This article is part of our Best Ball Journal series.
Winter best ball drafts can be a bit tricky to figure out, and that's due in large part to the fact that no one knows where the rookies will play, or how much, or to what level of effectiveness. The involvement of rookies at that point is purely speculative. Luckily, the combine usually helps us out a bit, with the ensuing workout numbers and height/weight details giving us a better idea of which rookies will get drafted high enough to be useful in 2020.
The combine is past us, and the rookie ADPs are shifting as a result. This post means to assess the emerging market shifts in response to the combine. The ADPs cited are from the BestBall10 site, the old ADP from before the running back workouts, the new ADP beginning 2/28.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (5-11, 226)
Previous ADP: 39.68 (40)
Updated ADP: 31.17 (31)
It'll be interesting to see where Taylor's market evens out, because his initial post-combine boost might fall back to earth a bit as his critics try to restate their case in the media. NFL.com posted an article that mentioned some scouts claiming Taylor doesn't have enough 'wiggle' as a runner and – obvious stupidity of that statement aside – it nonetheless indicates some portion of the NFL scouting community still intends to justify its skepticism of Taylor. They're wrong, but they'll keep hyping any or all of D'Andre Swift, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Cam Akers ahead of Taylor, and that might depress Taylor's market a bit in the future. But maybe I'm overthinking things and perhaps Taylor's new elevated price is here to stay. After all, it really shouldn't be that hard to convince people that the 226-pound guy with the 4.39 speed and unmatched rushing production just might be a standout runner in the NFL. Taylor is probably my RB14 for 2020, so I'm prepared to consider him as soon as the late second round. It might be risky, but Taylor has top-five upside if he lands in the right offense.
Verdict: Worth It
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (6-1, 193)
Previous ADP: 94.26 (94)
Updated ADP: 83.0 (82)
I'm not sure why Jeudy's ADP is up, because his 4.45-second 40 showing was merely adequate rather than especially impressive. Jeudy's broader prospect profile is of course very impressive, but I don't see what new information could inform his price jump. Perhaps it spiked upward for no particular reason in a small sample, and maybe he'll drift back to the 90th-pick range in the ADP in the upcoming days. At his new price Jeudy is the WR36 for now, which strikes me as acceptable but still a price near his likely ceiling. I'm probably not buying. I'd rather have CeeDee Lamb in a vacuum, let alone at WR44 (105.0 ADP). I'd also much rather have Marquise Brown (WR37), Jamison Crowder (WR38), Darius Slayton (WR39), Mecole Hardman (WR40), and Mike Williams (WR41).
Verdict: I'll pass for now, hoping price falls back into the 90s
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College (6-0, 247)
Previous ADP: 233.65 (226)
Updated ADP: 169.83 (168)
Dillon beasted at the combine by weighing in at the same weight as Derrick Henry before just beating his 40 time (Dillon 4.53, Henry 4.54). That Dillon is more than two inches shorter than Henry means Dillon's athleticism is even more impressive. I've been a fan of Dillon all along, and it was certainly an easy call to buy him as a 20th-round pick before the combine, but even at his new escalated price he might be the best option in his range. I expect his ADP to climb over those of Carlos Hyde (165.50) and Jamaal Williams (162.83) soon, pushing as high as the 130s. I'm not targeting as aggressively now, but I don't see obviously better options than Dillon at his new price.
Verdict: New price stings, but might need to pay it occasionally anyway
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU (6-1, 202)
Previous ADP: 196.20 (193)
Updated ADP: 171.33 (171)
Jefferson's jump in the ADP is totally justified, because his 4.43-second 40 time was much better than expected. The worry with Jefferson was that he was skilled but slow, making him a better college player than a pro prospect. But 4.4 speed changes that narrative, and as a potential first-round pick Jefferson has a real shot at playing upwards of 800 snaps in 2020. If he does, then he'd probably pay off even at his higher price, now around the 14th round. I still prefer Tee Higgins (176.0), Larry Fitzgerald (178.0), and Parris Campbell (192.5) for the prices, but I can't criticize buying Jefferson at his new price.
Verdict: Worth it
Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor (6-3, 207)
Previous ADP: 270.05 (257)
Updated ADP: 226.67 (220)
I'm leery of commenting too much on Mims generally because I find him one of the more confusing prospects at wideout in this draft, but even in my squeamishness I find Mims rather convincing as a prospect following his lights-out combine showing (4.39-second 40, 6.66-second three-cone drill). Basically, he's a good dynasty target to me at the very least, and now the question is whether he can pay off in redraft too. Mims could be a first-round pick, in which case he might provide similar utility to Jefferson but at a substantially lower cost. Even at his escalated price tag, Mims is very affordable as the WR78, just behind Allen Lazard (225.17) and just ahead of Andy Isabella (227.83).
Verdict: Low floor, but a fully justifiable risk at a still low price
Anthony McFarland, RB, Maryland (5-8, 208)
Previous ADP: 271.25 (258)
Updated ADP: 247.17 (234)
McFarland weighed in 10 pounds heavier than expected and still logged a 4.44-second 40 time, confirming his skill set as one of the top big-play backs in the draft. He doesn't really profile as a starter, and Darrell Henderson showed last year how badly it can go wrong even with ostensibly talented rookies, but at RB67 McFarland is an easily justified purchase as an RB6. I expect his price to rise to the 200th pick range soon though, and we might have to reassess at that point.
Verdict: Worth it
Zack Moss, RB, Utah (5-9, 223)
Previous ADP: 137.95 (136)
Updated ADP: 138.83 (138)
Moss obviously hasn't fallen much yet, but I expect his stock to dip further as people freak out about his 4.72-second unofficial 40 time... even though he ran it on a bad hamstring, and even though the combine adjusted it to a 4.65-second official time. Moss could slip in the real NFL draft and that would hurt his opportunity chances, but I'm skeptical that he will. A 4.65-second time is totally fine for Moss, and that he did it on a bad hamstring makes it nearly a non-issue for me. Moss has so much skill as a running back and I'll just say right now he's clearly better than many NFL starters. Now RB49 with room to slip further into the 140s and later, Moss is a player I will target aggressively, especially if he falls further.
Verdict: Ready to buy in bulk if price slips further
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU (5-11, 206)
Previous ADP: 157.55 (155)
Updated ADP: 165.0 (161)
Reagor came in 11 pounds heavier than expected and his 40 time suffered for it, registering at 4.47 seconds after previously reportedly running as fast as 4.29 seconds. Reagor's 42-inch vertical and 138-inch broad jump are a better measure of his athleticism, which is uniquely rare despite the disappointing, non-indicative 40 time. I already have a couple Reagor shares at his previously higher price, so I'll probably sit tight for now, but if he slips past his new WR62 price then I will eventually go back to the well.
Verdict: Watch to see where his price settles before buying too much, but prepare to fade the doubters
Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (6-4, 215)
Previous ADP: 162.85 (159)
Updated ADP: 176.0 (174)
Higgins fell in the ADP simply because he didn't work out at the combine. It's a somewhat reasonable concern – you might reason that he didn't work out because he thought he'd do poorly – but I'm willing to bet that isn't quite the case. Higgins has unique red-zone and downfield appeal thanks to his frame and production, and he'd have to test truly badly to fall below a starter grade as a prospect. I will be on the lookout for buying opportunities.
Verdict: Ideal WR6 target, justifiable WR5 pending further notice
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State (5-9, 207)
Previous ADP: 210.01 (204)
Updated ADP: 234.17 (228)
I was deeply skeptical of Benjamin before the combine, so it's weird for me to suddenly find myself in the position of arguing in his favor. Benjamin had a good combine, so it makes no sense for him to fall like this now. His 4.57-second 40 was solid, and his jumps (39-inch vertical, 122-inch broad jump) were quite good. There's a non-zero chance that he gets drafted sooner than Dillon, Moss, or McFarland. I doubt that happens, but I can't rule it out. Although I still prefer targets like McFarland, Lamar Miller (255.83), Damien Harris (263.0), and Travis Homer (N/A), there's a chance I actually buy a few Benjamin shares this season. Two weeks ago I would have dismissed that possibility.
Verdict: Skeptical of the prospect, but the price is fair
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt (5-10, 214)
Previous ADP: 189.60 (188)
Updated ADP: 238.67 (231)
For me, Vaughn is a case similar to Benjamin's. I was worried he would test poorly at the combine, but Vaughn exceeded my expectations and salvaged his prospect grade in the process. Vaughn not only weighed in nine pounds heavier than he was at the Senior Bowl, but he showed he kept his speed intact by running a 4.51-second 40. Like Benjamin and McFarland, Vaughn seems to be on the Day 3 fringe and doesn't project as a starter, but there's a chance he logs more useful reps this year than some of the other guys around his RB66 price. Just as in Benjamin's case, I might end up with a few Vaughn shares even though I would have bet the opposite before the combine.
Verdict: See Benjamin verdict