While we have been covering many of the incoming rookies individually, to cover the abundance of draft picks still left to be selected inevitably wins out. Draft pick hit rates also progressively decrease as the draft advances. To clean up coverage on the picks that do not quite their way into individual posts, I will be recapping those players here. You can find links to the larger profiles from early rounds picks at the bottom of this post and in the 2021 central hub for all things fantasy.
Steelers Draft Pat Freiermuth at No. 55
Freiermuth is a much more “traditional” tight end compared to Kyle Pitts and Brevin Jordan. Built at 6’5” and 258 pounds, Freiermuth is the best immediate blocker among the top prospects to get on the field right away.
But that does not mean that Freiermuth does not offer upside as a receiver, which is what we care about for fantasy. Freiermuth totaled a steady 92-1,185-16 line across 29 games at Penn State. He only played in four games in 2020, but had six or more receptions in three of them and accounted for 28% of the team targets in those games played. Taking on more receiving work, Freiermuth’s slot rate went from 36.5% as a freshman, up to 38.4% in 2019, and all the way up to 53.3% this past season. Freiermuth is an older prospect than Pitts and Jordan by almost two full years, but his dual-purpose ability can lead to higher drat capital and more immediate snaps.
The Steelers were 26th in the NFL last season success rate targeting the tight end position (51%) and were just 24th in target allocation (17%) to the position.
Eric Ebron closed his first season with the Steelers catching 56-of-91 targets for 558 yards and five touchdowns. With 37.2 yards per game, Ebron has hit 40.0 yards per game in just one of his past four seasons and is in the final year on the two-year deal he signed last offseason.
Seahawks Draft D’Wayne Eskridge at No. 56
Eskridge was electric in 2020. In just six games played, Eskridge turned 33 receptions into 768 yards and eight touchdowns. For team context, Eskridge led this entire WR class in yards per team pass attempt (4.95), share of team receiving yardage (45.1%!), and share of team yards from scrimmage (28.8%). He also averaged 27.5 yards per kickoff return.
Eskridge was a regional champion in track at Bluffton High School. He won the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and the long jump in his region in both 2015 and 2016. That all shows up with the plays he makes. At his Pro Day, Eskridge ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and was in the 62nd percentile in explosion score (vert+broad). That also is where it is hard to diagnose what we are working with Eskridge at the next level. Paired with nearly playing at 24-years-old this past season, Eskridge was demolishing much younger and less athletic players in the MAC. Watching his tape from 2020 was like watching a game on Rookie Mode, he was just that much better of an athlete than his opponents.
At this Pro Day, Eskridge checked in at 5’8” and 190 pounds. With little developed nuance as an NFL route runner at this stage (all he did was run go routes and slants), his adjustment may take some time.
D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett accounted for 48.6% of the team targets, 47.2% of the receptions, 55.5% of the yardage, and 50% of the receiving scores in 2020. Behind Metcalf’s 129 targets, the next closest target on the team was David Moore way down at 47 targets, who left this offseason via free agency.
The other reserve Seattle wideouts currently on the roster have a combined 15 career receptions while Freddie Swain (13-159-2 in 2020) was the only reserve wideout that is under contract beyond 2021.
Rams Draft Tutu Atwell at No. 57
Atwell is an absolute burner who improved all four seasons of his college career in terms of yardage gained. Louisville tried to get him the football regularly near the line of scrimmage (40 of his career receptions were screens) or deep downfield (25 were over 20 yards). At just 5’8” and just 155 pounds, Atwell was not a major touchdown threat (six or fewer touchdowns in every season) while it is hard to project significant touches and a large fantasy role for Atwell at the next level given his size. This pick comes on the heels of the Rams selecting Van Jefferson in the second round last season and extending both Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp last offseason. The team also added DeSean Jackson this offseason, who will turn 35-years-old this December and has not played a full season since 2014 and has appeared in just eight games over the previous two seasons.
Buccaneers Draft Kyle Trask at No. 64
Trask will be a 23-year-old rookie and offers no rushing juice at all, turning in just 54 career yards on the ground at Florida. From a passing stance, Trask improved in each collegiate season, capping 2020 with 9.8 Y/A and 43 touchdowns (eight interceptions) while completing 68.9% of his passes. Off his strong 2018-2019 seasons as a starter, Trask enters the NFL in the 91st percentile in career yards per pass attempt (9.1 Y/A) and 92nd percentile in touchdown to interception ratio (4.6).
As was the case with Mac Jones playing alongside multiple first round weaponry, Trask also had the bonus of throwing to arguably the best tight end prospect ever in Kyle Pitts, and senior wide receivers Kadarius Toney who were selected in the first round of this draft, and Trevor Grimes, who also was invited to the combine.
Father Time remains undefeated, but it still has not claimed Tom Brady, who is under contract through the 2022 season should he desire to keep playing.\
Vikings Draft Kellen Mond at No. 66
A three-year starter at Texas A&M, Mond has over 200 pass attempts in all four of his collegiate seasons. Mond never played alongside high-profile pass catchers, but also did not elevate those around him greatly, completing 59.0% of his career passes for 7.1 yards per pass attempt.
To Mond’s credit, he did improve on his completion rate all four seasons at A&M, while having his cleanest season in his final one, throwing for a career-high 7.7 Y/A with 19 touchdowns to three interceptions in 10 games played. Also, for having as much experience that Mond has, he is not an old prospect for being a four-year player. Mond also comes with some mobility of his own, rushing for 1,609 yards and 22 touchdowns over his career with 25 or more rushing yards in 25 of his 43 career starts.
Minnesota still has Kirk Cousins signed over the next two seasons. Although Cousins only has a $10M dead cap hit in 2022 and does not get a lot of praise since he is not on the pantheon of position, he is still a productive quarterback. Behind Cousins the depth was lacking as neither Jake Browning nor Nate Stanley have thrown a pass in the NFL.
Texans Draft Davis Mills at No. 67
While a number of our later-round backups were experienced collegiate players, Mills was forced to play behind K.J. Costello for his first two seasons and had two ACL tears at Stanford before getting an opportunity in 2019. Mills was a 5-Star recruit with offers from significant programs. With Stanford only playing six games in 2020 and his injuries, Mills has just 491 career dropbacks on his resume for a four-year player. In his limited game action, Mills completed 65.5% of his passes for 7.9 Y/A to go along with 18 touchdowns to eight interceptions. On that resume, Mills enters the NFL in the 78th percentile in career completion rate, the 52nd percentile in yards per pass attempt, and the 40th percentile in touchdown-to-interception rate. A traditional archetype elevated by tools, Mills also does not bring much to the table on the rushing end with 86 career rushing yards.
The Texans are in a tough spot with everything orbiting Deshaun Watson. Watson has expressed he does not want to play another down with the team, but also no team is willing to acquire him with the ongoing off-field allegations surrounding him. Houston is cognizant that they are in a full multi-year teardown of this roster based on the predicament the previous regime placed them in.
At this time, we do not know if Watson will be available to play for anyone in 2021 and the Texans had very loosely accounted for that with the acquisitions of Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Finley. Knowing that they are basically punting the 2021 season, the team had to take a shot a mid-to-late round quarterback contract to add for 2020 and future competition in preparations that Watson will either not be on their team or available come the start of this season.
Chargers Draft Josh Palmer at No. 77
Palmer does not have much of a production resume, never reaching 500 receiving yards in any of his four collegiate seasons with a high of 34 receptions coming in 2019. In the 15th percentile for career production, Palmer (6’1″ and 210 pounds) was a modest athlete, checking out of his Pro Day as a 57th percentile athlete at his position. Palmer was stuck in a stone-age offense and had success against some top SEC corners, but he is still in a bucket of low probability to hit given his lack of actual output and non-early declare status. That said, Mike Williams will play 2020 under the fifth-year option that was picked up by the team last offseason, giving Palmer a potential path to a larger role in 2022.
Dolphins Draft Hunter Long at No. 81
Long (6’5”, 253 pounds) closed out his career at Boston College with a 57-685-5 line and led all collegiate tight ends with 88 targets in 2020. Long accounted for 23.6% of the Boston College receptions, 21.9% of their receiving yardage, and 2.17% of their touchdowns. While Pitts and Jordan had higher per-game market share percentages of their team passing game, those team reception and yardage marks for Long were tops among all tight ends in this class over the full season. Even while accounting for that large share of his team’s passing pie, Long is more of a brass tacks tight end in the passing game as 82% of Long’s routes came while inline.
The Dolphins targeted their tight ends 25% of the time (ninth in the league) while they had a 60% success rate (seventh) and averaged 7.7 yards per target (ninth) on throws to tight ends in 2020.Mike Gesicki does enter 2021 on the final season of his rookie contract, so Long can be insurance there while depth options Adam Shaheen (signed through 2022) and Cethan Carter (2023) have multi-year deals with the team.
Washington Drafts Dyami Brown at No. 82
Brown is the best deep threat in this class, turning in back-to-back seasons of having at least 50 receptions for over 20.0 yards per catch to go along with 12 and eight touchdowns. North Carolina did not ask Brown to do much outside of shred defenses over the top (his career average depth of target was 18.4 yards). In Phil Longo’s scheme, Brown was asked to solely run verticals, slants, curls, and outs. He did not even have a single reception of a screen in 2020.
Since he was not asked to do much else, questioning whether or not Brown can develop nuance outside of being a pure downfield flanker is warranted. But Brown has a measured spade that is going to land him targets that carry fantasy weight while his size (6’0” and 189 pounds) is not a concern for his archetype. At his Pro Day, Brown was impressive with an 80th percentile explosion score in jumping drills, but checked out in the 23rd percentile in speed score and 27th percentile in agility.
Washington has Terry McLaurin locked into the alpha spot, while they also added Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries this offseason. Even with Terry McLaurin, the Washington wide receiver corps combined to rank just 19th in receptions (12.1) and 26th in receiving yardage per game (141.3 yards) while ranking 31st in touchdown receptions (eight) in 202, so they are getting as many assets as possible. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aggressive nature can be a plus for Brown if he can regularly find the field in 2021.
Panthers Draft Tommy Tremble at No. 83
Tremble (6’4” and 248 pounds) does not have much production on his resume, turning in 16-183-4 in 2019 and 19-218-0 in 2020. He also was outproduced in the passing game by freshman tight end Michael Mayer (42-450-2).
What Tremble has going for him is that he is considered the best blocking tight, is the third-youngest tight end in this class, and an early declare, so there is clearly some signal here that there is more buzz around him from the league than his raw receiving production suggests. Tremble also had a plethora of offers from tangible programs before choosing Notre Dame, but there are significant question marks surrounding if he will be used heavily as a receiver for fantasy purposes given all of the production signals.
The tight end position was an afterthought for the Panthers in 2020. Carolina tight ends combined to catch just 27 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 41 targets. Ian Thomas suggested the team was figuring out how the position fit into this offense in late August and he was not lying.
The team added Dan Arnold via free agency this offseason, making him the only tight end on the roster that is signed beyond this season.
Packers Draft Amari Rodgers at No. 85
After starting his career out on the outside (17.6% slot rate 2017-2018), Rodgers was moved inside the past two seasons (85.6% slot rate) while he closed his final season out with 1,020 yards and seven touchdowns.
Rodgers is built like a running back (5’10” and 210 pounds) and teams had him work out there at his Pro Day. Rodgers only had six career rushing attempts at Clemson, but as we saw with Antonio Gibson last season (who had just 33 college carries before 170 as a rookie), that is not a major hang-up. Rodgers is not as big as Gibson (6’0” and 228 pounds at last year’s combine), but can be used as a Ty Montgomery-like player next level that can play in the backfield and the slot.
Rodgers did not really do himself a ton of favors at his Pro Day, registering in the 35th percentile in agility score and 31st percentile in explosion score, but showed solid speed for his size with a 4.51 40-time.
The Packers receiving corps is still anchored by Davante Adams, who has developed into arguably the league’s top receiver. Doing nearly all of the lifting in 2020, Adams accounted for 51.2% of all the targets allocated to the Green Bay wide receivers, which was the highest rate in the league for a wideout compared to his fellow wide receiver room. Adams enters 2021 in the final season of his contract and will be due a big payday very soon. In fact, the Packers do not currently have any wide receiver under contract beyond the 2021 season while Rodgers can compete for a slot role immediately.
49ers Draft Trey Sermon at No. 88
Sermon was a major recruit out of high school, receiving offers from Alabama and Auburn among others before heading to Oklahoma. His best season at Oklahoma was as a sophomore with 1,128 yards and 13 touchdowns and then transferred to Ohio State for his final season after just 62 touches in 10 games as a Junior. At Ohio State, Sermon rushed for 68 yards or fewer in each of his first four games and was stuck in another timeshare with Master Teague, but then turned it on for 112, 331, and 193 yards over his final three full games with four touchdowns against top-level opponents when he was finally given the keys as the feature back. The model obviously dings Sermon for his lack of overall production and shared time with multiple backs, but his pedigree as a recruit, production when showcased and his size (6’0” and 215 pounds) will have him selected highly among the second tier of backs. At his Pro Day, Sermon came out with just a 36th percentile speed score, but had high marks in explosion (86th percentile) and agility (83rd).
San Francisco remains a backfield-driven offense as they ranked fifth in the league in backfield touches per game (30.6) despite a plethora of injuries and a steady rotation of bodies active over the course of the season. Jeff Wilson led the team with 139 touches, but their offensive performance running the football was largely subpar a year ago as the 49ers ranked 28th in the league in expected points added via their running game (-18.5).
Heading into 2021, the 49ers do not have a running back under contract beyond this season outside of Sermon while controlling the rights to JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter. Starting running back Raheem Mostert will be 29-years-old to start the season and has yet to clear 151 touches in a single season due to his career path and missing eight games in 2020.
Texans Draft Nico Collins at No. 89
Collins has a limited resume after he has tallied just 78 receptions for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns over three seasons at Michigan, but there are some things to like about his profile as being a more productive NFL player.
Collins was saddled with subpar quarterback play his entire collegiate career, but he has major size (6’4” and 215 pounds) on his side while he was a four-star recruit that had offers from major programs such as Alabama, Clemson, and Florida among others before choosing Michigan. If Collins ends up at any of those programs, this could be a much different story. He also sat out this season due to COVID, which failed to change any of the narrative.
While at Michigan, Collins still turned 16.7% of his receptions into touchdowns (ninth in this class) while averaging 17.8 yards per reception (11th). At worst, Collins can threaten to be a boundary and red zone option next level with his size. At his Pro Day, Collins helped himself a great deal, registering in as a 87th percentile athlete, with the most surprising component of that workout being an 85th percentile wideout in agility marks, which is strong for his size.
Houston made a bunch of similar moves at wide receiver as they did at running back, adding Chris Conley, Chris Moore, Donte Moncrief, and Alex Erickson on one-year contracts this offseason. It is doubtful all make the opening day roster when we get to that point, but the only wideout they gave a multi-year contract this offseason was Andre Roberts, who was really signed as a kick returner.
The team still has Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb signed through the 2022 season. Cobb will be 31-years-old at the start of the season. He appeared in 10 games in his first year in Houston and has not played a full season since 2015. He carries a $12.2M dead cap hit this season, but just a $2M hit afterwards. The team also still has 2020 fifth rounder Isaiah Coulter on a rookie deal through 2023, but Cooks, Cobb, Roberts, and Coulter are the only wideouts signed beyond this season with all of the other expiring contracts becoming unrestricted free agents.
With Cobb a likely cut candidate after this season and no other Houston wide receiver being a big body, Collins fills an immediate void at the position and could compete for top targets as early as 2022, but with Deshaun Watson’s status in the air, the overall offensive climate could be lacking.
Browns Draft Anthony Schwartz at No. 91
Schwartz was a draft favorite of many due to his stellar track background and is expected to be one of the fastest timed wideouts in this class (Schwartz was reported 4.26-4.31 per various sources at his Pro Day). Speed is what got him drafted, but there is not much here to latch onto from what Schwartz actually did on the field. He averaged just 10.7 and 11.8 yards per reception his past two seasons at Auburn while he scored more rushing touchdowns (seven) than receiving (six) ones over his three seasons. He also is a tweener at 6’0″ and 186 pounds. But with his speed and only being a 21-year-old rookie, Schwartz still has plenty of upside if things come together at the next level.
Cleveland only used 11 personnel on 44% of their snaps last season, which was 30th in the league. This a year after Kevin Stefanski’s 2019 Minnesota offense used 11 personnel just 25% of the time, which was the lowest rate in the league. Both of those offenses had injuries limit the viability of the WR depth charts to limit those rates, but Cleveland also is not heavily going to jump into the top half of he league in regularly deploying three wideouts, either. Schwartz will compete for opportunities behind Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry with Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
Chargers Draft Tre McKitty at No. 97
The former three-star recruit made some noise at the Senior Bowl this offseason, but McKitty has an extremely limited production profile for a four-year player. After three seasons at Florida State in which McKitty caught 49 passes for 497 yards and two touchdowns, he transferred to Georgia this past season, catching six passes for 108 yards and a touchdown in his four games played.
After losing Hunter Henry early in free agency, the Chargers added Jared Cook to the fold in part of replacing him on a one-year contract. Cook will turn 34-years-old this April coming off a 37-504-7 campaign in 2020 in 15 games played. The team has Donald Parham in the fold as well. The 6’8”, 237-poound tight end will only be 24-years-old this August while playing 80.7% (2-45-0) and 52.1% (3-37-1) in the final two games of the season with Henry sidelined. Parham is an exclusive rights free agent after the season as the Chargers do not currently have any tight end signed for the 2022 season outside of McKitty.
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Fallout Pieces