Plan Today; Ahead Tomorrow
Andrew Woodruff / @ff_awwoodruff33
Getting ready for next year as the playoffs approach is starting to show each week now. Teams are getting more and more stingy every moment with trading away their first and/or second round picks. For teams who are looking to fill needs, here is a nice little breakdown of each position group and what we can expect as of now.
Of this grouping, Lawrence, Fields, Lance, Wilson, and Mac should all be looking like locks for the 2021 draft. The top three already have made it fairly certain (not believing Lawrence take), but the other two should strongly consider the move. Wilson is playing lights-out and is seeing his stock rise to 1st round hopes. Not sure he can really increase his status to top 3 of 2022 class so might as well go now. For Mac Jones, I do believe he should not risk another college season without these elite receivers and the pressure to keep Bryce Young benched. I am not sure many other programs would be worth the grad student to transfer outside of maybe Ohio State, but I feel a 1st-2nd round grade on him will be enough to move onto the NFL. Trask seems determined to return for his senior year which may be a mistake without Kyle Pitts but time will tell on that one. I personally hope he comes out to make this a very nice draft class to watch. Of the others, no one really stands to be a draft day darling riser; Purdy and Mills may even return to try to increase their status for next draft class. Currently it only looks like five to six guys will be worth drafting in dynasty leagues. The others will be monitored but should be considered as nothing more than late round fliers for now. Of course the bowl games, combine, and pro days may help push one or two up.
These top guys are fairly well known. Etienne, Najee, Hubbard are the big three along with the next grouping of Gainwell, Verdell, Williams, and Hill. I do not know whether White and Hawkins may end up going back for another college season as both have things they may want to work on to improve draft status. Verdell is the fun big name to monitor as the draft grade the scouts give him in January will probably be a big factor on what he decides. Dynasty enthusiasts will be spending a lot of time determining the order they should fall before and after seeing landing spots. With the depth of WRs already in the NFL, expect the best options to go quickly in any format. The others can be lottery shots in the late 1st or 2nd if not later. Ultimately landing spots will matter for relevance but expect to have to pay up to a mid-1st to land the immediate impact players.
Such a deep talented group across the board. This class should legit challenge the 2019 and 2020 classes in terms of relevant players it will have in the NFL. One big name to watch will be Clemson’s Justyn Ross. He may decide to risk a lower draft stock to get some guaranteed money and work himself to full health his rookie year. I also do not believe Jaylen Waddle will risk going back so I would expect him to go for this 2021 draft. There are a handful of third and fourth tier WRs who are juniors and may decide to go back. Their choices will affect the depth of those 2nd and 3rd round picks we own. If you own any seconds and looking for some talented receivers as depth, you will have your pick of several great options as the first round will end up having several running backs and quarterbacks going in superflex leagues. Expect similar situations like Higgins, Claypool, Aiyuk, and Shenault types being available for upside plays if most of this group declares.
This group is straightforward. There are currently three big names to watch for the 2021 season. Not much behind I would consider for now unless in TE premium leagues. I would expect one of these guys to land in a nice spot causing their price to increase further. Many EARLY EARLY mocks even have Pitts going in around 1.09-1.10 spot. There is a real possibility someone will take at least one of these guys in even non-premium leagues. Pitts and Freiermuth should be looked at by owners similar to how dynasty owners viewed Fant and Hockenson as a measurement of value.
Since picks are getting harder to acquire, remember picks only gain in value as the draft approaches for this next year. People will get draft fever and be trying to go up to get their guys. If you can know where the draft is plentiful and how it helps fill any spots you want to secure a better championship/ rebuild foundation. Of course things are a little tricky with the virus impacting eligibility rules and the decisions these players will face.
“Traditionally, a student-athlete has 5 years to play 4 years of their sport. An extra year means a current college student-athlete would have 6 years to play their 4 years. This means, NCAA student-athletes can compete in all or a portion of the 2020-21 season, but it won’t be counted against their years of eligibility depending on their division level specific eligibility rules.”
This means some players will use the rule to get an extra year of tape to improve their draft standing. Additionally, the NCAA will play another factor as student athletes are looking to potentially be paid as soon as possibly 2021 making some more likely to stay and earn a little money before a run at the NFL. Things are looking very interesting for this next draft class so get those picks while you can.