With the combine in the rear view, we can start to put together our rookie boards and create projections that allow us to maneuver into the right spot to get “our guy.” Jon Moore will have another official RotoViz mock soon, but this is my attempt to estimate rookie ADP for my own leagues.
The goal here is also to provide an easy means to access much of the great work RotoViz writers have already done on the prospects and to provide the tools to go deeper with your own analysis. Age represents final college age and comes from Moore’s excellent Rookie Age Project.
The Draft – Round 1
1.01 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State
Age: 20.4 Size: 6-0, 225 Forty: 4.46 Vert: 32.5
Elliot got crushed by Derrick Henry in the leaping drills and gets edged by Matthew Freedman’s Terminator in the RB Prospect Rankings, but he slid under the all-important 4.5 threshold in the forty. It’s now very easy to see the ultra-productive and well-rounded Elliot as a rare three-down back at the NFL level. In a draft that lacks an Amari Cooper or Sammy Watkins at wide receiver, Elliot is close to a lock for the top rookie pick.
1.02 Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Age: 21.5 Size: 6-3, 247 Forty: 4.54 Vert: 37.5 3-cone: 7.2
After managing a 167 Explosion Score at 247 pounds, it’s now very possible that Henry slips into the bottom of the first round in the reality draft. Potentially going to a playoff contender, he could even be the 1.01 as Anthony Amico argues. Unfortunately, Henry also confirmed a lack of agility and looks more like a two-down hammer. He’s a better pick in standard formats (and a great pick in early MFL10s).
From his 1st place finish in the RB Prospect Lab
1.03 Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Age: 20.5 Size: 6-2, 221 Forty: NA Vert: 33.0
Treadwell’s decision not to run isn’t particularly important, but after an underwhelming vertical it’s probably fair to say he’s not a Julio Jones or Kevin White type athlete. That’s meaningful because demonstrating athleticism might have boosted his flagging stock. Moore has demonstrated that he’s a dead ringer for Donte Moncrief.1
Meanwhile, Rich Hribar argues persuasively that his fast 2015 finish should keep him in the 1.01 discussion. Even if the top rookie pick has probably slipped through his fingers, Treadwell still seems likely to be the first WR off the board in the reality draft. That may be enough to give him a small edge on his peers.
1.04 Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Age: 23.1 Size: 6-2, 202 Forty: 4.5 Vert: 41
Doctson is often comped to DeAndre Hopkins, and so it’s worth remembering that Hopkins is only six months older than Doctson and has been good in the NFL for more years than Doctson has been good in college. For this and other reasons, Doctson headlined my 5 Most Overvalued Prospects list. It’s important to note that Doctson was awesome in 2015, but he still falls below the WR1 trend line for a prospect his age.
From Jon Moore’s must-read Visualization
1.05 Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
Age: 21.5 Size: 5-11, 194 Forty: NA Vert: 40.5
If there’s a star at the WR position this year, it’s almost certainly Coleman. His TD-scoring prowess is unparalleled, not just in this class, but going back Larry Fitzgerald. He earns Kevin Cole’s second best success score as a result.
1.06 Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Age: 21.7 Size: 6-0, 186 Forty: 4.32 Vert: 33.5
Fuller went at pick No. 19 in our pre-combine mock, which gives you a sense of just how crazy the runaway drops meme can be for receiver prospects. The Notre Dame receiver has two years of strong production and has created numerous explosive plays.2 Although 40 times are not significant when you look at WRs as one large group, it is significant for sub-200 pound receivers.3 It’s easy to think Fuller’s fast 40 time will artificially inflate his stock, but he’s actually still undervalued.
1.07 Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
Age: 22.8* Size: 6-3, 212 Forty: 4.57 Vert: 35 3-cone: 6.8
One of my 5 Most Overvalued Prospects, Thomas should probably be considered a combine winner due to his fast 3-cone, a meaningful drill for bigger receivers. He also posted an impressive Dominator Rating, although he did so at an advanced age. The Ohio State product’s rookie ADP will probably be more heavily dependent on landing spot than is the case for many other receivers.
1.08 Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma
Age: 22.9* Size: 5-10, 194 Forty: 4.48 Vert: 41
Speed matters for small prospects, and they need to be really fast. Shepard has been labeled a combine winner, but he needed to run much closer to Will Fuller to help his cause. (For example, he was slower than 2015 combine loser Stefon Diggs.) If you haven’t read Justin Winn’s outstanding query concerning the intersection of age and route running, you’re missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.
1.09 Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
Age: 21.2 Size: 6-1, 197 Forty: 4.58 Vert: 34
Boyd was a combine loser who should nonetheless win fantasy leagues for a decade. Assuming a real-life draft position of 45, here are his career market share comparables.
1.10 Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
Age: 21.9 Size: 6-0, 211 Forty: 4.5 Vert: 35.5
Carroo’s combine was uneventful, neither helping nor hurting his cause. The big question for the Rutgers star is whether teams will emphasize the numbers or emphasize film and character. If not for real questions about an assault on a female acquaintance, you could easily consider Carroo the top prospect at the position and 2016’s RotoViz Reach.
1.11 Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
Age: 20.8 Size: 5-11, 2013 Forty: NA Vert: 31
It’s important not to overemphasize combine results, but Cooper may have gone from vastly underrated prospect to draft afterthought with what was a near no-show in Indy. Or maybe he’ll remain so undervalued you get a steal.
From Christopher Gerrish’s Pharoh Cooper: Destroyer of Worlds
As you can see here, Pharoh Cooper – and not Sterling Shepard – is this year’s Randall Cobb or Antonio Brown.
1.12 Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech
Age: 21.9 Size: 5-10, 215 Forty: 4.58 Vert: 37.5 3-cone: 6.97
Dixon disappointed with a 4.58 forty and wasn’t able to fully redeem it with a 6.97 three-cone. Both numbers fall short of the preferred numbers in the 4.5 and 6.8 range. But on the field he has no peer. Kyle Pollock’s tremendous write-up emphasizes Dixon’s 87 Workhorse Score as a senior and insane per catch value. If Derrick Henry returned to Alabama for his senior season and scored 28 more TDs, he would still not have found the end zone as many times as Dixon.
As you can see, I assume drafters will agree with Anthony Amico that the two best prospects for 2016 are RBs. After that, I expect a run on the all-important receiver position as owners know the RB position is deep with sleepers in Round 2. A lot of big name RBs also remain, and they come off the board early in the second stanza . . .
Round 2 is coming soon.
From the sleepers, breakouts, and controversy series:
Josh Doctson, Michael Thomas, and the 5 Most Overvalued Prospects
This Combine Riser Could Be the 2016 David Johnson
The 5 Most Controversial Dynasty Startup Selections
Stars, Sleepers, and Busts: 13 RBs in the Prospect Lab
From the MFL10 series: