2021 NFL Draft Risers and Fallers 2.0
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We are less than a week away from the NFL Draft, the biggest offseason event in all of pro sports. All the Pro-Days are done, most teams have their big boards filled out, and they have a general idea of what they want to accomplish in the draft. The fantasy world, however, is a little bit different. We attempt to read between the lines with every shred of news, we overreact to everything, and we move players up and down based solely on a quote from a coach.
Players rise and fall seemingly every day, and what was relevant two weeks ago may not be the case any longer. Be sure to check out my Risers and Fallers article from early April, and let me know if you think those guys are still trending the same. My guess is they are not. Now, let’s take a look at some new risers and fallers for late April, just in time for the draft.
Elijah Mitchell (RB – Louisana)
Mitchell has been steadily climbing in my rankings and for a good reason. At 5-foot-10 200lbs, he ran a 4.35 40 (adjusted to 4.4) at his Pro Day, which is in the 97th percentile, and his speed and burst scores are in the 80th percentile (per Playerprofiler).
In the 2019 season, he played in 14 games, had 1,147 yards and a staggering 17 rushing TDs. His best receiving season was 2018 with 20 catches for 349 yards, so there is something to be desired from him in the passing game, but just because he didn’t do it in college doesn’t mean he can’t.
I’ve given you metrics and stats as to why I think his rank is rising, but if that doesn’t do it for you, rookie profile extraordinaire Ray Garvin loves Mitchell, and honestly, that’s enough to raise him a few spots on its own.
Pat Freiermuth (TE – Penn State)
Tight end Kyle Pitts is far and away the No. 1 TE in this class. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the dropoff from him to the TE2 is greater than at any other position — including the dropoff from Trevor Lawrence to the QB2.
With that said, had Freiermuth been part of last year’s class of tight ends, he would have likely been far-and-away the No. 1 tight end in that class. That was a long-winded way of saying, Freiermuth is no slouch. He just isn’t Pitts.
We don’t have any measurables to go on since he is recovering from a shoulder injury that required surgery, but we do have his height and weight, and he is huge. He came in at 6-foot-5 251lbs at his Pro Day, and while he didn’t do any running drills this season, Penn State has him at 4.18 seconds in the shuttle from last summer, the third-fastest shuttle time for a tight end since Penn State started charting those numbers in 2012 (per 247sports.com). For comparison’s sake, that time would have been the fastest time for a tight end if he were in the 2020 class.
People are starting to realize that there is, in fact, more than one tight end in this draft class, and while Freiermuth may not give you any Year 1 production, his upside is huge. You will just have to wait a year or two.
Javian Hawkins (RB – Louisville)
Just a few short weeks ago, I had moved Hawkins up in my rankings. I had seen a few breakdowns on Twitter from some smart people, and I liked what I saw. However, as I dove a little deeper, I started moving him back down — and so has much of the fantasy community.
First off, he is only 5-foot-9 187lbs, which isn’t terrible for a 3rd-down running back or one that is blazing fast. He is neither. His 40 time of 4.51 is a respectable number, but when it’s adjusted for his size, his speed score is in the 21st percentile (per Playerprofiler.com). When it comes to passing down work, he has a very small sample size, catching a total of 21 passes in his three years at Louisville.
To recap, he is a 187-pound running back with below-average speed for his size and has never been used as a receiver out of the backfield. I will pass.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – USC)
Here is another guy that, just a few short weeks ago, I was in love with. However, a 40 time of 4.66 really hurt his stock. At 5-foot-11 198lbs, he will be limited to a slot roll in the NFL, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for fantasy, but it limits his upside. St. Brown can be a great fantasy asset in the right situation, but he will need a good landing spot to get the opportunity.
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