The “skill” positions continued to take a back seat as Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft unfolded. Over the course of Friday evening, only a dozen “skill” position players went off the board—and that’s if you include the kicker Tampa Bay traded up to get in the second round. Here’s a rundown of the handful of fantasy prospects who heard their name called Friday night.
2.4 (35) Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
The most complete tight end in this year’s draft class heads to San Diego, where his immediate fantasy value will be stunted backing up Antonio Gates. That said, who better to learn the craft from? He can step immediately into the Ladarius Green role, but he’s more of a dynasty stash whose true fantasy value will come down the road, whenever Gates decides to hang up his cleats.
2.10 (41) Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants
The only knock on Shepard’s game is his size, or lack thereof. But it’s not as if big receivers are a necessity for Ben McAdoo, and operating opposite Odell Beckham Jr. should keep the rookie in single coverage most of the season. He’s drawn comparisons to former Giant Steve Smith, who put up some very nice fantasy numbers in New York, and he’ll be perfectly cast in a supporting role for Eli Manning.
2.14 (45) Derrick Henry, RB, Titans
This pick made a ton of sense for the Titans before they traded for DeMarco Murray. Now? Still makes some sense, but the competition for touches threatens Henry’s immediate fantasy value. And Tennessee’s upgrading of the offensive line to keep Marcus Mariota clean should benefit Henry as well. Sans Murray he’d be a real fantasy value; as part of a potential committee, at least some of the luster is gone.
2.16 (47) Michael Thomas, WR, Saints
There was talk of Thomas sneaking into the bottom of the first round, pressing the likes of Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson for draft position. Instead, he slides to the middle of the second round—where the Saints are happy to plug him in as the heir to Marques Colston’s role as the big receiver in Drew Brees’ passing game. He has the size and technical proficiency to hit the ground running, and the Saints’ depth chart lines up for him to make an immediate impact—with the only downer being New Orleans’ transition to a more run-oriented attack.
2.24 (55) Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
Boyd won’t be asked to carry the Cincy passing game; they have AJ Green and Tyler Eifert to do that. But he has the hands and ability to step into the Marvin Jones/Mohamed Sanu complimentary role and contribute immediately.
2.28 (59) Roberto Aguayo, K, Buccaneers
When you draft a kicker in the second round—trading up to do so, no less—you're reasonably certain he’s going to be kicking for your team. The Bucs made Aguayo the highest-selected kicker since the Bengals took Mike Nugent in the second round, hoping the three-time All American can translate his game much like fellow Seminole Sebastian Janikowski did.
3.10 (73) Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins
Drake has explosive speed, but he’s never been a feature back—or even touched the ball more than 107 times from scrimmage in any of the past four seasons. If the Dolphins use him as a complement to Jay Ajayi there’s some intriguing upside, but it’s tough to see him as the sole solution to Miami’s running back issues.
3.18 (81) Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons
Need meets value, as the Falcons are searching for a pass-catching tight end… and Hooper is one. Specifically he’ll provide Atlanta with a red-zone target for Matt Ryan, especially against teams who double Julio Jones. So, most of them. He’ll need to improve his play strength and blocking to be a true three-down tight end, but his pass-catching should get him on the field sooner rather than later; if he can nudge aside Jacob Tamme there’s some immediate fantasy upside here.
3.22 (85) Braxton Miller, WR, Texans
Miller gives Bill O’Brien a versatile Swiss army knife of a player. With DeAndre Hopkins and first-rounder Will Fuller already in the fold, Miller doesn’t need to shoulder too much of the Houston passing game load. He can continue learning how to be a wide receiver while providing the Texans with an explosive athletic specimen. Though his fantasy production is bound to be sporadic early on, there is potentially a very high fantasy ceiling down the road.
3.23 (86) Leonte Carroo, WR, Dolphins
You get the feeling the Dolphins wanted to beat noted Rutgers raider Bill Belichick to the punch on Carroo, who received plenty of high marks from scouts and analysts leading up to the draft. His biggest problem will be finding enough targets in a Miami offense that already includes Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills.
3.27 (90) CJ Prosise, RB, Seahawks
Prosise is a different kind of back than we’re used to seeing in Seattle, but with the Seahawks offense in transition to take greater advantage of Russell Wilson’s passing—and Thomas Rawls coming off an injury—there’s a real opportunity here for Prosise. The converted wide receiver is still relatively new to the running back position, but he has skills that Wilson and the Seahawks can take advantage of—specifically his pass catching out of the backfield, an area Seattle’s offense has rarely exploited the past few seasons.
3.28 (91) Jacoby Brissett, QB, Patriots
With the likes of Connor Cook and Christian Hackenberg still on the board, the Patriots fortified their quarterback depth chart with Brissett. He’s not going to supplant Jimmy Garoppolo as Tom Brady’s stand-in for the first month, assuming Brady’s suspension stands, but if Garoppolo looks good enough to draw trade interest he could wind up as the next potential heir to Brady’s throne. Little immediate fantasy value here, but the potential for dynasty upside.
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