NFL Draft 2018: Day 2 Reactions
Day 2 of the NFL Draft saw plenty of impact players selected. Some high-profile running backs were taken, we saw a run on wide receivers in the second round, and the selection of arguably the best tight end in this draft was upstaged by a former kicker. Here is a recap of Friday night’s action along with the fantasy implications of these choices. Once again, videos are primarily courtesy of the excellent work of Andy Singleton and John Laub.
2.03 – Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
Nick Chubb had an impressive college career at the University of Georgia, averaging just over 100 rushing yards per game and scoring 48 total touchdowns in his 47 total games. Chubb impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine and the Cleveland Browns added him to their revamped offense. Chubb enters the NFL as part of a crowded backfield. Cleveland has pass-catching specialist Duke Johnson and signed former San Francisco 49er Carlos Hyde in free agency. With Hyde in the fold, it will be hard to have confidence in Chubb as Cleveland’s primary ball carrier. Chubb was usually removed on passing downs in college, so he is not a threat to Johnson’s role. Chubb makes for a decent roster stash should he overtake Hyde, but I do not consider him a viable fantasy starter at this point in time. I see him as an RB4/5 in fantasy leagues this season and would not select him before Round 12 of drafts.
2.06 – Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After realizing way too late that Doug Martin was toast, Tampa Bay filled a glaring need with the selection of Ronald Jones II out of USC. The Buccaneers do not have a single running back on their roster who has ever had as much as 600 rushing yards in a season. Peyton Barber proved himself relatively capable in a December audition, but Jones is a dynamic player and should earn a significant amount of playing time in his rookie campaign. He does have some deficiencies in the passing game, but at 20 years old, has plenty of time to develop. I think Dirk Koetter and company will give Jones plenty of opportunities, and I like his upside in fantasy leagues this season. I believe Ronald Jones II is an RB3 and I would look to target him in the eighth round.
2.08 – Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos
Courtland Sutton is a big, physical wide receiver with a large catch radius and tremendous agility. He is not considered a burner but has good speed for his size. He should be a productive NFL wide receiver and have a solid career. For 2018, however, I am less optimistic. Denver already has two established wide receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The duo will look to bounce back from subpar seasons with new quarterback Case Keenum at the helm. I simply don’t see Sutton getting enough targets for him to be considered a viable fantasy option. He should be drafted as a late-round flier in the event he can move up the depth chart via injury, but Courtland Sutton will most likely be little more than bench depth in fantasy leagues this season.
2.10 – Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins
Mike Gesicki is a freakish athlete with huge, soft hands who can run past linebackers and body up defensive backs. He finds himself in an enviable position for his fantasy stock, having joined the Miami Dolphins. Gesicki should step right in and make an immediate impact. He is not a strong blocker, but Miami also drafted Durham Smythe out of Notre Dame, who, along with MarQueis Gray, will be tasked with those responsibilities. Gesicki will be free to roam the middle of the field and soak up the targets vacated by slot receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Julius Thomas. The departing duo combined for 223 targets last season. Albert Wilson and Danny Amendola figure to man the slot, but Gesicki will be heavily involved in the passing game. Mike Gesicki may not be the best all-around tight end in this year’s draft class, but he is easily my favorite target among the group for fantasy purposes. I have him as a low-end TE1 this season.
2.11 – Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions have long struggled to find an answer at running back, and new Lion Kerryon Johnson quickly pledged to help turn Detroit’s fortunes around and simultaneously made me feel a thousand years old in the process. Thanks, Kerryon.
Kerryon Johnson said he wished he was alive to watch Barry Sanders.
Johnson has great burst and is a good receiver out of the backfield, but he lacks the physicality needed to be considered an every down NFL running back. He also joins a roster with an incredibly deep (though individually flawed) running back group. I don’t mind taking him towards the end of drafts, but I do not see Kerryon Johnson making an impact in 2018 fantasy leagues.
2.12 – Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Dante Pettis joins San Francisco after a collegiate career which saw him set an NCAA record with nine career punt returns for touchdowns. Pettis is a good route runner but lacks strength and figures to be more of an ancillary piece behind Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, and Trent Taylor in the 49ers’ pecking order at wide receiver. Goodwin finally proved he can be a capable all-around wide receiver last year and not just a deep threat. I think Pettis is likely to fill Goodwin’s former role as a low-volume piece with big-play potential. As such, I do not believe Dante Pettis will make a significant enough impact for redraft leagues.
2.15 – Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
After selecting Josh Rosen in the first round, Arizona turned its attention to wide receiver, where the aging Larry Fitzgerald remains the only proven commodity on the roster. The Cardinals selected Christian Kirk out of Texas A&M. Kirk is a slot receiver who has excellent hands, is a sound route runner, and is not afraid to go over the middle. I really like his long-term upside given the ability to learn under one of the all-time greats, but I think he can make some noise this season as well. I believe he can make an impact as a Flex play, particularly in PPR leagues. I would be comfortable taking a shot on Kirk any time after Round 9 or 10 of 2018 redraft leagues.
2.17 – Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
The selection of Dallas Goedert was put on the backburner courtesy of David Akers and his trolling of the Dallas Cowboys and their fans, but Goedert is arguably the best all-around tight end in this year’s draft. Unfortunately for fantasy players, Goedert landed in a terrible spot for his 2018 fantasy prospects. Philadelphia already has one of the league’s top-five fantasy tight ends in Zach Ertz. Yes, Trey Burton and Brent Celek are gone, but you do not want to draft a tight end and hope he picks up some scraps here or there. You want someone with opportunity, and I’m afraid Dallas Goedert will simply not have enough opportunities this season to warrant consideration in fantasy leagues.
2.19 – Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
In a matter of a few short months, Chicago has gone from having possibly the league’s worst receiving corps to having some intriguing pieces. They signed prized free agent Allen Robinson and added deep threat Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton as well. Those players should be nicely complemented by the selection of Memphis WR Anthony Miller. Miller is a high-volume slot receiver who has impressive strength and a large catch radius for someone who stands just 5-foot-11. He has had issues with drops in college, but I like him as an option in this offense. Like Kirk, I see Miller as a viable PPR Flex option, and I am fine with taking him as my WR4/5 in Round 10 or 11.
2.27 – Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins
Concerns about immaturity and integrity caused Derrius Guice to drop towards the end of the second round in this year’s draft, but he is certainly a first-round talent on the football field. Guice has a punishing running style and he also has exceptional speed for a man his size. Guice should immediately make a case to be Washington’s early-down back ahead of Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine. I would feel more comfortable with him as my RB3 than my RB2 to start the season, but ultimately, I think Guice should make enough of an impact to be a fantasy starter in most weeks. I would look to target Derrius Guice in the fifth or sixth round in 2018 redraft leagues.
2.28 – James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally traded disgruntled wide receiver Martavis Bryant and replaced him with Oklahoma State wideout James Washington. The Biletnikoff Award winner led the country in receiving yards and was an elite deep threat in college. However, he lacks top-end speed and sits no higher than fourth among pass catchers in a Pittsburgh offense dominated by Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Pittsburgh may try to deploy Washington as a deep threat ala Sammie Coates in 2016 or utilize him in the slot to replace the currently injured and unsigned Eli Rogers. Either way, Washington’s short-term upside is extremely limited in this offense. I do not see him as anything more than a late-round flier who you would likely be looking to replace before ever inserting into your starting lineup.
2.29 – D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
D.J. Chark is a flat-out burner who can get behind a defense with his 4.34 speed. Chark averaged 20.9 yards per catch during his senior season at LSU. He has incredible quickness and burst, but he does not have great hands and he struggles to high-point the football. As a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, he joins a crowded receiver group. Chark figures to be a low-volume player who will likely be used on play-action shot plays down the field. This type of player is not going to be a consistent fantasy asset. Despite his elite speed and SPARQ score, I cannot endorse D.J. Chark as being worthy of a fantasy draft pick this season.
3.07 – Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
Royce Freeman is the all-time FBS leader in career rushing yards and averaged nearly six yards per carry during his four seasons at the University of Oregon. Freeman is a tough load to bring down and possesses impressive speed and agility for a player his size. More importantly, he fills a vacancy in the Denver Broncos’ backfield after the team released veteran running back C.J. Anderson earlier this month. General Manager John Elway believes Freeman has what it takes to be Denver’s early-down running back, and Freeman should get every opportunity to seize that role ahead of Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson. Royce Freeman should be considered a sixth or seventh round fantasy draft pick this season.
3.12 – Mason Rudolph, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mason Rudolph was the only quarterback drafted in Day 2 after five quarterbacks were selected in Round 1 of the NFL draft. Rudolph was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are planning for life after Ben Roethlisberger. Rudolph is a very accurate pocket passer but has limited mobility. Time will tell if Rudolph can project to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he will not see the field this season unless things have gone horribly wrong for the Steelers. Ultimately, Mason Rudolph will spend the 2018 season as he has spent much of the last four years – throwing passes to James Washington. Only this year, those passes will be thrown in practice and not in games. But at least they’ll be getting paid.
3.17 – Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Michael Gallup’s NFL Scouting Combine numbers don’t jump off the page, but he finished 2017 as Pro Football Focus’ top-graded wide receiver. Gallup knows how to create separation and find soft spots in opposing defenses. He does not have breakaway speed, but is excellent after the catch, making him an ideal fit to replace the released Dez Bryant in the Dallas Cowboys’ passing attack. With the loss of Bryant and the potential retirement of Jason Witten, Dallas may be missing 220 targets from a season ago. Gallup will compete with Terrance Williams and Allen Hurns for those extra looks. Michael Gallup should be drafted as a late-round flier, but I think he has some upside and I would be willing to take him a round early to cash in on his potential value.
3.22 – Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is participating in his final NFL Draft, and it seems fitting that the Hall of Fame tight end would select a tight end in this spot. Wait, that’s what I wrote when Newsome drafted Hayden Hurst on Thursday. Well, I suppose it still applies. And while I theorized that Hurst could make a viable fantasy tight end, Mark Andrews is probably better suited to fit the bill. Andrews is a former wide receiver who made the switch to tight end. He knows how to run routes and has a nose for the end zone. Hurst is probably a better real-life tight end, as he has greatly improved as a blocker in recent years, but Andrews is likely the best bet for fantasy production. I would not necessarily draft Andrews, but he can be a serviceable injury replacement or bye week fill-in.
3.27 – Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints
Tre’Quan Smith is an intriguing long-term prospect because he is long, fast, and young. Smith has a wingspan of over 6’8”, runs a 4.49 40-yard dash, and is just 21 years of age. As he matures and improves his route running skills, Smith can be an impact receiver in the NFL. But that growth will not manifest itself in 2018. Smith will be buried on the New Orleans depth chart and does not figure to see the field much this season. Smith could be the heir apparent to Ted Ginn as the team’s primary deep threat and may fill that role as soon as next season. However, he should not be selected in 2018 redraft leagues.
3.34 – Jordan Akins, TE, Houston Texans
Jordan Akins has traveled an interesting road to become an NFL draft pick. Akins pursued a baseball career out of high school and spent four years as a minor league player for the Texas Rangers. He then attended UCF as a wide receiver before finally settling in as a tight end. He is also 26 years old, which separates him from most rookies. Akins could carve himself a role in Houston following the retirement of C.J. Fiedorowicz. However, his lack of polish and his struggles as a blocker are troublesome given his advanced age. Jordan Akins’ story is a good one, but that does not make him a wise selection in fantasy football drafts