Biggest Fantasy Impact: NFC Rookies

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: RB Tony Pollard

Dallas didn’t spend a ton of draft capital on offensive skill players.  The most significant skill player they invested in was Tony Pollard. Out of Memphis, Pollard is a patient runner that has great top end speed.  Pollard will initially contribute to the Cowboys as a kick and punt returner, but if he is given the opportunity, Pollard could be a nice change of pace back for Ezekiel Elliott.  Also, if your league gives points for return yards, Pollard definitely gets a bump.

Philadelphia Eagles: RB Miles Sanders

After acquiring Jordan Howard via trade, Philadelphia invested a 2nd round pick in Miles Sanders.  Sanders is the most talented and well rounded running back in this backfield. If Philadelphia can commit to Sanders and make him the primary running back, he can end up as a RB 2 as early as this season.  However, with Howard there and Philadelphia’s recent history, it’s hard to rely on the Eagles to give Sanders the desired workload this season.

Washington Redskins: QB Dwayne Haskins

I really like what Washington did in this draft.  Even though I am not a huge Dwayne Haskins fan, getting him at 15 without having to move up was great for Washington. Then they snag his OSU teammate Terry McLaurin and NC State standout Kelvin Harmon.  Haskins is easily the most talented QB in Washington. Even if he isn’t the Week 1 starter, Haskins should see the field this season and instantly add some juice to this offense.

New York Giants:  QB Daniel Jones

New York has been catching a lot of heat since they drafted Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in draft.  Jones looks the part of a franchise QB, but his film leaves a lot of the community hesitant to buy in. I really hope we are all wrong about Jones.  I would love for him to be able to come in after Eli Manning and be the starter for the New York Giants for the next 10 years. Regardless of what GM David Gettleman says, Jones should get the opportunity to play this year or next. If that is the case, it’s hard to imagine he would be worse for the fantasy options then Manning.  

NFC South

New Orleans Saints: TE Alize Mack

Considering Mack was drafted in the 7th round of the NFL Draft, this may be a bit of a stretch.  However, Mack does have some intriguing skills that could one day translate into fantasy production.  Mack has decent speed and works the seam pretty well. With time to develop under Sean Payton, Mack could maybe become a decent TE 2 for fantasy some day.  He shouldn’t be drafted in rookie draft, but could be a nice stash on your taxi squads.

Atlanta Falcons: iOL Chris Lindstrom and OT Kaleb McGary

Rather then trying to sell you all on Qadree Ollison and Marcus Green, I think it would be better to talk about the 2 first round lineman Atlanta drafted.  Getting Lindstrom and trading up for McGary shows us that Atlanta is going to continue trying to improve the run game. Both guys are very good run blockers and will help Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith out of the backfield.  The lack of significant draft capital spent at running back says that Atlanta still has faith in Freeman.

Carolina Panthers: QB Will Grier

I am a huge Will Grier fan and really like the fit for Carolina.  Obviously Grier won’t be an immediate starter, but Grier is instantly a premier backup QB.  And who knows, if Cam Newton’s shoulder is really messed up, Grier can do enough to keep the offensive weapons in Carolina fantasy relevant.  If Newton continues to take hits and misses significant time, I would feel very comfortable having Grier as a QB 2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  WR Scott Miller

Similar to New Orleans, Tampa Bay spent most of the draft improving their defense.  The only offensive player they picked was Scott Miller in the 6th round. Miller is undersized, but has a ton of speed. He may be a nice field stretcher, but I don’t think he’s even worth a spot on a taxi squad.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: RB David Montgomery

I absolutely love this fit for both Montgomery and Chicago.  For whatever reason, I’ve heard way to many people saying that Montgomery is just a slightly better Jordan Howard.  Montgomery has more talent and is way more versatile than Howard. Montgomery is the best pure runner on this roster and is lined up to be the primary 2 down back for Chicago. Montgomery showed solid pass catching chops and will also be able to contribute in the passing game. Be excited people! Montgomery is going to be a stud in Chicago.

Minnesota Vikings: TE Irv Smith Jr.

See ya later Kyle Rudolph! Irv Smith is the new sheriff in Minnesota.  With Kyle Rudolph being owed over $7 million and no guaranteed money left, it is looking like Rudolph will be cut before the 2019 season starts.  If that is the case, Smith will have the opportunity to start producing right away. Smith is a big, athletic target that should be a great fit in this offense.  

Green Bay Packers: TE Jace Sternberger

Jace Sternberger is a staff favorite over here at the Fantasy Fanalysts.  He plays tight end, but in all honesty, he’s more like a big bodied wide receiver. Sternberger has reliable hands and shows a lot of promise as a route runner. He may not have a ton of production his rookie season, but Sternberger definitely has potential to become a low end TE1.  

Detroit Lions: TE TJ Hockenson

TJ Hockenson is the best tight end out of this class.  On top of being great as a receiver, Hockenson is a wonderful blocker.  Hockenson plays with the type of energy and attitude that everybody loves.  His ability to block will allow him to be on the field every down and start contributing right away. When ranking him for dynasty purposes, Hockenson is already a top 12 tight end.

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams: RB Darrell Henderson

I was/am a huge Darrell Henderson fan.  He is extremely quick, is a capable pass catcher and had a ton of production while at Memphis.  I don’t think Los Angeles invests an early 3rd round pick on a running back unless they are at least slightly concerned with Todd Gurley’s knee.  I expect Henderson to take some of Gurley’s workload and have a ton of upside if Gurley were to ever miss time.

Seattle Seahawks: WR DK Metcalf

This was a great fit for DK Metcalf.  Russell Wilson is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL and is going to find ways to get Metcalf the ball.  Even if the Seattle offense is run heavy, Metcalf showed that he can produce on limited targets. Metcalf has one of the highest ceilings in this class.  If he can come close to reaching that ceiling, he is going to be a stud in this league.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Deebo Samuel

Deebo Samuel is possibly the most exciting prospect in this class when he has the ball in his hands.  He has good speed and is great after contact. With George Kittle and Dante Pettis returning, it’s hard to tell how much Samuel will produce right away.  If given the opportunity, Samuel has the talent to be a WR 2 for fantasy purposes.

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray

As it was speculated for months, Arizona picked Kyler Murray with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft.  On top of that, Arizona drafted Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson. Murray has the talent, the weapons and hopefully the scheme with Kliff Klingsbury to be a big time fantasy producer.  With his arm talent and athleticism, I don’t think it is to crazy to think that Murray could be a top 12 QB in 2019. This Arizona offense has the chance to be extremely fun.

Preeminent vs The Undistinguished: Ranking Rookie Quarterbacks

Welcome to my rookie rankings based on my recent article detailing differences between prospects drafted in round 1-5 versus 6-7+UDFA! I figured out an interesting way to not only help everyone draft more successful teams, but to know how to value positions a little better going forward.

To get the breakdown you can visit the previous article here which has the thread that started it all as well.

New Users get a FREE $3 Entry with promo Code “TOP2”

I’m Going to Let You Finish but First…

Before I begin, I’d like to add a little more detail into the success of the QB position. Quarterback has less success than any other fantasy skill position (QB, WR, TE, RB). The twitter thread discussed rounds 6-7/UDFAs but what about the other rounds?

In the last 10 years, only 9 quarterbacks not drafted in the first round have averaged at least 184 fantasy points per season, in standard quarterback scoring formats. 184 fantasy points is equal to the average QB24 finish in that same time span-meaning that just the following players have become fantasy football relevant without being drafted in the first round:

RoundName
2Andy Dalton
2Colin Kaepernick
2Derek Carr
2Geno Smith
3Russell Wilson
3Nick Foles
3Jacoby Brissett
4Dak Prescott
4Kirk Cousins

No quarterback drafted after round 4 has become fantasy football relevant over the past 10 seasons.

With that being said, it tempers my expectations when ranking my quarterbacks. This isn’t to say I’m counting them out or they’re not in a good spot, it’s just part of how I value said player.

Before I get into these ranks. I don’t do all-inclusive ranks because whenever you draft, it’s all about NEED. Best available at each position is how I do things. Sure, some drafts you just take best available, but it’s just common practice for me to rank everyone separate. Also, these ranks factor in landing spot, draft stock and depth chart.

The Preeminent Tier

RankRoundNameTeam
11Kyler MurrayCardinals
21Dwayne HaskinsRedskins
32Drew LockBroncos
4 1Daniel JonesGiants
53Will GrierPanthers
64Jarrett StidhamPatriots
73Ryan FinleyBengals

The Undistinguished Tier

86Easton StickChargers
96Clayton ThorsonEagles
106Gardner MinshewJaguars
116Trace McSorelyRavens
12UDFATyree JacksonBills
13UDFABrett RypienBroncos
14UDFAJordan Ta’amuRaiders
15UDFAJacob DolegalaBengals
16UDFADavid BloughBrowns
17UDFAKyle ShurmurChiefs
18UDFADevlin HodgesSteelers

You may not be drafting the “undistinguished” as starters but what I do see, is that guys like these will be great spot starts when the starters go down. Some of them will need a good matchup too, but like I said, “dont count them out”. As always with this tier, leave them on waivers or stash them for rainy day “break if nececssary” type situations.

Next Time On the Preeminent vs the Undistinguished….

We’ll be getting into tight ends!

Opportunity vs Ability: NFL Smarts in Rookie Drafts

We all know a kid sometime in our past who had all the talent in the world, but never made it. It could’ve been due to many different circumstances like money for college, more important responsibility at home, couldn’t stay out of trouble and so on. It still doesn’t change the fact that sometimes people just miss out.

In terms of the NFL, you have to add in the fact that every scouting department isn’t created equally and even if they were, they don’t make the choices. The ones choosing could be sold on someone who is just terrible compared to other guys, but there’s nothing we can do about it. The only things we can do is hedge those decisions for fantasy, which is what I’m here to help you do.

Opportunity’s Call

When dealing with fantasy football we like to have guys who have a huge opportunity share in the offense (or defense with IDP leagues). History shows we have to be the same with our rookie drafts.

Here’s why you should, for the most part, avoid guys (with your high picks) drafted in the 6-7 rounds and undrafted free agent pools:

In last 10 years, here are some of the hits for 6-7 rounders and UDFAs. From a recent conversation I had, I decided to change it from an all inclusive 100 PPR points or 6.25 ppg, to position specific. My baseline for success for each position was someone you’d be flexing or starting in most leagues.

Quarterbacks (3 year average of the QB24 = 184 points)

7 QBs have had success in rounds 6-7 with only 4 out of the 7 having done it more than once:

Tom Brady, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel

The UDFA to accomplish this feat:

Tony Romo, Case Keenum and Kurt Warner.

Wide Receivers (3 year average of the WR36 = 166 points)

6 receivers have done it with only 4 out of 6 having done it more than once:

Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Pierre Garcon & Steve Johnson.

20 UDFAs did it with just 9 of them doing it more than once. The most notable:

Wes Welker, Doug Baldwin, Victor Cruz, Adam Thielen, and Willie Snead

Michelle Magdziuk @BallBLastEm made a great observation that cannot be over looked:

Running Backs (3 year average of the RB36 = 134 points)

9 running backs were a RB36 or better and only 6 of them did it more than once:

Rashad Jennings, Alfred Morris, Latavius Murray, Theo Riddick, Andre Ellington, and Justin Forsett

The undrafted accomplished this 22 times with 12 having continued success:

Fred Jackson, Isaiah Crowell, Adrian Foster, Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead, C.J. Anderson, Joique Bell, LeGarette Blount, Chris Ivory, Ryan Grant, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Mike Tolbert

Tight Ends (3 year average of the TE24 = 93 points)

The TEs that have done it:

Charles Clay, Zach Miller, Brandon Myers, Mychal Rivera, and Ryan Griffin

The only undrafted free agents to do it:

Antonio Gates, Cameron Brate, Jack Doyle, Will Tye, Jake Ballard, Trey Burton, Larry Donnell, and Tim Wright

It’s simple, if the TEAM invests in them, WE have to invest accordingly. The caveat here is that you don’t forget about the late round/UDFA guys.

Allen Iverson’s Law: Talkin’ Bout Practice

One of the best practices is the utilization of your local taxi squad IF you have the room or regular roster if you have the spots. If through the draft process, you found a guy or guys whom you’ve just become enamored with, GO GET THEM. Don’t be dissuaded from getting your guys, just utilize your own draft capital for guys with true draft capital. This is because on average, for every position except quarterback, 1-2 guys per year emerge from that murky junkyard of 6-7 rounders and undrafted free agents to become PPR relevant at least once. Some of these guys end up with long term success, A LOT don’t.

A Rule of Thumb:

There is a much bigger area for “boom-bust” in 6-7/udfa areas than rounds 1-5.

Which is why I believe that these guys are sometimes better served for waivers later on. If they don’t end up free agents in your league, it’s ok. Let someone hold onto your asset for you until it’s time to obtain. Once that player starts tracking for success, you have to act before the price raises or otherwise you over pay in a trade vs making that asset a throw in for an otherwise “underwhelming” trade in the eyes of everyone but you. It’s all about timing. The trick is to not go in to negotiations showing your hand and you’ll be just fine.

Another good practice is to grab these guys when an injury happens to guys ahead of them on the depth chart. This is generally a key time where they can begin to be able to garner more snap counts (time on the field) if they perform well enough.

Going Forward

My pinned thread from Twitter and this article are just a warm-up for a series of articles and rankings so, be on the lookout for those, which will come directly after this.

A small hint to my ranking content-they will be different than you’ve seen before! Hopefully this has helped you prepare for your rookie drafts, stay tuned!

Biggest Fantasy Football Impact Pick: AFC

Now that the draft is over, we finally have landing spots for some of our favorite rookies! Today we’re going to go through each AFC team to find each rookie who will have the biggest impact when it comes to fantasy. Some will have instant impact, some will have small impact, while some will have sneaky impact. Let’s get started!

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR

Brown’s ability to separate from defenders with his sheer athleticism (wont be winning with size) will make him a great weapon for Lamar Jackson. Look for him to be a better John Brown and when Jackson looks to throw, he’ll have a very dependable target to throw to. Brown makes defenses have to respect his ability and opens it up for Jackson and Mark Ingram.

Cincinnati Bengals: The RBs

They drafted (albeit 6th rounders) Rodney Anderson and Traveon Williams while Mark Walton was waived, so I believe this was a depth move with sleeper potential. I have a feeling that one of these guys could end up working into both Bernard and/or Mixon’s workload. This could kill off some production and cause these guys to drop in value as well.

Cleveland Browns: The Defense

Cleveland really hit this draft for defense and it’s ok because they are absolutely well off in the offensive department. With that being said, Cleveland really bolstered their defense and gave their team a chance to have a great D/ST (yes I play in leagues that still use this position). With their team already in the bottom 5, the only way is up!

Pittsburgh Steelers: Diontae Johnson, WR

Already being anointed as the new #84, Diontae Johnson definitely has the ability and draft stock to come in and contribute immediately. He gives the Steelers a piece for the future alongside Juju and Washington. Yes Moncrief is there, but he’ll be losing snaps to this kid before long. He’s great against the press and should be being drafted in dynasty for sure. He’s definitely got sleeper impact.

AFC South

Houston Texans: Kahale Warring, TE

Warring did himself a world of justice throughout the draft process and ended up going very high in a draft thick with TE talent. With the team already having a few tight ends on the roster already, this was a head-scratcher. With his draft stock, it definitely means he’s here to stay and others will be waived. As far as fantasy goes, he just makes this offense a TE by committee further pushing us away from Houston TEs.

Indianapolis Colts: Parris Campbell, WR

This is one of the best places he could go. Not much competition for WR2, Campbell comes in as an immediate contributor. He should eventually be able to sully Funchess’ value toward mid-late season (if it takes that long). He also makes Luck an even more enticing selection with what he can accomplish in the slot as well as outside (contrary to popular belief).

Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Oliver, TE

Definitely a project, but I project him as the TE1 in Jacksonville eventually. Geoff Swaim ain’t it and Josh Oliver can be on par with the top TEs in this class if he can learn how to block better. Could be the AFC’s Jason Witten; good across the middle of the field and no (and I mean no) high point ability whatsoever.

Tennessee Titans: AJ Brown, WR

A bit of a scary landing spot given who his QB is, AJ Brown impacts both Mariota and Corey Davis. The Titans don’t really have anybody outside of Davis who are difference makers at the level of AJ. Delanie was in the past, but father time is undefeated and that injury at his age will have it’s effects. Corey Davis will no longer have so much focused on him to stop him which boosts his value. The only thing is hoping that Mariota (like Lamar Jackson) can throw the ball a little more next season.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Dawson Knox, TE

I’m going to try and contain myself here, but I believe he could end up top 2 in this draft at the position. Buffalo just got a great weapon for Josh Allen who is an upgrade from Croom and will eventually supplant Kroft. With TEs, the rule is to wait and wait we shall. Don’t be filled with regret for not drafting him. He’s got draft stock, a clear path to start and a young QB to grow with. He’s going to be one of the best parts of this offense in a few years, just watch.

Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB

Josh isn’t a rookie, but was the best offensive asset they acquired in the draft. Still young and talented, he goes into a situation where he’s got a chance to take the keys and go. He (and Fitzpatrick when he plays) are an immediate boost for the receivers in Miami which excites me even more for my Gesicki shares.

New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR

I was/am still not high on the kid after studying his game tape, but he will definitely produce/be given the opportunity to produce. Harry represents something the Pats haven’t done since 1996, draft a WR in the 1st round. I see him having the same success that Josh Gordon was having, but I don’t expect it to be immediate. I expect it to really start to show in year 2.

New York Jets: Trevon Wesco, TE

No, he’s not the guy you’re drafting in rookie drafts, he’s the guy who excites you for the sake of Darnold and Lev Bell. With the Jets already having drafted Chris Herndon in the same round last year, they brought in a TE who is much better at all the blocking aspects. Keep an eye out for his developing catching ability, could surprise in his production there which could put Herndon behind him on the depth chart. However, don’t expect anything for a few years. He’s more of a project who will possibly blossom in years 4-5.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Noah Fant, TE

Already announced the starter, Fant has a chance to be the most productive rookie TE this year. I believe he’ll get the opportunities early and often purely because of his skill as a receiver. I don’t, however, think he’ll be a top TE overall this year. It’s hard for rookies to come by production at this position early on in their careers. With Fant, it’ll be no different unless Manny Sanders, Daesean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton suffer significant injuries reminiscent of the 2017 Giants with Engram.

Kansas City Chiefs: Mecole Hardman, WR

The Chiefs went out and got their possible replacement speedster for the same role of Tyreek Hill. If Hill is waived, suspended or both, Hardman will step into that role. I don’t expect the production right away, but man will he have breakaway plays that will drop your jaw. He essentially could be a less consistent Hill. My notes on him from film are filled with the words FAST in all capital letters so expect an electric player. He’s also good at finding an assignment to block which will keep him on the field a little more.

Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB

He WAS my RB2 coming into the draft behind David Montgomery, but now his situation has “vaulted” him into first place. He’s a lead back and he’ll get the chance to prove that with Crowell going down for the season. The Doug Martin signing is a depth play while Jalen Richard shouldn’t see too much 3rd down work over Jacobs, who can catch well. Chris Warren is great, but doesn’t have the draft stock to give me faith that he’ll do anything but be a backup. Jacobs has the stock, the ability and the full faith of the team, what more could you want?

LA Chargers: Defense…Again

For those of you who play with D/STs in your lineups, rejoice, for this is what you want in your drafts. A team that was already great in terms of defense got better by loading up on defensive players like Jerry Tillery and Nasir Adderley. I can’t really say Easton Stick here because 5th round QBs have a nauseating success rate. With Rivers looking to re-up like Big Ben did for at least 3 more years, I’d say he ends up a gadgety (rumors of Taysom Hill usage) 3rd stringer behind Tyrod.

Josh Jacobs: One of the Many Options for RB1

Josh Jacobs (5’10”, 220) Running Back, Alabama
18.5 Aggregate Score (3.5 Star Prospect)

Josh Jacobs has risen to the top of a running back class that lacked a stud type of guy. Jacobs has had an interesting road but has risen to the top of the Alabama RB depth chart which means he certainly has NFL level talent. A smooth runner and a hands catcher, there is a lot to like in Jacobs physical and film profile. His stats remain a red flag, but there are many points that can explain the issues that many have there. Jacobs will remain polarizing until he is drafted in the first or second round of the NFL draft which seems to be the consensus on his value.  A first round draft pedigree would make it hard to argue against Jacobs as the first running back off the board in your rookie drafts.

College Production

As I alluded to, Jacobs college production left something to be desired. With only 887 total yards in his junior season and only 640 of those on the ground, he didn’t show much to say he can be a workhorse. He never put up big numbers across an entire season. He didn’t even put up many hundred yard games. Was it due to scheme, competition, game script? It was most likely a combination of reasons, but it remains a valid concern especially since we didn’t see many big plays from him throughout his college career.

Speed & Agility: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Jacobs is plenty fast despite a 4.6 40 at his pro day. He looks significantly faster than that on tape and I am not concerned about his long speed as that is not what his game is predicated on. Jacobs running style is very smooth and his ability to make defenders miss in space is a plus trait as well.

Receiving Ability: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Jacobs caught well over 1 ball a game in college which is plenty to show his receiving chops in an Alabama offense that is historically run heavy. Even with Tua last year, Jacobs had to compete with Jerry Jeudy and a bevy of other talented pass catchers for those targets. He was also more efficient after the catch than he was on the ground.

Vision: Aggregate Score: 3.5 (Personal Score: 3)

I do not feel this is a major strength for Jacobs. Afforded a lot of big holes by one of the best offensive lines in the country and working in conjunction with the newly revitalized passing game that kept defenses as honest as they’ve had to be against Bama in 25 years or more, he still did not find a way to create high efficiency yardage with his touches.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 3)

Not a strength of any lead backs game, but he can hold his own in pass protection. Will he succeed against NFL pass rushers? No. But he can chip and block in play action just fine.

Strength: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Jacobs isn’t the strongest back in this class, but he runs low and strong. He is more likely to hit you than to put forth a lot of effort to make you miss. He would rather go through than around. He does keep his balance well and can bounce off tacklers in the open and around the line of scrimmage.

Conclusion: Early to Mid 1st Round Pick

Jacobs is a talented player, there is no doubt about that. Whether he can be a three down workhorse at the NFL level is the question for me. Is Jacobs a high risk pick?  No, especially not in a draft class with less running back talent than normal. My ideal landing spot for Jacobs though, would be somewhere with a veteran running back that can help take some of that load early in the season and really make way for him to shine down the stretch. He could be absolutely explosive in an Alvin Kamara-Mark Ingram type situation. Pre-draft he sits around the 1.07 or 1.08 for me. Landing spot could bring him into the top 3 or 4, but it is more likely I will be targeting him in the middle of the first.

TJ Hockenson: Mr. I Can Do It All at Tight End

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

TJ Hockenson (6’5”, 243) Tight End, Iowa

19.3 Aggregate Score (4 Star Prospect)

TJ Hockenson has been a huge riser as this class has developed. Overshadowed in Devy circles by his teammate Noah Fant, he has not been household name, until now. Hockenson plays the tight end position like it should be played. He does the dirty work in the trenches at a high level and he showcases route running and pass catching ability at all levels of the field. He is also an underrated athlete, again overshadowed by Fant who just happens to be a freak. He will surprise some at the combine likely putting up solid to strong numbers across the board. He is a top 2 tight end in this class in both the NFL and fantasy. So which is it it, 1 or 2?

College Production

Tight end production in college is not a pretty thing to look at, but the fact that he and Fant  both produced at the level they did in the same offense is remarkable. Hockenson put up 49 receptions for 760 yards and 6 scores in his sophomore year before declaring for the draft. He caught 10 more balls for 140 more yards than Fant. Both of them outproduced George Kittle who graduated as Hockenson came on campus. Hock also averaged over 15 yards per catch. This is a big time stat especially for a guy who has been labeled by some (incorrectly) as average athletically. All this to say, that while the numbers don’t jump of the page, this is still an impressive stat line. Iowa has a knack for churning out tight end talent and these two are no different.

Speed & Acceleration: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 4)

I will continue to harp on the fact that Hockenson is an underrated athlete. He creates space and can outrun linebackers no problem. Combine this with his route running and he will have no issue getting open at the next level. One area he can continue to work on is exploding out of the block.

Route Running: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 4)

Hockenson is a strong route runner. Quick feet and an ability to sell head fakes and quick twitches allow him to set up defenders and separate at a high level. He did often line up against linebackers and safeties though which will be a much taller task at the NFL level where these players can recover much easier.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 4.6 (Personal Score: 5)

Hock has made a name for himself as one of the best blockers in this class. This really makes him the total package as a tight end prospect and it will be big in getting and keeping him on the field early in his career. He blocks with an aggressiveness and power that is great to see for a guy who is only listed on 243 lbs.

Handwork and Positioning: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 4)

Hockenson continues the theme of well rounded with good scores here as well. A strong hands catcher with a knack for using his considerable size to his advantage, he will succeed in contested situations against linebackers and safeties early and often.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 4)

Basically the only reason reason I didn’t personally give him a 5 in athleticism is that Noah Fant is absurd. Hockenson made some noise at the combine with big time explosive numbers in the jumps and great numbers in the agility drills. The 4.7 forty isn’t great but that is plenty of speed for a tight end who has big time pluses across the rest of the board.

Conclusion: Mid 1st Round Target

I have no fear drafting TJ in the 1st round of your rookie drafts. In superflex, he should probably go in the late 1st. He may take some time to reach his full potential, but the lack of tight end talent in the NFL makes him a worthwhile 1st rounder for any team in need of a tight end. An interesting side note is that tight ends like OJ Howard and David Njoku have held their value well even after some lackluster seasons. While I still have him ranked behind Fant, he could easily have an argument to be the first tight end off the board when landing spots are assigned.