Written by Dan Heins, Dan Hosler, Wesley Wood, and Aaron Swinderman
Introduction: Hey everyone. Welcome back the the DFW mock draft article series. Dan and Dan (Heins and Hosler) took us through two early pre-draft mocks this season and we couldn’t wait to compare them to the post-draft rookie mock. We asked fellow DFW Rookie Rankers Wesley Wood and Aaron Swinderman to join us in taking their favorite rookies in turn. Why waste time with an introduction when we all really just want to see what order we see these guys going in.
Round 1 ( Draft order is Dan Heins, Dan Hosler, Wesley Wood, and Aaron Swinderman)
1. (1.01) Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills
NFL Comparison: Well polished Cordarrelle Patterson
Analysis: Many didn’t like the landing spot for Watkins. I loved it. When you watch how Watkins was used at Clemson, you can easily see a similar usage in Buffalo. Clemson QB Taj Boyd utilized Watkins as an extension of the running game doing a ton of damage on quick screens, allowing Watkins to “do what he does”. His catching ability, strength, and burst allow him to make mountains out of molehills. He instantly becomes the #1 WR in that offense and just based on targets alone should be a solid WR 2 in PPR leagues his rookie year. If Manuel and Sammy can develop any sort of chemistry, he could be in store of a 2013 Antonio Brown – type season.
2. (1.02) Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Comparison: Alshon Jeffery
Analysis: Could there be a more perfect spot for Matthews to land in? Like him or not, Chip Kelly is an offensive genius. Maclin is on a one year rental and Riley Cooper isn’t going to be a go to guy in the NFL. Jordan Matthews possesses every trait you look for in a #1 WR. He has size, speed, quickness, explosion, hands, good route running, and, most importantly, work ethic. I know some will question me passing on Mike Evans with this pick. Matthews in Philadelphia has more upside than Evans in the Tampa Bay offense. I am willing to take on risk and ridicule for the biggest payoff in the draft.
3. (1.03) Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Bucs
NFL Comparison: Calvin Johnson
Analysis: I was pretty much enamored with Evans pre-draft and he landed right where many predicted in Tampa. He will be a week 1 starter opposite Vincent Jackson, barring an injury. Here is what I said pre-draft… Mike Evans is the closest thing to Megatron as you can get without actually owning Megatron. Evans is huge and can do it all, unlike Kelvin Benjamin. He made Johnny Manziel look good when he should have been intercepted. Evans is THE best receiver in this draft but it isn’t by a whole lot. Expect WR2 numbers his first season.
4.(1.04) Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL Comparison: Kenny Britt, the sane and healthy version.
Analysis: This landing spot is fantastic. I am not worried about Blackmon coming back. Robinson’s skill set is different than Lee’s and Shorts’. He provides a unique role in comparison to the expected active players on the Jaguars He will provide an excellent target to help Bortles grow for an improving offense. I prefer Robinson to Lee by a massive amount and expect him to be the primary red zone target/possession receiver for this team. It might take a year or two but his ceiling hasn’t changed.
5. (1.05) Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers
NFL Comparison: Anquan Boldin
Analysis: This is one pretty looking landing spot for the physical freak out of Fresno. I have never been a big Jordy Nelson or Randle Cobb fan. I think their skill sets are very defined, and Rodgers makes the most out of their limited roles. Adams would be the first WR since Greg Jennings that has a broad skill set. He can be used anywhere on the field. He plays big enough and strong enough to be a true WR1 possession guy. I believe he is far and away the most talented WR on that roster. Jordy is more NFL savvy and Cobb has a unique role that will continue to get feed. This situation may take a little time to develop as he does have established and competent competition. Adams investors may need to let this stock mature for a year, but Jordy and Cobb are both FA’s next year and they aren’t BOTH coming back… it’s been a nice ride Jordy.
6. (1.06) Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
NFL Comparison: Shorter Jimmy Graham
Analysis: Ebron went to the best possible situation for him. In the offseason, the Lions made a point that they wanted to add weapons to their offense. Golden Tate was a nice grab for them but he isn’t an elite option away from Calvin. Eric Ebron steps into a spot where he is the #2 target in an extremely pass heavy offense. Detroit has already said they plan on using Ebron like Jimmy Graham. He is a matchup nightmare for defenders. He will be a TE1 in year one and has top 2 TE potential.
7. (1.07) Bishop Sankey – Tennessee Titans
NFL Comparison: LeSean McCoy
Analysis: I already said how much I loved Sankey pre-draft and now he lands in Tennessee with little in the way of competition. Sankey was the first back taken in this draft and Shonn Greene will not hinder him from making an immediate impact. Here was what I thought of Sankey pre-draft… I love Bishop Sankey. Not as much as Teddy Bridgewater but a lot nonetheless. Sankey is LeSean McCoy cloned and younger. He has no character issues and only minor ball security concerns. He can do it all including being a workhorse.
8. (1.08) Brandin Cooks – New Orleans Saints
NFL Comparison: Tavon Austin
Analysis: Brandin Cooks is an explosive player that will prove to be what everyone wanted Tavon Austin to be. He’s a big play waiting to happen in an offense known to make them happen. He will help Stills spread the field and keep the middle open for Colston and Graham to work. Unlike many others, I don’t think he is limited to only the slot, but he’s never going to win consistently against defensive backs bigger than he is. He’s going to produce, but he’ll never be a RZ threat which limits his upside.
9. (1.09) Odell Beckham Jr – New York Giants
NFL Comparison: A better Victor Cruz
Analysis: At the very least this landing spot is interesting. I personally love it. I have Odell as the #1 talent on a fairly talented WR corps. I have compared Odell to Victor Cruz in the past although I feel he is slightly better than Cruz in every facet of the game. However, it seemed odd when considering two undersized WRs manning the outside of that offense. That is until it hit me… ah.. they will probably move Cruz to the slot, keeping at least one big target (Rueben Randle) on the outside. Odell should thrive in a dink and dunk west coast offense. This spot is 100% reliant on Eli Manning, an improved offensive line, and his ability to get the ball out of his hands on time. I expect Beckham’s talent to prevail surely but slowly over Cruz and Randle.
10. (1.10) DaVonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
NFL Comparison: Maurice Jones-Drew
Analysis: When you think of a running back that can carry the load you don’t typically think of a 5’8”, 206 lbs guy. Freeman is thickly built and runs strong. He is easily my #1 RB for this and one other big reason: he gets to and through the line of scrimmage faster than any other RB in this class. Add in a great situation behind an aging and injury-prone lead back and Freeman is set to take on a big role in a good offense sooner than later.
11. (1.11) Marqise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL Comparison: Cordarrelle Patterson
Analysis: It looks like the Jaguars actually want Bortles to succeed and it shows when their following two picks were Lee and Allen Robinson. I had Lee as my #5 pre-draft wide receiver and he lands in a situation where he can be a start from day one. He has issues with drops but once the ball is in his hands then look out! Here was what I thought of him pre-draft… Ugh Marqise Lee is tremendous with the ball in his hands! However, he drops the ball way too much. Lee always is giving it his all and blocks as well as anyone can ask of a receiver. If a coaching staff can get him to catch with his hands instead of his body then Marqise Lee will be a bonafide stud.
12. (1.12) Jeremy Hill – Cincinatti Bengals
NFL Comparison: LeGarette Blount
Analysis: He’s a more athletic version of Blount. Maybe people will look to Gio and presume that Hill will be on the short side of a committee. I disagree. The Bengals will run a lot more often with running game guru Hue Jackson while limiting Andy Dalton’s passes. Hill is a powerful downhill runner that will likely be used in short down and goal line work at the outset. I think there is a likely scenario where he takes over as the main running back and Gio goes to become the 3rd down/big play back. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see the two on the field at the same time as Hue knows how to get production from his running backs. I love the fit.
1. (2.01) Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers
NFL Comparison: Plaxico Burress
Analysis: Whew, if I could land this guy at 2.01 in my other drafts I will be doing a virtual irish jig. Benjamin has his downside. He is raw. He seems to have some decision making issues, and he has a lot to learn regarding the fine nuances of the game. Honestly who cares. The guy is 6’5” 230+ lbs of sheer athletic ability and he is in an offense that features…. …. nobody. He should make a fine living just being Cam’s “bail out” option. Heaven forbid this guy develops and ends up turning into a true elite top 5 WR which IS his upside. This would be an ideal location for Benjamin. I have him as my #7 overall rookie so at #13 I am tickled.
2. (2.02) Johnny Manziel – Cleveland Browns
NFL Comparison: Russell Wilson meets Brett Favre
Analysis: I have had many discussions about the quarterback situations in this draft. Bridgewater has a better immediate situation with more weapons and less pressure on him than Manziel but I see his ceiling is in the Tony Romo range. On the other hand, Manziel’s ceiling is through the roof. He has many of the same characteristics as Russell Wilson but the mentality of Brett Favre. I do think there is more risk with Johnny, but the payoff is much better. There will be highs and lows (especially in the beginning) but the fantasy payout is greater.
3. (2.03) Tre Mason – St Louis Rams
NFL Comparison: Gio Bernard
Analysis: Tre Mason is a great running back who can be a workhorse and succeed if given the chance. He shined in all the big games last year and I had him in my top tier of backs at #4. All it takes is a Zac Stacy injury and I can easily see the more talented Mason supplant Stacy for the starting gig. My only concern is that Mason is rumored to need bone fusion surgery some time in the future.
4. (2.04) Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Tampa Bay Bears
NFL Comparison: Martellus Bennett
Analysis: Okay, this is getting creepy. As much as I’ve been trying to fight the TBB becoming the Bears, it just can’t be stopped. ASJ will see playing time almost immediately as he is a better blocker than both Tim Wright and Brandon Myers, and Lovie Smith loves a TE that can block. I don’t think ASJ will see a ton of targets, but given the lack of depth in the passing game for Tampa, he will see his share. While Marshall and Jeffery Evans and Jackson work the outside and stretch the field, ASJ will work the middle with Martin. Given ASJ’s massive size, he’ll provide an incredible security blanket in the middle of the field as a mismatch up the seam. Tampa is a team on the upswing, and I want to buy as many pieces of them as I can.
5. (2.05) Teddy Bridgewater – Minnesota Vikings
NFL Comparison: Sam Bradford
Analysis: Teddy has been my #2 QB all pre-draft. His landing spot vaulted him to #1. I have always maintained that Teddy will mirror the team that is put around him. In this case he is staring at a reflection of Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, a strong offensive line, and Norv Turner. Teddy looks to be a 10-12 year locked in low-end QB 1. He may not have the crazy top 5 upside of Johnny Cleveland, but he also doesn’t have injury risk, the off-field concerns, or the start WR about to sit out for an entire year. Plus… it’s freaking Cleveland. MN really pulled off some draft day magic locking up a top 10 pick as their future franchise QB.
6. (2.06)Donte Moncrief – Indianapolis Colts
NFL Comparison: Dez Bryant lite
Analysis: There were many questions about Moncrief’s 2013 season after he was widely considered a top prospect prior to the season. All of the physical tools are there but you have to think if you are getting the 2012 version or the 2013 version. How much of his bad season was attributed to poor quarterback play. The upside is huge though and the situation is perfect. Moncrief will not be counted on year one barring an injury that puts him in that position. After 2014, Hakeem Nicks will not be under contract and Reggie Wayne will be a year closer to the end.
7. (2.07) Jace Amaro – New York Jets
NFL Comparison: Jason Witten
Analysis: I like this landing spot a lot since the Jets need pass catchers for Geno Smith and Amaro excels in that area. Jace can be lined up as a wide receiver and be a very dependable target for his quarterback which could mean consistent fantasy points week in and week out. Here was my pre-draft analysis… Jace Amaro is intriguing since he mostly lined up as a WR in the Texas Tech Air Raid offense. However, once again, we have a knucklehead. Poor life decisions plus on the field incidents have him lower than he should be. I like his Jason Witten style of play and he seems to have a better chance to succeed than fellow knucklehead Sefarian-Jenkins.
8 (2.08) Cody Latimer – Denver Broncos
NFL Comparison: Keenan Allen
Analysis: Not a burner, but he’s quick and technically sound. Good size, good hands and lands in one of the three best positions a receiver could ask for. Demaryius and Welker are both free agents after this season and Emmanuel Sanders is not a guy an NFL team wants to rely on. Latimer is being expected to compete for a starting job on a team that will be running 3WR offense the majority of the time. If he continues doing what he did in college, he will make like Allen and have a productive rookie year playing in one of the most prolific offenses with the one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
9.(2.09) Storm Johnson – Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL Comparison: Demarco Murray
Analysis: Storm was one of my favorite on my predraft rankings just like Freeman. He was my #5 overall RB and he is now my #3. Storm is a unique blend of speed, size, and talent. He offers everything that Toby Gerhardt cannot. I have always like Storm b/c he can fill any role in the backfield, which means most likely he will jump right in as the pass catching 3rd down option. And he is a good pass catcher. Storm has the frame to get into the 215-220lb range and I expect him to do so. He becomes big lightning to Gerhardt’s thunder but make no mistake about it, Storm has every ability to take that job away from Toby. My biggest pet peeve of his is his bad habit of holding the ball in his right arm while running stretch plays to the left. If he can’t correct that, there will be periods of time he is riding the bench due to fumbling issues. The fact that he is reunited with his college QB bodes EXTREMELY well for him and some built in chemistry. I still maintain that Storm made Bortles look good, not the other way around.
10. (2.10) Carlos Hyde – San Fransisco 49ers
NFL Comparison: Jerome Bettis
Analysis: People seem overly concerned about the presence of Marcus Lattimore. I wasn’t blown away by a fully healthy Lattimore to begin with and this guy has had two knee injuries that have threatened his career. Color me pessimistic about his ability to stay healthy. Frank Gore has to be done eventually…right? Hyde has a great style that fits the San Francisco offense. The downside of this is the 49ers seem to refuse to feature their running backs in the passing games. Gore is one of the top receiving backs in the league and he averaged ONE catch per game last year. Still, Hyde has a great skill set on a good team. His upside may be limited by the current offense but things change in the NFL quickly.
11. (2.11) Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars
NFL Comparison: A raw Ben Roethlisberger
Analysis: I was honestly surprised to see him drafted as the first QB in this draft since he was my #3 quarterback. Why did I draft Bortles before Manziel? Despite me liking Manziel more pre-draft, the Jaguars actually drafted talent for Bortles to throw to whereas Manziel has Jordan Cameron and that is it. I still think Bortles needs some time to sit and learn however, his situation is a step above Manziels.
12. (2.12) James White – New England Patriots
NFL Comparison: Chestor Taylor
Analysis: Listen, I get it. He’s not that shiny explosive freak of an athlete. What White does have is great vision, great patience, he brings good pass blocking, and receiving skills. Both Vereen and Ridley are FA after this season, and we’ve seen how quickly Belichick can abandon Ridley in the run game. White is more than capable to produce on all three downs and play in both roles. If he can seize the opportunity, and not make the mistakes that Ridley has, this is a fruitful situation to land in.
Conclusion: What an amazing draft this year. I can’t remember any year when THIS many talented WRs found homes that could result in potential top end production for years to come. RBs are at a premium like always and more and more it is becoming clear the day of the “workhorse” back are over. These are four educated guys’ opinion and we would love to get yours. Like for instance, calling Tre Mason more talented than Zac Stacy is borderline offensive Wes :), I would argue there is are only 2 or 3 RBs in this entire class that even compare to most of last year’s class, but that is just MY educated opinion. We would love to hear your opinion. Who are your favorites? Who did we miss in your opinion?