The 2017 NFL season is officially over and now it’s time for the offseason. And this is going to be one hell of an offseason, I can promise you that. I mean, we’re less than 72 hours into it and we’ve already had major drama: Josh McDaniels rescinded on his gig to be the new head coach of the Colts. I don’t know if it was the prospect of moving to Indianapolis, working for an owner who does.............this, or coaching a quarterback who hasn’t played an NFL game in what’s felt like a decade, but McDaniels decided it was best for him to stay in New England. Might be for the best. And that’s not just the Patriots fan in me talking. I’m not sure if I’d want to willingly enter the chaos that surrounds Indy.
While this offseason is sure to boast more highlights, nothing will—because nothing ever does—compare to the NFL draft which is now only two months away. Monday, following the Super Bowl, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar released his first mock draft now that every pick is locked in. Get ready for a LOT of quarterbacks taken this year (Dan has five going in the first round).
As I’ve done earlier, I figured I’d peruse Dan’s mock and discuss his picks from a fantasy football perspective. However this time, instead of going through every offensive pick he made (since there are a lot), I’m going just list a few of my favorite picks, ones which I think have the best chance of making a fantasy impact.
Let us begin.
1. Cleveland Browns: QB Baker Mayfield
The Browns have a talented offense and plenty of fantasy potential if they could just happen to stumble upon a worthy signal caller. Could that worthy man be Baker Mayfield? Sure. Will it be Baker Mayfield? You tell me...
Among the rookie quarterbacks, Mayfield seems to be heading towards the draft with the most hype. He showed up at the Senior Bowl and is certainly in the discussion for best quarterback in this year’s draft. I don’t know what to think given the Browns’ track record but if you remove the Cleveland curse, Mayfield would certainly improve the fantasy value of the players around him, players like Corey Coleman, Josh Gordon, David Njoku and Duke Johnson.
Here are the other quarterbacks Dan has in his mock:
- Sam Darnold to Giants at 2 - No fantasy importance since Eli Manning is likely to be back (I mean, he freaking danced with Odell at the Super Bowl, he’s coming back).
- Josh Rosen to Jets at 6 - A quarterback certainly helps the Jets but they aren’t ripe with offensive talent.
- Josh Allen to Cardinals at 15 - Allen might not be Day 1 ready but has plenty of talent. I’d be curious to see if the Cardinals would be patient enough to sit him a year a la Pat Mahomes.
- Lamar Jackson to Bills at 21 - I like this, there’s talent in Buffalo and Jackson I think is being underrated, much like Deshaun Watson was and we all saw how that turned out...
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Saquon Barkley
I’ve seen Barkley all over the top 10 and this might be my favorite landing spot for him. We all know how this Buccaneers offense looks on paper. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson are excellent receivers, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are the best tight end duo in the NFL and Jameis Winston, will inconsistent at times, has all the tools to be a top 10 quarterback. And nothing helps quarterback inconsistency better than a strong run game.
My dream here is that the Bucs take a similar approach to how the Jaguars rebuilt their offensive game plan around Leonard Fournette and turn their offense into a run first, ground and pound attack with play action for big shots downfield, only in this case, the Bucs would be working with a better quarterback, better receivers and better tight ends. That seems like a recipe for one potent offence.
8. Chicago Bears: WR Calvin Ridley
In Dan’s earlier mock he had Ridley sliding down to 10 and landing with the San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo which made almost too much sense for me. But this round, Ridley gets taken earlier and lands in Chicago. I don’t hate this as Chicago desperately needs people to catch the football. I’d give you a firm handshake and a pat on the back right now if you could name a Bears receiver other than Kendall Wright. Go on, I dare you.
This isn’t my favorite landing spot for Ridley in terms of fantasy given that I trust Jimmy G and Kyle Shanahan more than Mitchell Trubisky and Matt Nagy. But Ridley is immensely talented and likely will be a fantasy star wherever he goes.
20. Detroit Lions: RB Derrius Guice
Now you know I love this pick. I’ve been advocating for the Lions to get themselves a running back for a millenia and maybe, hopefully, finally they’ll do just that. What makes me even more excited about this pick is that Guice isn’t the typical back the Lions have fancied in the past. He’s not a shifty back like Ameer Abdullah, nor is he a pass catcher like Theo Riddick. Guice is a power back, a bruiser who gets yards after contact and falls forward. NFL.com has him compared to Marshawn Lynch, so there’s that if you like comparisons. Regardless, Guice would add a new dynamic to the Lions offense, one they haven’t had in a long time. Fantasy wise, I’m 100% on board with this pick.
27. New Orleans Saints: TE Dallas Goedert
Remember a time, long ago, when the Saints offense was a perfect land for fantasy tight ends? And it wasn’t just Jimmy Graham that was successful. The Saints managed to milk a productive fantasy season out of Benjamin Watson. Then Coby Fleener came around and single handedly sunk my fantasy team two season ago. All I got out of it was an excellent name: Coby Wan Kenobi. Maybe with Goedert, the Saints offense could return to a place where tight ends flourished and have fantasy relevance. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Also, if the Saints really did draft Goedert, part of me would pick him just given the fact that the Saints drafted this year’s offensive and defensive rookie of the year. They clearly know what they’re doing out in New Orleans.
What are your thoughts? Let me know which rookie you’re looking forward to adding to your fantasy squad next year.