2019 Draft: 3 First-Rounders the Box Score Scout Loves, and 2 It’s Not Sure About

Credit: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire Pictured: T.J. Hockenson

 

Round 1 of the 2019 NFL draft is in the books, and rookie drafts start to take shape with the top players off the board at every position. A couple of stud tight ends will battle for early selections in TE-premium leagues, while Josh Jacobs solidifies his top-five status by landing with an increasingly quixotic Oakland organization at No. 24 overall. Now that we have draft positions for the first-round prospects, we can use the Box Score Scout to provide even more accurate player comparisons.

We covered all of these prospects at length during the draft season. For even more advanced stats and an in-depth breakdown of the prospect’s path to the draft, click on the link in the header.

T.J. Hockenson – No. 8 to the Detroit Lions

Hockenson and teammate Noah Fant were the top prospects at TE, and they both went in the first round. The 2018 John Mackey award winner as the best TE in the country, Hockenson combines elite blocking ability with a 2018 breakout season as a receiver. His 760 yards and six touchdown accounted for a WR-like 26% share of the passing offense.

His comps are just below the superstar range. Tyler Eifert was among the NFL’s best before injury derailed his career, and plenty of enthusiasm still surrounds David Njoku, Hunter Henry, and Mark Andrews.

Noah Fant – No. 20 to the Denver Broncos

Fant destroyed the combine to secure his place in the first round, and that only reinforced his play on the field where he scored 18 TDs over the last two seasons. That gives him a career TD market share of 32% and puts him in the conversation with George Kittle, the league’s newest breakout star. When your other closest comp is Travis Kelce, the man who’s currently No. 6 overall in FFPC best ball ADP, you can expect to go early in rookie drafts devoid of a phenom at running back.

You may have to wait a year or two for the production, but when you use a first-round pick on Fant, you’ll be getting this type of athlete.

Josh Jacobs – No. 24 to the Oakland Raiders

There simply isn’t a great way to spin Jacobs’ lack of production.1 Even after going in the first round, the most exciting comp is Kerryon Johnson, a player who was far more productive in college. Kenyan Drake and Matt Jones were both overdrafted on their scouting profiles, and C.J. Prosise has been unavailable to answer questions about his talent.

2019 Rookie Tournament: Josh Jacobs vs Miles Sanders
2019 Rookie Tournament: Josh Jacobs vs Justice Hill
2019 Rookie Tournament: Josh Jacobs vs Ryquell Armstead

Marquise Brown – No. 25 to the Baltimore Ravens

Devy owners everywhere were hoping their guys would avoid the Baltimore land mine. While D.K. Metcalf, N’Keal Harry, A.J. Brown, and Hakeem Butler owners temporarily rejoiced, Brown owners remembered all too clearly what happened to John Brown when Lamar Jackson took over last season.

Becoming the first WR selected in the 2019 draft is probably still a big boost to Brown’s long-term floor, but going into a tricky situation won’t provide the best context to quickly eliminate questions about his size. As you can see from the comps, Brown is a smaller, slightly less productive version of former Sooner Dede Westbrook, and he required a pick 85 slots earlier. If Brown is truly as fast as many believe, he also shares some similarities with Will Fuller, and both Fuller and Paul Richardson would have been more exciting players to date if not for all of the injuries.2

Brown and the other first-round WR, N’Keal Harry, also faced off in our Rookie Tournament.

2019 Rookie Tournament: Marquise Brown vs J.J. Arecega-Whiteside

N’Keal Harry – No. 32 to the New England Patriots

If you think the celebration at the Harry household was exuberant after his selection by the Patriots, you should have been at RotoViz draft headquarters. After years of wondering why New England would blow the chance to replicate their 2007 juggernaut by casually burning picks at WR, they finally got it right.

Or at least that’s what it looks like today. This is an All-Star list of comps, with Laquon Treadwell the only disappointment. And Treadwell is more of a speed/weight comp with just enough production to sneak in. He was far worse in the important career market share yards metric. The rest of the group all sit at 28% or better, and Harry easily checks all the boxes with numbers above 30% across the board. A bigger, more productive JuJu Smith-Schuster, Harry should remain at the 1.01 in rookie drafts, a position he held pre-draft according to FFPC ADP.

2019 Rookie Tournament: N’Keal Harry vs Greg Dortch
2019 Rookie Tournament: N’Keal Harry vs. Hakeem Butler
2019 Rookie Tournament: N’Keal Harry vs. A.J. Brown

 

 

  1. I wrote his profile during our draft coverage, and if you click on the link in his header, you’ll find that I do give it a good try.  (back)
  2. Another red flag as injury cost Brown much of the pre-draft workout season.  (back)