2022 Fantasy Football: Rookie-only mock draft gives three-round look at the top talent heading our way

Now that the NFL Combine is over, I wanted to see what the perception is of the incoming rookie class for Fantasy managers, mostly in Dynasty leagues. With that in mind, our CBS Sports staff held our first rookie-only mock draft for the upcoming season.

This is the first of many of these mocks leading up to the NFL Draft at the end of April, and we’ll follow up again after all the rookies have new homes. But here’s your first look at how a 12-team, PPR rookie-only draft might go this year. While most rookie-only drafts are usually done to add to an existing Dynasty roster, this three-round mock was completed with the objective of taking the best-player available.

Of course, where these players end up in the NFL will ultimately determine their Fantasy value. But here’s how our staff views these rookies as of now.

Our draft order (non-snake draft):

1. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. Jack Capotorto, CBS Sports HQ Producer
3. Meron Berkson, CBS Sports HQ Producer
4. Frank Stampfl, FBT Podcast Host
5. RJ White, Managing Editor, SportsLine and CBS Fantasy
6. Daniel Schneier, Fantasy Editor
7. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
8. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer
9. Adam Aizer, FFT Podcast Host
10. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
11. Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports NFL Draft Analyst
12. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer

Round 1

1. Breece Hall, RB, Iowa State
2. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
3. Drake London, WR, USC
4. Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
5. Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
6. Rachaad White, RB, Arizona State
7. Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
8. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
9. Ken Walker, RB, Michigan State
10. George Pickens, WR, Georgia
11. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State
12. David Bell, WR, Purdue

The order of the players in the first round could change dramatically based on what happens in the NFL Draft, but Hall has the chance to be the consensus No. 1 overall pick if he lands with the right team. At Iowa State, he was a star, finishing his past two seasons with at least 1,750 total yards and 23 touchdowns, and he had at least 23 catches in each of his three collegiate years. He can be a Fantasy stud in the right situation.

Spiller and Walker will likely be the next two running backs off the board, and they have different profiles entering the NFL. At Texas A&M, Spiller showed off his versatility with three seasons in a row of at least 1,149 total yards, seven touchdowns and 20 catches, and he looks the part of a three-down running back. Walker, meanwhile, only had 13 catches at Michigan State last season, but he was dominant as a rusher with 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns. Both could be special talents depending on their landing spots, and don’t overlook White depending on where he plays on the next level.

This rookie class of receivers has plenty of depth, but the best talents as of now look like Wilson, London, Burks, Williams and Olave. I’m starting to lean toward London as my favorite one, but it’s hard to overlook the talent of the Ohio State guys. And Williams might be the top receiver if he didn’t suffer a torn ACL in the national championship game, which could make him a bargain in the NFL Draft. As for Burks, he has tremendous upside, but his 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine (4.55 seconds) was a little troublesome. However, don’t let that deter you from selecting him early in the first-round of any rookie-only drafts.

Round 2

1. John Metchie, WR, Alabama
2. Brian Robinson, RB, Alabama
3. Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
4. Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
5. Skyy Moore, WR, Western Michigan
6. Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State
7. Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
8. Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State
9. Khalil Shakir, WR, Boise State
10. Jalen Tolbert, WR, South Alabama
11. Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
12. Zamir White, RB, Georgia

The first quarterbacks finally come off the board in Round 2 here, and that’s only because it’s a one-quarterback mock draft. In two-quarterback or Superflex leagues, Willis and potentially Pickett, Ridder, Corral and Howell could be first-round selections based on their landing spots. Like most people, I like Willis as the best quarterback in this class, especially for Fantasy managers, based on his rushing ability after he had at least 878 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground in each of the past two seasons.

The running backs in Round 2 feel like a tier drop from Hall, Spiller, Walker and Rachaad White, but I still like Robinson, Pierce and Zamir White if they end up with good situations in the NFL. I drafted White with the final selection in Round 2, and he and Pierce will be the two second-tier rookie running backs I’m most interested in depending on where they go in the NFL Draft.

McBride was the first tight end selected, and he’s my favorite Fantasy option of the rookies. This tight end class is also loaded with talent, and I like McBride, Wydermyer and Jeremy Ruckert (Ohio State) as the top trio to target, with potentially Isaiah Likely (Coastal Carolina) and Greg Dulcich (UCLA) in the mix as well.

Round 3

1. Alec Pierce, WR, Cincinnati
2. James Cook, RB, Georgia
3. Kyren Williams, RB, Notre Dame
4. Pierre Strong, RB, South Dakota State
5. Jalen Wydermyer, TE, Texas A&M
6. Calvin Austin, WR, Memphis
7. Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
8. Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Kentucky
9. Matt Corral, QB, Mississippi
10. Sam Howell, QB, North Carolina
11. Jashaun Corbin, RB, Florida State
12. Tyler Badie, RB, Missouri

Williams likely saw his stock plummet with his 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine (4.65 seconds), but again, don’t let that scare you off of him yet. He will likely be a second-round selection in most rookie-only drafts depending on his landing spot, and this is a great value pick in Round 3. I also like Cook in this round, and he could be a steal if he ends up with the right NFL franchise.

Pierce is one of my favorite receivers in this class, and I wanted him in Round 3. I might need to draft him in Round 2 if the hype continues for him. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash — tied for fourth-fastest among all receivers — with a vertical jump of 40.5 inches and a broad jump of 10-9. He’s not as well known yet because he only had 52 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns at Cincinnati last season, but you’ll know all about him soon enough.

Some other players in this round that stood out include Austin, Robinson and Corbin. Ryan Wilson is the best NFL Draft analyst in the industry, and if he likes Corbin, you should pay attention. Last year at FSU, Corbin had 143 carries for 887 yards and seven touchdowns, along with 25 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. I’ll have my eye on him for sure once the NFL Draft is over.

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