As everyone begins to get excited about a not-so-exciting 2022 draft class, let’s not forget how we all loved the 2021 class. It might be worth spending a later pick to acquire one of these players below than spend on the unknown of the 2022 draft class. Each of these guys below comes with a risk, but it’s part of the game.
Jaret Patterson – Washington Commanders
The Commander’s 2021, third running back, I was very high on coming into the 2021 draft. He fit the mold of a very good early-down running back with his vision and quick footwork. Unfortunately for Patterson, he went undrafted and signed with the Commanders, so having a big rookie season was unlikely. At Buffalo, Patterson compiled 3000 rushing yards and 53 rushing touchdowns over three years. At the same time, his receiving work was less desirable, with only 13 receptions in that span. Patterson was a gem that Commanders didn’t need at the time.
As the third-string running back, Patterson gained over 300 total yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL season. He was quiet for most of the first half of the season besides a game where he led the team in carries with 11. In the second half, once JD Mckissic went down, Patterson saw an uptake in opportunity while minimal; the team trusted him with that backup role. In week 17, when Gibson was out too, Patterson had 57 rushing yards with a touchdown and caught five passes for 41 more yards. He finished that week with 18 fantasy points and an RB 2 finish.
Looking forward, Patterson could find himself in a backup role behind Antonio Gibson in a team that likes to run the ball. Hopefully, the team doesn’t re-sign McKissic to the team, likely giving Patterson the bump up we need for him. Gibson has been banged up over his first two seasons already, so missing some time could be possible in the future, giving Patterson an opportunity. If you could give up a late 3rd round pick to acquire him, I would. I see Patterson have a long career in the NFL. Maybe not as a top-five back but a good running back that can help you win fantasy weeks.
Dyami Brown – Washington Commanders
We have another Commander(still weird to say that might) in Dyami Brown. Brown was a three-year player from North Carolina. He produced over 2000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in his final two seasons. Brown was a player who was quick off the line and demonstrated exceptional body control with targeting the ball. While he doesn’t have elite speed, his route running made up for any issues with that. Brown had a ton of potential that went in the draft’s later rounds to a good situation for him.
Brown didn’t flash all that much with just 25 targets in his first season. He did miss some time that can hurt any rookies’ growth and was part of a not-so-great passing attack. Looking ahead, Brown has an opportunity to set up in 2022. A possible 180 targets could be gone this offseason, and a significant upgrade at quarterback is likely for the Commanders. Brown is a more defined receiver than Curtis Samuel, who is more of an offensive weapon. Brown could also be acquired from teams for a possible early 4th rounder or late 3rd if an owner likes him.
Amari Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
We finally step up away from the Commanders to a Packer in Rodgers. Nope, not Aaron Rodgers, Amari Rodgers. Rodgers was a four-year player at Clemson, where he had a breakout senior season that went for 1000 yards and seven touchdowns. Rodgers’ ascension occurred with the departure of Tee Higgins and the injury of Justyn Ross, which led to Rogers leading the team. Rodgers is an undersized receiver but quick off his routes and short area. Rodgers showed the ability to have difficult catches but don’t get that mixed up with contested catches which he struggled with. He was reliable for Clemson, and when he was drafted to the Packers, his value rose.
In his rookie season, he was reticent as he only saw eight targets all season. Rodgers was mainly a return man with a poor 8.3 yards per return on kick-offs. He was better with punt returns with 18.1 yards per return. The Packers’ offense could look very different in 2022 with the unknown of Aaron Rodgers and the top-three leading target receivers all pending free agents. Rodgers is meant to serve in the slot; aging slot vet Randall Cobb could be a cap casualty with his nine million dollar contract that is only a two million dollar dead cap. Rodgers is worth giving up a fourth-round pick to see if he can turn into something.