Dynasty Watch: Three-Round Rookie Mock

Dynasty Watch: Three-Round Rookie Mock

This article is part of our Dynasty Watch series.

With the Senior Bowl done we decided to do a three-round rookie dynasty mock draft for a 12-team league. John (evens) and Mario (odds) made the picks. Both authors listed their next three targets after the 36 selections named, too.

1.1) Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5-11, 219)

At 6-foot, 233 pounds Saquon Barkley ran a 4.40-second 40 at the combine. That time featured a 10-yard split of 1.54 seconds. The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported that Taylor logged 10-yard splits as low as 1.44 seconds at around 220 pounds. Taylor doesn't need to run a 4.40 to establish himself as the best running back in this class to me – anything under 4.5 seconds should do it – but we have real reason to believe more specifically that Taylor is a top-10 athlete among NFL running backs. The main drawback with Taylor is his limitation as a pass catcher. He caught just 42 of of 68 targets for 407 yards and five touchdowns (61.8 percent catch rate, 6.0 YPT – brutal), but my thinking is that we won't care much if he's annually among the top contenders for the league rushing title. For me, Taylor alone is the first tier in this year's rookie class. I find his critics utterly strange. -MP

1.2) JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State (5-10, 217)

No shame in going with the status quo here. Dobbins is the total package – he's got the right build for a workhorse at the next level with the skill set to match. Speed, quicks, broken tackle ability, pass-catching ability and blitz pickup skills are all in his bag. He'll be a Top-40 selection and an impact starter for years to come, starting in 2020. -JM

1.3) CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma (6-2, 189)

A bigger, more athletic Brandon Lloyd, Lamb caught 68.9 percent of his targets at Oklahoma while averaging 13.1 yards per target on the way to posting 173 receptions for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns in three years. For some perspective, consider that Marquise Brown totaled 132 receptions for 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns in two years (71.0 percent catch rate, 13.0 YPT). Lamb is a different type of player, but the comparable production implies that the sum of his talent is in the same range as in Brown's case. -MP

1.4.) Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-1, 192)

This was a no-brainer. If anything, I was glad Mario answered the question for me by taking Lamb. Had he gone the other way, I would have been happy to get Lamb at 4. Both Jeudy and Lamb will be studs at the next level. -JM

1.5) D'Andre Swift, RB, Georgia (5-9, 215)

John and I are apparently lower on Swift than most, even though we are both quite high on him. Many rank Swift first overall in this dynasty class, not to mention first among running backs. But Swift's production doesn't match that of Taylor or Dobbins, and he hasn't shown the ability to carry a big workload. He averaged 11.6 carries per game in 2018, then in 2019 he got to 16 carries per game over 12 games before a shoulder issue rendered him mostly inactive for the final month (three carries in two games). He also had a preseason injury issue of some sort, as well as a double-hernia surgery in January of 2018. I've seen people knock Taylor for theoretical injury risk, which is strange given that Swift has already seen to the actual practice of it. -MP

1.6) Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (6-4, 215)

I've been a Higgins stan for as long as I can remember so going after him at No. 6 overall was easy, even though I hated knowing Jalen Reagor would be gone by the time I picked again. Higgins has good suddenness for a player his size and can snap out of his breaks well. Adding those elements to Higgins' huge frame and plus-body control make him an easy projection for the next level. -JM

1.7) Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (5-11, 195)

Feldman reported that at 5-foot-11, 195 pounds – a well-developed frame for an underclassman – Reagor was timed as low as 4.29 seconds in the 40-yard draft. Reagor's per-target efficiency at TCU suffered due to poor quarterback play, but he led the team in receiving yardage and touchdowns as a true freshman in 2017, outplaying an extensive cast of upper classmen. Reagor matches the upside of any wide receiver in this class, in my opinion. -MP

1.8) Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama (6-0, 190)

This was a tough selection as it would've been too early to go after RB4 but I didn't love the receiver options, either. Ruggs isn't without his warts but having 4.2-type speed helps smooth things over. Hopefully, he's more Santana Moss than Jacoby Ford. -JM

1.9) Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas (5-11, 202)

Duvernay was murderously good in the slot in 2019, where he bowled over smaller corners at some times and then outrun the fastest corners at other times. He's both one of the most densely-built receivers in this class and also one of the fastest, bringing polished track speed and a likely sub-4.4 40 at over 200 pounds. -MP

1.10) Zack Moss, RB, Utah (5-10, 222)

Moss was easily the best running back on the board here. He put together three 1,000-yard seasons at the Utah and shows a polished skill set that should get him on the field right away in the NFL. I don't see star potential here, but I see a solid multi-year contributor like a Lamar Miller or an Alfred Morris

Hey he used to be good. Look it up.

Moss is what you wanted David Montgomery to be. -JM

1.11) Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado (6-2, 220)

Shenault would be ranked higher than this if not for injury issues in his last two years at Colorado, and he could jump higher in rookie rankings yet if he tests well at the combine. One of his mid-range outcomes is an impact like Deebo Samuel's – Shenault is a heavy wideout who poses an uncommon menace after the catch, and he has extensive experience as a ballcarrier too. -MP

1.12) Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina (6-3, 215)

You need to watch the tape and look beyond the box score to get why Edwards is a legitimate prospect because the production, particularly as a senior, was middling. He caught 71 of 113 targets for 816 yards and six touchdowns in 2019. For context, Edwards had more yards (846) and touchdowns (7) on 20 fewer targets (93) in 2018. Shaky quarterback play had a lot to do with that production dip in 2019, though. When you watch the tape, Edwards is a big-bodied receiver who runs polished routes and has great hands and body control. I worry about the lack of explosiveness but his positive traits were worth betting on at this stage of the draft.  -JM

ROUND TWO

2.1) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU (5-8, 209)

I didn't expect to be so high on CEH, but I love his tape and it's uncommon to find a running back who is as densely built and skilled as a receiver as he is. When you have density you can withstand workload, and with passing-down viability you can withstand competition for snaps. Even though he's short, CEH is a standout specifically with respect to workhorse potential. With CEH and Jonathan Taylor in the fold, Team 1 is well on its way to a successful rebuild. -MP

2.2) Cam Akers, RB, Florida State (5-11, 212)

I've been all over the place on Akers since he got on my radar as a recruit. From "this guy can't miss" to "this guy's a bust" to where things stand now, which is somewhere in the middle. Akers has some things going for him: he looks the part and the knocks against his production can at least partly be explained away non-viable offensive line play. He's also got questionable vision and his hands are average despite having solid receiving production. There's still enough with Akers to make him worth betting on at this stage of the draft. -JM

2.3) Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (6-3, 192)

I'm a little concerned that he's 'just' another Josh Reynolds, but Jefferson is getting a lot of first-round hype at the moment and if he goes that high then he'll have a substantial immediate opportunity wherever he goes. I just want to see him weigh in above 200 pounds and test decently at the combine. You can be Robby Anderson Skinny if you're Robby Anderson Fast, but at the moment both fronts are up to some question in Jefferson's case. -MP

2.4) Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota (6-2, 205)

Like Mario, I can't believe Johnson didn't make the cut for the Senior Bowl. He would've been one of the best, if not the best, receivers at the event in my opinion. Regardless, I still believe in him as a prospect. At 6-2, 205, Johnson was a four-year producer at Minnesota who capped off his career with 86 catches for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns on 121 targets, showing explosiveness (10.9 YPT) and efficiency (71 percent catch rate) that matches up with his impressive tape. Love the production over a long sample, love the frame. As long as he doesn't tank the combine, Johnson should be primed for early success. -JM

2.5) AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College (6-0, 250)

Dillon is freakishly athletic for a 250-pound back, and he specifically shows a lot of flexibility and coordination, making me optimistic for his ability to contribute in passing situations despite playing in a Boston College offense that never threw to its running backs. -MP

2.6) Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State (6-4, 209)

Hodgins doesn't get a lot of mainstream love, but he should. He's 6-foot-4 and 209 pounds and posted top-20 production among receivers despite playing in a mediocre passing offense. Oregon State averaged 7.3 yards per pass attempt as a team, but that mark bumped up to 9.2 when targeting Hodgins. The athletic testing will firm things up but Hodgins looks like he'll post strong size-adjusted metrics in Indy, giving him a strong case for being a Day 2 pick. -JM

2.7) KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State (5-9, 176)

Hamler is small and didn't convincingly demonstrate the most varied skill set in the tape I watched, but he's uniquely dangerous after the catch and should at the very least serve in a rotational playmaker role in the NFL. There's some risk of an Andy Isabella sort of delayed arrival scenario, but Hamler's best-case scenario could look like a T.Y. Hilton sort of career. -MP

2.8) Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6-4, 216)

We finally reached a point in the draft where I could either take a project WR or RB, or go with the top rookie dynasty quarterback in Burrow. He'll be starting right away in Cincinnati and just had arguably the most dominant single season from a quarterback that we've ever seen at the college level. Even if Burrow's near the end of his developmental curve, the finished product looks promising. -JM

2.9) Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland (5-9, 198)

More specifically named Anthony McFarland Jr., the Maryland runner is, infuriatingly, not the son of the infamous Anthony 'Booger' McFarland. Oh well. McFarland looks like he's close to a burner, and I really like the quick-twitch anchor ability he shows on tape. When you have a fast guy who can anchor his feet and then convert it effectively into either power or change of direction, you have someone whose athleticism is more likely to play in traffic. At the very least it will always play in the open field. -MP

2.10) Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt

Vaughn's a guy who probably would've gone higher in this mock exercise had he come out last year. He was coming off a year in which he averaged 7.92 YPC despite playing behind a bad Vanderbilt offensive line in a tough conference. He came back for his senior year and it didn't quite go as planned, hence the fall to pick 22 overall. Vaughn still got over 1,000 rushing yards and added nine rushing touchdowns in 2019, so it wasn't all for naught. I still believe in his explosiveness and overall athleticism, and that was enough for me to bet on him at this stage. -JM

2.11) Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State (6-0, 201)

A two-year contributor out of JUCO, Aiyuk is an athletic playmaker who produced well in his two seasons, including a 2019 season where he broke out as a returner threat. Perhaps N'Keal Harry's disappointing rookie season complicates Aiyuk's reception a bit, but he bears few resemblances to the predecessor, for whatever that's worth. -MP

2.12) Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC (6-4, 219)

Pittman would've gone higher in this mock had his breakout not come so late in his career. Prior to 2019, Pittman's high-water mark was 41 catches for 758 yards and six scores before erupting for 101 catches, 1,275 yards, and 11 touchdowns on 136 targets this year. I'm willing to bet the breakout was legit, though. He's a big-bodied receiver with good downfield ability, including a knack for gaining separation. An injury-shortened Senior Bowl week may have also helped keep Pittman's price down here, and I'm happy to take the discount. -JM

ROUND THREE

3.1) Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky

Forced to play quarterback to bail out his collapsing Kentucky team, Bowden will play wide receiver in the NFL. His elusiveness with the football is beyond question, and it would be wrong to accuse him of underdevelopment as a wide receiver just because he played quarterback in 2019. Going into 2019 Bowden had caught 84 receptions for 955 yards on 109 targets. That's a 77.1 percent catch rate at 8.8 YPT while playing for Kentucky. -MP

3.2) James Proche, WR, SMU (5-11, 196)

Proche is someone I identified as one to watch during Senior Bowl week thanks to his blend of quicks, hands, and crisp route running. My evaluation of him remains the same and he is one of my favorite slot prospects in this year's class. I believe the combine will be kind to him, and he'll be able to parlay that into a late Day 2 selection. That would give him a path to being a Year 1 contributor. -JM

3.3) Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty (6-4, 222)

Maybe he'll just go the way of Keyarris Garrett, but it's a thin line between a Keyarris and a Kenny Golladay. I'm holding out hope that AGG can be more like the latter as far as 6-foot-4 small school wideouts go. -MP

3.4) Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame (6-4, 229)

I've always liked Claypool's game. He's a big, physical receiver who can make plays down the field and along the boundary. Admittedly, Claypool also had a mediocre catch rate (55.4 percent) but the difficulty of his targets could've played a factor there. He's also a late bloomer, having broken out as a senior. I like Claypool more at this stage of the predraft process than I did Miles Boykin, and having a strong combine could quell some of the concerns about his advanced age. Pulling a Boykin at the combine would be a lot to ask, though, so I'm expecting Claypool to be an early Day 3 guy come April. -JM

3.5) Quintez Cephus, WR, Wisconsin (6-1, 207)

Cephus is my top wide receiver sleeper in this draft. Over the 2017 and 2019 seasons the Wisconsin passing game completed 66.6 percent of its passes at 8.1 YPA. Cephus was the leading receiver on both teams, and over that span he caught 89 of 133 targets for 1,402 yards (66.9 percent catch rate, 10.5 YPT). -MP

3.6) Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (6-1, 218)

If Tua's hip ends up being a non-issue, this could be the steal of the draft. That's a pretty big 'if' though, and Tua himself said during his Super Bowl Week media blitz that while he's on track for a full recovery from his hip injury, there are still major milestones to reach in his recovery. Durability concerns existed before the hip injury, though, and they won't go away until he starts banking healthy seasons in the NFL. In terms of talent, Tagovailoa is an unbelievable prospect who will succeed as long as he's healthy. -JM

3.7) Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU (6-3, 249)

I suppose we have to pick a tight end eventually. Why not now? And if I must pick a tight end, why not the son of Randy Moss? -MP

3.8) Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton (6-5, 251)

I'll be honest, I didn't watch Trautman at Dayton. I'm succumbing to groupthink here but I don't care. Trautman's likelihood of being the first tight end off the board in April gives him some value, even if being the top tight end in this class is about as impressive as being the tallest building in Topeka. He checks all the boxes you'd want from a tight end coming from the FCS. Trautman looks the part (6-foot-6, 253 pounds) and had dominant production, headlined by a 70-catch, 916-yard senior season that also included 14 touchdowns. Here's hoping he's not Adam Shaheen 2.0. -JM

3.9) Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor (6-3, 206)

I think John and I are a bit lower on Mims than most. It gives me some anxiety to see a bunch of people agree on some idea that I can't follow myself, but to me Mims' promising production volume is dragged a bit by his middling production efficiency. Mims quite impressively caught 61 passes for 1,087 yards and eight touchdowns as a true sophomore in 2017, but in 2018 he was pushed aside a bit by transfer Jalen Hurd, and in 2019 he was meaningfully less efficient than teammate Tyquan Thornton. But volume absolutely matters, and Mims is novel test case to examine just how much. Over the last three years Baylor completed 60.5 percent of its passes at 7.8 yards per attempt, and in that span Mims caught 55.5 percent of his targets at 8.8 yards per target. I would call that 'above baseline,' but only barely so. I think to whatever extent it is over baseline, though, it's mostly offset by Mims' slightly advanced age. He turns 23 in October, meaning that in his (still impressive) breakout true sophomore season, he turned 20 before the season's halfway point. His breakout age as a true sophomore was only negligibly lower than many players' junior year ages, in other words. Despite all this, I'm comfortable selecting Mims in the third round of a dynasty draft, especially since he earned universally positive reviews for his work at the Senior Bowl. I probably just won't be the highest bidder in most cases. -MP

3.10) Jauan Jennings, WR, Tennessee (6-3, 206)

You're hunting plausible upside at this stage, and a 6-foot-3 receiver who led the nation in broken tackles offers that. Jennings has some impressive film and decent enough production to make him worth backing at this stage of a dynasty draft. As with any "big" receiver, there are concerns that he could tank his stock at the combine, Kelvin Harmon style. I'm optimistic Jennings won't suffer that same fate, though. -JM

3.11) Hunter Bryant, TE, Washington (6-2, 239)

There's a case to make for Bryant as the TE1, and he probably only falls this far due to durability concerns. More of an h-back than a proper tight end, it's still not Bryant's size that concerns me any, because h-back is a legitimate function and Bryant projects so convincingly as one that he doesn't need any fallback insurance. If he's able to play, he should absolutely stand out in the function for which he projects. Over his 126 career targets at Washington he caught 85 for 1,394 yards and five touchdowns (67.5 percent catch rate, 11.1 YPT). -MP

3.12) Jeff Thomas, WR, Miami (5-10, 180)

I'll defend Thomas to the death even in the face of mounting evidence that he might not get even get drafted. I'm just hoping he gets his shot, whether it's at the combine or at Miami's Pro Day, because he is talented. Thomas is a former blue-chip recruit who had solid-to-good YPT efficiency each of his three seasons at The U. I'm willing to give Thomas a pass for never truly breaking out in college because Miami was such a mess his last two seasons. If Thomas gets a combine invite, he might work his way back onto the draft radar. -JM

Best of the Rest

John: Eno Benjamin (RB, Arizona State), Quez Watkins (WR, Southern Mississippi), Gabriel Davis (WR, UCF)

Mario: Michael Warren (RB, Cincinnati), Deejay Dallas (RB, Miami FL), Javon Leake (RB, Maryland)

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
John McKechnie
John is the 2016 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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