ESPN Fantasy's Mike Clay breaks down the fantasy impact of each skill-position pick from the second and third rounds of the NFL draft on Friday.
Round 2 picks
The Bills entered this year's draft with arguably the biggest hole at wide receiver. They addressed it early on Friday by snatching up 6-foot-2, 201-pound Jones. The East Carolina product destroyed April's combine, posting above-average scores in every drill. Jones can play inside and out, and help out as a returner. Obscenely productive in college, Jones caught 158 of 220 targets for 1,746 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He is the all-time leader in FBS receptions. Jones figures to quickly slide in as the team's No. 2 wideout opposite Sammy Watkins. Expect him to work often from the slot. Jones will play a lot of rookie-season snaps in an underrated offense. He'll be a sneaky PPR flex option.
Rookie-season projection: 53 receptions, 650 yards, 4 TD
The Panthers said they wanted to get Cam Newton help this weekend. They've made big waves in that area already, adding Christian McCaffrey and now Ohio State's Samuel. The versatile 20-year-old ran a 4.31 40-yard dash in Indy and will contribute as a rusher, receiver and returner. Samuel caught 74 passes for 982 yards and ran for 771 yards on 97 carries last year, while scoring 15 touchdowns. Especially with McCaffrey on board, Samuel figures to show up as a wide receiver on Carolina's roster, and spend most of his time in the slot. His jack-of-all-trades role might limit his fantasy upside, but Samuel's athleticism and upside very well could allow him a Tyreek Hill or Percy Harvin-like impact.
Rookie-season projection: 31 carries, 159 yards, 43 receptions, 526 yards, 4 touchdowns
The Vikings have landed one of this year's most intriguing running back prospects. Cook was expected to be a first-round pick, but a rough combine, combined with health, fumbles and off-field concerns led to a fall. Cook was outstanding during his time at Florida State. He has good game speed, terrific elusiveness and vision and will help out in the passing game. The FSU product joins a tricky situation, as Minnesota signed Latavius Murray and already have Jerick McKinnon. The projection here is tough, as we'll need to wait and see if the Vikings force Murray out there until Cook inevitably takes the job and runs away with it. Still, he's too good for us to not expect RB2 production once he lands the lead back gig. He'll be a worthwhile mid-round pick, but might start slow.
Rookie-season projection: 192 carries, 835 yards, 6 TD, 34 receptions, 276 yards, 1 TD
Everett is the next in a terrific tight end rookie class. The South Alabama product averaged 11.4 yards after catch last season, which topped all tight ends who were at the combine. He profiles as a big slot pass catcher, but is a decent blocker who can emerge into a every-down player. He's a terrific athlete with good speed and toughness but heads to one of the league's worst offenses and will need to beat out second-year Tyler Higbee for snaps. Everett is a fine dynasty stash, but a poor bet to make a fantasy splash in 2017.
Rookie-season projection: 28 receptions, 304 yards, 2 TD
The Bears traded up for Mitchell Trubisky on Thursday and provided their potential franchise quarterback with a new weapon Friday. Shaheen is a small-school product out of Ashland University. He's a big man at 6-foot-6, 278 pounds and, despite a poor combine showing, is powerful, fast and quick on tape. He's a good receiver but has a ways to go as a blocker. Shaheen is likely to spend 2017 learning the ropes from 32-year-old and contract-year Zach Miller. He's a fine dynasty hold with little short-term value.
Rookie-season projection: 13 receptions, 139 yards, 1 TD
Clearly displeased by Jeremy Hill's production over the past two years, the Bengals took the plunge on Mixon on Friday night. Off-field issues aside, Mixon is arguably the best talent at the position in this year's draft. He's 6-foot-1, 228 pounds with 4.50 wheels. He's a good rusher and an outstanding receiver. He averaged 6.8 yards per carry and 14.5 yards per reception at Oklahoma last year. Mixon's 2017 prospects are tough to predict with Hill still on the roster, but it's now very possible he's traded this weekend, or released closer to the season. Giovani Bernard is also recovering from torn ACL, so Mixon could simply start out as a passing-down complement to Hill. Eventually, Mixon has three-down, Le'Veon Bell-esque upside. He's an outstanding dynasty target and his 2017 value will depend on the status of Hill and Bernard.
Rookie-season projection: 172 carries, 740 yards, 6 TD, 20 receptions, 156 yards, 1 TD
The Browns passed on Carson Wentz, Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson, but they finally made an impact addition at quarterback position Friday. Kizer is extremely young (21) and raw, but is big (6-foot-4, 233 pounds), mobile and athletic. He has a huge arm but will need to improve his decision-making and accuracy. Kizer was off-target on a prospect-high 14.5 percent of his throws last year. The Notre Dame product will immediately compete with underrated Cody Kessler (and possibly Brock Osweiler) for the team's Week 1 gig. He might not start right away, but Kizer is likely to make some starts this season. He won't be a fantasy asset in the short term.
Rookie-season projection: 132 of 220, 1,412 yards, 6 TD, 6 INT
Pittsburgh has quite a bit of talent at the wide receiver position but added yet another asset Friday night. Smith-Schuster is one of the youngest incoming rookies at only 20 years and four months old. He's 6-foot-1, 215 pounds with long arms and big hands. Smith-Schuster projects as a possession receiver in the mold of Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin. The former safety doesn't offer much in terms of separation or speed, but he's physical, has strong hands and will dominate after the catch. Though he might seem intriguing in Pittsburgh's high-scoring offense, keep in mind that he'll start out competing for reps with Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates, Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey behind Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Additionally, Ben Roethlisberger is 35 years old and already flirting with retirement, which means the man who will be throwing Smith-Schuster passes over the next decade is very much an unknown. Rookie-season fantasy value is possible if injuries land him a big snap boost, but Smith-Schuster is probably headed for a de facto redshirt season.
Rookie-season projection: 21 receptions, 266 yards, 2 TD
Round 3 Picks
If you didn't think Sean Payton was a big fan of Mark Ingram one week ago, you're sure of it today. Days after signing Adrian Peterson to a two-year contract, the Saints selected Kamara in the third round of the draft. Kamara is obviously blocked from significant playing time early on but has three-down upside, return ability and could be the team's eventual lead back. He's 5-foot-10, 214 pounds and showed his athleticism with impressive performances in the vertical and broad jumps at April's combine. Kamara has good size, speed and elusiveness. He's a candidate to replace Travaris Cadet as the primary back in obvious passing situations, but note that New Orleans called pass plays on 97 percent of Cadet's snaps last season. Buried behind Ingram and Peterson, Kamara will be no more than a late-round, handcuff flier in 2017 fantasy leagues.
The Eastern Washington product is one of the oldest incoming rookies (he turns 24 in June). Kupp sports a 6-foot-1, 204-pound frame with big hands and profiles as a possession receiver at the pro level. He tore it up during four years in college, posting 6,512 yards and 74 touchdowns on 445 touches. He also added 516 yards and three scores on 30 returns, as well as 180 yards and four touchdowns on 10 pass attempts. Kupp underwhelmed at the combine, but his body of work landed him a third-round selection. Kupp will open his career battling with the likes of Pharoh Cooper and Michael Thomas for reps behind Tavon Austin and Robert Woods. There's not much 2017 fantasy appeal in an offense unlikely to score all that often.
Rookie-season projection: 35 receptions, 441 yards, 2 TD
The Titans have now officially overhauled their wide receiver corps over the past two years. They signed Rishard Matthews and drafted Tajae Sharpe last offseason. On Thursday, they selected Corey Davis with the draft's fifth overall pick and now Western Kentucky's Taylor has been added to the mix. Taylor is 5-foot-11, 203 pounds with long arms and terrific short-area quickness (he posted a wide receiver-best 6.57 three-cone at the combine). He lacks game-changing speed (4.50 40-yard dash), but his separation skills and post-catch ability make him a valuable target in the short-to-intermediate area. Taylor will immediately compete with Sharpe for the team's No. 3 gig, but is unlikely to generate much 2017 fantasy value in Tennessee's run-heavy scheme.
Rookie-season projection: 26 receptions, 338 yards, 2 TD
Stewart is already 23 years old but adds versatility to the Jets' offense as a receiver, rusher and returner. Stewart has enough size (5-foot-11, 204 pounds) and ability to line up on the perimeter and dominate downfield, but his combination of strength and physicality also allowed him big-time production after the catch at Alabama (averaged 10.5 yards after the catch last season). The Jets' quarterback situation is a mess, but Stewart figures to immediately compete with Robby Anderson for snaps opposite Eric Decker. He's a better dynasty pick than he is a 2017 fantasy asset.
Rookie-season projection: 33 receptions, 406 yards, 2 TD
One of the more underrated needs in this year's draft was wide receiver for Denver. The Broncos directed 52 percent of their targets at two players -- Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders -- last year. Thomas is 29 and Sanders just turned 30. Henderson broke out at Louisiana Tech last season, registering 1,668 yards and 21 touchdowns from scrimmage, and adding 805 yards and a pair of scores on 25 kick returns. Henderson is on the small side (5-foot-11, 199 pounds), but he's fast (4.46 40), quick, versatile and sure-handed. Expect him to quickly win the team's No. 3/slot gig. His primary 2017 fantasy value will be as a handcuff to Thomas and Sanders.
Rookie-season projection: 34 receptions, 427 yards, 2 TD
The Buccaneers added another tool to Jameis Winston's arsenal. The Penn State product crushed it at April's combine, running a 4.42 40-yard dash and posting position-best marks in the bench press (19) and short shuttle (4.00). Godwin was a deep threat at PSU, but is good in traffic and has terrific ball skills. Expect him to start behind Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and slot man Adam Humphries. He won't be worth drafting in 2017 season-long fantasy leagues.
One of my favorite players in this year's draft, Hunt is both elusive and terrific at forcing missed tackles. Per Pro Football Focus, the 5-foot-10, 216-pound back forced an FBS-best 100 missed tackles on 303 touches during the 2016 season. In turn, he ended up as the site's highest-graded FBS running back. Hunt disappointed with a 4.62 40-yard dash at the combine but was very efficient as a rusher at Toledo. He's also an exceptional pass-catcher and has three-down upside. He makes a ton of sense in an Andy Reid offense that always gets the best out of its tailbacks. Hunt figures to begin his career as a passing-down complement to Spencer Ware, which allows him a little bit of PPR value. This landing spot puts him in the first-round mix in rookie drafts.
Rookie-season projection: 99 carries, 406 yards, 4 TD, 27 receptions, 191, 1 TD
Webb has been a hot name over the past few weeks and was actually discussed as a potential first-round pick. He fell to the Giants in the third round and provides the team with a developmental passer behind Eli Manning. Webb is 6-foot-5, 229 pounds but has small hands and has struggled with decision-making and accuracy. He struggled to 6.9 yards per attempt at Cal last season. Webb will hold the clipboard for another year or three and thus has no short-term fantasy value.
When the Texans signed Lamar Miller last offseason, there were concerns that he wouldn't hold up if handed a much bigger workload. That seemed to be the case as he struggled to the worst efficiency of his career in 2016. The Texans gave him some help Friday night by adding Foreman to the mix. He's quick and athletic for someone who is 6-foot, 233 pounds. Foreman offers very little in the passing game and figures to be limited to early down and short-yardage work at the NFL level. He immediately has some 2017 fantasy value as Miller's handcuff but won't have much standalone appeal.
Rookie-season projection: 108 carries, 429 yards, 3 TD, 4 receptions, 33 yards
Golladay is a height/weight/speed prospect at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds with 4.50 wheels. He caught 87 balls at Northern Illinois last season and didn't drop a single pass. He's also versatile enough to help as a rusher and returner. Golladay will compete for work on the perimeter, but he is unlikely to do much fantasy damage out of the gate.
Williams was one of the bigger surprises on Day 2 of the draft, but that's nothing new for the Cardinals at the wide receiver position. Williams is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds with 4.43 wheels and character concerns (he wasn't invited to the combine following an arrest). Williams has decent hands and is good with the ball in his hands. He has a shot to see the field often in a Cardinals offense that had four wide receivers on the field for 19 percent of its pass plays last season (third highest). Still, he'll need an injury to another Cardinals pass-catcher to land fantasy-relevant target numbers.
The Titans continue to add weapons for Marcus Mariota. Smith is a 6-foot-3, 248-pound two-way tight end out of Florida International. He enjoyed a terrific combine, posting an above-average mark in every drill he took part in. Oddly enough, he's drawn comparisons to his new mentor, Delanie Walker. Smith is athletic with good speed and post-catch production. He's strong but undersized and will need to cut down on drops. He'll spend a year or two in multiple-tight-end sets before potentially replacing Walker as the Titans' top tight end.
Check that. Beathard is now the biggest shocker of Day 2. Considered a late-rounder at best, Beathard's efficiency was brutal during his final season at Iowa. It included a total QBR of 44 and a 17:10 TD:INT mark. He completed 57 percent of his passes despite a low 6.2-yard average depth of throw. Beathard figures to be a healthy scratch early on but will eventually push for some starts. There's little appeal here, short term or long term.
The Steelers have their replacement for DeAngelo Williams behind workhorse Le'Veon Bell. Conner, who was recently cleared after a battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, is a tough 6-foot-1, 233 pounds, but he doesn't bring much speed or quickness to the table. He's a solid receiver, catching 21 of his 25 targets for 474 yards and four scores last season. The Pitt product won't have to travel far to back up Bell. He has handcuff appeal out of the gate but limited upside long term.
For the third time in four years, Seattle has picked a wide receiver in the second or third round. Unlike the previous two picks (Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett), Darboh brings size to the table. He's 6-foot-2, 214 pounds and his terrific combine effort included a 4.45 40-yard dash. He's big, tough, athletic and a good blocker, which makes him a logical candidate to replace Jermaine Kearse, who struggled last season. Like Kearse, Darboh has little fantasy value, at least in the short term.
For breakdowns and projections of the players drafted in Round 1, click here.
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