Dynasty Watch: Rookie Top 75

Dynasty Watch: Rookie Top 75

This article is part of our Dynasty Strategy series.

This is a dynasty top-75 for the 2021 rookie class. Click here to view my attempt at ranking the top 40 rookies for redraft leagues. These rankings are both for 1QB, PPR-scoring leagues for the most part.

I might have missed some player or another and will fix the list if so.

Tier 1

1. Travis Etienne, RB, JAC

Most rankings place Najee Harris ahead of Etienne, but I'd argue their reasoning makes things more complicated than necessary and obscures something obvious in the process. Etienne as a running back prospect is about as obvious as it gets. Not quite as obvious as Jonathan Taylor, but probably the next rung on the ladder. Etienne ran a 4.45-second 40 at 215 pounds, and at Clemson he produced 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns on 686 carries (7.2 YPC). By his third season he developed into a compelling big-play threat as a pass catcher, too, producing 85 receptions for 1,020 yards on 103 targets (82.5 percent catch rate, 9.9 YPT). He's demonstrated a three-down skill beyond any reasonable doubt, and his pro day testing verified he has the athletic tools for the skill set to translate in the NFL. Etienne's application in the NFL is not obscure or speculative – he carries nearly all of the pertinent traits seen in players like Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones and D'Andre Swift, and he's safely the best prospect of all of them. The Jaguars offense is likely going places with Trevor Lawrence

This is a dynasty top-75 for the 2021 rookie class. Click here to view my attempt at ranking the top 40 rookies for redraft leagues. These rankings are both for 1QB, PPR-scoring leagues for the most part.

I might have missed some player or another and will fix the list if so.

Tier 1

1. Travis Etienne, RB, JAC

Most rankings place Najee Harris ahead of Etienne, but I'd argue their reasoning makes things more complicated than necessary and obscures something obvious in the process. Etienne as a running back prospect is about as obvious as it gets. Not quite as obvious as Jonathan Taylor, but probably the next rung on the ladder. Etienne ran a 4.45-second 40 at 215 pounds, and at Clemson he produced 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns on 686 carries (7.2 YPC). By his third season he developed into a compelling big-play threat as a pass catcher, too, producing 85 receptions for 1,020 yards on 103 targets (82.5 percent catch rate, 9.9 YPT). He's demonstrated a three-down skill beyond any reasonable doubt, and his pro day testing verified he has the athletic tools for the skill set to translate in the NFL. Etienne's application in the NFL is not obscure or speculative – he carries nearly all of the pertinent traits seen in players like Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones and D'Andre Swift, and he's safely the best prospect of all of them. The Jaguars offense is likely going places with Trevor Lawrence leading it, and Etienne is the favorite to be its leading producer from scrimmage.

2. Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL

Arthur Smith's Atlanta offense will bear little resemblance to the one he called in Tennessee. It will be closer to the opposite, in fact, because the Falcons need Matt Ryan to have a big year passing to field a competitive squad. There's no runner to do the lifting Derrick Henry did, and so that slack largely goes to Pitts instead. Russell Gage and Hayden Hurst can't slow Pitts in his ascent to the functional WR3 in this offense, and in that capacity Pitts will almost certainly be a game-changing producer with his tight end eligibility.

3. Ja'Marr Chase, WR, CIN

Joe Burrow's health seems sketchy for 2021, but hopefully it's not presumptuous to think he'll be near 100 percent for 2022. If he is, then Chase's value should be in position to turn reliably upward after his rookie season. That rookie season could go quite well – 100 targets should be within easy enough reach – but the quality of those targets might be problematic as Burrow tries to rush back from a Week 11 ACL tear. Coach Zac Taylor is more of a problem than the general league-wide coaching narrative makes room for, and he's another source of potential complication for Chase/Burrow in 2021, though one that will hopefully be dismissed following the 2021 season.

4. Trevor Lawrence QB, JAC

The general consensus on the 2019 draft was that you should rank David Montgomery and Josh Jacobs ahead of Kyler Murray. I ranked Murray ahead of everyone, both out of respect for Murray's fantasy upside and skepticism that Jacobs or Montgomery were actually standout talents. This sort of process is grounds for excommunication from the broader online dynasty football punditry scene, but it worked well in that case, and I feel even more confident about applying it in this case. Harris is a better prospect than Jacobs or Montgomery were, to be fair, but Lawrence is also a better prospect than Murray was. Whatever value you ascribe to Patrick Mahomes in dynasty is the sort of outcome you should consider plausible with Lawrence, and even in one-QB formats I would much rather have him or Murray than Jacobs. Lawrence isn't just some vaguely good quarterback prospect – it's important to understand that he's entirely different from the outcomes that inform the market assumptions at quarterback.


Tier 2

5. Najee Harris, RB, PIT

Harris will get a big workload and he seems like a good player. There's a lot of security in a dynasty asset like him, and his three-down abilities indicate a significant upside consideration as well. For me there are two slight concerns here undermining that otherwise great starting point, though. The first is that the Steelers offensive line is one of the worst in the league, and Ben Roethlisberger's inability to throw downfield means safeties can sit on the underneath plays with near impunity. The second is that Harris doesn't have an obvious precedent for success in the NFL – at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds he declined to do any athletic testing, which leaves a wide plausible gap between himself and players like Matt Forte and Steven Jackson, who were otherwise the closest precedents Harris' most optimistic assessors pointed toward when justifying their valuation. But Forte's success had a lot to do with his 4.44 speed, just as Steven Jackson's 4.55 40 at a significantly heavier 241 pounds had a lot to do with his successful career, and Harris likely runs something closer to a 4.6. Forte was great as a fast 6-foot-2 player and Jackson was great as a 241-pounder – Harris fits neither description. None of this is to ponder whether Harris' production might have been inflated by running behind what might have been the nation's best offensive line, and with two first-round quarterbacks keeping the safeties back by landing kill shot after kill shot to four different first-round wide receivers.

6. Jaylen Waddle, WR, MIA

Waddle is the truth, and his arrival is only a matter of time. Will Fuller could be a substantial obstacle in the meantime but is only playing on a one-year deal, and Fuller of course has had his share of injury troubles in the NFL. So has presumed WR2 DeVante Parker. Waddle was singularly explosive even among an Alabama wide receiver rotation that featured DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs, his production both explosive and highly efficient. Waddle only needed 133 collegiate targets to generate 106 receptions for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns (79.7 percent catch rate, 15.0 YPT) – numbers like those shouldn't be possible.

7. DeVonta Smith, WR, PHI

Smith might fail in the NFL because of his 166-pound frame, but the Eagles clearly mean to feed him. Even in a run-heavy offense with dubious passing from quarterback Jalen Hurts, Smith should be able to earn enough targets in Philadelphia to provide mainstream starting utility in PPR scoring. The touchdowns could be there too, but there's only so much Smith can control with regard to Hurts' effectiveness and the effectiveness of the Eagles offense overall.

8. Elijah Moore, WR, NYJ

Moore is generally ticketed for the slot but at 5-foot-10, 178 pounds he's just big enough to regularly compete for outside snaps, too, and he should prove effective running routes from both spots. Moore turned 269 targets into 189 receptions for 2,441 yards and 16 touchdowns (70.3 percent catch rate, 9.1 YPT) over his three years at Mississippi, then he torched his pro day with a 4.35-second 40, 36-inch vertical, 121-inch broad jump, 4.0-second 20-yard shuttle and 6.67-second three cone. Corey Davis and especially Denzel Mims figure to run routes at a higher depth of target than Moore, meaning Moore should draw a significantly higher rate of targets per snap than those two, giving him a chance to lead the team in receiving production even if he plays something like 200 fewer snaps than those two.


Tier 3

9. Terrace Marshall, WR, CAR

Marshall takes the projected reps of Curtis Samuel, but with a different skill set the application will have to be a little different. The Panthers gave a lot of carries to Samuel last year and Marshall probably can't take those – this might force the Panthers to give DJ Moore more slot reps, because Moore is pretty clearly the Panthers' most effective remaining ballcarrier at receiver. Regardless of whether he's running routes from the slot or outside, Marshall projects well. He doesn't turn 21 until June yet Marshall had no trouble keeping pace with the standard set by Justin Jefferson and Ja'Marr Chase at LSU. Marshall score 13 touchdowns as LSU's WR3 in his sophomore 2019 season, otherwise catching 46 receptions for 671 yards on 66 targets (69.7 percent catch rate, 10.2 YPT). In 2020 he made the jump to clear WR1, and he thrived. In those seven games LSU threw for 2,194 yards and 17 touchdowns, completing 60.2 percent of their passes at 7.6 yards per attempt. Marshall drew 70 targets, catching 48 for 731 yards and 10 touchdowns (68.6 percent caught, 10.4 YPT). Throw in a strong pro day showing (4.4 40, 39-inch vertical, 125-inch broad jump at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds) and you have a very clean prospect profile.

10. Trey Lance, QB, SF

Lance is raw and very young, so he might need some development time before he takes the field. Then again, the actual standard of quarterback play in San Francisco has been low throughout Jimmy Garoppolo's reign. Lance probably can't compete right away with a truly good quarterback, but San Francisco has no such player to compete against him. When Lance does see the field his fantasy upside will be high from his rushing potential alone, and the Kyle Shanahan scheme should smooth over the rough areas of Lance's passing skill set. Peak Josh Allen is the sort of look Lance is capable of in this scheme.

11. Javonte Williams, RB, DEN

Melvin Gordon is almost certainly gone after 2021 and Royce Freeman doesn't seem especially rooted in Denver either, so Williams is the heir apparent to a starting role with the Broncos by 2022 at the latest. The question of how talented he is isn't as clear, if only because the narratives around him are completely incoherent. He was supposed to be a power back – his fans are smitten with tape of him breaking tackles – but at 212 pounds he's unlikely to play with a power style at a high volume in the NFL. He's only one pound heavier than Miles Sanders, and Sanders' 40 time (4.49 seconds, combine) was about a tenth of a second better than Williams' pro day 4.58. Is Williams better enough at breaking tackles than Sanders at the same weight to be similarly productive at a tenth of a second slower in the 40? If he can display that sort of power, can a 212-pound frame hold up under a 230-pound style of play? Williams' job security in Denver does a lot to push these questions to the periphery, but with a clear mind it's easy to see why he's well behind not just Etienne, but also Harris in terms of prospect grade.

Tier 4

12. Justin Fields, QB, CHI

Fields has similar or better rushing upside as Lance, but Fields lands lower in the rankings because he doesn't have Kyle Shanahan to minimize whatever passing limitations he might have. A challenging climate and a bad offensive line aren't what a rookie like Fields needs, but even if he struggles as a passer his rushing upside should carry him in fantasy as long as his job security holds out. In my opinion Fields has legitimate concerns as a passer, though not with regard to accuracy, arm strength or even processing reads. When Fields knows where to throw the ball he usually makes a brilliant pass, and he doesn't have any trouble going his reads. If he has a problem it has to do with his composure behind the trigger – he'll look at a shot and not take it, holding onto the ball instead and inviting whatever complications might come with it. If Fields were in a Shanahan or Brian Daboll offense this concern would matter less since the schemes dictate so much of the decision-making process, but there's a chance Fields is another Marcus Mariota type and the sort of player who struggles with ambiguity.

13. Rashod Bateman, WR, BAL

I wanted to rank Bateman higher than this and would do so enthusiastically if certain conditions were assured, namely with respect to Baltimore's presumed pass attempt volume and the snap/target distribution between Bateman, Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, Sammy Watkins and Devin Duvernay. The problem in the meantime is that all indications say the Ravens won't try to throw the ball nearly as much as other offenses, and within that already small pie we don't know that Bateman will be able to draw more usage than his competition. But Bateman's talent is not in any serious question, so if his snap and target count goes up he will probably thrive.

14. Rondale Moore, WR, ARI

Christian Kirk is a good bet to serve as Arizona's lead slot receiver in 2021, but he's a free agent after the season and Moore's selection in the second round may have heralded Kirk's eventual exit. Moore's upside is probably limited at just 5-foot-7, and his comparable case studies are probably modest players like Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel. Moore is more athletic than either of them, though, and his production at Purdue says he has a stronger skill set than both, too. The players most similar to Moore were not viable NFL starters, but their limiting traits might not be present as much with Moore, whose 4.32 speed and 42.5-inch vertical could carry him further than other players went with the same frame.

15. Kadarius Toney, WR, NYG

Toney is just a smaller, less athletic version of Parris Campbell with less skill as a wide receiver, but if Campbell didn't have such bad injury luck he might have laid a clear example by now of the upside Toney might possess in the NFL. Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton should be locked in on the outside and in the meantime Toney can't match the productivity of the fragile but highly skilled Sterling Shepard. If Shepard were to leave, though, then Toney would have a lot of runway to himself.


Tier 5

16. Zach Wilson, QB, NYJ

I'm pretty skeptical of Wilson, but when given a clean pocket he can make impressive throws, and the Jets are obviously committed to him. Playing time is the most important currency in fantasy and Wilson has that much assured.

17. Michael Carter, RB, NYJ

Carter matched the production of Javonte Williams and started ahead of him at North Carolina, so perhaps this is too low for Carter. But at 5-foot-8, 201 pounds with a 4.54-second pro day 40 Carter doesn't have the size-adjusted speed you want, nor the anchor ability of your typical three-down player. Carter's convincing production and excellent timed quickness (6.83-second three cone, 3.98-second 20-yard shuttle) show he has quality reps to offer, but his ceiling looks something like Chase Edmonds.

18. Trey Sermon, RB, SF

Sermon probably has more upside than Carter but a lower immediate floor. He's certainly San Francisco's favored rookie running back as a third-round pick, but sixth-round pick Elijah Mitchell boasts some of the same selling points and looms as a long-term complicating factor. Sermon (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) can run like the wind and repeatedly broke big gains at Oklahoma and Ohio State, and his elite 1.49-second 10-yard dash lent some insight on how he managed to do so. My personal concern with Sermon is that his open-field running ability won't manifest as reliably in the NFL, especially as a featured runner. He should be explosive off the bench, but he runs with a high center of gravity and will become a target of head hunters if he can't find a way to get lower. It reminds me of Josh Adams – the guy was an enormous big-play threat at Notre Dame and even tested very well athletically (4.51 40, 6.78-second three-cone drill), but he just runs too high to get into space at the NFL level.

19. Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, MIN

Smith-Marsette is skinnier and has some character concerns, but aesthetically he resembles Stefon Diggs with his innate ability to create separation, be it with or without the football. Chad Beebe killed the Vikings all year with his wasted reps and Smith-Marsette should be able to displace him from the slot. Or the Vikings could play ISM outside and let Adam Thielen move into the slot in three-wide looks.

20. Amari Rodgers, WR, GB

It sure would be nice to see an A-Rodg to A-Rodg connection, but that seems more a fantasy with each passing day. Hopefully something turns for the better, but if not then the fact that Amari projects as an underneath receiver means he should at least draw the easiest targets in the Green Bay offense, hopefully offsetting the risk that Jordan Love struggles to complete passes. Rodgers isn't a WR1 candidate but he was convincingly productive at Clemson and has under-acknowledged athletic tools to work with – his 4.52-second 40 is actually strong, because at 212 pounds he ran it at about 30 pounds heavier than most slot receivers.

21. D'Wayne Eskridge, WR, SEA

The Seahawks clearly value Eskridge and plan to make immediate use of him after selecting him in the second round, but the fact that he's 24 cheapens the significance of his production at Western Michigan, and his 4.40-second pro day 40 was 0.05 seconds slower than advertised – perhaps even a full tenth of a second when adjusting for the pro day track. Moreover, the Seahawks evidently view Eskridge as a way to give Russell Wilson an underneath and intermediate target when defenses are locked onto DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but Wilson just isn't very good at throwing to the intermediate, and even as far as that function goes second-year wideout Freddie Swain will likely prove formidable competition. Swain is about as fast as Eskridge at seven pounds heavier, and Swain's entire skill set pertains to the underneath and intermediate part of the field. Eskridge needs to decisively beat out Swain for outside reps in three-wide looks, because he can't beat Tyler Lockett for slot reps in such formations. Eskridge has some skill and speed to work with, but he's not even a standout prospect for the category of player he is – Andy Isabella was more productive and significantly faster at a younger age coming out of the same level of competition, for instance.

22. Dyami Brown, WR, WAS

Curtis Samuel and Terry McLaurin are both skilled receivers with elite athleticism. Brown is probably skilled but only boasts decent athleticism for his frame (4.45 pro day 40 at 6-foot-1, 189 pounds), so he probably can't keep up with the very high standard set by the first two receivers. But Brown might end up an above-average starter in the NFL all the same, and there's no sin in being merely above average. Moreover, Brown's skill set as a downfield receiver is already polished, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is of course inclined to throw the ball deep. If Brown can emerge as Washington's WR3 then he could have some productive games as a rookie, and for the long term he projects as a viable starter whatever the surrounding circumstances in Washington at that point.

23. Nico Collins, WR, HOU

Collins has very good athleticism (4.45 40 at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and produced well at Michigan, including at a higher level than 2020 Cleveland sixth-round pick Donovan Peoples-Jones, but his Houston landing spot could prove brutal. Then again, losing teams do tend to throw the ball more, so Collins' eventual opportunity level could be high even if the quality of quarterback play is low.

24. Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, DET

At just under 200 pounds with roughly 4.6 speed, there's only so much of a threat St. Brown can pose outside, especially in terms of pressuring the defense downfield. He should be a natural in the slot, though, and in Detroit there's a chance he closes in on that role, perhaps early on in his career. Jared Goff cannot throw downfield, so Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman will only draw so many targets in their otherwise starting roles.

Tier 6

25. Mac Jones, QB, NE

Jones would of course move up the list a bit if he emerges as New England's starter, but for 2021 it will be tough for the rookie to match the varied talents of Cam Newton, especially with the Patriots' surrounding personnel built for a bashing pistol scheme that suits Newton's running abilities so well. Unlike the other top quarterbacks in this class Jones doesn't have realistic rushing upside in the NFL, which limits his fantasy ceiling a bit in comparison.

26. Hunter Long, TE, MIA

Long is probably more athletic than Pat Freiermuth, and Tua Tagovailoa is a preferable quarterback pairing than Ben Roethlisberger at this point. Mike Gesicki is a free agent after 2021 and Long could be the main tight end in Tagovailoa's prime.

27. Pat Freiermuth, TE, PIT

Freiermuth's pass-catching production was convincing at Penn State, and he eventually should be at least average among NFL starting tight ends in that capacity. The question is how quickly Eric Ebron gets out of his way, and how well Pittsburgh's quarterbacks might throw the ball on Freiermuth's eventual targets.

28. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NE

It makes sense that Bill Belichick would like Stevenson, because he basically looks like a quicker LeGarrette Blount with better pass-catching ability. But James White is a road block for passing-down functions, and Damien Harris was highly productive as a runner last year. If the Patriots cut Sony Michel then Stevenson should be only an injury away, but that's probably his best-case scenario for 2021.

29. Chuba Hubbard, RB, CAR

Hubbard was once very fast but apparently isn't anymore. His pro day 40 was only a 4.51, which is a lot slower than the low to mid 4.4 expected of him. He'd profile as an eventual viable starter if he's less the 2020 version of himself and more the 2019 version who ran for 2,000 yards at Oklahoma State, but for now Hubbard is mostly just a handcuff to Christian McCaffrey, albeit one with major upside in the event of a McCaffrey absence.

30. Kenneth Gainwell, RB, PHI

Gainwell is basically a more skilled version of Boston Scott, who has flashed productive stretches at times in Philadelphia. But Miles Sanders is of course not going anywhere anytime soon, and in the meantime even Scott remains an obstacle for Gainwell. Gainwell's dominant collegiate production gives reason to think he'll produce if he gets the snaps, but for now that snap count is not assured much.

31. Anthony Schwartz, WR, CLE

Schwartz isn't just speed – he was legitimately productive at Auburn and has a real chance at upside as an NFL prospect. The problem is his returns will likely take some time to occur, because he won't turn 21 until September and is behind all of Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Donovan Peoples-Jones in an offense that aspires to run more two-TE formations than most teams in the league.

32. Jaelon Darden, WR, TB

Darden looks like the real deal as a slot prospect – his production at North Texas was incredible and his pro day testing was quite good – but it's no secret that the Buccaneers are loaded with pass catchers. There's only so much Darden can do as a WR5 behind Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Scotty Miller.

Tier 7

33. Kellen Mond, QB, MIN

There's not much reason to expect Mond to emerge as a good starting NFL quarterback, but he has dual-threat abilities that could make him useful in fantasy even if he's less than great as a starter.

34. Davis Mills, QB, HOU

Mills doesn't seem that good and his knee is a timebomb, but snaps are snaps and he might see some in Houston early in his career.

35. Kylin Hill, RB, GB

Hill fell to the seventh round because he was blacklisted for his politics and because Mike Leach et al tried to undermine his stock to anyone who would listen. As a player Hill is clearly better than recent draft picks like Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Deejay Dallas, etc. Hill will likely do well with whatever reps he gets in Green Bay, though they'll likely be scarce with the excellent duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon ahead of him.

36. Elijah Mitchell, RB, SF

Maybe Raheem Mostert is only a product of the Kyle Shanahan scheme, but in that particular scheme his returns have been almost automatic. At around 200 pounds with 4.35 speed, Mitchell has a lot in common with Mostert. The issue in the meantime is that Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Trey Sermon are definitely ahead of him on the depth chart, and Wayne Gallman might be too. But if Mitchell sees the field he could become a mainstream fantasy asset in a hurry.

37. Jacob Harris, WR, LAR

Harris should play receiver for the Rams after being listed at tight end for UCF. At 6-foot-5, 219 pounds he demonstrated uncommon athleticism at UCF's pro day, logging a 4.43-second 40 to go with a 40.5-inch vertical, 133-inch broad jump and 6.51-second three-cone drill.

38. Tamorrion Terry, WR, SEA

Terry went undrafted mostly for medical concerns related to his knee, but he's a better downfield threat than D'Wayne Eskridge and the more talented player overall in my opinion. Although he still has major upside Terry is probably another Emanuel Hall case. Terry's legal troubles appear to be the career-ending sort. It's a disheartening situation.

39. Simi Fehoko, WR, DAL

If the Cowboys move on from Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson after this year then Fehoko might have a shot at the team's WR3 role in 2022. Fehoko generally seems limited to a downfield specialist function, though.

40. Tylan Wallace, WR, BAL

Wallace is good, he's just trapped in purgatory. His skill set and traits bear some similarity to someone like Robert Woods, so Wallace's long-term profile is quite encouraging despite the road blocks ahead of him presently.

41. Jalen Camp, WR, JAC

Marvin Jones is not durable and Urban Meyer will want more speed than that offered by Laviska Shenault. Camp should have a chance at earning meaningful reps early in his career, especially if the Jaguars see any injuries at receiver. Camp's production was relatively clean at Georgia Tech and at 6-foot-2, 226 pounds he offers compelling athleticism (4.48-second 40, 39.5-inch vertical, 125-inch broad jump).

42. Tommy Tremble, TE, CAR

Tremble is a good athlete and showed flickers of production as a receiver at Notre Dame. The problem is that a lot of his value is as a blocker, which means he might be closer to a fullback tweener than a true tight end. He might be this year's Josiah Deguara, injury outcome aside.

43. Kylen Granson, TE, IND

Whether he's immediately up to the task is less clear, but the Colts obviously targeted Granson as their replacement for the Trey Burton role – the undersized pass-catching specialist in the offense. Granson is a better prospect than the formerly undrafted Burton was, following up a productive SMU career with good workout numbers (4.64-second 40, 36.5-inch vertical, 120-inch broad jump at 6-foot-2, 241 pounds).

44. Brevin Jordan, TE, HOU

Jordan followed almost the exact same script as 2019 prospect Hunter Bryant – heading into the offseason with plenty of hype following a highly-productive NCAA career as a pass catcher only to stumble in workouts and fall far past his prior draft projections. Once a trendy Day 2 sleeper projection, Jordan fell to the fifth round before the Texans stopped his free fall. Although Jordan is probably skilled and is definitely comfortable catching the football, the question is whether he has the athleticism to actually translate as an NFL pass catcher. At 6-foot-3, 247 pounds Jordan's 4.68-second pro day 40 doesn't make obvious whether he'll be able to lose defenders at the pro level.


Tier 8

45. Kyle Trask, QB, TB

Trask was very productive for Florida and certainly has NFL quarterback size, but his arm isn't as strong as you'd expect and with that combination of details his general comparison would likely a Mason Rudolph/Landry Jones type of prospect. Then again, if Trask sees the field in Tampa Bay the receiver personnel is almost too good to fail with.

46. Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, TEN 

Would Kevin Norwood have had a better career if he landed on a depth chart with only A.J. Brown and Josh Reynolds ahead of him? We're about to find out.

47. Cornell Powell, WR, KC

Powell should be a better option than Demarcus Robinson, but the dirty-work wideout role in Kansas City only has so many reps and even fewer targets to go around between Powell, Robinson and Byron Pringle.

48. Josh Palmer, WR, LAC

Palmer tested only adequately as an athlete (4.52-second 40, 34-inch vertical jump, 124-inch broad jump at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and wasn't very productive at Tennessee. Perhaps that can be rationalized by the fact that Palmer is young for his level, not turning 22 until late September, but his production at Tennessee was just not NFL quality. Tennessee's baseline the last three years was a 58.9 completion percentage at 7.7 YPA, and Palmer's numbers over that span were 53.3 percent caught at 8.4 yards per target. That's only baseline production, and it's mostly carried by his 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2020 Palmer was overwhelmed after getting promoted to the WR1 role, catching 50.8 percent of his targets at 7.3 yards per target in an offense that completed 62.8 percent of its passes at 7.2 yards per attempt. The Chargers' new regime obviously likes Palmer, but there's no reason to believe he can outplay Jalen Guyton and especially not Tyron Johnson.

49. Josh Imatorbhebhe, WR, JAC

I thought Imatorbhebhe would be a mid-round pick – his athletic testing was very good and his pass-catching production was above the Illinois baseline. It wouldn't be surprising if he jumped Jalen Camp on the depth chart.

50. Tutu Atwell, WR, LAR

Atwell was a very good college receiver and will stick around the Rams for some amount of time if only because they wasted a second-round pick on him. But Atwell was not nearly as good of a collegiate receiver as Marquise Brown, who at around 5-foot-9, 170 pounds has already demonstrated for us the perils of an otherwise talented and speedy receiver trying to play on a tiny frame. Brown will be fine, but he probably wouldn't be if he weighed 155 pounds instead. Moreover, Brown's sub-4.4 speed exists at his higher weight, which is to say if Atwell weighed as much as Brown he no longer would have comparable speed. J.J. Nelson was as good of a collegiate player as Atwell and ran a 4.27-second 40 at the combine, which probably would be a 4.25 at worst on the pro day track Atwell ran his 4.39 on. I can't even say 'stranger things have happened' at this point – Atwell succeeding in the NFL as more than a De'Anthony Thomas type would be just about the strangest thing.

51. Shi Smith, WR, CAR

Smith (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) has mostly swing backup traits, but his production at South Carolina was very clean and his athletic testing was totally decent (4.46-second 40, 36-inch vertical, 123-inch broad jump, 6.79-second three-cone drill). Smith will begin his NFL career no higher than the WR5 in Carolina, so any impact for him is a ways off, but his overall prospect profile says if he stumbles into a prolific passing game he might be a plus contributor as its third or fourth option. He's a solid player, which can't be said for everyone on this list, especially this far down the list.

52. Dazz Newsome, WR, CHI

Newsome is quite a bit similar to Shi Smith – a slot/outside tweener with upside limitations but plenty indicators of skill. Newsome should compete for snaps both inside and outside and at North Carolina he was about as productive at Dyami Brown, his athleticism is just a bit limited at 5-foot-10, 190 pounds (4.59-second 40, 34-inch vertical).

53. Marquez Stevenson, WR, BUF

Stevenson was supposed to run a 4.35 rather than the 4.48 40 he logged before the draft, and if his real speed is more toward the latter time then he'll be a very long shot to succeed in the NFL. But Stevenson was a good receiver and returner at Houston, and if he can play more like a sub-4.4 player then he really does have a good shot in the NFL. In the meantime he unfortunately appears to be on a Shelton Gibson sort of trajectory.

54. Cade Johnson, WR, SEA

My prospect grade for Johnson wasn't far behind that of D'Wayne Eskridge, but like Terry earlier Johnson was an unexpected undrafted player. Johnson was super productive at South Dakota State and was probably worth a draft pick. Although his athleticism didn't test very well (4.51-second 40, 35-inch vertical, 114-inch broad jump) at 5-foot-11, 184 pounds, Cade's workout numbers are no worse than those of someone like Diontae Johnson. Unlike Terry, though, Johnson's selling points are largely mirrored by Eskridge, so it will probably be more difficult for Johnson to see the field.

55. Jermar Jefferson, RB, DET

It was disappointing to see Jefferson's poor pre-draft athletic testing and consequent tumble down the draft order, because he was an excellent player at Oregon State. But at 5-foot-10, 206 pounds you need to test better than a 4.6-second 40 with a 31-inch vertical and 115-inch broad jump. Jefferson probably has some skill as a running back, but his tools could hardly be more modest.

56. Jake Funk, RB, LAR

Funk had a lot of knee injury trouble at Maryland but he was very productive when he could play, and his pre-draft athletic testing was quite encouraging. At 5-foot-10, 204 pounds Funk logged a 4.49-second 40 to go with a 38-inch vertical, 122-inch broad jump and strong agility testing.

57. Chris Evans, RB, CIN

Evans had a strong start to his Michigan career, leading their backfield in 2017 and 2018, then he made a puzzling exit after that. He got himself drafted in the sixth round by Cincinnati anyway thanks to his solid athletic testing, running a 4.52-second 40 to go with a 40.5-inch vertical and good agility drills at 5-foot-11, 211 pounds. For now, though, Evans is probably behind Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams in the competition to back up Joe Mixon.

58. Khalil Herbert, RB, CHI

Herbert was super productive at both Kansas and Virginia Tech, so he seems to have a little something as a runner. More than an Artavis Pierce-type, at least. But David Montgomery and Damien Williams are locked ahead of him on the depth chart, so injuries probably need to occur for Herbert to get a shot on the NFL field.

59. Jaret Patterson, RB, WAS

It's a bummer that Patterson went undrafted, because he deserves some kind of prize for his spectacular collegiate career at Buffalo. But being 5-foot-7, 195 pounds and from a small school will generally get you ignored by the NFL, especially if you only have a 4.59-second 40 to offer. Patterson can run with the football, and if he gets a shot to prove it in the NFL he just might. He's probably headed to the Washington practice squad in the meantime, though.

60. Trey Ragas, RB, LV

Ragas went undrafted but deserves serious consideration for a roster spot with the Raiders. Ragas is a burly power back who forced a workload split with NFL draft picks Raymond Calais and Elijah Mitchell, and he memorably acquitted himself quite well against the Alabama defense in 2018, running for 111 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Ragas is not fun to tackle.

61. Gerrid Doaks, RB, MIA

Although he's likely to head to the Miami practice squad, Doaks will be a player to monitor from that point. He's very well built at 5-foot-11, 228 pounds, and his 4.58-second 40, 39.5-inch vertical and 120-inch broad jump are totally good workout numbers at that weight. Doaks was only a rotational player for most of his Cincinnati career, but he was generally effective throughout it.

62. Javian Hawkins, RB, ATL

Undrafted and tiny at just 5-foot-8, 183 pounds, Hawkins has an outside shot at sticking around the NFL thanks to his 4.45 speed and open-field running ability. He's like a middle-class man's Justice Hill.

63. Pooka Williams, RB, CIN

I don't think Williams can play running back at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, but I would love him as a slot receiver prospect. His ability to split the safeties is frankly amazing. But as of now it's tough to tell whether he'll get any real shot at playing in the NFL.

64. Deon Jackson, RB, IND

The Colts are set at running back with some combination of Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Darius Anderson and Ben LeMay competing for reps behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, but Jackson could emerge as the third-best behind the Colts' top two. Jackson was an effective runner at Duke and boasts standout athleticism at 5-foot-11, 218 pounds, logging a 4.42-second 40, 36-inch vertical and 123-inch broad jump. Jackson's problem is simple: he's one of the most prolific fumblers ever. If he can fix that, though, then there's a lot to like about him.

65. Larry Rountree, RB, LAC

Rountree was a bad sixth-round pick for the Chargers. That they wasted a sixth-round pick on him means they'll probably give him a longer audition than most undrafted players, but he can't realistically compete with Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson, or anyone else in particular with a shot at making an NFL roster.

66. Tre McKitty, TE, LAC

McKitty was probably a bad third-round pick for the Chargers, and in fantasy his prospects are hampered by the fact that the Chargers apparently view him as more of an in-line blocker than a pass catcher. McKitty is undersized at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds and only caught 55 passes in four years, so it seems like his ceiling is as a Virgil Green type. His third-round capital should keep him on a roster for the foreseeable future, though, and that's something at least.


Tier 9

67. Jamie Newman, QB, PHI

Newman went undrafted after opting out of the 2020 collegiate season, but before that he was mocked as high as the first round for the 2021 draft. If Jalen Hurts stumbles or the Eagles season otherwise goes awry in 2021 it wouldn't be shocking to see Newman get an audition. He has dual-threat abilities of his own and would be worth monitoring closely if he gets near the field.

68. Feleipe Franks, QB, ATL

There's no guarantee that the Falcons view Franks as a quarterback, especially since he has wide receiver-like athleticism on a 6-foot-7, 234-pound frame. Franks would be interesting whatever way, but as a quarterback especially it would see what kind of running he could pull off with his 4.61 40.

69. Zach Davidson, TE, MIN

If Davidson's skinniness isn't an obstacle then he has the athletic traits to turn into as much as a starting tight end in the NFL. The Vikings showed some level of fondness for him by spending a fifth-round pick on the Central Missouri product, and his athletic testing probably made it easy for them. At 6-foot-7, 245 pounds Davidson ran a 4.64-second 40 to go with a 37.5-inch vertical.

70. Jonathan Adams, WR, DET

Adams (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) probably deserved to get drafted out of Arkansas State, where he posted huge numbers in 2020 before logging decent pre-draft athletic testing. Adams offset a disappointing 4.59-second 40 with elite marks in the vertical (39 inches) and broad jump (132 inches), and he has some wingspan to work with.

71. Whop Philyor, WR, MIN

Philyor was convincingly productive at times in his Indiana career but he generally has the look of a slot receiver, where the Vikings already have options. Philyor did not help himself with his athletic testing, as at 5-foot-10, 184 pounds he only logged a 4.58-second 40 to go with a 31-inch vertical, 120-inch broad jump and poor agility testing.

72. Demetric Felton, WR, CLE

Felton played both running back and wide receiver to varying levels of effectiveness at UCLA, but he's just not athletic enough to play more than a handful of snaps per game at the NFL level. He's like a smaller, much slower Nyheim Hines, whatever that's worth to anyone.

73. Michael Strachan, WR, IND

Strachan played at a low level of competition at Charleston, but he was utterly dominant there and was decent in his pre-draft athletic testing. At 6-foot-5, 226 pounds Strachan logged a 4.54-second 40 to go with a 35-inch vertical and 127-inch broad jump.

74. Frank Darby, WR, ATL

Darby was somewhat effective as an over-aged downfield specialist at Arizona State, but never close to dominant. He then tested poorly as an athlete, running a 4.61-second 40 with a 34.5-inch vertical and 117-inch broad jump at 6-foot, 201 pounds. I'll give Atlanta this much: Darby is better than Christian Blake.

75. Racey McMath, WR, TEN

McMath could barely get on the field at LSU, let alone produce on it, but he's fast at 6-foot-3, 211 pounds (4.39-second 40, 125-inch broad jump). Also, his name sounds like a speedy cartoon animal (Cheetah? Roadrunner? It's up to you) who works at NASA or whatever.

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Mario Puig
Mario is a Senior Writer at RotoWire who primarily writes and projects for the NFL and college football sections.
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