Well we had the first round of the draft last night, so why not continue on this football train even with baseball season in full swing with a bit of a recap. I will be covering the impact of all of the offensive skill position players that were taken, and what their value looks like heading in the 2016 season, as well as comments on their value in a dynasty league. Not only will each rookie's individual impact be looked, I will also be providing what there pick means for the players already on the roster. This is just the beginning folks, as more coverage will follow after the entire draft has been completed and I can see where some other potential impact players are, and possibly some sleeper candidates. For now though, lets dive right into what happened in the first round.
1st Pick, Jared Goff, Quarterback, Los Angeles Rams
In a pick that was no surprise to anyone after the Rams traded up, they took Jared Goff. From a fantasy football perspective, Goff shouldn't be on your radar this year. Rarely do we see rookies make an impact right away, and when they do, they have a better supporting cast then he does. His leading receivers will be Tavon Austin, the oft injured Kenny Britt, and Lance Kendricks. Yeah those names don't inspire me either. This is Todd Gurley's team, so don't let any preseason hype that Goff might get fool you. He is currently outside my top 25 for QB's.
For Dynasty league rookie drafts, I wouldn't have Goff rated as the top QB. There just isn't enough value in the first couple of years to put him ahead of Wentz, who has the better long term upside. If you are desperate for a QB, I suggest looking towards Wentz first. Goff doesn't have the same mobility that Wentz has, and as I pointed out above, the situation he is walking into doesn't invoke confidence that he will succeed right away. Wentz has the better weapons at his disposal in the passing game, along with a coach in Doug Pederson who has been known to help in QB development. Another negative going towards Goff is the fact that he had been playing in a spread offense, not a pro style offense at Cal. This is key because even though he is more NFL ready, he will have to learn to run this style of offense for the first time. That isn't something you can just walk into and learn on the fly, so I imagine it will be a bumpy ride for him in the early going.
The pick of Goff does virtually nothing to change my view of any of the players on the Rams roster. Todd Gurley is still a top 5 guy, you weren't drafting a Rams QB anyways, and the only receiver you should consider is Tavon Austin as a late round flier.
2nd Pick, Carson Wentz, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
I fully expect Sam Bradford to be the starting Quarterback for the Eagles for the entire 2016 season. Doug Pederson I feel wants to bring Wentz along slowly to try and not stunt his growth. He isn't NFL ready yet, so if he does become the starter before the season, you can think of him like Goff, someone who shouldn't be on your draft radar.
In a Dynasty league rookie draft however, I will be taking him first of the QB's. The first thing going for Wentz is a better group of receiving talent around him. Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, and even Nelson Agholor are better options then the ones I outlined for Goff above. Not only does he have the better weapons, but he also has a coach who has been known to work well with QB's. That is not something people have been saying about Jeff Fisher. The athleticism and ability to add value through running the ball himself is another plus he has over Goff.
Since I don't expect him to play, I don't see this effecting any of his teammates. Even if Wentz does play, would he really be any different in the passing game right away then Sam Bradford would be?
4th Pick, Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
While I am never a fan of a team taking a Running Back early, this one is what most fantasy owners would have wanted to see happen. This just seems to fit too well almost. Elliott is one of the most complete backs we have seen enter the league in the past decade. This won't be like the other RB's you see get drafted who are only early down backs or 3rd down backs, Elliott can stay on the field for all types of plays. That is due to the elite level of pass blocking he brings to the table. Rarely do you see that. This will afford Elliott to be on the field and used in a similar fashion as DeMarco Murray was back in 2014. While the amount of touches Elliott will see won't come close to the 449 Murray saw, I could envision a scenario where he gets close to 325 touches in 2016. I mean Darren McFadden had 279 touches last year, and he wasn't even the starter the entire season. Not only that, but it is Darren McFadden, a guy who clearly isn't at the same level as Ezekiel Elliott is. If you are as big a believer in Elliott as I am, he becomes a top 10 RB right away in drafts, and even that might not be enough praise.
So you could probably have guessed where I stand on Elliott as a dynasty league pick. I believe that he should be your number one pick in rookie drafts, and you shouldn't even think twice about it. He has landed in the perfect situation, and is a complete back who should be able to anchor your teams for years to come.
This pick is helpful for Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys team. We saw Tony Romo have his most efficient year passing the ball in 2014 when DeMarco Murray was on the team. Dez Bryant should also see a stabilizing effect to his value now. Last year he was hurt, and even when he was healthy, teams were using tight coverage and shadowing him with another defender. This should happen less often now, and we could see him go out and return to his 2014 numbers. If this is to happen, that would make him a borderline top 5 WR.
8th Pick, Jack Conklin, Left Tackle, Tennessee Titans
This will be the only time I will comment on an offensive lineman getting taken, so I will keep it brief. Marcus Mariota was sacked a total of 38 times, and the Titans QB's as a whole were sacked 54 times, the most in the league. Conklin should help make sure that number goes down, which means less hits on Mariota. Will this ultimately help his value? I think it helps in putting more trust into Mariota if you end up drafting him late in drafts.
15th Pick, Corey Coleman, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
So this pick actually surprised me. I didn't expect the Browns to go with a wide receiver here, but since they did I will break it down. Coleman comes from a Baylor system that doesn't run a full route tree. While that may sound like bad news, the fact that he is now on the Browns won't make that a negative. The Browns won't be asking Coleman to run a full route tree with the Browns, similar to what they did with Josh Gordon his rookie year. The difference is though that Coleman is expected to be the number one receiver the moment he steps on the field. While it may look bad at moments, the shear amount of targets he should see will make him an intriguing upside play in 2016.
For Dynasty league rookie drafts I will have Coleman ranked as my second best receiver, and third overall. This puts him behind only Ezekiel Elliott and Laquon Treadwell (more on Treadwell later). His combination of speed and upside puts him up that high. The QB situation will figure itself out in the future. Currently it will be Robert Griffin III, and what we know is that if it is still him in three years, it is because he has regained his old rookie season form. If RG3 hasn't regained that form, we can assume that they will be drafting a guy like Deshaun Watson, who is being viewed as a better prospect then any of the QB's that went this year. Invest in Coleman for this year, and for the future, as he should always have the benefit of large amounts of targets in his favor.
This pick helps make RG3 now a more interesting deep league late round flier. Before Coleman the best targets he had were Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson Jr. Coleman adds the much needed deep threat and short route player for him to constantly get the ball to.
21st Pick, Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
I am just going to say this upfront, I didn't like this pick. I know Fuller had a great combine and runs a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but his catching skills seemed absent last year. Too often did I see Fuller catch the ball against his chest instead of going and getting it with his hands. That presents a huge problem, and is one I don't like investing in. What exactly does Will Fuller bring that Jaelen Strong couldn't have, last year's third round pick? Call me crazy, but I don't see what impact Fuller will have on most 10 or 12 team leagues on a weekly basis. He will be the guy you have on the end of your bench who will constantly give you a 2 reception 19 yard outing, and then once in every four weeks go 4 receptions for 90 yards and a TD. Picking those weeks will be maddening, especially with Brock Osweiler at the helm.
In Dynasty leagues I would currently have him ranked at 4th among the wide receivers, but that may slip further depending on where some of the other players go tonight. Does he have a chance to improve on his catching skills? Yes he does, but I don't like investing in those types of players. One thing that I will give Fuller credit for is his ability to run some clean routes. While I do love seeing that in rookies, it isn't enough to alleviate my concern with his hands.
The player who saw the biggest impact from this pick is Jaelen Strong. I find it hard to believe now that Strong will get any sort of run in 2 or even 3 wide sets for the most part. Since Fuller was the first round pick, we can safely assume he will take a starting role, putting Strong on waiting for an injury to get his chance.
22nd Pick, Josh Doctson, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins
This was a pick made with the future in mind by the Redskins. Both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are entering contract years, and my guess is that neither guy will be resigned. For 2016, even though I like him more than Fuller, I can't rank him ahead for this upcoming season. Fuller has the opportunity to be a starter, something I don't think Doctson will have.
As I mentioned, both Garcon and Jackson are in contract years, leaving room to be a starter as early as 2017 for the Redskins. As long as Kirk Cousins is signed to that long term deal after this season, Doctson is looking like a great receiving prospect. He has natural ability to go up and high point the ball, something that is highly desired. Not only can he go up and bring a ball down unlike most rookies, his hands were some of the most reliable in college football last year. Some of the negatives are the durability concerns, but that doesn't rate nearly as high as his lack of crisp route running. Far too often at TCU Doctson run routes that he didn't breakout of nearly as smooth or quick as he needed too. What helped in making up for this was his athleticism in getting the ball above defenders. I would rank him as a close 3rd at the position, right behind Corey Coleman, as the known quantity of targets that Coleman will get early in his career gives him the slight edge over Doctson.
Practically all of the receivers on the Redskins see a slight downtick to their value for me. While Jackson will probably be the least effective, he may yet again become the boom or bust player he was known to being two years ago. The intrigue with Jamison Crowder also is wearing off with this Doctson pick, as he is just a better receiver then Crowder is at this point.
23rd Pick, Laquon Treadwell, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
This was a pick that I absolutely loved to see, and that isn't just because I am a Vikings fan. This fit a need that the Vikings desperately needed, and also gives Treadwell a good situation to show the skills he has. Treadwell won't be asked to carry as heavy of a load as Coleman will be in 2016, but I think the upside is still there. The biggest knock against Treadwell was his slow 40 yard dash time. I have no concerns however about his 40 time, as he isn't being asked to be a deep threat for the Vikings. We have seen plenty of players who ran slow 40's that became great in DeAndre Hopkins and Anquan Boldin to name a few. As long as they are given the right role, they will find success do to their natural skills. His role will be to run short to intermediate routes, go over the middle of the field, and then be a redzone target. Teddy Bridgewater has been constantly improving as a passer, and with that comes more passing plays every year. For 2016 though, Treadwell should be drafted as at best a FLEX Option, or WR3 in 12 team leagues.
The real potential with Treadwell is with his future value. Just like Doctson, Treadwell does a terrific job of high pointing the ball and coming down with it. With that, he is a very physical receiver who likes to get his positioning with defenders and can make sure to block them off when going to get the ball. Quite possibility the skill that gets most overlooked with Treadwell is his high football IQ. It was evident when playing at Ole Miss, as he had a certain feel for where his defender would be. That feel led to him knowing exactly how to help his QB when a play broke down. His footwork is as clean as they come. The upside is immense for this player, which is why I have him ranked as my top wide receiver for rookie drafts, and number two overall behind Ezekiel Elliott.
Teddy Bridgewater sees a slight uptick to his value now with Treadwell being his primary target. While it is still best to not take him in 10 or 12 team leagues, he does present to be a stabilizing force as a second QB in 2 QB leagues. Think of him this year as you would Alex Smith, you know that there may not be much upside, but for some reason he will put up solid numbers in the end by being efficient and taking advantage of the redzone.
26th Pick, Paxton Lynch, Quarterback, Denver Broncos
This one will be short. Paxton Lynch won't be the starter this year, and maybe not next year either. Mark Sanchez will start at this point for the Broncos. Much like Wentz, Lynch is raw and not quite NFL ready yet. Since he won't be starting in 2016, he holds no value going into this season. For dynasty leagues I want to see where Connor Cook, Dak Prescott, and Christian Hackenberg land first before ranking him, but he is not near the Wentz or Goff tier. At best Lynch will be ranked my 3rd best rookie QB for rookie drafts, but most likely he will fall behind Hackenberg and Cook if their situations are decent. One thing going for him is his use of his legs, but until he becomes a better passer, that can only help him so much.