With the conclusion of rounds two and three of the NFL Draft Friday, many of the big-name running backs and tight ends of this class saw their names called. The second tier of wide receiver prospects quickly diminished as well, which leaves us with the true sleepers at the skill positions who will be vying for both starting jobs and roster spots.
The past five seasons have given us valuable gems late in rounds 4-7 of the drafts. Here are some potential winners and losers from day three, both current roster guys and draftees, following the conclusion of the NFL Draft.
NFL Draft Rounds 4-7: Winners
Antonio Gibson - Running Back, Washington Redskins
The big winner here is recently-drafted Antonio Gibson. Over the past few seasons, we’ve seen what versatility out of the backfield can do for a team’s production. With Adrian Peterson taking an extended farewell tour and Derrius Guice seemingly incapable of staying healthy, Gibson should get a decent amount of work in both the run game and the passing game out of the backfield.
Keep in mind, Gibson took over in the hybrid running back/receiver role at Memphis, occupied by Tony Pollard the year prior. Pollard’s success last season as a rookie likely paved a path for guys like Gibson going forward. Gibson averaged 11.2 YPC and ran a 4.39 forty-yard dash at the combine. Though the Redskins have Guice, Love, Ferguson, Peterson, Barber, and McKissic on the roster, expect Gibson to get a decent amount of work as the year goes on, as he acclimates to serving more as a running back in the NFL. He should be a good deep value player in dynasty formats.
Antonio Gibson's situation seemed rough when he was drafted yesterday, but a few key moves have improved his value. The Redskins took Saahdiq Charles the LSU left tackle who slid due to character issues and injury, early in the fourth round. Charles should be able to improve upon a position the Redskins ranked 29th and 43rd in 2019, according to PFF’s grading system.
The expectation is that Charles should come in and immediately compete for a starting job. In the fifth round, the Redskins took a center, Keith Ismael from San Diego State. Both should be able to help this offensive line, which has been devastated by injuries over the past few seasons.
Raheem Mostert - Running Back, San Francisco 49ers
Mostert won the day before round four even started. On Saturday, San Francisco made two key trades. The first was trading a fifth-round pick and a future third-round pick to Washington for tackle Trent Williams. The second was trading Matt Breida for a fifth-round pick, which the 49ers turned into West Virginia tackle, Colton McKivitz.
With the 49ers backfield now a little less crowded, one of their three backs comprising their three-headed monster backfield, stands to benefit most. Tevin Coleman is the designated receiving back, but Raheem Mostert is the main man, for now. By solidifying the line and thinning out the backfield, Raheem Mostert is poised for a seemingly more consistent 2020 season.
Josh Allen - Quarterback, Buffalo Bills
The third-year QB is a winner here, albeit not a big winner. Allen makes this list because his receiving corps got a lot deeper. The Bills sent offensive help in round three via Zach Moss, but the Bills made a sneaky-good pick in the fourth round with UCF wide receiver, Gabriel Davis. Davis doesn’t profile as an elite talent, but he’s a good contested ball receiver with decent speed and size. In the sixth round, Buffalo took Isaiah Hodgins, a 6’4" receiver from Oregon State with tremendous ball skills.
Both should serve well as an ancillary receiving option in Buffalo and could be good insurance policies for John Brown and Stefon Diggs. At worst, they give the Bills depth in the receiving corps and offer a nice talent pool by which they can develop when John Brown eventually ages out (30 years old).
Baker Mayfield - Quarterback, Cleveland Browns
Mayfield has to be feeling a little dangerous right about now. In the fourth round, the Browns took a tight end, Harrison Bryant out of FAU. The Browns continued their trend of overhauling the offensive line, drafting center Nick Harris in the fifth round.
In round six, the Browns got a steal from the bog-bodied, underutilized receiver from Michigan, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Peoples-Jones ran a 4.48 and probably slid further than he should have, thanks to poor QB play by Shea Patterson. These three consecutive picks should add depth to a more complete Browns offensive unit in 2020.
NFL Draft Rounds 4-7: Losers
Le'Veon Bell - Running Back, New York Jets
Bell may be the big loser by the time the season rolls around. The Jets made a couple picks to boost their offensive depth in round four. Their first pick, Lamical Perine is an explosive, powerful runner, who may be the antithesis of Le'Veon Bell from a running style standpoint.
Bell’s 3.2 YPC average from 2019 didn’t reflect the massive free-agent contract he just signed with the Jets, and Perine could very likely put a dent into Bell’s workload in 2020.
Justin Jackson - Running Back, Los Angeles Chargers
Those stashing Jackson in dynasty couldn’t have been happy with the Chargers selection of Joshua Kelley in round four of the draft. We knew, coming into the draft, the Chargers running game would likely be a split, headlined by the dynamic, electric Austin Ekeler.
The question was whether the Chargers would draft another back to compete with Justin Jackson for those carries. The Chargers answered that question with the speedy, downhill back from UCLA in Kelley. Any perceived value Jackson held as a deeper option in leagues will likely be in flux in 2020.
Justin Herbert - Quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers
It’s kind of like Justin Herbert arrived home to a surprise party and no one showed up. The Chargers made the obvious play by drafting Herbert, but many are skeptical of both Herbert’s potential and his current ability. You might be wondering why Josh Allen is listed as a winner and Herbert the loser, considering both teams ignored O-line and drafted two receivers each. The explanation is their individual styles.
Buffalo, Houston, and Seattle were able to have offensive success despite all having poorly rated pass protection units. They’re all mobile quarterbacks. Although Herbert is quite an athlete himself, his elusiveness in the pocket isn’t on par with the others I mentioned. If the Chargers want him to properly develop as a passer, as well as generate good offense, they need a line more than Buffalo.
The Chargers traded their second and third-round picks to slide into the back end of the first round and take a linebacker, Kenneth Murray. When round four rolled around, the Chargers had a chance to give Herbert protection behind a line ranked close to the bottom by PFF. PFF grading had the following ranks at their respective positions: 51st at tackle, 31st at guard, 29th at center, 47th at guard, 15th at tackle.
Despite the abysmal line, the Chargers feel like the addition of Brian Bulaga was good enough, as they opted to avoid the offensive line altogether. The additions of Joe Reed and KJ Hill are nice to bolster their thin receiving corps, but none of these picks are going to help Herbert stay upright and properly develop.
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