Josh Padgett, Contributor (@jpadgett94)
If you saw my article on the first round, (here) I’ve updated it to reflect. Bryce Love returning to school. This brings Equanimeous St. Brown into my first round for this rendition on the mock. ESB is a long, lanky receiver who really showed out two years ago. He struggled this year in a rather putrid Notre Dame offense. However, the stench left by ND has not soured me on him. He has all the tools and a lot of untapped potential. Development is needed, so patience will be key with this pick, but I am willing to wait on him in the hopes that he can be a stud.
2.01 Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
Johnson had a good year, scratch that, GREAT year at Auburn. He racked up 1500 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 flippin’ times in 12 games. Goodness. That kind of scoring clip is not sustainable production for anyone, but he has the skills and well-rounded game to stay on an NFL field. We have watched him develop and maintain efficiency year over year with increased touches. He is certainly fun to watch and he is rising up draft boards currently with a chance to break into the first round, especially once we have a landing spot for him.
2.02 Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Kirk is a slot receiver. He has put up consistent numbers throughout his college career and shown that he can create separation at a high level. He is quick and shifty and shows the athleticism to make plays after the catch, though he isn’t much of a big play threat, especially over the top. The key with Kirk is his floor. Think a Cooper Kupp type of pick with him. You are expecting solid production hopefully from day 1, but you don’t ever expect WR1 production out of him.
2.03 Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State
Remember a paragraph back when I was raving about Kerryon Johnson’s production? Because Rashaad Penny makes that look weak. Almost 2400 yards from scrimmage as a senior with 25 trips to the end zone is unbelievable. We saw him produce even last year when Donnell Pumphery was still around with 1200 scrimmage yards and 14 TD’s, as the RB2 on his team. The production simply cannot be ignored and Penny should not be put in the same small school box as Pumphery last year. Penny shows much more typical NFL size. The key for Penny is going to the combine. We have seen him produce against ‘meh’ competition, but his numbers there will give us an idea if he can continue that success at the highest level.
2.04 DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
DJ Moore is a hot name and getting hotter. He is getting a lot of Diggs comparisons (Maryland), but he reminds me more of a Randall Cobb. Fast, deadly across the middle of the field with all the quickness to make guys miss in space. He has shown that he can produce in the punt return game and even in the run game in a pinch. He is a bit of a swiss army knife and has shown the explosiveness to produce at a high level in the Big 10. I think he can make the leap, but he may need strong quarterback play to really reach his full potential.
2.05 Mark Walton, RB, Miami
Walton went down in early October with an ankle injury, but not before showing me more than enough to rank him highly in this year’s rookie draft. He runs low and is packed into a small frame at 5’-9”. He is listed at 195 lbs, but what jumps out to me on tape is his strength. Walton does not go down on first contact. The defense better send multiple players to the ball, no arm tackles. He runs with passion, effort and a little bit of anger. He is patience and elusiveness are both plus attributes. Top speed isn’t his forte, but he accelerates out of nowhere, great burst. Walton reminds me a little bit of Maurice Jones-Drew. He needs to put on a little weight to really live up to that comparison, but his bowling ball style of running is similar.
2.06 Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
Deon Cain has a lot to live up to as a Clemson receiver. The list of big names that have come through Clemson goes on and on. It was thought at one point that Cain would join the pantheon, but he has not been able to put together the college career that many were expecting. However, Cain is a player who has been and likely will continue to move up my draft board. He is listed as 6’-1” 210 lbs but he plays much bigger than that. Clemson has trusted him to go up and make big plays again and again this year. He runs good routes on the edge of the field and has a knack for shielding defenders off with his body. He has strong hands especially in traffic when his concentration seems higher than when he is more open. Watching Cain more for this article moved him up 3 spots instantaneously. He may very well continue to rise on my board.
2.07 Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
The talent is there with Freeman. He had a lot of hype in the Devy community and has not quite lived up to expectations at Oregon. He can leverage that talent into success at the next level. I think the landing spot will matter for Freeman. He has been successful in a wide open offense at Oregon, but I think a better blocking scheme might really open up his running style. I don’t know that he is truly a three down back, but he can succeed in space and using him more in the passing game is certainly an option. Talented though not terribly explosive, I expect Freeman to get a crack at a role somewhere. It’s going to be up to him whether he grabs hold of it or not.
2.08 Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana
Cobbs is a big body wide receiver with a fantastic ability at the catch point. He is physical and uses his hands well to win over the top. His strengths are matched by his weaknesses including rudimentary route running and a thin route tree. Between his size and athleticism, Cobbs could make a Golladay type impression year one by becoming a red zone threat capable of scoring multiple times in any given game. If he goes to a team with needs at receiver, his value could skyrocket in preseason action. Also, while we are here. Boiler up. #IUsucks
2.09 Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa
Wadley is an interesting player for many reasons. He is tiny. His weight is listed anywhere from 170 lbs to 195 lbs depending on where you look. The combine will give us a better idea on where he is now. Needless to say, 170 lbs ain’t gonna cut it. Wadley will need to put on some weight to survive in the big leagues. He also hasn’t gotten a chance to really show all of his talents at Iowa. He hasn’t been asked to catch the ball much from what I have seen. Pass protection needs a little work, but he isn’t a liability in that area. Wadley has 2 big selling points for me, vision and burst. He has the patience to let a hole develop, and he can see even the smallest of holes (and fit through them). His burst allows him to make the most of any and all opportunities his offensive line gives him. Landing spot (read: offensive line play) will be especially important for him.
2.10 John Kelly, RB, Tennessee
Kelly comes in on the small side at 5’-9”, 205 lbs. He reminds me a lot of Maurice Jones-Drew. This could be a good thing as MJD had a very successful and fantasy relevant run of 6 years. MJD had a nose for the end zone. Kelly has shown some similar abilities in tackle breaking, low running style and using his strength to make small linebackers and DB’s look silly. Kelly does however lack breakaway speed and struggles against some of the stronger linebackers and especially linemen when they get a look at him. I think Kelly has a shot at being MJD, but that would be the best case scenario. Landing spot could raise him up my board, but for now there are plenty of guys I like ahead of him.
2.11 Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
Rosen is the QB1 in this class. He has the best chance to be a franchise level quarterback. He has shown the arm talent, and more importantly the mind of an NFL quarterback. He has a knack for throwing his receivers open and he can create opportunities for his playmakers. I won’t claim to be a QB scout. They are easily my weakest position in terms of understanding and watching. However, this is where I like to start looking for quarterback in the draft and if Rosen is here, snatch him up. He is going to be in this league for a long time.
2.12 Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
Andrews has a well rounded game. He has had a great college career. Perhaps some of that can be attributed to his quarterback, Baker Mayfield. The positives surrounding Andrews include his ability to get open. He can read coverages, especially zone and find an open space for his quarterback to get him the ball. He is also a solid run and pass blocker when he is asked to do these things. This will allow him to get on the field. However, there is a reason there are no tight ends even near the first round for fantasy this year. Andrews is not a hands catcher. He catches the ball with his body consistently and he is not the most athletic player you will find either. He is nowhere near the talent of Howard, Engram and Njoku from last year. Hence the back end of the second round.