April 26th to 28th brought on those butterflies in the stomach, as every dynasty owner’s Christmas hit the airwaves. Twitter was blowing up with analysts and writers discussing the landing spots of Barkley, Guice, and Michel. However, as always, I like to dig a little deeper.
There are a few prospects that have caught my attention despite not being “elite prospects”, and who are pretty cheap in terms of rookie draft capital:
Many were expecting the Cowboys to select a prospect such as Courtland Sutton to be Dez Bryant 2.0. However, they waited a little longer than expected to draft their heir to Dez. They drafted Gallup in the 3rd round and with the vacated targets left by Dez and Witten, Gallup has soared up draft boards as owners identify instant opportunity. However, a much cheaper option and a player I’m much higher on than most is Cedrick Wilson Jr. The Cowboys’ 6th round pick is a player I’ve been a fan of for quite a while. I highlighted him in an article back in January, stating that he was one of the most underrated prospects in this class. I’ve been in a few drafts where I’ve seen Wilson go in the fourth round or later. He’s a good route runner with good speed and good hands and I don’t see it as a guarantee that Gallup greatly outshines Wilson in year 1.
Rightfully so, most of the Tight End attention in this class has been focused on the likes of Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, and Hayden Hurst. However, in the 4th round, the Carolina Panthers selected Ian Thomas out of Indiana. We’ve heard rumblings that Greg Olsen is searching for alternate career paths as an analyst and at 33 years old, it’s hard to say how much tread is left on Old Greg’s tires.
The Panthers feature dual TEs quite heavily and with Ed Dickson departing in free agency, opportunity will be coming sooner rather than later for Thomas. Olsen signed a new 2-year contract, but I have my doubts he fulfills it. Even if he does, the Panthers should create a contingency plan. Thomas is a raw prospect. A former JUCO player who is an 82nd percentile SPARQ athlete standing at 6’4” 260 pounds, and his ability to get down field (15 yards per catch), big hands, and ability to block, stand him in good stead to be a better pro than college player.
Similar to the rest of the community, I was certain that the Colts would select a Guice, Michel, or Chubb in the draft. That clearly wasn’t the case, sending Marlon Mack owners into a frenzy. The first RB they took was Nyheim Hines who is sure to develop some sort of scat back role. However, I’m more intrigued by Jordan Wilkins. There’s a high correlation between fantasy production and scoring opportunities for RBs, and Wilkins’ height, weight, speed combo lends weight to the fact that he may see those early down/goal line opportunities in competition with Mack. He reminds me of a young Crowell or Chris Ivory.
I think Jordan Lasley has the potential to be the player that the Ravens were hoping Perriman would be. Josh Rosen’s favorite college target is a superb deep threat and is a favorite for the advanced analytics guys, alongside DJ Moore. He caught 69 passes for 1,264 yards and 9 TDs despite missing 3 games in 2017. He has a couple of “off the field issues”, but the guy has a chip on his shoulder and is able to get open with ease. He has moments where he looked like a top 5 WR prospect in the class, but perhaps the character concerns caused his fall. Regardless, the Ravens haven’t had much success lately in drafting WRs but Lasley will be looking to buck that trend. I don’t have much faith in Crabtree, John Brown, or Willie Snead. There’s a peek of opportunity here for Lasley.