2018 NFL Rookie Primer

The staff at Scout Fantasy Sports breaks down all the top offensive prospects entering this year's draft in the 2018 NFL Rookie Primer!

Josh Allen
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

(Updated: April 19)

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen, Wyoming

  • Height / Weight: 6’6 – 223 pounds
  • Projected Round: Top 3 pick
  • Potential Landing Spots: CLE, NYG, NYJ
  • Compares To: Carson Wentz
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.3

Analysis: Standing at six-feet, five inches tall, Allen’s rise to stardom was quick and prominent. After a mediocre high school career, he didn’t receive any offers from FBS programs and decided to test his luck at Reedley Community College. Allen showed tremendous promise in 2014, tossing 26 touchdowns while averaging 285 passing yards and 66 rushing yards per game in his only season at Reedley. At this point in time, Allen was approached by Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl, who transformed Carson Wentz (a small school quarterback prospect) into the No. 2 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft and eventual Super Bowl champion. Allen transferred to Wyoming but broke his collarbone in 2015 and didn’t play much even while healthy.  In 2016, Allen stepped up and started 14 games for the Wyoming Cowboys, leading them to the Mountain West Conference Championship game. He finished the year with a 28-to-15 touchdown-to-intercepetion ratio while completing 56 percent of his pass attempts for 3,203 yards. It was a solid season but there were question marks surrounding his accuracy and effectiveness as a true passer. In 2017, the injury bug caused Allen to miss a few games, though he still managed to throw 16 touchdowns and limited his interceptions to just six.

Allen has the perfect body to be a quarterback in the National Football League and one of his greatest strengths is his incredibly strong arm. His size allows him to escape the pocket and he’s more mobile than most quarterbacks in the NFL. Allen excels on double moves and pump fakes due to his strong arm and can thread the needle as well as any other quarterback in this draft class. The biggest knock against Allen is his low completion percentage and the occasional erratic throws he makes when on the run or under pressure. He’s got a cannon but could use a bit more finesse when throwing certain routes and has a lot of room to increase his football IQ. He certainly has room for improvement when it comes to reading the opposing defense. Allen would ideally be better situated in a position where he can learn from a veteran for a few years before becoming the team’s starter (Tyrod Taylor). He still has a lot to learn about the pro game and although he has experience in a pro-style offense, he’s a long way from being NFL-ready. Ultimately however, Allen still should be drafted with the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, if the Browns select Barkley, the Giants (Pick 2) and Jets (Pick 3) would both benefit from a strong cannon like Allen’s in the winds of Jersey.

-Matt Brandon


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Sam Darnold, USC

  • Height / Weight: 6’3 – 221 pounds
  • Projected Round: Top 3 pick
  • Potential Landing Spots: CLE, NYG, NYJ
  • Compares To: Andrew Luck
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.5

Analysis: Darnold has good size and has never missed a game due to injury. He moves well in the pocket and can extend plays. Darnold is the least experienced of the top quarterbacks with only 24 starts. He turns 21 soon. As a freshman in 2016, Darnold completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was inconsistent in 2017, with a 63 percent completion rate, 4,143 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

-Adam Ronis

Josh Rosen, UCLA

  • Height / Weight: 6’4 – 226 pounds
  • Projected Round: Top 5 pick
  • Potential Landing Spots: CLE, NYG, NYJ, DEN
  • Compares To: Trent Green
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.11

Analysis: Exceptional mechanics, footwork and delivery of the football. Lacking in arm strength but he can still make most every throw. Tall but very lean, needs to add some muscle. Limited escapability. Below average athleticism. Injuries have been a problem. Sometimes waits for a guy to get open rather than anticipating he will be open. Plenty of experience in a pro-style offense and taking snaps under center. Keeps his eyes downfield and can hold and deliver the pass when the pocket collapses. Doesn’t put a lot of mustard on his throws, tries to place it sometimes rather than just letting it rip. Loft on throws will lead to picks. Good pocket feel and awareness. Steps up into pocket well. Holds onto ball for too long and allows overconfidence lead to poor decisions.

-Matt De Lima

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

  • Height / Weight: 6’1 – 215 pounds
  • Projected Round: Top 8 pick
  • Potential Landing Spots: CLE, NYG, NYJ, DEN, BUF
  • Compares To: Jeff Garcia
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.10

Analysis: Fiery competitor. Quickly diagnoses plays. Good leadership. Above-average accuracy. Quick feet and moves well to elude pressure. Undersized. Below average mechanics and can be sloppy with footwork. Plays with a type of fast, nervous energy at times. Can extend the play and find the open man on broken plays. Relied on spread offense to get playmakers outside, since offensive line towered over him and limited passing windows. Too often throws off back foot or without setting his feet at all. Over the top with trash talking and playing with a chip on his shoulder. Often only asked to only scan one half of the field. Improved year to year in college.

-Matt De Lima

Lamar Jackson, Louisville

  • Height / Weight: 6’2 – 216 pounds
  • Projected Round: 1-2
  • Potential Landing Spots: BUF, AZ, JAX
  • Compares To: Mike Vick
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.7

Analysis: Jackson was Heisman Trophy winner in college with undeniable talent. However, he’s been tied down to the stereotype of the running quarterback. Many question his ability to adjust and stay healthy in the NFL while others are struck by his athleticism and upside.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

  • Height / Weight: 6’4 – 235 pounds
  • Projected Round: 2-3
  • Potential Landing Spots: BUF, AZ, MIA, JAX, DEN
  • Compares To: Dak Prescott
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.12

Analysis: Rudolph is everyone’s sleeper quarterback this year. With guys like Tom Brady and Dak Prescott in the league everyone is always searching for the late-round steal. Nonetheless, he has a lot of work to do. His college career was impressive but he will need to prove he can read a defense, go through his progressions and perform under pressure from defensive fronts.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Kyle Lauletta, Richmond

  • Height / Weight: 6’3 – 222 pounds
  • Projected Round: 5
  • Potential Landing Spots: NE, BUF, MIA, NYG
  • Compares To: Chad Pennington
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: Lauletta is viewed as an intelligent competitor who lacks the arm talent NFL teams look for. He fits the mold of a solid backup that can step in for a few games if a starter goes down. His arm strength will prevent him from ever being a top guy in the league.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Luke Falk, Washington State

  • Height / Weight: 6’4 – 215 pounds
  • Projected Round: 4
  • Potential Landing Spots: BUF, NO, AZ
  • Compares To: Sam Bradford
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: The big concern with Falk his durability and mindset after taking a beating at Washington State. His decision making has been brought into question as well. However, he’s got an NFL arm, quick release and intangibles.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Mike White, Western Kentucky

  • Height / Weight: 6’5 – 224 pounds
  • Projected Round: 4-5
  • Potential Landing Spots: BUF, AZ, DEN
  • Compares To: Zach Mettenberger
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: White was constantly under fire last season at Western Kentucky. The line couldn’t protect him at all. His greatest strength may be his biggest weakness. The arm talent is undeniable on film, but he also tends to rely too heavily on that talent and it hurts him in other areas of the position.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Chase Litton, Marshall

  • Height / Weight: 6’5 – 232 pounds
  • Projected Round: 4-7
  • Potential Landing Spots: AZ, BUF, DEN SF, KC, NO
  • Compares To: Byron Leftwich
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 4.6

Analysis: Marshall’s Chase Litton is a very talented pocket quarterback. You won’t see him evading a ton of sacks or rushing around the edge for first downs like Lamar Jackson, but this kid knows how to move the chains with his arm and is talented at throwing on the run. He’s got a very quick release, is accurate and possesses an incredibly strong arm yet also understands how the game is played just about as well as any quarterback in this draft class. Litton could improve in pre-snap situations, and will need to learn how to better read the opposing defense and to create space for his receivers by not locking onto his target and instead looking off defenders and using pump fakes. He needs to work on his decisiveness when under pressure and stay away from making unnecessary throws. In 34 games at Marshall, Litton completed 60.8 percent of his pass attempts to the tune of 8,335 yards, 72 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. The biggest knocks on Litton are his lack of speed, his need to improve his footwork and his off-the-field issues (there have been quite a few). He also threw 11 interceptions over his last six games in college. I foresee Litton as a boom or bust type of player. If he can improve his balance and avoid throwing off his back foot, he could very well have a future in the NFL. He just needs a veteran teacher to show him how the game is played in the National Football League.

-Matt Brandon


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Running Backs

Saquon Barkley, Penn St.

  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 233 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.4
  • Projected Round: 1
  • Compares to: Barry Sanders
  • Potential Landing Spots: CLE, NYG, DEN
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.1

Analysis: By every measure, Barkley is one of the most impressive physical specimens that has ever entered the NFL draft. He’s the closest thing we’ve seen to Barry Sanders, but much larger and the safest bet to be a stud running back since Adrian Peterson. However, he is far more equipped for today’s NFL than AP because of his versatility. Barkley is the most talented player in this draft.

Derrius Guice, LSU

  • Height: 5’10
  • Weight: 212 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.49
  • Projected Round: 1-2
  • Compares to: Marshawn Lynch
  • Potential Landing Spots: DET, NYG, TB
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.2

Analysis: Guice wasn’t healthy in 2017 but was a monster in 2016. His ability as a runner is a bit overlooked because of his ability to run through and smash defenders. The violent running style immediately reminds me of Beastmode. All signs point to him being the second running back off the board in this year’s draft. He has a shot to be an immediate Fantasy contributor. Especially if he lands with a good team early in the second round.

Sony Michel, Georgia

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 220 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.54
  • Projected Round: 2
  • Compares to: Knowshon Moreno
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, IND, TB, DET
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.4

Analysis: Michel should be a strong NFL starter. While he’s not a perfect back and doesn’t have the upside of the elite, he also doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses as a runner. With some decent blocking, he can make things happen, and he has a high floor. Above-average patience. Excellent in blitz pickup. Runs downhill and doesn’t make big cuts or changes of direction. Doesn’t do a great job of moving the pile. Average agility. -Mark Morales-Smith

Ronald Jones II, USC

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 205
  • 40 time: 4.65
  • Projected Round: 2
  • Compares to: Jamaal Charles
  • Potential Landing Spots: TEN, IND, NE
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.8

Analysis: Jones is a high-upside Fantasy option with a dangerous burst. He also has plenty of room to grow as a playmaker and pass-catcher. His 40 time isn’t indicative of his real speed since he tightened up and seemed to suffer an injury at the combine. Needs to show he can catch the ball to offer three-down upside. Lean body type. Doesn’t use vision to his advantage. Lacks patience to let blockers do their thing ahead of him. Seeks out too much contact but you have to admire his tenacity in trying to always press forward. -Mark Morales-Smith

Rashaad Penny, San Diego St.

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 220
  • 40 time: 4.46
  • Projected Round: 3
  • Compares to: Willis McGahee
  • Potential Landing Spots: IND, BAL, DEN
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.7

Analysis: Penny has ideal size and is a workhorse runner. A bit surprisingly because of his size, he’s more of a guy that makes defenders miss than a back that breaks tackles. His greatest upside comes a high-volume ball carrier. Poor vision and misses cutback lanes. Good burst. Runs upright and will need to run with a better pad level. Sometimes relies too much on fakes and feints to make defenders miss. Good patience and feel for when to explode thru the line of scrimmage. Can also return kicks. Can’t kick it into another gear when in the open field. -Mark Morales-Smith

Nick Chubb, Georgia

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 228
  • 40 time: 4.52
  • Projected Round: 3-4
  • Compares to: Mark Ingram
  • Potential Landing Spots: WAS, DET, NYJ
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.3

Analysis: Chubb is a back that can make things happen but will need some help from a solid offensive line. He projects as a potentially strong early-down back with upside if he can back to where he was before a knee injury. Can plant and make strong one-cut into the lane. Not very elusive. Plays behind his pads well. Can absorb contact and keep his feet moving to extend the play. Above average ball security. Runs with good patience behind the line. Average vision. Average speed. Average burst. Not much work as a pass-catcher. -Mark Morales-Smith

Nyheim Hines, NC State

  • Height: 5’8
  • Weight: 198
  • 40 time: 4.38
  • Projected Round: 3-4
  • Compares to: Alvin Kamara
  • Potential Landing Spots: KC, TEN, NE
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.5

Analysis: Hines compares to Kamara but isn’t as gifted. Because of this, he may be over-drafted if teams project Kamara onto Hines. On the other hand, if given a similar role due to that projection he could develop solid PPR value. Big play potential. Undersized. Doesn’t have great football instincts. Best when out in open space and he can just floor it. Can return kicks. Still more of an athlete than football player. A great OC who can find ways to move him around, a la Christian McCaffrey, would allow his full talent to shine. Shows hesitation when there’s commotion in front of him. Average route runner given his experience. -Mark Morales-Smith

Mark Walton, Miami

  • Height: 5’10
  • Weight: 202
  • 40 time: 4.6
  • Projected Round: 4
  • Compares to: Dion Lewis
  • Potential Landing Spots: NE, LAC, TEN
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.6

Analysis: Walton is an athletic freak with serious injury concerns. If he can stay healthy, he’s the kind of guy that can catch upwards of 80 passes and be a big-time playmaker. Look at him as a Danny Woodhead or Shane Vereen with way more upside. Relies too much on jukes and misdirection. Gets caught dancing rather than running north-south. Not a decisive runner. Short and thick below the waist. Good hips. Moves well laterally. Great agility and acceleration. Runs with great pad level. Great hands. Difference maker in the passing attack. -Mark Morales-Smith

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 213
  • Shuttle: 4.29
  • Projected Round: 3
  • Compares to: Tevin Coleman
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, IND, MIA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.1

Analysis: Johnson may turn out to be the steal of the draft at running back. His film is far more impressive than his measurables, and he has proven he can be a volume runner with the ability to impose his will of defenses despite his size. Great burst. Runs tough. Tenacious. Hits the hole hard. Can hit a second or third gear to run away from defenders. Good blitz recognition. Runs a bit upright. Needs to learn to play smaller and absorb less contact. Average vision. Average balance. Hesitates if the hole isn’t there immediately. -Mark Morales-Smith

Royce Freeman, Oregon

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 229
  • 40 time: 4.54
  • Projected Round: 3-4
  • Compares to: LeGarrette Blount
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, OAK, SEA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.8

Analysis: Freeman is a big back who has every-down potential. There is little doubt that he can handle a full workload. However, his Fantasy upside will ultimately depend on if a team develops him as a pass-catcher. The potential is there. Good build. Good strength. Can push through high contact. Good vision and patience to find the running lane in tight spaces. Pass protection still needs work. Limited option as a pass-catcher. Absorbs a lot of contact and doesn’t often use his own strength to his advantage. Lots of touches in college. Not especially fast or the type to have breakaway speed. Lacks elusiveness in later college career. -Mark Morales-Smith

Bo Scarbrough, Alabama

  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 232
  • 40 time: 4.52
  • Projected Round: 4
  • Compares to: Derrick Henry
  • Potential Landing Spots: IND, SEA, BAL
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.11

Analysis: There is no way around the Derrick Henry comparison. Henry is a bit better, but Scarbrough has all the ability in the world to run you over and dominate on early downs. He also has the downside of being bottled up and shut down if the defense can prevent his momentum early. Anticipate lots of touchdowns and very few receptions. Uses strength to his advantage. Can absorb contact and keep churning for more. Falls forward. Plays behind pads well. Ran out of I-formation a lot. Good plant and cut upfield runner. Good in blitz pickup. Upright runner. Durability is a problem given his punishing style of play. Average burst. Needs open field to reach top speed. Below average acceleration. Doesn’t play with good bend. Already dealt with injuries to lower body. Needs to play smaller and more compact. Average vision. -Mark Morales-Smith


Wide Receivers

Calvin Ridley, Alabama

  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 189 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.43
  • Projected Round: 1
  • Compares to: Marvin Harrison
  • Potential Landing Spots: GB, BAL, DAL
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.6

Analysis: While boasting an undersized frame, Ridley is still the best wide receiver in this draft. His route running and speed separates him from the pack. If he gets with the right quarterback, he could be Fantasy gold. A system that relies on timing and precise route running similar to the old Peyton Manning run offenses would suit him best. -Mark Morales-Smith

Jordan Lasley, UCLA

  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 210 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.5
  • Projected Round: 2-3
  • Compares to: Torrey Smith
  • Potential Landing Spots: BAL, DAL, CHI
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 4.2

Analysis: The comparison between Lasley and Torrey Smith are unavoidable. He is an explosive athlete that can get downfield in a hurry and be a game-breaker. Unfortunately, he has hands like feet. He will undoubtedly be a boom-or-bust Fantasy option which will more than likely drive owners crazy. I anticipate him landing in Baltimore because they are incapable of drafting good receivers or separating talented wideouts from athletes who should be running track. -Mark Morales-Smith

James Washington, Oklahoma St.

  • Height: 5’11
  • Weight: 213 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.54
  • Projected Round: 2
  • Compares to: Will Fuller
  • Potential Landing Spots: BAL, CHI, NO
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.2

Analysis: Washington is a game-breaking pass catcher who lacks the nuance of being an NFL wide receiver. Over the past three seasons, he averaged over 20 yards per catch. However, he has almost no route tree and looks like he’s playing backyard ball when you watch him on film. I have serious concerns about his ability to match up against NFL corners and defensive coordinators. -Mark Morales-Smith

Christian Kirk, Texas A&M

  • Height: 5’10
  • Weight: 200 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.47
  • Projected Round: 3
  • Compares to: Michael Crabtree
  • Potential Landing Spots: BAL, CHI, DAL
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.9

Analysis: Kirk’s Fantasy value will come as a volume receiver who can make plays as more of a possession receiver. Expect him to line up in the slot and fight for yards after mostly shorter receptions. He has the upside of a receiver like Michael Crabtree or even Jarvis Landry. Nonetheless, he is no lock to approach either of their production. His landing spot will massively impact his Fantasy value heading into his rookie season. -Mark Morales-Smith

D.J. Moore, Maryland

  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 210 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.42
  • Projected Round: 1-2
  • Compares to: Pierre Garcon
  • Potential Landing Spots: CHI, DAL, BUF
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.10

Analysis: This is a weak draft class for receivers, but Moore is one of the better ones. I don’t view him as more than a WR2 in the league at any point. However, he could become a solid PPR option. His versatility will allow him to line up inside or outside. On film, his big advantages look to be short-area quickness and his willingness to come back and fight for a ball. I’m not completely sold on him, but he’ll probably be a hot dynasty option come draft time.

Courtland Sutton, SMU

  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 218 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.54
  • Projected Round: 1-2
  • Compares to: Dez Bryant
  • Potential Landing Spots: DAL, CHI
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.5

Analysis: Sutton is a big physical guy who can come to the ball and will take it away from a defender in a fight. I do believe he ends up in Dallas as Dez Bryant’s replacement. The fit seems too perfect. He’ll probably be drafted in the first round, but it’s possible he falls to the second. Expect him to be a hot name this summer in Fantasy leagues.

Courtland Sutton
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dante Pettis, Washington

  • Height: 6’0
  • Weight: 186
  • Projected Round: 3
  • Compares to: Nelson Agholor
  • Potential Landing Spots: CIN, SF, BAL
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 4.3

Analysis: Pettis is a sneaky good dynasty pick. He’s not a WR1 in the NFL or Fantasy, but he can be a very impactful WR2 as we’ve seen guys like Marvin Jones be lined up opposite of A.J. Green. I like him as the second option to a wideout who can draw attention. His film shows him to be a solid receiver who is versatile and doesn’t lack much as a player. He could emerge as a strong sleeper option depending on where he lands. -Mark Morales-Smith

D.J. Chark, LSU

  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 199 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.34
  • Projected Round: 2
  • Compares to: Martavis Bryant
  • Potential Landing Spots: BAL, CHI, DAL
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.1

Analysis: Chark could easily climb draft boards this April and get a ton of hype in training camp for Fantasy owners this summer. His athleticism and physical ability will surely turn heads. There is an abundance of upside and downside here. I would roll the dice on him late in the second round or early in the third. The concern is he could turn out to be a stud like Martavis Bryant or a total hyped up let down like Justin Hunter. -Mark Morales-Smith

DaeSean Hamilton, Penn St.

  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Shuttle time: 4.15
  • Projected Round: 5
  • Compares to: Pierre Garcon
  • Potential Landing Spots: CHI, DAL, MIA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 4.4

Analysis: Hamilton doesn’t appear to be a special player, but teams are going to give him a long look. This is because he has excellent size for a slot receiver. I wouldn’t bank on it, but it also wouldn’t be shocking if he turned out to be a breakout out PPR star at some point. He’s a big body that can catch passes and make plays out of the slot, which isn’t nearly as common as your undersized or speedy slot guys. Keep him on your radar this summer. -Mark Morales-Smith

Michael Gallup, Colorado St.

  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.51
  • Projected Round: 2-3
  • Compares to: Jeremy Maclin
  • Potential Landing Spots: BAL, GB, SEA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.1

Analysis: Gallup has undeniable ability. He has quickness and an ability to create separation on both underneath route or take it up the field. There isn’t much he lacks physically with good size, speed, and explosiveness. Also, as a receiver, there aren’t any huge holes in his game that can’t be fixed. The only real concern with him is he needs an accurate quarterback because he doesn’t adjust great and can be seemingly lazy on some timing routes. -Mark Morales-Smith


Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 260 lbs
  • Projected Round: 1-2
  • Compares to: Zach Ertz
  • Potential Landing Spots: NO, JAX, NE, CLE, DEN
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.4

Analysis: As one of the top tight ends in the 2018 draft class, Goedert has strong hands and a huge vertical leap that will have fans falling in love with him. This kid has made some absolutely terrific acrobatic catches over the past few years and it’s easy to see his basketball roots by the way he leaps for receptions. The South Dakota native is a better receiver than blocker but he has the size, strength, and speed to have a successful professional career. As a Junior, he produced 92 receptions for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns and gained national attention, proving that he can work all three levels of the field and is terrific at using his body, athleticism, and balance to position himself in front of defenders (not to mention his in-air adjustments). He is quick enough to gain separation even on the short and intermediate patterns and is above average at gaining yards after the catch. As a Senior, the South Dakota native caught 72 passes for 1,111 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Though there is no denying his immense skill set, there are three things scouts may be concerned about regarding Goedert. One question will surely be about the kid’s ability to outperform bigger and faster players after playing in such a weak division? Goedert also doesn’t seem to have more than one gear when running routes. It would behoove him to learn to switch gears and to run with a crisp edge when moving laterally. Lastly, there are some questions about his in-line blocking ability. That being said, this kid has the natural born strength, speed, and size to excel in the NFL. It won’t happen immediately but it will happen so long as he keeps his head in the game and remains motivated. I’d expect him to be one of the first three tight ends selected off the board.

-Matt Brandon

TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 250 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.67
  • Projected Round: 2
  • Compares to: Dallas Clark
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, DET, MIA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.6

Analysis: At 25 years old we have already seen his upside but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hold an abundance of value. The physicality and heart is visible on film and can be an almost immediate impact NFL player. His biggest issue is going to be football I.Q. and route running. Being a long-time baseball player he hasn’t been playing the game for as long as other. Still, he should be a reliable target who will peak in the next few seasons.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

  • Height: 6’5
  • Weight: 256 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.67
  • Projected Round: 3
  • Compares to: Julius Thomas
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, DET, MIA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.8

Analysis: Wherever Andrews goes he will like disappoint. There is no doubt he has some talent as a pass catcher, but he’s a glorified wide receiver. He’s a big target with solid hands and that’s all he brings to the table. Andrews can’t block, isn’t fundamentally sound and doesn’t come off as overly aggressive. Best case scenario he could land in the right spot and rack up some touchdowns similar to Julius Thomas.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Mike Gesicki, Penn State

  • Height: 6’5
  • Weight: 247 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.54
  • Projected Round: 1-2
  • Compares to: Jimmy Graham
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, MIA, DET
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.9
Mike Gesicki
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Analysis: Gesicki is a former multi-sport super star in high school and a freak athlete. I have him slated as by far the best tight end in this draft with the most upside. He’s very similar to Jimmy Graham as a tall, fast and athletic tight end who is capable of skying through the air for the ball. He also has the same weaknesses. Gesicki isn’t built as sturdy as your typical tight end and may struggle with more physical defenders.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Jordan Akins, Central Florida

  • Height: 6’3
  • Weight: 237 lbs
  • Projected Round: 6-7
  • Compares to: David Njoku
  • Potential Landing Spots: DET, MIA, DEN
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 4.5

Analysis: Akins is a strong athlete and has a chance to have a real impact in the NFL. Like his college team he is underrated. However, he does have some things working against him. He’ll be a 26-year-old rookie which never helps and he’s a less than stellar blocker. With that said, his ability to separate from defenders and get opens pops on film. He plays more like a big slot receiver than true tight end, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him posting nice Fantasy numbers in the league.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Ian Thomas, Indiana

  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 259 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.74
  • Projected Round: 3
  • Compares to: Jermaine Gresham
  • Potential Landing Spots: AZ, DEN
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: I believe Thomas will be in the NFL for a long time. However, that may not translate into Fantasy glory. He is a big strong guy and is said to be a coachable hard worker at Indiana. As a pass-catcher he’s good not great. His speed isn’t impressive and his receiving skills are just average. How he produces statistically will depend on where he lands. I view him as more as blocker and true football player with some upside as a receiver.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin

  • Height: 6’6
  • Weight: 248 lbs
  • Projected Round: 6
  • Compares to: Cameron Brate
  • Potential Landing Spots: AZ, DET
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 

Analysis: Physically Fumagalli is unimpressive. He’s not a great athlete and isn’t imposing especially from the waist down. However, don’t be shocked if he’s one of the better tight ends in this draft. He’s an intelligent and crafty football player. His work shows in his blocking and his intelligence shows as a pass-catcher. Fumagalli is a guy that will somehow keep beating you and leaves you wondering how this guy keeps beating you.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Ryan Izzo, Florida State

  • Height: 6’5
  • Weight: 250 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.94
  • Projected Round: 7
  • Compares to: Anthony Fasano
  • Potential Landing Spots: DEN, MIA
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: Izzo is not going to be a high-level Fantasy performer. It’s just not who he is. He may be the best blocking tight end in this draft and that will likely be his main job in the NFL. Nevertheless, he does have some value as a pass-catcher. He has a quickness in his cuts and soft hands as a big target. I wouldn’t draft him in any Fantasy league but keep him on your radar in dynasty leagues.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Durham Smythe, Notre Dame

  • Height: 6’5
  • Weight: 257 lbs
  • Projected Round: 4-5
  • Compares to: Dion Sims
  • Potential Landing Spots: MIA, AZ
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: Smythe is a glorified offensive lineman who is eligible to catch passes. While he has the ability to catch passes I wouldn’t count on him to see a ton of targets on the next level. Look for him to help your Fantasy running backs more so than a guy to target in your drafts. At best he could become a low-volume safety blanket for a quarterback somewhere. I’d be shocked if he ever caught more than 35 passes in a season and wouldn’t be shocked at all to see him average less than 15 for his career.

-Mark Morales-Smith

Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan

  • Height: 6’4
  • Weight: 240 lbs
  • Projected Round: 5 – Undrafted
  • Compares to: Anthony Fasano
  • Potential Landing Spots: CHI, AZ, DET
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: Undrafted

Analysis: Despite a decent highlight reel, I view Conklin as more of a blocker on the next level. He can make plays in the passing game but with a bit more muscle on his frame he has more of a playing style and mentality to be a blocking tight end. His 2017 season was slowed by a serious foot injury. It’s unclear if that will impact him in the draft or even heading into his rookie season.

-Mark Morales-Smith


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