The 2023 NFL Draft is over and fantasy football rookie drafts are in full swing. Every year, there are late round picks that wind up as useful fantasy players, like Isiah Pacheco or Darnell Mooney. I wrote about a couple of these Diamonds in the Rough candidates (Andrei Iosivas and Aidan Borguet) before the draft. The best late round picks have athletic traits or productive roles in college that can translate to the NFL. Now that we know landing spots and draft capital, we can begin to see what late round players have the best chance at being dynasty sleepers in 2023!
Finishing his college career with back-to-back 1000-yard rushing seasons, Illinois running back Chase Brown was selected by the Bengals in the fifth round of this year’s draft. He enters the NFL at 23-years-old, seeing over 355 touches over 12 games in his last college season.
Brown has a 103.0 (No. 5) Athleticism Score, with both his Speed and Burst Scores ranking in the 89th-percentile or higher. He churned out 5.0 (31st-percentile) college yards per carry but achieved a 42-percent (93rd-percentile) College Dominator Rating. Brown has both rushing and receiving pedigree. As one of the most athletic rookie RBs, he has the chance to impact the Bengals’ backfield.
Cincinnati has Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams, and Chris Evans under contract for next season. Both Williams and Evans are former sixth-round picks that got single-digit touches last season. With Mixon seemingly staying in Cincy this season, the Bengals will look to fill the Samaje Perine role. Perine was a solid pass-blocker and receiver. While Brown struggled at those things at the Senior Bowl, he was solid at both in college. He is more athletic than Evans and Williams, so expect him to get the edge as a valuable handcuff if Mixon ever misses time. Brown checks both boxes of college production and athleticism and is on one of the best offenses in the league. With the older Mixon’s contract on the chopping block for the next year or so, Brown is a back to keep an eye on.
Transferring from Penn State to Old Dominion a few years into his college career, tight end Zack Kuntz went in the seventh round to the Jets. He is nearly 24-years-old and coming off a 2022 season where he only played five games due to injury. So why is he an appealing late round pick? Simply put, Kuntz is the most athletic TE in the draft class, with a 120.1 (No. 1) Athleticism Score. All his PlayerProfiler workout metrics are 94th-percentile or higher, earning him a Best Comparable of Mike Gesicki. Kuntz caught 73 passes in 13 games in 2021 but caught 12 when his season ended in five games in 2022. At 6-7, he can overpower defenders and be a weapon in the redzone and in space between the twenties.
The New York Jets have landed the most atheltic TE in the PlayerProfiler data base.
YouTube is going to have to update their terms of service so we can give Zack Kuntz the praise he deserves. pic.twitter.com/zq8uFCh19s
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) April 29, 2023
The Jets currently roster Kuntz, Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert, and Kenny Yeboah at TE. Conklin was the Jets’ No. 1 TE last season but has not hit 600 receiving yards in his career yet. Conklin and Uzomah are signed for two more seasons with potential outs after 2023. Yeboah is a seldom-used UDFA and Ruckert is a third rounder from last season who only played in nine games. Kuntz has a superior athletic profile to all of New York’s other TEs.
In addition to Gesicki, other TEs like Jimmy Graham, Noah Fant, and Jelani Woods all have similar athleticism, size, and Catch Radius to Kuntz, and all have seen sizeable roles in their careers. Kuntz’s 2022 injury played a role in him falling to the seventh, but draft capital matters least for TEs and an average TE room with Aaron Rodgers at QB makes him an enticing value. Kuntz is a good late-round rookie draft throw to keep an eye on for dynasty.