The NFL draft has come and gone and rookie free signings are currently in session. Here at Across the Fantasy Pond, we are going to break down and grade each team’s draft and give you a look at their picks- in particular, their fantasy relevance. Take a look at how I scored the teams from the NFC East.
New York Giants– Grade A
The Giants needed to address their quarterback and running back positions in this draft. The question was who and what position they were going to take first. They answered that question when they took the best overall player (in my opinion) and running back with the second pick in the draft, Saquon Barkley (Penn St). He will become the starting running back the Giants need with immediate effect. He brings speed, strength, great running skills, elite catching ability and most importantly- he’s effective in the pass block. This is a great pick for G-men because they now have a franchise back for the next 10 years. He is clearly the first pick in a dynasty rookie draft and I would say mid to late second round in redraft leagues. Stat projection- 1,100 yards, 10 TDs with 45 catches, 400 yards and 4 receiving TDs. He is a solid starter for all fantasy rosters every week. With their fourth round pick, the Giants selected one of the best underrated QBs in the draft when the drafted Kyle Lauretta (Richmond). Coming off a 3,737 yards and 28 TDs in his final college season- he can read the field better than most and can get the ball out fast to the open receiver if needed. For rookie dynasty drafts, I would take him in the last round and stash him until Eli Manning inevitably retires. He is not draft worthy in redraft leagues as he will likely sit behind Manning in his inaugural season.
Dallas Cowboys– Grade C
With the release of veteran receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys should have been drafting heavy in the wide receiver department in my opinion. Possibly even taking the best available in the first round where they would have had first choice as none had come of the board with previous picks. Instead, they opted to go with a linebacker in the shape of Leighton Vander Esch (Boise St.). To keep this fantasy relevant I will stay with their offensive picks. They did take a receiver in the shape of promising talent Michael Gallup (Colorado St.), in the third round. Although probably not the best Bryant replacement, it does appear he has a moldable skill set and can get open in the seems. He may lack that second gear to blow past defenders though. Stat projection- 35 catches for 400 yards and 5 TDs. I’d take him late in the second round of rookie drafts if he falls that far. In redraft leagues, i wouldn’t necessarily draft him as I think there will be better flyers available in the late rounds . He will likely be a flex/bye week filler for me until he gets adjusted to the NFL. After hearing that TE Jason Witten was going to retire the Friday of the draft, Dallas should have jumped on a TE to replace him earlier than the fourth round, but they didn’t. That could have been down to the ‘trolling’ we saw with the Philadephia pick- one spot before them when they seemingly stole the vibrant Dallas Goedert from under their noses. I guess we’ll never really know if that is who the Cowboys had lined up to take. They did take one eventually- which ended up being Dalton Schultz (Stanford). This isn’t the greatest pick up but it will add depth and he will be able to work with fellow TE’s Rico Gathers and Geoff Swaim as SportsDay DFW’s Jon Machota reports the Cowboys are likely to take a ‘committee approach’ this season with their tight ends. For this reason, I wouldn’t draft Dalton in any format this year. The rest of the Cowboys’ picks are also not worth a draft pick in any format, as they are picks to add depth to their team. They are QB Mike White (Western Kentucky), WR Cedrick Wilson (Boise St), and RB Bo Scarborough (Alabama).
Washington Redskins– Grade B
With the team trading for QB Alex Smith earlier in the off-season, they didn’t need to trade up for one for the top QBs in the draft. So, instead they went with defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne (Alabama) with their first round pick. Towards the end of the second round they managed to steal the surprise faller in the draft- Derrius Guice (LSU). He has a real chance of being the week 1 starter for the team this year as he falls into a murky backfield which could benefit from a player of Guice’s quality. Last year he racked up 1,251 yards and 11 TDs and those impressive numbers were down from the 2016 season believe it or not. The Redskins can certainly use those numbers to improve their mediocre rushing game as current RB’s Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson spent most of last year either hurt or not producing. Guice will need to work on his catching, but that’s mainly because LSU doesn’t tend to use their RB’s in the passing game. I think he will be mostly the 1st and 2nd down back until he prove himself as a pass catcher, although with Thompson back from injury, he might not need to be relied on in this department so much. Stat prediction- 900 yards and 6 TDs. I would take him with a top 5 pick in rookie drafts and any round passed the eighth round in redraft leagues. He will likely be betwen a weak number two RB to a strong flex play each week in fantasy line-ups. The teams’ only other fantasy relevant player taken in the seventh round in the shape of WR Trey Quinn (SMU) but will likely be on the practice squad come September.
Philadelphia Eagles– Grade B
As the Super Bowl champs headed into the draft they really didn’t need anything on the offensive side of the ball. They did however, manage to pull off a great move on Friday night. With their second round pick which they traded up for, they selected TE Dallas Goedert (South Dakota St.) stealing him away from the Cowboys who had the next pick. I am a big fan of Goedert, great hands, big body, good speed and a great blocker. Blocking is where I think he will spend most of his time this coming year unless Zach Ertz gets hurt. Having said that, don’t forget the production that recently departed Trey Burton managed to get last season. I would have given him an A-grade had it not been for the landing spot. Stat prediction 20 receptions, 400 yards and 3 TDs. These numbers would be higher if he wold have landed on a team that would have used him as a start- the Cowboys for instance (Sorry, not sorry Dallas fans). I would draft him in the middle rounds of your rookie drafts and not draft him at all in redraft leagues as he is unlikely to be fantasy relevant this season. He is a match-up/bye week roster filler who will only majorly benefit if Ertz goes down.
Make sure you check back soon as the Across The Fantasy Pond team continue to breakdown the draft division by division
By Tyler Belawkse – @TylerBelawske