Entering the NFL Draft, it’s hard to say where some of our favorite rookie prospects are going to land. Now that we have the landing spots, the following are fantasy football rookie updates. What do these landing spots mean for our upcoming rookie drafts? Which players are going to be over drafted? Which players are going to fall too far?
Kendre Miller and Devon Achane are the Biggest Winners at RB
Miller and Achane entered the NFL Draft as PlayerProfiler’s No. 9 and No. 10 highest-ranked rookies in non-Superflex drafts. Each can be selected higher in upcoming rookie drafts with outstanding landing spots combined with Day 2 draft capital.
Miller is a 215-pound back with two-way ability. New Orleans selected him as the No. 4 RB overall with the 71st pick. He heads to the Big Easy in a suddenly crowded backfield with 27-year-old Alvin Kamara and 28-year-old Jamaal Williams. The 20-year-old Miller looks like the heir apparent to both, and when you factor in Kamara’s precarious legal situation, his path to weekly touches could be as soon as Week 1.
The last time New Orleans selected a third-round rookie with two veterans ahead of him was Kamara who joined Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. Saints fans will hope for history to repeat itself with Miller.
Achane is diminutive and will play at around 185 pounds. However, he ran a 4.32 40 yard dash. This was the second-fastest RB time at the NFL Combine. Additionally, Achane rushed for over 2,000 yards and 20 TDs in the SEC over the past two seasons. He arrives in Miami with the perfect match- head coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel should maximize Achane’s effectiveness. Miami was always considered one of the more favorable landing spots for RBs in this draft, with only Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert as competition. Achane is a dark horse RB2 candidate this season and a safe bet to be an RB3.
Pete Carroll Delivers a Gut Punch to Dynasty Managers: Zach Charbonnet is a Seahawk
At PlayerProfiler, we had Zach Charbonnet as the RB3 in this draft class. The good news is that we were correct, and Charbonnet was selected as the RB3. The bad news is that he lands in one of the grossest situations imaginable with Ken Walker in Seattle.
This pick is devastating for fantasy managers. It hurts both Charbonnet and Walker’s values in Dynasty and Redraft. Both players have second-round draft capital and are effective runners.
We saw Walker smash last season, and he even reached RB1 Overall in the PlayerProfiler Dynasty Rankings for a short time before he was Bijan Robinsoned. Do I think Walker is the more valuable Seattle running back a year from now? Yes, but it is not set in stone. Charbonnet ran for over 3,300 yards and caught over 70 passes at Michigan and UCLA. Now, he also has the draft capital to back it up.
I do not buy the notion that Seattle wanted a strong handcuff. You can draft handcuffs in Rounds 3-5. Round 2 is a portion of the draft where you select immediate contributors. Three scenarios can happen here:
- Walker dominates touches.
- Charbonnet is a handcuff.
- Walker and Charbonnet form some gross split,.
- Charbonnet ends up overcoming Walker and wins Pete Carroll’s favor.
Other questions remain, such as who is the back on long down and distance or the two-minute offense?
Charbonnet remains a first round selection in Rookie Drafts, but he should slide down to the mid to late instead of challenging for a top-four spot.
Will Levis’ slide ends in the early second round
Levis was the Day 1 faller, failing to be selected in the first round, but landed well as the heir apparent to Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee. The Titans were a team that many speculated would trade into the first round for a QB. Instead, they were able to draft a potential difference-making offensive lineman in the first round in Peter Skoronski. They also still walked away with Levis.
Stylistically, this is an excellent fit for Levis as he’ll have opportunities for rushing yards. He also has the luxury of playing in a run-heavy scheme with Derrick Henry. The landing spot alleviates some second-round concerns. Levis has a chance to start some games this season.
Sam LaPorta becomes the second TE off the board
Detroit goes back to the Iowa TE-well again by drafting the explosive LaPorta. LaPorta being selected in Round 2 is not surprising, but taking him ahead of Michael Mayer speaks volumes about how Detroit values him. With 4.59 speed and an incredible 27 percent college target share last year, LaPorta could put up big fantasy numbers.
He is a very different player than the last Hawkeye-turned-Lion TE in T.J. Hockenson and is undoubtedly smaller at 6-3 245 pounds. But LaPorta has big play ability in an ascending offense. He should be selected in early Round 2 of rookie drafts.
Mayer is drafted as TE3
I expected Mayer to be selected as the first or second TE off the board and thought it would be in the first round. The draft capital is slightly disappointing, but I do not hate the landing spot. Mayer only has Austin Hooper (on his fourth team) to deal with and should see the field a lot as a rookie.
Mayer only ran a 4.7 40 with a 32.5-inch vertical, so there are some concerns with his athleticism, but he catches everything and has a very safe floor. He should join LaPorta in the early second round. If you want safety, go with Mayer. If you want upside, go with LaPorta. Easy game.
Jonathan Mingo continues his ascent with a top-40 selection
Mingo was a buzz guy in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft and a player we had been high on at PlayerProfiler. In the week leading up to the draft, there were rumors Mingo could touch the end of the first round. He just missed having the stories come to fruition, as Mingo was selected as the No. 39 pick as the WR5 overall.
There is a great deal to like about Mingo. He is 220 pounder with 4.4 speed and enters a WR room with only D.J. Chark, Terrace Marshall, and Adam Thielen to compete with for targets. Mingo lacked the college production, but Carolina told us precisely what they thought of him by aggressively selecting him.
Marvin Mims, Rashee Rice, and Jayden Reed
Reed had a tremendous Senior Bowl and is now in an enviable position as The Packer’s new slot WR. Green Bay was one of the more WR-needy teams in the draft and selected Reed with the No. 50 overall selection. Christian Watson is the alpha, but Reed immediately supplants Romeo Doubs. Last year, Green Bay hit big on a second-round WR, and they could make it two for two with Reed. He will be of great value in the second round of rookie drafts.
Mims has been a player we have been very high on at PlayerProfiler. He had an outstanding NFL Combine with a 4.38 40 yard dash and had 20 TD catches as a collegiate at Oklahoma. Mims just snuck into the second round, but it was significant. He is the first draft pick of the Sean Payton era in Denver. While there is a perceived logjam of Denver WRs, they were dead last in team PPG in 2022 and are desperate for offensive playmakers. Mims could follow CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown as the next productive Oklahoma product WR in the NFL. He should be prioritized in the second round of rookie drafts.
Rice was a player we were lukewarm on, but he had the best landing spot imaginable with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a mega-producer during his senior season at SMU, with over 90 catches and over 1,300 yards receiving. Rice has an opportunity to step right in as the JuJu Smith-Schuster replacement. I hate to raise players too much due to the landing spot, but that Mahomes guy is pretty good.
Josh Downs, Cedric Tillman, and Jalin Hyatt
Downs and Hyatt were projected to be selected in the second round, so this draft capital is disappointing. Hyatt is a player we have been lower on than the consensus at PlayerProfiler, and this draft capital justifies our concerns. He will have an opportunity to see time during his rookie year, but he is not a profile we would bet on. Downs should immediately step into the slot role in Indianapolis. Still, we have concerns about Anthony Richardson supporting multiple WRs, and Michael Pittman is almost a sure 25-percent target share player. Tillman joins a crowded Browns WR room.
Wide Receivers continued to go off the board, with Michael Wilson heading to Arizona, Tre Tucker landing in Las Vegas, and diminutive Tank Dell competing for the slot role in Houston. Of these three players, Downs is my favorite one. Third-round WRs have not given fantasy managers much success over the past few seasons, and I am not betting on most of these guys.
Dallas drafts Luke Schoonmaker. Why?
Dallas was linked to Mayer and Kincaid. They were also viewed as a possible landing spot for mega athlete Darnell Washington (a third-round selection in Pittsburgh). They instead went with Schoonmaker. The good news? Schoonmaker is 6-5, 240 and ran a 4.63 40. The bad news is that he will be 25 years old to start the season. This could have been a great fantasy outcome and turned out to be disappointing.
Tyjae Spears Lands Well in Tennessee
The Tulane RB received important Day 2 draft capital sliding in behind the mega-productive but 29-year-old Derrick Henry in Tennessee. Tennessee is a terrific landing spot, as Spears has multiple paths to fantasy viability. He would see a significant role if Henry were to miss time and is now a Dontrell Hilliard-plus as a handcuff with a weekly floor. Spears also has untapped receiving ability on a team devoid of pass catchers.
Green Bay’s New Tight Ends
Green Bay doubles down on intriguing TEs Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft.
Much like Dallas, Green Bay was a team with an immediate need for TE production. Unlike Dallas, Green Bay selected a prospect we loved in Musgrave. He is an elite athlete with size in the second round and the seemingly perfect landing spot. We were thrilled. High fives were handed out, and the rotounderworld was ecstatic. Then a few hours later, a gross feeling arrived as another TE we are high on, Tucker Kraft, was also selected.
Musgrave selected in the second, and Kraft selected in the third to the same team. Not ideal.
Usually, these double downs make one player a much more effective fantasy asset than the other. The dream scenario here is another Mark Andrews–Hayden Hurst draft. The only saving grace here is both players will be less expensive in rookie drafts now. One will hit in fantasy. However, we aren’t sure which one.
Roschon Johnson is the Day Three Winner
It wasn’t very reassuring to see Johnson miss out on Day 2 draft capital after an intriguing lead-up to the NFL Draft. I expected him to hear his name called late in the second round, but there is much to like about his landing spot in the Round 4. Chicago was the most run-heavy team in the NFL in 2022, led by dynamic QB Justin Fields.
Not sure how this is possible but the Chicago Bears might love Roschon Johnson more than we do… pic.twitter.com/6DsEnoj7qy
— PlayerProfiler (@rotounderworld) May 2, 2023
David Montgomery has left for Detroit, and Johnson only has to compete with Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman for the lead role. Herbert is a solid player, but he is a former sixth-rounder and not a player this coaching staff has a lot invested in. Foreman ran for over 900 yards last year but has played for multiple teams and is 27 years old. The 220-pound Johnson has the most well-rounded skill set of any of these players and the talent to win the job outright. He now will fall into the second round of rookie drafts and becomes a value.
Other Players From Day 3
Charlie Jones was a big-time producer at Purdue, with 110 receptions last season. He also ran a 4.43 40 at the combine. Jones landed very well in Cincinnati as the heir apparent to Tyler Boyd. At 24.5 years old, Jones is a finished product with little room for upside, but he could see a significant role increase in 2024 and should be the Bengals No. 4 WR in 2023. He has immediate fantasy value if any of the Bengals WRs miss time.
Israel Abanikanda was a player I was hopeful would be selected on Day 2, but he slid big time into Round 5. Abanikanda, a Brooklyn native, lands with the hometown New York Jets. He has elite speed and athleticism and can beat out Zonovan Knight and Michael Carter as the handcuff to Breece Hall.
Evan Hull and Others
Evan Hull is another big-time athlete and caught 55 passes out of the backfield at Northwestern in 2022. He lands nicely in Indianapolis and has a chance to be the handcuff behind Jonathan Taylor. With his receiving ability, he could be an exciting player at some point during his career.
There were a few intriguing sixth-round WRs. A.T. Perry lands in New Orleans and has a path to a role in 2023. There was a lot to like about Parker Washington‘s profile, and he is now attached to Trevor Lawrence and a deep set of Jaguars receiving options. Kayshon Boutte falls to the sixth round after a horrendous NFL Combine. The former LSU standout is the new reclamation prize for Bill Belichick in New England.
DeWayne McBride rushed for over 3,000 yards the past two seasons at UAB, running for a whopping seven YPC in 2023. He showed almost no receiving ability, but his production cannot be ignored. He now lands in a great spot, with Dalvin Cook a potential trade target and Alexander Mattison a career backup. If Cook is moved, McBride could see an immediate role. He is my favorite seventh-rounder.