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2018 Rookie Rankings: The Final Pre-Draft Prospect Tiers

With the NFL draft hours away, Saquon Barkley appears to be in a tier alone at No. 1. But who will follow him in the second tier? Another stud running back from a deep class? Perhaps the fastest-rising wide receiver?

The NFL draft will provide the last key piece in our prospect puzzle before rookie drafts begin almost immediately in leagues like Ryan McDowell’s Kitchen Sink. And the draft does have a large influence. Blair Andrews recently demonstrated the difference in WR NFL breakout age for those drafted in the top 100 picks versus those drafted later.

My tiers are based on research from the terrific cast of writers who’ve been working on the draft project all spring. 

TIER 1

Saquon Barkley

A perfect score in the RB Prospect Lab makes this one easy. His freakish athleticism also led to the top Speed Score (124) by nine full points.

TIER 2

Derrius Guice, D.J. Moore

Guice is likely the 1.02 in most leagues, but Moore edges him with the second-highest projection in Anthony Amico’s final update. Moore defeated James Washington 8-0 in the finals of our WR Tournament.

TIER 3

Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman, Christian Kirk

TIER 4

Kerryon Johnson, D.J. Chark, Courtland Sutton, Calvin Ridley

  • Johnson has the fourth-best Lab score and landed on the potential star list as a result, but a more limited track record and concerns about athleticism bump him into this WR-heavy tier.
  • Chark’s 72 was the second-best Freak Score and Jon Moore noted his explosiveness as a receiver who “accounted for 26.7 percent of LSU’s receiving yards during his career on only 18.9 percent of the receptions.”
  • Sutton and Ridley saw their values slide over the last year but still sit at No. 2 and 3 in Amico’s projections. They could quickly move into the undervalued category.

TIER 5

Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, Equanimeous St. Brown, James Washington, Josh Adams, Sam Darnold

  • Gesicki is a SPARQ star and one of the 6 Biggest Combine Winners. By contrast, Goedert is the producer at the position with two straight 1,000-yard seasons.1
  • St. Brown rehabbed his value with a strong combine that led to a 71 Freak Score. Washington did the opposite, sliding out of elite status2 despite averaging 20.9 yards per reception.

TIER 6

Anthony Miller, Tre’Quan Smith, Deon Cain, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Allen Lazard, Justin Jackson

TIER 7

John Kelly, Josh Allen, Mark WaltonKalen Ballage, Michael Gallup, Deontay Burnett, Cedrick Wilson, Keke Coutee, Dante Pettis, Hayden Hurst

Opportunity Scores

Watching the draft over the next three days, we’ll all be rooting for our devy players to land on rosters with the best opportunity. Cort Smith and Blair Andrews have provided multiple methods for assessing opportunity.

RB Opportunity Scores

chart

WR Opportunity Scores By Air Yards

chart

Receiving Opportunity by QB ADP

opp_chart

These visualizations should only whet your appetite for the full articles. We’ll be addressing opportunity during our draft reaction series over the next three days, but these articles need to be read in their entirety.

Further Reading

Want to brush up on your advanced metrics but don’t want to read every article?

Every RotoViz RB Metric in One Place
Every RotoViz WR Metric in One Place

 

  1. The tight ends are comfortably in this tier in TE-premium leagues but may slip into the next group in more traditional formats.  (back)
  2. A 51 Freak Score helps explain his tumble to No. 9 in Amico’s WR projections.  (back)
  3. Anything above a .30 has historically led to significant outperforming of draft position.  (back)
  4. 4.49 forty at 210 pounds  (back)

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