🤔 3 Big NFL Draft Questions

Predictions for Thursday...

Jameis Winston should interview some crab legs too…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Underdog Fantasy:

  • 3 Big Draft Questions

  • Watercooler: Taylor Swift disses a disgraced WR

  • RB Super Model: Tier 2 prospects

  • It’s 4/22. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

Draft week is finally here and we need to keep our head on a swivel.

Some things feel fairly solidified to me—like the first three picks being QBs—but there are a lot of other things up in the air.

Here are the three biggest questions on my mind as we steamroll toward Thursday…

🔮 Where will J.J. McCarthy go?

McCarthy’s draft stock rise has been meteoric. Some have speculated that this is “fake steam” similar to what we saw with Will Levis last year, but most insiders insist the hype is real.

The question, then, is where does he go? Could the Patriots secretly have him at the top of their board and select him with the 3rd overall pick? Will the most popular rumor come to fruition with the Vikings moving up to 5 to snag their Kirk Cousins replacement? Or could McCarthy fall even further and encourage a team like the Broncos or Raiders to get in the mix?

Pete’s hunch: The Vikings have both the draft ammo and a desperate need at QB. They’ll find a way to move up and nab McCarthy.

🙌 Who will land Malik Nabers?

It’s been a wild month or so for the LSU prospect. After torching the combine, Nabers narrowed the gap between him and Marvin Harrison Jr.. You can make a case for Nabers to go anywhere from pick 4 (if the Cardinals prefer him to Harrison) to pick 10 (pretty sure the Jets would sprint to the podium for him if he slides).

Pete’s hunch: The Giants have been the most trendy landing spot for Nabers, but I think the Chargers finally get serious about WR and find a way to land him.

📉 Will Bo Nix & Michael Penix Jr. slide?

Something has to give. Teams like the Broncos (12th overall) and Raiders (13th) could really use a franchise QB, but most evaluators have second-round grades on both Nix and Penix Jr. (36 and 38 respectively, on the consensus big board).

Pete’s hunch: I don’t think either of these QBs go Top 15. The Broncos will trade back and pick up some extra assets in the process if they want one of Nix or Penix Jr. My guess is one goes to the Broncos near the end of Round 1 and the other falls to the top of Round 2.

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Watercooler

❓The biggest questions entering NFL Draft Week. We have your answers.

📈 The Broncos need a QB, but will they draft one? Freedman’s latest mock draft is live.

✈️ Aaron Rodgers to Garrett Wilson. Ain’t that a sight for sore eyes.

👋 Braelon Allen is lobbying hard to get drafted. Checks out.

🙏 R.I.P. to The Schwab. A legend gone too soon.

💉 Jim Harbaugh gets tatted up. This guy is impossible not to like.

🐟️ Jameis Winston interviewing a fish. I said what I said.

🐕️ The Texans have a new alternate logo. And a couple of new models.

💋 Did Taylor Swift call out Kadarius Toney? Lmao.

Super Model Tier 2

We sent Dwain McFarland back inside the lab to evaluate the incoming class of rookie RBs. Of course, he came up with a model so great it couldn’t just be called a ‘RB model.’

Presenting: Fantasy Life’s new Rookie RB Super Model.

🥈Tier 2 – Committee Traits With RB2 to RB3 Potential 

🥈 Trey Benson | Florida State

  • RB Super Model: 38th percentile

  • Age: 22.1

  • Height: 6-foot

  • Weight: 216

📝 Prospect Summary

Benson grades out reasonably well as a rusher in the Super Model, but he doesn’t profile as a solid every-down option due to his lack of receiving chops. He could still offer three-down viability in the right situation but likely won’t ever be more than a check-down option.

💪 Pedigree and Athleticism

  • Program Quality Index: 48th percentile

  • NFL Mock Drafts: Pick 59, Round 2

  • 247 Recruit Player Rating: 4 of 5 stars (372 overall, RB27)

  • Speed Score Index: 78th percentile

Benson began his career at Oregon before transferring to Florida State as a redshirt sophomore. Since 2017, the Seminoles have produced two Round 2 RB picks in Dalvin Cook and Cam Akers.

Benson’s mock draft stock has risen from the third to the second round since the NFL Combine, where he posted a 4.39 40-yard dash, leading to a 78th percentile Speed Score of 116.3. Based on all the variables I have tested against NFL Draft capital, Benson checks many of the boxes that teams care about.

🎥 Production and Film

  • Adjusted Career YPTA Index: 45th percentile

  • Career Total TDs Per Game Index: 48th percentile

  • Career Composite PFF Grade Index: 59th percentile

  • NFL.com Prospect Grade Index: 48th percentile

Benson missed the 2020 season due to an ACL injury and only played in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2021. In his first year at Florida State, he handled 33% of the designed rushing attempts before expanding into a 40% role in his final season.

However, the time-share back posted an 83rd-percentile career PFF Run Grade (88.8), forcing a 0.39 missed tackles forced rate–the No. 1 mark in the Super Model database. Matt Waldman graded Benson’s speed and acceleration as star caliber–one of only three prospects to check both boxes.

Benson would have graded far higher had he been a workhorse back over multiple seasons with this sort of grade, but in this case, it is enough for us to keep an open mind about his potential in a more significant role at the next level.

Benson wasn’t used often on passing downs, with a career-high route participation rate of 34%, and his 40th-percentile PFF Receiving Grade wasn’t ideal. His profile has shades of a one-dimensional prospect who could struggle to find his legs in the passing attack.

Ultimately, Benson’s inability to take over a more significant rushing workload earlier in his career or secure passing-down work hurt his YPTA. He never eclipsed a 2.0 mark in a single season–his highest finish was 1.66 as a 21-year-old. While his rushing grade holds up against Jonathon Brooks, his Career Composite PFF Grade Index is much lower at the 59th percentile.

Still, Lance Zierlein believes Benson has the tools to improve in pass protection and is a capable receiver on underneath routes. That archetype won't carve out targets from better receivers, but it could open the door to a three-down role and help pad the stat line with check-downs–especially on teams without two strong passing game weapons.

🎯 Fantasy Outlook: Hit Rates

  • Underdog ADP: RB31, Round 9

  • Rookie Dynasty ADP: RB1, Pick 10

The step down from Brooks to Tier 2 shows up in a big way in the hit rates with and without draft capital included. However, in the right landing spot, this type of prospect still offers a decent shot at a top-24 finish and an outside chance at a top-12 season in Year 1 or 2.

While Benson isn’t as flashy as the jump-cutting Kenneth Walker, it is a good high-end comp based on their more one-dimensional profiles. Damien Harris and Trey Sermon also fall into the same range in the without-draft-capital model.

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