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2015 NFL Rookie Rankings: Dynasty / Keeper League Draft Targets


While we already published our 2015 NFL rookie rankings for fantasy football in a few different segments, we thought it was time to revisit these rankings just a little bit as we are approaching the NFL season. This is not an knee jerk overreaction based on preseason news, just some basic accounting for injury news and the opportunities that players may be winning or losing.

So to make things easier for you, we have consolidated the different fantasy football dynasty / keeper rookie rankings into one massive article. You can consider this your official 2015 NFL rookies guide to help you formulate your long-term fantasy football strategy. This monster has it all: rookie running backs, wide receivers, quarterbacks, sleepers and breakouts, overvalued players, potential busts and more.

Every NFL rookie is ranked based off traits of their college tape. Ceiling plays a big role, but so does that rookie's chance of just succeeding at any start-able NFL level. Talent trumps things like team situations and supporting casts, since owning a 2015 NFL rookie for their career will more than likely involve the situation around them changing frequently. Injuries and off-field concerns play no part in the rookie rankings. The fact of the matter is, no one outside of the doctors, players and teams that own the rights to these players have the kind of information necessary to make informed decisions based off those factors. The rookie rankings order my board has is unlikely to match up to the automatically generated board that your drafting service comes up with, but that's a benefit to you - a chance for you to get greater fantasy football value with your draft picks.

 
 

2015 NFL Rookies - Fantasy Football Dynasty / Keeper Rankings

I love dynasty leagues. Getting to build and develop a team, make trades that have long-lasting impact, and the complexity of decision making that goes into every move and waiver decision is so much more exciting to me than the redraft format. In my dynasties, I've had a golden rule when it comes to the NFL rookie draft: draft on talent, not situation. I'd never pick a rookie who's in a great situation to produce (looking at you, Bishop Sankey) instead of high caliber talents who might be underrated because of the team that roster them (Isaiah Crowell and Jeremy Hill come to mind here). NFL team situations change wildly over the course of two years, and two years is also the amount of time it takes for an NFL rookie to go from a young pup to a rising star. Now let's get to it.

 
1. STL RB Todd Gurley, 21

Combine (Injured)

Without an ACL tear in his final season at Georgia, Todd Gurley could have joined the prestigious group of RBs that were drafted amongst the top 5. Instead, he took a short fall down to #10 where the Jeff Fisher led Rams grabbed him. Even with the tear in his history, the skill-set Gurley provides has so much value to any team running gap or zone football, which means it won't take long until he's the undisputed 3-down back and should hold that job through any coaching changes.

With potentially elite vision behind the line of scrimmage and the ability to set up defenders at the first, second and third levels while also having the ability to outrun, overpower and ruin the morale of every player he comes in contact with- Gurley is one of those special talents that's too good to fail. Too athletic to be dealt with through discipline and too skilled to be beaten by other frankensteins, he's the kind of back who could easily see his career last until his early 30's, and probably still have strong value in his 32nd/33rd year, similar to a player like Frank Gore. No player has the floor/ceiling combination of Gurley in this draft and barring any more injury setbacks - this is the undisputed 1.01 pick.

Gurley patiently slows down on an outside toss, bursts through two arm tackles, regains his balance and runs down the field with no one even threatening to catch up.

 
 
2. CHI WR Kevin White, 22

Combine

The rankings are only going to get funkier from here as Kevin White is going to be topping my WRs. White's a high caliber athlete (even if his 40 time doesn't show up on tape) with some of the most amazing contested ball skills in this draft. He's able to consistently find ways to make difficult, contested throws where a DB should be able to at least make it hard for him into wide open pitch and catch. White's game speed and quick adjustments in order to box out and remove corners from a play is far beyond what any other WR in this class can do. No one seems to be as comfortable with initiating contact as often as White, and no one is as good at it.

Unlike the next two players, White's likely to see a rookie wall because his release, change of direction and breaks aren't nearly as clean as they could be but the amount of potential he shows in his vertical, curls, hitch and post routes make projecting his NFL career easy. He separates from corners just because of his long stride and physicality at the line of scrimmage and his aggression in positioning himself when added to the timing of his leaps and hands (also known as high pointing) should give him a high concentration of deep balls and redzone targets. White's impossible to press because of his body type and his incredibly well coordinated hand-play at the line of scrimmage. White's going to demand double coverage immediately and he's also the kind of player who can consistently beat it.

Despite being between two DBs, White stops on a dime to re-adjust himself to the flight of the ball, get in front of both players and make a high-pointing catch.

 
 
3. TEN WR Dorial Green-Beckham, 22

Combine

Green-Beckham's on field athleticism may have not translated into his combine, but the man knows how to ball. If it weren't for his off the field decision making skills DGB would have easily seen a high first round pick, maybe even knocking Cooper off as the highest receiver drafted. With an ideal size, speed, strength and skill combination, he's an incredible WR prospect. It helps that he's capable of actually running routes well and has the burst and speed to separate from corners without issues. On top of that, his ability to win physical catches is amongst the best in the class. Unfortunately some of those poor off the field decisions leak into his on field decision making, which is why despite being a receiver who might have a higher floor and just as good of a ceiling as Kevin White, he's ranked below him.

DGB is a player, not a thinker. He doesn't make the quick decisions that White does that make contested catches easy (although he does make them look easy) and on some situations he's made some very poor decisions. Two back to back plays exemplify this where a 3rd and 6th play on a nearly game-ending drive saw Green-Beckham lose yardage trying to gain more instead of grabbing the first available to him, forcing a 4th and 1. Then, when running a slant on that 4th and 1 play, he didn't bend down his route when he should have in order to secure the catch and chose to run it just as drawn, resulting in the pass being incomplete and a turnover on downs. Still, his ability to secure jump balls and make amazing Dez Bryant-esque redzone plays easily makes him one of the top talents in this class.

Green-Beckham's burst and lean into the DB helps him get in front of the DB and make an easy touchdown catch over him.

A hard two step break and turn back to the QB sells the DB on the hitch, bringing him into a panic when Green-Beckham turns upfield and makes the catch over his head.

 
 
4. OAK WR Amari Cooper, 21

Combine

Last years receiver class was one of the most stacked classes of all time, and this year isn't all that different. Cooper may be ranked fourth in my list of rookies but that isn't indicative of how I think he will produce- in fact I think Cooper has the highest floor between himself and the two receivers ranked before him and could out-score them in some seasons. It's no surprise that he's already impressing at camp, Cooper has been playing way above his level since he was in high school.

What Cooper has to offer is a huge, athletic body with elusiveness, power and an arsenal of open field moves with both his upper and lower body. His release off the line is violent and quick and his route running is at the top of the class and yet there's still room to get better as his footwork can improve on his breaks and he could still find a way to burst out of them more. Cooper should have no trouble developing into one of the leagues premier wide receivers but his long term production might be more linked to his offensive cast than the two players above him.

Cooper takes all the underneath space given to him, quickly separates from his man and uses his open field abilities to take what yards he can.

 
 
5. DET RB Ameer Abdullah, 22

Combine

Fumble issues plagued Abdullah in college, but fumbling isn't an issue that dooms a player career unless they're not willing to fix it. I know that before even getting into Abdullah, I'd have to convince you that his fumbling isn't nearly as bad as it seems. Adrian Peterson, Joique Bell, Justin Forsett and Tiki Barber all came into the league with fumbling issues, and all of them managed to learn the proper technique that stopped that. Players who are capable of having good technique in other facets of their game are usually the same ones who fix their issues. On the field his footwork, cutbacks, vision, pass blocking, hands, you name it- all show a well coached and smart player. His ability to take to coaching on his tape should also show in his ability to get over the fumbling.

Abdullah is a true 3-down back with the potential to outproduce every other back in this draft class and have multiple top scoring seasons, similar to the way players like Jamaal Charles and LaDainian Tomlinson would. Abdullah's burst is on a level only two other backs in this class can hope to match, but his combination of catching prowess, vision and open field moves are difficult to match. He's built and plays like a pinball, bouncing around and sidestepping- making people miss, while having the ability to burst out from behind the line for huge gains without any issue.

A knock on Abdullah has been his top speed, but that's only going to affect him in that it'll turn a play that should have been a 60 yard touchdown into a 40 yard gain. It's the same issue Le'Veon Bell was pegged with and that turned out just fine. While I don't factor in situation into the rankings, Abdullah's situation is one to be very happy about- the Lions targeted RBs more than almost every other team in the league last year and with Calvin and Tate opening the field, Abdullah is unlikely to see stacked boxes until he's in his late 20's, giving him more than enough open space to use his shifty abilities.

Abdullah's quick thinking and ability to make players hesitate allows him to turn a potential no gain into twelve yards.

 
 
6. JAX RB T.J. Yeldon, 21

Combine

Amongst those players whose situation works against them is T.J. Yeldon, the next ball carrying product to come out of Alabama's RB factory. Yeldon lacks the upside that Abdullah and Gurley can provide, but his floor is significantly high because of his combination of speed, power and running talents. Yeldon's got the ability to make great cutbacks and reads behind the line of scrimmage, is shifty enough to bend and force bad tackles while still having the power to run through contact and carry defenders for extra yardage.

Unfortunately, unlike the two players above him, Yeldon lacks the pass catching (and pass blocking) abilities at his current level to be immediately projected as a full time 3-down starter but has the ability to grow and become that kind of player with some time. Still, he's a very decisive and smart runner with the ability to create his own holes. Yeldon's not an every down threat to take it to the house but he's the type of player who should see a consistent 20+ carries throughout his career that result in over four yards per carry every season, who can still create big plays because of his immediate burst and power.

Pressing the outside run, as Yeldon reaches the TE he cuts back inside and bursts through the crease, uses his blocker at the second level and then beats his opponent to the corner.

 
 
7. SD RB Melvin Gordon, 22

Combine

A few spots lower on my list than where he's drafted, Gordon's still a very legitimate NFL talent at RB. Gordon's main issue from my perspective is his lacking ability to set up defenders and some of his poor decision making. Gordon's got expectations to become a 3-down back, but that's an unlikely case in his rookie year because at the very least as he needs to learn better pass blocking techniques.

Regardless, Gordon's a huge physical talent with a great speed, size, agility and power combination but his tendency to bet on his athleticism instead of on decisive movements throws some of his NFL ceiling in the air, as more disciplined players who can match his athletic makeup should do better against him than many of the college players he faced. With more development in that area, Gordon could come out of this class as the best but projecting a change of thought processes is a lot harder than technique. However, his technique could improve too, as better lower body movements during fakes would open up a lot more space for him to run through.

Although Wisconsin RBs in the recent years have been criticized for playing behind a great O-line, none of what i personally saw gives any real creed to Gordon being a product of his blockers. Gordon definitely plays better when the decision making is made for him by a FB or pulling guard (which will make him more dependent on his supporting cast than the backs ranked above him) but his skills are still that of a consistent producer. His ceiling will be based off how well his offense can block in front of him though, because Gordon's not the type to create his own opportunities at the first level, but once he's past that- it's hard to get him down.

After hitting a wall at the line of scrimmage, Gordon bounces back, takes the outside and bursts away for a big gain.

 
 
8. PHI WR Nelson Agholor, 22

Combine

Agholor's situation is amongst the best of all players in this class for as long as Chip Kelly remains his head coach but his talent might is not as high as the players above him. Although pegged as a slot receiver by some, Agholor shows nothing on his tape to suggest that the outside isn't something he can play full time (and since most reports have said that nothing out of camp hints that Jordan Matthews will be moving to the outside, Kelly obviously must be expecting an outside receiver out of Agholor) and he even drew many comparisons before being drafted to former Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin.

Agholor has strong route running, adjusts on the fly to reads, finds open spaces in zone coverage, adjusts to inaccurate balls and can easily make athletic catches. Although he's missing some of the on-field burst that would really take him to the next level, he has a very fast transition from catch to run and he's very capable of making players miss on the regular with his shiftiness and quick-twitch movements, sometimes even showing some really strong balance to shake off or break tackles.

Those open field movements do hurt him from time to time, as he's a player who is more than willing to risk losing yards to try and gain yards and the quick transition can sometimes result in concentration drops. That's something that some coaches might not like.

Agholor attacks the corner to the outside, and upon seeing him backing into a zone adjusts back inside to catch, break a tackle, and take some extra yards.

 
 
9. NYJ WR Devin Smith, 23

Combine

Another player on a poor team who's having his stock reduced despite his immense talent. One of the few players in this class who can go from full speed to a two step break, Devin Smith has the potential to become a dominant WR1 in fantasy. Of course, that requires projecting a lot of development onto him, since he was mostly used on deeper routes in college. Smith demonstrates a lot of great thinking, consistently finding open spaces in zone coverage and uses small fakes and change of direction in order to create separation.

That ability to gain separation is going to give him a high ceiling in the NFL for yards after the catch, even if he isn't as shifty as some of the other players in this class. He's able to make catches all over the field of any difficulty: from over the shoulder catches, to back-shoulder fades, to jumping over the head of a DB to catch it on top of them. He shows no problem dealing with physicality and sometimes initiates contact to create space for himself. Without a doubt he's one of the best deep ball receivers in this class.

Devin's CB blitzes, putting him up against the safety. He does a quick double-move in order to force the safety to close the gap on him before taking off and making a catch over his head with perfect timing on his leap and hand extension.

 
 
10. ATL RB Tevin Coleman, 22

Combine (Injured)

Other than Gurley, Coleman is the scariest player to have to play against in this RB class. Coleman can turn any opening you give him into a touchdown run, as his combination of speed and second/third level vision is really, really special. He's been compared many times to Darren McFadden, who regardless of his career arc was a potentially dominant NFL talent.

Unfortunately that comparison is in both strengths and weaknesses as like McFadden, Coleman has a very upright running style leading to some balance and power issues and doesn't have enough patience to thrive in a zone scheme as well as he would in a gap/power scheme. He's also had an issue with carrying the ball under the correct arm on runs, making the potential for getting it knocked out higher and removing his ability to use his free arm to initiate contact with defenders. Still, Coleman makes smart cutback decisions and when he does hit a player, he hits them with power. Coleman doesn't show much in the way of 3rd down value since he was minimally used in the passing game.

What's interesting about Coleman, and not at all factoring into his draft spot, is that the Falcons under OC Kyle Shanahan are likely to run a zone scheme, which is exactly what Coleman isn't built to do. That makes his immediate returns murky especially behind an offensive line as bad as the Falcons for a RB who lacks patience. Still, in upcoming years (or even by the end of the season) it shouldn't be surprising if the Falcons begin to mix more gap/power plays into their playbook to take advantage of Coleman's potentially dominant physicality, and on any play where the blocking lines up- Coleman will be going for huge touchdowns.

Coleman cuts behind the trap block from the TE and takes off. Look at the separation he gets from the moment he begins bursting.

 
 
11. MIA RB Jay Ajayi, 22

Combine

Ajayi's knee issues are going to be a huge factor in how his career plays out but as far as talent on the field goes, he's definitely got a lot of it. He's a very good pass catcher in the short area of the field, able to hold the ball through big hits and adjusts to throws easily. His low to the ground running style causes tacklers to just bounce off of him and his excellent balance helps him stay upright through some very hard hits.

He shows great open field vision, making use of the entire lateral plane and his ability to weave through traffic without any problem helps make him a great fit for a zone running team. He's got an NFL caliber burst that is good enough to separate from first and second level defenders but in the third level he's all about using lower and upper body fakes to juke and win positioning battles. If his knee issues are resolved with, Ajayi could end up as a 3-down starter or, more likely, the lead back in a 70/30 rotation.

Ajayi makes two cuts behind the line, bursts through an arm tackle, and makes some moves in the open field to get more yardage.

 
 
12. TB QB Jameis Winston, 21

Combine

Winston rounds out the top 12 even though he's probably more likely to succeed than some of the other players above him. What makes him so low is just how easy it has been historically for QBs to fail, so in my rankings QBs always are way lower than others of equal value unless they're just incredible prospects. Even so, the value you get in a regular dynasty league on a rookie QB isn't worth the risk when you can trade that same pick for an established one.

That's all besides the point, Winston is by all means a very very good passer prospect and in a league where there's a premium on QBs, he'd likely be ranked 9th in this class. He's coming out of college with an incredibly high football IQ, a level of anticipation that can't be taught and one of the best combinations of on-field leadership and short term memory.

Winston can put the ball wherever he wants to nearly every single time and very commonly places it away from defenders in spots where only his receivers can even try to make the catch. His movement in the pocket is smooth and he's generally a very decisive player when it comes to avoiding pressure but this is an area where he could and should improve. Even if his footwork has had troubles in college, those technical details have easily been fixed for many players who entered with similar issues- and his ability in college to still throw accurate, high velocity throws despite compromising mechanics speak louder than the issues themselves.

Although he does sometimes stare and has had the habit of throwing some balls where he shouldn't, those are also issues that many other successful QBs have entered the NFL with. He's still able to utilize the entire field and every player on it. Winston's unlikely to have many rushing yards in his career as he's not a scrambler by design, only by necessity.

Winston possesses the upside to see an All-Pro nomination, maybe even several, and the floor to be a capable long-term NFL starter.

Despite a defender bearing down on him, Winston steps in and delivers a perfectly placed throw over a DB to hit his receiver.

 
 
13. MIA WR DeVante Parker, 22

Combine

Devante Parker's a great athlete. He's got some incredibly high potential as a YAC and deep ball specialist, and his size and willingness to fight for the ball make that deep ball ability even more threatening to opposing defenses. So why this low for one of the most hyped receivers in the draft for me?

Parker had some major route running issues in college, regularly breaking routes too early and sometimes even showing some fear in bringing routes all the way up to the DBs face before breaking. These traits on their own aren't a huge concern, even my #1 WR Kevin White has them too from time to time, but when added to his near-panicy reactions while getting hit and how they cause him to be out of sync with his quarterback, now you're running into issues. Add onto that his lack of physicality with DBs when releasing and now you wonder how comfortable he is with contact at all.

Parker's coming out with a foot injury that's likely to slow down his rookie year, a huge problem for his immediate impact and even more problematic when you add on the route running issue that he needs to work on. He has the potential to become one of the leagues top wide receivers but he might need someone to help carry him there.

DeVante Parker Dynasty Ranking

When DeVante Parker has it all together, he's nearly impossible to stop. Despite creating tons of separation at his release, Parker makes a mature decision as he comes back into the DB to maintain distance with the sideline in order to make an over the shoulder catch on a vertical route.

 
 
14. BAL TE Maxx Williams, 21

Combine

Maxx Williams obvious physical talents may have not appeared at the Combine, but they sure do appear on game day. Williams is naturally too big and fast for most linebackers to deal with and his size and balance makes it easy for him to break tackles. Williams faces an uphill climb to fantasy relevance though, as he's a very unrefined player with issues that range from inconsistent hand technique to raw route running.

However, dynasty drafting isn't about what a player can do for you right now but what they could be doing for you when you need them to. Williams has the athleticism and football characteristics you look for in a good Tight End: able to beat man coverage, line up all over the field, and turn small gains into much larger ones. He's a player who's physical skills make him an immediate threat but until his football skills catch up, that's all he's going to be on the field for.

Maxx Williams Dynasty Ranking

I'm not going to bother putting this play into words. Between the separation Maxx Williams gets and the athleticism, there's a huge ceiling to potentially reap from Williams.

 
 
15. JAX WR Rashad Greene, 22

Combine

It's easy to get caught up in what's measurable when it comes to football and for those that do focus on that, Rashad Greene will be an afterthought to many. Not only is landing in Jacksonville going to hurt his fantasy stock but being smaller than almost most of the WRs to enter the NFL in the last 15+ years (17th percentile for height and 10th percentile in weight) doesn't scream fantasy relevance. However, what's not as easily measured is just how well Rashad Greene played with the Seminoles. Despite the small size, he showed a huge catch radius on the regular: winning jump balls, diving for others, and regularly making difficult catches in traffic.

In the NFL he's going to be immediately put into the slot role, where he could become a very productive player but he doesn't show any lacking quality that makes it impossible for him to eventually be moved to the outside. Shifty in the open field, a strong route runner, and a surprisingly physical presence when fighting for the ball; Greene could be the NFL drafts next great overlooked WR. He comes a lot cheaper than my ranking of him would make it seem like and for that spot he presents great value.

Rashad Greene College Highlight

A vertical release, followed by an inside break where Rashad Greene turns his head back to the QB after pulling his entire body creates the perfect sell for him to break back outside and steal a touchdown.

 
 
16. CLE RB Duke Johnson, 21

Combine

Some great NFL minds have Duke Johnson ranked very highly and there's good reason for it. Johnson's a great running back with a lot of versatility who shows a surprising amount of power and intensity for someone of his size. Like Rashad Greene, he's more than likely seeing a decrease in his stock by the NFL mostly for how he looks more-so than how he plays. For me, the issues with Johnson come with his "only" capable burst and his lack of setting up defenders, but beyond those he shows excellent abilities to make hard cuts and some of the best pass catching skills this class has to offer at the running back position along with the kind of pass blocking that the NFL looks for.

Duke Johnson will face an uphill climb trying to beat Isaiah Crowell for carries, who I believe is a much better runner than Duke, but he'll still find value in a Giovani Bernard-type role (which coincidentally is what the Browns view for him in his immediate future). Johnson has the potential to eventually be seen as a 3-down back but it's going to take some time for that to actually happen. Neither of these are influencing his ranking, but i see him as more of a consistent contributor than one with major upside.

Duke Johnson Dynasty Ranking

A toss to the right side is sniffed out and Johnson's quick thinking helps him escape for a big gain, but it's the final contact on the defender that takes him down that shows Johnson's true potential.

 
 
17. CAR WR Devin Funchess, 21

Combine

Devin Funchess is far from a finished product but what he's showing on the field bodes well for his potential to be amongst the top NFL possession receivers. It's unlikely, from my perspective, that Funchess will ever become an all-around elite threat but that doesn't mean he can't be the type of give you all-around elite production.

Devin Funchess has issues to work through regarding his hands as he isn't a high pointer, nor is he always the most comfortable with using proper hand technique, but it's his quick immediate breaks and his knowledge of how to position his body between the defender and the ball that makes his possession qualities so valuable. With one of the longest arm lengths, heights and weights amongst WRs you can imagine that he'll be using his skills and size to box out players in the NFL.

Funchess claims that a foot injury held him back in college from showing his full potential, and in some ways that could be possible- he did lack burst at times and didn't always look like the most laterally quick player, in fact in week 2 against Notre Dame you could see him hurt his foot twice. However, his combine doesn't show anything to make you think better of him in that department (unless he performed injured there, too). Still, it's his size advantage that will help him break tackles and deal with physical play. Devin Funchess could eventually find himself amongst the Eric Decker's of the NFL, and that's more of a compliment than you might think.

Devin Funchess Dynasty Ranking

Devin Funchess is rarely affected by the contact he faces, and here he easily keeps running and uses his size to lean into the DBs path and box him out of the balls trajectory.

 
 
18. SEA WR Tyler Lockett, 22

Combine

Another player who might have been underrated for his physical features, Tyler Lockett is similar to Rashad Greene as well but seems to have a much lower upside as he is just a much easier player to take down once the ball is in his hands.

Lockett will find an immediate role as a deep threat and his route running skills will make him a quick contributor in the Seahawks offense. However, Lockett's lack of ability to disengage from physical play, some less than ideal passive tendencies when fighting corners for positioning, and a tendency to clap balls make him more likely to be the supporting role in an offense than a featured one.

This is the first player on the list where elite production seems unsustainable, but Lockett is still bound to have a huge role that should produce numbers. He'll be the one pulling in highlight reel catches every season.

Tyler Lockett Dynasty Ranking

Tyler Lockett shows little fear in taking big hits, which bodes well for his potential to develop more aggressive route running and playing tendencies.

 
 
19. WAS RB Matt Jones, 22

Combine

Described by the man who drafted him as a mini-Lynch, Matt Jones is a power-based runner who has an aggressive mindset set to hitting defenders. Jones lacks the top end speed or burst to be an elite back in athleticism- but he offers the full 3-down package that should prop him to a consistent low end RB1 as long as he's able to maximize his power. He's willing to pass block and is even good at it at times, and that's going to help the Redskins utilize his pass catching abilities since they know he'll be able to stay in and block as well. There isn't a lot else to really bring up about Jones, in a sense he's sort of one-dimensional as a runner- but that one dimension is something he can be very good at and his versatility gives him staying power on a NFL team.

It took one preseason game for Matt Jones name to come on the radar, but even before that he was already at this spot on my list. Jones was draft choice of newly acquired Redskins GM Scot McCloughan, a highly touted scout who came up with the Green Bay Packers of the late 90's, joined the Seahawks in the early 2000's, helped build the future ultra-talented 49ers in the mid-2000's, and then rejoined the Seahawks from 2010-2013 to help them build the Superbowl caliber team they have now. Basically, McCloughan, a time-tested talent surveyor personally chose this running back in a year where Alfred Morris contract is about to expire. Jones might be making an impact sooner than most think and he'll definitely be making an impact in his career.

Matt Jones Dynasty Ranking

Matt Jones putting on his best Marshawn Lynch impression with power running, a violent stiff arm, and some fancy footwork.

 
 
20. TEN RB David Cobb, 22

Combine

David Cobb is a very limited player, it's important to note that before getting into what kind of player he actually is. Cobb doesn't have the athletic talents of many other players that might come later on this list but what Cobb has is a significant understanding of how to play NFL football.

Playing within his limitations, Cobb's able to consistently gain yardage through smart decision making skills, patience to allow blockers to set him up, and is able to get second level yards by consistently taking good angles in the open field. However, Cobb is a limited talent, and that bares repeating. He's a very downhill runner, he can't bounce runs outside, he doesn't have the burst to turn a 20 yard gain into a 40 or 50 yard gain nor does he have the top speed to do it. He's stuck in that spot between plodding and being an underrated power-back.

Recently pre-season and offseason mumblings have given Cobb a lot of positive attention, especially when considering Bishop Sankey's struggles in his rookie year. However, Ken Whisenhunt isn't known for giving rookies playing time- and it's unlikely that Cobb sees significant time unless any of the players ahead of him struggle. Especially given his issues in the passing game, since Cobb is neither a special pass catcher nor a good blocker. With a rookie QB starting, both of those features are going to be very important for playing time.

David Cobb Dynasty Ranking

David Cobb's power and decision making skills in the open-field set him up for a long run, but you can see that a LB is nearly able to catch him before giving up.

 
 
21. IND WR Phillip Dorsett, 22

Combine

Philip Dorsett is a player i'm ready to be wrong about, but his ranking is based off what I've seen. Dorsett is a deep specialist who wins primarily based off his speed and aggressive route running tendencies. Unlike many other speed receivers, Dorsett's actually willing to come up and attack the CB before making his break which forces them to bite early. However, being a deep threat only gets you so far in the NFL. Dorsett's agility in the open field is lacking and he's a straight line runner for the most part. While he's willing to adjust to balls, he's not very successful at making catches on them. He looks and plays a lot like a low volume player and, like Tyler Lockett, is a player who could put up elite production despite not being an elite player himself.

It's going to help Phillip Dorsett a lot that he's going to be on the Colts. In some ways, T.Y. Hilton is similar to Dorsett especially in the way they'd both be used- and seeing as Andrew Luck has had no problem getting the ball into Hilton's hands and turning him into a WR1, you could assume the same for Dorsett. Be that as it may, Hilton came to the Colts first and already has the connection with Luck that makes that possible. So in order for Dorsett to get the same treatment, he'll have to give Luck a reason to throw to him in order to create that connection. Unfortunately, with Hilton and Andre Johnson in his way he's going to be waiting at least a year to for that opportunity to arrive.

Phillip Dorsett Dynasty Ranking

Phillip Dorsett runs along the CBs outside shoulder at full speed before taking a hard outside step as he reaches the body of the defender and breaking inside, putting him out of position to defend this throw.

 
 
22. ARI RB David Johnson, 23

Combine

There is no doubt that David Johnson is the best pass catching running back in this class. As a former WR, he's by far the greatest at getting separation from defenders, running routes, and catching downfield. It's obvious that Johnson will find a role in the NFL on those traits alone. Where Johnson begins to suffer is from his actual running back skills.

Johnson, like the players that will come after him, is a project. He's capable of giving immediate returns because of his receiving skills but due to his lack of running capability he might never have more than FLEX value in a regular league. What exactly is wrong with Johnson's running? Well, despite being smart behind the line of scrimmage- his movements are erratic and don't show a fully coordinated player. On top of that, when meeting contact- Johnson likes to bring himself down by bending himself too low. These are not traits you want to see in a guy carrying the ball.

There is no doubt though that Johnson will find a role in the NFL. He's a RB who can catch passes 40 yards down the field, there's no team in the NFL who wouldn't like to have that kind of versatility and he will be given many chances to succeed. With Arizona, it's likely that he sees a small amount of carries in addition to a low volume workload as a receiver every week once he's comfortable within the offense. It'll take a lot of development for him to ever become a back who takes more than 13+ carries a game from another talented player, but it's safe to look at him similar to the way people look at Shane Vareen. He's a floor play who might surprise.

David Johnson Dynasty Ranking

Running an angle route out of the backfield, Johnson bursts pasts the linebacker while using his hands to swipe away contact, catches the ball comfortably and races down the field.

 
 
23. PIT WR Sammie Coates, 22

Combine

Sammie Coates is where we start getting into players who have high NFL ceilings but have some very easy potential to bust. The problems with Coates are two-fold, for one he's an incredibly raw route runner which is a trait you can learn, so it's not that bad. The other though, his hands are problematic. He's inconsistent with making catches and whether that's an issue with technique or concentration, it's an issue you never want to see on a player.

Let's talk about some of the good though, Sammie Coates is huge. It's going to be nearly impossible for a player like Coates to be pressed in the NFL because on top of being huge and powerful, he's a quick-twitch athlete with a lot of agility. With refinement in route running and a hopeful decrease in his drop tendencies, Coates has incredible potential as a YAC threat because of his agility and size, but he also is a very smart deep threat who understands how to use his body to get between the ball and the defender.

At his ceiling, Coates could be amongst the WR1s of the NFL but at his floor he becomes a player who rarely sees the field. I wouldn't put Coates on the level of Stephen Hill as far as projects go, but he's a project nonetheless. Don't expect to see any contribution from him this year or even next year. He'll take time and the Steelers are in no rush to get him on the field.

Sammie Coates Dynasty Ranking

Sammie Coates is physical right off the line, forcing the CB to be positioned exactly where he wants him to be. Although a little passive on taking the ball in the air, he hauls in a tough catch.

 
 
24. BAL WR Breshad Perriman, 21

Combine

Breshad Perriman is even more of a raw product than Sammie Coates and I'm still surprised he was drafted in the first round. Perriman, despite posting a ridiculous 40 time during a private pro-day after failing to appear at the combine due to injury, never showed that kind of speed on game day.

Yes, Perriman is fast on the field but he's not 100th percentile of all WRs to come into the league in the last 20 years fast. In fact, there's many times where Perriman struggles to separate from defenders and he isn't the most aggressive in going after the ball either. What's important to mention is that just like Coates, he has issues with catching with his hands- and it's a result of them being "learned" hands instead of natural. Clapping and palming the ball is a regular occurrence and it's almost a necessity for him to pull the ball into his chest in order to gain control.

There aren't a lot of positives to Perriman's game to be honest. What he has is some basic building blocks that might result in him being a good possession receiver that can use his quick burst and flashes of open field vision to be a major YAC threat. Breshad Perriman may have been drafted to replace Torrey Smith, but it's a lot more likely that his game evolves into the old role that Anquan Boldin use to have- although he'll likely never be as dependable.

I believe that Perriman can eventually develop into an NFL caliber WR but that belief is rooted in him being able to fix his egregious hands issue. Don't expect much impact in his first year, at the time of writing he's already a near lock to start the season backing up Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken. Once Smith retires next year, Perriman will likely receive a full time role and hopefully (for him and for those that draft him) he can put the drops behind him by then.

Breshad Perriman Dynasty Ranking

Breshad Perriman's left open in zone coverage and instead of trying to just run down the field, he sets up the defender by bringing him to the edge before cutting back inside. He gets a little low to meet contact and gets an extra 5 yards after being tackled. This is where Perriman should be the most effective in the NFL.

 
 

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