It’s been another very busy week for NFL transactions. The draft is driven largely by team needs and as teams add players through free agency and trades their team needs and who they’ll pick remains fluid. The top 10 picks or so remain pretty static, but the middle and bottom of the draft continue to be extremely dynamic.
With Peyton Manning joining the Broncos (fantasy fallout analyzed here) and Tim Tebow headed to the Big Apple, the draft strategies of those teams are transformed. While there are still some big names still to sign, the team needs are starting to clear up a bit.
Depending on their opportunities and potential, rookies can have a huge impact both on their NFL teams and on fantasy leagues. It used to be “smart” to avoid rookie starters, but Cam Newton, AJ Green, Julio Jones, and Andy Dalton have gone a long way to changing that perception. Consider your fantasy football team as well as your real team as you watch the prospects and mock drafts leading up to draft day.
Each FantasyCPR mock draft is featured in the mock draft databases at WalterFootball.com, DC Pro Sports Report, Sports Jabber, hailredskins.com and fftoolbox.com. Each site keeps track of a huge number mock drafts all over the web, so if you’re a draft junkie they’re great places to get your fix of info… Clicking the link for the team will take you to the site on the Fansided network dedicated to that particular team and to get daily draft-dedicated coverage visit Fansided brethren nflmocks.com and withthefirstpick.com
1. Indianapolis Colts
Fantasy Impact: Luck looks to be the 4th consecutive”franchise” QB taken with the #1 overall pick in the draft following Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, and Matthew Stafford. The Colts retained Reggie Wayne which will definitely help Luck’s numbers in year 1, but I won’t end up with him in many drafts since it only takes one crazy owner to take him too early. Following Cam Newton’s big year, many will look for him to do to much so I think he’ll go off the board too early. This team is in full rebuilding mode so I’ll wait until QB2 range not because I doubt his talent. In keeper leagues, obviously his value is higher. He could be a top 10 QB next year, but I won’t be the guy to take him in that range this year for sure.
2. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III-QB-Baylor
Analysis: The Redskins have made the big move of the draft trading a collection of 1st and 2nd round picks to move from 6 to 2 in order to take RG3. They’ve also invested heavily in the free agent market (as is their MO) bringing in Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan to give Griffin targets to throw too. If Griffin is starter from week 1 (as most are assuming, but I’m not sure is a given), he’ll be a popular fantasy pick as “Cam Newton-part 2.” I would definitely rank him ahead of Luck in fantasy football for the coming year, but he’ll still be a rookie QB so there’s quite a bit or risk. I won’t be drafting him as a QB1, but someone in most leagues probably will. I’d take him as a mid-low QB2 depending on whether Shanahan starts him early or makes him wait.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: Kalil shapes up to be an anchor for the Vikings line for years to come. Although it’s not a flashy skill-position pick, it’s the ideal scenario for Minnesota to pick up a piece they need to protect Christian Ponder going forward. The top 3 seem to be foregone conclusions at this point.
4. Cleveland Browns
Fantasy Impact: Assuming the Browns keep the pick, they’ll have their choice of offensive skill players. They could go Blackmon or Richardson, but with the loss of Peyton Hillis I expect them to go Richardson. If the Browns can trade back, they will. They are definitely a team that values draft picks and will gladly collect a few if some team is enamored with Blackmon, Richardson or one of the other players available at this spot. Ryan Tannehill just seems way to high-risk for the #4 pick overall. The potential is definitely there for the former Aggie, but I think Cleveland will roll with McCoy again this year.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: The Bucs were the early free agent winners landing Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, and Eric Wright. Wright and Claiborne would solve the CB issues and start the Schiano defensive era out solid. NFL.com’s Charley Casserly sees him as potential pro-bowler in his rookie season. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but missing out on Finnegan and Carr in free agency.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins)
Justin Blackmon WR-Oklahoma State
Fantasy Impact: Blackmon will fit wherever he lands, but the Rams will get the dynamic wide-out to take the #1 WR place open when Brandon Lloyd left for the Pats. There’s some draft guys saying that at 6-1 Blackmon may be “under-sized” but when you watch game tape he plays much much better. The Rams would be huge winners in this scenario picking up a slew of picks and still getting one of the guys they could’ve grabbed with the 2. Dynamic wide-outs with speed and ability to make people miss and pick up big YAC are hard to come by and Blackmon will make Bradford successful and vice versa for years to come.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Quinton Coples-DE-North Carolina
Analysis: The Jags Laurent Robinson on offense and Jeremy Mincey through free agency, but still could still use help both at wide-out and on the D-Line. Coples and Melvin Ingram are the 2 choices here, but Coples athleticism and size gets him the nod even though Ingram had a better combine and may be the “safer” choice
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill-QB-Texas A&M
Analysis: The most confusing offseason of the year award goes to Miami so far and after whiffing on Peyton, Matt Ryan, and Alex Smith they need to address the QB position. They could start Matt Moore or the recently signed David Garrard for a year or two while Joe Philbin and Tannehill’s former A&M coach Mike Sherman (now the new OC) coach up the converted WR.
9. Carolina Panthers
Analysis: Poe is an immediate fix for the middle of the Panthers D line that was ravaged last year. This would set up a nice rotation with Sione Fua and Terrell McClain who were the Cats DT picks last year.
10. Buffalo Bills
Analysis: Buffalo took a huge step towards fixing the pass rush by inking Mario Williams and Mark Anderson in free agency. I still think they may go Ingram here but they need help on the O-line as well and Martin’s the best available OT on the board.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Kuechly is a top-ten talent who will captain the Chiefs D for years to come. Coach Romeo Crennel loves to build around LB (Bruschi). After a season of great production and a killer combing Kuechly may go even earlier than this, but is a great fit at 11.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Fantasy Impact: Rising up draft boards quickly, I think Perry could be drafted by the same coach that recruited him to USC as Carroll grabs him to improve the ‘Hawks defensive pass rush. Perry has been in mock drafts everywhere from top 10 (way too high, IMO) all the way to out of the first round. I think Pete Carroll goes with what he knows and drafts Perry.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: DeCastro or his line-mate Jonathan Martin are both options to reinforce the line in front of Kevin Kolb. Michael Floyd also would make sense in this spot.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: With Eli Manning, Michael Vick, and RG3 (assumedly) in your division you have to be ready to defend the pass. The Cowboys lost 3 CBs this offseason and Brandon Carr is a huge #1 allowing Kirkpatrick to slide in and start on the other side.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: Plenty of options for the Eagles and the Cowboys but in their division pass defense is paramount and Phily can use a downhill, physical safety. He hasn’t worked out due to sports hernia surgery but is still a top, play-making Safety and the Eagles need to add one
16. New York Jets
Melvin Ingram-LB/DE-South Carolina
Fantasy Impact: Ingram is a small but effective pass-rusher that will thrive in Rex Ryan’s system. He’s a steal at this position for the Defense-first Jets.
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
Analysis: Addressed the Defensive backfield through free agency resigning Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson, as well as adding CB Jason Allen from the Texans. O-Line becomes the priority and there are not many teams looking for a CB between their 2 picks. It’s safer to get their lineman here
18. San Diego Chargers
Analysis: Brockers is a gift at this spot. Some think he’s the best 3-4 DE in the draft. AJ Smith would love to add Brockers to plug into the line and get an instant boost to their pass rush.
19. Chicago Bears
Analysis: Mercilus can learn from Julius Peppers and provide a pass rush from the opposite side. He’s got huge upside and Lovie Smith will love adding another playmaker to his defense to pressure his divisional rivals Matthew Stafford andAaron Rodgers .
20. Tennessee Titans
Janoris Jenkins-CB-Alabama State:
Analysis: Cortland Finnegan left to join Jeff Fisher in St. Loo; Jenkins fills the void.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy Impact: With the addition of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals can add Miller to a backfield rotation and have insurance in case Miller struggles. I don’t think he will though, as he jumps right in and uses his elusiveness and quickness as part of the new “big 3″ of Dalton-Green-Miller in Cincinatti.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
Michael Floyd-WR-Notre Dame
Fantasy Impact: The Browns can go Richardson early and grab whatever WR is still on the board with this pick. In this scenario, Floyd’s out there so he’s got to be the pick. Floyd would be a very nice receiver to complement Greg Little and develop into a red-zone target for whoever their QB is going forward. Floyd is the complete package and a great value at #22.
23. Detroit Lions
Analysis: A very nice value at this point in the draft that would help protect Stafford to Johnson for years to come.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Adams versatility, leadership, and footwork make him a nice fix for the O-Line protecting Big Ben. The Steelers have drafted plenty of Buckeyes, and I think he’s a great pick at this point.
25. Denver Broncos
Fantasy Impact: Dallas Clark 2.0 could be a huge addition for the Broncos. He’s obviously a smart guy and is used to playing with a smart, accurate QB. They could go defense to be sure, or they could add another weapon for their new, souped-up offense.
26. Houston Texans
Stephen Hill-WR-Georgia Tech
Fantasy Impact: If the draft falls out this way, it would be a no-brainer pick for the Texans to go receiver at this point. Hill had a huge combine, and looks to be the best fit for the Texans across from Andre Johnson. His college numbers are skewed due to the rush-based Yellow Jackets offense but as a rookie WR he’d definite have value if Matt Schaub can return healthy.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
Fletcher Cox-DT-Mississippi State
Fantasy Impact: Cox would reinforce the middle of the Pats line and could go much higher than this pick. He’d be a steal this late and would form a beastly tandem with Vince Wilfork.
28. Green Bay Packers
Devon Still-DT-Penn State
Analysis: Great value at this point and would help fortify the Pack’s D if they can help him get more motivated and play more consistently.
29. Baltimore Ravens
30. San Francisco 49ers
Alshon Jeffery-WR-South Carolina
Fantasy Impact: Jeffery is a steal this late. He was expected to be the best receiver in the class before a tough 2012 where he was limited/derailed by QB issues. He and Crabtree could make the San Fran passing game way more dangerous as they complement Vernon Davis. Jeffery (or another young WR) could help Alex Smith be a solid QB2 again this coming year.
31. New England Patriots
Stephen Gilmore-CB-South Carolina
Analysis: Chances are the Pats don’t pick 27 and 31. They always move around on draft day, but adding a solid corner like Gilmore would be huge wherever they draft.
32. New York Giants
Fantasy Impact: HIs versatility and previous experience with Prince Amukamara will help both of them play strong in the pass-happy NFC East.