2022 Rookie Draft season is here, so my early analysis based on the drafts that I have completed so far this season. This is obviously somewhat notional, but as I’ve taken part in 20 drafts with various scoring it’s worth sharing.
Jahan Dotson – ADP 13.8
I think some people have already forgotten that Jahan Dotson was selected 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft. That’s ahead of the likes of Treylon Burks, and a full round ahead of one of the guys in my reaches segment, Skyy Moore. Washington clearly had a need at WR and what they got in Dotson is a pure burner. A perfect compliment that can do damage at every level of the field opposite Terry McLaurin.
In the 20 rookie drafts completed Dotson’s ADP has settled at 13.8. Surprisingly in only 8 of those drafts was he taken as a 1st rounder. I think people are missing the boat with Dotson. Washington need him to be a day 1 producer. Being drafted on a team that lacked weapons outside of Terry McLaurin, the next highest producing WR was Adam Humphries. A player who finished with just 383 yards, and currently a free agent. There’s a clear pathway toward day 1 production for Dotson.
Zamir White – ADP 25.8
Zamir White wasn’t always a value for me. I wasn’t particularly high on him in the pre-draft process (my RB13). This changed very quickly when it was announced that the Las Vegas Raiders were not picking up the 5th year option of Josh Jacobs and puts White in a very interesting situation. White was selected in the 4th round and into a spot where he is now my RB6. With a clear path to touches this season with the possibility of a big leap in 2023.
White’s ADP through my completed Rookie Drafts was 25.8 and he fell into the 3rd round in 11 of 20 drafts. This represents fantastic value. He was once a 5-star recruit and thought of as the No.1 RB in the country. Yes, he has suffered 2 ACL tears (one in each knee!), but any selection is a risk. The explosive runner will clearly need to show durability at the NFL level. But if he can install confidence in the Raiders’ coaching staff then he has a real shot at being the RB1 for the team. With the offense on the up with the addition of Davante Adams, the future is bright. And the potential for a big bump in value.
Tyrion Davis-Price – ADP 31.8
I must admit this pick took me completely by surprise. They had already taken 2 RBs in last year’s draft class with Trey Sermon (round 3) & star Elijah Mitchell (round 6). Davis-Price was ranked outside my top 20 Rookie RBs in my pre-draft process and was thought to go much later than the 3rd round capital he received.
Now the LSU product having received great draft capital for an RB he has to be respected. Especially going to an NFL team that successfully utilizes the RBs the way the San Francisco 49ers do. And it’s that unknown that has seen his ADP alternate massively from draft to draft. In one draft he went in the middle of the 2nd round at pick 19 but he also fell all the way to pick 49 in the 5th round in another.
I would be very comfortable taking Davis-Price anywhere in the 3rd round. His ADP in my drafts being 31.8, I personally see him as a tremendous value and well worth taking him in this area. We’ve seen what taking Elijah Mitchell did in last year’s rookie Drafts. I was able to take him as low as round 5 in one rookie draft. If you look at his cost now, he has been traded for 1st rounders. 49ers’ RBs are worth the risk at this price.
Selecting rookies is always a projection game so to class anybody as a ‘reach’ is slightly harsh given the fact we don’t know how any of these guys will perform in the NFL. That being said there are a couple of guys that I have seen being selected earlier than I would personally take them.
Skyy Moore – ADP 7.8
I really do like Skyy Moore and his skillset but he was never in my top tier of WRs. I have a hard time understanding people selecting him above the likes of Jameson Williams & Chris Olave. Players who I view as much more talented WRs who went in the top 12 picks in the NFL Draft.
We all identified before the draft the two perfect wide receiver needy teams as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers. Whoever got drafted in these spots was always going to shoot up in ADP. Skyy Moore was the pick for the Chiefs in the 2nd round at pick 54. Interestingly enough this was their 3rd pick in the draft having turned down the chance to draft a WR with either of their 2 first-round picks.
Rather than be aggressive and go up and grab one of the top WRs they waited for one to fall to them. Ending in taking Moore as the 13th WR off the board behind the likes of Tyquan Thornton, John Metchie & Wan’Dale Robinson. It’s, for this reason, I think people touting Moore as the Chiefs next WR1 as a little misled. The Chiefs signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the offseason. Both of which will command targets with their different skill sets. That’s not even considering the targets that Travis Kelce will get!
His ADP over the course of my drafts was 7.8. Taken as high as the 1.04 and only fell to round 2 on 1 occasion. I think Moore is absolutely worthy of a late 1st round investment. By then the 2 elite RBs (Hall, Walker), 1QB (Pickett) & 5 WRs (London, Wilson, Burks, Williams & Olave) are gone off the board.
James Cook – ADP 10.8
I’ll start by saying I think James Cook is ok and has landed in a decent landing spot with much better draft capital than I was expecting. I think it’s because of this fact people are selecting him higher than he needs to go. His ADP was 10.8 over the 20 drafts I have completed meaning he is a solid 1st rounder and I personally don’t think he is worthy of a 1st round selection because I don’t see him as a complete RB.
The Buffalo Bills identified a shortcoming at RB and were hotly tipped to select a RB early in the NFL draft. Many media outlets predicting that they could strike in Round 1 if they couldn’t trade for a veteran. That never materialized. By the time the Bills were back on the clock in Round 2 the top 2 RBs were off the board. Their selection James Cook is a different type of back to Hall & Walker. He’s much more a change of pace guy being a bit smaller at 190lbs and being an excellent pass catcher.
I do see a role for James Cook in the Bills offense. Working in tandem with Devin Singletary who now enters his final season under contract. Singletary was fantastic down the stretch in 2021 and will look to continue that form entering the new season. My concern with Cook is the Bills passing stats to RBs. Now I appreciate they might not have had a receiving back as good as Cook, but the stats alone tell you that they don’t focus heavily enough on it. In 2020 the Bills were 6th lowest in targets to RBs with 77. In 2021 they were joint 7th lowest with 96 in a 17 game season.
I think Cook will be fine. The Bills clearly chose Cook as the 3rd RB off the board with an obvious plan. The fact he’s landing on one of the best offenses in the NFL with one of the best QBs clearly helps increase scoring opportunities. But people need to rein in expectations with his limited skill set. I would rather continue taking WRs with higher ceilings at the back of the 1st round.
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Image Credit: Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports