It is mid-May, and fantasy football drafts are gaining steam. While I usually have completed several before the NFL draft, this year I opted for a more relaxed approach, and a recently hosted industry mock was my first of the season.
Out of respect for the hosts of this draft, no reference will be made to its identity so the content remains fresh on their end, nor will the entire draft results be published here. The blurbs about my team below were provided to the draft host and will appear in a magazine as part of a larger evaluation of the draft.
Before getting into my individual picks (we didn’t select kickers of defensive teams), here are a few generalized observations from a 12-team, PPR draft.
- Every Round 1 pick was a running back, minus a WR (Tyreek Hill) chosen at No. 11 overall. Five RBs came off the board in Round 2, which mostly consisted of receivers.
- The first QB came off of the board in late Round 4 (Patrick Mahomes). It’s odd to see Michael Thomas fall to the middle of Round 3, which is his current ADP, so get used to it — at least until more is know about the starting quarterback battle.
- In the first 100 picks, 9 QBs, 37 RBs, 44 WRs and 10 TEs were drafted.
- Drafting in the top six is a great situation this year. You’re bound to come away with a legit No. 1 running back. There’s enough depth at the position to either go with a pair in the opening two rounds or alternate between RB and WR in the first four rounds while still coming away with a strong nucleus.
- Quarterback remains quite deep, with a viable starter being available into the 12th round or so. Tight end remains a little top-heavy, but it has filled out more so than the past couple of years.
Here’s a snapshot of the first 10 rounds broken down by number of positional picks:
1st: 11 RBs, 1 WRs
2nd: 5 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE
3rd: 5 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE
4th: 1 QB, 2 RBs, 8 WRs, 1 TE
5th: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 6 WRs
6th: 1 QB, 3 RBs, 6 WRs, 2 TEs
7th: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs
8th: 5 QBs, 5 WRs, 2 TEs
9th: 4 RBs, 5 WRs, 3 TEs
10th: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 5 WRs, 1 TE
1:05) RB Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
I strongly considered Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott, but it was Taylor’s health and offensive line that made the difference. Pick 5 overall is a nice problem to have in 2021.
2:08) RB Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team
I intended to come away with two RBs off the bat. Gibson’s youth, TD prowess, offensive line, upgraded quarterback situation, and limited competition drew me to him over Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Najee Harris and D’Andre Swift.
3:05) WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
I agonized over Allen in a new offense or Michael Thomas with a new, unsettled QB situation … Allen’s chemistry with Justin Herbert has me feeling more comfortable with a coin flip of a decision.
4:08) WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
My queue ahead of choosing Kupp: George Kittle, Julio Jones, Mike Evans … all three went in that order. Kupp gets a QB upgrade and should remain extremely involved. Nice consolation.
5:05) WR Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
While Seattle should be more balanced this year, Lockett remains a strong WR2 and is my third receiver. The debate mostly came down to him and Courtland Sutton, but Adam Thielen was given thought, too.
6:08) TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Drafting TEs this early isn’t usually my thing, but there was a clear drop-off in expected production after Andrews. I’m encouraged the Baltimore WR upgrades helping him see fewer doubles.
7:05) RB Trey Sermon, San Francisco 49ers
My biggest gamble … Sermon is an ideal fit for this zone-blocking scheme and should ascend the depth chart in fairly short order. The primary worry is consistency, especially if QB Trey Lance starts.
8:08) QB Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Maybe Brady is another gamble, but the dude is immune to Father Time and has the best receiving corps in football. There should be at least one more QB1 season in his geriatric tank.
9:05) RB Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders
Meh … not terribly inspiring, but there’s room for a major workload if Josh Jacobs continues to be prone to minor injuries or suffers a serious one. Drake will have an occasional flex role.
10:08) WR Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders
Ruggs’ rookie year was nothing short of awful. He gets the benefit of the doubt after an unconventional 2020 offseason. Fingers crossed, he’ll showcase his freakish athleticism with regularity in the upcoming campaign.
11:05) WR Nelson Agholor, New England Patriots
I’m confident in my top three receivers, and Henry Ruggs was a gamble, but Agholor should be fairly safe to cover byes or injuries. He has room to quickly takeover the Pats’ WR pecking order.
12:08) QB Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
With Tom Brady’s age, a backup is a must. I wanted Matthew Stafford; Burrow should be fine after knee reconstruction, and his WR corps is as promising as the defense is porous.
13:05) RB Latavius Murray, New Orleans Saints
Purely a late flier on the “what if” Alvin Kamara were to suffer a serious injury … I wanted relative stability in my fifth RB following a gamble on Trey Sermon.
14:08) WR Tyrell Williams, Detroit Lions
Someone has to catch passes in Motown, right? While D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson may combine for 180 receptions or more, Williams was a reliable WR3/flex during his career before missing last season with a shoulder injury.