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They Took Who??? Teams That Confused Us by Drafting the Wrong Player


Every year, the NFL Draft treats viewers to surprises. Often, those surprises are...not necessarily good ones. Teams make mistakes, or they make non-mistakes that appear to be mistakes at first glance, and those mistakes can have serious fantasy football ramifications.

Last year, I wrote this column and pegged the following players as wrong choices: Josh Allen, Hayden Hurst, Rashaad Penny, Nick Chubb, Kerryon Johnson, Dallas Goedert, D.J. Chark, and Mark Andrews. I'll take the loss on the running backs, but I still have questions about why all the other teams picked who they did, and I feel pretty good that I'll also still be having concerns a year from now about most of the players in this article. I also want to state that I'm looking just at the basic fantasy positions, so I'm not going to write about how the Texans made weird lineman picks, but the Texans did make some confusing picks on the offensive line.

Anyway, let's take a look at some of the players who appear to have been the wrong choice in this year's NFL Draft. Because things get tricky as we move deeper into the Draft, I'll only be looking at players taken in the first three rounds.

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Daniel Jones - QB, New York Giants

UMMMM.....

The Giants were expected to either take a defensive player or, if they went with a quarterback, take the more pro ready Dwayne Haskins, but instead they shocked everyone by going with Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones has been the Josh Allen of this year's class, a quarterback who shot up draft boards despite not putting up productive numbers in college, but even Allen was a better prospect than Jones.

SB Nation ranked the 22 FBS quarterbacks who have a chance of either being taken in this draft or picked up as an UDFA by where they stand in various metrics vs. other quarterbacks in this class. Here's where Jones ranked:

Statistic Rank
Completion Rate 13
Yards per Completion 22
Success Rate 20
Marginal Efficiency 22
Passer Rating 20
Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt 21

Jones was 13th out of 22 quarterbacks in completion rate, but all his other metrics were rough. His college success rate -- a stat that measures what percentage of plays in a game were deemed "successful" -- was lower than Allen's was in 2018. Allen also had a positive number in marginal efficiency unlike Jones, who finished at -0.7 percent. It's hard not to think of Jones as a worse prospect than...well, than any of last year's first-round prospects.

So, of course, the Giants took him at six. The team fell in love with Jones for...oh, what's that? We've got general manager Dave Gettleman saying why they fell in love with him? Let's see what Gettleman had to say:

Ahh, so they drafted Jones because they liked his Senior Bowl performance? Gettleman didn't see him in an actual game first? You make a franchise changing decision based on three series in the Senior Bowl?

To be fair to Jones, he does have the size and the quickness you look for in a quarterback, but we've seen evidence in the past few years that size isn't some all-important trait anymore and that quickness can only get you so far if you can't package that with accurate throwing ability. That's the big question with Jones -- can he throw the football effectively and efficiently at the next level? And will the Giants, who implied they may sit him for as many as three seasons before having him take over for Eli Manning, regret this pick if they go 2-14 next year and end up having to pass on Tua Tagovailoa? Or will they just go ahead and pull an Arizona and draft the quarterback anyway and trade Jones for essentially nothing? This selection opens up a ton of questions and literally no answers.

 

Drew Sample - TE, Cincinnati Bengals

Sure, add a blocking tight end in the second round! Sample was the fourth tight end to come off the board this year, but I don't think you'll find a single person who would say that Sample should have been the fourth tight end selected. Sample had 25 catches last season, gaining 252 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Across four college seasons, the former Washington Husky had just 46 receptions. Noah Fant, for comparison, caught 39 passes last year. T.J. Hockenson caught 49. Sample wasn't a receiving threat when compared to other top tight ends, and it's hard for me to understand this pick by Cincinnati.

 

Jalen Hurd - WR, San Francisco 49ers

I liked the 49ers picking Deebo Samuel in the second, but I don't get them going receiver again in the third. Yes, you want to give Jimmy Garoppolo weapons, but with tight end George Kittle and wide receivers Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, and Kendrick Bourne already in town plus Samuel, this pick doesn't really make sense to me. Hurd's got a lot of positives -- a big slot option with experience playing running back, which could come in handy, but there's now a lot of mouths to feed in this receiving corps. Bourne is probably the odd man out, but even then I'm not sure how much impact Hurd will be able to have this year.

 

Darrell Henderson - RB, Los Angeles Rams

Hmm. This one actually makes sense from the Rams perspective, because they're already a strong team and they let backup running back C.J. Anderson go, but from a fantasy owner perspective, this is the wrong pick for all of us who thought Henderson had a chance to be a highly-productive player right off the bat. Instead, he ends up backing up Todd Gurley, and while knee issues for Gurley mean Henderson is theoretically in a good spot, counting on a player of Gurley's stature to miss time isn't something fantasy owners should be counting on. Henderson drops down my re-draft AND dynasty rookie rankings after this. So, sure, good pick by the Rams, but not a good pick for anyone who plays fantasy football.

 

Devin Singletary - RB, Buffalo Bills

The Bills spent the offseason stockpiling running backs, signing both Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon to go with starter LeSean McCoy, so of course they used their third-round pick on another running back, Florida Atlantic's Devin Singletary. Singletary was a popular sleeper before the Combine, but a terrible performance at that left his stock in question. I have no clue what the Bills are doing, though I think there's a decent amount of money they can save by designating McCoy as a post-June 1st cut. Still, even that leaves Singletary as just one part of a three-part running back committee, and I just don't really get the Bills making this pick after just signing Yeldon, who's a really good receiver out of the backfield.

 

Damien Harris - RB, New England Patriots

Hmm, wasn't the running back combination of Sony Michel and James White really good last year, good enough that the Patriots didn't need to spend a third-round pick on Harris? Harris isn't super versatile, so he's likely going to be used to spell Michel this year and maybe get a light amount of passing work? I don't know. If the Patriots needed a running back, why not one who can be more effective in the passing game and be a possible replacement for James White?

 

Will Grier - QB, Carolina Panthers

Thought Grier had a chance at landing in a place where he'd have a chance to challenge for a starting job, or to a team like New England where he could be the starter of the future? Nope, he'll be Cam Newton's backup, so his fantasy stock now is entirely dependent on Newton's health and on whether or not the Panthers decide to move on from Newton in the future, which is a thing they should definitely not do.

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