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Sudden Impact: Mocking the rookie class

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With the '16 NFL Draft concluded, the Yahoo fantasy crew decided to gauge how the new rookie crop might be able to positively impact fantasy football this season.

Yahoos Scott Pianowski, Liz Loza, Dalton Del Don, Andy Behrens, Brad Evans and myself convened for a quick five-round, rookie-only mock draft, with the only requirement being to draft the players based on expected fantasy production for the upcoming season.

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Here's how it played out:

(Note: Comments are provided by the Yahoo who picked the player)


1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dal, RB - No brainer top rookie choice. He checks all the featured back boxes, and he'll get the luxury of handling that role behind, arguably, the NFL's top offensive line. (Brandon Funston)

2. Josh Doctson, Was, WRThis is a vote in favor of Jay Gruden, pass designer. (Scott Pianowski)

3. Derrick Henry, Ten, RB - His landing spot was hardly ideal with the Titans just trading for DeMarco Murray, but they also spent a first round pick on RT Jack Conklin. Henry might have benefitted from playing for Alabama, but he sure looks like a special athlete, and he just got 6.0 YPC over his college career and won the Heisman Trophy. He’ll be a beast right away. (Dalton Del Don)

4. Laquon Treadwell, Min, WR - Treadwell may not be part of a high-flying offense, but he is now Minnesota's No. 1 WR. His 6-foot-2 and 221 frame should bail out Teddy in the red area of the field frequently enough to produce top-50 fantasy stats. (Liz Loza)

5. C.J. Prosise, Sea, RBThe fantasy community is infatuated with Thomas Rawls, but he's coming off a significant ankle/leg injury and sidelined throughout much of the offseason. At a minimum, Prosise will function in a passing-down role this year (he's a converted receiver), and he clearly has the potential to be substantially more. (Andy Behrens)

6. Sterling Shepard, NYG, WRAt 5-foot-10, 194 pounds he's on the small side, but his marvelous footwork, 4.48-40 yard speed and elusiveness in space, reminiscent of Brandin Cooks, makes him extremely difficult to contain. (Brad Evans)


1. Jordan Howard, Chi, RBScrawl it in cement, Howard will overtake Jeremy Langford at some point this season- he's a stronger, interior runner. Displaying impressive vision, patience, cutting and pad level, he is a rock solid early-down contributor, and will most certainly compete for the Bears' starting gig immediately. (Evans)

2. Corey Coleman, Was, WR If he reaches his ceiling, he'll be something very close to Steve Smith. Coleman is a burner with terrific play-making ability and a nose for the end-zone. I wish he'd found a better landing spot, but I'm a big believer in his skills. (Behrens)

3. Michael Thomas, NO, WR - Boasting excellent body control and good size, Thomas figures to fill the void that Marques Coltson left in New Orleans. (Loza)

4. Will Fuller, Hou, WR - His hands are suspect, but he’s an obvious deep threat who should immediately become the No. 2 WR on a Texans team that will demand a bunch of attention be paid to DeAndre Hopkins.  (Del Don)

5. Kenyan Drake, Mia, RB - I should have taken Kenneth Dixon, though I'm not a full believer in Jay Ajayi. (Pianowski)

6. Kenneth Dixon, Bal, RB - High motor, excellent burst and stout, beer keg build to excel between the tackles. And as, perhaps, the top receiving back in this class, that should gain him plenty of favor from OC Marc Trestman. (Funston)


1. Paul Perkins, NYG, RB -  Might not be a true bell cow, but his vision, ability to cut on a dime and proficiency in the passing game could ultimately lead to him getting the most touches out of the NYG backfield. (Funston)

2. Jared Goff, LA, QBI don't see an exciting floor, but picked him here merely to reflect the shallowness of the rookie crop. (Pianowski)

3. Carson Wentz, Phi, QB - May not start right away, but the Eagles are a pretty good situation in which to land, and the rookie class is thin this year when it comes to skill position players. (Del Don)

4. Devontae Booker, Den, RB - Likely to surpass Ronnie Hillman on the Broncos depth chart, Booker will run behind C.J. Anderson. Considering Anderson has only started 13 regular season contests over the past two seasons, Booker could find himself in an expanded role sooner rather than later. (Loza)

5. Paxton Lynch, Den, QBAs you can probably tell by now, I'm drafting players with a clear path to serious playing time in their first NFL seasons. Lynch is a scattershot QB, but he's a nice fit for a Gary Kubiak-led team. (Behrens)

6. Wendell Smallwood, Phi, RBThe Big 12's leading rusher last season is an intriguing player. He's explosive, owns great hands and achieved in blitz pickup. Given Ryan Mathews' knack for knee twists, the kid could wind up as Philly's starter over multiple games. (Evans)


1. Tyler Boyd, Cin, WRAdmittedly, the Pitt standout wasn't one of my favorite receivers in this draft. Though an exceptional route runner with ample experience in the slot and outside, he doesn't own the strength needed to beat press coverage. Still, Brandon LaFell is a joke, which means he has a reasonable shot to eventually secure the No. 2 job opposite A.J. Green. (Evans)

2. Hunter Henry, SD, TEHenry is a sure-handed receiver and capable blocker, pretty clearly the best player at his position in this draft class. If any rookie tight end is ready for serious snaps, it's this guy. (Behrens)

3. Tyler Higbee, LA, TE - At 6-foot-6 and 249 pounds Higbee has oodles of upside and was clearly drafted to give new QB Jared Goff a giant target in the passing game. He won't be fantasy relevant this fall, but could be part of the TE1 conversation in 2017 (if he can stay out of trouble). (Loza)

4. Leonte Caroo, Mia, WR - Got the second-highest yards-per-target among all college wide receivers last year. (Del Don)

5. Austin Hooper, Atl, TERookie tight ends are usually fantasy quicksand, but Falcons might need him right away. (Pianowski)

6. Jordan Payton, Cle, WR - Big body and reliable hands could make UCLA's all-time catch leader somebody that Browns QB (RG3, Kessler, McCown?) comes to lean in short-range passing game. (Funston)


1. Alex Collins, Sea, RB - Has the natural hard-nosed, rugged inclinations that could make him the featured choice if Thomas Rawls' ankle ends up causing him to miss time this season. (Funston)

2. DeAndre Washington, Oak, RBA lottery ticket who might be able to carve a role on an ordinary Raiders roster. (Pianowski)

3. Tyler Ervin, Hou, RB - Nothing more than a deep sleeper with Lamar Miller joining Houston, but the rookie could quickly work his way into being the team’s RB2. (Del Don)

4. Keith Marshall, Was, RB - Washington wants Matt Jones to be the guy, but if the big man falters, the lightening quick and surprisingly strong Marshall will be waiting in the wings. (Loza)

5. Pharoh Cooper, LA, WRNot necessarily my favorite prospect, but he'll have a shot to play early in his pro career with L.A., the receiver-neediest team in the league. (Behrens)

6. Braxton Miller, Hou, WRUndoubtedly, the former Ohio St. QB is an unpolished product as a WR. However, his incredible athleticism, work ethic and sponge-like football brain suggest he could develop quickly. It may take him a year or three, but he has the skills and elusiveness needed to contribute soundly out of the slot. (Evans)

 Here's a look at our five-round mock, at a glance: