What We Saw: Round 1 of the NFL Draft

QB List staff recaps round one of the #NFLDraft, focusing on the #FantasyFootball outlooks of each of the skill position players drafted on Thursday night.

After a slow start to the draft with a lack of trades and drama, the back half erupted in interesting moves and trades. The Packers made a questionable move at quarterback, and the Chiefs finished the night off taking a surprising running back and spiking his value in both dynasty and redraft.

With six wide receivers, four quarterbacks, and one running back drafted in the first round, QB List staff broke down the fantasy outlooks of each player, and what this move means for their respective offenses.

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire)

Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

 

Player Profile

Joe Burrow was always expected to be the number one overall pick, and Cincinnati held up their end of the bargain. Burrow had an elite season last year at LSU, throwing for an NCAA record 60 touchdowns en route to a national championship. He is a smart decision-maker and has proven no moment is too big for him. He throws an accurate ball, and has experience with NFL talent in an NFL-style system. Burrow’s biggest weakness is probably his arm strength: he can throw for distance, but he struggles to put enough velocity into the ball at times. Still, he is clearly of the two best passers in the class (alongside Tua) and he warranted the first overall pick

Fantasy Outlook

Burrow is the future in Cincinnati, and they are committed to him as long as he wants to be there. For redraft, Burrow is an interesting QB2 with streaming upside once he proves he’s ready to play on Sundays. In superflex leagues, Burrow is a great building block with some good weapons (AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, John Ross) in place around him.

Effect On New Team

I don’t think there are any downgrades from Andy Dalton, right? Joe Burrow should be a near-immediate upgrade over last year’s passers, and I expect a value bump for each WR on the team. Still, temper expectations until we see this offense in full swing. We are hoping to get guys at the proper ADP with room to grow if we see a fast-developing rookie.

 

-Mike Miklius

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

 

Player Profile

The big worry with Tua Tagovailoa is his extensive injury history. Especially, the major hip injury he suffered at the end of the 2019 season. Everything seems to be on the up and up in terms of his recovery. He was examined at the Combine and by independent doctors afterward and all reports are that he is recovering very well and looked sharp when he worked out for teams before the draft. The Dolphins felt comfortable with his outlook and potential that they grabbed him at pick five.

Fantasy Outlook

Luckily for Tua and the Dolphins, they have a perfect stopgap starter in Ryan Fitzpatrick to start as many games as needed this year. He doesn’t need to rush back from the various injuries he has dealt with. I do see Tua starting at some point this season but he can be avoided in redraft formats unless he is announced the starter right off the bat. In terms of dynasty formats, he has a big risk/reward profile but if you can stash him for a year or two it could pay off huge. He should be picked behind the big-time running backs and receivers.

Effect On New Team

This has the potential to elevate the entire offense. The Dolphins will try to build around Tua and his strengths. They have more holes to fill but a franchise quarterback is an excellent place to start. His biggest strength is his accuracy which is a change from Fitzpatrick and his gunslinging ways. That would lead to more receptions and catchable passes for his receivers. Tua is also known to be a great locker room presence which is important since he is coming in to be a leader.

 

-Kevin Taylor

Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers

 

Player Profile

New jerseys, new stadium, and now a new franchise quarterback for the Chargers. Oregon’s Justin Herbert was the 6th overall pick for LA, a team that parted ways with Philip Rivers after 16 seasons. Herbert had a really strong pre-draft showing, which only raised his Round 1 stock.

Fantasy Outlook

Herbert may get a chance to play this season if currently pegged starter Tyrod Taylor struggles, but I wouldn’t expect much of him in his rookie year. From a dynasty outlook though, right now he’s a mid to late-round selection.

Effect On New Team

Again, it’s hard to think Herbert will be the Week 1 starter. He may see the field at some point, and if he does, you’ll have to think the likes of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will be affected some. Your Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler stock should rise a bit though from a reliant-rookie factor.

 

-Matt Cava

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Raiders

Player Profile

Henry Ruggs III continued to rise throughout the draft process, ending up as the first wideout selected. From what I have gathered Ruggs is a bit misunderstood as a prospect. The blazing speed has many people pegging him as a deep threat, ignoring the fact that he was not used this way at Alabama. Ruggs featured more in the intermediate and short game using his incredible speed to turn short routes into massive plays. This might have been a result of the uber-talented teammates surrounding him at Alabama, but at the very least it shows he is more dynamic than a simple “deep threat”.

Fantasy Outlook

This pick (ahead of Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb) signals how highly the Raiders valued Ruggs. He instantly becomes the wide receiver to own on this team and his fit with Derek Carr could be very good. As I alluded to above, Ruggs’ comfort in working the short game meshes with Carr’s low-risk profile. If the check-downs are inevitable, why not draft a player that can make those plays dangerous? I will not rule out the chance that Ruggs develops some deep chemistry with Carr, however, I think relying on attacking multiple areas of the field makes him a more enticing prospect. Ruggs should be a high pick in dynasty leagues and likely fits in as a WR3 or FLEX option at the moment for redraft leagues.

Effect on New Team

As tackles flew off the board the Raiders’ front office had to be smiling. They got a shot at a game-changing player, one that can alter an entire game plan. Whether or not Ruggs is a bonafide deep threat his talent requires defensive attention, at all times. For an offensive coordinator that is a blessing. Having Ruggs allows Gruden to manipulate the defense in ways that were not possible last year. Further, having this type of outlet on the field should enhance Carr’s natural tendencies. This is really a win for the Raiders.

 

-Stephen Dudas

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos

 

Player Profile

The 15th pick in the draft and the second wide receiver off the board, Jerry Jeudy is a versatile receiver that should make an immediate impact. Jeudy is known as an excellent route runner, and his 4.45 40-yard dash should be plenty fast enough for the transition to the pros. At 6’1″ and 193 pounds, Jeudy has the ability to make plays all over the field and can be deployed in the deep passing game as well as close to the line of scrimmage. Jeudy was consistently ranked as the first or second-best receiver throughout the draft process and was battle-tested in the SEC at Alabama. Jeudy is a relatively safe wide receiver prospect and should be able to contribute day one.

Fantasy Outlook

Jeudy finds himself in a suddenly crowded Broncos pass-catching corps. Courtland Sutton established himself as a number one receiver last year, rookie tight end Noah Fant impressed, and Melvin Gordon was added to an already stocked backfield. Jeudy should still find plenty of targets as a top-15 draft pick, but the true question of his fantasy value will be the development of second-year quarterback Drew Lock. Jeudy could be talented enough to be the 1A receiver and push Sutton to the role of 1B, or Jeudy could be hindered by a shortened off-season and settle into a secondary role behind Sutton. Jeudy’s long term outlook is excellent, but for redraft leagues in 2020, Jeudy will be very dependent on Lock’s play. In an offense flush with talent, evaluating Lock will be one of the keys to the offseason for fantasy owners. Jeudy is likely a WR3 at this point in the offseason for fantasy purposes.

Effect on New Team

Jeudy will have a bit of a dampening effect on the other pass-catchers unless Lock truly elevates his game and takes this offense to the next level. Sutton now has a major threat to his targets, and while I don’t expect Lock to forget about Sutton, Jeudy’s presence could hold back a massive leap for Sutton in 2020. Fant now has two receivers to battle for targets, as well as a new pass-catching back in Gordon. If everything clicks, this offense could become more efficient and make up for the extra competition for targets through increased scoring. But suddenly there is a battle for targets in Denver across all positions of the offense.

 

-Erik Smith

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys

 

Player Profile

On measurables alone, CeeDee Lamb isn’t the most enticing option at wide receiver. He certainly isn’t the biggest or fastest guy in this class. What he is, however, is polished. He is a precise route runner, a skilled pass catcher, and an excellent runner both with and without the ball. He should make a quick transition to the league, and Dallas will provide a relatively low-stress landing spot with two established receivers ahead of him. Even with this obstacle, I could see him becoming the team’s WR2 before the year is over.

Fantasy Outlook

Lamb and the other receivers in this class are a tricky proposition for me. I am nervous to spend big capital on a group of rookie receivers in a likely shortened offseason. Wide receiver is already a tough transition in a normal situation, and fewer practices don’t make me optimistic. Lamb is also fighting for touches with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliott. He should be considered a WR3-4 unless the situation changes (if Gallup is moved). Still, I think this is a good fit for long term success. Lamb should be a good investment in dynasty leagues and could show as soon as this coming season.

Effect On New Team

Overall, Dallas fans should be thrilled. There is another weapon for Dak, and this creates all the more separation between the Cowboys offense and those from the rest of the NFC East. Elliott seems like he will be unchanged. If he starts seeing fewer carries, I imagine greater efficiency from him because I still believe in his talent. For Cooper, this should again mean minimal change. Cooper was recently signed to a huge deal and he’s not going anywhere. Gallup becomes the wild card. It certainly hurts his stock, but I’m willing to buy in at a discounted price. Just beware that Gallup could be on the move.

 

-Mike Miklius

Jalen Reagor, WR, Eagles

 

Player Profile

Jalen Reagor disappointed a bit at the combine. He ran a 4.47 40-yard dash when people thought he could crack 4.30 and his short shuttle drills disappointed as well showing some mediocre burst. He will fit in nicely in the slot and replace Nelson Agholor. The Eagles use “12” personnel (two tight-ends) more than most teams so Reagor would likely lose snaps in those formations.

Fantasy Outlook

He got drafted by the Eagles in round one and that was definitely a need for them. They haven’t had consistent production at receiver in a couple of years but there are still a lot of mouths to feed. As it stands right now he can’t be drafted as more than a WR5 because he is at best the fifth option in the passing game right now. He should provide value in the return game where he excelled in college.

Effect On New Team

I think this is a better real-life pick than a fantasy pick. It will probably move everyone’s target outlook down a bit. He is behind Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, and Miles Sanders on the target pecking order and will be competing with Dallas Goedert and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside behind them.

 

-Kevin Taylor

Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings

 

Player Profile

Minnesota used the 22nd overall pick to replace Stefon Diggs by selecting LSU’s Justin Jefferson. Jefferson had a tremendous final year for the Tigers, raising his draft stock through the combine and entering Round 1. His 4.43 40-yard dash was likely the final piece in making him a first-round pick.

Fantasy Outlook

Jefferson has potential to be an immediate impact for Minnesota in his rookie year. Kirk Cousins is locked in for at least the next two seasons, and so Jefferson has a solid dynasty outlook ahead of him. Despite Minnesota being a run-heavy team, he should have the chance to make an impact early and often with not many pass-catching options on the roster right now.

Effect On New Team

With Diggs out of the picture, he has the makings to be a great compliment to Adam Thielen out the gate. I think he will become their WR2 immediately.

 

-Matt Cava

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, 49ers

 

Player Profile

In a deep wide receiver class Brandon Aiyuk might not shine as much as the players picked ahead of him, but he is certainly explosive and talented. He was not playing Division 1 football until 2018 where he was overshadowed by the older N’Keal Harry. But in 2019, after Harry left for the NFL, Aiyuk exploded. He posted an incredible 10.9 YAC which truly highlights his ability. He is not just a gadget player, Aiyuk was also asked to go down the field and excelled at that as well.

Fantasy Outlook

The 49ers offense is built on speed and explosiveness and with Emmanuel Sanders leaving, there certainly was a need at wide receiver. It will be worth monitoring how the target share breaks out for the top players in this run heavy offense. It will be hard to determine anything clearly until we see a few games, however, I think Aiyuk could find similar production to Sanders once he gets himself established. The question of off season training will linger over every rookie, and will likely slow things down for Aiyuk. For redraft leagues he is probably a later flier, but in dynasty, his value is relatively high being in an offense that should support him long term.

Effect on New Team

The 49ers traded back into the 1st round to draft Aiyuk which likely means they thought he would be an important cog in their offense. He fits the “number 1, outside, x” WR profile better than Deebo Samuel although Deebo will likely be the more heavily targeted player in 2020. The most essential part of Aiyuk’s game is his ability once the ball is in his hands. Like the Niners other weapons, George Kittle and Deebo, he will punish teams in space. This is clearly a Shannahan strategy and Aiyuk makes an already terrifying offense scarier.

 

-Stephen Dudas

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs

 

Player Profile

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is a compact back at only 5’7 and 207 pounds. Playing for LSU last year, he made his mark in the passing game. He caught 55 balls in 15 games last season, proving himself an excellent route runner and someone with reliable hands. He is a capable runner, but it remains to be seen if he can handle a full rushing workload at the NFL level.

Fantasy Outlook

Homerun! This is as close to perfect as I’ll ever call a landing spot. Before the draft, here’s what I would have wanted for Clyde Edwards-Helaire: a talented young quarterback, a pass-happy offense, an obvious hole at running back, and a coach who can mold an offense to his strengths. That was the dream, and that’s exactly what CEH got. I don’t see how he doesn’t go with at least a sixth-round pick (I’m low-balling it here) in redraft. More realistically, CEH will go in the 2-4 range depending on how badly your league-mates fall in love with him. I would say there is a safe RB2 floor here and a ceiling of RB1.

Effect on New Team

For Patrick Mahomes, this is an absolute win. He has yet another weapon and a hole in the offense has hopefully been filled. For the other running backs, this is bad news. Damien Williams probably still has a role eating up carries to save wear and tear on CEH, but he is now the clear #2. Deandre Washington and Darwin Thompson–whatever they were worth–are complete afterthoughts save for injury ahead of them. For the wide receivers, Tyreek Hill should be mostly unaffected. I imagine Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and everyone else loses a few targets. For Chiefs fans, it’s time to get excited!

 

-Mike Miklius

Jordan Love, QB, Packers

 

Player Profile

Jordan Love is a talented but raw passer that the Packers selected as their presumed quarterback of the future at pick 26 as the fourth quarterback drafted. At 6’4″ and 224 pounds, Love wowed teams at the combine with his athleticism. He’s a work in progress that shouldn’t start from day one, but he possesses all of the tools that teams fall in love with (sorry) at the quarterback position. Love needs to work on play-recognition and not locking on to his first read, and he could use some more anticipation on his throws. Love has the tools to be a starting quarterback down the line, though we have seen plenty of projects at the quarterback position fail in the past.

Fantasy Outlook

It’s hard to have any excitement for Love’s fantasy value right now, as he was drafted to sit behind Aaron Rodgers and learn the ropes (presumably). Rodgers is under contract until 2023, so something has to give, as it seems unlikely that the Packers would use a first-round pick on a four-year backup. It’s equally hard to see the Packers moving on from Rodgers within the next two years, however, so Love’s value is near zero in redraft, and in a wait and see mode in dynasty.

Effect on New Team

What will this pick do to the relationship between Rodgers and the Packers? That is the big question and will determine how soon we see Love on the field, outside of injury. Otherwise, this is not a pick that will help the Packers win in 2020.

 

-Erik Smith

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