NFL Draft 2021 - Day 3 Thoughts
Picks that Intrigued Me:
Michael Carter, NYJ
- Probably the biggest Day 3 pick in terms of opportunity, I could definitely see Michael Carter becoming the Jets' Aaron Jones. There's no one of great value in front of him, he's a talented player with great lateral agility and receiving skills, and, by the end of the season, should be the starter. He shouldn't get out of your first round of any Dynasty Rookie draft.
Dez Fitzpatrick, TEN
- The Titans waited til Day 3 to take someone that could fill one of the receiving option voids opposite AJ Brown. I know a lot of analysts are predicting Davante Adams like target share and dominance as a result of Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, and Jonnu Smith all leaving, but the loss of Arthur Smith to the Falcons does also scare me. I know AJ Brown was a beast the last two years and last year was on two bad knees for most of it, but play-action and scheme were a big part of his success. Brown's injury history worries me as well as does the fact that there were a few games last year where he went missing. I'm not sure this Titans offense is going to be as good in 2021. Now, all that being said in a paragraph that I was supposed to talk about this rookie, I hope he's ready because he's stepping into an opportunity from Day 1 that he's going to need to produce to help this team. If you needed an upside Day 3 WR to draft in the second or third round of your Dynasty Rookie Draft, Fitzpatrick is going to be high on that list.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, DET
- For a guy that I saw as high as the first round in a few mock drafts, to slip to Day 3 would be more concerning to his potential value if not that the top two projected targets in this offense are TJ Hockenson and D'Andre Swift. New O-Coordinator, Anthony Lynn, was the playcaller for the Chargers the last few years, and, in strict comparables, St. Brown is projected as a primarily slot-receiver that would liken to the way Keenan Allen was fed the last few years, and that's even before we get to Jared Goff who's favorite target, Cooper Kupp, was the primary slot-receiver for the Rams. Even as bad as the Lions offense is likely to be, St. Brown is going to get an opportunity to be the #1 WR on this team, and that isn't something you can say about many other receivers below the first round in this draft.
Rhamondre Stevenson, NE
- How many running backs does NE need? Sony Michel, Damien Harris, James White, Cam Newton (kinda), and now Stevenson who was hyped up as being a potential star if he landed in the right spot. Despite the poor showing at times from a couple of these guys or the many injuries this backfield had last season, I don't see Stevenson having much opportunity this year or making the most of it if he does get it. I wasn't high on him in the pre-draft and I'm definitely not high given where he ended up.
Chuba Hubbard, CAR
- Carolina was in the running for a new backup after Mike Davis moved on to Atlanta. While Hubbard intrigued me as a prospect coming into the draft and this is a valuable situation to be in a RB in, he is relegated to handcuff status given McCaffrey's explosiveness and usage rate. A pretty good handcuff though. Maybe I should do a top handcuffs rankings list...
Tylan Wallace, BAL
- Baltimore was all-in this offseason to upgrade their pass-catchers after "Hollywood" Brown has disappointed the past two seasons, and Lamar Jackson can't run on every down and be successful. In steps one of the fastest receivers in this class who could be the biggest beneficiary of Baltimore's play-action attack. Bold prediction: I like Batemon as the superior WR, but I think Wallace as a bigger rookie year coming in to the league based on the types of receivers they play in this offense. Batemon is competing with (albeit oft-injured) Sammy Watkins for the old Willie Snead role where Wallace will likely be on the outside trying to beat out "Hollywood" Brown for top speedster.
Ian Book, NO
- Only a story to monitor in so much as the questions still surrounding the NO Quarterback room with both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston on the roster. There's likely no way that Book is starting anytime soon, but this is more of a watch and see for the whole team outside of the Kamara for life after Drew Brees this season.
Brevin Jordan, HOU
- A good to sometimes great receiving Tight End at Miami, this is important only if Deshaun Watson plays this year (which it sounds like he might not) as there are not a ton of receiving options in that Houston offense. With a couple of years of work, he very well could be a valuable option in the next couple years.
Kenneth Gainwell, PHI
- For as much as my co-host likes to claim Miles Sanders is an every-down all-purpose back, he was one of the lowest graded receiving backs last season. The hope for Miles Sanders is that the likely increased running-heavy scheme with Jalen Hurts at QB just simply gives him more carries, but Kenneth Gainwell is going to be the receiving/satellite RB for this team. In fact, this pushes Miles Sanders for me into the Josh Jacobs territory as a run-only back that needs a ton of carries to get any points on a given week. As such, this makes it easier to stay away from Eagles players in redraft, and, while I really like Kenneth Gainwell, I don't see him getting a ton of play unless Sanders gets hurt again. He's a stash handcuff unfortunately where I would have rather seen him in Miami or Atlanta.
Noah Gray, KC
- Kansas City got another tight end in the middle rounds. At some point, they need to start thinking about the position post-HOFer Travis Kelce. This is intriguing only as a monitor-his-situation. I would almost guarantee he'll have no impact in year one, but he could sneak up on people just as Kelce battles Father Time in 2-3 seasons.
Elijah Mitchell, SF
- While the focus was mostly on Trey Sermon (with good reason) as the back to have in SF, Day 3 turned in this great surprise for a 3-time all conference player that can catch passes, ran a 4.3 40 at his pro day, and has receiving ability. Jeff Wilson, Wayne Gallman, and Raheem Mostert all are technically ahead of the two rookies, but Kyle Shanahan wouldn't have taken two rookies in this draft if he didn't know that he would need them this season. Mostert and Wilson took turns with multiple-week injuries last season, and this is one of the most RB-friendly spots in the NFL. Watch out for Trey Sermon, but don't draft the new heir apparent to Jerrick McKinnon/Matt Breida at your own risk.
Chris Evans, CIN
- If you own Joe Mixon, you need to be focusing on drafting this guy. Chris Evans is a capable three-down back in a good system that is going to give a lot of opportunity with light boxes to running backs due to how often the Bengals pass who is going to be the clear backup after Gio Bernard was cut (and went to Tampa) and with Joe Mixon coming off of a mostly lost season in 2020. If Mixon, who has missed significant time over the last two seasons, does not play, this is a sneaky pick who could end up with minimally flex consideration during those weeks. I know I get criticism as the Handcuff King, but these are the situations why you do.
Kylin Hill, GB
- Like the man below this, Kylin Hill, while not making my top 15 rookies going into the draft, was someone I really liked if he was given the right opportunity. An All-SEC standout that led the conference in rushing in 2019, he's a guy that could have stepped into any big opportunity and done well. He's firmly behind superstar Aaron Jones and capable back-up AJ Dillon (last year's second round pick for GB), but both have had poor injury histories over the last few years (Jones in the NFL, Dillon in the NFL and college). So, there is some possibility that Hill could be the beneficiary at some point during the season. If you're someone needing to use a late flyer pick or deep roster spot, this is an intriguing landing spot that could pay off, but don't expect if you draft him that he'll be relevant at all for I would guess at least the first six weeks or so, maybe longer, unless there's something bad in the water in GB this season.
Jermar Jefferson, DET
- This was a guy that I had high in my pre-draft rankings as I thought he might be an every down back, but this is not a great landing spot for him as he is cemented behind D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams, both capable three-down backs, and there is likely no opportunity for him here without very unfortunate injury luck. At best, he's a handcuff; at worst, he's not even rosterable now.