Mock Draft Recap

Mock Draft Recap

This article is part of our 2020 Rankings series.

I was invited to participate in an industry mock over the weekend with some of the brightest college fantasy football minds out there. So, yeah, I was a misfit in that regard. But it was a really fun exercise that might have been the most insightful mock I've ever been a part of. 

Getting an idea on the market was my main goal. The lack of spring practice made this a wide-open exercise that served to give a loose idea of how certain teams and players were valued by my peers. I was interested to see how much the top returning producers would shape the first few rounds given the lack of news on emerging players from spring. I was also curious to see how drafters would approach the LSU offense with so many key pieces leaving along with Joe Brady's departure. And North Carolina was also an interesting test case given the Heels' impressive young nucleus. Spoiler: you're going to have to pay up for Sam Howell and company. 

Below is a tweet with all the participants in the draft, along with the draft board and my roster.

I drew the fourth pick overall. Here's my analysis of the draft, broken down into two-round sections.

Rounds 1-2

RoundPickOvr.PosPlayerTeamFantasy Team
111RBHubbard, ChubaOkStJosh Chevalier
122WRChase, Ja'MarrLSUTeam FranchiseKF
133QBFields, JustinOHStJustin Heisey
144RBPatterson, JaretBuffMcKechnie
155QBEhlinger, SamTexTeam ChrisKay
166RBEtienne, TravisClemTeam theCFFsite
177RBGainwell, KennethMemTeam zthall
188RBHarris, NajeeAlaTeam andrewpkatz
199QBRattler, SpencerOklaNate Marchese
11010QBLawrence, TrevorClemGridironScholar
11111QBHowell, SamUNCTeam Quarantine
11212WRWallace, TylanOkStTeam kevin_brown87
11313WRRoberson Jr., ReggieSMUTeam mikebainbridge20
2114WRSmith, DeVontaAlaTeam mikebainbridge20
2215RBBorghi, MaxWaStTeam kevin_brown87
2316WRTerry, TamorrionFlaStTeam Quarantine
2417RBSpiller, IsaiahTxAMGridironScholar
2518WRMoore, RondalePurdNate Marchese
2619RBHall, BreeceIAStTeam andrewpkatz
2720RBLewis, KobeC MiTeam zthall
2821WRStevenson, MarquezHouTeam theCFFsite
2922WRAtwell, ChatariusLouTeam ChrisKay
21023QBO'Hara, AsherMidTNMcKechnie
21124WRSurratt, SageWakeJustin Heisey
21225WRBateman, RashodMinnTeam FranchiseKF
21326QBKing, D'EriqMiaFLJosh Chevalier

My Picks: Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo at 1.4; Asher O'Hara, QB at 2.10

I was faced with a tough decision right off the bat. I wanted to go running back with Justin Fields, the likely No.1 overall player by the time the season's over, off the board. But which one? 

Travis Etienne was of course tempting -- he was second among returning running backs in fantasy points last season and racked up 23 total touchdowns. My only concern there is that Clemson doesn't need Etienne to have a successful offense. Etienne had a high rushing share last year -- 37 percent to be exact -- but that only added up to 207 carries over 15 games. He didn't even rank in the top 100 in fourth quarter carries last season in the entire nation. Lyn-J Dixon and incoming freshman Demarkcus Bowman are talented enough to where Clemson has to allocate carries for them to keep them happy. And it keeps Etienne fresh.

There probably isn't a running back better on a per-touch basis than Etienne, but you're tying one hand behind your back a little bit taking him over someone who projects for 100 or more touches and is a more crucial part of their offense. 

Kenny Gainwell was my other main consideration there. Gainwell owned a 42 percent rushing share in an offense that ranked 9th in the nation in yards per play. He's also legit as a pass-catching threat, having hauled in 51 of 61 targets for 610 yards and three scores as a freshman in 2019. 

In the end, I went with Patterson. I'm not sure any offense leans more heavily on one player than Buffalo does on Patterson. He had 312 carries and ranked third in the nation in carries per game (24.0). Patterson scored 20 of Buffalo's 54 total touchdowns. I might end up regretting going with Patterson over Gainwell, but Patterson's explosiveness plus heavy workload should keep him among the most productive running backs in the country even if he's not making a big splash in the passing game.

I wanted to address quarterback in the second round. O'Hara might've been a reach as the sixth quarterback off the board, but I'm sold on him as a true-dual threat. He's first among returning quarterbacks in terms of rushing production after racking up 1,058 yards and nine touchdowns in 2019. O'Hara is also no slouch as a passer, completing 62.7 percent of his passes and throwing 20 touchdowns on 335 attempts. He's a decent bet to finish the year with 4,000 total yards with 1,000 of those coming on the ground, along with 30-plus total touchdowns.

Other Observations

Ja'Marr Chase going No.2 overall. It's bold -- I don't know if any offense will ever replicate what LSU did a year ago, and that includes Chase. I have no doubt about his talent and him being the best receiver in college football. But the drop from Joe Burrow to Myles Brennan could be significant, as could the overall efficiency of the offense with Joe Brady gone. If nothing else, I respect the stones it takes to plant your flag that hard. Shoutout @FranchiseKF for going after it.

Otherwise, one of the lessons I wanted to learn from this was the market reaction to Mike Leach leaving Washington State and going to Mississippi State. Max Borghi was probably the player I was most interested in seeing how his valuation would shift. The end result was him going in the early second round. He ranked 21st among running backs in FPts/G last season. The expectation seems to be that he'll run the ball more, but he probably won't get 86 manufactured catches either. Maybe it ends up as a break-even where he ends up in the same ballpark in terms of total yardage and touchdowns. The worst-case scenario would be his per-carry production as a runner takes a major dip and he ends up significantly less receptions. I like what Borghi brings to the table in general, but there's always someone else in my draft room that likes him more. 

Rounds 3-4

RoundPickOvr.Pos.PlayerSchoolFantasy Team
3127QBNewman, JamieUGAJosh Chevalier
3228WRNewsome, DazzUNCTeam FranchiseKF
3329RBJefferson, JermarOreStJustin Heisey
3430WRCoxie, DamonteMemMcKechnie
3531WRAdams Jr., JonathanArkStTeam ChrisKay
3632RBBrooks, KennedyOklaTeam theCFFsite
3733WRVaughns, TylerUSCTeam zthall
3834WRPickens, GeorgeUGATeam andrewpkatz
3935RBHill, KylinMisStNate Marchese
31036WRRoss, JustynClemGridironScholar
31137QBCostello, K.J.StanTeam Quarantine
31238QBDaniels, JaydenAzStTeam kevin_brown87
31339QBSanders, SpencerOkStTeam mikebainbridge20
4140RBHolani, GeorgeBoiseTeam mikebainbridge20
4241QBAhlers, HoltonECUTeam kevin_brown87
4342RBHawkins, JavianLouTeam Quarantine
4443RBBrown, JourneyPSUGridironScholar
4544QBPurdy, BrockIAStNate Marchese
4645WRWalker, TreSJSUTeam andrewpkatz
4746WRBrown, DyamiUNCTeam zthall
4847WRHaselwood, JadonOklaTeam theCFFsite
4948QBBuechele, ShaneSMUTeam ChrisKay
41049QBCrum, DustinKentMcKechnie
41150WRBell, RenardWaStJustin Heisey
41251WRWaddle, JaylenAlaTeam FranchiseKF
41352WRJohnson, C.J.ECUJosh Chevalier

My Picks: Damonte Coxie, WR, Memphis at 3.4 (30th); Dustin Crum, QB, Kent State at 4.10 (49th)

This was my first mock of the offseason, so my inclination was to go after a balanced roster build. I already had an elite running back and a top flight quarterback, so receiver was next on the check list. 

I'm bullish on the Memphis offense, so going after the No.1 target for the Tigers seemed like a good move. I don't know if there's another level Coxie can reach as a fifth-year senior, but even if he's maxed out, I'm sold on what that ceiling looks like. Coxie has 148 catches on 246 targets over the last two years for 2,450 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has at least 70 catches for at least 1,100 yards in each of those seasons, and the targets have been north of 115 in each as well. Locking in a safe and productive receiver there would allow me to take some more speculative picks later in the draft. 

I went after Dustin Crum with my fourth pick. I like the pick and the player, but it was at this point that I realized I might've been better off waiting on QB2 and continuing to stockpile skill position talent. I'll be targeting Crum throughout draft season. He fits the bill in what I target at quarterback: he's a dual-threat with polished passing ability. Crum completed 69.3 percent of his passes last season with an 8.4 YPA to go with a 20:2 TD:INT. He also ran for 707 yards and six scores. This will be his senior season, and if 2019 is any indication, Crum should be one of the most productive quarterback in college football this year. 

Other Observations

I was hoping to get Javian Hawkins in this draft and was interested to see where he'd go. I clearly wasn't his only believer as Team Quarantine nabbed him at Pick 3 of the fourth round. Louisville is going to have an explosive offense with a lot of returning pieces this year. Now I know that you'll have to pay up to get exposure to that offense, seeing as TuTu Atwell went in the late second round, too. 

Rounds 5-6

RoundPickOvr.PosPlayerSchoolFantasy Team
5153WRBell, DavidPurdJosh Chevalier
5254RBBailey, DavidBCTeam FranchiseKF
5355RBWatson, NakiaWiscJustin Heisey
5456RBMitchell, ElijahULLafMcKechnie
5557RBKnox, BrendenMarshTeam ChrisKay
5658RBMcDaniel, TJSMUTeam theCFFsite
5759RBHenderson, JustinLaTecTeam zthall
5860QBSlovis, KedonUSCTeam andrewpkatz
5961RBValladay, XazavianWyoNate Marchese
51062WRSt. Brown, Amon-RaUSCGridironScholar
51163RBBoyd, RakeemArkTeam Quarantine
51264WRRobinson, Wan'DaleNebTeam kevin_brown87
51365QBHartman, SamWakeTeam mikebainbridge20
6166WRSmart, JaredHawaiiTeam mikebainbridge20
6267RBIbrahim, MohamedMinnTeam kevin_brown87
6368WRDarby, FrankAzStTeam Quarantine
6469RBMarable, CJCoCarGridironScholar
6570WRMarshall Jr., TerraceLSUNate Marchese
6671RBKoback, BryantToledTeam andrewpkatz
6772QBBonner, LoganArkStTeam zthall
6873QBCunningham, MicaleLouTeam theCFFsite
6974RBWilliams, D.J.AubTeam ChrisKay
61075WROlave, ChrisOHStMcKechnie
61176RBDavis, Re'MahnTempJustin Heisey
61277RBHuntley, CalebBallTeam FranchiseKF
61378RBJohnson, JoshULMonJosh Chevalier

My Picks: Elijah Mitchell, RB, Louisiana at 5.4 (56); Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State at 6.10 (75)

These were two players I was mildly surprised to see available at their respective spots. With Mitchell, there is the concern with having to split carries with Trey Ragas. But that was the case last year, too, and he had to contend with 2020 draft entrant Raymond Calais as well. Calais is gone now, leaving 117 carries up for grabs. Not all of them will go to Mitchell, of course, but it stands to reason that he'll be seeing a few more carries per game. Louisiana's rushing attack is truly one of the best in the country -- it ranked 6th in the nation in yards per game in 2019  -- and Mitchell is the top option in its backfield. Not a lot to overthink there when looking at what was available at running back there.

I can understand Olave's fall a bit. Ohio State is always so loaded at receiver that it's hard to find a true target monster on a week-to-week basis. But we're talking about the best receiver in an offense that is replacing 50 percent of its targets in the form of K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and J.K. Dobbins. So this should be the Olave and Garrett Wilson show, and while Wilson might have more physical tools, Olave is the receiver to target here. Olave averaged 11.1 YPT and racked up 12 touchdowns on 76 targets. He's polished, he's fluid, and he's the top target for Justin Fields. I honestly think Olave is a legit Belitnikoff candidate. 

Other Observations

The two Davids that went at the top of the fifth are two of the more interesting players out there and I was interested to see where they would land. I thought about targeting Bell as my WR2, but that I was hoping to make that call a round or two later. There's no discount on Bell even with the assumption that Rondale Moore will be available for more than four games this season. Noted.

Bailey looks like a competent replacement for AJ Dillon for the Eagles. He's even built the same, checking in at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds. Bailey averaged 5.7 yards per carry for BC last year and had some monster outings, like a 181-yard outing against North Carolina State and a 172-yard rampage against Syracuse. However, Boston College has a new coaching staff with Frank Cignetti running the offense. Boston College had the sixth-highest rushing play rate in all of college football last season. If that rush rate drops and Boston College checks in at, say, 20th, what will that do to Bailey's carry ceiling?

Round 7-8

RoundPickOvr.Pos.PlayerSchoolFantasy Team
7179RBWilliams, CharlesUNLVJosh Chevalier
7280WRFelton, DemetricUCLATeam FranchiseKF
7381QBBook, IanNDJustin Heisey
7482WRSnead, TylerECUMcKechnie
7583WRPearson, JahcourW KyTeam ChrisKay
7684WRWilliams, SethAubTeam theCFFsite
7785WRMcKoy, IsaiahKentTeam zthall
7886TEGranson, KylenSMUTeam andrewpkatz
7987RBEaly, JerrionMissNate Marchese
71088RBRivers, RonnieFresGridironScholar
71189RBLaborn, KhalanFlaStTeam Quarantine
71290RBMurray, MarcelArkStTeam kevin_brown87
71391RBThompson, SaRodorickTxTchTeam mikebainbridge20
8192RBGoodson, TylerIowaTeam mikebainbridge20
8293TEPitts, KyleFlaTeam kevin_brown87
8394WRPhilyor, WhopIndTeam Quarantine
8495WRShakir, KhalilBoiseGridironScholar
8596TEKuithe, BrantUtahNate Marchese
8697QBCordeiro, ChevanHawaiiTeam andrewpkatz
8798TEJordan, BrevinMiaFLTeam zthall
8899RBNewton, RichardWashTeam theCFFsite
89100WRStokes, KeylonTulsTeam ChrisKay
810101WRWright, DanteColStMcKechnie
811102WRRambo, CharlestonOklaJustin Heisey
812103RBWilliams Jr., PookaKansTeam FranchiseKF
813104WRJackson, WarrenColStJosh Chevalier

My Picks: Tyler Snead, WR, ECU at 7.4 (82); Dante Wright, WR, Colorado State at 8.10 (101)

Few receivers ended the season on a bigger hot streak than Snead. From Week 8 through the end of the regular season, Snead ranked 8th in the nation in targets (67) and fourth in receptions (54). He converted that into 603 yards and five touchdowns in those six games. Getting a starting receiver in one of the most pass-happy offenses in the country seemed like a decent strategy. 

Dante Wright was my next pick, and probably my biggest reach of the draft. Warren Jackson is the No.1 for Colorado State so Wright was a misstep. He's a fine slot receiver but there were better options on the board. I also have a bit of reservation about the Colorado State offense this year with Mike Bobo gone. Call this one a mulligan. 

Other Observations

This is where the tight end run began and I was not particularly happy to miss out, especially on Kylen Granson. Kyle Pitts is going to be a monster for Florida this year as well -- he's easily the best player on that offense. But Granson's flourish to end 2019 was so dominant that it wouldn't surprise me at all if he ended this season as TE1. There's a lot of regret for me in this portion of the draft. 

Round 9-10

RoundPickOvr.Pos.PlayerSchoolFantasy Team
91105RBMcCormick, SincereUTSAJosh Chevalier
92106RBSermon, TreyOklaTeam FranchiseKF
93107WRNixon, TreUCFJustin Heisey
94108WRMoore, ElijahMissMcKechnie
95109RBVerdell, CJOregTeam ChrisKay
96110RBBrown, SpencerUABTeam theCFFsite
97111QBMartinez, AdrianNebTeam zthall
98112RBWhite, ZamirUGATeam andrewpkatz
99113WRThornton, TyquanBaylNate Marchese
910114TEKolar, CharlieIAStGridironScholar
911115TEBushman, MattBYUTeam Quarantine
912116RBWhittington, JordanTexTeam kevin_brown87
913117QBArmstrong, BrennanUVATeam mikebainbridge20
101118RBRountree III, LarryMizzuTeam mikebainbridge20
102119RBFord, JeromeCinTeam kevin_brown87
103120WRHarris, TajSyrTeam Quarantine
104121RBEmery Jr., JohnLSUGridironScholar
105122QBBrennan, MylesLSUNate Marchese
106123WRGrimes, RandalUNLVTeam andrewpkatz
107124RBGray, EricTennTeam zthall
108125TEPederson, JoshULMonTeam theCFFsite
109126TEMitchell, JamesVaTecTeam ChrisKay
1010127TEFerguson, JakeWiscMcKechnie
1011128RBCarothers, JamaleNavyJustin Heisey
1012129QBMond, KellenTxAMTeam FranchiseKF
1013130TERaine, JohnFlAtlJosh Chevalier

My Picks: Elijah Moore, WR, Mississippi at 9.4 (108); Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin at 10.10 (127)

Looking back, I probably could have sought out running back with one of these picks. I don't regret the Moore pick on its surface, but leaving nine rounds with just two running backs feels a bit risky even if I'm high on both of those backs. 

I'm not expecting Mississippi to lean on Moore to handle 36 percent of the target share again. The Rebels have too much receiver talent to run that strategy back. But Moore should still lead the team in targets and receptions and the passing game as a whole could be better if Lane Kiffin can get everyone up to speed. Moore is a fine value in the ninth.

Ferguson was the top remaining tight end on my board. He had the second-highest target share on the Badgers last season and averaged an impressive 9.5 YPT while Wisconsin's offense averaged 8.0 YPA as a collective. Ferguson's two touchdowns were a disappointment in 2019, so here's hoping the touchdown regression gods look favorably on him this season. 

Other Observations

This section of the draft had a ton of interesting running backs come off the board, as well as some absolute steals at quarterback. Getting Ohio State's potential No.1 running back, Trey Sermon, in the ninth round could be the best value of the draft if he stays healthy.

I'm not a C.J. Verdell guy, but even I'd admit that he's a nice value at this stage. I also liked the Zamir White and Jordan Whittington picks. And, yes, even John Emery Jr. 

At quarterback, Kellen Mond being the 25th player at his position to come off the board is a huge value. Maybe the ceiling isn't as high as we once thought, but he's a mobile senior in his second season in Jimbo Fisher's system. The schedule will still be tough but at least Texas A&M won't have to play at Clemson and at Georgia. I think Mond can be a Top 20 quarterback this season. 

Adrian the mighty have fallen. Martinez was one of the big disappointments in all of college football last season. We've seen enough flashes of brilliance from him to where he can't be written off completely, though. He's really interesting as a post-hype quarterback that should be a mid-round target for drafters who go heavy at the skill positions in the early goings. 

Round 11-12

RoundPickOvr.Pos.PlayerSchoolFantasy Team
111131RBKennedy III, WesleyGaSoJosh Chevalier
112132QBGabriel, DillonUCFTeam FranchiseKF
113133QBReynolds, ChrisCharJustin Heisey
114134RBBillingsley, DKTroyMcKechnie
115135RBArmstrong, JafarNDTeam ChrisKay
116136QBJones, MacAlaTeam theCFFsite
117137QBPlumlee, John RhysMissTeam zthall
118138WRMoore, SkyyWestMITeam andrewpkatz
119139WRMitchell, OsirusMisStNate Marchese
1110140QBDuggan, MaxTCUGridironScholar
1111141RBWilliams, JavonteUNCTeam Quarantine
1112142WRMcCoy, BruUSCTeam kevin_brown87
1113143TEDurham, PaynePurdTeam mikebainbridge20
121144WRSmith, JakeTexTeam mikebainbridge20
122145WRPimpleton, KalilC MiTeam kevin_brown87
123146RBClair, AndrewBGSUTeam Quarantine
124147QBTrask, KyleFlaGridironScholar
125148RBTrayanum, DeaMonteAzStNate Marchese
126149QBThomas, ZacAppTeam andrewpkatz
127150WRBlue, JadanTempTeam zthall
128151RBWalker, GaejW KyTeam theCFFsite
129152RBScott III, StevieIndTeam ChrisKay
1210153RBTyler, SeanWestMIMcKechnie
1211154TEGalloway, BradenClemJustin Heisey
1212155TEFreiermuth, PatPSUTeam FranchiseKF
1213156RBEmmons, BJFlAtlJosh Chevalier

My Picks: DK Billingsley, RB, Troy at 11.4 (134); Sean Tyler, RB, Western Michigan 12.10 (153)

I had to scramble to get some running back depth in the endgame but I was pretty happy with the results. Billingsley owned a 38 percent rushing share for Troy last season while no other back had more than 18 percent. I went over to our stats page and filtered by 2019 sophomores and found that Billingsley was one of the most productive players in his class on a per-game basis, averaging 14.3 fantasy points per game. He's fairly explosive (5.81 YPC) and was active in the passing game with 25 catches on 40 targets. All of that was enough for me to go after Billingsley in the 11th. 

Like any good last pick, this one's a dart throw that I'll be able to brag about if I get it right or act like it was a throwaway if it ends up being a bust. Tyler fits that mold for me for a couple of reasons. For one, he's in line to be the next man up in a Western Michigan offense that is looking to replace LeVante Bellamy's 53 percent rushing share. Now it's possible that I didn't properly weight Western Michigan's addition of Nevada transfer Jaxson Kincaid, but I like Tyler's profile. Of the 2019 freshmen with at least 60 carries, Tyler ranked fourth in yards per carry at 5.74. And I also realized that Western Michigan may be an under-the-radar offense to target in general this year. The Broncos have a balanced attack with impressive receivers that will keep defenses honest and keep the box light for the running backs. That's huge. Even if Tyler doesn't replace Bellamy's workload 1:1, there's reason to believe he can push for 200 carries and rack up plenty of production with that type of volume.

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John McKechnie
John is the 2016 and 2021 FSWA College Writer of the Year winner. He is a Maryland native and graduate of the University of Georgia. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2014.
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