The “Generational” RB – Are there any from the 2020 draft?

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

First things first, the term “generational player” seems to get some people’s backs up. If you take the term at it’s literal meaning, then sure, it’s extremely rare to find one, and, almost impossible to predict one to have a hall of fame career. But, if you accept that this overused term is used to describe a player that could end up being in the top tier of elite talents for the majority of their careers, then we can explore the possibility of seeing a potential “generational” player from this years’ draft.


Over the last few decades, we’ve seen many running backs progress through the collegiate ranks and create a buzz within the NFL community when the draft rolls round. Some players have lived up to the hype, Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Adrian Peterson and Saquon Barkley to name just a few, and some have developed into upper echelon elite backs when not so hyped coming out of college – Le’veon Bell and Frank Gore come to mind. But, of course there have been those that have failed to progress to the pro-level and have proved complete busts, please stand up Trent Richardson, Ki-Jana Carter and Darren McFadden, with an honourable mention to Leonard Fournette who “some” considered a “generational” talent.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Lennox McLendon

What constitutes a “generational running back” label?

NFL analysts/journalists/reporters or whatever title you want to give someone that discusses this sport with an audience generally speak about their opinion which in most cases is backed up with some kind of statistical data. To me, that’s how a player with this label comes about. It’s a blend of stats from their collegiate careers mixed with what NFL scouts and professional analysts portray their talent level’s to be.

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For me, I think that to be considered “generational”, the player must have a productive college career. I put that number at 1,000 rushing yards season average, and in more recent times, some proven receiving ability. I know that’s not a water-tight system, but when you look at “generational talents” that have had elite-level careers, they all had this level of productiveness at the collegiate level.

It’s only very recent that the new breed of “generational running back” ‘must’ be productive in the passing game as well as on the ground.


Previous “generational” running backs

So by using that logic, I’ve devised a list of former players since the year 2000 that have seen that level of collegiate productiveness, hyped by the media as generational talents, and drafted within the top 50 (indicating NFL scouts also believe in the talent). Productiveness is seen here by using the players’ rush yards, receiving yards and touchdowns per season averages whilst at college.

These 11 players drafted over the last 20 years have had the “generational player” tag linked with them coming out of college football. Judging by the season average stats, you get a good indication of what’s required in order to be projected a great future.


Current potential “generational” running backs

From this year’s prospects, it’s apparent to see that one player fulfills the criteria of being a “generational talent”; Jonathan Taylor. In fact, his rushing yards and TDs per season average are miles ahead of any other running back out of college in the last 20 years.

J.K Dobbins isn’t far behind statistically although he doesn’t meet my particular criteria as he was drafted outside of the top 50. Statistically though, Dobbins too could be considered a generational level player.

D’Andre Swift comes in third and not a million miles away from hitting the criteria having been the most productive in the receiving game out of these selected players.

Cam Akers needed to be more productive in the ground game, whereas ironically, the first RB off the board in this years’ draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire is someway off what I would deem as a “generational” player.

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting their futures

Of course now these players have been drafted into the NFL, lot’s of new variables come into play to determine whether or not they can translate their college production into a pro-level. What’s their new offensive line like? Are they a part of a committee? Do they have proven veterans ahead of them? Are they a part of a run-friendly scheme? Does their new Head Coach like to run the ball frequently? Are they playing in a similar scheme to what they did in college?

You’d like to think the NFL teams and their scouts have done their homework before drafting the players onto their rosters in order to get the best out of their high-capital picks, but some times that doesn’t always work out.

Let’s look at those previously mentioned players and how their NFL careers progressed (some of course are still active) and whether their “generational player” tag rang true in their pro-careers.

It’s been quite a mix bag of success. From the HOF careers of LT and Adrian Peterson to the bust and near bust careers of Ron Dayne and T-Rich.


In Conclusion

Predicting just how the careers of the Class of 2020 is almost impossible, but judging by historical data and recency bias, these prospects will unlikely be busts in their careers.

It’s hard not to love Jonathan Taylor after seeing what he’s done in his college career and ending up behind one of the best offensive lines currently in the NFL with Indianapolis.

D’Andre Swift could potentially see a path to a majority backfield after the Lions clearly signaled that Kerryon Johnson by himself is not the answer, and J.K Dobbins is in a ripe running spot with a run-first team in Baltimore. However, Dobbins may have to wait for Mark Ingram to move on before claiming the backfield for himself.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has landed on a team coached by a run-favouring HC in Andy Reid and is the most talented RB on that roster, and despite Cam Akers running behind an ageing o-line, Todd Gurley had a very successful rookie contract for the Rams when he was healthy.


Final Opinion and Career projection

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts – A “Generational talent” who is in the right spot to produce elite numbers over his career

J.K Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens – Borderline “Generational talent” who is on a team that could lead him to produce elite numbers over his career

D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions – Elite college talent that could be elite in the NFL if the right team is built around him and he’s used as a swiss army knife.

Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams – Elite college talent but is likely to put up average numbers unless drastic changes in the future help him progress to the next level.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs – Good college talent helped by one outstanding season. Is in the right spot to be very productive, but will likely only return good, not elite production.

Fantasy: 5 Sleepers to watch where they land in the NFL draft

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

Every season we see late round sleepers from the NFL draft proper that fall into good landing spots which in turn can lead to fantasy production. Players like Aaron Jones or Antonio Brown who were 5th and 6th round picks respectively.

Take a look at these players and make sure you keep an eye on where they land this weekend. They could be a good landing spot away from becoming a great fantasy sleeper for this season and beyond.


Antonio Gandy-Golden, Wide Receiver – Liberty


Projected Round Drafted: late 3rd/4th

Gandy-Golden was a consistent producer for Liberty over the last couple of seasons. He had 71 catches for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior in 2018 before notching 79 catches for 1,396 yards and 10 TD’s last season. He quietly impressed in Indy during the NFL Combine too where he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash and also got 22 reps on the bench press, second best among the receivers at the workout.

Photo Credit: Jerry Ratcliffe

At 6-4, 223lbs – Gandy-Golden brings good size for a receiver on the outside and is effective with contested catches thanks to possessing superior hands. He has a great YAC ability too, so if he lands in a spot where there’s room for an outside receiver and a competent quarterback, Gandy-Golden could wind up to be a valuable fantasy asset.

Perfect Landing Spot: Indianapolis

Next best: Houston, Philadelphia


J.J Taylor, Running Back – Arizona


Projected Draft Round: 7th/Undrafted

Before converting to running back, Taylor was a defensive tackle at high school which should give you some indication that there is a lot of power behind that small frame. At 5’5, Taylor comes in “undersized” and will be overlooked because of this, but sometimes being small has it’s advantages. He has a lower centre of gravity which, when hit, gives the impression he just bounces off tacklers.

Despite a slight fumbling issue in 2019 (8 fumbles, 6 lost) Taylor finished 7th in the FBS with 1,434 yards on the ground with a 5.6 ypc average and scoring six times to earn third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference accolades. He can also be effective in the passing game finishing 2019 with 16 passes for 133 yards (8.3 per reception) and also as kick returner, combining for 540 yards off 22 kickoffs with 1 return TD.

Photo Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

J.J Taylor will likely end up as a last round dart throw for a team or could even wind up an undrafted free agent after the weekend is over; but he will get picked up by someone and will have a training camp. Teams will likely see that he’s different style of running back, yet a productive one. If given a chance and in a team that needs a unique running back to add a different dimension to their offense, Taylor could wind up edging his way to a fantasy relevant role as the season plays out. Definitely one for the taxi squad in dynasty leagues.

Perfect Landing Spot: Kansas City

Next best: Miami, Los Angeles (both teams)


Darnell Mooney, Wide Receiver – Tulane


Projected Draft Round: 6th

Mooney is a very rough mid-late round diamond. He needs to refine his route running as his current style would struggle in the NFL and work on cutting out the drops, but most of the negatives for Mooney are aspects that can be coached at the next level. The vision and pace that he has however, can not be coached and therefore he already has a leg up on any competition that he may have. He ran a respectable 4.38 at the Combine and has the ability to turn any short throw into a long gain.

Mooney earned second-team All-AAC honours in 2018 after ranking sixth in the FBS with 20.7 yards per catch and finished that season with 993 yards and 8 TDs.

His explosiveness would best be suited to a slot role and ideally paired up with a quarterback who has a nice deep ball as his ball tracking is at an elite level already. If Mooney lands in the right spot and develops good chemistry with his QB, he could quickly become an explosive fantasy asset.

Perfect Landing Spot: San Francisco

Next best: New Orleans, Minnesota

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Albert Okwuegbunam, Tight End – Missouri


Projected Draft Round: 3rd

It’s no secret that tight ends usually need a year to bed into the NFL before becoming fantasy relevant. But most tight ends aren’t like Albert O. From time to time we’ll see a couple of rookie tight ends that break the mould and do put up respectable fantasy numbers, i.e Hunter Henry or Noah Fant last year. Okwuegbunam is this years’ Henry/Fant.

Albert O is the ultimate redzone weapon. Over his 3 seasons in college football he’s totalled 23 touchdowns. In his first 2 collegiate seasons he had 881 receiving yards and averaged 12.2 yards per reception over that spell. Last year those numbers dwindled slightly, which many believe that was down to him losing his quarterback to the NFL last off-season, Drew Lock. This downturn in performance has hindered his draft stock but the beast within still remains present as he showed at the Combine when he produced a 4.49 40 yard dash. Electric for a 6-5, 258lbs specimen.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shular/Missourian

Providing he lands in an offence that needs a bigger redzone presence and with a quarterback that has used tight ends previously, Albert Okwuegbunam could be draftable in fantasy football from day 1.

Perfect Landing Spot: Atlanta

Next best: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Green Bay


Isaiah Coulter, Wide Receiver – Rhode Island


Projected Draft Round: 5th

Coulter is a raw, but super talented receiver out of a small school. These are the type of players you really have to watch closely over draft weekend. He possesses the tools to become a real success in the NFL after some pro-level coaching. He has great length, speed and agility with good hands and athletic ability. He needs to find some more aggression at the next level and the route tree needs polishing. But providing he lands in a decent spot, Coulter could be the best of this bunch when it comes to fantasy production.

He didn’t blow anyone away at the Combine in March, but a healthy 1,039 receiving yards and 8 TD’s last season with a good highlight reel should be enough to get a few teams excited. Coulter was the shining light for a College that’s only managed 9 wins in 3 years.

Perfect Landing Spot: Las Vegas

Next best: Green Bay, Minnesota

Rob Grimwood’s Mock Draft 3.0

Public service announcement: Commissioner Goodell will be announcing the draft picks from the basement of his house. Please continue tradition by actively booing your TV sets regardless who might be in bed or what your situation may be. It’s important in these tough times that we keep a sense of normality in the world!

As it’s less a week away until the weirdest draft weekend of our life begins, it’s time to lock in all of the predictions and all of the thinking in my small brain about who is picking who.

Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB – LSU

It’s about as locked in as a pick gets. I know Miami want Burrow, but they won’t be getting him – Cinci has had Burrow earmarked since December and wants to bring the lad back to Ohio where he grew up.


Pick 2 MOCK TRADE: Miami Dolphins via Washington Redskins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB – Alabama

Miami sends 5th overall, 26th overall and 70th overall (3rd)

I still think Miami will want to move up in order to guarantee they get their guy. I stand by my opinion that Washington does not need to draft Young thanks to their existing D-Line of D’Ron Payne, Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen. The price that is willing to be paid will prove more valuable to Washington to add better depth (with the 26th and 70th) in more positions rather than adding to an area that does not necessarily need adding to.

Miami will get cold feet knowing that the Chargers and Jags have got trade-able assets to move here and it’s not beyond the realm for Tampa Bay, Indianapolis or even New England to pull a rabbit out of the hat either… but if one on them tries to make a move, Miami will always out-flank them. Would you put it past Belichick to try and initiate a trade here to see a divisional rival have to give up 2 other good picks? That would be a classic Bill move.


Pick 3: Detroit Lions – Chase Young, EDGE – Ohio State

Although probably hounded with offers to grab the best player in the draft, Detroit rub their hands together as they know they’ve hit the jackpot. Edge is a need, and Young is the answer for Matt Patricia to start building a better quality defense.


Pick 4: New York Giants –  Jedrick Wills Jr, OL – Alabama

Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now for the G-Men. Wills is the best raw talent at O-line in this draft. Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs might have had combine blowups, but Wills’ wasn’t far off either, and has better tape over the last 2 years. He is an athletic tackle who has the strength to open up big running lanes for Saquon as they continue to look to build the franchise around him and Daniel Jones.


Pick 5 MOCK TRADE: Washington Redskins via Miami – Jeff Okudah, CB – Ohio State

Still available here for the Skins’ will be the best corner in the draft. They have a good defense but after passing on Young and opting for more depth picks, they will look to replace last years’ stand out Quinton Dunbar who was the only playmaker in defensive secondary for them in 2019. They’ll need some quality back there and Okudah is just that.


Pick 6: Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB – Oregon

The Chargers will be fighting an internal battle over this pick. They are still desperate for offensive line help and there are some gems in this draft class, and there is also the swiss army knife of Isaiah Simmons on the board to finish off that already mean looking defense on paper. However, to be playoff worthy they will need a replacement for Pip Rivers. Herbert ticks a lot of boxes and was slated to go 1.01 in the 2019 draft before heading back to Oregon for another term. He impressed at the combine as expected and could well be the catalyst to a successful next few years Charger fans.


Pick 7: Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB – Clemson

Luke Kuechly is gone. He was one of the centrepieces of the organisation and Simmons will fit into Matt Rhules’ desire to build a formidable defense as Kuechly’s replacement. Can also play at Safety if the Panthers prioritise building their defensive secondary first.

They could go Derrick Brown here as DT is another need for Carolina.. but Simmons is a unicorn and by far the best player on the board. With the amount of needs Carolina has, you can’t pass up on him here, he’s a top-3 talent.


Pick 8: Arizona Cardinals – Mekhi Becton, OL – Louisville

Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now in Arizona. Becton is a physical freak at 6ft 7 and 369lbs yet running a 5.10 40 yard dash. He’ll be a game changer for Kyler Murray as he searches for the next level.


Pick 9: Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, DT – Auburn

Last year Josh Allen fell in their laps at pick 7 last year, and Brown is going to do the same this year for them. Defensive line is a need for Jacksonville and in a lesser talent-filled class, Brown would be considered a top 5 pick.


Pick 10: Cleveland Browns – Tristan Wirfs, OL – Iowa

The Browns need a tackle. Their O-line has never lived up to the hype that it was supposed to be, and with the news of Greg Robinson’s arrest this off-season, O-line becomes the pressing need. Two stud O-lineman remain on the board, but I think thanks to an incredible combine, Wirfs nudges it over Andrew Thomas.


Pick 11: MOCK TRADE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers via New York Jets – Andrew Thomas, OL – Georgia

Bucs’ send 14th overall, 76th (3rd) and 139th (comp. 4th) in order to grab much needed o-line help. The Jets will still be able to fill a need at 14.

The need for O-lineman in the NFL is plentiful. The Bucs’ are well and truly in that conversation now they have Brady, and will want to take the last remaining stud tackle in this first round. Andrew Thomas is an NFL ready tackle who will provide much needed protection for Tom Brady.


Pick 12: Las Vegas Raiders – C.J Henderson, CB – Florida

I originally had Vegas adopting a YOLO approach as the draft was on home soil and making a splash for Chase Young. However, with the draft now behind closed doors, and Miami likely able to offer more to go grab Tua, I think Mayock and Gruden take the best players available in their areas of need. Henderson is the second best CB in this draft and has been a weak point of the Raiders over the last couple of seasons. Bringing in Eli Apple and Jeff Heath isn’t the answer, Henderson may just be.


Pick 13: San Francisco 49ers – Jerry Jeudy, WR – Alabama

Jerry Jeudy is a stud receiver. With very few needs on their superbowl quality team, a replacement for the departed Emmanuel Sanders seems high on the priority list. He’s the most polished all-rounder and will fill that Sanders role perfectly.

A few slated Jeudy’s combine, however, his combine was still statistically better than those from DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams…and they turned out to be elite receivers… just sayin’


Pick 14: MOCK TRADE New York Jets via Tampa Bay – CeeDee Lamb, WR – Oklahoma

They gave up the opportunity to get Darnold some quality protection, but in return they give him a shiney new weapon to replace Robby Anderson that is better than Breshad Perriman! The O-Line class is deep and can be addressed later (spoiler alert – I have them trading back into the first later on), so now it’s time to grab a stud receiver to pair with your franchise QB.


Pick 15: Denver Broncos – Henry Ruggs III, WR – Alabama

Courtland Sutton is the up and coming receiver in Denver and it would be nice to pair him up with a speed freak on the opposite flank. Denver has a few other needs including o-line and cornerback, but personally I think Ruggs is the best player available in those needed positions especially with 2 receivers just going in the last 2 picks.


Pick 16: MOCK TRADE Jacksonville Jaguars via Atlanta Falcons – Jordan Love, QB – Utah State

Jags send 20th overall, 73rd overall and 118 overall to Atlanta who have a lot of holes to fill on o-line, d-line, linebacker and in the defensive secondary

Minshew mania was great while it lasted. But I think the NFL world realistically knows it probably won’t last. The Jags whiffed on Nick Foles last season and there going to want to get it right with a promising dual threat QB. He’s mouldable and the kind of character Jacksonville need leading the team as they look to re-build from the current ruins.

Divisional rivals Indianapolis are thought to have interest in Love and have tradable pieces to get back in to the 1st round, whilst New England are also hunting for Brady’s replacement. The Jags hitch a surprise by beating out any competition and cementing their new franchise QB.


Pick 17: Dallas Cowboys –  K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE – LSU

I originally had Dallas down as picking up Kinlaw (DT) here, but since they gave Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy healthy contracts, one would assume the orgnisation is happy with their veteran DT corps heading into the season.

Robert Quinn has left for Chicago meaning there is a need at EDGE for the Cowboys. Dallas will be lucky if a player of Chaisson’s talent falls to 17.. but if the draft falls this way there might be a chance. Some analysts have the former LSU stud as a top 10 pick.


Pick 18: Miami Dolphins – Javon Kinlaw, DT – South Carolina

Miami have a lot of needs so your guess is as good as mine for this pick. They could get some other defensive secondary help here adding the next best CB like Arnette or Diggs, or will they want to add a weapon here for Tua in the form of Swift at running back?

I have re-written this pick 3 or 4 times today – it was Ezra Cleveland, then Xavier McKinney, but ultimately I figured that Kinlaw is the best player available considering some have him as a top-10 talent. DT is not a pressing need, but with all the off-season moves on defense this off-season, why not continue to strengthen it. There should still be a decent offensive lineman and a running back available in the 2nd round where they have two picks (39 and 56).


Pick 19: Las Vegas Raiders – Justin Jefferson, WR – LSU

They could opt to pick one of the receiver studs at 12, but Mayock is clever and will know that the second tier of receiver is better than the second tier of cornerback. Jefferson leads the way as the leader in that second tier, and although probably a few picks earlier than excpected, LV take a much needed piece here to help whoever is throwing the rock in Sin City over the next few years.


Pick 20 MOCK TRADE:  Atlanta Falcons via Jacksonville – Kenneth Murray, LB – Oklahoma

Murray is a good linebacker, and good players on the defensive side of the ball is exactly what Atlanta need. They could grab an Arnette/Diggs/Fulton here to help out Isaiah Oliver at corner, or even add Espenesa on the edge. But Deion Jones needs a running mate just as much.


Pick 21: Philadelphia Eagles – Ezra Cleveland, OL – Boise State

I originally had Philly down as improving their defensive secondary, but since then they signed Darius Slay meaning more pressing needs will need addressing. One of those needs is on the offensive line.

Ezra Cleveland headlines the second tier of O-Linemen. He wasn’t considered to be in the 1st round discussion before the combine, however, he left Indy in March having scored in the top 10 of every discipline available to O-Linemen except one, the verticle jump – where he was 11th! His impressive performance at Lucas Oil Stadium has earned him a jump into the first round and head to Philly who need to replace Jason Peters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai.


Pick 22: Minnesota Vikings – Kristian Fulton. CB – LSU

The Vikes General Manager Rick Spielman has one helluva job on his hands over the next couple of off seasons with some big players due new contracts and some big needs starting to appear. None more so than at Corner where they lost all 3 starters this off-season. This is the priority pick.


Pick 23: New England Patriots – A.J Epenesa, EDGE – Iowa

Epenesa’s draft stock has taken a hit over the last few weeks due to a poor combine, but on his day he’s an exceptional talent – and getting the best out of a player is the kind of thing Belichick specialises in. They’ll know that Epenesa can be special after an impressive 2019 season, and with DE being a need, this will be the best option for them.

The next QB’s off the board will likely be Eason and Fromm, neither of which are a day 1 pick, and neither are projected to be TB12’s replacements. The other needs at receiver can be filled in day 2/3 – don’t forget they wasted a first rounder on N’Keal Harry this time last year and won’t want to repeat that considering the top 4 WR’s are already off the board.


Pick 24 MOCK TRADE: Chicago Bears via New Orleans- Xavier McKinney, S – Alabama

Chicago give 43rd overall, 50th overall and a 2021 2nd

Yes, Chicago are prepared to go all in and give up what little ‘good’ draft capital they have left in 2020 along with dipping into next years’ stock.

With Prince Amukamara out and HaHa Clinton-Dix not returning, Matt Nagy’s stringent defense needs it’s holes blocking up. It’s not every day you get to draft an elite DB prospect out of Alabama. and McKinney is just that. The trade leaves Chicago with a fourth, a fifth, two sixths and two sevenths… potentially a dart throw at a sleeper tackle or receiver – but the offense rebuild will have to wait a year, Nagy needs his defense in order first!


Pick 25: Minnesota Vikings – Laviska Shenault, WR – Colorado

With the cornerback need addressed, the Vikings can concentrate on another pressing need – they traded away Stefon Diggs knowing that they’d be able to replace him in the first round this year, and Shenault is the answer.

Injuries saw Shenault get less volume last season, but on his day when healthy he’s in the same talent pool as Jeudy and Lamb. An all-rounder who has all the weapons to translate to Sunday football, it just needs nurturing, something the Vikings have been good at doing recently (Diggs was a 5th round talent and Thielen was a UDFA and both were turned into elite players).


Pick 26 MOCK TRADE:  Washington Redskins via Miami – Josh Jones, OL – Houston

There are a few options here for Washington which are all no-lose options in my opinion. Tee Higgins would fit in well considering he’s a big red zone target which Washington require now Jordan Reed is no longer on the roster. However, with Trent Williams still wanting to leave, it’s apparent that the offensive line is in need of depth. Josh Jones is a good pass blocker with flexible athleticism and eager hands. Just whats needed in order to keep Dwayne Haskins up right.

Washington end the day with the best CB in the class and either much needed O-Line help or a big redzone target with an extra 3rd pick still to come. I’d say this scenario is in the best interest for this organisation.


Pick 27: Seattle Seahawks – Damon Arnette, CB – Ohio State

Much like his teammate Jeffrey Okudah, Arnette is well-versed in the art of man coverage. He is a technician in press-man and uses his hands well to jam his target and disrupt their timing as well as challenge the catch point. He’s as physical as they come in both phases and will fit nicely into a Pete Carroll defense, especially one that is looking to get that Legion of Doom status back.


Pick 28: Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB – LSU

The Ravens don’t have many needs as things stand with how they move the ball. They invested in wide receivers last year and have a stout defense. However, they would benefit from having a stronger linebacking corps. Especially after seeing Josh Bynes leave for Cinci. Queen is a busy-body linebacker that zips around the field and is a dangerous blitzer. He’d fit this defensive scheme well.


Pick 29: Tennessee Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE – Penn State

The Titans improved all over the field in 2019 however their pass-rush left a alot to be desired. The only player with a pressure rate above 10% was Cameron Wake who walked out of the building this off season. Vic Beasley isn’t the answer either, so they’ll grab the next best DE in this class, Gross-Matos. He’s certainly a tier below those already taken, but his pass-rush did improve throughout his college career and he looks like he could continue those year on year improvements into the pros. 20 tackles for loss in 2019 certainly helps his draft stock


Pick 30: Green Bay Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR – TCU

Jalen Reagor is a super talented receiver. He has had drop issues, but a lot of that could be down to a college career plagued with poor Quarterback play. Green Bay need a field stretcher and that’s what Reagor is. Geromino Allison, EQ St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and Marques Valdes-Scantling have all had their shots, and none of them have proved consistent enough for Rodgers’ liking. It’s LaFleur’s chance to get rid of the deadwood and install new, more electric options for Rodgers to find success with.


Pick 31 MOCK TRADE:  New York Jets via San Francisco – Austin Jackson, OL – USC

New York Jets send 48th (2nd) and 79th (3rd) – San Fran don’t have another pick until the 5th round so will appreciate another 2 picks within the next 46

The Jets know they need to protect Darnold better and they need to get one of the last of the “better” pass protecting O-linemen. There are still a couple available but they won’t be there by 48. Jackson had a good combine and has a lot of the required mechanics and athletic skill to be successful in the NFL.


Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs – De’Andre Swift, RB – Georgia

Please let this ring true for fantasy fans! Imagine Mahomes having a swiss army knife weapon like Swift. Well, RB is the biggest need in that offense so this could happen. Surely day 1 isn’t going to pass us by without a running back getting drafted? Fingers crossed for this one, it makes a lot of sense albeit from a fantasy perspective!

10 Series: 10 breakout candidates for 2020

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

This is my favourite time of year. Not only is it draft season and the free agency period where teams can look vastly different to how they looked at the end of 2019, it’s a chance to get away from the madness that’s happening around the world right now. It’s nice, if only for a moment, to also escape into watching tape from 2019 and sift through depth charts to try and glimpse who might catch fire over the coming season.

Obviously the draft is a few weeks away, and teams are going to continue to add in key piece as they look to strengthen their weaknesses, but, as things stand, here are five defensive and five offensive players that have a great opportunity to break out and become household names in 2020.


Defence


Raiders' Maurice Hurst Is Gaining Momentum – NBC Bay Area

Jack Thomas – Getty

Maurice Hurst – DT, Las Vegas Raiders

You remember this guy – he was the player that dropped from a potential day 1 pick all the way to the 5th round in the 2018 draft because of a heart condition. Well, it’s since transpired that in 2 years of football, that condition hasn’t affected him yet as he has played in 29 of a possible 32 games.

He came into the league as a top prospect out of Michigan with high pass and rush grades. But being a piece on a below average defense has hindered his opportunity to breakout and really show what he is capable of. However, the new-look Vegas team has made major moves on defense this year bringing in players such as Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski at linebacker, Carl Nassib on the edge, Damarious Randall, Lamarcus Joyner and Jeff Heath at safety and of course a running partner for Hurst at DT in Maliek Collins.

This new look defense is going to look a lot different in 2020 compared to last year, and the uptick in quality will see players like Hurst come into his own and perform to a scintillating level.


Shaun Dion Hamilton – LB, Washington Redskins

Another defense that looks significantly better with some key off season acquisitions is in Washington. They already have a stout cast on the defensive line with the likes of Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne and Matt Ioannidis, and adding to the secondary in the free agency only strengthens the whole unit. This is without mentioning the prospect of a certain Buckeye edge rusher who could be a Redskin soon too.

Shaun Dion Hamilton was better than you think in 2019
Icon Sportswire (Getty)

At linebacker, however, there is room for an emerging talent. Hamilton has been a bit part player since being drafted by the Skins in the 6th round of the 2018 draft, but last year was graded between Lavonte David and Luke Kuechly when it came to coverage marks. He will, of course have a returning Reuben Foster to compete with, but SDH has a shot of fitting in very nicely with this star studded cast and flying completely under the radar to breakout in 2020.


Rock Ya-Sin – CB, Indianapolis Colts

Ya-Sin was drafted last year early in the second round by the Colts to help add to the up and coming young defense that is improving year after year at Lucas Oil Stadium. Although he had a quiet year and didn’t produce any magic, he would have certainly learned a lot from veterans Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore.

The Colts added another veteran this off season in the shape of Xavier Rhodes, but again, the experience to gain for Ya-Sin learning the trade from a former pro-bowler will do him the world of good in his journey of progression. With Rhodes turning 30 before the season kicks off and Desir out during the free agency, Rock Ya-Sin has a chance to become a key piece in that growing defense and is a perfect candidate for a 2020 breakout.


Ed Oliver getting anxious for first-career sack with Buffalo Bills

Adrian Kraus – AP

Ed Oliver – DT, Buffalo Bills

Ok, so Ed Oliver is pretty much a household name already, especially after being drafted as a top-10 prospect just 12 months ago. But, i truly believe 2020 is the year that Ed Oliver takes the step onto the “elite players” plinth. He finished 2019 with 43 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 passes defended, incredibly strong numbers for a rookie interior defensive lineman.

With inferior offensive lines in Miami and New York (Jets), and no more TB12 in New England, Buffalo’s defensive line could all be beneficiaries of 6 ‘weak’ games on the calendar in 2020. Look for Ed Oliver to improve on those impressive rookie numbers and potentially escalate himself into the Aaron Donald/Fletcher Cox realm of conversation this time next year.


Brian Burns – EDGE, Carolina Panthers

Another first round pick in the 2019 draft was the former Florida State edge rusher. He, like Oliver, had a blistering start to his NFL career where he notched 25 tackles and 7.5 sacks with a forced fumbled added in for good measure.

For me, Carolina are a team that will likely be the wrong end of the win/loss column in 2020, but it is apparent that new HC Matt Rhule wants to start rebuilding this defense first. That starts with Burns and he could find himself the centre of the rebuild alongside whoever Rhule selects in this upcoming draft – i’m sure Panthers’ fans would love to see Isaiah Simmons help rebuild the defensive in Carolina if he falls to them with the 7th pick. Look for Burns to quickly become a fan favourite at Bank of America Stadium in 2020 thanks to a breakout season.

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Offence


Nyheim Hines – RB, Indianapolis Colts

Since entering the league as a Colt from the 4th round of the 2018 draft, Hines has quietly sat as the RB2 on the Indy depth chart but made the most of his role as a scat back. His rookie year was impressive as he ticked over 740 all purpose yards (425 through the air) and combined for 4 TD’s. Although the stats weren’t as good in 2019, a significant down tick in quarterback could be to blame as Jacoby Brissett filled in after the shock retirement of Andrew Luck in the preseason.

How Indianapolis Colts can make Nyheim Hines their Austin Ekeler
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into 2020, the Colts’ offense will be rebuffed by the signing of Philip Rivers, who knows how to get the best out of his weapons. None more so than a pass-catching running back. He is fresh off a 2019 season which saw Austin Ekeler thrust into relevance (especially in fantasy teams) as he notched 92 receptions for 993 yards including 557 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns; all whilst Melvin Gordon was the “main back” in town.

Even though Marlon Mack is competent in the passing game, Rivers loves a reliable dump off man out of the backfield. Hines is just that and is poised for a big breakout in 2020. Fantasy dynasty owners, now is your chance to get him on the cheap…


Mike Gesicki – TE, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins rebuild should be well and truly underway in 2020 after their 685-odd upcoming draft picks! Joking aside, there’s likely going to be a new QB in town whether it be Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert as the most likely candidates.

Gesicki was a a high draft pick (44th overall) in 2018 but didn’t see much of the ball in his rookie season. It was last year when the former Penn State man started to step up and saw 570 receiving yards and 5 TDs. So already Gesicki has had a mini breakout year, because those stats alone for the 2019 Miami Dolphins has to be viewed as impressive given their miserable start.

Gesicki should be a key target and redzone threat for whoever is throwing the rock in Miami next year and could be in for a much larger work load and hopefully productivity too.

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N’Keal Harry – WR, New England Patriots

If you have listened to a Full 10 Yard podcast with me on it over the last year then you probably know I am not a N’keal Harry fan. I just don’t think he’s as good as what people think he is. However, one thing is for sure, he is now one of the better offensive weapons in New England, which says a lot about the off-season transactions for Belichick and co.

Patriots vs. Titans: Pats still see time for N'Keal Harry to ...
Nancy Lane – BH

Edelman will be 34 come week 1 and in his 11th season with the Pats, Gronk is winning WWE titles, Phillip Dorsett has left and Mohamed Sanu is the wrong side of 30 and has only eclipsed 520 receiving yards 4 times in his career. As things stand, Harry is the only player in this offense that can breakout! Providing whoever is throwing the ball in Foxborough wants to utilise the high draft stock the Pats outlaid for Harry, you’d think he’d be a candidate for a 1,000 yards season. I still don’t like him, but he is a breakout candidate, can’t deny that.


Diontae Johnson – WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Johnson had a great campaign in his 2019 rookie season with 680 yards and 5 TDs. Not bad for a player supposedly battling for the WR3 role at the beginning of the season. And even better when it came off the back of a Big Ben injury which meant he was receiving throws from Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph.

Last year Diontae Johnson was everything we were expecting to see from teammate James Washington, and although Washington had more air yards to his name, Johnson looked the most complete receiver out of the the pack if you take out Juju.

Now Big Ben is back under centre, Diontae Johnson could find himself becoming the downfield target for a more accurate and stronger passer of the ball. Juju will likely remain the target hog, and Washington will still likely be viewed as the second option meaning Johnson will see less and less of the main coverage down field. He has a chance to breakout and be apart of re-igniting that electric Steelers’ offense of years past.


Denver Broncos news: Noah Fant sets team record for rookie TE catches

Justin Edmonds – Getty

Noah Fant – TE, Denver Broncos

Fant had a slow start to his NFL career and didn’t find himself with over 38 receiving yards in a game until week 9. Although it’s not widely expected that rookie tight ends are to be productive in year 1, with a 1st round price tag, you’d have expected a bit more from him I dare say. Fingers could point to shoddy quarterback play though, after all, it was Joe ‘Noodle Arm’ Flacco and 6th round rookie Brandon Allen attempting to throw the ball around in Denver for the first two thirds of the season.

The last 5 games of the season where Drew Lock took over as signal caller for the Broncos, Fant’s numbers went up to average 45 yards per game and a touchdown every other game. As things stand, Fant along with Courtland Sutton are the only real receiving threats on the team. Now, one would assume Denver will be selecting a wide receiver to join them in day 1, if not certainly day 2 of the draft; but Fant will still have the potential to break out this year providing he can claim all of the redzone traffic and continues to capitalise on his big play ability trait.

Fantasy: Free Agency Period – The Losers

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

After dissecting the winners from the last few weeks’ transactions, unfortunately there were also some losers from a fantasy perspective we need to address too.

Which of the moves have a negative impact on a players fantasy value? Let’s dive in:


DeAndre Hopkins

How dare I besmirch the name of a fantasy God i hear you say. Well, it’s quite simple – Hopkins has gone from a team where he was the main weapon where everything went through him, to a team with a wider and deeper plethora of talent and a quarterback who is less proven than his old one, Deshaun Watson.

I am not for one second suggesting that Hopkins is going to be a fantasy bust in 2020, but I think it’s fair to say he, individually, was a loser from free agency when you’re talking fantasy value. In his 7 years as a Texans, Hopkins has averaged 90 receptions for 1,229 yards per season with 8 TD’s per season.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Reed Hoffman

Will he keep to these figures in Arizona? Potentially, of course, however I think he will be more along the 80 for 1,100 and 6 TD line considering the amount of mouths Kyler Murray needs to feed in that offense – that would have seen him around the WR 11 – 14 range in PPR scoring in 2019. Still a WR1 in fantasy, just no longer a “top 5” weapon, in my opinion.

As an honourable mention too, Deshaun Watson’s fantasy value has to have taken a hit too as I struggle to see how Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills or Keke Coutee are going to replicate Hopkins’ production, either singularly or as a team effort. With no real draft capital to bring in a replacement superstar either, it begs the question where will Watson be able to sustain his QB1 tag in fantasy.


Patriots skill positions fantasy values

As of right now, we are still uncertain what is happening in Foxborough as regards to the Pats’ immediate future. With only a shade under $1mil left in cap space, it certainly looks like New England will be quarterbacked by either second year Jarrett Stidham, or in the way of an incoming rookie at the back end of the first round.

Either way, it’s fair to say the fantasy value of Sony Michel, James White, Julien Edelman and N’Keal Harry remains uncertain until we know who is under centre, but their combined value has to drop mainly due to the fact TB12 is no longer their leader.

Unfortnuately for Pats’ fans it looks like the last decade of dominance is coming to an end, and with it comes the fantasy value of it’s skill positions. They all lost out this off season.


David Njoku

Who remembers David Njoku’s 639 yards with 4 TD’s in 2018 sparking fantasy hype in 2019 only for it to come crashing down thanks to a season long wrist injury? Yeah, that was a derailed train that looks like it’s going to remain that way unless he gets traded away.

Thanks to the seemingly unnecessary move to acquire hot property Austin Hooper from Atlanta, Njoku’s fantasy production is about as questionable as whether the Browns will get to 8 wins or not this year.

With characters such as OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and now Hooper all likely ahead of Njoku in the receiving pecking order – unless Baker Mayfield suddenly makes a giant leap back to super-stardom, Njoku may well be a fantasy ghost again in 2020.

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Keenan Allen and Mike Williams

We know both Allen and Williams are extraordinary talents in the NFL and will likely continue to be highly productive and fantasy relevant. However, with Pip Rivers off to pastures new in Indy and the re-sign of Hunter Henry on the franchise tag, the fantasy outlook for this dynamic duo is in question for the time being.

Photo Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

If the Chargers manage to get hold of Tua or more likely Justin Herbert as their new signal caller through the draft, then one would assume it would be business as usual in 2020 – Keenan Allen being a target hog and Mike Williams commanding targets in the redzone. But until then, they both have to be considered as losers from this season’s off season action. No more trusted connection with Rivers and Henry still around taking TD opportunities away.


New York Jets

How many fantasy players did the Jets have in the top 40 (not including QB’s) of PPR scoring in 2019? Zero. Top 50? 1 – Lev Bell. Jamison Crowder was just outside the top 50. In fact, there was only 3 Jets’ players to have over 100 PPR points throughout the 2019 season.

So what have they done as an organisation to combat and improve this? They failed to re-sign one of those players, Robby Anderson, signed the lackluster former first round pick Josh Doctson and the flighty journeyman Breshad Perriman. With bigger needs likely targetted in the draft (offensive line, edge rusher and defensive secondary), it’s likely that this make-shift ensemble will be the fantasy options heading into the 2020 season. Eeesh. The Jets are off-season losers as things stand. Poor Sam Darnold!

Rob Grimwood’s Mock Draft 2.0

Now the madness of the free agency is mostly behind us and teams have bolstered their depth charts, we can take a more detailed and thorough look into what teams’ needs are and hopefully be a bit more accurate with predictions. With that in mind, here is my mock draft 2.0:

Pick 1: Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB – LSU

No change for the 1.01 pick. Burrow wanted A.J Green franchised tagged, and he got his wish. With trade chatter regarding Andy Dalton heating up too, it’s looking increasingly likely that Burrow will be the pick for Cinci


Pick 2 MOCK TRADE: Miami Dolphins via Washington – Tua Tagovailoa, QB – Alabama

Miami sends 5th overall, 26th overall and 70th overall

Previously I had Las Vegas trading up here to grab Chase Young, but I think Miami will want to move up in order to guarantee they get their guy. I stand by my opinion that Washington does not need to draft Young thanks to their existing D-Line of D’Ron Payne, Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen. The price that is willing to be paid will prove more valuable to Washington to add better depth in more postions rather than adding to an area that does not need adding to.

Miami will get cold feet knowing that the Chargers and Jags have got trade-able assets to move here and it’s not beyond the realm for Tampa Bay, Indianapolis or New England to pull a rabbit out of the bag either… but it’s most likely Miami with their excess draft stock in the first round.


Pick 3: Detroit Lions – Chase Young, EDGE – Ohio State

Although probably hounded with offers to grab the best player in the draft, Detroit rub their hands together as they know they’ve hit the jackpot. Edge is a need, and Young is the answer for Matt Patricia to start building a better quality defense.


Pick 4: New York Giants – Mekhi Becton, OL – Louisville

Previous Pick Tristan Wirfs. OL, Iowa – however I think Gettleman prefers freak athletes, which Becton is basically the description of.

Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now for the G-Men. At 6’7 and 364lbs, Becton is still one of the most athletic freaks in this class. He’ll be a game changer for Daniel Jones as they continue to want to help build around him and Saquon.


Pick 5 MOCK TRADE: Washington Redskins via Miami – Jeff Okudah, CB – Ohio State

Still available here for the Skins’ will be the best corner in the draft. They have a good defense but after passing on Young and opting for more depth picks, they replace last years’ stand out Quinton Dunbar who was the only stand out on the defensive secondary last season for them. They’ll need some quality back there


Pick 6: Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB – Oregon

The Chargers will be fighting an internal battle over this pick. They are still desperate for offensive line help and there are some gems in this draft class, yet their team is not a million miles away from being playoff worthy. However, to be that, they will need a replacement for Pip Rivers. Herbert ticks a lot of boxes. He was slated to go 1.01 last season before heading back to Oregon for another term and he impressed at the combine as expected. Herbert could be the answer Charger fans.


Pick 7: Carolina Panthers – Isaiah Simmons, LB – Clemson

Luke Kuechly is gone. He was one of the centrepieces of the organisation and Simmons will fit into Matt Rhules’ desire to build a formidable defense as Kuechly’s replacement. Can also play at Safety if the Panthers prioritise building their defensive secondary first. Could go Derrick Brown here as there are many different needs for Carolina.. but Simmons is a unicorn.


Pick 8: Arizona Cardinals – Tristan Wirfs, OL – Louisville

Offensive Line has been a glaring need for a few years now in Arizona. Wirfs was the stand out of the draft and cemented himself as a worthy top 10 pick. He’ll be a game changer for Kyler Murray as he searches for the next level.


Pick 9: Jacksonville Jaguars – Derrick Brown, DT – Auburn

Last year Josh Allen fell in their laps at pick 7 last year, and Brown is going to do the same this year for them. Defensive line is a need for Jacksonville and in a lesser talent-filled class, Brown would be considered a top 5 pick.


Pick 10: Cleveland Browns – Jedrick Wills, OL – Alabama

The Browns need a tackle. Their O-line has never lived up to the hype that it was supposed to be, and with the news of Greg Robinson’s arrest. they’ll need to sure the line up. Two stud O-lineman remain on the board, but I think Wills nudges it over Andrew Thomas down to a better showing in their Junior year. Jedrick Wills is an athletic tackle who has the strength to open up big running lanes which will help Nick Chubb continue on his improving production trajectory.


Pick 11: New York Jets – Andrew Thomas, OL – Georgia

The need for O-lineman in the NFL is plentiful. The Jets’ are in that conversation and will take the last remaining stud tackle in this first round. Andrew Thomas is an NFL ready tackle who will provide better protection for Sam Darnold. Good pick.


Pick 12: Las Vegas Raiders – C.J Henderson, CB – Florida

I originally has Vegas adopting a YOLO approach as the draft was on home soil and making a splash for Chase Young. However, with the draft now behind closed doors, and Miami likely able to offer more to go grab Tua, I think Mayock and Gruden take the best players available in their areas of need. Henderson is the second best CB in this draft and has been a weak point of the Raiders over the last couple of seasons. Bringing in Eli Apple and Jeff Heath isn’t the answer, Henderson may just be.


Pick 13: San Francisco 49ers – Jerry Jeudy, WR – Alabama

Jerry Jeudy is a stud receiver. With very few needs on their superbowl quality team, a replacement for the departed Emmanuel Sanders seems high on the priority list. He’s the most polished all-rounder and will fill that Sanders role perfectly.

A few slated Jeudy’s combine, however, his combine was still statistically better than those from DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas and Davante Adams…and they turned out to be elite receivers… just sayin’


Pick 14: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Xavier McKinney, S – Alabama

A close battle between McKinney and Delpit for the best Safety out of college this year. I’ve edged with Mckinney as he stood out in 2019 more than Delpit did. Both are first round talents, and both will be excellent in the pros. Tampa could use o-line help, but after the “elite 4” have gone in this scenario already, it’s too early to reach for the second tier of offensive lineman in my opinion. McKinney is a great pick.


Pick 15: Denver Broncos – CeeDee Lamb, WR – Oklahoma

Courtland Sutton is the up and coming receiver in Denver and it would be nice to pair him up with another stud on the opposite flank. Denver has a few other needs including o-line and cornerback, but personally I think Lamb is the best player available in those needed positions.


Pick 16: MOCK TRADE Jacksonville Jaguars via Atlanta Falcons – Jordan Love, QB – Utah State

Jags send 20th overall, 73rd overall and 118 overall to Atlanta who have a lot of holes to fill on o-line, d-line, linebacker and in the defensive secondary

Minshew mania was great while it lasted. But I think the NFL world realistically knows it probably won’t last. The Jags whiffed on Nick Foles last season and there going to want to get it right with a promising dual threat QB. He’s mouldable and the kind of character Jacksonville need leading the team as they look to re-build from the current ruins.


Pick 17: Dallas Cowboys –  K’Lavon Chaisson, EDGE – LSU

I originally had Dallas down as picking up Kinlaw (DT) here, but since they gave Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy healthy contracts, one would assume the orgnisation is happy with their veteran DT corps heading into the season.

Robert Quinn has left for Chicago meaning there is a need at EDGE for the Cowboys. Dallas will be lucky if a player of Chaisson’s talent falls to 17.. but if the draft falls this way there might be a chance. Some analysts have the former LSU stud as a top 10 pick.


Pick 18: Miami Dolphins – Austin Jackson, OL – USC

Miami have a lot of needs so your guess is as good as mine for this pick. They could get some defensive secondary help here adding the next best CB like Arnette or Diggs, even Delpit at Safety could be in play. Will they want to add a weapon here for Tua in the form of Swift at running back? I think they know that the insde o-linemen the acquired in the free agency (Karras and Flowers) are fill in pieces and they will want to invest in some proper talent on that line to protect their franchise QB aka Tua Tagovailoa.

Jackson is the best of tier 2 in this talented offensive line class. He’s agile with quick feet and a very good overall athlete. A slight reach, but an important one.


Pick 19: Las Vegas Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR – Alabama

Raiders take the darling of the combine here. Receiver is a big need with only Hunter Renfrow worth anything worth talking about in that receiver room. They get an explosive, dynamic speed freak that Derek Carr/Marcus Mariota can rely on to get open behind the defense.


Pick 20 MOCK TRADE:  Atlanta Falcons via Jacksonville – Javon Kinlaw, DT – South Carolina

Atlanta can’t believe their luck when they see a top 15 prospect sitting here at 20. DT is a need, Kinlaw is a top class one. No brainer.


Pick 21: Philadelphia Eagles – Kenneth Murray, LB – Oklahoma

I originally had Philly down as improving their defensive secondary, but since then they signed Darius Slay meaning more pressing needs will need addressing. One of those needs is linebacker. Their defense is getting better, but they need better quality in the linebacker room. Murray fits the bill and was very impressive as Oklahoma’s record breaker for most tackles in one game (28).


Pick 22: Minnesota Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR – LSU

The Vikes acquired this pick through giving Buffalo Stefon Diggs. So it makes sense that they are going to replace Diggs with a solid all rounder. He did himself a big favour with a good combine and has done enough to warrant a first rounder being spent on him.


Pick 23: New England Patriots – A.J Epenesa, EDGE – Iowa

Epenesa’s draft stock has taken a hit over the last few weeks due to a poor combine, but on his day he’s an exceptional talent – and getting the best out of a player is the kind of thing Belichick specialises in. They’ll know that Epenesa can be special after an impressive 2019 season, and with DE being a need, this will be the best option for them.

The next QB’s off the board will likely be Eason and Fromm, neither of which are a day 1 pick, and neither are TB12’s replacements. The other needs at receiver can be filled in day 2/3, don’t forget they wasted a first rounder on N’Keal Harry this time last year and won’t want to repeat that considering the top 3 WR’s are already off the board.


Pick 24 MOCK TRADE: Chicago Bears via New Orleans- Grant Delpit, S – LSU

Chicago give 43rd overall, 50th overall and a 2021 2nd

Yes, Chicago are prepared to go all in and give up what little ‘good’ draft capital they have left in 2020 along with dipping into next years’ stock.

With Prince Amukamara out and HaHa Clinton-Dix not returning, Matt Nagy’s stringent defense needs it’s holes blocking up. As we headed into the 2019 season, Delpit was on a lot of ‘Top 5 prospect’ lists. Admittedly he didn’t live up to that expectation throughout the season, but he still possesses raw talent which nurtured in the right group could still wind up to be an elite level. The trade leaves Chicago with a fourth, a fifth, two sixths and two sevenths… potentially a dart throw at a sleeper tackle or receiver – but the offense rebuild will have to wait a year, Nagy needs his defense in order first!


Pick 25: Minnesota Vikings – Damon Arnette, CB – Ohio State

With the receiver need addressed, the Vikings can concentrate on another pressing need – they lost their 3 most used CB’s this off-season (Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander) and they need to replenish. Luckily for the Vikes, the defensive secondary players are falling later in the first round thanks to plenty of o-line talent and the almost league-wide need for them.

Arnette is a versatile player that can play inside at nickel or on the outside with the ability to play man or zone. He ticks a lot of boxes and will help glue the defensive secondary in Minnesota together.


Pick 26 MOCK TRADE:  Washington Redskins via Miami – Tee Higgins, WR – Clemson

Washington need depth at receiver with only ‘Scary’ Terry McLaurin breaking out to be a household name last season. They have unknown talents in Kelvin Harmon and Trey Quinn, but they need a big hitter. Tee Higgins is just that. Another all round specimen who is a danger in the redzone. Redskins need that redzone target since Jordan Reed won’t be returning.

Since (mock) trading back from 2, the Skins have picked up an elite corner and a top WR prospect and still have a extra pick at 70. I’d say that’s a win for Washington.


Pick 27: Seattle Seahawks – Isaiah Wilson, OL – Georgia

Whilst Andrew Thomas took the plaudits of being the most pro-ready tackle out of Georgia, Isaiah Wilson didn’t go un-noticed either. He impressed at the combine and is more than capable as a pass protector. Exactly what Seattle and Russell Wilson needs after being the most pressured QB in football since entering the league. A bit of a reach but he, or anyone near his skill set won’t be around come their next pick at 59.


Pick 28: Baltimore Ravens – Patrick Queen, LB – LSU

The Ravens don’t have many needs as things stand with how they move the ball. They invested in wide receivers last year and have a stout defense. However, they would benefit from having a stronger linebacking corps. Especially seeing Josh Bynes leave for Cinci. Queen is a busy-body linebacker that zips around the field and is a dangerous blitzer. He’d fit this defensive scheme well.


Pick 29: Tennessee Titans – Yetur Gross-Matos, EDGE – Penn State

The Titans improved all over the field in 2019 however their pass-rush left a alot to be desired. The only player with a pressure rate above 10% was Cameron Wake who walked out of the building this off season. Vic Beasley isn’t the answer either, so they’ll grab the next best DE in this class, Gross-Matos. He’s certainly a tier below those already taken, but his pass-rush did improve throughout his college career and he looks like he could continue those year on year improvements into the pros. 20 tackles for loss in 2019 certainly helps his draft stock


Pick 30: Green Bay Packers – Jalen Reagor, WR – TCU

Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, E.Q St Brown, Jake Kumerow and Allen Lazard. All average receivers that have had their spoils but ultimately aren’t trustworthy enough for Aaron Rodgers to use reliably. The Packers could thin that group down and take a receiver that could have been projected a lot higher had he had consistent QB play throughout his college career. Rodgers could make Reagor an elite weapon and the Packers could be back to the glory days of Nelson and Cobb. Unload the deadwood McCarthy brought in and restock with talent you choose, Matt LaFleur.


Pick 31 MOCK TRADE: Baltimore Ravens via San Francisco – D’Andre Swift, RB – Georgia

Baltimore send 55th, 60th, 106th and a 2021 4th rounder.

Before the trade with Indy that saw San Fran acquire the 13th overall pick, this was their only pick until the 157th in the 5th round. By getting an elite WR at 13, this free’s them up to trade back and grab a few more picks. On the other side, Baltimore know they almost have a complete squad. They need bolstering on the o-line and another receiver wouldn’t go amiss, they still have the 92nd and 129th to find depth there though.

Imagine having a swiss army knife like Swift in that offense. He and Jackson would be a dream combo on any fantasy roster and would be a great piece of business. Very Baltimore-like.


Pick 32: Kansas City Chiefs – Jonathan Taylor, RB – Wisconsin

Oh, i’ve just got your fantasy juices flowing, haven’t I… well have another. A superstar running back is heading to a team where the coach knows how to run the ball extremely well. It’s KC’s glaring hole in their elite offense, and I think Coach Reid will be licking his chops to get a talent like Taylor on his roster.

Fantasy: Free Agency Period – The Winners

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

It’s been a busy free agency for NFL teams over the last couple of weeks; but a much needed and welcome distraction to everything else that’s currently happening in the world.

But what do these moves mean for your fantasy teams in 2020? Over the next two articles, i’m going to break down the winners and the losers from all of the transactions that have taken place so far.


Kyler Murray


The Arizona Cardinals pulled of a move during the free agency that left everybody scratching their heads, wondering how they pulled off such a coup. That was, of course, the acquisition of superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans.

Kyler Murray all of a sudden now has one of the most tantalising skill set offenses in the NFL. From Hopkins to legendary Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald returning for one last year, and the emerging star of Christian Kirk alongside 2nd year hopefuls Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson. The Kliff Kingsbury ‘air raid’ offense really has got no excuses to be raking up the air miles on the field in 2020.

Photo Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

After a QB7 rookie campaign in fantasy last year, it’s hard to think Murray will be doing anything other than improving on that. Kenyan Drake made a good enough impression since his move from Miami that he’s earned another year on this offense too, yet another reliable, tried and trusted weapon for Kyler out of the backfield.

It’s exciting times for Cards fans and this ever-improving offense, fantasy fans should be sharing this excitement for Kyler Murray, there’s no such thing as too many weapons when it comes to fantasy QB’s


Amari Cooper


Staying in Dallas was one of the best places for Cooper to keep his fantasy value. He clearly loves it there in ‘Jerryworld’, and the feeling seems to be mutual between the fans and the other players.

In his 25 games for the Cowboys, Cooper has amassed 1,914 receiving yards with 14 touchdowns; that’s 77 yards per game and a touchdown every other game (0.56 TD’s per game). For context, that’s in the same vicinity as DeAndre Hopkins’ time in Houston (78 yards per game average with 0.49 TD’s per game) and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay (80 yards per game with 0.53 TD’s per game). Both of which will be within the top 2 wide receiver tiers for 2020.

Dez Bryant had many productive seasons as a WR1 in fantasy football from his time in Dallas with Tony Romo and Dak Prescott under centre. Now it is time for Amari to step up and continue being the reliable receiving option for the Cowboys and fantasy owners in turn for the next few years.


Indianapolis Colts’ Receivers


Indy is lacking in skill position depth, but those that are there have just received a significant bump up in fantasy value with the upgrade of quarterback to Philip Rivers. Jacoby Brissett was admirable, and was far from terrible, but he wasn’t the best at getting great receiving production out of anyone not named T.Y Hilton.

Photo Credit: SI .com

Rivers in an experienced veteran who finally has a competent offensive line ahead of him to give him enough protection to provide some actual time in the pocket rather than being constantly under pressure like he was for the Chargers, especially in recent years.

I expect Indy will add to their receiving corps through the upcoming draft; but for now, T.Y Hilton cements himself as a fringe WR1 for a likely cheap price of a 4th/5th round pick, and last year’s rookie Parris Campbell will likely be in the sleeper category for analysts as the season grows closer.

If Jack Doyle remains the only pass catching tight end in Indy too, expect his value to also rise in a treacherous tight end fantasy landscape as Rivers has always produced fantasy relevant TE’s with the likes of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry in the past.

One of my favourite sleepers already also due to the Rivers’ upgrade, is running back Nyheim Hines. The swiss army knife is Indy’s version of Austin Ekeler (see later in article for Ekeler’s 2019 production), who should see plenty of work in the passing game out of the backfield.


Cleveland Brown’s Skill Players


One of the main contributing factors for the Browns’ miserable 2019 campaign was the offensive line, or lack-of, being unable to give Baker Mayfield time in the pocket.

Jack Conklin (former Titans OT) is a massive upgrade for that line and you can only imagine Cleveland will be taking whichever stud tackle is left with the 10th pick of the 2020 draft.

These pieces may well prove to be the difference for this offense which will open up the fantasy value for all of the keys players. Nick Chubb had a great season in 2019 and was third in the NFL for rushing yards (1,494) and has 18 combined touchdowns since becoming a Brown in 2017 so we can expect that to continue. As we can with Jarvis Landry, as he once again will benefit from OBJ taking the premier defense away, like in 2019. OBJ’s production might rise once again if Mayfield is able to improve and between David Njoku and newly acquired Austin Hooper, the tight ends’ should have their week to week match-up based values too.


Austin Ekeler


With all the running back moves this off-season, i don’t think any have won more so than Austin Ekeler has. Not only does he see Melvin Gordon move away (to the Denver Broncos) from the backfield and no significant replacement brought in, he finds himself in a passing offense that will be moving forward with someone new. Therefore, a bigger emphasis may be placed on the tried and trusted running game with Ekeler as the sole star.

Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

The beauty of the situation is- even if the Chargers do bring in another running back, they probably aren’t going to be the same quality as Melvin Gordon where Ekeler was still productive enough to see him finish as the RB4 in PPR scoring (RB8 in non-PPR) last season.

The new QB in LA will likely be a rookie in from the first round, if not the veteran Tyrod Taylor who served as Rivers’ backup last season. Either way, Ekeler is going to be hyper-targeted out of the backfield and should be a top 10 PPR running back once again in 2020.

Legal Tampering Period – The Winners

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

Thank God for Legal Tampering Day. How nice is it to get away from the insufferable drone of that dreaded plague and remember for once that sport still rules supreme. Certainly a few teams in the NFL seemed to be fed up with the same old news story anyway, as we saw some blockbuster trades and some important free agency agreements made.

Let’s take a look at the winners

1. Arizona pulls Houston’s pants downCardinals trade David Johnson, a 2020 2nd and 2021 4th: Receive DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 4th.

Holy smokes, who saw this one coming? Arguably the best receiver in the league moves out to the desert to join the rising star and last years’ first overall pick Kyler Murray, as well as teaming up with future first ballot hall of famer Larry Fitzgerald and his young protege’s in Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler.

This move is monstrous in more ways than one for Arizona. Not only has Kyler got a deep, super talented plethora of receiving talent to throw to, the team can now focus on building that o-line and protecting Murray in this deep offensive lineman draft, and all of a sudden, with the right pieces – Arizona are challengers for the NFC West.

As for Houston… here’s a life lesson kids – if you ever own an NFL team, employ a general manager. First Clowney got shown no respect, now their best player is also out of the door. What are they thinking? For a team close to being considered a deep playoff contender, they certainly won’t get there by trading away all of of their best players… especially for peanuts!

An honourable mention for winners of today’s antics has to go to the defensive secondaries in Indianapolis, Tennessee and Jacksonville though. No more will they have to worry about being torn apart twice a year by a Nuke.

2. Indy finally get a DT – Indy trade away their 1.13 pick to San Francisco for pro bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and then give him a $21m extension

A glaring need for Indianapolis for the last couple of season has been in the middle of the defensive line. They prioritised offensive line 2 off-seasons ago when Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith were drafted in the first two rounds to help protect the Quarterback, and 2019 saw the defensive secondary get a boost along with a pair of linebackers. Offensive skill position players is also a need this off season, but defensive line was arguably the priority.

The Colts have a tonne of cap to use up so bringing in a 25 year old 2 x pro-bowler and former 7th overall pick and giving him an extension immediately seems a masterstroke from Ballard and Reich at this point in time. Costing Indy their 13th overall pick from the upcoming draft would indicate the Colts are close to wrapping up Pip Rivers for the 2020 campaign and either looking for the long term solution at QB in day 2 of the draft, or waiting for 2021.

3. Cleveland reinvigorates it’s O-Line – Sought after Offensive Tackle Jack Conklin, formerly of the Titans, signs for the Browns on a $42m deal with $30m of it guaranteed.

They are trying, bless them. The Mayfield experiment was successful in 2018. Not so much in 2019 even though they brought in the infamous OBJ to pair with Jarvis Landry out wide. The downfall was mainly because Baker had no time in the pocket.

Since Joe Thomas retired and Greg Robinson never lived up to the hype, Conklin becomes an important cog in that line protecting Mayfield which could prove to be the difference between under performers and playoff hunters.

4. Hayden Hurst evolves from a Raven to a Falcon – Atlanta replace newly departed Austin Hooper with former first round pick in 2018.

It can’t have been easy for Hurst who was drafted to be a main target for the future of the Ravens signal caller Lamar Jackson, but instead getting outshone by a player drafted later in the same draft as you, Mark Andrews.

Hurst racked up just 512 yards and 3 TD’s in his time in Baltimore, but now he gets to spread his wings like a Falcon where he should be the only pass catching tight end in town. Matty Ice has a history of getting the best out of his tight ends too, so expect Hurst to level up in 2020.

5. Dolphins defense rebuild starts – Miami add CB Byron Jones and EDGE Shaq Lawson as the roster reconstruction officially gets underway.

The Dolphins started the day as the team with the most cap to spend and they didn’t disappoint. They dropped $10m a year on both O-Lineman Ereck Flowers and former Bills edge rusher Lawson whereas the highest rated corner in the free agency pool, Byron Jones, became the most expensive with a rumoured $18mil a year deal.

It’s a good start for a team that is in desperate need for talented stars.