams. A route-running savant, Jeudy has drawn comparisons ranging from Keenan Allen to Stefon Diggs to Odell Beckham. He broke out in 2018, leading a loaded ‘Bama squad with 68 catches, 1,315 yards and 14 TDs and becoming just the 8th WR to win the Biletnikoff Award as a freshman or sophomore. Jeudy’s numbers took a slight step back this past year, but he still finished inside the top 25 in receptions, receiving yards and TDs. His 3.3 yards per route run ranked 4th among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. Jeudy is on the smallish side at 6’1 and 193 pounds, tested as just a 22nd percentile athlete and didn’t show much in contested situations in college. But none of that stopped him from producing at Alabama — and we’re not expecting those things to be problems in the NFL. He should immediately slide into Denver’s starting lineup alongside WR Courtland Sutton and has a chance to be a big 2020 fantasy factor.
After moving down a spot in a trade with the Buccaneers, the 49ers spent the 14th pick of the NFL Draft on South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw. The former Gamecock totaled 10 sacks over the past 2 years but never reached 10 tackles for loss in a college season. Analysts cited inconsistent game tape. He lands in 1 of the league's best defenses, which should help hide deficiencies. We're not excited about Kinlaw's IDP upside, though.
The Raiders selected Alabama WR Henry Ruggs with the 12th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Ahead of CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy. Wow. Ruggs has field-tilting speed. He averaged 17.5 yards per catch over 3 college seasons and blazed a 4.27-second 40 time at the Combine. The 5’11, 188-pounder also crushed the vertical and broad jumps to earn a 99th percentile SPARQ score. Ruggs’ college production is lacking, though. He never topped 46 catches or 746 receiving yards in a season, despite catching passes from QB Tua Tagovailoa for much of that time. Ruggs feasted on weaker competition, averaging 100 yards and 1.2 TDs per game vs. Non-Power 5 schools over the last 2 seasons but just 47 yards and .6 TDs vs. Power 5 opponents. And, despite that elite speed, he made just 4 receptions 20+ yards downfield in 2019. Ruggs also dealt with a rib injury, a lower-body injury and a 3rd undisclosed injury this past season. “He was really a specialist in their offense where they designed certain plays for him,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He is fast, but when people get on him you don’t see the same speed and route running. When he gets the ball, if he has a clear path, he can go. But he’s not a make-you-miss player.” It’ll be a disappointment if Ruggs doesn’t immediately carve out a significant role as a rookie, although we don’t like this fit with the conservative Derek Carr.
The Falcons chose Florida CB C.J. Henderson with the 9th pick of the NFL Draft, making him the 2nd corner off the board. Henderson grabbed 4 INTs as a true freshman in 2017 and then broke up 16 passes -- with 2 INTs -- as a starter over the past 2 years. Despite 0 picks in 2019, he brings upside in coverage. Henderson also brings questions about his tackling, though, and totaled just 66 solos tackles across 3 college seasons. We're not excited about his IDP outlook, either for dynasty or redraft. Henderson's arrival should, however, help a Jacksonville defense that has shed starters Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye over the past year.
The Panthers grabbed Auburn DT Derrick Brown with the 7th pick in the NFL Draft. Brown delivered 9.5+ tackles for loss each of the past 3 seasons, adding 7 pass deflections and 5 forced fumbles. Brown is good enough to prove relevant for DT-required IDP leagues. But as a bigger, slower lineman, he doesn’t look like a high-upside fantasy asset even in that format. He could help the production of DT Kawann Short. We'll see what Carolina's new coaching staff reveals about the defensive scheme and what else the Panthers add in the draft. They still have weaknesses at LB and in the secondary.
The Cardinals selected Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons with the 8th pick of the NFL Draft. Simmons is most commonly viewed as a LB, but some NFL teams reportedly see him as more of a safety. He spent plenty of snaps at both positions for the Tigers, as well as every other spot on the defense besides DT. Simmons arrives with a vaulted fantasy ceiling that includes upside across categories. His primary position should be ILB, but Simmons could see significant DB snaps and possibly impact Budda Baker's role. He'll rank among the top picks for dynasty rookie drafts with IDPs.
The Lions took Ohio State CB Jeffrey Okudah 3rd in the 2020 NFL Draft, making him the 1st DB off the board. Okudah spent 2 seasons starting for the Buckeyes, breaking up 17 passes with 3 INTs over that span. He also averaged just 2 solo tackles per game, though. Okudah figures to start opposite Desmond Trufant right away, but we’re not getting fired up for his IDP outlook.
The Chargers selected Oregon QB Justin Herbert with the 6th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Herbert made 42 starts across the past 4 years, leaving the Ducks with a career 64% completion rate, 8.2 yards per attempt and 95 TDs vs. 23 INTs. After a disappointing 2018 campaign, he bounced back to chuck for 3,471 yards with 32 TDs vs. 6 INTs on a 67% completion rate and 8.1 yards per attempt this past year. Herbert’s accuracy is spotty, but he’s a 6’6, 235-pounder with a big arm. And his rushing upside makes him an intriguing fantasy prospect. Although he totaled just 216 yards and 6 scores on the ground over the past 2 seasons, Herbert ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and earned a 92nd percentile SPARQ (athleticism) score. He could produce Josh Allen-like rushing numbers as a pro. Herbert joins Tyrod Taylor in the Chargers’ QB room. HC Anthony Lynn is a big Tyrod fan, but we’d expect Herbert to take over at some point this season.
The Dolphins selected Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa with the 5th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. We can’t talk Tua without running through the injury history: a sprained right knee in 2018, a left high-ankle sprain in 2018 that required surgery, a left high-ankle sprain in 2019 that required surgery and the dislocated right hip that ended his college career in November. Insider Michael Lombardi also reported earlier this month that Tagovailoa has broken his left (throwing) wrist twice. Slightly undersized at 6’0 and 217 pounds, his short- and long-term durability is a real concern. When healthy, though, Tagovailoa is 1 of the best pure passers we’ve seen come into the league in recent memory. He took over as the Tide’s starter as a sophomore in 2018 and set school records with 3,966 yards and 43 TDs. He tossed just 6 INTs and registered a 69% completion rate and 11.2 yards per attempt. Tagovailoa was even more efficient this past year, posting a 71% completion rate and 11.3 yards per attempt. We’ll see if he’s healthy enough to get under center for the season opener — or if Miami decides to redshirt him and let QB Ryan Fitzpatrick play out the year. The Dolphins have 4 more 1st-round picks and 4 2nd-round picks between this year and next to build around Tua.
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