The biggest fantasy storyline on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft was the Lions trading D’Andre Swift to the Eagles, but some interesting Dynasty prospects also came off the board on Saturday.
Eagles Trade for D’Andre Swift
Swift’s future in Detroit was sealed when the Lions selected Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick, and he was officially traded to the Eagles on Day 3.
After losing Miles Sanders in free agency, the Eagles brought in Rashaad Penny on a cheap contract in free agency and landed Swift for essentially a fourth-round pick next season.
It is two low-cost, high-upside swings from an organization that continues to look like one of the smartest in the league.
Both players have struggled to stay healthy thus far in their careers, although it has to be noted Swift has played in at least 13 games in every one of his NFL seasons, but both are explosive players who can create big plays.
Over the last two seasons, Penny is second among qualifying running backs in 10-plus yard run rate (16.5%) and Swift is ninth in that metric (13.6%).
The Eagles were seventh in the league in rate of runs that gained 10 or more yards last season (14.8%).
While both Penny and Swift should be able to produce on a per-carry basis, getting a large share of that work could be tough on a depth chart that still has Kenneth Gainwell.
Perhaps that is a good real-life outcome for these players as they try to stay on the field, but they will need more than 10-12 touches a game to consistently produce fantasy points.
As will likely be the case on every Jalen Hurts team, it could also be difficult for either Penny or Swift to earn a large share of the goal-line carries, raising further questions about their fantasy upside.
As it stands, both players look more interesting in best ball formats given how explosive they can be in this offense and the weekly ceiling that provides, but picking those weeks will be difficult unless someone carves out a clear role in the preseason.
Quarterbacks Galore on Day 3
NFL teams appear to be on an ill-fated quest to find the “next Brock Purdy,” something that might not be possible for teams that are not coached by Kyle Shanahan.
Or they just really liked this quarterback class.
Either way, a stunning nine quarterbacks came off the board on Saturday. That is more quarterbacks than were drafted on Day 3 of the 2021 and 2022 drafts combined.
The Saints started things off by drafting Jake Haener at No. 127 overall, and he was followed by:
- Stetson Bennett (Rams, 128)
- Aidan O’Connell (Raiders, 135)
- Clayton Tune (Cardinals, 139)
- Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Browns, 140)
- Sean Clifford (Packers, 149)
- Jaren Hall (Vikings, 164)
- Tanner McKee (Eagles, 188)
- Max Duggan (Chargers, 239)
The reality is it’s highly unlikely anyone in this group develops into an NFL starter much less a fantasy-viable player, but Tune does at least have an interesting athletic profile.
He ran a 4.64 40 with a 37.5-inch vertical at the Combine. Tune’s 9.83 relative athletic score (RAS) was only surpassed by Anthony Richardson in this draft class.
He was also an accurate passer, as Rich Hribar highlighted before the draft.
“Per SIS, Tune had the highest on-target rate (78.1%) in this draft class with the highest on-target rate (79.5%) in the pocket. Only C.J. Stroud had a higher on-target rate than Tune’s 62.4% on throws 10 yards or further downfield and outside of the numbers.”
Roschon Johnson First of 11 Running Backs Drafted Saturday
The Bears have clearly made it a point to add talent around Justin Fields, and they added yet another running back in Roschon Johnson at No. 115 overall.
Johnson was overshadowed by Bijan Robinson at Texas, but he is a big (6-foot, 225 pounds) back who breaks tackles and showed good quickness at the Combine with a 1.52 10-yard split.
As Day 3 backs go, he is a better bet than most in a backfield with talent but no established pecking order.
Breece Hall was on his way to a massive rookie season before a torn ACL ended his year early, and there is little reason to believe he will be anything but the workhorse when healthy.
Michael Carter took a step back last year, however, and Zonovan Knight also struggled. That makes fifth-round pick Israel Abanikanda interesting.
Abanikanda ran a 4.45 40 with a 41-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump at 216 pounds. He posted an elite 9.63 RAS.
He could turn into an explosive complement to Hall.
Chase Brown is another good athlete (4.43 40, 40-inch vertical, 9.81 RAS) who ended up in an unsettled Bengals backfield.
At this point, the Bengals look likely to hold onto Joe Mixon for this season given the lack of investment at the position, but his availability could be in question after an aggravated menacing charge was refiled earlier this month.
The Bengals can also very easily get out of Mixon’s contract next offseason.
Brown’s Day 3 draft capital does not offer him a ton of security, but there is a cleaner path to playing time here than is the case for most fifth-round backs.
A fifth-round pick of the Colts, Evan Hull caught 88 passes over his final two seasons at Northwestern and was second in the class in yards per route run (1.9).
He is not a special runner, but he could carve out a passing-down role behind Jonathan Taylor.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. tested out as an okay athlete (4.52 40, 7.71 RAS) at 217 pounds and consistently created yards in college. PFF credited him with 3.8 yards after contact per carry and 64 forced missed tackles last season.
He ended up with the Commanders at No. 193 overall.
Deuce Vaughn has obvious red flags, most notably his 5-foot-5, 179-pound frame, but he is a fun back who is easy to root for. The Cowboys also do not have any certainty behind Tony Pollard.
A favorite of the Dynasty crowd before the draft, Zach Evans fell all the way to the Rams at No. 215 overall. It is not a bad landing spot, but the lack of draft capital has to move him down rookie boards.
ESPN’s Todd McShay suggested commitment concerns are what led to DeWayne McBride falling to the seventh round, which makes a lot more sense than him falling because of his talent.
McBride is a big back who moves as well as some of the lighter backs in this class and produced a massive 3,084 yards on 437 carries over the last two seasons, good for a 7.1 yards per carry average.
He landed with the Vikings, a team that has questions at the top of the depth chart amid rumors they would like to move on from Dalvin Cook, who is coming off a disappointing season.
The lack of draft capital puts a big dent in his Dynasty stock, but McBride is the kind of back that can emerge out of the seventh round.
Seattle can’t stop drafting running backs, adding Kenny McIntosh in the seventh round. McIntosh makes a lot more sense as the complementary back to Ken Walker than Zach Charbonnet does and could emerge as a passing-down option.
Eric Gray (Giants, 172) and Lew Nichols (Packers, 235) were the other backs that came off the board on Saturday.
Charlie Jones, Tyler Scott, and 17 Other Wide Receivers Drafted on Day 3
Derius Davis was the first receiver off the board on Day 3 when the Chargers selected him at No. 125 overall. The Chargers also selected Davis’ college teammate Quentin Johnston in the first round.
Davis profiles as a player more likely to contribute on special teams or as a gadget weapon on offense rather than a fantasy-viable contributor.
Charlie Jones aka Chuck Sizzle finally played in a functional passing game in 2022 and exploded for a 110-1,361-12 line for Purdue. The Bengals selected him with the 131st pick in the fourth round.
His age (25 in October) and lack of production before last season are red flags, but he tested like a quality athlete with a 4.43 40, 36.5-inch vertical, and 6.84 three-cone. Overall, he finished with an 8.54 RAS.
Jones should be able to immediately contribute on special teams and could be the long-term replacement for Tyler Boyd, who is entering the final year of his contract.
The Bengals also added Andrei Iosivas out of Princeton in the sixth round, and he has an outstanding athletic profile (9.96 RAS). Someone worth watching.
There is no reason Tyler Scott should have been available on Day 3, so this was a great pick for the Bears at No. 133 overall.
A high school running back, Scott is still learning the position and needs to improve his hands, and his size (5-foot-10, 177 pounds) is a concern.
He can fly, though, with a 4.44 40 and elite 1.5 10-yard split, and he showed explosiveness with a 39.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-1 broad jump.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler said Scott has “Tyler Lockett upside.” Not a bad way to invest a later-round rookie pick.
Puka Nacua did not test well, running a 4.56 40 with a 33-inch vertical at 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds.
He was consistently productive in college, however, finishing with a 3.53 yards per route run mark last season, the third-best in the nation according to PFF. He also produced as a runner with 357 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries over the last two seasons.
The Rams’ receiver corps is anything but settled behind Cooper Kupp. This is an interesting prospect-team match.
Parker Washington was hurt by a lack of testing, but he is a well-built slot receiver that wins in contested situations and can create after the catch. According to PFF, he caught 71.4% of his contested targets and forced 15 missed tackles in 2022.
Despite a good season from a counting stats perspective, Zay Jones was 70th in yards per route run (1.42) among receivers with at least 50 targets, and Calvin Ridley is coming back from nearly two full seasons out of football.
That duo will likely line up with Christian Kirk in 11 personnel, but it is at least a situation worth monitoring.
Kayshon Boutte watched his draft stock crash and burn over the last year and tested about as poorly as possible at the Combine (4.5 40 at 195 pounds, 29-inch vertical, 4.99 RAS), but there was a time he was considered a high-end prospect. He went to the Patriots at No. 187 overall.
Boutte’s former teammate Trey Palmer went to the Bucs a few picks later. Palmer broke out after transferring to Nebraska, catching 71 passes for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns in his only season in Lincoln.
Palmer has drop concerns and tested poorly outside of his 4.33 40, but he ran a 4.33 40.
A.T. Perry ran a 4.47 40 with an 11-foot-1 broad jump at 6-foot-3, 198 pounds, good for a 9.62 RAS. He also produced back-to-back 71-1,293-15 and 81-1,096-11 lines at Wake Forest over the last two seasons.
The Saints, who drafted him in the sixth round, have questions behind Chris Olave including whether Michael Thomas can contribute over a full season.
Colton Dowell had a productive fifth year at Tennessee-Martin (67-1,036-6) and has an explosive athletic profile with a 4.42 40, 41.5-inch vertical, and 11-foot-1 broad jump at 6-foot-3, 212 pounds.
He is an older prospect from a smaller school that lasted until the seventh round, but the Titans have one of the least inspiring receiving groups in the league. He is a name to watch.
The Packers added two more pass catchers with Dontayvion Wicks in the fifth round and Grant DuBose late in the seventh. Both are worth watching in a receiver room without an established No. 3 option.
Former five-star prospect Justin Shorter (Bills, 150), Elijah Higgins (Dolphins, 197), Xavier Hutchinson (Texans, 205), Demario Douglas (Patriots, 210), Antoine Green (Lions, 219), Jalen Brooks (Cowboys, 244), and Ronnie Bell (49ers, 253) rounded out the receiver draft class.
Will Mallory, Zack Kuntz Among Six Tight Ends Drafted Day 3
There were not a ton of tight ends left after eight were drafted on Friday night, but another six came off the board on Saturday.
Like seemingly every Colts pick this year, Will Mallory tested like a quality athlete, running a 4.54 40 with a 38.5-inch vertical at 6-foot-4, 239 pounds.
The Colts have some promising young receiving options at the position, but neither Kylen Granson nor Jelani Woods has established themselves as the go-to tight end.
Zack Kuntz does not have a great production profile, although he did catch 73 passes for 692 yards and five scores at Old Dominion in 2021. He also destroyed the Combine with a 4.55 40, 40-inch vertical, 10-foot-8 broad jump, and 6.87 three-cone at 6-foot-7 (!), 255 pounds.
He has a perfect 10 out of 10 RAS. That kind of athleticism is worth a look from the Jets in the seventh round.
Josh Whyle (Titans, 147), Payne Durham (Bucs, 171), Davis Allen (Rams, 175), and Brayden Willis (49ers, 247) also were drafted on Saturday.