Now that the start of the season is on the horizon let’s take a look at some results from a mock draft I took part in back a month or two ago. It was a 13 team draft full of some great leaders from the CFF community in which I (FBSFantasyFoot) picked 6th – you can see the full results in the graphic above (along with the list of teams who took part – you might need to zoom in to see it better), with my team’s picks shared again below:
A couple important things to add before I analyze my draft round by round:
- To be completely transparent, I didn’t do extensive prep for this draft or go in with “must-have” players, which partially led me in a direction I didn’t expect. Because I have been actively tracking transfer updates, I ended up drafting more recent transfers than I would have expected as these were fresh in my mind. Feels like I almost have as many recent transfers on my team as the rest of the league combined.
- I tend to value previous production more than some owners, which even in a mock draft led me to taking more proven players and less big sleepers/breakouts than many owners. This often leads to a “safer” draft than many other owners, and I’m also often less attached to my picks and thus more open to making free agent pickups over the first few weeks of the season. That said, I still definitely took a number of players with a lot to prove as they step into new roles or new teams.
- There have been some changes in the CFB landscape in the weeks since this draft happened in terms of additional transfers and a few coaching changes, I’ll note that as I go.
Round 1 – RB Kevin Marks, Buffalo
Last season Marks rushed for 112/741-7 while his now departed backfield mate Jaret Patterson ran for 141/1072-19. I expect Marks to become the clear RB1 with Patterson off to the NFL and for his TD numbers to make a jump. Former Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold left for Kansas after this draft took place, which creates a little concern as you’d prefer your first round pick to be in as stable a situation as possible. The new coach Maurice Linguist most recently has a defensive background, so the hopes will be that the running game remains as much a priority under a new regime as it was under the previous.
Round 2 – WR Calvin Austin, Memphis
Last season Austin caught 63/1053-11, while this season long-time QB Brady White is gone to the pros and WR Tahj Washington transferred to USC, so the expectation is that Austin is the clear WR1, and hopefully a consistent new starting Memphis QB (more on that later in my draft) will emerge.
Round 3 – RB Ulysses Bentley, SMU
Last year Bentley rushed for 170/913-11 while also receiving 21/174-1. I like that he caught a good number of balls out of the backfield as well as had a nice rushing TD total. Backfield-mate TJ McDaniel should be back healthy this season, and looking back 3rd round might have been a touch too high for Bentley, but overall I still like his potential when adding in the high-powered offense he plays in.
Round 4 – WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
56/892-9 receiving last year, and Phil Jurkovec returns as his QB. TE Hunter Long (57/685) moved on to the NFL, so Flowers should be the clear top option and only continue to improve in his 3rd season.
Round 5 – QB Kedon Slovis, USC
If you can get one of the top 2-3 dual threat QBs in the draft in the first couple rounds you likely should, but otherwise I like to grab mid-round QBs in pass heavy offenses. Slovis struggled with some interception issues last season, but the USC offense once again has top returning players plus some new transfer pieces at RB and WR, and Slovis threw for 300+ yards in 4 of his 6 games last season while averaging almost 3 passing TDs a game.
Round 6 – QB Carson Strong, Nevada
In 9 games last year Strong threw for 2858 yards and 27 TDs, an average of 317.5 yards and 3 TDs a game. WR Romeo Doubs & TE Cole Turner lead a talented, experienced receiving corps also returning. I probably should have taken Strong above Slovis, but love this duo together.
Round 7 – RB Kenneth Walker, Michigan State
The first of many transfers I took, Walker rushed for 119/579-13 at Wake Forest last season. Some of those TDs came out of the wildcat formation, so that number may be a little out of whack. Michigan State’s leading rusher last season only had 219 yards (RB Jordon Simmons), while RB Elijah Collins (41/90-0) just never looked right as it was revealed after the season he had been dealing with overcoming covid. Walker will have to win this job against returning RBs as well as prove he can run in the Big Ten, but I like him as the frontrunner.
Round 8 – WR Jahcour Pearson, Ole Miss
The Western Kentucky transfer only played in 3 games last season, but in 2019 caught for 76/804-7 with the Hilltoppers. With Ole Miss having lost Elijah Moore (86/1193-8) to the NFL, the hope is that Pearson might slot into Moore’s role. Pearson seemed to be absent from the spring game for undisclosed reasons, but Ole Miss is going to pass for big numbers with Matt Corral again and while its unrealistic to expect Pearson to produce like Moore, my hope is Pearson will emerge along with fellow WRs Mingo/Drummond/Sanders.
Round 9 – RB Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma
Brooks opted out last season, so this pick comes with some risks, but I liked him (especially in round 9) with Rhamondre Stevenson off to the NFL, TJ Pledger transferred to Utah, and after this draft happened Seth McGowan entered the transfer portal. That essentially makes the backfield look like Brooks, Tennessee transfer Eric Gray and Marcus Major. And don’t forget that Brooks rushed for over 1000 yards in both 2018 & 2019, and it’s the Oklahoma offense after all. Hard to not take a RB with two previous 1000 yard seasons in the 9th round.
Round 10 – WR Mike Harley, Miami
Caught for 57/799-7 last season, leading Miami in catches and yards while tying TE Brevin Jordan in TDs. The hope here would be that QB D’Eriq King comes back healthy from his knee injury and that in King’s year 2 at Miami the offense really hits its stride with Harley increasing each of his receiving stats as he leads Miami in receiving again.
Round 11 – TE Cole Turner, Nevada
Turner is one of the leading returning TEs stat-wise, having had 49/605-9 last season. I paired Turner with QB Carson Strong (my 6th round pick) in hopes that Turner at minimum replicates last year’s numbers which came in only 9 games played.
Round 12 – WR Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky
The Nebraska transfer showed glimpses of greatness as a utility knife from both the backfield and the receiver slots but transferred out as he wanted to get closer to home as well as likely wanted to change offenses (and get away from Adrian Martinez). At Nebraska Robinson caught for 51/461-1 last season while rushing for 46/240-1. At Kentucky I’m hoping for a more consistent role in a potential higher-volume passing offense, which will increase the receiving numbers while potentially decreasing the rushing.
Round 13 – QB Grant Gunnell, Memphis
Gunnell dealt with injuries last season at Arizona and ultimately decided to transfer out prior to the coaching change (which was much needed). Gunnell will have to win the QB1 job at Memphis, and the team wasn’t ready to name a starter after the spring, but he appears to the the frontrunner over LSU transfer Peter Parrish to replace Brady White in a Memphis offense usually very favorable to fantasy QBs.
Round 14 – WR Isaiah Hamilton, San Jose State
Hamilton only had 13/206-2 last season after putting up 43/718-4 in 2019. Last year’s leading WRs have departed (Tre Walker & Bailey Gaither), so Hamilton should have every chance to return/exceed the 2019 numbers with QB Nick Starkel back to sling it.
Round 15 – RB TJ Pledger, Utah
Pledger ran for 95/451-5 in a Oklahoma backfield alongside Rhamondre Stevenson, Seth McGowan & Marcus Major before transferring to Utah. After the tragic passing of last year’s rushing leader Ty Jordan (597-6), the Utah backfield looks to be competitive as Chris Curry transferred (LSU), Tavion Thomas transferred (Cincinnati) and Micah Bernard returns, so Pledger does not appear to be a sure thing to RB1 entering the season.
Round 16 – QB Tyler Shough, Texas Tech
Shough surprised many by transferring from Oregon after being the starter last season passing for 106/167-1559-13 while rushing for 66/271-2 in 7 games. I of course like the Texas Tech offense, and think Shough will win the job over returner Henry Colombi who shared time with the injured Alan Bowman (who ended up transferring to Michigan after the season).
Looking back on my draft I really wouldn’t change too much other than perhaps taking a few players a round too soon, and feel like the overall success of my draft might be revealed by whether picks 7-9 (Walker, Pearson, Brooks) become their teams standout RB1/WR1s. if you have any questions about specific players I chose or general feedback on my draft please let me know! A part 2 article will come out soon sharing some of the picks I liked from other teams in each round as well as general draft thoughts.