ESPN Fantasy’s Mike Clay breaks down the fantasy impact of each skill-position pick from the first three rounds of the 2019 NFL draft.
Click to skip ahead to Clay’s takeaways from Round 1, Round 2 or Round 3.
No. 1: QB Kyler Murray to Arizona Cardinals
Arizona hired a new coaching staff this offseason, and now the Cardinals have a new quarterback. With Murray likely to be under center come Week 1, Arizona now figures to trade 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen over the next 24 hours.
Murray is easily the best quarterback in the draft and immediately adds a new dimension to coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. The Oklahoma product is extremely undersized (5-foot-10, 207 pounds), but exceptionally efficient with his arm and highly productive with his legs.
Last season, Murray paced combine invitees in yards per pass attempt (11.6), yards per completion (16.8), FBS QB rating (199), total QBR (96), first-down rate (48 percent), third-down conversion rate (54 percent) and yards per carry (7.2).
Murray threw 42 touchdowns to seven interceptions while adding 1,001 rushing yards and 12 rushing TDs. Murray, who was also drafted by the Oakland Athletics, is a superb athlete and one of the youngest quarterbacks in the class (he turns 22 in August).
Murray’s combination of passing efficiency and playmaking ability with his legs supplies him with a massive fantasy ceiling. Though rookies are often hard to trust in fantasy, Murray could be an exception. Consider that there have been three top-10 and six top-14 fantasy seasons by rookie quarterbacks over the past decade. They belonged to Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Jameis Winston. Each of them added significant points with their legs and rushed for four or more touchdowns.
Murray should be viewed as a QB2 with back-end QB1 upside and is worth a late-round pick in your draft.
Initial rookie-season projection: 15 starts, 305-of-491, 3,531 yards, 20 TDs, 14 INTs, 89 carries, 491 yards, 3 TDs
No. 6: QB Daniel Jones to New York Giants
The Giants have found their eventual replacement for Eli Manning in the 6-foot-5, 221-pound Jones. The Duke product has a solid arm and makes his hay in the short-to-intermediate area of the field. Jones’ numbers were far from impressive last season. He was off-target on a prospect-best 9.4 percent of his throws, but his average depth of throw was only 8.1 yards, and his 6.8 yards per attempt was better than that of only Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald.
Jones did deal with a ton of drops, but his weak efficiency and struggles throwing the deep ball are red flags. Jones is a good athlete who will add some value at the pro level with his legs. Manning will be the team’s starter as long as he’s healthy and the Giants are competitive this season, but Jones figures to get a few starts late in the season. He is a fantasy option only in dynasty.
Initial rookie-season projection: 3 starts, 57-of-98, 646 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 12 carries, 54 yards
No. 8: TE T.J. Hockenson to Detroit Lions
The Eric Ebron experiment didn’t work out for Detroit in 2014, but the Lions will give tight end another shot with a first-round draft pick. Hockenson joins free-agent signing Jesse James on the Lions’ depth chart.
Overshadowed by teammate Noah Fant heading in to the 2018 season, it didn’t take Hockenson long to take over as Iowa’s top receiving tight end. Hockenson is a terrific pass-catcher and good blocker who has drawn comparisons to Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski and even former Hawkeye George Kittle. Hockenson is a superb athlete, with good size (6-foot-5, 251 pounds) and toughness. He crushed it at the combine, placing near the top of the position in all but the bench press.
Hockenson has every-down tight end written all over him, but, as usual for rookie tight ends, he figures to learn the ropes in 2019 before emerging as a fantasy threat in 2020. Consider that only one tight end has posted a top-10 fantasy campaign in the past decade (Evan Engram), and only four have managed a top-15 season (Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Tim Wright). Hockenson doesn’t need to be on your radar in 10-team leagues in 2019.
Initial rookie-season projection: 65 targets, 43 receptions, 493 yards, 3 TDs
No. 15: QB Dwayne Haskins to Washington Redskins
Washington traded for Case Keenum during the offseason, but he’s now officially a bridge quarterback after the team drafted Haskins on Thursday.
The 6-foot-3, 231-pound pocket-passer has a huge arm and throws an accurate ball, especially in the short area. The latter is notable, considering Haskins’ noticeably low 7.9 average depth of throw last season, though he made his passes count with a strong 70 percent completion rate and a whopping 50 touchdowns to only eight interceptions.
The Ohio State product offers very little as a rusher (108 rushing yards in 14 career starts, 5.04-second 40-yard dash), which means he will need to do his heavy lifting in fantasy with his arm.
History suggests pocket quarterbacks are an extreme long shot for rookie-season fantasy relevance, and Haskins could cede some early-season starts to Keenum (or perhaps Colt McCoy). Haskins is a solid midround pick in rookie drafts but not worth your time in season-long drafts.
Initial rookie-season projection: 10 starts, 215-of-350 for 2,459 yards, 12 TDs, 10 INTs, 17 carries, 41 yards, 1 TD
No. 20: TE Noah Fant to Denver Broncos
Denver has had a void at tight end since moving on from Julius Thomas but took a giant step toward filling the void by selecting Fant in the first round. Fant doesn’t have near the blocking chops of ex-teammate T.J. Hockenson, but he’s a terrific receiver who will operate as an F/move tight end in the pros.
He is thin (6-foot-4, 249 pounds) but also a terrific athlete with good speed and production near the end zone. He was top at the position in the 40-yard dash (4.50 seconds), vertical (39.5 inches), broad jump (127 inches), 3-cone (6.81) and 60-yard shuttle (11.49) at the combine.
Fant’s struggles with drops and blocking have helped connect the dot to comps with Eric Ebron and Evan Engram. Engram is the only rookie tight end to post a top-10 fantasy season in the past decade, so there’s some hope for early relevance here, but the odds say he’ll split time with Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman in 2019.
Fant isn’t a bad late flier in deeper leagues, but, of course, his primary value is as a fringe first-round pick in rookie drafts.
Initial rookie-season projection: 68 targets, 45 receptions, 502 yards, 3 TDs
No. 24: RB Josh Jacobs to Oakland Raiders
Marshawn Lynch is out and Jacobs is in as Oakland’s feature back. Jacobs has a solid frame (5-foot-10, 220 pounds) and is a terrific rusher, good receiver and even offers value as a kick returner. The Alabama product lacks top-end speed but is quick, elusive and strong.
Jacobs broke one tackle for every 6.1 touches last season, which was best among backs who attended the combine. Jacobs has the skill set to quickly step in as a three-down back in the pros and, aside from deferring some work to Jalen Richard in passing situations, he figures to play that full-time role right out of the gate. Jacobs shouldn’t have trouble pushing for 250 touches as a rookie and should be viewed as a back-end RB2 in season-long leagues.
Note that he’s also one of the youngest players in the draft (turned 21 in February), which adds to his dynasty appeal.
Initial rookie-season projection: 219 carries, 957 yards, 7 TDs, 53 targets, 42 receptions, 352 yards, 1 TD
No. 25: WR Marquise Brown to Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens entered the draft looking for an offensive playmaker and field-stretcher. They got one in Brown.
The former Oklahoma Sooner is extremely small (5-foot-9, 166 pounds) but is super fast with the ability to get behind the defense and make plays with the ball in his hands. Drops (eight last season) and durability (he’s currently recovering from a Lisfranc injury) are red flags, but Brown has the tools to be like DeSean Jackson or John Brown.
Unfortunately, his short-term fantasy value will be hindered by Baltimore’s extremely run-heavy offense and Lamar Jackson’s shaky accuracy. Brown is worth a late flier in 2019 fantasy drafts only because he has a good chance to lead the team in targets as a rookie.
Initial rookie-season projection: 83 targets, 46 receptions, 684 yards, 3 TDs
No. 32: WR N’Keal Harry to New England Patriots
New England entered the draft with a big need for pass-catchers. The Patriots took a step toward filling that void by spending the final pick of the first round on Harry. Harry is 6-foot-2, 228 pounds and a big, physical downfield weapon. The Arizona State product is terrific with the ball in his hands, and his size makes him a valuable resource near the goal line.
He’s also a very good run-blocker and tied for the position lead with 27 bench reps at the combine. There are concerns here, however, as Harry’s speed (4.53-second 40-yard dash) and athletic limitations have led to struggles with separation. He’s best suited for a big slot role in the pros, which makes him a fit in a Patriots offense that moves its receivers around quite often.
With Josh Gordon’s future in doubt and Demaryius Thomas a strong candidate to land on the physically unable to perform list, Harry’s top competition for a Week 1 starting gig is the likes of Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris and Bruce Ellington. Expectations need to be kept in check for rookies, but if Harry earns starting duties opposite Julian Edelman, he’ll be on the flex radar. This landing spot boosts his dynasty value.
Initial rookie-season projection: 76 targets, 47 receptions, 634 yards, 5 TDs
No. 36: WR Deebo Samuel to San Francisco 49ers
For the second consecutive year, the 49ers have spent a second-round pick on a wide receiver (Dante Pettis in 2018). Samuel is one of the most versatile weapons among this year’s top offensive prospects. The ex-South Carolina Gamecock can play inside and out and contributes as a receiver, rusher and kick returner. He has sufficient size (5-foot-11, 214 pounds) with strong hands, route-running ability and is terrific after the catch (9.7 RAC last season).
Durability is a concern, as he has struggled with hamstring injuries during his career, and he’s also one of the oldest among the top wide receiver prospects (he turned 23 in January).
Samuel joins Pettis and Marquise Goodwin atop the 49ers’ depth chart and figures to play in three-wide sets as a rookie. If he’s a quick learner, Samuel could push for flex value as a rookie, though he’s best viewed as a late-round flier.
Initial rookie-season projection: 70 targets, 45 receptions, 536 yards, 3 TDs
No. 42: QB Drew Lock to Denver Broncos
Broncos general manager John Elway likes tall, strong-armed pocket quarterbacks, so selecting Lock makes a lot of sense. Lock has an ideal frame (6-foot-4, 228 pounds), a very good arm, throws a good deep ball and offers some mobility (4.69 40-yard dash, 4.12 short shuttle).
On the other hand, accuracy and struggles against pressure are concern areas. The Missouri product completed only 63 percent of his passes in 2018, which was actually the best of his career and required a massive drop in the average depth of his throws (8.5 yards). He also faced very little pressure and was contacted on a prospect-low 17 percent of his dropbacks.
Lock has drawn Matthew Stafford and — go figure — Paxton Lynch comparisons. He figures to make a few starts down the stretch this season, but he’ll start out backing up Joe Flacco. His only fantasy value is in dynasty.
Initial rookie-season projection: 4 starts, 90-of-145, 1,039 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs, 9 carries, 26 yards
No. 50: TE Irv Smith Jr. to Minnesota Vikings
Kyle Rudolph is now 29 years old and entering a contract season in 2019. With that in mind, Minnesota selected a potential replacement in Smith in the second round.
Smith is an undersized (6-foot-2, 242 pounds) receiving tight end. He is a work in progress as a blocker but did show well when utilized as a fullback at Alabama. Extremely young and raw, Smith doesn’t turn 21 until August and was limited to 58 catches in 26 games at Alabama. Smith has terrific speed (4.63-second 40-yard dash), which helped him to 16.1 yards per reception, including 8.5 after the catch, last season.
He’ll need time to develop — and is well positioned to do that behind Rudolph in 2019 — but figures to emerge as a viable slot target in the next few years. Smith has no 2019 fantasy value barring a Rudolph injury, but he does have TE1 upside down the road.
Initial rookie-season projection: 32 targets, 21 receptions, 252 yards, 2 TDs
No. 51: WR A.J. Brown to Tennessee Titans
The Titans drafted Corey Davis in the first round of the 2017 draft and signed Adam Humphries during the offseason, but they still had a need at the position. Enter Brown.
The Ole Miss product has good size (6-foot, 226 pounds) and dominates in the short-to-intermediate area and as a blocker (ideal in Tennessee’s run-first offense). Brown is quick, has good hands, is productive after the catch and is a savvy route runner. He lacks top-end speed (4.49 40-yard dash), but that won’t limit him much as he carves out a short-area high-volume role in the NFL.
Brown figures to immediately slide in opposite Davis with Humphries in the slot. It will be tough for Brown to carve out consistent fantasy value as a rookie, but he shouldn’t struggle for snaps. He’s no more than a late flier and is a terrific dynasty target.
Initial rookie-season projection: 78 targets, 50 receptions, 625 yards, 4 TDs
No. 52: TE Drew Sample to Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals were looking for a Tyler Kroft replacement and decided to address that with a second-round pick.
Sample is 6-foot-5, 255 pounds. He’s a good blocker and competent pass-catcher who has drawn Jack Doyle comps. He has a good combination of speed, hands and ball skills, which were highlighted by him hauling in all but one of his 26 catchable targets last season at Washington, as well as a solid combine showing (including a 4.71 40-yard dash).
He has little fantasy value in 2019 with Kroft and C.J. Uzomah still around.
Initial rookie-season projection: Negligible
No. 53: RB Miles Sanders to Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles made the decision to revamp their running back position this offseason, first trading for Jordan Howard, then Friday drafting Sanders.
Saquon Barkley’s replacement at Penn State racked up 220 carries in 2018 and was one of the nation’s most elusive backs, evading one tackler every 6.4 touches. Sanders is shifty and agile but not particularly explosive, and he struggled with fumbles (five last season). Sanders checks in at 5-foot-11, 211 pounds and is a solid receiver and kick returner (which also fills a void for the Eagles). He had a very good combine, which was highlighted by a 4.49 40-yard dash and position-best 6.89 3-cone.
Sanders’ shiftiness makes him a terrific complement to between-the-tackles bruiser Howard. Expect the two to split carries, with Howard the primary goal-line back and Sanders busier in passing situations. Sanders is immediately on the RB3 radar, and this landing spot is very good for his dynasty value.
Initial rookie-season projection: 170 carries, 716 yards, 5 TDs, 35 receptions, 279 yards, 1 TD
No. 56: WR Mecole Hardman to Kansas City Chiefs
The NFL future of Tyreek Hill is in major doubt, so it made perfect sense that the Chiefs drafted a player who has drawn on-field comps to the player he figures to replace.
Hardman is undersized at 5-foot-10, 187 pounds, but the former Bulldog is as explosive and versatile as they come. The Georgia product has terrific speed (4.33 40-yard dash) and toughness (17 bench reps) and will dominate with the ball in his hands (8.7 RAC in 2018). He has struggled with drops (eight on 91 career targets) and fumbles (eight combined despite only 39 touches last season).
Hardman figures to be utilized as a short-area RAC target, lid-lifter and a returner. He’s positioned for a significant rookie-season role, especially if Hill is unavailable. Patrick Mahomes is going to be this prospect’s quarterback for a long time. Take the late-round flier.
Initial rookie-season projection: 79 targets, 46 receptions, 659 yards, 4 TDs, 14 carries, 82 yards
No. 57: WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside to Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles entered the draft with few needs, which allowed some flexibility with their targets. Despite the presence of Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia drafted Arcega-Whiteside in the second round.
Arcega-Whiteside has a good frame for an NFL perimeter receiver, standing 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. He’s a big, strong weapon who thrives on contested catches and jump balls, especially near the goal line (only two players eclipsed his 14 touchdown catches last season). The Stanford product lacks top-end speed and isn’t particularly dynamic with the ball in his hands (4.1 RAC last season) but makes up for it with tremendous ball skills and good hands (he dropped one of 75 catchable passes in 2018).
With the aforementioned trio, as well as Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert in the mix for targets, Arcega-Whiteside will need an injury or two in order to enter the fantasy landscape in 2019. This is a good landing spot for his dynasty value, however.
Initial rookie-season projection: 34 targets, 19 receptions, 229 yards, 2 TDs
No. 59: WR Parris Campbell to Indianapolis Colts
The Colts entered the offseason with a major need at wide receiver behind T.Y. Hilton. They signed Devin Funchess as a veteran option, but selecting Campbell in the second round of the draft sets them up with a potential long-term solution.
Campbell was used extremely close to the line of scrimmage last season, posting a prospect-low 4.6 average depth of target and prospect-high 83 percent catch rate on 109 targets. Campbell, who checks in at 6-foot, 205 pounds, is extremely fast and athletic (receiver-best 4.31 40-yard dash and 4.03 short shuttle at the combine).
The Ohio State product primarily worked from the slot (91 percent last season). He’ll need to expand his route tree, but expect Campbell to settle in as a slot receiver, rusher and kick returner in the pros. He’ll play a lot early in a high-scoring offense, which makes him a logical late-round flier.
Initial rookie-season projection: 83 targets, 57 receptions, 625 yards, 4 TDs
No. 62: WR Andy Isabella to Arizona Cardinals
Arizona selected its quarterback of the future with the first overall pick Thursday, and on Friday, the Cardinals supplied Kyler Murray with a weapon in Isabella.
The 5-foot-9, 188-pound small-school receiver is undersized but also quick, strong and fast. Like Julian Edelman, he’s extremely versatile, with the ability to play inside and out, while adding value as a rusher and returner. Like Brandin Cooks, he has the vertical speed (4.31 40-yard dash) to make plays deep downfield. The UMass product easily led the nation with 1,698 receiving yards, ranked second in catches (102) and finished sixth with 13 touchdown grabs in 2018.
He played in the slot full time at the Senior Bowl but figures to spend a lot of time outside opposite Christian Kirk with Larry Fitzgerald in the slot in 2019. Isabella will struggle to push for flex value as a rookie, but this is a terrific long-term landing spot if Murray proves to be the real deal.
Initial rookie-season projection: 66 targets, 41 receptions, 556 yards, 3 TDs
No. 64: WR D.K. Metcalf to Seattle Seahawks
Metcalf was widely considered to be a first-round prospect during most of draft season but ended up falling to Seattle as the final pick of the second round.
Metcalf is huge (6-foot-3, 228 pounds) with terrific explosiveness, speed and downfield playmaking ability. The Ole Miss star is young (he turned 21 in December) and raw, which can somewhat be attributed to injury woes. Metcalf showed off his speed and size at the combine with a 4.33 40-yard dash and 27 bench reps, though he did raise major red flags by struggling badly in quickness events.
Metcalf has the upside to become one of the league’s next premiere downfield, perimeter weapons, but his short-term prospects will depend on his development and the health of Doug Baldwin. He’s unlikely to offer much 2019 value in Seattle’s super-run-heavy offense. Metcalf is a terrific dynasty stash.
Initial rookie-season projection: 53 targets, 33 receptions, 445 yards, 4 TDs
No. 66: WR Diontae Johnson to Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers traded Antonio Brown to Oakland, which opened up a void on the roster at wide receiver. Johnson figures to help fill that void at some point, though he likely will kick off his career as a depth receiver and the team’s primary returner. Johnson is a small receiver (5-foot-10, 183 pounds) with good quickness, playmaking ability and post-catch skill (8.5 RAC in 2018).
Johnson played both the slot (37 percent in 2018) and perimeter at Toledo, while contributing as a receiver (225 targets) and returner (79 kick, 17 punt) during his three seasons. His hands need work (seven drops last season), and he disappointed at the combine, especially in the 40-yard dash (4.53 seconds).
Pittsburgh is terrific at developing wide receivers, so this is a good long-term landing spot for Johnson.
Initial rookie-season projection: 38 targets, 23 receptions, 297 yards, 1 TD
No. 67: WR Jalen Hurd to San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers drafted Deebo Samuel earlier and now add Hurd to the wide receiver mix.
Hurd is one of the biggest receivers in this class at 6-foot-5, 226 pounds. Despite his massive frame, Hurd was actually a running back, racking up 589 carries in three seasons at Tennessee before converting to slot receiver for one season at Baylor (48 catches, 107 targets in 2018).
Hurd is obviously a very raw receiver, but his combination of versatility, athleticism and strength makes him an intriguing project. Expect him to learn from the bench in 2019, but he has a high long-term ceiling.
Initial rookie-season projection: 22 targets, 13 receptions, 167 yards, 1 TD
No. 68 TE Josh Oliver to Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars took a step toward filling their tight end void by selecting Oliver in the third round.
Oliver was busy last season, playing 780 snaps and handling 103 targets, the latter of which was most in this rookie class. The San Jose State product struggled a bit with efficiency, including eight drops, and isn’t particularly quick (4.47 short shuttle). Oliver has a decent-sized frame (6-foot-5, 249 pounds) and could develop into a two-way tight end in the pros.
In the short term, expect him to play a part-time role behind Geoff Swaim and James O’Shaughnessy. He doesn’t have 2019 fantasy value.
Initial rookie-season projection: 28 targets, 19 receptions, 223 yards, 1 TD
No. 70: RB Darrell Henderson to Los Angeles Rams
The Rams traded up and selected Henderson in the third round. A master in rushing efficiency, Henderson averaged an astounding 8.88 yards per carry on 130 attempts in 2017 before improving to 8.92 YPC on 214 carries in 2018. The Memphis product averaged 6.0 yards after contact per attempt last season, which is higher than the yards per carry of all but five of the backs who attended the combine. Henderson ran for 10-plus yards on 26 percent of his carries, averaged 15.5 yards per catch and forced one missed tackle for every 4.1 touches (ninth-best in the class).
Henderson is small (5-foot-8, 208 pounds) and benefited from light boxes at Memphis, but he has decent wheels (4.49 40-yard dash), runs tough, is elusive and is a big-play machine. Henderson has the tools to contribute as a rusher and receiver, and that is notable, considering Todd Gurley struggled through the latter part of last season with a knee injury.
If Gurley is a full go over the next few seasons, Henderson will struggle to find touches. If Gurley misses extended time, Henderson will have massive fantasy upside. This is a situation to monitor.
Initial rookie-season projection: TBD
No. 73: RB David Montgomery to Chicago Bears
As landing spots go, this is a great one for Montgomery. Chicago traded Jordan Howard to the Eagles, leaving a clear void at the position. Montgomery will immediately be the favorite over Mike Davis to join change-of-pace back Tarik Cohen in a two-headed attack.
Montgomery is one of the biggest backs in this class (5-foot-10, 222 pounds). His on-field profile is very similar to Kareem Hunt, as he lacks some speed (4.63 40-yard dash) and explosiveness but makes up for it with a combination of power, balance and especially elusiveness. The Iowa State product evaded a tackle once every 5.1 touches last season (second-best in the class) and, according to Pro Football Focus, he paced the entire nation in forced missed tackles (rushing and receiving combined) in both 2017 and 2018, eclipsing 100 both seasons.
Also a good receiver and blocker, Montgomery has NFL workhorse written all over him. He’ll defer a lot of targets to Cohen, but Montgomery could push for 200-plus carries as a rookie. Consider him an RB3.
Initial rookie-season projection: 211 carries, 933 yards, 6 TDs, 24 receptions, 197 yards, 1 TD
No. 74: RB Devin Singletary to Buffalo Bills
I’d be lying if I said I knew what the Bills were doing at running back. After committing to LeSean McCoy for 2019, they signed Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon before selecting Singletary on Friday.
Singletary is very undersized (5-foot-7, 203 pounds) and lacks home-run speed (4.66 40-yard dash) but makes up for that with toughness and elusiveness. The Florida Atlantic star ran for 22 touchdowns and ranked among the top backs in the class in broken-tackle rate and evaded-tackle rate in 2018. Singletary didn’t produce much as a receiver, but he did so in earlier seasons and is a strong pass-blocker. His value took a hit after a weak combine, when he came in below average in nearly every category. Nonetheless, he showed well on tape and is a potential three-down back in the pros.
He won’t get that opportunity anytime soon with the aforementioned trio on the roster, but Singletary could be Buffalo’s lead back as early as 2020. Stash in dynasty.
Initial rookie-season projection: 25 carries, 113 yards, 4 receptions 30 yards, 1 TD
No. 75: TE Jace Sternberger to Green Bay Packers
Jimmy Graham is 32 years old and took a step back in production last season, leading Green Bay to start thinking about the future. Enter Sternberger, who is fresh off a highly productive season in which he paced all incoming tight ends with 10 touchdowns.
Highly efficient, Sternberger pulled in 48 of 51 catchable targets, which is notable because his raw catch rate of 60 percent is significantly distorted by 36 percent of his targets being off the mark. The Texas A&M product is an athletic 6-foot-4, 251 pounds, a good route runner with sure hands and sports good post-catch and big-play ability.
His frame raises questions about his potential blocking contributions in the pros, but he has plenty of experience in that area. Sternberger won’t be a fantasy asset in 2019 as long as Graham is healthy, but he could emerge as Green Bay’s starter as soon as 2020.
Initial rookie-season projection: 28 targets, 19 receptions, 215 yards, 2 TDs
No. 76: WR Terry McLaurin to Washington Redskins
The Redskins entered the weekend as one of the league’s neediest teams at wide receiver. They took a step toward improving the position by adding McLaurin to a room that also includes Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn.
McLaurin is an older prospect (he turned 24 this month) with an average frame (6-foot, 208 pounds). McLaurin is extremely fast (4.35 40-yard dash) and an efficient receiver who showed well at the Senior Bowl and combine. The former Buckeye averaged 14.3 yards per target last season, which topped this class.
McLaurin might settle in as a depth receiver and special-teams standout, but he has a terrific opportunity for a major rookie-season role because of Washington’s shaky depth chart. That puts him on the late-round radar.
Initial rookie-season projection: 49 targets, 29 receptions, 405 yards, 2 TDs
No. 86: TE Kahale Warring to Houston Texans
Houston drafted both Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas last year but went ahead and spent a third-round pick on Warring on Friday.
The San Diego State product is a massive specimen at 6-foot-5, 252 pounds. He’s a capable blocker, and his combination of size, speed (4.67 40-yard dash), quickness, route-running ability and athleticism offers him big-time upside as a receiver. The former basketball star has struggled with drops (seven on 85 FBS targets) and post-catch production (prospect-worse 2.8 RAC last season) but makes sense as a developmental flier. Small hands aside, Warring helped himself with a good combine.
He’s likely to be buried on the depth chart in the short term.
Initial rookie-season projection: Negligible
No. 87: RB Damien Harris to New England Patriots
Zig when they zag? The Patriots have suddenly become hot on running backs, drafting Sony Michel in the first round last year and now selecting Harris in the third round in 2019.
The 5-foot-10, 216-pounder actually got more snaps than Josh Jacobs at Alabama last season but wasn’t quite as explosive or dynamic. Harris found himself averaging a full yard more prior to initial contact than Jacobs, but he forced tackles at a below-average rate and underwhelmed after contact (3.0 YAC). Harris lacks top-end speed (4.57 40-yard dash) but is a powerful, downhill runner with exceptional ball security (zero fumbles last season). He’s also a good pass-catcher and blocker, which supplies him with three-down upside in the pros.
He won’t get that opportunity anytime soon with Michel and passing-down specialist James White locked into offensive roles in New England. Harris will compete with Rex Burkhead for No. 3 duties in 2019, and his dynasty value certainly takes a hit with this landing spot.
Initial rookie-season projection: 61 carries, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 9 receptions, 77 yards
No. 93: WR Miles Boykin to Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore entered draft weekend as the league’s neediest team at wide receiver. That’s no longer the case after the Ravens drafted Marquise Brown in the first round and now Boykin in Round 3.
Boykin is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the small/speedy Brown, standing 6-foot-4, 220 pounds. He’s a terrific athlete with serious length, drawing comparisons to Kenny Golladay. The Notre Dame product was a huge winner at the combine, posting outstanding marks in the 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds), 3-cone (6.77), short shuttle (4.07) and broad jump (140 inches).
Boykin’s route running needs polish, and he doesn’t add much after the catch (3.8 RAC last season), but he’ll quickly be able to step in as a perimeter deep threat opposite Brown, with Willie Snead manning the slot. Baltimore’s run-heavy attack and Lamar Jackson’s shaky accuracy are obvious concerns here and hurt Boykin’s short-term fantasy appeal. He’s a very intriguing prospect, however, so stash him in dynasty.
Initial rookie-season projection: 52 targets, 30 receptions, 426 yards. 2 TDs
No. 96: TE Dawson Knox to Buffalo Bills
The Bills have revamped the tight end position, signing blocker Tyler Kroft and now drafting the more dynamic Knox.
An intriguing pass-catching prospect, Knox essentially played wide receiver at Mississippi, aligning in the slot on 80 percent of his 195 routes in 2018. Knox has terrific size (6-foot-4, 254 pounds) and athleticism but isn’t overly fast or quick. He was underutilized during his Ole Miss days but was still highly efficient when targeted. He paced tight end prospects in yards per reception (18.9), average depth of target (11.4) and first-down rate (80 percent) in 2018, while also averaging 8.7 yards after the catch (second-best). Incredibly, Knox failed to catch a single touchdown in 22 games at Mississippi.
He might lead Bills’ tight ends in targets this season but is unlikely to land on the fantasy radar.
Initial rookie-season projection: 38 targets, 25 receptions, 270 yards, 2 TDs
No. 100: QB Will Grier to Carolina Panthers
Grier is staying home. The resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, was selected by the Panthers toward the end of the third round. He’ll settle in as Cam Newton’s backup.
Grier’s arm strength is not particularly impressive, but he was stellar connecting on the deep ball, which helped him to a strong combination of production and efficiency at West Virginia last season. He posted a 37-8 TD-to-INT mark and threw a catchable ball on a prospect-high 81 percent of his throws despite a midrange 9.8 average depth of throw. Grier offers nothing as a runner, but he’s a gunslinger with good accuracy, which provides him with plenty of appeal.
Grier is already 24 years old and was the second-oldest quarterback at the combine. He has no short-term fantasy value unless Newton misses time with an injury.
No. 102: RB Alexander Mattison to Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota lost Latavius Murray during free agency, which opened up a void behind Dalvin Cook on the depth chart. Enter Mattison, who will be the favorite ahead of Mike Boone, Roc Thomas and Ameer Abdullah for No. 2 duties.
Mattison recently turned 21 and is one of the youngest backs in this class. He’s a big, between-the-tackles back at 5-foot-11, 221 pounds but also has good receiving and blocking chops. Mattison, who handled a whopping 302 carries at Boise State last season, lacks speed (4.67 YPC) and quickness but has the size and skill set to settle in as a reliable backup. For now, consider him Cook’s handcuff.
Initial rookie-season projection: 66 carries, 264 yards, 2 TDs, 8 receptions, 65 yards
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