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Training Camp Lowdown

Adjust the Ranks: Changes to the NBC Staff Rankings Part 1

by Kyle Dvorchak
Updated On: August 4, 2021, 11:37 am ET

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With training camp finally underway, there’s actionable news that the entire NBC Sports Edge staff is using to adjust our rankings ahead of Week 1. You can check out the rankings via the Draft Guide with the NBC Sports EDGE+ Premium package. In this series, I’ll look at the notable movers at every position, breaking down why players are rising or falling in our ranks. The first week of training camp brought a load of receiver rotations to break down so let’s get into it. 

 

Elijah Moore Up to WR54

Jets writers have done nothing but rave about Elijah Moore through a few summer practices and the early training camp roles have only confirmed his excellence. Moore is running with the 1s alongside Jamison Crowder and Corey Davis. Moore averaged 141 yards per game in his final collegiate season and broke out as a sophomore at Ole Miss. He looks the part of an immediate contributor and the New York coaches are seeing that. Denzel Mims, who is currently running with the third string, was dropped out of our ranks in a corresponding move.

 

DeVonta Smith Down to WR41

We were so far below ADP on Smith that drafters using our rankings weren’t going to be getting him. However, Smith suffered an MCL injury that will keep him sidelined for a few weeks. As a small, late-declaration receiver joining a team that will likely tilt toward the run, we want to stay below the market on Smith even after his ADP takes a hit from the injury. 

 

Carson Wentz to Undraftable

The entire Indianapolis offense got docked in our rankings as a result of the Carson Wentz foot injury. You can read more about that here. This is simply a PSA that any quarterback who doesn’t have top-five upside and won’t be ready for Week 1 can be left off all rosters.

 

Marquise Brown Down to WR46

Marquise Brown will be out for some time with a hamstring injury. He was already facing pressure for targets from Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman now he’ll be in an uphill battle to get practice reps in throughout the summer. Brown was knocked down a few spots while Bateman, a prospect that all of the analytics around receiver breakouts support, got a small boost. If Brown begins to look like he’ll be missing time up until the regular season, Bateman will have a real chance to open the year as Baltimore’s top receiver. Given his elite profile, he’d instantly become a screaming buy in all formats. This is a situation worth monitoring closely.

 

Jakobi Meyers Up to WR68

With the Pats making a bevy of splash signings in free agency, Jakobi Meyers appeared to be one of the big losers of the offseason. However, our reaction to these moves was a bit harsh as Meyers still has a strong case to be the favorite to lead his team in targets. Nelson Agholor is his biggest competition and he bested Agholor in yards per route run while playing on a far less efficient offense last year. Meyers is also familiar with the offense while Agholor is joining his third team in as many years. Any player with the target share ceiling of Meyers is worth taking as a WR6. 

 

Courtland Sutton Down to WR35

Courtland Sutton is coming back from his torn ACL a bit slower than initially anticipated. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio noted that he sees “a little hesitancy” in Sutton’s game right now. Sutton has plenty of time to get on track but it would be reckless to not adjust with this information. The Broncos are loaded with receiving talent including Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant, both of whom project to soak up targets this year. If Sutton takes a small step back, the increased competition for targets could amplify his target squeeze. 

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Michael Carter Up to RB34

Even after getting pushed up into the backend of the RB3 range, we’re still lower than ADP on Carter by a few picks. The market is currently giving him a fair evaluation after reports from camp indicated that he was running with the first team. The only reason we didn’t jump him far ahead of his ADP is that those same reports would go on to say that Tevin Coleman also got first-team reps. Carter getting shut out of the rotation for the first few weeks is now off the table, which raises his floor. It could still take him some time to fully unseat Coleman though, keeping him as a FLEX-only option. 

 

Gabriel Davis Down to WR59

As was the case last year, the Bills appear to be using Gabriel Davis as a rotational player while a veteran wideout gets more looks in three-receiver sets. Emmanuel Sanders is currently working ahead of him in practice. Our initial rankings were bullish on Davis becoming a full-time player but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Davis will still get plenty of run. The Bills finished second in 10-personnel usage last year. He simply doesn’t have the upside of starting the season as a mainstay of the offense as things stand now. 

 

Terrace Marshall Up to WR72

On the other hand, we were slightly skeptical that Terrace Marshall would be able to take the field and earn targets amidst a crowded group of pass-catchers. However, training camp has gone well for the rookie as he’s seen plenty of first-team reps from the slot. Marshall primarily played in the slot in his final year at LSU and looked dominant in that role, averaging 104 yards per game. A similar role in Joe Brady’s offense, which Marshall played in for a year at LSU, should make his transition to the pros smooth.