With all the hype surrounding the first round, I’ll forgive you if you didn’t think Day 2 players were important. But stop doing so.
How would you like to have had a team last year that included Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Cooper Kupp, and Juju Smith-Schuster? Not bad, right? Well, all of those players were drafted on Day 2 of the NFL draft last year. Your league mates were likely gouging each other’s eyes out to get first rounders Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey or Mike Williams or Corey Davis. Yet those that had the patience to let Day 2 picks Kamara or Kupp come to them were highly rewarded.
And if you’re like me, you are sick of the Rosen vs. Darnold arguments, whether Barkley will and should go to the Giants, or if Calvin Ridley might make it to and/or be passed up by Ozzie Newsome. The amount of coverage that the first round gets is so disproportionate to Day 2 of the draft. Yet that’s where the real fantasy bargains are often found.
Don’t think I will even attempt to tell you who goes where. The Cleveland Browns are more successful at drafting franchise quarterbacks than anyone is at mocking more than the first round. Still, I do have a pretty good feel for many of the players likely to go on Day 2. Of course, you never know. The players below might even go in Round 1.
But either way, here are nearly 20 players getting far less attention than their first-round counterparts. They probably won’t go until Day 2, but they need to be on your fantasy radar.
2018 NFL Draft Day 2 Picks
Players likely to be Drafted on Day 2: Quarterbacks
Lamar Jackson is a running quarterback, which immediately gives him fantasy appeal. I originally had him here, but I’ve got this feeling that a team trades up and/or into the first round to secure him. And I’m not the only one. Of course, early reports are that the 2019 quarterback class is weak, but I’m still not sure anyone reaches in the first round for Mason Rudolph.
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State
Let’s start with the negatives. Rudolph often stares down his first option and rarely looks to his secondary options. You can get away with that in college. Try it in the NFL and you will get eaten alive. He also needs to improve his footwork and play-calling at the NFL level. But Rudolph has a good size (6’5, 235 pounds) that makes him hard to bring down. In addition to those extra seconds, he can provide in the pocket, he’s a threat to run it in too as he had ten rushing touchdowns last year. Rudolph also has a strong arm that can fling it deep. His 8,995 yards with 65 touchdowns and 13 interceptions his last two years attests to that.
Other Day 2 Draft possibilities: Luke Falk (Washington State), Kyle Lauletta (Richmond)
Players likely to be Drafted on Day 2: Running Backs
Derrius Guice is not a top 20 pick. There’s a huge chasm between him and Saquon Barkley. But if a second team takes an RB in the first round, it will likely be Guice. Same could be said of these next two backs, but 40 times of 4.5+ don’t scream “draft me”. Plus, the fact that they blunted each other’s production doesn’t help either.
Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, Georgia
Michel would have been a 3-down starter at most schools but was Chubb’s backup most of their overlapping Georgia careers. Remember, this is the same school that produced Todd Gurley, who Chubb also had to split time with early in his college career. Despite splitting time with Gurley in 2014, Chubb averaged 7.1 yards per carry for 1,547 yards with 14 touchdowns. He also caught 18 receptions for 213 yards and two scores. Chubb is a human bowling ball. He rolls right over tacklers. Chubb is a powerful runner yet has the quickness to rip off yards in chunks, like the 1130 rushing yards he had last year. Of the two, however, I think I prefer Michel who averaged 7.9 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,227 yards with 16 touchdowns. Of course, Michel and Chubb were not the only ones running over SEC defenses. Bo Scarbrough was too.
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
I believe NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein nailed Scarbrough perfectly–“Scarbrough can be a runaway locomotive, but he needs a long track to get rolling.”. Scarbrough is not going to be the most valuable PPR league asset, but he is an absolute punisher. See for yourself:
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ronald Jones, however, might be the exact opposite of Scarbrough. The knock on Jones is his slight frame. Jones is barely pushing two bills and is less than six feet tall. However, he has elite stop and go capability. He could become an even greater pass catcher than he was at USC, where he was more of a workhorse, rushing over 260 times for 1550 yards and 19 TDs. Think of him as a slightly smaller Jamaal Charles. I would be surprised if he’s still around for Round 3.
Kerryon Johnson, Auburn
The biggest surprise will be at RB if Kerryon Johnson is not a Day 2 pick.
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He lacks the talent pedigree of a first rounder, but there is no way he should last until the fourth round. Johnson did not see his draft stock spike until late in the 2017 season. That was when he rolled up an impressive 350+ combined yards total against the opposing defenses of Alabama and Georgia, both abundant in future NFL talent. His 18 touchdowns and nearly 1400 yards last year were well earned as he often played banged up. That toughness could be key as Johnson does have durability questions.
Mark Walton, Miami
Walton is more likely to be drafted closer at the end of day 2 than the start of it. He was battling an ankle injury much of the year, so his 2017 stats and highlights don’t look so good. Walton is also on the smaller side, even slighter than Ronald Jones. However, he has great hands, which will make him an asset for PPR owners. He also possesses a thick, powerful lower body which enables him to convert a short catch into a long play. His smaller frame though also enables him to navigate through tight run lanes. Most of the backs above might become their team’s primary back. A strong preseason might even lead to them be drafted in your league. Walton, however, is that sleeper that will probably go undrafted but everyone rushes to the waiver wire for after Week 3.
Other Day 2 Draft Possibilities: Rashaad Penny (San Diego State), Kallen Ballage (Arizona State)
Players likely to be Drafted on Day 2: Wide Receivers
This year’s WR class doesn’t have the splendor that other receiver classes of yesteryear had. However, there is still plenty of talent. We’ll start with one of my favorite names in the draft. And one you had better learn.
Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
St. Brown’s name (it means cool and calm under pressure) stands out, but his stats, unfortunately, are far from impressive.
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However, most scouts blame the questionable play at quarterback found in South Bend the last few years. Of course, we cannot just simply extrapolate high receiving numbers for Brown had he had Darnold or Rosen throwing to him. Despite meager stats, scouts praise his speed, size, and hands. What scouts like best about St. Brown though is he’s an extremely polished route runner. That alone will make him a valuable NFL player. One of the biggest knocks on St. Brown is that his hand strength needs to be improved. Um…that comes under the responsibilities of a team’s conditioning coach. I will say it plainly–I am not a fan of Notre Dame. But I am a fan of St Brown.
Anthony Miller, Memphis
I am less of a fan of Anthony Miller. I like my receivers to be taller and his five fumbles concern me. But Miller is extremely quick and what I do like about Miller over St. Brown is his competitiveness. When one goes from a walk-on to NFL prospect, there’s an intangible we have to like. Miller’s 2016 college numbers were easy to like–95 catches for 1,434 and 14 TDs and all he did was improve on those to the tune of 96 catches for 1,462 and 18 TDs in 2017.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Miller and St. Brown will both be coveted. Yet Christian Kirk is more likely to be drafted before either. Kirk had a great combine. He posted a solid 40 time; he also impressed teams with his mental makeup during the interview process. Kirk definitely lacks the catch radius that teams prefer. Yet his ability to scoop the low throws is highly praised. Nicknamed “Baby Beckham”, Kirk’s NFL comparison I like better is TY Hilton. Kirk, like Hilton, is absolutely a playmaker:
DJ Chark, LSU
Kirk’s 40 time was good, but DJ Chark’s posted an eye-opening 4.3 40 time. Chark played at the receiver factory of LSU. Forgive him if his numbers are much lower than Beckham’s or Jarvis Landry. At 6’3, he absolutely has the size and speed to dominate at the NFL level. However, he might need a limited route tree his rookie year, which means far fewer snaps. Chark could be a huge asset with the right quarterback. Teaming him with a mediocre one though is a recipe for disaster.
Other Day 2 Draft possibilities: Deon Cain (Clemson), James Washington (Oklahoma State)
Finally, you’ll notice that I did not include any Day 2 options at TE. If you read my recent TE piece, you know that I would not be surprised if there are four or more tight ends selected on Day 2 of the 2018 draft. All, plus the names above, should be on your radar for Day 2.
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