Andrew Ferris @AndyFerrisFF
Under The Radar Winners of the 2019 NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is a time where veteran players can have their current value buoyed or tanked. Whether it be a valuable RB picking up a new blocker or a QB picking up a shiny new WR, certain players have their value skyrocket on draft weekend. Below are some of the more under-the-radar guys, whose stock improved post-draft.
Marcus Mariota | QB | Tennessee Titans
Mariota is a player that is dangerously close to receiving the “Bust” title. Never was it so close as the week leading up to the 2019 Draft when rumors crept in that the Titans might take a QB in the first round. This would’ve effectively ended Mariota’s tenure as the Titans QB. Instead, they added, what some considered to be, a top flight WR to pair with Corey Davis in AJ Brown. I question how Brown and Adam Humphries will co-exist but overall the weekend went very well for Marcus Mariota.
Devonta Freeman | RB | Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have made a significant investment in their interior OL this off-season and it continued during the draft with the addition of Christ Lindstrom in the first round. They backed it up with drafting Kaleb McGary and did not invest much draft capital in the RB position. Freeman is only 27-years old and only 2 years removed from posting 17.8 PPR/GM. He did this on under 18 touches a game so Ito Smith’s involvement doesn’t concern me one bit. Freeman is primed for a resurgence in 2019.
John Brown | WR | Buffalo Bills
John Brown was a top-20 WR prior to Lamar Jackson ascending to the QB1 spot in Baltimore. After Jackson took over, Brown fell off a cliff like I’ve never seen before. Between weeks 1-7, Brown scored above 13 PPR in 5 of 7 games. After week 7, he scored above 10 PPR just once. In free agency, he left to become the Buffalo Bills WR1. That excitement was short-lived, however, because the Bills became a popular spot to mock WRs too. Surprisingly enough, Brown made it through the draft unscathed. If the Bills embrace a high-variance downfield passing attack, it will be possible to see John Brown once again post some big numbers.
*Side note* In bestball drafts, I think an interesting strategy is to stackcuff Brown and Robert Foster. They can be had in the mid to late teens and could provide you with several weeks of very big numbers.
Darren Waller | TE | Oakland Raiders
Waller is a guy I had been picking up all offseason wherever I could because I assumed that Jared Cook would be leaving in free agency. Fast-forward to May 1st and Darren Waller is now the starting TE for the Oakland Raiders, a team who just had the TE5 for the 2018 season. I realize there have been significant additions in the passing game and Waller won’t step in and fills Cook’s shoes entirely but there should be some excitement for him. He’s a 6’6” 255-pound man who ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at his combine. His college dominator rating was a robust 32.1% and I’m very interested to see what he does with his chance in John Gruden’s offense.