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2021 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft: Two Rounds (Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Jun 7, 2020

Travis Etienne is the first pick in Raju Byfield’s latest 2021 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft

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For dynasty league owners, fantasy football is a year-long commitment that calls for staying informed on future rookie draft classes, one, two, and even three years into the future. With that in mind, and to help with future draft pick trade discussions, it is helpful to do rookie mock drafts for the future classes. Getting an early jump on rookie classes can give you a competitive advantage in trade talks. Many owners may know some of the first round talent, but there is often still value to be had into the second and third rounds. This mock is a single QB, two-round rookie draft that features 24 of the players most likely to be the hottest dynasty commodities next off-season.

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1.01 Travis Etienne (RB Clemson)
Etienne is a talented running back who may have very well been the first running back drafted had he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. Etienne decided to return to school and get his degree due to not receiving a first-round grade from the NFL’s Draft Advisory Committee. He has the tools and skills of a workhorse running back and is the current betting favorite to be the first running back selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. He may be even more involved in the passing game as a senior, as Clemson was dealt a major blow with fellow top prospect Justyn Ross being lost for the season. An explosive running back with 17 more 20+ yard runs than any other running back in college football over the past two seasons, Etienne’s upside is palpable. Ja’Marr Chase, Rondale Moore, Chuba Hubbard will get some 1.01 love over the next several months, but in a single QB league, this is Etienne’s spot to lose.

1.02 – Ja’Marr Chase (WR – LSU)
2019 Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase was fantastic as a true sophomore. He led the nation in both receiving yards (1,780) and touchdowns (20), and bullied his way past 2018 freshman sensation Rondale Moore to become the toast of what could be an incredible 2021 wide receiver class. Chase is the complete package but will need to continue to produce at an elite level without Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, and Joe Brady in order to maintain his status as the best the 2021 NFL Draft class has to offer at the position. He is the rare wide receiver that actually warrants a selection in the top-10 and is worth divesting of assets now if you have a good idea of which teams will finish near the bottom of your dynasty leagues standings. 

1.03 – Rondale Moore (WR – Purdue)
Rondale Moore is an exceptional wide receiver who dominates after the catch. He can win both on intermediate routes and downfield routes, but picking up major yards after the catch on short routes and targets behind the line of scrimmage is his specialty. Limited to just four games this past season due to injury, dynasty owners would be remiss to forget his sensational true freshman season that saw him rack up 114 receptions, 1,258 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns. He also added 213 rushing yards and two rushing scores on just 21 attempts. Finding Deebo was a thing this offseason, but following the 2021 season, analysts will no doubt be talking about finding the next Rondale Moore. Someone to consider as early as first overall in 2021 rookie drafts, Moore is yet another reason that dynasty owners should be targeting the first-round picks of the weaker teams in their league. 

1.04 – Najee Harris (RB – Alabama)
A powerful running back with much better hands than he is usually given credit for, Najee Harris should remain in the mix to be the first running back drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft. Travis Etienne is the favorite to hear his name called first, but Najee is right behind him in terms of odds. Harris made a confusing decision to go back to school for the 2020 season, as he will have to contend with a team missing three four round picks on offense. Making matters worse, he will have to contend with 2019 number one running back recruit Trey Sanders, and one of the top 2020 running back recruits in Jase McClellan. Harris should still be the lead back at Alabama, but he likely made a miscalculation based on the talent he will have to compete with. Harris has future workhorse written all over him, but as we know, the state of current NFL running back depth charts make no promises. Still, Harris is one of the three runners who project to be drafted to compete for a starting role in 2021, and should be regarded as such.

1.05 – Chuba Hubbard (RB – Oklahoma State)
An explosive running back with legitimate track speed, Hubbard was one of the most electrifying runners in the country during his 2,000-rushing-yard 2019 campaign. Hubbard still has some work to do to improve his game – most notably vision and patience – but his exceptional athleticism has allowed him to overcome those warts at the collegiate level. If Hubbard lands on an NFL team with a good offensive line, it will be hard to stop him from becoming an instant RB1. He is that talented. Still, he will need to show more consistency if he wishes to be a first round pick in the NFL. He may have the lowest floor of the top three running backs in this mock, but it is hard to argue that he may indeed have the highest ceiling. The Canadian Sensation Chuba Hubbard is a name to remember when entering trade talks for 2021 rookie picks. 

1.06 – Rashod Bateman (WR – Minnesota)
A talented wide receiver who seems primed to explode with Tyler Johnson now in the NFL, only health can stop Bateman from being a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. A route-running artist with an exceptional release off the line of scrimmage, Bateman is going to be an instant star in the NFL. He projects as a number one receiver, but may have the benefit of getting to feast in single coverage if he lands on a team that already has an established number one wideout. With that being said, there are very few wide receivers who legitimately have more talent than Bateman does at this point of his career. A big play threat who averaged 20.3 yards per reception this past season for Minnesota, Bateman projects as having the highest floor of the 2021 draft eligible wide receivers. He is yet another name to remember when entering trade talks for 2021 rookie picks. 

1.07 – Jaylen Waddle (WR – Alabama)
While teammate Devonta Smith has been the more productive prospect, it is true junior Waddle who was the first to enter the mind space of dynasty owners. Waddle broke out as a true freshman by racking up 843 receiving yards and seven touchdowns (for context Smith had just 853 yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons combined, and Henry Ruggs never had more than 746 receiving yards in a season). He took a step back this past season due to Devonta Smith exploding, but it did not change his NFL projection. A strong route runner who is a threat after the catch, Waddle can seemingly get open at will. With both Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs now in the NFL, Waddle will have a chance to step up as option 1a or 1b in Alabama’s offense. He has everything you look for in a first round wide receiver, including an ability to beat press man coverage, and should hear his name called in the mid to late first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He is proof positive as to why even mid to late 2021 rookie picks are still considered so valuable. 

1.08 – Kylin Hill (RB – Mississippi)
A slippery back with great burst and vision, Kylin Hill is about to explode. He was already projected as a potential early day two pick, but NFL teams are really going to be able to see his workhorse upside with Air Raid guru Mike Leach now heading Mississippi State. An exciting open-field runner who knows how to press the line and change direction for positive yardage, Hill will need to show more consistency against the best the FBS has to offer if he is to truly be considered as one of the top backs of the 2021 NFL Draft class. He has high-end RB2 upside should he land in a position to function as his NFL teams lead back.

1.09 – Devonta Smith (WR – Alabama)
One of my absolute favorite wideouts in the 2021 NFL Draft class, Devonta Smith was impossible to ignore when scouting teammates Tua Tagovailoa, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, and Jedrick Wills. A burner who exploded onto the scene as a junior, Smith made the mysterious decision to return to school for his senior season. Any wide receiver who can lead a team that features Jeudy, Ruggs, and Jaylen Waddle in receiving yards and touchdowns is an obvious special talent. Like the three receivers I just mentioned, Smith is a good route runner who can consistently create enough separation to win at all levels of the field. He has the production profile and talent to be an annual 1,000-yard receiver in the NFL, but he will need to add some more weight (6’1, 175 lbs) in order to secure himself as a first round pick in 2021. 

1.10 Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
Amon Ra St. Brown is a talented, do-it-all wide receiver who has the luxury of playing with one of the top quarterbacks in the country in Kedon Slovis. St. Brown broke out as a true freshman, but Slovis taking over under center was the best thing that could have possibly happened to both St. Brown and teammate Michael Pittman. He can win both inside and outside and should see a ton of work with Michael Pittman and his 123 targets now in the NFL. As seen in the play below, he is a powerful runner in the open field, and can even handle carries to great effect when called upon. While he projects as a potential WR1 if he lands a slot job, he still possesses WR2 upside if he lines up on the outside. St. Brown as low as 1.10 in a rookie draft helps accentuate just how deep this class is. For context, someone with his skill set, profile, and production would have been a top three talent in the 2019 NFL Draft class. 

1.11 – Justyn Ross (WR – Clemson)
A massively talented receiver who broke out as a true freshman, Justyn Ross was trending towards being a potential top five 2021 rookie pick. Unfortunately, he is set to undergo a rather serious surgery for a congenital spinal issue, so at this time he is here as a placeholder. If he has a successful surgery and maintains all range of mobility, he may even jump back up a few spots. There is a risk that this may lead to the end of his football career, but there is no reason to discount him any further in 2021 rookie mock drafts (devy leagues are another story), until we have more post surgery information from his medical team. Talent-wise Ross, projects as a future number-one receiver who could join the WR1 conversation on the right depth chart. The sky’s the limit for this young man, so here’s hoping that a year from now we are talking about his future with his new NFL team. 

1.12 – Kenneth Gainwell (RB – Memphis)
Gainwell has some of the most exciting running back tape outside of the SEC. While there are many receivers who can function as a running back and many running backs who convert to wide receiver, it is not often that we see a wide receiver playing running back full time. Max Borghi was the more prolific receiver, but Gainwell dwarfed him in yards per reception (12.0 to 7.8), and handled over 100 more carries as a redshirt freshman in 2019. Gainwell of course plays in the much easier conference, and that is why it is important to put on the tape. As a runner, there is still room for improvement as far as vision, decisiveness, and power are concerned. With that being said, he has enough flashes on tape to suggest that he will make a big leap in his redshirt sophomore campaign.

As a receiver, he is as elite as Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara. He is so good downfield that he could likely enter the draft as a wide receiver and be a Day 2 pick. As such, it should come as no surprise that his upside in PPR and half-PPR leagues is through the roof. He would be much higher in this rookie mock if he were more consistent as a runner, as the possibility exists that a team with an elite runner targets Gainwell specifically for his otherworldly receiving skills at the position (think the Cleveland Browns drafting him to replace Kareem Hunt behind Nick Chubb). If he lands somewhere where he can compete for a starting job, he will likely join the top five conversation for 2021 rookie drafts. 

2.01 – Tylan Wallace (RB – Oklahoma State)
A Biletnikoff Award semi-finalist as a true sophomore, Wallace was trending towards being a potential first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft before a torn ACL pushed back his timeline. A healthy Tylan Wallace belongs in the middle of the first round in 2021 rookie drafts, but he will have to prove that he is close to all-the-way back, and still improving in order to maintain his draft stock. He will likely need to have a season close to on par with his sophomore season in order to work his way into the first round mix for the 2021 NFL Draft, but regardless of where he gets drafted, he is going to have immense upside once he hits the NFL. He has number-one receiver upside, but is more likely to be cast as a number-two to open his career, something that should benefit a player who projects to only fully be recovering from his ACL operation in the summer leading up to his rookie season (it often takes two years to recover to full strength from ACL injuries). Wallace projects as a long term WR3 who will be a WR2 mainstay in weekly rankings. 

2.02 – Tamorrion Terry (WR – Florida State)
A big-play threat in the truest sense, Tamorrion Terry averaged a whopping 57.8 yards per reception on his nine touchdowns. He’s 6’4 with what looks like low 4.4 wheels at worst, and Terry is flying a little under the radar due to, well I don’t know actually. His tape is electric. His numbers are eye popping. While 60 receptions or 4.6 receptions per game is nothing to get excited about, his upside with an NFL caliber quarterback is. His 34 percent market share, 1,188 receiving yards, and 19.8 yards per reception as a true sophomore should tell us all we need to know about just how elite of a prospect Terry is. So why is he falling to the second round in this rookie mock you ask? The 2021 NFL Draft class has a potential to be that stacked if all of the top sophomores declare. Wide receiver depth charts are getting crowded in the NFL, but Terry has the type of talent to far outplay his draft position. The most likely of the top receivers to be drafted outside of the first round, Terry will be a first round pick if he runs a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. Once on the field however, he will quickly let his coaching staff see that he is a number one receiver, whether that be as a 1b or a 1a. He is talented enough to already be discussed as a mid first round pick in 2021 rookie drafts. 

2.03 – Max Borghi (RB – Washington State)
Borghi has an elite running back skill set. However, the trick will be proving that he can still succeed outside the friendly confines of Mike Leach’s air raid scheme. If he can do so this season, he will help prove to NFL front offices that he is more than just a system back. His tape suggests that he can do just that, as scheme or no scheme, you cannot teach his type of talent. The Chrisitan McCaffrey comparisons are a tad unrealistic and unfair, but there is no denying that he possesses elite receiving ability, and the skill to be a potential workhorse runner in the NFL. His 6.6 receptions per game in 2019 tied him with Tyler Johnson’s for the 15th-highest mark among all players. With number two Demetric Felton coming in at 4.6 per contest, he led the running back position by two receptions per game. For context, D’Andre Swift, J.K. Dobbins, and Jonathan Taylor never averaged two or more receptions per game. 2.03 may be too low for someone of Borghi’s tape and skill set, but I would like to see him get closer to 200 carries while still staying heavily involved as a receiver. The biggest fear with Borghi is that his future NFL team views him as a strict committee back. If he can shed that label, he will no doubt enter the top five conversation before the season is over. 

2.04 – Seth Williams (WR – Auburn)
Seth Williams is a big-bodied receiver who screams 10 touchdowns a year in the NFL. He is at his best downfield and in the red zone, as he is able to use his big frame and obvious basketball skills to box out defenders at will. His college quarterback does him no favors in terms of helping to elevate his game, but Williams has the fortune of having SEC tape, something that should help quell the doubts of those who box score watch and do not have the time or wherewithal to watch any tape. His touchdown upside should put him in the immediate WR2 conversation for dynasty leagues, and there is upside for more if he lands with a good to great quarterback. Built to beat press coverage, Seth Williams should have little problem transitioning to the NFL. 

2.05 – Journey Brown (RB – Penn State)
Brown is a talented running back who could make a major jump in terms of his placement in the 2021 rookie draft class. A powerful runner with good contact balance, Brown is set to see a major workload increase in 2020. After beating out top recruit Ricky Slade for the lead back job following the departure of Miles Sanders, Brown forced the former into the transfer portal. He appears set to become the next Penn State star to make waves in the NFL, but it remains to be seen if he will be drafted to start, or to be part of a committee. As a committee back he will be more of an RB3, as a feature or lead back he would boast high end RB2 upside. Brown is going to have to show more as a receiver to avoid getting the early down label. Let’s just hope he declares for the 2021 NFL Draft instead of angling to be the first running back selected in 2022. 

2.06 – Trevor Lawrence (QB – Clemson)
A virtual lock to be the first player selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence has the makings of a future fantasy star. A QB1 candidate upon arrival to an NFL dressing room, Lawrence should be highly sought after, even in single QB formats. He has a chance to be selected closer to the top of the second round in many rookie drafts, as he has been one of the most hyped quarterbacks of the last decade. Viewed by many as the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck, Lawrence broke out with an outstanding, highly visible freshman season, and followed it up with an improved 2019. He is going to have a tough task overcoming the loss of Tee Higgins to the NFL, and Justyn Ross to injury, but still has a talented wide receiver room to work with. While he is no Lamar Jackson on the ground, he carries significant rushing upside, scoring nine touchdowns on 103 attempts. This only adds to his case as an immediate QB1, as he would be vying for the conversation as a passer alone. Lawrence is a rare prospect for whom owners in single QB leagues should not be afraid to ‘reach.’ 

2.07 – Trey Lance (QB – NDSU)
What to make of Trey Lance? On one hand, his tape screams future fantasy star. He has an NFL caliber arm with good touch on his deep throws. Lance is a top end athlete who rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was flawless in terms of touchdowns to interceptions, as he threw for 28 touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, there is always a risk when it comes to evaluating FCS quarterbacks, especially ones that play at one of the better recruiting teams at NDSU. There are multiple instances of FCS quarterbacks succeeding in the NFL, but Lance will also have to impress teams enough as a passer for them to consider him a first round pick. He appeared more poised in the pocket and in his progressions than Jalen Hurts, so he should have a better chance at being viewed as a day one pick. His NFL team will likely need to tailor their offensive scheme to fit Lance’s skill set, so he is going to have to continue to improve in order to convince NFL front offices that he is worth that level of organizational commitment. There is no denying that Lance offers an exciting skill set that makes him one of the most intriguing players in all of college football, but it is a little concerning that Vegas failed to even list him among the top five for the first quarterback to be drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft. Regardless of what Vegas thinks of him, there is no denying his fantasy friendly skill set should he be drafted to be an eventual starter. 

2.08 – Master Teague (RB – Ohio State)
Master Teague is a talented running back who made one believe that Ohio State would not miss a beat with J.K. Dobbins headed to the NFL. Unfortunately, he suffered an Achilles injury this offseason and will very likely miss the entirety of his junior season. He would be able to gain a redshirt and return for two more years, but if he is healthy and the world is in a state where he can test in front of NFL teams, he should eschew more injury risk and take his chances late on day two or early on day three. He has obvious talent, and would have been able to keep the Ohio State offense humming along if he was able to stay healthy. A powerful runner with great burst, Teague has the talent to be a lead runner in the NFL, but will need to be somewhere close to running and cutting at full speed by next January in order to comfortably make the decision to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft. However, as we have seen with Emmanuel Sanders, achilles injuries are no longer the death blow that they were in years past. Master Teague will be one of the most interesting names to monitor over the next eight months.  

2.09 – Sage Surrat (WR – Wake Forest)
Surrat is a talented wide receiver with good size. He has proven to be an effective weapon both downfield and in the red zone, but still continues to be underrated versus the top tiers of the 2021 wide receiver class. Surrat projects as a starter in three wide sets who can play both inside and out, and should be able to carve out a long and fruitful career. With that being said, the depth chart he lands on is going to be a key correlative factor in determining his fantasy value for the first four years of his career. 

2.10 – Jhamon Ausbon (WR – Texas A&M)
Ausbon is a talented wide receiver who looked like the most talented player at his position not named Christian Kirk the second he stepped on the field for the Aggies. Despite uneven play from quarterback Kellen Mond and taking a step back in his first full season as a starter, Ausbon was able to improve in his junior season. With Quartney Davis, Kirk, and Kendrick Rogers now all in the NFL, Ausbon will have the opportunity to massively increase his draft stock. One of the top recruits from the 2017 class, Ausbon was ranked ahead of names like Jalen Reagor and Henry Ruggs. His decision to decommit from LSU in favor of Texas A&M may have cost him millions, but he still projects as having a bright NFL future. Draft capital and depth chart may be key to his initial success in the NFL, but he should emerge on almost any depth chart by the middle of his second season. Ausbon should be able to carve out a long term role as a number three receiver, presumably in a possession receiver role that will allow him to become an asset in PPR and half-PPR leagues. 

2.11 – Zamir White (RB – Georgia)
With D’Andre Swift now in the NFL, Zamir White is expected to explode as the Georgia Bulldogs lead back. He returned from his ACL tear showing the same power and explosion that made him one of 2018’s top 10 overall recruits, and now, a year removed from the injury, he is expected to take another step forward. He will have some talented running backs nipping at his heels, but White should end up leading the team in both carries and receptions before declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. White appears to have speed to burn as he ran a 10.58 100m in high school (for context Jonathan Taylor ran a 10.64), something that should show itself even more as his ACL returns to full strength. White has the talent to make a serious case in the conversation of the top five running backs in the 2021 class, but he will need to get the workload to display his wares to NFL talent evaluators.

2.12 – Justin Fields (QB – Ohio State)
Justin Fields is a talented quarterback that is likely to be a first-round pick in 2021. He has some work to do to join the Trevor Lawrence and Trey Lance conversation but has a strong arm and the mobility to become an instant fantasy star. He profiles as a potential top-10 pick, something he can cement if he makes the leap most expect from him this upcoming season. Players like Trey Sermon make sense here, but you cannot let a player who projects to be an immediate starter with QB1 level upside slip to the third round. 

On the bubble: Trey Sermon (RB – Ohio State), Javian Hawkins (RB – Louisville), Elijah Collins (RB – Michigan State), C.J. Verdell (RB – Oregon), Rakeem Boyd (RB – Arkansas), Dyami Brown (WR – North Carolina), Kennedy Brooks (RB – Oklahoma), Kyle Pitts (TE – Florida), Brevin Jordan (TE – Miami), Keaontay Ingram (RB – Texas), Pat Freiermuth (TE – Penn State), Chris Olave (WR – Ohio State), Sam Ehlinger (QB – Texas), D’Eriq King (QB – Miami), Jamie Newman (QB – Georgia)

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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