NFL Draft Live Blog With JJ Zachariason
During Day 1 and Day 2 of the NFL Draft, JJ Zachariason, numberFire's Editor-In-Chief, will be live blogging as the picks roll in. Expect insights, projections for fantasy-relevant players, and bad dad jokes. (Refresh for up-to-date information.)
11:29 PM: That'll do it for the live blog, though. Thanks to all of you for keeping up with it and reading my takes. Hope you enjoyed it. I'll be recapping everything on my podcast -- The Late-Round Podcast -- early next week, so make sure to tune in. Enjoy the rest of the draft.
11:26 PM: And with the Vikings' selection of running back Alexander Mattison, Day 2 is over. Mattison was pretty average in my prospect model, but Minnesota did need some help at the position to back up Dalvin Cook.
11:06 PM: The Ravens just added wide receiver Miles Boykin, who tested as one of the most athletic pass-catchers in this year's class. But as I noted yesterday, Baltimore is the worst landing spot for a wide receiver. They'll likely be the most run-heavy team in football this year. It's hard to feel good about Boykin in both redraft and dynasty formats. RIP me pre-draft rankings.
10:51 PM: From a projections standpoint, there's not a lot of movement. Darrell Henderson and Devin Singletary likely won't be factors in 2019, Jace Sternberger has better long-term potential given the position he plays, Terry McLaurin may not find the field right away, Jalen Hurd might be buried on the depth chart, and the same could be said about Damien Harris.
10:45 PM: The Patriots just took running back Damien Harris, and I don't even know what to think anymore.
10:38 PM: I'm pretty surprised Hakeem Butler still hasn't been drafted.
10:28 PM: Haven't talked about Terry McLaurin going to Washington. In short, I wasn't a huge fan. He's got incredible speed and can play special teams, but lacked in the production department. And that matters. Getting him in the third is far better than the first, where some (well, at least one) had him mocked just a month ago.
10:18 PM: The third-round pick with the most fantasy implications so far is definitely David Montgomery. His receiving upside will be capped with Tarik Cohen there, but with only Mike Davis to get past for early-down work, Montgomery should see a lot of touches during his rookie campaign. I've got him at 213.3 rushes, 897.9 rushing yards, 5.4 rushing touchdowns, 26.4 targets, 121.6 receiving yards, and 0.6 receiving touchdowns. RIP Mike Davis' fantasy potential.
10:12 PM: Devin Singletary went to the Bills, and I don't like it on a lot of levels. Singletary is undersized and had a poor combine, but he also doesn't really profile as a pass-catcher at the next level after catching just 2.7% of Florida Atlantic's passes last year. The Buffalo backfield is a mess right now for fantasy purposes.
10:07 PM: The last remaining landing spot that was looking favorable for a fantasy back was Chicago. They ended up getting David Montgomery, the back my prospect model liked most in this year's class. He'll make newcomer Mike Davis nothing more than a handcuff in 2019. I'll post a projection here shortly.
10:05 PM: For DK Metcalf, I've got 59.1 targets, 37.8 receptions, 479.3 yards, and 3.6 touchdowns. Diontae Johnson may not be able to hit 40 targets in the Steelers offense unless he shows up in training camp and beats out Donte Moncrief and James Washington.
9:56 PM: With health concerns surrounding Todd Gurley, the Rams go out and get one of the draft's best running backs in Darrell Henderson. Henderson averaged nearly nine yards per carry across his final two collegiate seasons -- his efficiency was insane. This should absolutely bump Gurley down in both redraft and dynasty leagues. The fact that LA would spend a third-rounder on a running back when they have Todd Gurley tells us there are issues.
9:53 PM: I'm not exactly sure what the 49ers are doing with their Jalen Hurd selection.
9:52 PM: Lots of wide receiver picks have happened since Isabella went to Arizona. We've got DK Metcalf going to Seattle and Diontae Johnson to Pittsburgh. Metcalf slipped further than a lot of us expected, and his speed is a pretty good fit with a quarterback who can get the ball down the field in Russell Wilson. With that being said, Seattle isn't very pass-heavy, which will limit Metcalf's worth in fantasy football. Johnson to Pittsburgh was a surprise. Analytically, he had one of the worst final-season college profiles of all wide receivers in this class. With that being said, his Sophomore year was better than his Junior one, which is similar to what we saw with JuJu Smith-Schuster, another wideout the Steelers drafted. At this point, you've got to just feel confident that the Steelers are pretty good at evaluating wide receiver talent given their track record.
9:42 PM: Projection for Isabella: 76.7 targets, 50.3 receptions, 603.4 yards, and 2.8 touchdowns.
9:35 PM: The Cardinals just got my man Andy Isabella. And I'm pumped. Isabella had arguably the best production of any receiver in this class, and even though he's a short pass-catcher, his 4.31 speed will allow him to blow by defenders. As I said earlier in the blog, think Brandin Cooks. The Arizona offense is going to be a lot of fun with Kliff Kingsbury running things, and there could be a lot of passes, too. I'll send a mass update with some projections later, but Isabella deserves to be a first-round rookie draft pick in dynasty leagues at this moment.
9:20 PM: On my podcast this week, I had Parris Campbell as the 10th-best wideout in this class. He's fast (4.31 40-yard dash), agile, and can score on any play. But according to Pro Football Focus, he had only two deep-ball receptions last year, so his ability to make plays down the field is a question mark. And his overall production wasn't ideal. That all makes him a high-variance prospect, but, man, his landing spot with the Colts is pretty dope. Indy doesn't have a locked-in number-two receiver on the roster -- at least not past this season -- so opportunity should be there for Campbell. As for a projection, I've got him at 77.0 targets, 54.7 receptions, 617.5 yards, and 4 touchdowns here in 2019. That has room for improvement, too. A low-key loser of this pick, by the way, is running back Nyheim Hines, as long as the Colts continue to use Campbell close to the line of scrimmage.
9:08 PM: The grind don't stop! One of my favorites in this class, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, just went to the Eagles. He had one of the best touchdown shares in this class, and he uses his body in the red zone like a basketball player. He's awesome. The problem for Year 1 is that there are a lot of mouths to feed in Philly. You've got Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert at tight end, a couple of pass-catching backs, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor. So his target share won't be very good this year -- looking at his projection, he may not break 50 targets.
9:00 PM: With question marks surrounding Tyreek Hill off the field, the Chiefs went out and drafted Mecole Hardman out of Georgia. Admittedly, Hardman isn't someone I was really into pre-draft given his lack of college production. And not just because he was in a run-heavy offense -- his market share numbers weren't strong at all. In 2018, Hardman had just 17.1% of Georgia's receiving yards, 14.5% of the team's receptions, and 20.6% of their receiving touchdowns. Those are incredibly low marks. With that being said, you're associating him with Patrick Mahomes, and he's got strong draft equity. So, all of a sudden, I care about Mecole Hardman. A lot.
8:49 PM: The Eagles just got Miles Sanders, my number-two running back in this class. Philly's loved the committee approach under Doug Pederson, so while Sanders won't have a huge touch ceiling, he'll at least be used right away. Probably as a receiver, too -- among running backs who went to the NFL Combine this year, Sanders had the fourth-best reception share in 2018. And this addition obviously hurts Jordan Howard's fantasy potential tremendously. Given the equity spent on Sanders, I'd think he'll see the most work in that backfield this season. That's why his projection is strongest on the Eagles, at 147.0 carries for 602.8 yards and 3.0 touchdowns on the ground to go along with 36.0 targets, 27.0 receptions, 197.1 yards, and 1.02 touchdowns through the air.
8:45 PM: I've been talking about him all night, and finally, AJ Brown gets drafted. But it's not to the Colts or the Packers. Instead, he lands with the run-heavy Titans. Some believe Brown is primarily a slot receiver, but there's more to his game than just that. And it would be odd for the Titans to draft a slot guy after signing Adam Humphries this offseason. This is a mess for fantasy football. Especially in 2019. Corey Davis is still going to see some volume there, Delanie Walker is returning, and the aforementioned Humphries joined the team. Initial projection has him at 67.6 targets, 43.3 receptions, 527.6 yards, and 2.6 touchdowns. There's room for him to grow into a bigger role there, but we can't assume that yet. It's not a good landing spot for arguably the best receiver in the class.
8:38 PM: With Kyle Rudolph being a free agent next year, the Vikings selected Irv Smith Jr. out of Alabama. Won't post Smith Jr.'s projection because he likely won't be start-worthy in 2019 without an injury to Rudolph, but it does look like he'll be the starting tight end of the future for Minnesota after this season.
8:30 PM: I do believe it's a deep wide receiver class. It's not top-heavy, but it's pretty deep. Have to think that teams are being patient with the position as a result.
8:16 PM: Did Jim Brown, while announcing Cleveland's pick, forget what year it was?
8:13 PM: The Colts trade their pick. I'm officially tilting.
8:06 PM: Was hoping the Packers would snag AJ Brown, but they went in a different direction. The Colts are up in a couple of selections and could look his way, though. That would be an unbelievable fit and push Brown to potentially the top pick in rookie drafts.
7:59 PM: Wow, the Broncos trade up and get Drew Lock. Probably won't mean a whole lot for 2019, but people were mocking him to Denver in the first. Could end up being a huge value. (I don't really have a take here.)
7:52 PM: Are the Packers going to get AJ Brown? Because that would be fire.
7:50 PM: Regarding Deebo Samuel, Kyle Shanahan loves versatility with his wide receivers. He wants them to play all over the field. So I should note that Samuel won't only play the slot. He just profiles best to come out of that area of the field.
7:34 PM: Entering the draft, I had Deebo Samuel, who was just drafted by the 49ers, as the eighth-best receiver in this class. He'll likely play a lot out of the slot, and he's a bulldozer and can create a lot of yards after the catch. He should be able to find the field right away for the San Francisco. The 49ers are likely to use their running backs a lot in the passing game, George Kittle will demand a lot of targets, and Dante Pettis is there as well. So Samuel's target share ceiling isn't that high in Year 1, but it's a pretty favorable landing spot. The current projection for him is 79.6 targets, 54.1 receptions, 652.9 yards, and 3.4 touchdowns. For those of you hoping Richie James could build a big role in the slot there -- your dream is dead.
6:55 PM: One of my favorite wide receivers in this draft is Andy Isabella out of UMass. If and when he gets drafted tonight, be prepared for your televisions to tell you he's a fast slot receiver. He's not. He's more than that. Think Brandin Cooks.
2:58 PM: Who's ready for another night of the draft? Your boy sure is. The start of Day 2 could be interesting from a fantasy perspective. The Cardinals, Colts, Raiders, 49ers, and Seahawks own the first five picks of the second round and, realistically, each of those teams are in the market for a wide receiver. We've still got both Ole Miss wideouts in DK Metcalf and AJ Brown on the board, when there was a chance they'd go in the first round. If you like fantasy football -- What are you doing reading this live blog if you don't? -- it's going to be an entertaining night.
12:06 AM: What a way to end the first round -- my favorite fantasy football prospect gets drafted by the Patriots. I'm expecting a lot of wide receivers and a few running backs to hear their name get called tomorrow, so we should be in store for a lot of projections. Thanks for reading tonight -- let's have some fun again tomorrow.
12:04 AM: Harry has a very good shot to be the best rookie receiver in fantasy football this year. New England always has strange target distribution because of how they utilize their running backs, but they have zero depth at wide receiver right now. That could and should lead to plenty of volume for Harry. As it stands, my projection for Harry is 94.1 targets, 59.3 receptions, 691.6 yards, and 5.3 touchdowns. This is under the assumption that he finds the field right away for New England, which, given their current depth chart and his pedigree, is very possible.
11:54 PM: My top wide receiver -- N'Keal Harry -- was just drafted by the Patriots. Pants. Are. Off.
11:45 PM: Looks like our last hope for another fantasy-related pick tonight will have to come from New England with the last pick in the first.
11:13 PM: The absolute worst fantasy football-related landing spot for a wide receiver was with Baltimore. With Lamar Jackson under center last year, Ravens wide receivers -- as a team -- averaged fewer PPR points per game than 15 individual wideouts. They're run-heavy and they have a relatively inefficient passer -- that's not good for fantasy purposes, and it won't be good for their new wideout, Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. There's admittedly a large target share up for grabs in Baltimore, but because of the team's run-heavy gameplan, the large target share doesn't really matter. Brown's initial projection is 80.0 targets, 48.0 receptions, 643.5 yards, and 3.4 touchdowns. Not great, Bob!
11:06 PM: The Raiders get Josh Jacobs, who instantly becomes their RB1. He's got a strong pass-catching skill-set, which will hurt Jalen Richard's receiving numbers, and Jacobs will see plenty of ground-game work as well. The thing is, I'm big into college production and it being meaningful when prospecting backs. Jacobs is basically the least-productive college running back to be selected in the first round in well over a decade. But -- but! -- draft capital is really important, and Jacobs is in a landing spot where he'll see volume right away. His 2019 projection currently sits at 192.9 rushes, 879.7 rushing yards, 4.7 rushing touchdowns, 58.3 targets, 42.0 receptions, 343.7 receiving yards, and 1.5 receiving touchdowns. Those numbers are fairly safe from a projections standpoint, mostly because we haven't seen Jacobs handle a huge workload. There's room to grow.
10:35 PM: Nope. The Broncos went with Noah Fant instead, who's a great pass-catching tight end. His starting projection is 78.4 targets, 54.1 receptions, 579.3 yards, and 4.0 touchdowns. There's actually some opportunity in Denver, and Joe Flacco has historically favored the tight end position. Not a bad spot for Fant to have some fantasy value here and there as a rookie.
10:09 PM: Looking at the draft board, there's potential for Denver to still get Drew Lock. They're in Pittsburgh's spot now at Pick 20 after trading, and the Giants, Vikings, and Titans are in between. There's a small chance we see Tennessee take Lock, but I don't think it's likely.
10:01 PM: Probably won't have a projection tonight for Haskins just because there's so much uncertainty with the quarterback job there. Not really worthwhile to post. But I will say, I think he starts Week 1. He should, to be honest.
9:54 PM: With Washington on the clock, you have to assume this will be Haskins.
9:48 PM: Roger Goodell makes me uncomfortable.
9:38 PM: Was looking through my projections today and noticed that the biggest year over year increase in passing yards belongs to the Bengals. A.J. Green, if he's healthy, is going to be a steal in fantasy drafts. According to DRAFT's average draft position data, he's currently going at the end of the third/start of the fourth. Playing 15 or 16 games, he's a fringe WR1.
9:34 PM: It's Jonah Williams, not Haskins. Definitely a need for them in Williams, though.
9:23 PM: Another thing with the Hockenson pick: the Lions added Jesse James this offseason, so this makes him (James) mostly irrelevant in fantasy football now.
9:20 PM: The Lions grab tight end TJ Hockenson. He's really good, but tight ends usually take a little time to adjust in the NFL, so don't expect the world here in Year 1. That, and new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is a run-heavy play-caller. Initial projection: 61.5 targets, 44.3 receptions, 485.6 yards, and 3.9 touchdowns.
9:05 PM: Why do analysts talk about how Jones was coached by David Cutcliffe as if it's this amazing thing? Jones had horrific production with the help. How is this good?
9:02 PM: The Giants just drafted Daniel Jones. Here's what you need to know about Jones, courtesy of my friend Rich Hribar.
Out of 58 QBs selected in the 1st Round over the previous 20 seasons, Daniel Jones' career 6.2 AY/A is equal or better than just Jake Locker, Patrick Ramsey and Kyle Boller.
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) April 26, 2019
8:56 PM: Unless you're talking quarterback, making an obvious reach in the first round is never a good idea. All it does is say, "We're better at drafting and evaluating than you are," when we know that's a losing long-term strategy. The Raiders may like Clelin Ferrell, and he may end up being great, but you're not being optimal when you do what Oakland just did. Trade back.
8:48 PM: It...it was a surprise.
8:45 PM: Reporters are saying this pick from the Raiders could be surprising. We'll see.
8:43 PM: Was sort of hoping the Jets would trade back because chaos is fun, but Quinnen Williams is a strong selection. numberFire's metrics had the Jets as the 23rd-best defense last year, but there's plenty of talent on that side of the ball for New York to take a step forward this year. And they'll use that interior pressure to get to Tom Brady in the division.
8:30 PM: No surprise with Nick Bosa at number two. According to numberFire's expected points model, the 49ers had the 25th-ranked defense last year. Also, that Goodell-Bosa embrace was really intense.
8:24 PM: So Kyler Murray it is. Initial projection for him as Arizona Cardinals starter is 3,997.6 passing yards, 20.5 passing touchdowns, and 10.2 interceptions. On the ground, I've got him at 82.2 rushes, 390.3 rushing yards, and 2.8 rushing touchdowns. Admittedly, it's a little conservative. Ranking quarterbacks in fantasy football isn't really necessary given how easy it is to replace the position -- you should look for upside. And Murray has that. He'll be a good late-round quarterback target this year.
8:02 PM: Things are about to start. As the picks are announced, I'll do my best to post some fantasy projections for relevant guys. Tomorrow will be bigger for fake football, but tonight will still be fun.
7:55 PM: People are hating, but I'm a fan of Kyle Murray's suit. (This is the analysis you came here to read.)
5:53 PM: Again, I'm not expecting many wide receivers to be drafted tonight, but think a ton will drop off the board tomorrow. The last time we saw one or zero wide receivers get drafted in the first round was back in 2008. Since then, we've averaged nearly four per first round.
5:43 PM: According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Marquise Brown now has the best odds to be the first wide receiver drafted.
4:31 PM: The Night King is a Stark, by the way.
4:30 PM: Draft Twitter currently has more outlandish theories than Game of Thrones YouTube.
4:21 PM: Speaking of Metcalf, it sounds like the 49ers aren't in on him. One receiver I'd love to see go to San Francisco is red-zone specialist JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Shouldn't come with an insane cost, either.
2:28 PM: I wrote an article a couple of days ago on some NFL Draft bets you should place on FanDuel Sportsbook. One of them was on the first wide receiver taken in the draft. DK Metcalf is the favorite, but he doesn't have the most complete profile in the draft. (His college teammate, AJ Brown, probably does.) But I just saw a tweet from Charles Robinson of Yahoo! saying that a lot of teams may have Metcalf third at wide receiver on their big boards. Now's the time to lock in either AJ Brown or Marquise Brown as the first receiver to be drafted.
12:03 PM: As we wait for the draft to start, I'll use this time to let you know that my pre-draft rookie rankings (fantasy football-focused) dropped on The Late-Round Podcast on Tuesday. You can listen to it here. I'm not expecting a whole lot of movement here on Day 1 for fantasy purposes, but we could see a couple of wide receivers drop off the board, and Josh Jacobs is a potential first-round running back, too. And there are some stud tight ends in this draft as well.
9:01 AM: Good morning, friends. Who's ready for Dan Snyder to mortgage the future of his franchise, Roger Goodell bro hugs, and talk about Kyler Murray's height?