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Way Too Early Mock Draft - Rounds 2-3 Analysis

The NFL season isn't quite over, as the playoffs are just getting interesting. That hasn't stopped our expert staff from looking ahead to 2019 already.

As Justin Carter discussed earlier this week, 12 of us at RotoBaller have undertaken a slow fantasy football mock draft to help us all deal with the fantasy football withdrawals that we are feeling at this time. It has certainly been interesting trying to work out potential free agent moves and 2019 depth chart scenarios but the meat of the draft has now concluded. At this stage, it is difficult to be too hard on any picks because after three rounds there is still a lot of team building to be done. Instead, what I will evaluate here is the potential strategy of each team and what that means going forward.

Below, you'll find the second and third round results of our draft, as well as my analysis of everyone's picks in those rounds. To follow along as the draft progresses in real time, check out the draft board here.

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Way Too Early Mock Draft (Redraft) - Round 2

2.01 Michael Thomas Phil Clark
2.02 James Conner Cliff Clinton
2.03 Joe Mixon Hamid Sandhu
2.04 Antonio Brown Brendan Kennealy
2.05 Odell Beckham Jr. Pierre Camus
2.06 JuJu Smith-Schuster Jason Katz
2.07 Dalvin Cook Matt Terelle
2.08 David Johnson Ben Rolfe
2.09 Keenan Allen Richard King
2.10 Phillip Lindsay Dom Petrillo
2.11 Mike Evans Kyle Richardson
2.12 Adam Thielen Justin Carter


Way Too Early Mock Draft (Redraft) - Round 3

3.01 A.J. Green Justin Carter
3.02 Travis Kelce Kyle Richardson
3.03 T.Y. Hilton Dom Petrillo
3.04 George Kittle Richard King
3.05 Zach Ertz Ben Rolfe
3.06 Stefon Diggs Matt Terelle
3.07 Patrick Mahomes Jason Katz
3.08 Marlon Mack Pierre Camus
3.09 Aaron Jones Brendan Kennealy
3.10 Brandin Cooks Hamid Sandhu
3.11 Amari Cooper Cliff Clinton
3.12 Sony Michel Phil Clark


Quick Hit Analysis

Phil Clark - Pick 13: Michael Thomas (WR, NO) & Pick 36: Sony Michel (RB, NE)

This is an interesting start from Phil. He ended the first round with Nick Chubb and immediately added Thomas on the swing. That is a really nice one-two punch as both Chubb and Thomas could be top-five at their position next season. The pick of Michel concerns me a little more because of his inconsistency this year. The only thing the Patriots commit to at running back is mixing and matching. They have James White under contract next season and he will steal important touches from Michel in the red zone. However, as you will see in the next article, running back got messy fast after the first two rounds.

Cliff Clinton - Pick 14: James Conner (RB, PIT) & Pick 35: Amari Cooper (WR, DAL)

Cliff and Hamid (below) both went for the RB/RB strategy, which gives us a chance to look at how their team shapes up as the draft goes on. Cliff paired Conner with Le'Veon Bell in a weird Pittsburgh Steelers backfield mash up. Depending on how the Bell situation shapes out this could be a fantastic one-two punch at the running back position. My issue with this strategy is that you end up with Cooper as your number one wide receiver. Cooper had great games in the second half of the season, but he was also extremely inconsistent, and that is concerning for me from my number one receiver.

Hamid Sandhu - Pick 15: Joe Mixon (RB, CIN) & Pick 34: Brandin Cooks (WR, LAR)

I love the Mixon and Melvin Gordon start to the draft, and if we only focus on the first half of the season, Cooks is superb value in the third round. However, Cooks has stagnated in the second half of the season, and that is why he was available here. How Cooks performs is the make-or-break here. If he has a good season, this could be a league-winning strategy.

Brendan Kennealy - Pick 16: Antonio Brown (WR, PIT) & Pick 33: Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

We now get three WR/WR starts in a row. If Brown gets this weird situation sorted out in Pittsburgh then starting with him and Davante Adams could be huge. Adams was one of the most consistent receivers last season and Brown has the talent to put up tremendous performances every week. Solidifying that start with Jones has tremendous potential. If the new regime in Green Bay commits to Jones as a lead back, he could easily be a top-10 running back next season.

Pierre Camus - Pick 17: Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, NYG) & Pick 32: Marlon Mack (RB, IND)

Another WR/WR/RB start with tremendous potential. Getting Beckham in the second round gives Pierre a potential week-to-week top-10 receiver and someone with the ceiling to finish the season number one. Mack is a gamble because his health has been inconsistent but when he was on the field this week he put up some superb numbers. Mack is playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the game, but I seriously question if he can be a regular round-the-rock type back, and that might limit his upside as a number one back for a fantasy team.

Jason Katz - Pick 18: JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT) & Pick 31: Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

This is a fascinating way to start a draft, extremely risky and not really something I like. Backing up Tyreek Hill with Smith-Schuster is a receiving unit with a lot of upside, especially if Brown moves on from Pittsburgh. However, starting WR/WR and then backing that up with a quarterback in the third round is extremely brave. Jason is going to have a top wide receiver duo and possibly the number one quarterback but he is chasing the game at running back. I am extremely intrigued to see how this plays out for him.

Matt Terelle - Pick 19: Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN) & Pick 30: Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN)

This is among my favorite starts, pairing Cook and Diggs with DeAndre Hopkins in the first round. The gamble with these two picks is that Matt is taking a flyer on the Vikings offense before we even know who is running it and what it may look like. However, this is a really nice balanced start that leaves Matt with options in the next few rounds, and not chasing the game majorly at any one position.

Ben Rolfe - Pick 20: David Johnson (RB, ARI) & Pick 29: Zach Ertz (TE, PHI)

This was not what I planned initially but I like the way it worked out. When it came to my pick in the second round I debated a receiver, but I liked a lot of the options still on the board. However, pairing Johnson with Alvin Kamara at the back end of the second round could be a tremendous value. Johnson was still a solid running back last season, even if he was seen as a bust by many. This is a back with top-five upside and I am getting him at pick 20, as the 12th running back off the board. I also do not need to go with a running back now for a number of picks. My third-round pick was due to a forced hand. I still liked a lot of receivers but the tight end position is thin, and therefore I bit the bullet on Ertz. If Ertz has another season like last year then he can essentially be a #1 receiver for me, but if he falls back to Earth this could be a frustrating selection. Hopefully, it will all work out and Ertz will continue being a dominant threat in Philadelphia. These two picks were risky because now I really have to go with a receiver for at least two and maybe all three of my following picks.

Rich King - Pick 21: Keenan Allen (WR, LAC) & Pick 28: George Kittle (TE, SF)

After starting running back with Saquon Barkley this is an interesting way to start the draft from Rich. Allen had a really good second half of the season before getting injured, and he started finding the end zone more. He could return first-round value in 2019. Kittle in the third is interesting and it is gambling on what we saw at the end of the season. Hopefully, Jimmy Garoppolo feels the connection with Kittle and he can be a monster. However, Kittle is a one-year success so far and this is a big gamble on that in the third round with Ertz still on the board.

Dom Petrillo - Pick 22: Phillip Lindsay (RB, DEN) & Pick 27: T.Y. Hilton (WR, IND)

I debated Lindsay and it is an interesting pick to pair with Christian McCaffrey. I like starting drafts RB/RB and clearing Dom felt confident with what he would get at receiver on the way back in the third round. One beauty of selecting late in a round is you can look at the board and evaluate your team needs to work out what is likely to be there when it comes back to you. Dom managed to snag Hilton in the third in a move I love. Hilton and Andrew Luck have clicked big time this season and Hilton is a player I was hoping would fall to me two picks later.

Kyle Richardson - Pick 23: Mike Evans (WR, TB) & Pick 26: Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

When you start a draft with Ezekiel Elliott you can feel very safe at running back, and clearly, Kyle did. Evans is an absolute slam dunk pick at this stage, especially with Bruce Arians coming to Tampa. Evan should put together another solid season, and if Arians can get Jameis Winston ticking then Evans' ceiling is massive. Taking Kelce where he did was a fairly easy call as well. I think Kelce goes in the second round a lot next year, so if you get a shot in the third then you absolutely have to jump on him, and when you start balanced you have the luxury to do just that.

Justin Carter - Pick 24: Adam Thielen (WR, MIN) & Pick 25: A.J. Green (WR, CIN)

With Todd Gurley in his pocket, I love this from Justin, There are no slam dunk running backs on the board at this stage and instead he had the chance to get two receivers who could finish top-10 next season. Thielen faded down the stretch and Green has had injury problems, but both have the talent to light up fantasy scoreboards next season.

More Fantasy Football Analysis

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