Here we go again. The 2016 season ended earlier this month, but it’s time for draft season to kick into full swing, starting with the NFL Combine in Indianapolis from Feb. 28 to Mar. 6. At the Combine, we narrow our focus down to the skill-position players. This is a fantasy site, and while we publish an extensive IDP Rookie Report during the summer, it makes sense for us to really hone in on the key skill guys at this time of year. As such, we don’t dabble in mock drafts or “big boards,” and we don’t take into account consensus rankings when we order our players, both pre- and post-draft. Make no mistake, we will never try to paint ourselves as “draft experts,” but merely as fantasy writers trying to take the ideal snapshot of the incoming class for our purposes. Our job is to lay out the players we think have the best chance to become impact fantasy players sooner rather than later.
As always, our own research combined with the knowledge of our contributors, including Greg Cosell, who has been studying these players intensely for months, will make up our big rookie reports. We already have an idea of where we’re leaning, but the Combine will provide some hard data we need to feel truly good about our rankings.
Here’s what to look for at the skill positions in Indianapolis. After the Combine, we’ll have a similar column up reviewing some of the top performers at each position.
In 2016, we had several interesting rookie QBs. Obviously, Dak Prescott of the Cowboys was thrust into a starting role because of two injuries, and ended up having an all-time great rookie campaign. Carson Wentz of the Eagles started 16 games and showed promise, while Paxton Lynch of the Broncos started just two games and mostly struggled. Then, #1 overall pick Jared Goff started seven games, lost all of them, and generally was terrible (he played roughly one good half of football). As you’d expect from most rookie QB classes these days, it was an up-and-down class in 2016.
This incoming QB class has a lot of interesting players in it, but it’s already garnering a wide range of opinions in the draft and NFL scouting communities. Some believe it to be far better and deeper than last year’s class, while others believe each “top” QB has a staggering flaw that must be corrected or minimized in some way. At the top of the board – in no particular order – are Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.
Other interesting names include Cal’s Davis Webb and Pitt’s Nate Peterman, who may be the t...