After three days and 253 picks, the 2017 NFL Draft has finally concluded. While Day 3 traditionally doesn’t provide much fantasy value, the depth of this year’s draft coupled with a handful of unsettled depth charts has led to quite a few intriguing names falling to interesting positions. Here’s my thoughts on a handful of players to look out for.
Dede Westbrook, WR (Oklahoma), 6-0/178
Selected in round 4 by Jacksonville
Setting aside the off-the-field issues, of which there appears to be a litany, Westbrook is one of a group of “quick twitch” athletes that have grown increasingly important in the NFL in recent years. Clocking in with a 4.34 40-yard dash at his pro day, Westbrook has speed for days, and he was extremely productive as Oklahoma’s lead wideout in 2016. It’s his thin frame that will likely force the Jaguars to employ Westbrook in a part-time role. With three established WRs already on the roster, it seems unlikely Westbrook will make an immediate impact with the Jaguars, and he may need to put on more weight to make much of an impact at all in the long run.
Samaje Perine, RB (Oklahoma), 5-11/233
Selected in round 4 by the Redskins
With reports that the Redskins are shopping Matt Jones and displeased with “Fat” Rob Kelley, Perine may fall into one of the cushiest fantasy situations in the NFL. The NCAA’s single-game rushing record holder, Perine is a hard-nosed back who never seems to give up on a play and is nimble enough to make the first man miss. Depending on how Perine performs in the preseason, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Perine creep up into the middle rounds of fantasy drafts, and even then he could provide good value for a gutsy fantasy owner.
Josh Reynolds, WR (Texas A&M), 6-3/194
Selected in round 4 by the Rams
At 6-foot-3, Reynolds instantly becomes one of the tallest receivers on the Rams, and should turn into a quality red zone weapon in time. Given the lack of quality receiving options in Los Angeles, Reynolds could become a starter within a year or two, and as a result might have decent fantasy upside in deeper leagues.
Mack Hollins, WR (North Carolina), 6-4/221
Selected in round 4 by the Eagles
Hollins is a project, but given his size (6-foot-4, 221 pounds), he’s certainly a player to keep an eye on. While a collarbone injury kept him sidelined for most of the 2016 season, he did rack up a fair amount of production with the Tar Heels in 2015 (30 catches, 745 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns) despite not starting a handful of games. With Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Alshon Jeffery already in the fold, Hollins figures to be more of a dynasty asset and, in the meantime, a special teams contributor.
Tarik Cohen, RB (North Carolina A&T), 5-6/179
Selected in round 4 by the Bears
It’s true that Cohen may be able to jump higher doing a backflip than I can jump upright, and it’s almost certainly true that he can stick that landing better than I can. But it’s also true that the Bears have a litany of RBs, and gadgety players such as Cohen seem to thrive in unique offenses that can cater to their skills. “Adapting to a player’s skills” is one of many phrases I would not use to describe a John Fox-coached team, and as a result Cohen feels more like a novelty than anything.
Joe Williams, RB (Utah), 5-11/210
Selected in round 4 by the 49ers
Carlos Hyde, your days as a workhorse appear to be officially numbered. Williams, who actually “retired” at one point during the 2016 season, racked up 1,407 rushing yards in just nine games with Utah, showing quick burst and breakaway speed. I’m higher on Williams than most, and I think he could develop into a three-down back with a bit more work on his pass-blocking, but for the moment it seems as if Williams will be used primarily as a “change-of-pace” player. However, factor in the addition of Kapri Bibbs, who the 49ers traded a fifth-round pick for, and it looks like Hyde may see his workload diminish following a disappointing 2016.
Michael Roberts, TE (Toledo), 6-4/270
Selected in round 4 by the Lions
Roberts reminds me a lot of Brandon Pettigrew, the Lions former first-round pick in 2009, and that’s not a good thing. Big and hulking, Roberts lumbers through his routes, using his wingspan to make plays on the ball. I haven’t really understood the Lions apparent need at TE with Eric Ebron already in the fold -- after all, not every team can use two TEs as effectively as the Patriots -- but the Roberts pick likely means the team feels content bringing back Ebron, at least for the foreseeable future.
Josh Malone, WR (Tennessee), 6-3/208
Selected in round 4 by the Bengals
The Bengals have been active in improving their anemic passing attack, adding John Ross on Day 1, and another speed (4.40 40-yard dash) threat, Malone, on Day 3. Despite being a two-year starter, Malone didn’t put up the type of production you might expect, recording 1,377 yards and 13 touchdowns over 23 games. With A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd and the aforementioned Ross already in the fold, it seems unlikely Malone will come in and contribute right away. But his measurables certainly make him an intriguing prospect in deeper dynasty leagues.
Donnel Pumphrey, RB (San Diego State), 5-8/176
Selected in round 4 by the Eagles
Many people will compare Pumphrey to the perennially underrated Darren Sproles, who he conveniently gets to learn from in Philadelphia. While the Eagles should opt to keep Pumphrey from taking punishing hits, he can run between the tackles if necessary, and should benefit from the excellent tutelage of the aforementioned Sproles. Whether that translates into fantasy goodness remains to be seen, but Pumphrey’s small frame generally limits him to a change-of-pace projection.
Jamaal Williams, RB (BYU), 6-0/212
Selected in round 4 by the Packers
The Packers didn’t opt to improve the frighteningly thin RB depth chart in Day 1 or 2, but they went heavy in Day 3, taking three backs in the final day. Williams brings the prototypical size and density that the Packers look for in their RBs, complete with the Ryan Grant “two-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” approach. Still, it seemed to work for Williams, who led BYU in rushing yards all four years. I’d be surprised if the 22-year-old takes a starting role, but then again, I was surprised a converted WR (Ty Montgomery) held that role during an extended playoff run last year.
Wayne Gallman, RB (Clemson), 6-0/215
Selected in round 4 by the Giants
Gallman joins a crowded running back corp that also sees Shane Vereen, Paul Perkins, Shaun Draughn and Orleans Darkwa in the fold. Perkins still figures to see the majority of the carries to start, but should the Giants offense grind to a halt similar to last season, Gallman could get a look.
Marlon Mack, RB (South Florida), 5-11/213
Selected in round 4 by the Colts
I’m pretty sure Frank Gore dissolved into dust this offseason, so it was probably time for the Colts to upgrade on their RB depth. All jokes aside, Mack is among the frontrunners to take over the Colts starting job should Gore finally give into his advanced age, making the all-time leader in rushing yards at South Florida an intriguing name to watch in fantasy. A fast, quick-footed back, Mack should at the very least act as a change-of-pace RB for the Colts early on, and should find his way onto the field more as the season progresses, provided he keeps the fumbles in check. He’s definitely a name I will consider toward the end of drafts in redraft formats.
Jake Butt, TE (Michigan), 6-5/246
Selected in round 5 by the Broncos
Once thought to be one of the first TEs off the board, Butt tore his right ACL in the Citrus Bowl, subsequently sending him tumbling down draft boards. Given that Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and A.J. Derby appear to be the only things standing in the way of Butt and a starting spot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take meaningful snaps this year. That doesn’t mean he’ll be a fantasy asset, however, and he’s generally unlikely to make an impact in redraft formats this year. And for the record, I’m almost positive any team name involving "Butt" won’t be funny.
Jordan Leggett, TE (Clemson), 6-5/258
Selected in round 5 by the Jets
I get the optimism surrounding Leggett. A quality athlete, Leggett became one of the premier receiving threats on Clemson, racking up over 80 catches and 1,200 yards over the last two years. With little in the way on the Jets depth chart besides Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Leggett could push for a big snap count early on.
But tell me again, why is that a good thing on the Jets? With Josh McCown in the fold and a handful of receiving threats (I’m using that word loosely) in the form of Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, and newly drafted ArDarius Stewart, it doesn’t seem likely that Leggett will see all that much production.
Jeremy McNichols, RB (Boise State), 5-9/214
Selected in round 5 by the Buccaneers
McNichols is an intriguing name to watch, and it’s not just because of the ongoing Doug Martin drama. A wildly productive player in college, totaling 3,980 yards from scrimmage and 53 touchdowns, McNichols followed up two strong years as the lead rusher with the Broncos into a solid Combine performance, displaying a natural gift for receiving as well as above-average athleticism. The Buccaneers already have a similar player in Charles Sims, so it seems unlikely that McNichols will be much of a fantasy option this season, but don’t be surprised to see him creep up the depth chart as he gains more of a footing in the NFL.
Aaron Jones, RB (Texas-El Paso), 5-9/208
Selected in round 5 by the Packers
The second of the Packers’ three RB picks, Jones brings big-play potential in a little frame. While Jones has struggled to stay healthy throughout college, he’s been a factor when on the field, rushing for over 4,000 yards in his career. Obviously the level of competition plays a part in the bloated figure, but he also posted big numbers against the likes of Texas, Arkansas, and Texas Tech. It will probably take some time until we start to sort out the Packers RB depth chart, but for now Jones joins a long list of intriguing RB names on Day 3.
Bucky Hodges, TE (Virginia Tech), 6-6/257
Selected in Round 6 by the Vikings
A converted quarterback, Hodges brings a unique versatility to the Minnesota offense, bringing wide receiver athleticism on a tight end frame. While Kyle Rudolph will remain the starting TE for the foreseeable future, Hodges could come in and act as a big-bodied receiver for the Vikings, using his height and speed to create mismatches. He has a long way to go, but Hodges could become a productive NFL player if given the chance.
De’Angelo Henderson, RB (Coastal Carolina), 5-7/208
Selected in round 6 by the Broncos
One of my personal favorite sleepers, Henderson may be the true Muscle Hamster and could even force his way into the conversation as a starting running back should the Broncos fall out of love with C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. A strong player despite his short build, Henderson won’t blow by you, but he has enough speed to hit the hole and explode through. While he’s a long shot to produce in redraft formats, Henderson is worth a dynasty league dart in case a few things fall in his favor over the next couple years.