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3 Low Key Draft Losers: Players Whose Stock Took a Hit

Some NFL draft winners and losers are less obvious than others. Here’s a look at four players whose value took a hit, but the general market hasn’t noticed yet.

Josh Gordon

The Cleveland Browns drafted 1…2…3…4 wide receivers. And a tight end, for good measure. When the Browns front office said earlier this year that they were moving on from Gordon, they meant it. Or at least they’re acting like they meant it. Saying you’re moving on and then drafting four players at the same position is called putting your money where your mouth is, and Cleveland just lengthened the odds that Gordon is ever relevant again.

For that matter, Terrelle Pryor’s stock (such as it is) took a big shot as well.

Jaelen Strong

The Texans didn’t draft four WRs, but they did draft two, including Will Fuller in the first round. Strong may face discipline for his offseason arrest, and already had trouble getting on the field last year. Over Bill O’Brien’s two seasons coaching the Texans, his WR3 has earned just an 11 percent market share of targets. That’s not enough for fantasy relevance. We know DeAndre Hopkins is locked in as the WR1. That leaves Strong – if he doesn’t get suspended – to compete with not only Fuller but Braxton Miller for the WR2 spot. Fuller was drafted earlier and Miller, while raw as a receiver, is arguably as athletic as Strong. Oh, there’s two other receivers to contend with, too. Granted, Cecil Shorts and Keith Mumphery aren’t great. But Shorts is a veteran who managed to be near league average (-0.03 efficiency per target), and Mumphery out-targeted Strong as a rookie. If you’re an original investor in Strong, you’ve lost value. With no good news in sight, I’d recommend getting out while you still can.

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Darren Sproles

Before the draft, there was speculation that Sproles could be traded. He could also be cut, which would save Philly a nice chunk of change. Sproles wasn’t traded during the draft, and he hasn’t been cut – yet. But the Eagles did draft Wendell Smallwood, who looks kind of like a much younger (22 vs. 32), much cheaper ($450,000 vs. $4.6 million), more athletic Sproles.

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I realize Sproles’ combine numbers don’t mean much anymore, but if anything he’s probably less athletic now than he was then. Smallwood compares favorably to Javorius Allen and Shane Vereen. Shawn Siegele tells you everything you need to know about Smallwood’s elite potential.

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