Rookie Minicamp Report: Week 1 (2019 Fantasy Football)
Just a couple weeks removed from the NFL Draft, teams have started rookie minicamps to get a look at their top picks. Minicamps run last weekend and this weekend. Eleven teams — Packers, Ravens, Vikings, Chiefs, Colts, Browns, Bears, Seahawks, 49ers, Raiders, and Giants — participated in rookie minicamps the first weekend. Here’s a look at some of the notable rookies who took part in this past weekend’s initial showcase.
David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
Selected by the Bears in the third round after they signed former Seahawks RB Mike Davis, it looks like Montgomery could push for snaps in his first season. He’s a complete back with a solid skill set in the running and receiving game. After Tarik Cohen’s breakout 2018, the 5’8″ speedster was expected to take on a bigger role in 2019 with the departure of Jordan Howard. Montgomery could now steal work from both Davis and Cohen. “These camps aren’t too big on running, so it’s a lot of receiving, and I was really impressed,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said of his rookie back, according to Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Keep an eye on Montgomery as a late-round flier in redraft leagues and a top-five pick in dynasty leagues.
Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
The Colts selected Campbell to be another dangerous weapon for Andrew Luck on a team that already features T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, and Eric Ebron. Campbell ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of any receiver at this year’s combine at 4.31. He played primarily in the slot for Ohio State in his college career, but he impressed at rookie minicamp by lining up all over the formation and making plays with consistency. Route running is still an area to improve upon, but if minicamp is a sign of things to come, Campbell should be making plays for the Colts sooner rather than later.
Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
Hardman received high praise from head coach Andy Reid in his minicamp performances. “We like his speed,” Reid said, per ESPN’s Adam Teicher. “But he is more than that. He can play inside, he can play outside. He did both at Georgia. And then he is a phenomenal returner, arguably the best returner in the draft.” Drafted as the potential replacement for Tyreek Hill (pending disciplinary action from the NFL for domestic abuse allegations), Hardman has similar size and speed and lined up in the slot and outside at minicamp. Expect him to play a lot of snaps if Hill is suspended. If playing the Hill role for Patrick Mahomes, Hardman is a savvy late-round pickup in redraft leagues, though his ADP may climb considerably.
Darwin Thompson (RB – KC)
Thompson has shown in minicamp why he was considered a sixth-round steal. The rookie back from Utah State flashed his speed and ability to break tackles in his Chiefs debut. Described as a workout warrior, the muscular Thompson focuses on his core in order to maintain balance and agility. He’s an elusive runner, who told reporters at minicamp, “they can’t tackle me in a phone booth.” LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware, and Kareem Hunt all excelled under Andy Reid, and Thompson could be next in line. He has Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde in front of him on the depth chart, but the talent and skill set are there to begin his career.
D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
Metcalf was the standout of Seahawks minicamp, impressing Pete Carroll tremendously. He commented on Metcalf’s perceived route running skills, per the News Tribune‘s Gregg Bell. “I know that everybody’s wondering about this route-tree thing and all of that, and I don’t see that being a factor.” Overall, the assessment was glowing. Carroll added that Metcalf “came in here ready to go and in good shape and he ran fast and he looked good, hung through all of it. So it’s really an exciting first introduction.”
Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)
Jones said all of the right things during minicamp, leaving a mark on teammates and coaching staff as a professional and a hard worker. Jones drew comparisons to Eli Manning for his calm demeanor and “football first” attitude. Aside from the intangibles, Jones played some good football too. He made clean throws and looked the part of a first-round pick. He’ll likely back up Manning this season, but the franchise could be his in 2020.
Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN)
Mattison has drawn positive attention from the Vikings’ coaching staff in minicamp, and he could step into Latavius Murray‘s former role as a rookie. He’s a big and powerful back who can run through defenders and make a strong goal-line guy. According to head coach Mike Zimmer, “He catches the ball well, he’s physical, and he’s got a long, strong lower body.” The depth chart is pretty thin behind Dalvin Cook, and Mattison shouldn’t have a big problem carving out a role as Minnesota’s No. 2.
Irv Smith Jr. (TE – MIN)
He made an immediate impression on the coaching staff with his blocking and receiving skills, and Smith Jr. could be worked into the Vikings’ offense quickly. Kyle Rudolph will be a free agent next summer, so Smith will be Kirk Cousins‘ TE of the future.
Jalen Hurd (WR – SF) and Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
Both of the 49ers’ 2019 picks at receiver were in action over the weekend. Both displayed some sound route running while lining up in a variety of formations, and Samuel did some work in the return game. San Francisco features one of the weakest WR groups in the NFL, and both Hurd and Samuel should see a good deal of work this season with undersized Dante Pettis representing the best option in the receiving corps outside of breakout TE George Kittle. Hurd is more of a deep-league pick, but Samuel is certainly worth a late-round selection in 12-team leagues.