Home Analysis NFL Rookies Who Will or Won't Meet Our Expectations

NFL Rookies Who Will or Won’t Meet Our Expectations

The Draft is one of the best days in the NFL calendar. You get to be introduced to the new talent coming into the league each year, pick your favourites and see the ones who can redefine the position they play, or they can be straight up busts. It happens every single year there is a player who goes in the draft who gets stuck with the title of a bust. Ryan Leaf, Vernon Gholston, Jamarcus Russell just to name a few who were going to be big deals in the NFL and they straight up failed.

Each year I spend hours watching the combine and scouring over mock drafts and even participating in a few myself to see how a team can reshape the whole franchise in just one draft. This article we will go through the first few rounds of the draft and look at a player who I believe is going to exceed the expectations we may have for them and the ones who may not get close to what we are expecting.

I have picked these players based on whether they will be worth taking in any of your fantasy redraft leagues or dynasty leagues moving forward. So, without any further ado let’s jump into the picks……

“And with the first pick in the 2020 draft to exceed everyone’s expectations Brad Bolt writing for The TFL Podcast selects….”

Round 1

Exceeding Expectations: Jerry Jeudy

Jerry Jeudy could lay claim to be the best receiver in this draft which really to me is a toss-up between Judge Jeudy and the CeeDee Burner. Either one of these two guys could have been in this spot, but I have gone with the Judge and his new team of the Denver Broncos.

John Elway feels he has his franchise QB in Drew Lock and just needed to surround him with some more talent and boy did he address it in this draft. With his number 1 receiver in Courtland Sutton and tight end Noah Fant the Broncos have the start of a strong team but really did lack a solid WR2 option. This is where Jeudy will step in running a 4.45 40-yard dash at the combine, he will be a good deep ball threat for Drew Lock to throw too as well as being one of the best route runners in the draft. Being versatile in the routes he runs will give Lock the chance to throw deep or work the underneath to be able to rack up yards after the catch.

The Fantasy Pros website projects Jerry Jeudy to have 54.9 catches for 751.3 yards and 4.1 touchdowns. Very solid stats for a rookie season but with the offense Denver is building and the absolute stud of a receiver in Sutton on the field as well, I think Jerry Jeudy will exceed those projections and get to 1000 yards this year and closer to 70 catches than 55.

Jerry Jeudy will become a huge part of the Denver offense straight away and for many years to come in the same way Odell Beckham Jr has. Whether picking in a redraft or in a dynasty league I am picking Jerry Jeudy as one of my locks to be a superstar for years to come.

Not Meeting Expectations: Jordan Love

Jordan Love might be a good quarterback one day, it might just be that we can’t say now that he will be a bust and not make an impact in the NFL. However, it will not be in 2020, or 2021, or 2022 or however long Aaron Rodgers is there.

The Packers had every right to plan for life after Rodgers, but they really could have tried to help Rodgers this year as they were 1 win away from a Super Bowl. Jordan Love will be a backup for as long as Aaron Rodgers is there and if the Packers do not add some help to the team via free agency or next year’s draft by the time Love does become the starter, he has a higher chance to bust out of the league. If Aaron Rodgers one of the best QB’s of all time is getting knocked out of the playoffs early or not even making the playoffs what hope does a young inexperienced QB have of eclipsing what he has done with the few weapons he has?

Jordan love will not play this year unless it’s a blow out or if Rodgers gets hurt so whether it be a redraft or dynasty league, I would not be selecting Jordan Love. Would you really want to pick someone in a dynasty league who may not play for 4 years? One day he might be worth the pick but as the Black-Eyed Peas once asked “Where is the Love” I have the answer. Still sitting on the bench with a clip board wishing he had been picked by nearly any other team than the Green Bay Packers.

Round 2

Exceeding Expectations: Tee Higgins

In the lead up to the 2020 draft Tee Higgins was being looked at as a sure fire first round pick. Not quite in the same mould as the big 3 receivers in the draft but a very competent receiver who would have a good career in the NFL.

The comparison for Tee Higgins was AJ Green so it is kind of ironic that he ends up on the same team as Green, so we can now see how similar these 2 gentlemen are. The face of the franchise has changed hands this year with Joe Burrow who had the best college season of all time at LSU who had fantastic receivers and weapons all around and a healthy AJ Green who missed the entire 2019 season. Cincinnati will also get back left tackle Jonah Williams to protect Burrow and give him more time to look down the field.

By now you are probably thinking this is supposed to be about Tee Higgins and you have barely mentioned him but here is why you will want to draft the speedster out of Clemson in your redraft or dynasty leagues this year. AJ Green has been one of the best receivers in his time in the league so every single week he will attract the number one defender from the opposite side. Before the draft even occurred, Joe Burrow was practising and needed a wide receiver to throw with and that man was, Tee Higgins. This is going to bode well for the upcoming season as Burrow will already have comfort with Higgins and he will become his security blanket much the same way that AJ Green was for Andy Dalton.

According to Fantasypros.com Tee Higgins is projected to have only 36.2 receptions for 490.7 yards and 2.8 touchdowns. Due to the above details it is my opinion that those figures will more than likely be what Higgins has halfway through the season and I truly believe he will become the Bengals WR1 this year. With a current ADP of 210 he would be a steal as by the end of the year he will be the man in Cincinnati, so pick him up in the redraft or dynasty and you won’t be disappointed.

Not Meeting Expectations: Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts the quarterback out of Oklahoma via Alabama had quite the college career. Starting at Alabama he was replaced in the national title game by Tua who went on to have one of the best college careers in recent memory.

Hurts transferred to Oklahoma and made it to the Peach Bowl against the mighty impressive LSU Tigers with many thinking it would be an LSU win, but Jalen Hurts would make it competitive. It was very competitive between the Sooners and the Tigers….and then the game started, and Oklahoma was completely blown out with a final score of 63-28. That game was definitely a surprise in how it played out, but the biggest surprise happened on night 2 of the draft with the Philadelphia Eagles picking Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round.

I was blown away; I thought the Patriots would pick him, but then the Eagles pick him while having a franchise QB. After the draft, Eagles GM Howie Roseman said the last time they liked a quarterback and tried to wait for a later pick in the draft they were sniped by just a few picks and missed out on their guy. That player was Russell Wilson and Philly didn’t want that to happen again, so they pounced.

Jalen Hurts will now be the backup QB for Carson Wentz and I have read that the Eagles may even play Hurts as a WR in certain trick plays, so I guess a faster more athletic Taysom Hill? Fantasypros.com has a projection of only 36 passing attempts for 253 yards and 1.4 passing TD’s in this upcoming season. If Wentz stays healthy, I would be surprised that he even has this many attempts passing the ball and I would say it’s more believable that he has 36 rushing attempts in the season in some trick plays or from the wild cat. He will not have much of an impact on this season so you won’t want to pick him in a redraft league this year unless in game 1 this year Wentz gets injured and is out for the season but if that is the case, he will be available on the waiver wire.

Drafting in a dynasty draft maybe worth a look but much like Jordan Love for as long as Carson Wentz is in Philly, Jalen Hurts will be a backup who doesn’t play very much. Who knows in a seasons time a team may roll the dice and trade for Hurts to be the face of the franchise but until that happens, he won’t have much of an impact on your fantasy team.

Round 3

Exceeding Expectations: Adam Trautman

Adam Trautman will not be a huge fantasy impact in this season which I am going to put out there now, so this is a selection for dynasty leagues for years to come.

The New Orleans Saints traded the remaining 4 picks in their draft to get back into the 3rd round to select Trautman. Jared Cook is the TE1 for the Saints so Trautman will be the 2nd or even 3rd option (possibly 4th if Taysom Hill plays some tight end this season).

Fantasypros.com has Trautman with 10.4 catches and 104.5 receiving yards for the season and 0.9 TD’s so not anything to get too excited about this season. However, Adam Trautman has incredible athleticism running a 4.8 second 40-yard dash and a 34.5-inch vertical leap (great for those jump ball catches in the endzone) which once again gives Sean Payton another weapon to make the Saints an imposing offense for years to come.

Jared Cook will play the 2020 season at 33 years of age making 9 million dollars with a voidable contract in 2021 when he will be 34 years old. The Saints will spend the year having Trautman play behind and learn from Cook and don’t be surprised if next year the Saints void his contract and move onto the young gun out of Dayton to take over as the main tight end for the team.

2020 will be a learning year for Adam Trautman unless there are injuries but the projection of 10 receptions seems a little low so he may get closer to 20 which is exceeding expectations for this year but with the Saints using so much draft capital to move up and select him he will become the go to guy in the super dome for the next decade, so if you are in a dynasty league go after Trautman and you won’t be disappointed.

Not Meeting Expectations: Bryan Edwards

Bryan Edwards was selected at pick 81 by the Las Vegas Raiders in what would have seemed like a great pairing with Henry Ruggs III. In any other year Bryan Edwards would have been a 2nd round pick and I think had he been drafted by another team he may have been a top wide receiver in this upcoming season.

Currently the Raiders have Tyrell Williams, Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones, Keelan Doss & Rico Gafford. Throw in the tight end options of Darren Waller, Jason Witten, Foster Moreau & Derek Carrier to go along with Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard & Lynn Bowden Jr as running backs, catches are going to be hard to come by for the rookie.

Fantasypros.com has projected Bryan Edwards to have 16.3 receptions for 203.6 yards and 0.9 touchdowns. Not really the numbers that you are wanting so he will easily be available on the waiver wire in redraft leagues if injuries hit the Raiders. With how unpredictable general manager Mike Mayock & head coach Jon Gruden are, the Raiders will probably trade for two receivers during the season and push Bryan Edwards further down the depth chart. Looking at the wide receiver depth that the Raiders have, Bryan Edwards won’t help your fantasy team this year and I don’t see him having much of an impact in dynasty leagues while he is in Vegas.

There is a famous saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” and if you are a wide receiver drafted out of the first round your career will never leave Vegas either. Steer clear of Bryan Edwards for this year he won’t be worth the selection this year.

Round 4

Exceeding Expectations: Joshua Kelley

Last year the Los Angeles Chargers had Austin Ekeler as the RB1 to start the season with Melvin Gordon holding out over a better contract. That backfired for Gordon as Ekeler excelled and turned into a fantasy must have. Gordon has now moved on and Ekeler is now the number 1 back for the Chargers.

The real fight is for the backup running back to take over the Ekeler role for the previous seasons. The fight is between Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. Justin Jackson was a 7th round draft pick in 2018 who got a bit of playing time last season but nothing to really get the Chargers excited about making him the RB2. That is where Kelley comes in, coming out of UCLA who, in his 2 seasons rushed for over 1000 yards each season.

Fantasypros.com is currently project 100.7 carries for 416.3 yards and 3.3 touchdowns. I believe Kelley will take the RB2 job and when you look back at last season Melvin Gordon in 12 games had 162 rushing attempts and Ekeler had 132 rushing attempts. The Chargers like to have a balanced attack with their running backs so look for Kelley to get closer to the 132 attempts Ekeler had last season. If he gets around that 132 carries and averages 3.8 yards per carry, he will get to 501 yards rushing which is more than the Fantasypros projection.

Joshua Kelley will establish himself as the backup running back so I think we should start to look at him as the new Austin Ekeler and who better to learn from than the man himself. With a current ADP of 251 he would be valuable in redraft leagues as a handcuff for Ekeler and in dynasty leagues as a very solid contributor for years to come.

Not Meeting Expectations: La’Mical Perine

La’Mical Perine looked at one point to be a guy I was going to select in dynasty leagues or even in a redraft league if you picked Le’Veon Bell. Then the Jets went and signed the grizzly veteran in Frank Gore, who I believe played under Vince Lombardi with the Green Bay Packers in the very first super bowl, might need to get the research team onto that so we can get confirmation!!

Due to that signing Perine has now been dropped down the depth chart, provided the RB’s are healthy he won’t get much playing time. Fantasypros.com has projected 38.3 carries for 155.6 yards and 1 TD not really numbers you want in a redraft league or even a dynasty league for this first year.

Le’Veon still has 2 seasons left on his contract after the 2020 season and with how much he is being paid (8.5 million this season, 8 million in 2021 & 9.5 million in 2022) he won’t be replaced as the RB1 by a 4th round draft pick. If the Jets were going to look for a replacement for Bell, they will be looking at either a top tier free agent or looking at the 2021 draft at someone like Travis Etienne out of Clemson. If Bell or Gore get hurt La’Mical Perine will be available on a waiver wire but if they stay healthy, he won’t make the field much and won’t be worth the pick this year.

Just heard back from the research team and yes Frank Gore was in the first super bowl so amazing to see him still running strong and look forward to seeing him still running in 35 years’ time!

Honourable mentions

Donovan Peoples-Jones was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 6th round of the NFL draft which surprised many as before the draft he was being projected in the middle to late 3rd round. I first became aware of DPJ on the Amazon Prime show ‘All or Nothing’ a season with the Michigan Wolverines. He doesn’t have the top end speed or elite route running of other receivers in this draft so I don’t think he will ever be a true WR1, but he managed to go to a place that needs him. The Browns were last year’s bandwagon team after the Odell trade but as we saw it didn’t work out great and now seems liker everyone is off the wagon.

After an off season of change by bringing in Kevin Stefanski and some solid free agents in Austin Hooper & Jack Conklin things will be different in 2020 for Cleveland. The one thing the Browns don’t have a lot of is wide receiver depth. The names after Jarvis Landry & Odell Beckham Jr don’t really scream absolute must haves in the fantasy world. Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley & KhaDrel Hodge are just a couple of the names from the Browns roster.

They have been screaming out for a good slot receiver to compliment Jarvis & Odell and I think they may have picked one up in DPJ. Fantasypros.com projects Peoples-Jones to have an astounding 3 receptions for 37.9 yards. Yes, you read that right 3 catches for the season. A guy who at worst will be the 4th option at receiver but at best in three wide receiver sets will be lined up in the slot. DPJ will smash those 3 catches and 38 yards this year and become the browns slot receiver for the future.

The Browns have a lot of options on offense now with Nick Chubb & Kareem Hunt in the backfield, Austin Hooper & for the time being David Njoku at tight end to go with the already mentioned Jarvis & Odell, so he isn’t going to be a guy who you want to go out and select in your redraft league now. He will however just be one of those guys who exceeds what everyone thinks so maybe worth a late pick of your dynasty league or a pickup mid-season on the waiver wire when he starts to breakout and establish himself as a solid option.

There we have it, the names from the 2020 NFL Draft that I believe will have an impact this year and the ones who I would be avoiding whether it be in redraft or in dynasty leagues. As we all know a lot of this is very dependent on health and team performance and how they get used but providing everything goes to plan these are the guys to keep an eye out on.

Let me know what you think, hit me up on twitter @BradBolt1 with what I got right or what I got wrong and let’s hope that by the time the season rolls around we all have our favourites who can possibly win you your fantasy league.

Also, check out Tim’s recent Rookie WR article here.

As the Great Joe Theisman once said “The word genius isn’t applicable to football, a genius is a guy like Norman Einstein”



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