Dynasty Rookie Watch
In the past, many NFL teams have found hidden gems in the late rounds of the yearly NFL draft. These hidden gems include players such as the Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis, Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Antonio Brown.
This year, multiple potential hidden gems were drafted by NFL teams. In the players I had access to, I narrowed down five late-round rookies who I believe will see playing time on the field this coming NFL season.
Chargers | Running Back
Running back Isaiah Spiller (Texas A&M) was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 123rd pick in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Spiller, who is ranked 16th in the rookie rankings, is an agile back who can utilize quick cuts to make defenders miss. His competitiveness motivates him to run hard with the football and is willing to block on passing plays. His best quality is catching the ball out of the backfield where he will be utilized in the Chargers passing game.
Texas A&M (2019-2021) Stats:
- 35 games, 541 rushing attempts, 2993 yards rushing, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, 25 touchdowns
- 35 games, 74 receptions, 585 yards receiving, averaging 7.9 yards per reception, 1 touchdown
- 2021 second-team All-SEC
- 2020 first-team All-SEC
Texans | Running Back
Running back Dameon Pierce (Florida) was selected by the Houston Texans with the 107th pick in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Pierce, who is ranked 15th in the rookie rankings, is a power running back who is not afraid to take on defenders. He is a physical player who bounces off the first tackler and turns on the jets in the open field. He will be utilized as a power back in the Texans’ running game, especially near the goal line where he contains the power to punch it into the endzone.
Florida (2018-2021) Stats:
- 48 games, 329 rushing attempts, 1806 yards rushing, averaging 5.5 yards per carry, 23 touchdowns
- 48 games, 45 receptions, 422 yards receiving, averaging 9.4 yards per reception, 5 touchdowns
- 4-star recruit in 2018
- Four-year contributor
- Spent the final two seasons as the lead back in a committee
Bills | Wide Receiver
Wide receiver Khalil Shakir (Boise State) was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 148th pick in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Shakir, who is ranked 29th in the rookie rankings, is a versatile receiver who can line up in both the slot and outside positions. He possesses the ability to consistently win against press coverage and can adjust to the football. The Bills will utilize his ability to work in different parts of the field often finding soft spots for the quarterback to throw him the ball, helping the team move the ball down the field.
Boise State (2018-2021) Stats:
- 43 games, 208 receptions, 2878 yards receiving, averaging 13.8 yards per reception, 20 touchdowns
- 2021 first-team All-Mountain West
- 2020 first-team All-Mountain West
Calvin Austin III
Steelers | Wide Receiver
Wide receiver Calvin Austin III (Memphis) was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 138th pick in the 5th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Austin III, who is ranked 39th in the rookie rankings, is a speedy receiver who possesses the ability to beat man coverage, blowing by the defender if they don’t stop his route. He is not afraid to work the middle of the field, consistently making tough catches in traffic, resulting in him competing for the job of primary slot receiver in Pittsburgh.
Memphis (2018-2021) Stats:
- 36 games, 156 receptions, 2541 yards receiving, averaging 16.3 yards per reception, 22 touchdowns
- 2021 first-team All-AAC
- 2020 first-team All-AAC
Buccaneers | Tight End
Tight end Cade Otton (Washington) was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 106th pick in the 4th round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Otton, who is ranked 48th in the rookie rankings, is a pass-catching tight end who uses his size and strength to his advantage where he consistently is a reliable pass catcher and a solid run blocker. He is a skilled route runner who uses his body control to work the field allowing him to beat zone coverage. With his attributes, Otton will become a staple in the Buccaneers offensive scheme.
Washington (2018-2021) Stats:
- 31 games, 91 receptions, 1026 yards receiving, averaging 11.3 yards per reception, 9 touchdowns
Lawrence is a fan of the Green Bay Packers. He is currently a graduate student at William Paterson University pursuing a master’s degree in Financial Planning. His hobbies include all things fantasy football, weightlifting, collecting Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, and playing Madden. He specializes in dynasty fantasy football having won two championships in the past five years. He is also a college football fan who loves to watch his Buckeyes play on Saturdays while drinking pumpkin-flavored coffee. He is always looking to evolve his game as a fantasy football player and one of his goals is to help other players do the same.