As a rule I prefer to wait as long as possible to finalize takes on the incoming rookie class. For that reason, I've generally pushed back my initial rankings as late as possible, often into early April. It may be that long before I get a top 36 that I feel good about, but with our first rookie Superflex mock coming tomorrow, I thought the least I could do is get my top 12 out there today.

If you would like to watch our Superflex rookie-only mock draft live, I'll be over on our Fantasy Football Today YouTube channel at 11 AM ET with Dave Richard and Dan Schneier. If you can't make it live, subscribe to the Dynasty Fantasy Football Today podcast and check back here for full published results. I had Kyle Yates on the podcast earlier this week and he gave his top five 2024 rookies:

The plan is that I will expand this list to a top 24 by the end of next week and we'll have the traditional top 36 with rankings for multiple formats in early April. Until then, here are my brief thoughts on the players who should be drafted in Round 1 of a rookie-only draft:

1. Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Caleb Williams is the consensus 1.01 pick for both the 2024 NFL Draft and rookie drafts. As of now, I am expecting the Bears will select him but I wouldn't be that shocked if Washington or someone else trades up to grab him. He's not throwing or working out at the NFL Combine and I can't imagine that will impact his draftability. Williams averaged 9.1 yards per attempt as a freshman at Oklahoma in 2021 and has hit that mark or better every year since. He also has 21 rushing touchdowns in the past two years combined. His escapability and off-schedule playmaking remind some people of Patrick Mahomes.

2. Marvin Harrison, Jr., WR, Ohio State

Any of the next four players could be No. 2 in these rankings after the NFL Draft, it's that close. Like Williams, we won't see Harrison at the combine, and I don't think it will matter. The son of an NFL Hall of Famer, Harrison is yet another can't-miss wide receiver prospect from Ohio State. I expect he lands with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, but he'll be a top-12 Dynasty wide receiver no matter who takes him.

3. Jayden Daniels, QB, LSU

Daniels averaged more than 300 yards passing per game and ran for nearly 100 per game last year. The problem for some is that he's already 23 years old and has never shown anything like that before. Still, his Fantasy upside is as high as anyone in this class. If Daniels is even average as a passer he could be a top-five Fantasy QB as a rookie. 

4. Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Nabers may be the fastest wide receiver in this draft and there's more than a little buzz that some teams have him ranked as their No. 1 wide receiver. He's close enough to Harrison for me that I could see moving Nabers to WR1 if he's drafted first. Nabers' monster 2023 season is even more impressive when you realize he won't even turn 21 until July.

5. Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Maye's 2022 was his best season with 4,321 passing yards and 38 touchdowns through the air. He has a higher NFL ceiling than Daniels but it's fair to wonder if Maye has a realistic path to being a difference maker in anything other than Superflex. Still, if he is the 1.02 in the NFL draft there will be plenty of people who plant him at 1.02 in Superflex rookie drafts.

6. Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

This is where it starts to get a little more interesting. The top five guys are likely going to be the top five guys, barring a big surprise on Draft Day. Draft stock gets a little more volatile here, though I would be pretty surprised if Odunze wasn't a top-eight pick in rookie-only drafts. He has good size and acceptable speed, and caught virtually everything thrown his way in 2023. He seems locked into Round 1 of the NFL Draft, but landing spot does matter.

7. Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

Franklin is another burner like Nabers. It will be interesting to see his measurements at the combine, he does have a very slight build. That slight build didn't stop him from catching 81 passes for 1,383 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games at Oregon last year. Size seems to matter less and less at wide receiver each year, if that trend continues and Franklin earns first-round draft capital he should be locked in as a top-eight pick as well. That seems like a 50-50 possibility based on our most recent 2024 NFL mock drafts.

8. Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

if you have followed me for the past few years, you know I am generally more skeptical with tight ends in rookie drafts. I'd prefer not to take one in Round 1, though Sam LaPorta certainly would have been worth that last year. Bowers is the clear TE1 in this class and is projected to be picked in the first half of Round 1 in the NFL Draft. I would expect he'll sneak into the top five in many rookie drafts.

9. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

Consider this a placeholder for "post-draft RB1." This is a weak running back class at the top so a lot of rookie top-12s don't even list a running back. I get that, and if I was drafting today I probably wouldn't take one either. But all of my rookie drafts are after the NFL Draft and I feel pretty confident we'll have at least one running back in the top 10 by then. The simplest story I can tell is that Jim Harbaugh selects Corum to join him in Los Angeles in Greg Roman's run-heavy scheme. This could also be Trey Benson, Jonathon Brooks, or a different RB1.

10. J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan

The buzz around McCarthy being drafted in Round 1 is loud enough that we at least can't ignore it. He has a winning track record, big arm, and he just turned 21 years old. Those combined with first-round draft capital would be enough to move him into the late first in Superflex.

11. Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

I would not be surprised if a second running back sneaks into the first round of rookie drafts, but for now Worthy is my early pick. He's a track star with a slight frame who produced 981 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman. I prefer Worthy to teammate Adonai Mitchell, who others may have here.

12. Brian Thomas, Jr., WR, LSU

Thomas used his monster frame to pull in 17 touchdowns in his final season at LSU. Unlike the other burners in this class, Thomas stands at 6-foot-5 and is expected to weigh in around 200 pounds. The downside is that he played with a lot of competition and never dominated targets like we would prefer to see.