QB List Way Too Early Mock Draft: Kevin Taylor’s Picks
We’re not even completely done with the 2019 season and a group of us are already looking toward the 2020 season. Twelve of your favorite QB List analysts took part in a Way Too Early Mock Draft that started on January 20th. The format of the mock was a 12-team PPR with the starting lineup consisting of QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, Flex, K, and DST to go along with our five bench spots. For sanity purposes, we did not factor in the incoming 2020 rookie class. I had the number one overall pick now let’s get to it!
Round 1, Pick 1: Chrisitan McCaffrey (RB, Carolina Panthers)
This is a no brainer to start a draft. McCaffrey averaged just shy of nine more points per game (29.5)than Dalvin Cook who was second at the running back position with 20.9 points per game. He averaged six more points per game than the top receiver Michael Thomas (23.4). He did this despite poor quarterback play for most of the season by Cam Newton, Kyle Allen, and Will Grier. There is a new coaching staff in Carolina but McCaffrey should remain the focal point of the offense. There is not much else to be said here and McCaffrey is the locked-in number one pick right now.
Round 2, Pick 24: Kenny Golladay (WR Detroit Lions)
At the 2/3 turn, I definitely wanted at least one wide receiver with this being a start three-receiver league. I was eyeing one of the Buccanneers guys (Mike Evans/Chris Godwin) but they went three picks and one pick ahead of me respectively. I didn’t keep that close of an eye on Golladay this year but after digging into him a bit I really liked this pick. He finished as the number nine receiver in PPR leagues and I got him as the eighth receiver off the board. He could have finished as high as number six if he didn’t leave the season finale early with a concussion. He only needed 13.5 more PPR points to be the number six receiver. He did all this with his starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, only playing in eight games. Stafford should be back healthy next year and I think there is some upside here in what will be his fourth season as a pro.
Round 3, Pick 25: George Kittle (TE, San Francisco 49ers)
This next pick was interesting to me. The wide receivers around this time had some question marks attached to them like QB play or their upcoming free agency this off-season. There wasn’t really a running back I considered here either that I loved so that left me with one of the elite quarterbacks or tight ends. I went with a tight end and grabbed a favorite of mine in Kittle. Kittle tied Travis Kelce, who went five picks ahead of him, in points per game for the tight end position. Kittle has been playing banged up towards the end of this season as he has dealt with a knee strain and a bone-chip in his ankle. He had the top target share for tight ends and also the most yards after the catch. He only scored five touchdowns which leads me to believe there might be some positive touchdown regression coming his way next year. I was surprised to see the 49ers top-four in both yards and points scored this year and there is no reason to think that won’t continue next season with a lot of their pieces still in place.
Round 4, Pick 48: Tyler Lockett(WR, Seattle Seahawks)
At the 4/5 turn, I was really eyeing Kenyan Drake but he was snagged two picks before my turn. So I turned my attention to Lockett who I got as the 22nd receiver off the board. He finished as the WR 16 in 2018 and the WR 13 in 2019. His WR13 finish included a zero in a week he battled the flu and was coming off of a nasty shin infection. I was shocked to see his teammate D.K. Metcalf go seven receivers ahead of him at the beginning of the fourth round. I think this was a great value pick for what should be a weekly WR1/2, who also plays with a premier quarterback. The Golladay/Lockett pairing posted six top-six performances this year and 18 top-24 performances. Being able to grab two of the top-13 receivers from a year ago to go with the number one overall running back and a top-two tight end is a great way to start a draft.
Round 5, Pick 49: Marlon Mack (RB, Indianapolis Colts)
I was really eyeing a running back with either my fourth or fifth pick because I knew the legit starters at the position were drying up quickly. It was between Mack and Devonta Freeman (went two picks later) for me here. Mack will surprisingly only be 24 next season in what will be his fourth NFL season. He finished as the RB 22 in PPR formats and that was despite a stretch of leaving a game early, missing two games, and being limited the following two games with a fractured hand injury. If we take out the games he was limited or missed, he had 18 or more touches in 9 of 11 games. He plays behind one of the league’s better offensive lines and has a locked-in goalline role, which means scoring opportunities will be more consistent for him year-to-year. It is hard for Mack to have a high ceiling (one top-10 performance this year) because of his lack of involvement in the passing game. However, his floor is usually safe thanks to his heavy workload (11 of 14 games top-36 option with nine of them being a top-24 option). I got Mack as the RB22 and that is around where he should go in my opinion.
Round 6, Pick 72: Raheem Mostert (RB, San Francisco 49ers)
At the 6/7 turn, I wanted another receiver for sure as I had my QB/WR3/Flex spots still open and then I wanted another running back ideally. For receivers, I was eyeing three guys, Christian Kirk, John Brown, and Jarvis Landry. I didn’t really consider a quarterback around here with who was available. At running back, Mostert was the only back that I liked in this range so I was pleased to have landed him. Mostert has been the primary running back from weeks 13-17 and into the playoffs (although Tevin Coleman played ahead of him in the divisional round). Over that time span, he has been the RB10 in PPR leagues. He has scored in every one of those games so that is bound to regress but he had 10 or more carries in all of them and two targets in every game but one. I don’t think Mostert will be a workhorse for the 49ers next year but he should be the primary back on a team that had the second-most rushing attempts in the league last year and scored the most rushing touchdowns. I got Mostert as the RB33 which is a nice value for him in my opinion. He has been a top-11 option at the running back position in 3 of 5 games he has started.
Round 7, Pick 73: Jarvis Landry (WR, Cleveland Browns)
As the WR 33 off the board, I grabbed Landry to open up the seventh round. Like I said in the Mostert section, I was eyeing Brown, Kirk, and Landry here. The other two went two and three picks ahead of mine. Landry quietly finished as the WR12 in PPR leagues in 2019. He had his sixth straight 80+ reception total and his fifth straight 130+ target season. He was top-12 at receiver in receptions, targets, target share, yards after the catch, and red-zone receptions. We all know how Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense underperformed this year but Landry still got his numbers. Landry isn’t a flashy pick but this might have been my best value as I now have three of the top-13 wide receivers from 2019 on my team in a start 3WR league.
Round 8, Pick 96: Jamison Crowder (WR, New York Jets)
At the 8/9 turn, I wanted another wide receiver since we need to start three plus a flex player and then I wanted to see what value was available. After my seventh pick, I was eyeing Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, and Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown. They were all taken ahead of my pick so I had to pivot. Crowder was a nice fallback option in my opinion. he finished the year as the WR26 in PPR leagues. He was top-16 at receiver in targets, target share, receptions, and red-zone receptions. In games with Sam Darnold as the quarterback, he was the WR12 in week one and then the WR 15 from week six to 17. As the WR45 off the board, I really like this value as well. Crowder will be a flex option for me on a weekly basis and a great bye-week fill-in for me. My top top-four receivers were all WR26 or better in 2019 which is nice for my depth so far.
Round 9, Pick 97: Dak Prescott (QB, Dallas Cowboys)
As the sixth quarterback off the board, I grabbed Prescott. He finished 2019 as the QB2 in fantasy and he was third in points per game. I fully expect him to be back in Dallas as they have stated he is their number one priority. The Cowboys will still have a great offensive line and running game in 2020. The big question will be their receiving corps. Randall Cobb, Amari Cooper, and Jason Witten are all unrestricted free agents and were three of the top-four targets for Prescott a season ago. Prescott was top 5 or 10 in all the major quarterback metrics such as; passing yards, air-yards, attempts, passing, and rushing touchdowns, adjusted yards per attempt, and even had the most dropped passes in the league by his receivers. There is no reason to think Prescott won’t be a top-10 or even top-five option next season. I like this pick as a combination of floor and upside for the quarterback position.
Round 10, Pick 120: Chris Thompson (RB, Free Agent)
Round 11, Pick 121: Diontae Johnson (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers)
At this point in the draft, I have my skill position starters and some depth as well. I am looking to get some more depth and start taking stabs on some upside plays too. Chris Thompson hasn’t played 16 games since 2016 and has been at 10 or 11 games each of the last three seasons. The main reason why I took him now was the fact he is a free agent. He is a true passing-game specialist and in the right offense, I think he can be a real weapon. We all know how dysfunctional the Redskins have been the last few years, so getting out of there should be a boost for Thompson. I think his upside could be in the James White/Tarik Cohen level who finished as the RB18/RB27 in PPR leagues respectively as passing game specialists. If he doesn’t get into a great situation he is a guy who easily droppable early in the season. Diontae Johnson had a solid rookie year for the Steelers. From week three on (when he started playing >50% of snaps) he was the WR34 in PPR leagues. That includes four top-24 weeks and he had poor quarterback play with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges under center. He will now have Ben Roethlisberger back who led the league in pass attempts and passing yards in 2018. He was also top-five in passing touchdowns, deep-ball attempts (20+ yards) and red-zone attempts in 2018. As my fifth receiver drafted I could see Johnson being a flex option and maybe more if things break right for him next year.
Round 12, Pick 144: Deandre Washington (RB, Free Agent)
Round 13, Pick 145: Allen Lazard (WR, Green Bay Packers)
I am a proponent of taking defense and kicker with my last two picks so that means with my 12th and 13th pick I was looking for more depth with some upside. Deandre Washington is now a free agent I think he has a shot to be a relevant part of a committee next year. With starter Josh Jacobs missing three of their last four games, it was up to Washington and Jalen Richard to carry the load. Washington had 44 carries, 334 yards, two touchdowns and he had 16 receptions on 18 targets over that time too. He was a top-12 RB in all three of those games. Those are great numbers for any running back and I am interested to see where he lands for the 2020 season. I think he has RB2 upside in the right situation or could be droppable at the start of the season. Undrafted free agent Allen Lazard didn’t even play until week six. From weeks 15-17, he played on 75% or more of the snaps in each game. He had 20 targets over that time and he seemed to establish himself as the clear number-two receiver for the Packers. he only had one top-20 performance over that time but I like that his snaps were up. If he can keep that number-two role in 2020 I think Lazard can be a WR3 in fantasy. I think both guys are worth a shot late in drafts.
Round 14, Pick 168: Pittsburgh Steelers (Def)
Round 15, Pick 169: Zane Gonzalez (K, Arizona Cardinals)
I was pretty surprised that the Steelers were the seventh defense off the board. They led the NFL in pressure percentage, sacks, and QB hits, and were second in the league in interceptions. They finished 2019 as the number two overall defense and I like that their ranking wasn’t solely based on turnovers because those are volatile from year to year. Defenses that can generate a lot of pressure usually force more turnovers from year-to-year. I grabbed Zane Gonzalez as the fifth kicker off the board as my last pick. He finished 2019 as the number five kicker in fantasy. I think the Arizona offense will take a step forward next year in the second season with head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray. I try to choose kickers based on what teams I believe will have a good offense. Four of the top five kickers in 2019 were on four of the top-five scoring offense a season ago (Chiefs, Ravens, Saints, Buccaneers).
Overall, this draft went well for me out of the one spot. I have top-end talent at multiple spots and some nice depth at wide receiver where I need to start three or four every week in a PPR league. My least favorite pick was probably Mack because I am not a fan of his game in PPR leagues. However, I think where I got him was about right so I am not upset about it. I hope everyone enjoys their offseason!
Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)