Late Round Players to Watch


By Dan Rosier (@theBleagueSays)

April 24, 2019

First of all, welcome to #DraftSzn - you got to this point and you should be congratulated. And to congratulate you, I will offer you this week’s article - free of charge! But before I get going (and I will dammit), I want to remind you that the best dynasty guys we have here are Chris Foster and Matt Bruening along with the guys on the podcast. I am literally your last and worst-case scenario to get advice from - so listen to them intently - but here we are, so, let’s give it a crack; on with the show!

 I’m going to be honest with you like I always am.

 Right now, you are being overloaded with Prospects, Draft Day ‘risers and fallers’, ‘boom and bust breakout stars’ and to be fair this offseason it has been a lot to take in. Most of the podcasts you have in your rotation right now probably have had the same guests on most of the places you gather your information (trust me, have a look, it’s the same people talking the same players) and they have been regurgitating their ‘takes’ with recycled rhetoric non-stop. It sells for them - and we buy-in. Hey, remember everyone getting on Royce Freeman last year?

It's making me nauseous.

For the most part, I feel like a lot of the names that were being thrown around a few months ago up until now have been touched upon all too much. I know that T.J. Hockenson can block and can see the field more time than teammate Noah Fant who is Evan Engram-esque in his style of play as a ‘move Tight End’ (yep, I’ve heard that), while Kyler Murray is a ‘lock’ to the Cardinals to fly the flag for Kliff Kingsbury's ‘Air-Raid’ offense (yep, I’ve heard that too) is in full effect with the Josh Rosen sweepstakes about to heat up (no kidding) as Thursday nears us. We have seen the Quinnen Williams-Khalil Mack comparisons get louder as he has been given the ‘Saquon Barkley Generational Talent’ treatment (yep, the ‘GT’ tag has been out there - Williams is the chosen one in 2019, I’ve heard that, again). Along with the ‘David Gettleman still doesn’t know what he is doing’ (you don’t say) crowd, and it seems like he never will (shocker) as the logical Dwayne Haskins selection has been muddied with a Manning-moulded Daniel Jones (yep, no one knows what Gettleman is thinking, I’ve heard that far too much, we know already). Oh! And my favorite trope to start the year - ‘the big arm talent of Drew Lock’ has been compared to (yep, you guessed it) Matt Stafford, as all solid and semi-athletic white Quarterbacks with big arms generally are (yeah, again, heard it all before). None of it is a surprise anymore.

It all sounds too familiar. And I’m not jaded by it at all, can you tell? At times when I hear and read the same thing over, and over, and over and over again; it feels like chaos had a one night stand with madness and that crazy pills are the ‘Plan B’ cure the next morning after all the mistakes made and bad choices woke up with regrets and a headache.

An example of said recent madness: Bryce Love (sans the knee injury) who is likely the top Running Back this year and it’s probably not even close. But after his knee surgery in December and footage of him looking ‘stiff’ in a video (posted in this weekend) that has seen him in recent days slipping further down everyone's big board.

Yeah, no kidding. It’s knee surgery on limited recovery time, of course, he is stiff, who wouldn’t be stiff who has recovered that quickly before? Where’s Derrius Guice’s progress report? I saw he was looking stiff too in December, nearly 3-4 months after his surgery. What about Hunter Henry? He’s got to be 250lbs and less mobile than these two, is he stiff at all also? Stop it.

But it also comes out about the same time that the ‘Sony Michel has a degenerative knee’ storyline did last year and here we go again. The circus has literally recycled the same crap and yeah, I find it irritating that no one - rarely if ever - gets it right. Snark aside, I’ve always had the belief that if you are good enough then talent will always win out (like Bryce Love will too), and the external pressure on a guy a week out from one of the bigger days of his life to get stronger and faster now - is probably unneeded pressure on a kid trying to just ‘get right’.


So… It’s put up or shut up time and I decided to put up for once (unlike me, I know I would normally sit on the fence for all of this), and give a few names that were either touched upon slightly or did not gather enough steam with offseason that I would like to bring to your attention.

I have four guys for you to keep an eye on, who may go in the later rounds in this year's Draft that may get overlooked by some better-known names from some better-known schools and some better-known programs (because that matter apparently), or they may not get the call up at all. And in true Phillip Lindsay sense of this notion, I’ve added their ‘local’ NFL franchise near the College they are based at who may end up turning to them or picking them up as a result. So here we are, a few days out from the Draft and I’m going to scramble to justify ‘my guys’. Because that would be fun.  Because this is meant to be fun, right? So let's have fun with it!

So, come on down:

Kahale Warring, Tight End, San Diego State; to the Oakland Raiders -

My feeling is that after the Top 3 Tight Ends fall (Hockenson, Fant, Smith Jr) then there may be some time between further positional acquisition for the Tight Ends. If Warring falls into Day 3 or worse, I would love to see the (for now) L.A. based Oakland Raiders take a shot at the 6’6, 250lbs Kahale Warring out of S.D.S.U, as an option for Derek Carr (or whoever the Raiders start - just saying) over recent Free Agent acquisition, the uninspiring Luke Willson.

I understand that the Tight End landscape in any concept lands under the ‘T.E.L.I.A’ bracket (bam, a #BRFS plug), but I’d like to believe that there is always a diamond in the rough as the Draft gets deeper. The Tight End three overall in Fantasy Football last season, George Kittle, was a 5th Round selection in 2016, was in his second season with the 49ers in 2018, and had 3 QBs play under center which didn't stop him posting a 136-88-1377-5 TD season - all the while doing so by setting the record for Yards in a season by a Tight End. However, his final College season wasn't anything to scream home about with a 22-314-4 stat line, but neither was Warrings, with a 31-372-3 TD season. Warring is a hell of a multi-sport athlete who I think has the skill set to cause problems - especially on 3rd Downs when he showed how reliable and effective he can be. He will need seasoning, but the raw talent that he has may be worth a late investment to stash for your Fantasy teams.

Dillon Mitchell, Wide Receiver, Oregon; to the Seattle Seahawks -

The more I go over the numbers, the more film I watch - the more I like Dillon Mitchell.

However, everything and anything to do with ‘Oregon’ lately ends up with the conversation switching straight to Quarterback Justin Herbert coming out in next year’s Draft Class. But what we have overlooked in this process is Mitchell’s production for The Ducks and I think (especially in this class) the way that opinions on the upper echelon of talents are inconsistently being jumbled around everyone ‘Top 10’, Mitchell is nowhere to be found. And at times, not inside many ‘Top 20’ lists.

Dillon Mitchell stands at 6’2 and carries a solid 190lbs frame along with a competitive 4.46 40-yard time and can hit many branches of the ‘route tree’ that you want to see, he can play inside and outside, long and short with good hands - that saw him post a 76-1184-10 TD season in 2018. Over 1100 yards and 10 Touchdowns and not a peep? Nothing? I have heard more about Riley Ridley (no idea why - I wish him the best, but still, geez) this offseason than I have Dillon Mitchell, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why.

What the lack of hype and solid production heading into a Draft reminds me of, is how Stefon Diggs (no, god no, this isn’t a player comparison - just acknowledging there are similarities) entered the league, slipping away into the 5th Round in 2015. There are some physical traits and similarities in style that they have - but I feel like with how deep the Wide Receiver class is this year, teams will be ok to wait on talent at the position. That kind of sucks for the players themselves, but I think in the Seattle Seahawks - who have just the four Draft picks this year - are going to have to trade back and gain later capitol which will likely see them not invest in a Receiver early. Their Wide Receiver cupboard is thinning out, and a guy like Dillon Mitchell could easily step in under the tutelage of Doug Baldwin and be their Number 3 option already should they have the chance to grab him later in the Draft.

Now I know what you’re thinking ‘hey, they run the ball more than anyone, they won’t throw it’, and you may be right in your vague assessment - but they need guys who can step in and play a role and I think this would be a good landing spot for him to learn and earn reps right away.

Alex Barnes, Running Back, Kansas State; to the Kansas City Chiefs -

Ah, yes! The Kansas City Chiefs fans tilting season has arrived! Get ready for it?

(Ready for what?)

Get ready for the ‘every running back in an Andy Reid offense will be a Top 15 Running Back for Fantasy’ takes post Draft. We have one foot in the hot tub for Damien Williams, as the other foot remains on the cold tiles on the floor waiting for the pennies to drop with a new Draft prospect picked up or the ‘Carlos Hyde vultures Williams’ ‘takes’ take place.

In all seriousness, I like Alex Barnes’ numbers and his tape. I like what saw at the combine (1st in the Bench Press and the 20-yard shuttle, 2nd in the 3-cone drill, 3rd in the Vertical Jump, 5th in the broad jump) - only to further confirm what he did in a fantastic season this year. Barnes, in the Big 12 pumped out a 256-1355-12 Touchdown season (most rushing yards in the Big 12) on the ground with 20 Receptions and 194 Yards in the air to boot. Barnes could be a guy in what is considered a weaker Running Back class to recent years, is a guy that could (stunningly) go late and/or undrafted. That would shock me if it did happen, but we live in a world where ‘Running Backs don’t matter’ so what would I know.

But it’s funny when you see the success he had at the combine, and you see his College numbers followed by what you see on film can be confusing. The burst and explosiveness in his testing doesn't show up all the time in his film because he displays so much patience behind the line of scrimmage. That to me is where people get caught on him. You see the metrics and assume every time he gets the ball he is going to burst up the middle with his 6’0, 226lbs frame - but instead, you have a guy that ‘sits and waits’ for the right hole to open up and slides right through.

I think his home team the ‘Chiefs’ would be smart to add him as a complimentary piece and blood him through as the season goes on. I think it would be a solid fit.

Tyree Jackson, Quarterback, Buffalo; to the Buffalo Bills -

When I watched Josh Allen play this year - nearly every time he ran the ball - all I could think of was a kamikaze fighter plane crashing and burning. There is no way that his style of play is safe and long term sustainable, and I hope that for he and the Bills that it is something that they are working on going forward. He is fun to watch, at times a highlight reel play waiting to happen; but they must be concerned with how he is using his body.

nd on that note, do you trust Matt Barkley and Derek Anderson? Because there is no way in hell that I do. Now I respect them as professionals and veterans and they clearly have plenty to offer. And that’s nice. But if you have a 6’5, 240lbs Quarterback that likes to run the ball and throw it deep - should something happen to Allen, which I sincerely hope does not - wouldn’t you want a guy with similar traits to step in and keep the course? Tyree Jackson is a product of the University of Buffalo who stands at 6’7 and 250lbs who this year, rushed for 7 Touchdowns (16 career total). Sometimes he looks a bit ‘messy’ and misses some close-range passes, but other times he can sit in the pocket and launch one to his favorite Receiver Anthony Johnson for a bomb of a play and a Touchdown to go with it.

The Bills have double-round picks in the 4th, 5th, and 7th Rounds and while there are teams that are Quarterback needy, I could see a world where Jackson slips into Day 3 and could be a developmental prospect for the Bills as a guy they work with backing up Josh Allen.

And on that note, that will just about do me for this week!

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster and Matthew Bruening’s (@SportsfanaticMB) this offseason. There are some fantastic articles up and running which you can find here:

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Armsbackrow, @Nealdrox, and @Onlyhere4brfs (congrats to the new guys Neil and Lambo - they’re doing a heck of a job also) a follow and get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week during that season too!

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