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Dynasty Football: Combine Risers

justin jefferson combine risers

There has been plenty of movement, both good and bad, following the 2020 NFL Combine. This movement will certainly affect the way NFL teams draft and therefore how you’ll draft when its time for your dynasty rookie drafts. Let’s take a look at some of my notable offensive combine risers.

Jonathan Taylor; RB Wisconsin: 

Jonathan Taylor is a consensus top 3 rookie draft pick for many prognosticators. But it’s time to think more specifically and just label him as the number 1 target for 2020. Sure, where he ends up will have a large effect on how you think about his future moving forward. However, after an extremely impressive combine, it’s time to put up or shut up. The former Badger had the fastest 40 of any other running back at 4.39 seconds. Adding to his extraordinary 40 time were solid 3-cone and 20-yard shuffle drills, showing his ability to stop on a dime and his explosiveness off the line.

The truest definition of a bell-cow runner, Taylor shined in his collegiate career. The junior running back surpassed Herschel Walker’s three-year record of 5,596 yards. Taylor gained 6,174 yards and scored 50 times with 6.7 yards per carry. In 2019, Taylor ranked 3rd in the nation in yards after contact, 3rd in missed tackles, and 2nd in carries of 15+ yards. All of this shows off his ability to shed the initial line of defense while getting to the second level and beyond.

Taylor did however have a couple of holes in his game. What concerned me the most were his drops and fumbling issues. Taylor fumbled the ball 18 times while at Wisconsin and also dropped eight passes out of his 65 total targets.

Several early NFL mock drafts have Taylor taken after both Dobbins and Swift. However, the further he drops the better his chances of linking up with a stronger team. And if he does, it makes for an even better dynasty pick.

Denzel Mims; WR Baylor:

Mims measured in at 6’3″ and 207 pounds. It isn’t every day you see a man of his size move the way he does. However, Mims did just that with the third-fastest 40-yard dash on the day. Mims’ 4.38 would tie with Tulane WR Darnell Mooney. To put that into context, Mooney is five inches shorter, and 30 pounds lighter than the Baylor wideout. Mims was 10th in the vertical jump among receivers, 4th in the broad jump, and had the fastest time of all wideouts in the 3-cone drill.

Chad Rueter of NFL.com recently posted his 3-round draft mock 1.0. In it, Mims goes in the 2nd round 60th overall to the Ravens – a projection that should make every dynasty player salivate. The Ravens are enamored with speed and have it everywhere on the offensive side of the ball. Adding another huge piece to an already stacked group would be icing on the cake.

Mims had a superb college career catching at least 55 passes in each of the last three seasons. He reached over 1,000 yards in two of the three while also reeling in 20 receiving touchdowns during that span. Mims has speed for days and the ability to high point the ball and make some of the toughest catches look easy. Although he didn’t play the slot often, his size and speed make him a perfect option for the role.

Mims has been going in the 2nd round of many early mock dynasty rookie drafts. However, after an impressive combine and future workouts, Mims is going to be a lot harder to grab if you aren’t quick enough.

Justin Jefferson; WR LSU:

Jefferson was one of the top guys on the board following Thursday’s primetime Combine event. Jefferson excelled in the 40-yard dash with a 4.43, tied for 9th on the day. His 40-yard time has seemingly solidified his spot in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft and there are a handful of teams that could use his services.

The only concern there may be with Jefferson is he didn’t truly blossom until 2019, his junior year. The former Tiger caught 111 passes for more than 1500 yards but was a non-contributor his freshman year and had fewer than 900 yards as a sophomore. His effectiveness truly came when the LSU brass moved the 6’1″ wideout to the slot position where he played 78% of his snaps. Jefferson owned the nation’s best contested catch conversion rate in 2019 according to PFF.com. While Jefferson is still honing his route running craft, he is excellent attacking the ball at its highest point while also making defenders miss in the open field.

The LSU wideout has been projected as high as 30th to the Packers (by Mel Kiper of ESPN) and as low as 36th to the Giants by Rueter. In early dynasty rookie draft mocks Jefferson has been going between the late 1st and early 2nd round. Expect after a solid combine for his stock to continue to rise through the LSU pro day and draft day.

Dalton Keene; TE Virginia Tech

The 2020 draft for “skill” position players is immensely stacked. The tight end position is no different as a highly talented crop of newcomers are entering the league this year. Dalton Keene is on almost no one’s radar. In fact, he is ranked as the 18th rookie tight end to enter the draft by CBS Sports.

Keene ranked 5th in the 40-yard dash and bench press, 8th in the vertical jump, and first in the broad jump. The former Virginia Tech athlete also shined in the 3-cone ranking 3rd for the position, and first in the 20-yard shuffle. While a lot of prognosticators have Albert Okwuegbunam as the top riser from the position, Keene really put himself on the map.

There will be plenty of critics for Keene who didn’t shine in college, but Virginia Tech didn’t really shine as a whole either. In 2019, Virginia Tech only threw for 2600 total yards and ranked 86th in the nation in passing yards per game. Keene tied for third on the team in receptions with only 21 (the team lead was 34), was 5th on the team in yards, but 2nd in touchdowns. Keene has all the makings of being a solid multi-tool tight end. His high bench press suggests that he will be able to hold his own as a solid blocker in the NFL while also having decent second-level acceleration to when in open space.

Keene is by no means a flashy pick and he’s currently not even ranked in Fantasy Pros Rookie Rankings out of 77 total players. However, with a solid combine and his future workouts he could find himself as a day-3 pickup and have nice production ahead of him.

 

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