Football fans across the world got a much-needed break from the current state of affairs in the world as the NFL completed its first-ever, fully virtual NFL Draft. For three straight days dynasty football degenerates like myself parked themselves in front of the television for hours on end to see where the stars of tomorrow would begin their NFL careers. Now, I’m going to go round-by-round and give you my key takeaways on the guys you will be targeting in your upcoming rookie drafts.
Check out my breakdown of previous rounds here:
Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Rounds 5 – 7 & Top UDFAs
Round 3, Pick 66 – Antonio Gibson – RB/WR – Washington Redskins
Antonio Gibson lands in an extremely intriguing situation from a fantasy perspective. He’s a swiss-army knife type player that can be lined up all over the field and utilized in a lot of different ways. While he should maintain RB eligibility in fantasy leagues, he definitely projects to be used as more of a gadget-type utility player in the NFL as he only had 33 carries (38 catches/735 yards/8 TDs) as a Senior for Memphis last year. He should also spend some ample time returning kicks so that’s an added bonus for those that play in leagues with return yards. Gibson only had one year of major production in college so he does carry some risk, but he fits the modern NFL and I’m confident head coach Ron Rivera will find ways to maximize his unique skill set. I’m grabbing Gibson at the end of the 2nd round in rookie drafts.
Round 3, Pick 76 – Ke’Shawn Vaughn – RB – Tampa (Tompa) Bay Buccaneers
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is probably the player who’s ranking fluctuated the most for me during the pre-draft process, and now the draft has come and gone and I still find myself going back and reviewing his tape more than any other RB in this class. He has prototypical size and you couldn’t have drawn up a better landing spot for him, but I still find myself lower on him than most of the people I’ve talked too. He’s not an overly explosive runner, and while he will run through arm tackles, he’s definitely not the type of runner that is going to make a ton of guys miss. Down the road, we might find that he is best suited for a change-of-pace role off the bench, but he will have plenty of opportunities to prove us wrong as the competition for carries in the RB room is slim. I’ll take a stab on Vaughn if he’s still there in the mid-2nd round of rookie drafts, but if there are any Buccaneers fans (cough* ex-Patriots/Tom Brady fans) in your league you may have to use a late-1st rounder to add him to your team.
Round 3, Pick 80 – Lynn Bowden Jr. – WR – Los Vegas Raiders
Lynn Bowden Jr is a cut from the same cloth as Antonio Gibson, a receiving-back that can be moved all over the field and utilized out of the backfield. The Raiders made it quite clear that their main focus was to overhaul the receiving corps and add some speed into the equation and Bowden definitely helps check those boxes. Bowden can operate out of the slot and contribute as a returner, although his route tree is pretty limited at this point. We may be (probably are) a year-or-two from really seeing how the new-look Raiders will fare as they are still missing a starting-level quarterback, but his upside is undeniable. I am snagging Bowden around the 2nd-3rd round turn in rookie drafts.
Round 3, Pick 81 – Bryan Edwards – WR – Las Vegas Raiders
Bryan Edward is my favorite value of all the rookie Vegas WRs when you factor in talent vs. rookie draft pick cost. You can grab him in the 2nd round of rookie drafts, and I wouldn’t be blown away if you fast-forward to the end of the season and told me Edwards was the WR1 in Vegas going into next season. Edwards has good size (6’3”, 215 lbs) and can be utilized in all three levels of the passing game. If he can tighten up his route-running he has the potential to blossom into a WR2 for fantasy teams down the road. I’m grabbing Edwards with a mid-2nd round pick in rookie drafts.
Round 3, Pick 86 – Zack Moss – RB – Buffalo Bills
Zack Moss fell into a pretty good situation, all things considered. Sure, Devin Singletary will probably be the lead back in Buffalo, but I would virtually guarantee its a timeshare where Moss is still a factor in the game plan down the stretch. He’s a patient, powerful runner that has shown flashes as a pass catcher, and projects as a potential three-down back down the road. The biggest factor working against Moss and all Bills RBs is the threat of dual-threat QB Josh Allen stealing touchdowns at the goal line. Moss probably won’t be more than a desperation week flex-play in deep leagues as a rookie, but his upside down the road is undeniable. I’m drafting Moss in the mid-2nd round and patiently letting him marinate on my bench as a rookie.
Round 3, Pick 91 – Devin Asiasi – TE – New England Patriots
The Patriots made Devin Asiasi the 2nd Tight End selected in the draft with pick 91 getting ahead of the mini-run that saw three more TEs getting selected between picks 95 and 105. The Tight End (and most of the offense) position is up for grabs in New England as they transition into the post-Tom Brady era, but I’m not really interested in investing my rookie draft picks into this situation. I’m not 100% convinced that the Patriots starting QB is even on their roster yet, and they will likely be a team with a subpar offense that leans heavily on their defense and trying to control the clock and tempo on offense to stay in games this season. Not a recipe for a rookie Tight End to succeed in fantasy. I’m not looking at Asiasi anytime before the late-4th round in rookie drafts.
Round 3, Pick 92 – Devin Duvernay – WR – Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens went out and added more speed to their already potent high-octane offensive attack. Duvernay is a former track star who uses his top-end speed to get separation and make big plays down the field. He led the nation in catches last season and is outstanding with the ball in his hands, turning into a running back that can pile up yards after the catch. He will find himself on a crowded WR depth chart in Baltimore but he has some upside down the road, especially in best-ball formats. I’m looking at Duvernay in the 3rd round of rookie drafts, but I’m not expecting much production early in his career.
Round 3, Pick 93 – Darrynton Evans – RB – Tennessee Titans
If you miss out on the early crop of top rookie RBs Darryton Evans may be the solution to your problems. He will immediately find himself as the primary backup to Derrick Henry, and he has shown enough as a blocker that he can help ease the burden and sub in on passing 3rd-downs right away. He was extremely secure with the ball in college, finishing with zero (!!!) fumbles. He displays vision and decisiveness running behind his blockers and is a weapon breaking outside on screen passes. He will form a nice tandem with Henry as a rookie, and while I think the Titans eventually ink Henry to an extension, he is currently set to play this year out on the franchise tag and things can change in the blink of an eye at the running back position. I’m grabbing Evans with a mid-to-late 2nd round pick in rookie drafts.
Round 3, Pick 94 – Josiah Deguara – TE – Green Bay Packers
The Packers continued to try the patience of their fans with another head-scratching pick in the 3rd round, bringing in Tight End/H-Back Josiah Deguara. I would be very shocked if Deguara is fantasy-relevant anytime in the next few seasons. He projects to be more of an asset in real football, as he is a versatile blocker that can be used in several different schemes and actions. I am not going to come away with any shares of Deguara in rookie drafts this season, and if he ends up being an out-of-nowhere superstar I will live with it.
Round 3, Pick 101 – Dalton Keene – TE – New England Patriots
I’m not going to waste a ton of time here as Keene projects to be a blocking tight end that is more valuable in real football than fantasy. Keene can be used as a TE, H-Back, or fullback and shows promise as a pass blocker and as a lead blocker on the run. I have no real interest in Keene outside of the deepest of Tight End premium leagues, and even then, If I’m grabbing a rookie Patriots Tight End it’s going to be Devin Asiasi.
Round 3, Pick 105 – Adam Trautman – TE – New Orleans Saints
In the past few days I’ve moved Trautman up into the No. 1 spot in my rookie Tight End rankings, but I’m still expecting next-to-nothing from him this season. This is mostly an exercise of me trying to foreshadow and take a stab at the future. The Saints moved up in the draft to make sure they got him, and I’m….. intrigued… by the thought of Jameis Winston learning from Drew Brees and Sean Payton for a year and possibly taking control of the reigns when Brees decides to step away. Trautman is the best pass-catching Tight End in the class, and the only one I’d feel comfortable betting on finishing with multiple top-12 TE finishes at some point in his career. I’m looking to grab Trautman with Late-3rd, early-4th round pick in rookie drafts. Bump him up to the 2nd/3rd round turn in Tight End premium leagues.