This time of year it always feels a little early to be talking about NFL rookies (so obviously let’s talk about a Twitter mock, right?).
And I get it. The Super Bowl just ended. The combine still hasn’t even happened yet. And yes, there is a ton of information still to be gathered.
I decided to figure out where people view the incoming rookie class, nonetheless.
Why? Well, for starters, it’s hilarious to see how wrong we all were about certain prospects a few months down the road. But it’s also important to gauge where players are within consensus now so that you can properly react to all of the new information that will be gathered over the course of the next few months.
Every year the fantasy community overreacts to little bits of information that come out about certain players as soon as the NFL Combine season starts. Knowing where you stand on a player before all of the noise begins can be super helpful in managing the natural knee jerk overcorrections.
So, what’s the best way to gauge consensus on the incoming rookie class?
I have no idea.
But I did hold a two-round Twitter mock (via polls) over the past few weeks to see what I could find. There were 3,287 votes compiled in total. I’d say that’s a pretty decent sample size to work with.
I did something similar last year before and after the NFL Draft. Looking back at the results it’s crazy how high some players went in each of those mocks. Leonte Carroo was going 1.06 before the draft. Mike Thomas (the bad one) was still going around the 2.07.
Basically, the thing to remember is that the consensus is generally always wrong. Find ways to exploit the collective stupidity in your rookie draft(s). That helps you win dynasty championships.
Let’s take a look at the results from this year’s Twitter mock, pre-combine. And as always, find me on the Twitter @FF_TravisM if you have any questions.
1.01 – Dalvin Cook (Florida State)
Last fall, having Dalvin Cook here would have been surprising. And still, the results of this poll were a little surprising. Dalvin got 62% of the 211 votes on this one. Leonard Fournette was a distant second with 22%. If Dalvin lands in a decent spot he’ll probably keep a stranglehold on the 1.01.
1.02 – Leonard Fournette (LSU)
Fournette had himself a “down year” in 2016. He missed some time with ankle issues. Then he chose to sit out LSU’s bowl game to preserve his health. Many didn’t exactly like that decision. If Fournette blows up the NFL Combine in a few weeks he could regain some hype.
1.03 – Mike Williams (Clemson)
Big Mike Williams bounced back from a broken neck in impressive fashion this year. Then he decided to step it up even further on the biggest stage in the college football playoff. Mike grabbed 8 balls for 94 yards and a touchdown against Alabama. Unless he disappoints in a big way at the Combine, expect him to stay around this pick in most rookie drafts.
1.04 – Corey Davis (Western Michigan)
Corey has a couple easy things that critics will love to hold against him. He didn’t play tough competition. He’s going to miss the NFL Combine with a minor ankle procedure. However, don’t let that deter you from trusting in Corey. He has the size, the speed, the route running and overall athletic ability to be a freak at the next level. This Twitter mock is definitely not perfect, but Corey may very well be the final player taken among the “Big 4” in this year’s class.
1.05 – JuJu Smith-Schuster (USC)
It was rather interesting that this poll garnered more votes than any other (271 in total). That’s probably mostly because after the top four there is a major drop-off and disagreement on who comes next. JuJu’s stock has already been dropping more over the past few weeks, but he won with ease (with 45% of the vote). Many people like to hate on JuJu because he had a “down” year. USC had a new QB (that failed horribly), then transitioned to Sam Darnold. After Darnold took over JuJu began to bounce back and show us why we fell in love in the first place. We can only hope that his combine isn’t crazy good so he drops and becomes a great value.
1.06 – Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)
Christian McCaffrey could easily become the 1.05 in the next Twitter mock after the combine. When people realize that he was actually more efficient in his down year this past season than he was in 2015, look out. McCaffrey will make some NFL team very happy they signed this incredibly talented, decisive pass-catching back. Expect his hype to rise all summer.
1.07 – Joe Mixon (Oklahoma)
I know, I know. It’s Joe Mixon. He could go undrafted or be taken on Day 2. His shady history may completely change where Joe Mixon’s fake and real football careers go. But! Joe is simply a top tier talent if we’re talking what he does on the field. At 6’1″, 225 Joe Mixon deserved all 42% (and probably more) of the votes he received to slot in at the 1.07 in this Twitter mock.
1.08 – John Ross (Washington)
Ross absolutely exploded onto the scene this past year at Washington thanks to the high-powered offense there. When a wide receiver grabs 81 balls for 1150 yards and 17 touchdowns, NFL teams start paying attention. His career was nearly derailed by injury, but hey, it clearly didn’t have a lasting effect on his impressive speed. Expect a 40-time around 4.4 at the Combine.
1.09 – D’Onta Foreman (Texas)
D’Onta Foreman is simply a massive person. If he really weighs in the 240s at the Combine, yet runs the 40 that many believe he will expect a crazy hype train. Foreman’s flexibility, agility and long speed for a bowling ball his size are hard to come by. The question may be how well he could contribute in the passing game at the next level. Keep an eye on his stock throughout this spring. D’Onta could end up being a sweet value if he underperforms at the Combine, but lands in a decent spot.
1.10 – Samaje Perine (Oklahoma)
Speaking of massive human beings. Samaje Perine will probably weight in just a little smaller than Foreman. But he may actually be a smidge faster and more agile. The Combine numbers won’t lie, but the rookie ADP comparison between Perine and Foreman will be interesting. They both have been proven producers, can take a hit and bounce off contact. Thanks to the emergence of Joe Mixon, some may sleep on Perine all draft season. We’ll see soon enough.
1.11 – Alvin Kamara (Tennessee)
Alvin Kamara was an athletic freak coming out of high school. In fact, he was once heralded as a top-5 running back in his recruiting class by some heading into Tennessee. It took him way longer than expected to really break out thanks to Jalen Hurd, but he came to play in 2016. Against Texas A&M (one of his first games as a feature back for Tennessee) Kamara had 127 rushings yards, two rushing touchdowns, 161 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. That got his hype train rolling. If his combine results are solid, we may be looking at Kamara around pick 1.06 or 1.07 in the next Twitter mock.
1.12 – OJ Howard (Alabama)
The first tight end comes off the board. My rule of thumb is generally to avoid taking tight ends earlier. But hey, I’m not here to judge. The community spoke with authority giving OJ Howard nearly half the votes (208 in total) on the poll for this pick. It’s crazy how little consistent production he’s put on the table given how much he is being hyped. Real NFL people love him. I guess the fantasy community does too.
2.01 – Evan Engram (Ole Miss)
Another tight end flies off the board to start the second round. But is Evan Engram really a tight end? We’ll find out what his NFL team wants to call him. At his small(er) size, Evan could easily slide into a big slot WR role. If he stays with the TE designation, that’s really how he will most likely be employed at the next level. If he gains a few pounds he may line up attached to the OL some, but expect to see him split out wide catching passes over the middle with frequency.
2.02 – Malachi Dupre (LSU)
Malachi Dupre was another recruiting phenom who could already jump 42 inches in the vert coming out of high school. For context, that would be the highest vertical jump of any wide receiver at the NFL Combine last year. He has surprising speed. It simply doesn’t show up as much on tape because he is a long strider. Malachi was hampered by (let’s not beat around the bush) embarrassing quarterback play and run-heavy offensive scheme at LSU. His stock keeps dropping. Enjoy the steal if you actually get him at 2.02 or later.
2.03 – Wayne Gallman (Clemson)
Is Gallman actually good? Or is it the Clemson offense that made Gallman that good? I think it’s a little bit of both. Wayne Gallman’s landing spot may dictate the largest ADP swing in the near future. Keep an eye on him after the NFL draft. If I do a Twitter mock like this after he becomes an Indianapolis Colt you might see his name called earlier.
2.04 – KD Cannon (Baylor)
KD Cannon is more than just a burner. He needs to add some weight if he doesn’t want to get thrown around at the NFL level. With that said, Cannon just flies by people with ease. Picture an Emmanuel Sanders or Desean Jackson type WR. That’s Cannon’s potential.
2.05 – Curtis Samuel (Ohio State)
Curtis Samuel’s usage in his future NFL offense may be more important than any other prospect’s in this Twitter mock. He is certainly a polarizing figure. Some rank him inside the top 7. Others have him near the end of round 2. If he stays at WR, exclusively in the slot, he will not return what you paid for in draft picks. Let’s hope a team uses him similarly to Theo Riddick.
2.06 – DeDe Westbrook (Oklahoma)
DeDe will be a grandfather halfway through his rookie season. He is small, scrawny and does not run a solid route tree outside of deep stuff. DeDe may surprise, but he is certainly a wide receiver that I am not targeting in this year’s draft. If DeDe’s 40 blows up, so does his price tag. If his price tag blows up, there goes his actual draft pick value.
2.07 – Deshaun Watson (Clemson)
Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Deshaun Watson is going to be the first quarterback taken in this year’s NFL Draft. If a Twitter mock in February says so, it must be true! Watson will have to learn to run some semblance of a pro offense, but his skillset can translate.
2.08 – David Njoku (Miami)
Njoku is only twenty, yet he may be the most athletic tight end in this stacked 2017 class. Expect this man to become egregiously expensive in the near future. He somehow slipped under the radar of many in devy and dynasty circles. If Njoku lands somewhere nice he could be a nice streaming option in year one.
2.09 – Isaiah Ford (Virginia Tech)
Everyone hates Isaiah Ford. Let’s keep it that way. Isaiah Ford has been criminally ignored for three years at Virginia Tech (by fantasy football people). And even now several other wide receivers are being hyped while Ford is silently sitting at the 2.09 as an absolute steal in rookie drafts. It took Ford a couple years to grow into his frame (and he still could do that some more), but he may be the best route runner outside of Cooper Kupp in this class.
2.10 – Jamaal Williams (BYU)
Jamaal Williams is another guy that many have slept on until recently. Williams has nearly what you want to see in a feature back build. (6’0, 210-ish) Let’s see what he can do at the Combine in a few weeks. If he has decent measurables to match his fierce tenacity and agility for his size, look out. He’ll be rising up draft boards quickly.
2.11 – Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington)
Cooper Kupp is another guy who will be shopping for nursing homes by this November. He’ll be 24 here very soon, and that has some dynasty and fantasy football owners concerned. If Kupp’s price stays around the 2.11 – 3.03 range I don’t really care. Cooper’s route running and strength off the line are absolutely stunning. Yes, his career will probably be shorter than many given his age, but he could be the real deal.
2.12 – Jeremy McNichols (Boise State)
Jeremy McNichols is about to become the next fairly successful Boise State running back in the NFL. Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi have flashed some legit talent over the past few years. Now it’s McNichols time. And McNichols brings something Ajayi and Martin don’t bring: skills in the passing game. Jeremy is a little smaller but doesn’t play like it. His frame is probably similar to Duke Johnson’s, but he plays much, much larger. Expect great things out of McNichols in the near future.
First Three Out – Kareem Hunt (RB, Toledo), Elijah Hood (RB, North Carolina), Corey Clement (RB, Wisconsin)
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this Twitter mock. There will be more to come. Good luck in all of your drafts and enjoy the NFL Combine! And remember, feel free to bother me on the Twitters @FF_TravisM.