Late Round 2021 Rookie Flyers
Hello Heat Seekers, welcome to episode 136 of Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast. I am you host; I am Rob Sullivan. The Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast is a proud member of the RotoHeat family of podcasts.
episode 136- Late Round 2021 Rookie Flyers. I am sure most have completed their top-12 or top-24 rookie rankings at this point as we prepare for the NFL draft on April 29th. These rankings are sure to change once draft capital and landing spots are determined. By now, I am sure you all know, landing spot doesn’t really matter much to me, its relevant but draft capital means much more than landing spot to me.
The players I am going to discuss today, likely won’t have very good draft capital, in fact I am sure there are some rookies that I discuss today that don’t get drafted at all.
These are players that I have studied for rookiedraftguide.com and players that I see with upside and I see them as value adds in the later rounds of your rookie drafts. When you start throwing darts at guys in round 4 and 5, throw them at these guys. I have selected six players for your dart throwing enjoyment.
QB – Kellen Mond – Texas A&M
6’3” 211 Lbs.
Current Rank: 56th overall QB7
There are the Big 5 at the quarterback position in this upcoming draft and outside of NBC’s Chris Sims I don’t know of anyone that has Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond among them. I do see some upside in Mond’s game in terms of fantasy football. In 4 years in college Mond threw for 9661 yards and 71 touchdowns with 27 interceptions. In addition to his passing, Mond ran 468 times for 1609 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Coming out of high school, Mond was rated as the No. 2 quarterback recruit in the nation, behind Tua Tagovailoa. While Mond was only a four-star prospect, he was the highest-rated dual-threat quarterback.
It’s the rushing upside that I like when I watch Mond. He is a true dual threat QB, and at 6’3” 211 lbs, he can move. In addition to his legs, he has a good arm. Where there are opportunities in his passing game, are his mechanics, his throwing motion is not exactly what you want in your starting QB. He is a hot and cold QB, when he is hot, he has done well, and as expected when he’s cold he’s ice cold.
What is extremely interesting to me is Mond is 21 years old, and he has 46 games of college experience. There are some teams that I would prefer more than others in terms of a spot for Mond. Washington, Houston, and Minnesota come to mind. He’s not a QB that I feel will start anytime soon, but on the three teams I mentioned he doesn’t need to. I want him to land in a spot that he has the potential to start, and I see that potential in those three cities.
In Washington, fan favorite Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a long-term answer and as good a story as Taylor Heinicke was a season ago he isn’t the answer either. Mond would work well in the Scott Turner offense and the offense has plenty of weapons.
Houston is a mess and with the Deshaun Watson saga continuing and looking worse with each passing day, there is likely some opportunity here. Houston did add Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Finley this offseason but neither one of those fine gentlemen moves the needle. Houston also doesn’t have the draft picks to grab a QB. They won’t be on the clock until pick 67 in the third round and pick 109 in the 4th seems about right for Mond.
My Minnesota Vikings need to draft a QB, and as much as I would like them to draft a QB with more long-term upside, they might be a fit for Kellen Mond. Starting QB Kirk Cousins in under contract until the end of the 2022 season. There is an out for the Vikings after the 2021 season, and releasing Cousins leaves a 10MM dead cap hit but creates a savings of 35MM. The Vikings are an unlikely destination but the landing spot allows Mond to develop for a season under Cousins and potentially start in 2022.
In the late 4th round of your 1QB leagues if you need some depth at QB, throw the dart at Mond. In this range of your rookie drafts the odds of landing a viable fantasy asset are extremely slim. If you are drafting in a Super-flex start looking for Mond in the back end of the third round.
RB – Rakeem Boyd Arkansas
5’11” 213 Lbs.
Current Rank: 52nd overall RB16
Outside of the big three RBs in this draft, there are maybe two or three other backs that I am actively interested in. The reality is this class isn’t overly deep at the running back position. Now with that being said I am 100% comfortable throwing a dart at Arkansas RB Rakeem Boyd. Currently ranked at RB16 over on DLF, with an April rookie ADP of 48.60 (RB20).
Boyd is a back that came up thru the Junior College ranks and I always have a soft spot for the JUCO guys. I like the guys that had to battle to get here and maybe I have just watched to much Last Chance U, who knows.
Boyd started his college career at Texas A&M and then transferred to Independence Community College after some challenges with his academics. After becoming one of the top JUCO running backs he landed in Arkansas.
He led the Razorbacks in rushing as a sophomore, and as a junior. In his 2019 Junior season, Boyd turned 184 carries into 1133 yards and 8 touchdowns in 12 games. He added 19 receptions for an additional 160 yards.
When I watched film on Boyd, I saw a patient runner that found the hole more often than not and when found that hole he hit it hard with a solid burst. In the passing game Boyd shows his athleticism. He runs decent routes, is a hands catcher and is productive after the catch with the ball in his hands.
His 2020 season lowers his stock. In 7 games (6 starts), he saw 82 carries that only produced 309 rushing yards, and three scores. He was also limited to 10 receptions for 33 yards. After the 7th game of the season, Boyd opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season to prepare for the NFL draft.
Boyd is athletic, in his 2019 season he was lining up all over the field. Arkansas used him in the slot, lined him up out wide, you name it he lined up there. In 2020 that all for whatever reason went away.
I like Boyd’s size, and I really like his ability to catch the football. He’s got some flaws but if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be a part of this episode. Boyd is the type of back that likely is a team’s #3, in some form of a committee at the next level. In reality, I think you could do much worse than Rakeem Boyd in the late fourth early fifth round of a rookie draft.
RB – Jah-Maine Martin NC AT&T
5’10” 214 Lbs.
Current Rank: 96th overall RB92
If Rakeem Boyd is a dart throw, Jay-Maine Martin is a Hail Mary. It is extremely possible that Martin does not get drafted.
He in all likelihood will sign as an undrafted free agent. Draft capital matters and it mattes a lot. Sure, there have been some UDFA running backs that have gone on to have good careers. Running backs like Chris Ivory, Austin Ekeler, Phillip Lindsay, and James Robinson come to mind. For every Ivory, Ekeler, Lindsay and Robinson there are hundreds that we have never heard of.
We last saw Martin in 2019. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference made the decision not to start the 2020 season until February due to the Coivid-19 pandemic. When the season did start, Martin opted out to prepare for the draft.
In his 2019 season he ran for 1,446 yards and scored a school-record 23 touchdowns (breaking the record of current Chicago Bears RB Tarik Cohen).
In his final college game in the Celebration Bowl, he tuned 15 carries into 110 yards (7.3 YPC) and scored a pair of touchdowns. His night was highlighted by a 75-yard TD run. Watching the film of this game is why Mr. Martin finds his way into this episode.
Prior to the 2019 Celebration Bowl, Martin was named to the Associated Press FCS All-America second team. Martin led the nation in yards per carry in 2019 (7.73).
Jah-Maine Martin started his career at Coastal Carolina before a gun charge led to his release from their program and he was afforded a second chance NC AT&T, a second chance that he made the most of.
There are concerns with his game, clearly if this is a guy, that I figure gets drafted late or not drafted at all there are going to be areas of concern.
He didn’t catch a ton of passes for the Aggies, and that is a concern to have about his game. However, he did make the most of his receptions adjusting to a pass and showing well after the catch. His pass protection needs a lot of work and perhaps there is an opportunity to expand upon at the next level.
As a pure runner, Martin is very talented. There is no denying what the tape shows. The character concerns are something that the NFL will look into, but on the field, there is no doubt Martin has NFL-level talent.
Trying to determine a landing spot for a late round drafted back is tough. Like I have said on numerous occasions he might not get drafted at all. The best landing spot for Martin is likely a team like the New York Jets. He needs a team that doesn’t have a clear-cut starter. He is likely an early down back that if stars align could be a Gus Edwards back at the next level.
WR – Jaelon Darden North Texas
5’8” 174 Lbs.
Current Rank: 51st WR25
This draft has a lot of skilled slot receivers in it, from the top of the rankings to the bottom. One receiver that I see a lot of upside in, is North Texas WR Jaelon Darden.
Darden played four years at North Texas and totalled 2782 receiving yards on 230 receptions, and he scored 38 touchdowns in 47 career games. In his final two seasons he recorded 150 catches 1926 yards and scored 31 times.
He played at a smaller school in a non-power 5 conference and that is relevant, but what is also relevant is he dominated at that level and that is key for players in small schools.
Jaelon Darden is an explosive threat with the football in his hands, and he literally leaps off the screen when watching his film. I am admittedly a film studier when it comes to reviewing and rating rookies. I am working on being a better analytic analyst but until I am, I’ll lean on those that are. Those that know me, know that my favourite is JJ Zacharison. In his recent rankings article over at numberfire.com, JJ shared the following in terms of Darden’s productivity.
His best-season receptions per game rate is fourth-best in this class, his best-season yards per team pass attempt is eighth, and his best-season touchdown share is tied for first. He did all this while lining up in the slot, according to PFF, on 91% of his snaps throughout his collegiate career.
Darden’s stature is likely to limit him to more of a complementary role in his NFL offense, and he’s all but certain to be a slot receiver. But hey, his vertical receiving skills and ability to generate yards after contact with his slipperiness is difficult to overlook.
I would imagine that Darden comes off the board in the middle rounds of the NFL draft. He is a WR that I personally have ranked inside my top-30, which might be a little high. If he is sitting, there in the alter portion of your third-rounds grab him. He has the upside to be a solid WR for fantasy especially those that play in PPR leagues.
WR- Cornell Powell Clemson
6’0” 204 Lbs.
Current Rank: 66th WR34
Cornell Powell is an interesting prospect in my eyes. He looked great in 2020, and prior to that he did almost nothing. In four years at Clemson, Powell totalled 93 catches, 1211 yards and he scored 10 touchdowns. In his 2020 senior season he finished with 53 catches, 882 yards, and 7 touchdowns. 57% of his college catches, 73% off his yards and 70% of his scores all came in 2020. That is no doubt a serious red flag.
With Tee Higgins off to the NFL the only real receiving targets the Tigers had in 2020 other than Travis Etienne were Amari Rogers and Cornell Powell. Powell clearly benefitted from this opportunity.
Powell is a nice-sized receiver who displays great awareness, often coming back to the ball to make himself an available target. That trait is a trait QBs love. He is also really solid on contested catches despite only standing 6’ tall. He is a hands catcher that extends to catch the ball well. He also displayed the abilty to hold onto the football after contact.
Powell is a project no two ways about it. He isn’t overly fast, and he appeared to play at one speed in all the film I watched. He is likely a teams 4th receiving option at best to start his career, and will need some breaks to get onto the field, let alone see targets.
He is talented and in the later rounds of my rookie drafts I have to take guys that I see having upside, a guy that NFL teams made a mistake on in the draft. Powell is that type of WR and in the 5th round of a rookie draft he is the type of WR that I can see myself grabbing more often than not.
WR – Brennan Eagles Texas
6’4” 225 Lbs.
Current Rank: 70th overall WR37
I like Brennan Eagles. I will admit I am likely guilty of falling a little to hard for him based on the film I have watched.
In his three seasons at Texas he totalled 61 catches for 1026 yards, with 11 touchdowns. His 2019 season saw him catch 32 passes for 522 yards and score 6 touchdowns in 12 games. He followed that with a 2020 season in which he caught 28 passes for 469 yards and 5 scores, in 9 games. His 2020 season projected out over 12 games equates to 37 catches, 625 yards, and 7 touchdowns. These are not eye-popping numbers but decent numbers for a man in his junior season.
His numbers led the Longhorns in catches and yards, and he was second in touchdowns. His 16.8 yards per reception led the team as well.
Eagles has the size to be able to play on the outside and the hands and leaping abilty to be good. He isn’t overly fast, but he can run. Eagles was a 100m and 200m track athlete in high school and he runs a 4.55 40. My takeaway here is his athleticism more so than the 40 time. The 40 time in my opinion is the most overstated and rated metric when it comes to scouting these rookies.
Eagles has a somewhat developed route tree consisting mainly of medium or deep routes – something that his 16.8ypc average attests to. However, he’s far from the best route runner in this class. He is going to need to improve on this at the next level if he is going to have a next level. He doesn’t transition overly well in his routes and as a result doesn’t create a lot of separation which could explain the number of contested catches. Fortunately, he does well in that situation.
After the catch he is average as well. He’s not afraid to lower the shoulder and run over smaller defensive backs whenever he gets the chance. However, his lack of agility and acceleration limits him and he’s not going to run over defensive backs in the NFL as easily as he did at the college level.
He is a David Moore type prospect to me and one that just might catch some fire in the right situation. We are throwing darts here after all in this episode and Brennan Eagles is a WR that is worth of one, albeit late in your rookie drafts.
That’s going to do it for today’s episode. Thank you for listening to Episode 136 – Late Round 2021 Rookie Flyers.
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I’m going to be focusing on content for the rotheat.com site as well as rookiedraftguide.com and out YouTube channel, and as a result, I will be off until after the draft. I’m sure I will have plenty of draft reactions content for episode 137. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy Heat Seekers, take care!