Anyone can hit it big in the early rounds, but can you strike gold in the late rounds? Well, I’m here to help you hit the motherload!
It’s easy to select the stars of the first couple of rounds of the NFL draft and add them to your fantasy rosters, but the real work begins in the late rounds when you are looking for that diamond in the rough. In this article, I am going to jump straight to the last round and point out a few rookies that you may want to consider for your dynasty fantasy teams. What type of impact could they have both as a rookie and long-term is still unknown. We see it every year, where an unknown comes out of nowhere and shines, so make sure you have that shooting star on your rosters when it happens.
Patrick Johnson, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia selected Johnson in the seventh round with the 234th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. At first glance, it looks as though the depth chart is crowded and long, but if you look closer, there is ample opportunity for Johnson to make an impact. Ahead of him are starters Brandon Graham and Derrick Barnett, as well as Josh Sweat who’s carved out a nice role with the team.
This looks like — and is — a formidable group, but they all have issues and the Eagles were smart to address them before it’s too late. Graham is 33 and is only signed thru the end of this season. Barnett is super talented but has to stay healthy, and then there’s Sweat who is talented as well but hasn’t been able to become a full-time starter.
With an aging Graham, and both Barnett and Sweat set to become UDFAs at the end of this upcoming season, drafting Johnson just made sense for Philadelphia. Johnson is a standup rusher who has been taught well and is technically sound, but who will need to build up some mass and strength at this level. He, along with fellow rookie Tarron Jackson, get the perfect chance to learn and develop for at least one year before the Eagles have to make any decisions on their big three.
How well Johnson develops could determine what the Eagles decide. Johnson will likely need a couple of years to learn and get acclimated to the pro game, so I can see him being ready to possibly make an impact as early as 2023.
Wyatt Hubert, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati selected Hubert in the seventh round with the 235th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bengals are clearly going through a youth movement on defense, as they have moved on from veterans stud Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, and brought in stars like Trey Hendrickson and Mike Daniels to replace those guys. In the past couple of drafts, they have made it a point to draft some young talent to develop for the future, and Hubert is going to be a huge part of their future.
The Bengals have a lot of young guys — such as Khalid Kareem, Joseph Ossai, Tyler Shelvin, and Darius Hodge — on the roster, with whom Hubert will have to compete for a roster spot. Hubert may have a tough climb up the depth chart, but he has the frame and talent that will help him shine and be an impact player for the Bengals. He’s a big strong power player who was a huge impact player for Kansas State, where he finished 18th overall in Big-Ten Conference history with 20 sacks.
He can rush the passer from the outside or from the interior and has an excellent football IQ. In fantasy leagues, he is an excellent dynasty stash on your taxi squads. Hubert could work his way into a decent rotational role early on, but be patient if that doesn’t happen right away. He’s going to need to develop and learn the pro game, but that’s not a bad thing. Dynasty is all about the long haul and your team’s future.
Shaka Toney, EDGE, Washington Football Team
Washington selected Toney in the seventh round with the 246th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. All the noise in Washington is about fellow rookie Jamin Davis, and rightfully so, but Toney could be a sneaky great late pick for them. As an Edge, he’s dead in the water, as there is no way he’s overtaking stud starters Chase Young and Montez Sweat. So that means his best shot is likely at outside linebacker.
I just mentioned that Davis was drafted and will be one starter, so Toney will have to compete with Cole Holcomb and Josh Harvey Clemons, neither of whom have fully been able to lock down the starting gig. Holcomb is more of a two-down thumper and Harvey Clemons had his chance and didn’t do much with it. The outside linebacker spot opposite of Davis is Toney’s best shot to make an impact. He’s much more athletic than Holcomb and Harvey Clemons and is a better pass rusher as well.
There is so much to like about Toney, from his size (6’3”/231) to his durability and production. He started every game the last two seasons for Penn State and finished 17th in Big-Ten conference history with 20 career sacks. Toney has all the size, skills, and makeup of what you want in an Edge, and he may not have to wait very long to make an impact. I really like his chances to, at the very least, be in a heavy rotation of some kind with Holcomb and possibly start ahead of him in the second half of the season. A must roster late-round gem for your taxi squads.
Thanks for reading my article. If you enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America). You can also follow me on social media, on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub — I’m user KingTitan1 — and you can tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation & Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on a number of different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy