By: Doug Orth — April 27, 2012 @ 1:10 am
1.22 Browns – QB Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
Weeden seemed like a lock to end up with the Browns, whether it was at 22 or early in the second round. Ultimately, team president Mike Holmgren played the draft game right and went with the last “pro-ready” QB in the first since the draft is so deep at WR. What the first-round selection on Weeden suggests is that he will have a significant upper hand on Colt McCoy in training camp this summer, especially considering Weeden’s “advanced” age. Weeden has a stronger arm than McCoy and should have significantly more weapons (Stephen Hill?) than McCoy ever did as a Brown. As of this moment, Weeden should probably go undrafted in most 12-team fantasy leagues. However, with Trent Richardson, Greg Little, Evan Moore, Ben Watson and a second-round addition in this draft, he’ll have a chance at being a bye-week fill-in.
By: Doug Orth — @ 1:07 am
1.20 Titans – WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
Due to his lack of ideal size (and his surprisingly slow times at the Combine), there was some thought Wright would fall into the second round. On the surface, the fit isn’t all that great in Tennessee initially because he will be hard-pressed to be anything more than a WR3 for the Titans right away. However, the team wants to give Jake Locker every chance to succeed and protect itself against another Kenny Britt injury. I don’t like Wright’s redraft prospects in redraft leagues, but he should have a long successful future in the NFL in the slot (initially) and as a solid deep-threat complement to Britt once Nate Washington moves on.
By: Doug Orth — @ 1:06 am
1.13 Cardinals – WR Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
It is hard to argue that Floyd isn’t in position to be the top-producing rookie WR in 2012 as he will operate opposite Larry Fitzgerald. It also should go w/o saying that he will likely be pushed harder than he ever has by one of the hardest-working players in league as well. It is also fairly obvious that Kevin Kolb will also benefit because he should not feel obligated to force throws to Fitzgerald. As it stands right now, Floyd – who was reportedly higher on some draft boards than Justin Blackmon – should also rate higher than his 2012 draft classmate on fantasy draft boards this summer as well. His dynasty value also receives a nice little boost as well from the #42 ranking I gave him a couple of weeks ago. I’ll optimistically project him right now as a high-end WR3 candidate in redraft leagues with 55 catch, 800-yard and six TD upside this season.
By: Doug Orth — @ 12:58 am
1.08 Dolphins – QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Tannehill might as well be this year’s Jake Locker and Christian Ponder – a quarterback currently better outside the pocket than inside (Locker) that gets pushed up in the draft because of the position he plays (Ponder). Although some will say this is a reach (and I won’t disagree), Tannehill couldn’t ask for a better situation in terms of familiarity since new OC Mike Sherman was also his head coach at Texas A&M. People will lazily say he’ll need time to learn the offense, but Tannehill needs to be on the sidelines this season in order to be put in a position to succeed as Miami attempts to secure receiving talent over the next year. Significant fantasy production cannot really be expected from Tannehill until at least 2014 as the Dolphins attempt to find their own version of Greg Jennings’ in this Green Bay-like offensive scheme while also furthering the rookie quarterback’s education after just 19 college starts.
By: Doug Orth — @ 12:52 am
1.05 Jaguars – WR Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Blackmon compares more favorably with Hakeem Nicks and Dwayne Bowe – two receivers drafted in the twenties of their respective drafts – than A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Regardless, Jacksonville has now provided Blaine Gabbert with some legitimate weapons with this pick and its free agent signings (Laurent Robinson, Lee Evans). Blackmon is incredible after the catch and could possibly lead the Jags in receptions in his rookie season. Although he takes a statistical hit working with Gabbert (instead of Sam Bradford), it is also way too early to close the book on Gabbert. Blackmon probably deserves low-end WR3 fantasy consideration this summer in 12-team leagues.
By: Doug Orth — @ 12:48 am
1.03 Browns – RB Trent Richardson, Alabama
Dubbed by several draft analysts as the best running prospect in the draft since Peterson, Richardson is one of the rare running backs worth a top 10 overall selection in April. While Richardson is a high-level prospect, he lands in a division where at least two of the Browns’ three rivals are annually in the top five against the run each season. With that said, it is hardly a fantasy exile as Cleveland has allowed a declining Jamal Lewis and a slightly above-average Peyton Hillis to be fantasy standouts when neither back possessed the ability Richardson does right now. Two of Richardson’s best traits as a runner are that he rarely ever goes down on first contact and possesses incredible vision – aspects that make the AP comparisons somewhat appropriate. While Richardson isn’t exactly an accomplished receiver, he is more than capable and should be able to post at least 30 receptions in his rookie season. As for the rushing attack in Cleveland, the Browns are one left guard away from having one of the better left sides in the NFL.
Considering the division in which he will be playing in and his current supporting cast, Richardson should fall just short of RB1 territory in redraft leagues this summer despite the fact he may be one of the 2-3 backs that may push 300+ carries. In 12-team leagues, he should go in the first half of Round 2.
By: Doug Orth — @ 12:44 am
1.02 Redskins – QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Whether we like it or not, Griffin bears a lot of likeness to a young Michael Vick with slightly less open-field elusiveness but better accuracy as a passer. His running ability will be put to good use in Mike Shanahan’s offense. In Shanahan’s system, quarterbacks are often asked to bootleg off play-action and throw on the run – a perfect fit for Griffin. The last time Shanahan worked with a gifted strong-armed mobile QB that was at or near his prime was Steve Young from 1992-1994. In those seasons combined, Young ran for 1,237 yards and 14 touchdowns and that was during a time when the idea of a running quarterback wasn’t nearly as accepted as it is today. In all likelihood, RG3 will not approach Cam Newton’s level of success in his rookie season simply because he isn’t entering a situation in which he should be asked to carry his new offense to the same degree Newton had to.
In redraft leagues, Griffin is entering a situation in which he has an outside shot to finish as a top 12 QB THIS YEAR. To be safe, he should be drafted as a QB2 in 12-team leagues, but 3,200+ passing yards, 500+ rushing yards and 6-8 rushing scores are entirely possible benchmarks for him to reach.
By: Doug Orth — @ 12:41 am
1.01 Colts – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Most, if not all, NFL personnel people believe Luck is one of the best and most NFL-ready QB prospects to come out in years, so his skill is not in question. However, new HC Chuck Pagano suggests Indy will be a physical running team in the coming years, which flies a bit in the face of what new OC Bruce Arians built his reputation on in Pittsburgh. And there is also the issue of his likely supporting cast, which will feature a declining Reggie Wayne, injury-prone Donnie Avery and Austin Collie with no viable threat at TE. Now, Collie has proven he can be a lead receiver at times, but the Colts’ offense is in the midst of a massive rebuilding job nonetheless. Luck’s upside is so high that he is probably worth over-drafting in dynasty leagues in order to get elite fantasy production from him in 2-3 years, but understand that his immediate success is far from guaranteed as the Colts restock the shelves.
In redraft leagues, he starts the summer as a mid-level QB2 in 12-team leagues thanks mostly to his skill and underrated athletic ability. He has enough of a supporting cast that fantasy owners should expect a top 20 finish at his position in 2012.