Second-Round Rookie Draft Picks vs. Established Players

Last week we covered the topic of trading your first-round rookie draft picks for players that would be considered more of a “sure thing”, so this week we’re taking a look at what sort of players you’ll be able to land if you’re looking to trade away your second-round picks.

Unlike last week, since there are less players that I’m willing to trade for that have a second-round value, I’ve broken the players down by position and included the range of picks that I’d be willing to part ways with for that player. The quality of player you’ll be able to land via your second-round picks will obviously be lower than those we discussed in the previous article regarding first-round picks, but the following are all players that I would personally target in offseason trades for the price of a second rounder.

In the event you prefer to hold onto your rookie draft picks, be sure to check out our dynasty league rookie rankings, which feature an overall big board as well as positional rankings. But in case trading rookie picks is your thing, here you go.

Quarterbacks:

Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts

After everything that transpired in 2020 with the Philadelphia Eagles, it was beyond clear that Wentz was no longer part of the solution and was in desperate need of a change of location. The Indianapolis Colts provided him with this, and now Wentz can provide your fantasy squad with a competent quarterback. Whether you’re still searching for Mr. Right at QB, or you’re in need of a quality backup in case your QB1 were to go down to injury, Wentz is a bargain at the mid-to-late, second-round price you can likely acquire him for. Yes, Wentz showed next to nothing last year in regards to being a competent QB1 in fantasy football, however, he’s now surrounded by a quality offensive line, a coach that will play to his strengths, and most importantly, he’s been removed from what appeared to be a fairly toxic environment in Philadelphia. Worst-case scenario is that your fantasy team ended up with an undesirable backup quarterback, who can still be used if you’re in a pinch. Best-case scenario is that Wentz returns to his MVP caliber of play from a few years ago in Philadelphia and you now have a top-10 fantasy QB that only cost you a late second rounder.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.06-2.10

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Tagovailoa was typically off the board last year as a mid-second rounder, and with the national narrative surrounding him as a “bust” in 2020, you should 100% offer your late second-round pick to the current owner to see if you can steal Tua away. As someone that watched every snap of Tagovailoa’s last year, I can honestly tell you that he’s being unfairly judged and this is your chance to pounce if the current owner buys into the “bust” mentality. Tua and the Dolphins were playing at a huge disadvantage last year due to all of the injuries at running back, wide receiver and tight end, and former offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, wasn’t doing the team any favors by keeping the training wheels on Tua on a weekly basis. We should see a much more creative offense in Miami in 2021, one that actually plays to Tua’s strengths, and you can be the beneficiary by floating a late-second rounder at your league’s current owner.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.07-2.12

Running Backs:

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

Yes, Jonathan Taylor is the Colts’ running back to own, but Hines as his primary backup should be in line to be a solid dynasty asset. Hines is signed through 2022, and with Marlon Mack likely leaving in free agency, Hines will be the unquestioned change-of-pace back as well as the lead RB in the event something would happen to Taylor. Hines contributed 380 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground last year, but even more importantly, added 63 receptions for 482 yards and four additional touchdowns through the air. Everyone knows it’s what Hines adds in the receiving game that makes him an intriguing fantasy football target, and despite losing check down-machine Philip Rivers this offseason, I’d still target the 25-year-old Hines since he should stay fantasy relevant for numerous years due to his style of play and how he’s used.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.07-2.10

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

You’re gambling a bit by trading for Penny this offseason, but if the cost is a mid-to-late second rounder, it may be worth it for the former first rounder. Penny appeared in just three games last season due to an injury he suffered near the end of the 2019 season, but before his injury, Penny was starting to show flashes as to why Seattle selected him No. 27 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Chris Carson is expected to test free agency, so that leaves Seattle with Penny, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer as the primary in-house options to replace Carson’s workload. My money is on Penny to get the first crack as the team’s primary back, and with Seattle’s coaching staff making it a point this offseason to say that they’re going to return more to the ground game in 2021, the gamble of trading for Penny may return solid dividends.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.08-2.12

Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I find it hard to believe that your league’s Vaughn owner will be willing to let him go while his value is this low, but if he is, you should be the one that takes advantage of his lack of patience. Vaughn was fairly non-existent his rookie season in Tampa, but you don’t draft a running back in the third round (these days, anyways) and discard him after such a limited amount of opportunities. Keep in mind that the current Vaughn owner likely drafted him in the late-first, early-second round in last year’s rookie draft so he’ll likely attempt to get similar compensation if moving him after just one season, but hold firm with a late second-round offer and see if he eventually bites.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.09-2.12

Wide Receivers:

Henry Ruggs, Las Vegas Raiders

I was personally pretty high on Ruggs last year, and while I wasn’t a huge fan of his landing spot, I was still drafting him as a mid-first rounder last offseason. Ruggs was very quiet his rookie season outside of one nice game against Kansas City (118 yards & a touchdown); but even in that game he saw just three targets. He only saw five or more targets twice last year and was truly never a player you wanted coming close to your starting lineup. However, now that I’ve gotten the bad out of the way, let’s turn our attention to some of the good. It’s not uncommon for rookie receivers to take a little while to adapt to the pro game. Ruggs likely needed this first year to realize things won’t come nearly as easy as they did in Alabama. With Nelson Agholor expected to test free agency there’s a fairly large void to fill in the Raiders’ receiver room. While Darren Waller will continue to dominate targets and red zone touchdowns, someone is going to have to emerge on the outside for Las Vegas. After drafting Ruggs with the No. 12 overall selection last year, the Mike Mayock / Jon Gruden duo have no choice but to see if Ruggs can step up in year two and be a key contributor for their squad. Ruggs is another player that may be hard to pry for his current owner after just one year, but floating out an offer may be worth your time in this scenario.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.01-2.04

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers

At 6’4″, 220 lbs the former Clemson wide receiver has always been intriguing as a prospect, but for one reason or another (typically injury) he’s never been able to fully put it together since entering the league in 2017. We saw him reach double-digit touchdowns in 2018, but he finished the season with less than 700 yards on just 43 receptions. In 2019, when we all thought he’d take a giant step forward and the catches and yards would fall in line with his number of touchdowns, he did reach 1,000 receiving yards but the touchdown-regression monster got him as he scored just two in 15 games. More injuries hindered his success in 2020, and now he’s entering the final year of his contract in his second season with promising second-year quarterback, Justin Herbert. I still don’t believe Williams is the type of player you want to rely on as a weekly starter on your fantasy team, but I do believe you’re likely buying him at what will be the lowest point of the prime of his career (27 years old in ’21). If you don’t like how the draft board is looking for you at this point of the second round in your rookie draft, it may be worth a knock on the door of the Williams owner.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.03-2.07

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

Campbell has appeared in just nine games so far in his two-year NFL career, so honestly, we’re all still sort of guessing on him. So while I wouldn’t budge on my offer of a late second rounder for Campbell, I would entertain the idea if the current owner is willing to part ways. T.Y. Hilton is likely to leave via free agency, which leaves the Colts with Campbell, Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal as the team’s primary receiving options. While it’s likely the Colts add a receiver either in free agency or the draft, Pittman and Campbell will likely be viewed as the top in-house options to step up and see an increased workload in ’21. We have no reason to believe Campbell won’t be able to produce if he’s given the chance and can stay healthy. Unfortunately, we also don’t have any reason to believe that Campbell will be able to remain healthy. Like I said, this trade is far from a sure thing, but if you have a positive gut feeling about Campbell and you don’t mind taking a little risk, it may be worth floating out an offer.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.08-2.12

Tight Ends:

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

After a slow rookie season in 2018, Gesicki has emerged as one of the Dolphins’ top playmakers combining for 104 receptions, 1,273 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last two seasons. For a team that hasn’t quite found the focal point of its offense, due in large part to injuries last season, Gesicki will likely remain one of Tagovailoa’s favorite targets in ’21. He’ll be 26 this upcoming season and entering his prime in a contract year. He’ll be beyond motivated to put up his best season to date and cash in as a free agent next season. If your league’s current Gesicki owner is willing to sell for an early-to-mid second rounder, I see no reason not to pull the trigger.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.02-2.05

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans

Despite not finishing the 2020 NFL season nearly as strong as he started it, Smith set career highs last year in receptions (41), yards (448) and touchdowns (9). Now set to enter free agency, the 26-year-old Smith will essentially be hand picking his next location (if he doesn’t re-sign with Tennessee), so he figures to be playing in an offense that’s likely made some promises to him about playing time and usage. He’s an athletic freak with good hands and ability to create after the catch; plus he has a knack for getting open in the red zone. When comparing Smith to rookie tight ends you’d be targeting in the second round, Smith blows away the competition.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.03-2.06

Irv Smith, Minnesota Vikings

Everyone’s favorite tight end now that Kyle Rudolph is out of Minnesota. While I put him on this list since he’d be worth some sort of second-round draft pick compensation, I’d temper my expectations and not overpay for Smith this offseason. Rudolph only saw 37 (2020) and 48 (2019) targets over the last two years, and it’s not like the Vikings are going to run Smith out onto the field for every single play in ’21. Smith has just 66 career receptions, but seven touchdowns over the first two seasons for a “backup” tight end is fairly impressive. It typically takes young tight ends a few years to pick up the nuances of the position at the next level, so there’s definitely high hopes for Smith in year three with the Vikings. His statistical output will undoubtedly increase this upcoming season, but don’t break the bank attempting to land a tight end.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.03-2.06

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz will likely be on a new team in 2021, and he’ll turn 31 during the upcoming season, but if you’re in win-now mode and can acquire him for a mid-to-late second rounder, I think it’s more than worth it. His best days are likely behind him, but if you’re acquiring him for this specific reason (win now), you already know that you’re giving up the potential of a young player for a guy that you’ll more than likely get 2-3 above-average years from. He’s not the type of tight end that’s going to put you over the top and give you that weekly positional advantage like he used to, but I’ve got to believe that the team that he plays for in ’21 will find ways to get him involved in the offense on a weekly basis, essentially making him a plug-n-play option for your “win-now” dynasty team.

Proposed pick compensation: 2.06-2.09

Check out both our single-QB, two-round rookie mock draft and our first-round superflex rookie mock. Also, get caught up on our NFL Draft positional previews as we’ve discussed quarterbacks with John Chapman and wide receivers with Zack Patraw!

Ben Morgan is a co-host and blogger for the Loaded Box Podcast. Check out his article archive and find more from the Loaded Box on Twitter & Facebook

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: