Post-Draft Rookie Mock – Round 1

Following the NFL Draft, members of the Dynasty One team took part in a rookie mock to see how player values had shifted with landing spots now determined. Draftees were Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick), Josh Callander (@JoshCallan23), Jesse Patterson (@df_patterson), Shane Burnett (@SpartacusPTech), Jason Blanton (@Jason_Blanton), and Jacob Gehl (@_JacobGehl).

1.01 – Corey Davis, WR TEN

While I lean wide receiver over running back in dynasty as a rule, this wasn’t a particularly tough decision. While Leonard Fournette went one pick before Corey Davis, he immediately dropped down my rankings due to landing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Davis, however, went to a perfect landing spot in the Tennessee Titans. Pair Davis with Marcus Mariota, who finished as a top 12 fantasy option at his position in some formats despite a lack of weapons, and he could flirt with top ten fantasy numbers once he grows comfortable in his role. I’d be willing to rank Davis as about the WR20 with upside to get into the top 15 within a year or two. -Karl Safchick

1.02 – Joe Mixon, RB CIN

Mixon is immensely talented and has an incredible opportunity to establish himself as a bell-cow in Cincinnati. Off-field issues aside, Mixon has shown the tools to be a three-down asset and landed in an ideal situation to showcase his skills. The Bengals lack a true game-breaker at the position. Giovani Bernard has shown flashes but can’t seem to stay healthy enough to earn a full-time gig, while Jeremy Hill was promising as a rookie but has failed to live up to expectations since. It would not shock me to see Hill traded prior to the season and to see Mixon assume the role of primary ball carrier during training camp. Mixon has the opportunity to be the most productive member of this draft class. I realize that Fournette, Davis, and McCaffrey were all selected before him, but I attribute that to his character issues. As Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict have shown in the past, the Bengals organization can get the most out of players despite character issues or off-field concerns. -Jesse Patterson

1.03 – Dalvin Cook, RB MIN

A no brainer here for me – I expect Cook to become the Minnesota Vikings lead running back early in the offseason process. Cook possesses considerably greater skill than both Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, although I concede Murray may vulture goal-line carries in the short term. Minnesota addressed their offensive line deficiencies through free agency and added depth in the draft; if the line becomes a carousel again due to injuries, that’s bad luck, not poor planning. The prospect of Cook running behind a revamped offensive line and getting 15-20 carries a game excites me and lands him as my third overall pick in this rookie draft. – Josh Callander

1.04 – Leonard Fournette, RB JAX

Being given the fourth pick in the dynasty one rookie mock I thought I would be choosing between one of McCaffrey, Cook, Mixon, and Williams. With two of those names going before my pick I was gift wrapped Leonard Fournette. He is my second-ranked rookie in this class behind Davis. I’m not as concerned as others with the landing spot, as the Jaguars are improving their offensive line. Even with a subpar offensive line, drafting a running back this high suggests he’ll be fed early and often; Fournette will be a good fantasy running back on volume alone if nothing else. Fournette in Jacksonville isn’t a quarterback situation where he is going to sit for a year and learn. Fournette will be the starter from day one, and I have no reservations about inserting him into my starting lineup in Week 1. -Shane Burnett

1.05 – Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR

Despite the tendency of many to view McCaffrey as satellite back, he emerged in the Stanford offense that may more closely resemble a traditional power rushing attack than anything else currently in high-level professional football. Carolina is an offense that operates under center and punishes teams it runs against with creative playcalling and efficient utilization of its premier players. McCaffrey is a high-level athlete who makes up for lack of elite speed with excellent burst, quickness, and vision, able to quickly diagnose opportunities to run and make his way through tight spaces. McCaffrey also ran option quite frequently in his college career to prop up an athletic quarterback who relied on both the running backs and his ability to cause damage on the ground to find favorable matchups through the air. With Cam Newton a much better overall quarterback than Kevin Hogan, Carolina only needs to look back to Stanford to see how to evolve their offense to use a player as unique as McCaffrey. I’m willing to bet on what has been a creative ground game over the past two years finding innovative ways to get McCaffrey the ball where he can do damage. -Jacob Gehl

1.06 – Mike Williams, WR LAC

Williams was the third player drafted; it’s a steal I’m picking him up here at the 1.06. He joins the Chargers, where Philip Rivers has always been a risk taker and a gunslinger, willing to throw the ball deep and into tight coverage. He’s traditionally taken advantage of strong, physical players who can beat their man down the field or at the catch point. Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, and Tyrell Williams were all able to thrive thanks to Rivers. M. Williams may lack the speed of Jackson and Floyd, but he specializes in going up and getting the ball over his defender, whether down the field or in the red zone. With Allen underneath and Hunter Henry a presence in the middle of the field, Williams will be the preferred option for splash plays on a potent offense which will need to support an anemic defense for the next few years. While Williams may lose time to T. Williams and Dontrelle Inman early, the draft capital invested in him and his unique talents as a go up and get it receiver makes me confident he’ll be productive once his opportunities arrive. -Jason Blanton

1.07 – David Njoku, TE CLE

After the Cleveland Browns had selected twice in the first round, they traded up to the 29th pick, presumably surprised David Njoku was still available. Njoku has true superstar potential, and while I preferred O.J. Howard predraft, I fell in love with Njoku’s landing spot. With an unproven Corey Coleman and aging Kenny Britt, Njoku has immediate opportunity to play meaningful snaps for a team which is very willing to get their young players on the field. While I don’t believe you’ll have to reach up to 1.07 to get the potential future pro bowler, I’m pulling out all stops to snag Njoku late in the first round. -Karl Safchick

1.08 – Zay Jones, WR BUF

I think Jones is the superior pick here over Josh’s 1.09 selection of John Ross. In fact, I would have taken him above Karl’s 1.07 pick of Njoku. Jones has the size and talent to be a successful receiver at the professional level and has very little in the way of competition for targets in Buffalo. Sammy Watkins can’t seem to stay healthy which has the Bills declining to pick up his fifth-year option, while the rest of the receiving corps is a collection of cast-offs and bargain bin flyers like Andre Holmes, Corey Brown, and Brandon Tate. Jones should have absolutely no problem earning early-season snaps and will have the opportunity to be a leading target should Watkins reinjure himself. With Buffalo obviously in a rebuild situation under new coach Sean McDermott, would it be out of the realm of possibility that Jones becomes the WR1 for the Bills as early as this season? -Jesse Patterson

1.09 – John Ross, WR CIN

The speed demon lands in Cincinnati. I’m not sure what his role is but the Bengals clearly do, selecting Ross with the 9th overall pick. The Bengals offense didn’t function the same in 2016 without the wide receiver depth it held in 2015 but the addition of Ross gives Andy Dalton another credible option to get the ball to. Ross will see a lot of single coverage with the defensive focus on A.J. Green, as his speed will give defenders isolated on him nightmares. Initially, he competes with Tyler Boyd for WR3 targets, but they’ll want to get their first round pick involved. His injury history is also a concern. -Josh Callander

1.10 – Samaje Perine, RB WAS

With my second pick in the dynasty one rookie mock being at the 10th spot, I had an interesting decision on my hands. This is the part of the draft for me where it becomes pick your poison, in that there are at least five or six players in the next few picks that you could pick here. I might have preferred Smith-Schuster in some situations, but I went with a player that I felt has a good chance of seeing the field this year and being productive. I went with Samaje Perine, who I was hoping to target in the early 2nd round of drafts just based on talent, but his positive landing spot moves him up for me. Rob Kelley was a productive fantasy asset in Washington despite an unmistakable lack of athleticism, and Perine is at least his equal as a football player while being an incredibly better athlete. Perine should win that job quickly and be the touchdown scorer and beneficiary of a high-powered offense. -Shane Burnett

1.11 – O.J. Howard, TE TBB

Howard is inarguably the top all-around tight end in this draft, there’s less debate about his talent than if his blocking will make him more valuable as a pass protector than route runner. There is some validity to this concern, especially in Tampa Bay: despite playing two tight end sets on 105 of Jameis Winston’s attempts, no tight end besides Cameron Brate was at all relevant for fantasy. None of the other tight ends could hold a candle to Howard, who is easily the most talented tight end on the roster. Howard’s blocking will keep him on the field, and his speed and agility (his combine results better those of Mike Evans) will eventually make him a weapon down the seam and in the red zone, as DeSean Jackson and Evans draw safety attention outside the numbers. As Howard has never been asked to be a receiver during his college career, he may be on the field predominantly as a blocker during his rookie season. In 2018 and beyond, as a legitimate threat in what should be an excellent offense, the floor for his production is a touchdown scoring TE7-12. If Howard is the player we saw in the national championship games grabbing up receptions and yards, he has the potential to move much higher. -Jacob Gehl

1.12 – JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR PIT

Many will fade Smith-Schuster in rookie drafts because of landing spot, but I’m legitimately excited to see him in Pittsburgh. While his path to playing time is uncertain, drafting Smith-Schuster in the second round (the highest draft capital spent by the Steelers on any wide receiver on their roster) shows they lack faith in both Martavis Bryant and Sammie Coates as long-term options. Smith-Schuster fits the mold of both receivers as well: despite a mediocre combine showing, he is more athlete than receiver at this point who does damage to defenses with the ball in his hands. Both Bryant and Coates were raw coming out of college and have never displayed impressive receiving chops (they both have issues catching the ball), relying on exceptional athleticism to win. Smith-Schuster is a more natural receiver than either, which will make up for his athleticism not being to their level. A year behind Antonio Brown in the crowded Steelers receiving room will not please fantasy owners, but the Steelers track record on drafting receivers, the strength of the offense, and Ben Roethlisberger’s willingness to throw the ball down the field make Smith-Schuster a late round one target. His owners will be happy with their choice, even if they have to wait. -Jason Blanton

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