2023 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft | Superflex/Tight End Premium

by Al Scherer · Dynasty Leagues

On April 12, PlayerProfiler’s Mock Draft Live team conducted a five round 2023 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft – SuperFlex/Tight End Premium on Sleeper. This Mock Draft featured a combination of PlayerProfiler writers/analysts, industry members and Twitter followers.

The draft was live streamed and is available on Mock Draft Central. Aaron Stewart stepped in briefly but dropped out, leaving Jack Cavanagh to do the heavy lifting here.

This analysis takes a round-by-round look at the draft. I will be giving a round by round recap, highlighting some of the more interesting picks.

Round 1 Draft Pick 1- Bijan Robinson, Running Back, Texas

Team:  Jack Cavanaugh (@javanagh87)

Analysis: Nothing to see here. Move along. Bijan is 1.01 no matter the format.

Rationale: Don’t overthink things.

Round 1 Draft Pick 2 | Anthony Richardson – Quarterback, Florida

Analysis: Wow! A bold, “in it to win it” pick right off the jump, taking PlayerProfiler top dog Richardson over other favorites C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young! Remember, folks, this is fantasy football, not the NFL. Richardson may not have put up the passing numbers of those two, but if he can throw just well enough to stay on the field, he’s a high-end fantasy QB1.

Rationale: In 2022, five NFL QBs ran for more than 500 yards. All finished top-9 in fantasy scoring. Richardson will outrun all of them. So, here we take the youngest QB in this year’s draft, the freakishly-athletic Richardson and will watch him raise the bar for the modern fantasy quarterback.

Round 1 Draft Pick 3 | Jaxon Smith-Njigba – Wide Receiver, Ohio State

Analysis: This pick is a bit surprising in a SuperFlex with both Stroud and Young still on the board. However, Smith-Njigba offers a combination of elite route running, agility and short-area quickness. Yes, he played almost exclusively in the slot at Ohio State. But playing college slot doesn’t carry the stigma it used to. Smith-Njigba was Ohio State’s top WR in 2021 alongside Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. He stood out at the NFL Combine and is the class’s clear WR1.

Rationale: If you don’t need QB help and can’t or don’t want to trade back, Smith-Njigba is the clear-cut best non-Bijan pick.

Round 1 Draft Pick 4 | Jahmyr Gibbs – Running Back, Alabama

Analysis: Gibbs is often compared to Alvin Kamara for good reasons. Both were highly-recruited prospects who started college ball at Alabama. Both eventually would star in the SEC primarily as pass-catchers, with strikingly similar numbers their last two college seasons. Kamara would land in the perfect NFL spot for his talents – on a Saints team desperate for an electric pass catching back. Kamara would see 100 targets as a rookie, was an immediate RB1, and never looked back.

If Gibbs lands in a similar situation – hey, maybe with Sean Payton? – fantasy managers might strike gold here, too. The ever-so-slightest pause is the extra 15 pounds that Kamara carries. That’s one reason Gibbs’ closest comp is C.J. Spiller. We can only hope those 15 pounds don’t matter. You draft Gibbs to be the next Kamara. Fantasy gamers certainly don’t want the next C.J. Spiller.

Rationale: In single QB, this is a fine pick. In SuperFlex, though, unless I’m loaded at QB and can’t trade back, I’d have to lean one of the top QBs here.

Round 1 Draft Pick 5 | Zay Flowers – Wide Receiver, Boston College

Analysis: Wow! Five picks into a SuperFlex and only one QB taken!  Flowers, rising up draft boards and coming off a 1,077-yard, 12 touchdown senior season at Boston College is not especially big or fast. Though his 60-percent catch rate was just middling, he is expected to be an early NFL pick and thus earn a steady role even if it’s just as a complement to an NFL team’s WR1. Flowers sits near the top of the second WR tier with Jordan Addison and Quentin Johnston.

Rationale: Flowers’ stock is rising but the No. 5 overall pick is earlier than I’d spend on a smallish WR without blistering speed. Given that three of the big four QBs are still available, I’d prefer Young or Stroud here.

Round 1 Draft Pick 6 | C.J. Stroud – Quarterback, Ohio State

Analysis: This is a Superflex miracle at 1.06 because Stroud is a top-2 QB in most drafts. A great choice at 1.06, I couldn’t hit the “Draft” button for Stroud fast enough. Though Stroud lacks the exciting rushing upside of Richardson, he’s not a statue either. Stroud ran a 4.79 (64th-percentile) 40-yard dash. He’s also as solid a passer as you’re going to find with an 89.7 (96th-percentile) College QBR and 9.8 (93rd-percentile) College YPA. Stroud was the NCAA’s passing efficiency leader and posted the most passing touchdowns in the class.

Rationale: While he may not have the ceiling of Richardson, he also doesn’t have the floor. He’ll be a set-and-forget fantasy QB starter for years.

Round 1 Draft Pick 7 | Bryce Young – Quarterback, Alabama

Analysis: Here we go! Let the QB run begin! Sure, Young is tiny. And, sure, his closest PlayerProfiler comp is Johnny Manziel. Oh, wait, that comp makes me give serious consideration to Levis here! Even still, Young put up 8,200 passing yards at almost nine yards per attempt with 79 touchdowns against only 12 picks in his final two seasons in the SEC.

Rationale: NFL teams are considering drafting him as high as pick No. 1 overall. That shows he will start right away and teams will scheme to try to compensate for his shortcomings. I just wish we had an example – ever – of a quarterback his size playing and thriving or, for that matter, even holding up to NFL hits.

Round 1 Draft Pick 8 | Will Levis – Quarterback, Kentucky

Analysis: The QB run ended almost as quickly as it started! The last of the Big 4 QBs are gone.

Rationale: These 4 will go early in the NFL draft. They will go early in SF drafts. There’s not much left at QB after them so, if you need QB help or just want to stock up at SF’s most critical position, you’ll have to take one early. Levis will be drafted early, meaning he, like the others, will see an NFL field early. He may, though, have more to work on than the others. He’ll have to get rid of the ball quicker, having taken the 2nd-most sacks in the SEC. And he’ll have to utilize his speed. The -103 rushing yards he posted last year won’t do.

Round 1 Draft Pick 9 | Roschon Johnson – Running Back, Texas

Analysis: Interesting! Two of the first three running backs drafted are from the same school, and it’s not Alabama! A power runner stuck behind Robinson, Johnson posted six yards a carry and showed a nose for the end zone, scoring every 15 carries in his career. While little has been asked of him a pass catcher, his NFL bell cow size, speed and burst – his 1.52 Ten-yard Split tied for No. 3 best at the NFL Combine. He’ll get his shot at NFL playing time.

Roschon Johnson Advanced Stats & Metrics

Rationale: While many will opt for Zach Charbonnet, both running backs will get NFL playing time. Johnson is a nice later-first round pick.

Round 1 Draft Pick 10 | Zach Charbonnet – Running Back, UCLA

Analysis: Charbonnet and Johnson are dopplegangers. The only notable difference is that Charbonnet had no Robinson in front of him so saw twice the workload. While Charbonnet was little utilized in the passing game his first two years at Michigan, he earned a 10-percent target share in his two seasons when he moved out west. Not boasting extraordinary Agility metrics, he might be a best fit for an outside zone scheme where he can build up speed, turn and strike.

Rationale: This year’s top RBs will have ample opportunity for significant NFL touches.  Charbonnet is a fine pick late in the first.

Round 1 Draft Pick 11 | Tyjae Spears – Running Back, Tulane

Analysis: This is one of the earliest selections of Spears you’ll see in rookie drafts.  Though not especially fast or strong, Spears posted a 6.9 (91st-percentile) College YPC. Though not particularly big, he handled a big 2022 workload at Tulane, rushing 229 times for 1,581 yards. He wrapped up his final college season on a tear – averaging 25 carries a game and 195 yards against Cincinnati, Central Florida, and USC.  Though his Combine Agility Score was not spectacular, he put on a show at this year’s Senior Bowl.

Rationale: Spears is an interesting back who posted a dominant final season in Tulane. Unless I’m set at WR, though, I’d favor one of the remaing higher-tier receivers like Jordan Addison or Quentin Johnston.

Round 1 Draft Pick 12 | Jordan Addison – Wide Receiver, USC

Team: Cody Carpentier

Analysis: The end of the first round is a great spot to snag Addison as he is a popular choice as the class’s No. 2 WR. After Addison carried Kenny Pickett to a first-round NFL selection a year ago, he took his wares out west to USC to become Caleb Williams‘ favorite target. Addison is undersized but that doesn’t matter so much for today’s NFL wide receivers. He’s also s not particularly athletic but was a dominant college producer, a solid route runner with strong hands, and broke out as an 18-year old.

Rationale: Likely to be selected in the NFL’s first round, Addison will find a regular NFL playing time even if it’s as an NFL team’s No. 2. Reliable playing time is what you look for at the end of this year’s first round so he’s a fine pick.

Round 1 Takeaways

As will happen in the upcoming NFL draft, four QBs went early in first round. Only one more will be selected before the fifth round. So, unless you are well stocked at QB and can’t or don’t want to trade back, you have to either take a QB in the first round or you probably won’t get one this year. In this mock, second-tier WRs and RBs snuck in before those QBs. If that happens, take the QB discount and come back later for nearly-comparable receivers and backs in the second and beyond.

Best Pick: C.J. Stroud 1.06
Worst Pick: Zay Flowers 1.05

Round 2

Round 2 Draft Pick 1 | Quentin Johnston – Wide Receiver, TCU

Team: Jack Cavanagh

Analysis: One of this year’s true alpha-sized wideouts, Johnston put up over 1,000 receiving yards at 18 yards a catch in his final college season. With a decent Speed Score, top-tier Burst and Catch Radius plus an early breakout age, he’d seem to be the prototypical NFL X.

So why does Johnston slip to the second in some drafts? It’s a combination of catching just 60 percent of his career targets and not always playing up to his size. Johnston produced a mere sub-50-percent Contested Catch Rate. He could also be maddeningly inconsistent, following up a six-catch, 163-yard outburst against Michigan with a 1-catch, 3-yard dud against Georgia.

Rationale: If you draft Johnston, hope for the ceiling but be prepared to see the floor, too. And don’t worry about the TCU WR history books – odds are Johnston is no Josh Doctson or Jalen Reagor.

Round 2 Draft Pick 2 | Kendre Miller – Running Back, TCU

Analysis:  In a class chock full of undersized backs, it’s refreshing to see a 5-11, 215-pound back like Miller who handled two-thirds of his team’s rushing workload, posting 1,399 rushing yards on 224 carries with 17 scores. He’s not a proven pass catcher, so that part of his game will be a projection. He has a nose for the end zone as he’s posted at least one rushing TD in every game in 2022.

Rationale: With a good shot at sizable workload and red zone work, he’s a solid pick in the second round.

Round 2 Draft Pick 3 | Josh Downs – Wide Receiver, North Carolina

Analysis: As one of this year’s tiniest WRs at 5-9, 171 pounds, Downs produced consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and almost 20 touchdowns those last two years. He did so through massive volume and a nearly 80-percent Catch Rate. His 97th-percentile College Target Share and short targets masked an uninspiring 80.2 (13th-percentile) Speed Score. But Downs game isn’t predicated on speed. His burst and agility earned him that volume.

Rationale: Downs is a projection at his size, but if he’s selected early enough in the NFL draft, his team will devise a scheme to get him the ball. He’s an okay pick if you want WR help. However, I’d have taken an upside RB.

Round 2 Draft Pick 4 | Zach Evans – Running Back, Ole Miss

Analysis: After splitting time at TCU in 2021, former five-star recruit Evans entered the transfer portal and landed at Ole Miss. What Evans couldn’t foresee was that incoming freshman Quinshon Judkins would explode onto the scene, leading the Rebels and the entire SEC in rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns.

Rationale: An average-sized, average-athleticism running back who’s never earned a starter’s role or eclipsed 144 rushing attempts or 12 catches in any one season, Evans will be hard-pressed to earn a starting NFL role. This feels like a backup RB pick, and I’m not looking for backup RBs in the early second. Other running backs offer more upside and even a higher floor at this pick.

Round 2 Draft Pick 5 | Israel Abanikanda – Running Back, Pittsburgh

Analysis: A third-team AP All American, Abanikanda is climbing climb draft boards. A slightly bigger and faster Zach Evans, he exploded on the college scene in 2022 with 1,431 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Though not particularly agile, not a proven inside runner, and having no proven receiving chops, his 82nd-percentile straight line speed paints a modern Tevin Coleman picture. Coleman happens to be Abanikanda’s PlayerProfiler best comparable player.

Rationale: With a 73rd percentile College YPC and a nose for the end zone, Abanikanda could be a great fit in an outside zone scheme where he’s asked to run to a hole and turn it upfield. Abanikanda’s got upside that Evans doesn’t offer. Nice pick here.

Round 2 Draft Pick 6 | Tank Bigsby – Running Back, Auburn

Analysis: Tank Bigsby is another RB with more upside than Evans. Bigsby’s got decent NFL starter size at 6-0, 210-pounds and a 74th-percentile Speed Score. He’s been highly productive in all facets of the game, posting over 2,000 rushing yards and 20 scores the last two years and earned a 94th-percentile Target Share.

Rationale: I like this pick. Bigsby is big enough and contributes in all phases of the game. I’d take both Bigsby and Abanikanda before Evans.

Round 2 Draft Pick 7 | Michael Mayer – Tight End, Notre Dame

Analysis: There we go! A TE! Mayer, PlayerProfiler’s No. 1 TE prospect, is the first TE taken in this Mock Draft. Finishing No. 3 in NCAA TE receiving yards was impressive given that opponents knew the Irish had literally no one else to throw to. No wide receiver posted even half as many catches, yards, or scores. He’s a pro-ready blocker so he shouldn’t have to leave the field. Mayer wins with a 73rd-percentile Speed Score and is a solid mid-second round pick.

Rationale: This is a really nice pick, especially in TE-premium leagues.

Round 2 Draft Pick 8 | Marvin Mims – Wide Receiver, Oklahoma

Analysis: Mims, a speedster out of Oklahoma, is climbing up draft boards. With a 4.38 40 yard dash and 91st-percentile Burst Score, lid-lifter Mims put up a 20.1 (94th-percentile) College YPR.

Rationale: If he can produce like his best PlayerProfiler comp, Darnell Mooney, that’ll be a fine later second-round pick.

Round 2 Draft Pick 9 | Jonathan Mingo – Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

Analysis: A really interesting upside pick from the Ole Miss wide receiver factory. Mingo is a big, strong, fast slot receiver with great burst and catch radius. He posted a 73rd-percentile College YPR. The concerns are that he was oft-injured and just a guy when he was on the field. Mingo produced just four 100-yard games out of 34 played.

Rationale: His closest comparable player Allen Lazard is what we should expect from Mingo. He will be a nice NFL player, but for fantasy he’s more likely a fringe WR3/WR4 on your roster that you’re not excited to start. But, hey, taking a guy that you might be able to start in the late second is fine. There’s just not much upside here. I want upside.

Round 2 Draft Pick 10 | Devon Achane – Running Back, Texas A&M

Analysis: Achane is speed, speed, speed. A qualifier for the 2022 NCAA outdoor track championships, he ran the fastest outdoor 200m. And he’s not just a track star playing football. Achane’s performed admirably when given the chance. His highlight reels are fun to watch. The problem is they just don’t make NFL RBs his size –5-9 and 188 pounds. He won’t be asked to handle a workload.  So his NFL team will have to work to get him into space both to leverage his greatest skill and for him to survive.

Rationale: Since he’ll likely get limited touches, he’ll be a great play in best ball but tough to project week-to-week in seasonal leagues. Late in the second round, though, he offers as much upside as is available at RB, so he’s an okay pick here.

Round 2 Draft Pick 11 | Kayshon Boutte – Wide Receiver, LSU

Analysis: There’s a saying in fantasy baseball that once you demonstrate a skill, you own it.  A 5-star recruit coming out of high school, Boutte was one of 2020 LSU’s top pass catchers as a freshman. He then burst out again in 2021 with 509 yards and nine scores in the first six games. He caught 71.7-percent of his passes, both split wide and in the slot, and scored in every game until a Week 6 ankle injury ended his season. But then 2022 came and that Boutte seemed to disappear. His 2022 performance looked like someone who never owned those skills he’d flashed. Pushed outside in 2022 and second-fiddle to Malik Nabors, Boutte never got going. He faced off-field questions and his combine performance was middling-to-poor.

Rationale:  With a stunningly-early 18.3 Breakout Age and a history of success in the SEC, he’s got more pedigree and a better track record than many other options at this point. If his ankle is okay and off-field concerns aren’t concerns, he offers big upside here. I like this pick.

Round 2 Draft Pick 12 | Cedric Tillman – Wide Receiver, Tennessee

Team: Cody Carpentier

Analysis: Tillman, one of this year’s bigger wideouts at 6-3, 213 pounds, is an interesting study. After three nondescript seasons at Tennessee, he broke out in a big way in 2021. In 2021 he put up a 1,081-yard, 12-score season including a 10-catch, 200-yard beatdown of eventual National Champion Georgia. After a modest first half of 2022, a high ankle sprain cost him the rest of the year. One of the older receivers in this class, his size and his burst make him an interesting pick. His Zach Pascal PlayerProfiler comparison is what fantasy owners should expect. That’s okay for the NFL. How much he can offer to fantasy teams will be the question. If he’s more like his 2021 season, that’ll be quite a bit.

Rationale: Having starred at this year’s Senior Bowl, it’s worth finding out here late in the second if Tillman can recreate some of his 2021 performance in the NFL.

Round 2 Takeaways

Once you get past Round 1, there are few sure things. The top QBs are gone. It’s time for considering floor versus upside.

In this Round 2, as you’ll see in most leagues, we saw a mix of running backs and wide receivers plus our first foray into the TE realm.  Some picks were based on small samples. Others focussed on physical traits and upside. Fantasy gamers will want to make sure their pick he has some specific trait, be it speed, size and/or pass catching, that could win him playing time. You don’t want a guy who’s middling at everything. That’ll be the guy you drop the first week of waivers.

Best Pick: Devon Achane 2.10
Worst Pick: Zach Evans 2.04

Round 3

Round 3 Draft Pick 1 | Hendon Hooker – Quarterback, Tennessee

Team: Jack Cavanagh

Analysis:  In Tennessee, the Volunteers lined up stud receivers like Cedric Tillman and Jalin Hyatt out on the numbers and ran all kinds of gap, inside, and outside zone schemes. Call the Tennessee offense “gimmick” if you want, but Hooker completed almost 70-percent of passes with 58 passing touchdowns and only five interceptions in his two SEC seasons. He finished fifth in 2022 Heisman voting. There are some caveats, of course, or he wouldn’t be here in Round 3. Already 25 years old, Hooker is older than Trevor Lawrence, Jalen Hurts, and Justin Herbert. He’s also coming off a late-2022 ACL tear, so fantasy gamers shouldn’t expect much playing time this year.

Rationale: Are you willing to wait for a QB’s first extended NFL playing time to come in 2024 at age 27? If so, Hooker’s worth a third round fantasy pick here.

Round 3 Draft Pick 2 | Dalton Kincaid – Tight End, Utah

Analysis: We go back to the TE well.  At this point, might as well get the likely second TE off the board than dig further into the RB and WR ranks. And, again, there won’t be any other QBs of note anytime soon. Kincaid was a dominant TE at Utah.

Kincaid is a bit older than you’d prefer as he’s approaching 24, but he pulled in eight touchdowns each of the past two seasons. Additionally, he produced a massive 34.1-percent (94th-percentile) College Dominator Rating and a 15.8 (86th-percentile) College YPR. He suffered a back injury late in 2022, and while he’s been cleared for football activity, he skipped the NFL Combine so we have to monitor that.

Rationale:  Kincaid fits the new undersized pass-catching TE archetype with a best comparable player of Isaiah Likely. If his back is fine (and that’s a big IF), he’s is a solid third-round pick, especially in TE premium.

Round 3 Draft Pick 3 | Rashee Rice – Wide Receiver, SMU

Analysis: Rice was the 2022 SMU offense. Rice produced 33.2-percent (96th-percentile) College Target Share. His 157 targets, 96 catches and 1,355 receiving yards were all top-5 in the nation. He caught 19 touchdowns his last two seasons at SMU. With average size and athleticism but a strong Burst and Catch Radius, he is a good pick in the third round.

Rationale: Productivity and a huge volume means Rice will get on the field. That’s what we want in the 3rd.

Round 3 Draft Pick 4 | Sean Tucker – Running Back, Syracuse

Analysis: If you want a slightly-smaller back who has carried a college load and can catch passes, Tucker is worth a flyer. With 86th-percentile speed and a 95th-percentile College Target Share, he piled up over 3,000 total yards and 27 TDs the last two seasons. He’s an okay pick here. However, teams may have concerns about his size despite his 28 Pro Day bench press reps, which would have been No. 1 among RBs at the NFL Combine.

Round 3 Draft Pick 5 | Jalin Hyatt – Wide Receiver, Tennessee

Analysis: Another of the undersized, fast WRs that are taking over the NFL. When teammate Cedric Tillman was lost for the season, Hendon Hooker only had eyes for Hyatt.  When he gave Alabama a 207-yard, five-TD beatdown, everyone new his name. And he didn’t stop there. He averaged over 110 yards and a score the rest of the way. Though he only had one breakout season and did not measure as particularly agile, he put up the numbers against the toughest competition.

Rationale:  Winners of the Biletnikoff Award, as Hyatt was this year, always get NFL chances. It’s a good idea to take a shot on him here.

Round 3 Draft Pick 6 | Jayden Reed – Wide Receiver, Michigan State

Analysis: After an exciting freshman season at Western Michigan, Reed took his talents up the road to East Lansing. Unfortunately, other than a volume-driven 2021 increase, he was steady if not spectacular in his three seasons as a Spartans. After a 2021 uptick, he lost the 2022 primary receiver role to Keon Coleman. Reed did, though, dominate at the Senior Bowl. Additionally, any receiver with a top PlayerProfiler comparable player of Stefon Diggs gets our attention!

Rationale:  Where I can take a flyer on the next Diggs in the middle of the third round, sign me up!

Round 3 Draft Pick 7 | Kenny McIntosh – Running Back, Georgia

Analysis: Kenny McIntosh here is a reach. He lacks ideal size and measures as a slow 23 year-old with poor athletic measurables. While he caught his fair share of passes as a senior, he only once saw more than 60 carries in a season.

Rationale:  It calls for too much projection to expect a sizable NFL role. The middle third round is too early for PlayerProfiler’s No. 23-ranked RB.

Round 3 Draft Pick 8 | Luke Musgrave – Tight End, Oregon State

Analysis: Luke Musgrave has all the measurables you’d want for in a pass-catching NFL tight end prospect. He’s got size, speed, burst, agility and an 84th-percentile Catch Radius. But where was the productivity?  He maxed out at 22 catches and 304 yards in his junior season and basically produced half that as a senior. He caught two touchdowns in his entire college career. That’s two more than I did.

Rationale:  While not all NFL top tight ends were top college producers – see George Kittle, for example, it’s all projection here. If you want to take a flyer on an athlete at TE, Musgrave is fine. I’ll prefer more productivity.

Round 3 Draft Pick 9 | Trey Palmer – Wide Receiver, Nebraska

Analysis: After three years buried in LSU’s depth chart, Palmer transferred to Nebraska. That turned out to be a good decision. In Lincoln, he flourished. His 93rd-percentile College Dominator and 96th-percentile College Target Share emphasized his strength and straight-line, blazing speed. He posted the second fastest 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, just 0.01 second off the pace of track star Devon Achane. Though not particularly agile, the NFL team that selects him will work to find a way to utilize that speed.

Rationale:  A spitting image of his PlayerProfiler best comp, Santana Moss, Palmer is a decent flyer here late in the third.

Round 3 Draft Pick 10 | A.T. Perry – Wide Receiver, Wake Forest

Analysis: This is too early for Perry. While he didn’t get much pub at Wake Forest, he did lead the team by a wide margin in both receiving yards and scores his final two seasons. He offers decent athletic measurables. His senior season nearly mirrored those of Boston College’s much-heralded Zay Flowers, but Perry didn’t break out until he was almost 22 years old.

Rationale:  He’s okay as a flyer, but his best comparable of Tyrell Williams paints a picture of a guy that could break out someday. There are a number of running backs still on the board that I’d prefer that offer more upside.

Round 3 Draft Pick 11 | Evan Hull – Running Back, Northwestern

Analysis: Now here’s a fun pick! Hull offers the upside I just mentioned in talking about Perry. In the third round, what more do you want than an 80th-percentile across the board athlete who, while not big, is big enough to get on the field, carried a heavy college workload, and boasts a 97th-percentile College Target Share?

Rationale: 55 catches and a 17-percent target share in college? Sign me up! Nice pick!

Round 3 Draft Pick 12 | Sam LaPorta – Tight End, Iowa

Team: Cody Carpentier

Analysis: The latest graduate from Tight End U, LaPorta is an interesting compare-and-contrast to Luke Musgrave. They’re basically doppelgangers – two tight ends in the top 25-percent across all athletic measurables – with the one exception that Laporta, while smaller, produced; Musgrave didn’t.

Rationale:  It’s a question of size versus college productivity. If you want a TE, you can go either way. I’d go LaPorta.

Round 3 Takeaways

By Round 3, we’re looking for upside with some likelihood of earning playing time.

Here, we dipped further into the tight end pool and tried to target running backs and receivers that show some trait that can get them on the field. By this round, you have to start making a more hopeful case for your NFL projection. Some players were blocked in depth charts. Some had great output but smaller samples. Others showed physical traits. A player that’s just good at a number of things isn’t worth selecting. You can find lots of those guys on waivers every season.

Best Pick: Rashee Rice 3.03
Worst Pick: A.T. Perry 3.10

Round 4

Round 4 Draft Pick 1 | Michael Wilson – Wide Receiver, Stanford

Team: Jack Cavanagh

Analysis: Wilson, a PlayerProfiler favorite, has good size – especially relative to much of this class – and solid athletic measurables across the board. He broke out at 19.5 so what’s not to like? What’s not like is he was always hurt, playing in just 34 games over five years. He hasn’t made it through a full season since 2019.

Rationale:  With little productivity to go on and recurring foot injuries, he’s all projection. If he gets past the injuries, he’ll pay off well in the fourth round.

Round 4 Draft Pick 2 | Xavier Hutchinson – Wide Receiver, Iowa State

Analysis: Hutchinson earned AP All-American 1st Team honors on the strength of 107 catches, third in the NCAA, and 1,171 receiver yards on a monster 163 targets. But he never posted more than 12.1 YPR or more than six scores despite seeing 121 targets a year for his career.

Rationale:  He’s a good, big target that catches near 70-percent of his targets. He’ll get on the field and do a good job catch short-to-medium passes. That’s okay for the fourth round.

Round 4 Draft Pick 3 | Chase Brown – Running Back, Illinois

Analysis: Though Chase is not particularly big, he sure carried the load. He ranked No. 2 in the NCAA rush attempts. Brown toted the rock a staggering 328 times for 1,643 yards in 2022, earning 2nd team AP All-American honors. Add a 66th-percentile College Target Share, and this is a guy that can carry the ball and catch passes. He surprised a lot of folks when, after a shaky Senior Bowl week, he posted stunning athletic metrics at the NFL Combine. He posted 85h-percentile and above metrics across the board.

Rationale:  Though already 23 years old, he did enough at Illinois and the combine to get a shot in the NFL. We want upside RBs at the back of our rosters. Brown’s a good fourth round pick.

Round 4 Draft Pick 4 | DeWayne McBride – Running Back, UAB

Analysis: McBride led the nation with 1,713 rushing yards in 2022 and posted 32 rushing scores his last two seasons at UAB. He’s big enough for the NFL at 5-11, 215 pounds and boasted a stunning 7.4 (95th-percentile) College YPC. Like Brown, he’ll get a chance from someone. The glaring downside for McBride is he was a total zero in the passing game.

Rationale:  If he can learn to catch passes in the pros, his NFL prospects improve. If he can’t, he’s the next Ronald Jones who, by the way, is his PlayerProfiler best comparable player.

Round 4 Draft Pick 5 | Darnell Washington – Tight End, Georgia

Analysis: Washington is huge. I mean, NFL players are all huge, but Washington is really huge. He’s a 6-7, 264-pound skill position player. At that size, his 4.64 40 is in the 96th percentile. That should create mismatches all over the field. The problem is, it didn’t. His College Dominator was in the 16th-percentile. He never caught 30 passes or posted 500 yards in a season. Sure, Georgia had plenty of other options, but he should at least have been unstoppable in the red zone.

Rationale: As such a good blocker, in the NFL, he might once again not be asked to do much of what fantasy owners care about. Draft him for upside, especially if you liked that one-handed catch at the NFL Combine. Just don’t over-expect and you might be pleasantly surprised. I’d have looked for RB shots here.

Round 4 Draft Pick 6 | Charlie Jones – Wide Receiver, Purdue

Analysis: Where did this guy come from? After a redshirt 2017 and three nondescript seasons at Buffalo and Iowa, Jones hit the road again, landing in his final season at Purdue. In that one season, he’d put up monster numbers, doubling the targets, yardage, receptions, and scores that he’d posted the rest of his college career combined. An undersized and decent-though-not-extraordinary athlete, he’ll be 25 this season.

Rationale:  With a best comp of DeVonta Smith, some upside is there. Unfortunately for Jones, he’s 2 weeks older than Smith. This is too early for Jones. I’d look for RB instead here.

Round 4 Draft Pick 7 | Deuce Vaughn – Running Back, Kansas State

Analysis: Drafting Vaughn here is too much. Or should I say, too little?  The guy’s 5-5 and 179 pounds. And he’s not even really fast. Yes, he handled a massive college workload. And, yes, he’s garnered a massive 96th-percentile College Target Share. He was a very nice college football player. It doesn’t matter. There’s just no precedent for an RB of his size earning consistent snaps in the NFL. Don’t can’t compare him to Darren Sproles – Sproles weighed 190. And don’t compare him to Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD was 210.

Rationale:  Vaughn is fun to watch but we can’t expect any fantasy output. I’d look elsewhere.

Round 4 Draft Pick 8 | Andre Iosivas – Wide Receiver, Princeton

Analysis: If you want to take a flyer on an Ivy League receiver who never put up 1,000 yards and had a late breakout, do so with a big guy who’s a great athlete and can fly. Like Iosivas.

Rationale:  With 80th-or-better athletic measurables, an 96th-percentile Catch Radius and near 80-percent Catch Rate, he’s a decent gamble late in the 4th.

Round 4 Draft Pick 9 | Tiyon Evans – Running Back, Louisville

Analysis: Evans is the projection personified. At Louisville in 2022, Jawhar Jordan and Malik Cunningham took almost all the rushing attempts, leaving just 83 for Evans. Now almost 22 years old, he leaves college with a total of 90 career carries and 10 receptions. A big back with 88th-percentile speed and a closest comp of Tyrion Davis-Price, he might be drafted late or UDFA’ed but I’ll look elsewhere for my fantasy teams.

Rationale: I’d look for someone with better odds to see NFL playing time.

Round 4 Draft Pick 10 | Parker Washington – Wide Receiver, Penn State

Analysis: A strong slot receiver who was never a downfield threat despite decent speed, Washington had an early breakout age playing second fiddle to Jahan Dotson. When Dotson left, though, Washington took a step back, posting only two scores across 10 games. He catches 70-percent of his targets and has seen five to seven targets a game throughout his three seasons in Happy Valley. With the second-shortest arms in the class, Washington profiles as a slot receiver who could get on the field but doesn’t project much fantasy upside.

Rationale: I’ll be looking for more even here late in the fourth.

Round 4 Draft Pick 11 | Nathaniel Dell – Wide Receiver, Houston

Analysis: This is the kind of pick I like late in the fourth. Sure, he’s tiny, but Tank never missed a game. No, his 4.49 40 yard dash doesn’t play up at his mighty-mite size. But he managed a 92nd-percentile College Target Share and was a red-zone monster despite being just 5-8 and 165 pounds. He put up 2,727 yards and 29 scores on almost 200 catches in his last two seasons.

Rationale: In the modern NFL, at least for receivers, size doesn’t matter! This late in the draft, I’d love to throw Tank on the end of my roster and see what happens. Just imagine what’d happen if he could hook up with a Patrick Mahomes? Giddy up!

Round 4 Draft Pick 12 | Tucker Kraft – Tight End, South Dakota State

Team: Cody Carpentier

Analysis: From Dallas Goedert‘s old stomping grounds, Kraft had a solid 2021 as a Jackrabbit but then faded back into the background as a 5th-year senior.

Rationale: His athletic measurables are strong across the board and he has requisite size to play in the NFL, making for a good flyer if you want to get into this TE class.

Round 4 Takeaways

The odds are against hitting big on a Round 4 rookie pick are low. You can look for guys that are likely to get on the field but, at this point, go for the highest upside you can find, accepting that the floor will be the more likely outcome. Only the greatest remaining projections will get my interest at this point. All else equal, I’ll favor running backs in round 4 and 5.

Best Pick: Tank Dell 4.11

Worst Pick: Charlie Jones 4.06

Round 5

Round 5 Draft Pick 1 | Tyler Scott – Wide Receiver, Cincinnati

Team: Jack Cavanagh

Analysis: Scott has decent speed, a great burst and tremendous productivity, with 70th-percentile or better College Dominator, Target Share and YPR.

Rationale:  With a best comp of Sterling Shepard, Scott is a really nice late round pick with upside.

Round 5 Draft Pick 2 | Eric Gray – Running Back, Oklahoma

Analysis: Gray, smaller and slower than you’d prefer, did handle a heavy workload and post a dominant rushing season in Norman as a 23-year old. He did haul in 99 passes in his four college seasons. And he did finish his college career strong, though – averaging 23 carries for 142 yards with a total 8 scores over his last 6 games.

Rationale:  Maybe an NFL team will give him a roster spot, and he’ll eventually get a shot. He’s worth trying this late.

Round 5 Draft Pick 3 | Puka Nacua – Wide Receiver, BYU

Analysis: Nacua is big. He was a big-play WR in college despite modest speed and well below-average athletic metrics and Catch Radius. He put up the occasional big game.

Rationale: His closest comp is Steve Johnson, who, as some of you might remember, had a few interesting years a decade ago. Puka and fantasy drafters will be happy if he can do the same. I’ll take a flyer elsewhere with my last pick – maybe take a TE if I haven’t already or stock up with more RBs.

Round 5 Draft Pick 4 | Zach Kuntz – Tight End, Old Dominion

Analysis: Kuntz is certainly big enough and boasts one of the greatest athletic profiles you’ll ever see at TE. His workout metrics are so impressive he even bests Kyle Pitts. It’s an open question, though, if he’s a great football player or just a great athlete. In his first 21 games at ODU, he had one catch. He blew up in 2021 with 73 catches for 692 yards but then fell back in an injury-shortened 2022, with just 12 catches in five games.

Rationale:  TEs can be late bloomers, so this late he’s worth a flyer to see if his athleticism plays out. Again, though, I’d go RB.

Round 5 Draft Pick 5 | Mohamed Ibrahim – Running Back, Minnesota

Analysis: Ibrahim was as productive a Big-10 back as you’ll find when he was on the field, posting an amazing 4,668 yards and 53 touchdowns on 867 careers carries. He’s not a pass catcher, though, so he’ll need carries to be fantasy-relevant. Losing part of 2020 and almost all of 2021 to injury, it’s fair to wonder how that workload has affected his 5-8, 203-pound frame.

Rationale:  At this point, you need productivity or upside. Ibrahim has the former so might be worth a flyer. He’s most likely to earn a backup NFL role so could be someone you leave on waiver wires until his chance arises. As another RB depth flyer here, though? Sure.

Round 5 Draft Pick 6 | Rakim Jarrett – Wide Receiver, Maryland

Analysis: A decent athlete who put up middling numbers at Maryland, Jarrett was effective in the short game though not dominant in the red zone, scoring no more than five TDs in a year. He was just a guy in 2022, posting 40 catches for 471 yards, three scores and a 61.5-percent catch rate. It’s tough to project a significant NFL and fantasy role for a guy that puts up those numbers at Maryland.

Rationale:  Jarrett was an average player. Not bad but nothing jumps out – including his best comp of Freddie Swain – as offering potential fantasy upside. I’d pass here.

Round 5 Draft Pick 7 | Stetson Bennett – Quarterback, Georgia

Analysis: At this point, why not?  Sure, he’s almost as old as Velus Jones. But he’s been a winner on the biggest of stages and some coaches seem to value the winner/grinder mindset as much as talent, figuring they’ll coach them up the rest of the way. Bennett’s college numbers were as good as Brock Purdy‘s and you have to think some coaches would love to be talked about like Shanahan.

Rationale:  This late in the game, in SuperFlex, why not take a QB? He’s got a chance to get on a field and is a decent choice among the late-round QBs.

Round 5 Draft Pick 8 | Dorian Thompson-Robinson – Quarterback, UCLA

Analysis: Thompson-Robinson is a decent athlete who posted decent passing numbers and won his share of games in his five-year career at UCLA. If he were bigger, folks would be talking up his impressive speed and his 647 rushing yards.

Rationale:  This late in the game, you can take a flyer at QB. His best comp of Trace McSorley, though, tells all you need to know. Not worth drafting. You can find him later on the waiver wire.

Round 5 Draft Pick 9 | Payne Durham – Tight End, Purdue

Analysis: Not a great athlete and never got downfield. He had a late breakout and 10th-percentile SPARQ-X score. He was decent in the red zone but showed little else.

Rationale:  It’s hard to envision Durham becoming relevant. I’d look to another RB here.

Round 5 Draft Pick 10 | Bryce Ford-Wheaton – Wide Receiver, West Virginia

Analysis: A big, great athlete who never really popped but got a little better every year. It was surprising that he didn’t convert his 100th-percentile speed at 6-4 and 221 pounds into more than 10.9 yards a catch. He might have enough athleticism that a team will take a chance on him as a UDFA. Then he might get a chance to be on the field.

Rationale:  It’s a really long shot that he’ll be relevant and you don’t want a comp of Kevin White but this is the end of the draft, so why not?

Round 5 Draft Pick 11 | Keaton Mitchell – Running Back, East Carolina

Analysis: Another undersized player in this year’s class. There are no 5-8, 179-pound NFL RBs. Ever. Maybe an NFL team will throw him out wide to try to leverage his 4.38 40 speed but even that’s a reach – he maxed out at 27 catches.

Rationale:  He’s not even especially agile so it’ll be hard to find a fit for him on an NFL roster. I’d try something else here.

Round 5 Draft Pick 12 | Deneric Prince – Running Back, Tulsa

Team: Cody Carpentier

Analysis: This mock’s Mr. Irrelevant has great speed and decent size but never really showed much in college, maxing out at 729 rushing yards and six scores. Prince was not involved in the pass game so we don’t know what he might do given the chance.

Rationale: Now 23 years old, it’s hard to envision Prince earning an NFL role.

Round 5 Takeaways

This is purely “get your guy” territory. It takes extreme projection or unexpected opportunities arising for these guys to get a chance to earn playing time. So, we take the names we know and the guys we can picture getting a chance – even if it’s a longshot.

Best Pick: Stetson Bennett 5.07

Worst Pick: Mohamed Ibrahim 5.05

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