NFL teams have many ways of building their teams. Who team’s select in the draft is greatly impacted by who they have on their roster already. Over the past few weeks, teams have added or lost pieces in free agency. The top 3 picks appear to be locked in at this point, but the Cleveland Browns will start a domino effect with the #4 pick overall.
While we may not know what Rex Ryan has planned with his new Tim Tebow “wrinkle” in the Jets offense, we can speculate on what New York and the rest of the teams are going to try to accomplish in the draft.
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 in fantasy leagues, 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, eatdrinkandsleepfootball.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: There’s little drama to this pick as it appears obvious that Luck will 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 this team is still rebuilding so the risk of trying to make Luck a QB1 is too high for me in standard leagues. In keeper leagues, he obviously has much higher value, but will struggle to a degree in his first year in the league.
2. Washington Redskins (Trade with the Rams)
Robert Griffin III-QB-Baylor
Fantasy Impact: 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-version 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. In most league’s he’ll go as a top 10 QB, but I’d stay away until about 15-20 and take him as a mid-low QB2.
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: The Browns are in the most intriguing position in the high picks. Assuming the Browns keep the pick, they’ll have their choice of offensive players. They could go Blackmon, Richardson, Tannehill, or a completely different direction and pick Morris Claiborne, the top CB in the draft. It will be the most interesting pick early day 1, but with the loss of Peyton Hillis I expect them to go Richardson. Ryan Tannehill just seems way to high-risk for the #4 pick overall, and Mike Holmgren typically stays away from WR early in the draft. He made the Super Bowl with Shaun Alexander as his stud RB who was also from Alabama. While there are concerns taking any RB this high, Richardson could be an all-pro in the coming years and the Browns need skill on the offensive side of the ball.
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 has left the Bucs with needs at CB and he’ll step right in and start from week 1.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins)
Justin Blackmon WR-Oklahoma State
Fantasy Impact: What a coup for the Rams to land all the picks they did from the ‘Skins and still get one of their targets with the 2 overall. The Rams need a dynamic wide-out to take the #1 WR place open when Brandon Lloyd left for the Pats. Sam Bradford needs all the weapons he can get in the Rams offense.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Michael Floyd-WR-Notre Dame
Analysis: The Jags signed Laurent Robinson at wide-out but could still use more weapons as they try to evaluate Blaine Gabbert. Floyd has the skill-set to be a top WR, but there are character questions. That doesn’t seem to bother the Jags usually, nor do the “too early” accusations that will come when they make this pick. Floyd would be a nice complement to Robinson. He’s a big target and I think he’d end up getting the targets of a #1 WR if he went to Jacksonville. Depending on the rest of the off-season and preseason workouts, I could see drafting Floyd as a 28-35 WR with upside to break into the top 20 fi he and Gabbert connect.
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill-QB-Texas A&M
Analysis: Reports from his Pro-Day were good. Although he’s raw, the Dolphins have such a need at the position after coming up empty in free agency, they won’t be able to pass on him at 8. 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
Fletcher Cox-DT-Mississippi State
Analysis: Cox may not have the athleticism of Dontari Poe, but his versatility has him as a top DT on most draft boards. He would be an immediate fix for the middle of the Panthers D line that was ravaged last year by the run. 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 with either Ingram or Coples here but they need help on the O-line as well and Reiff being available at this point is a nice value.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Dontari Poe was my pick here until I read this. Kuechly isn’t a need pick, but Romeo Crennel has said his team can draft not based on need thanks to a solid free agency. Kuechley and Derrick Johnson would be sick on the interior of the Chiefs already improving defense and should help KC deal with the suddenly solid Brocos offense.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Melvin Ingram-DE/OLB-South Carolina
Fantasy Impact: Rising up draft boards quickly, Ingram will be a big help for the ‘Hawks pass rush which needs a situation pass-rusher who can contribute right away.
13. Arizona Cardinals
Analysis: Kirkpatrick is a shut down corner that will either play opposite last year’s pick Patrick Peterson or allow him to move to safety where some say he’s a better fit.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Analysis: DeCastro will help solidify the interior of the ‘Boys offensive line and hopefully keep Tony Romo upright and healthy. Dallas signed Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau but they’d be best served with Bernadeau as a backup.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Analysis: Poe is a classic Andy Reid depth pick and will help the middle of the Eagles defense. He’s raw but will make some eye-popping plays if he can take full advantage of his athleticism and size.
16. New York Jets
Quinton Coples-DE-North Carolina
Fantasy Impact: Rex won’t be able to pass on the best DE in the draft as he slides due to effort concerns. Coples could be one of the best defesive players in the draft and Ryan will try to turn him into a beast off the edge. He’s ideally suited to a 4-3, but the Jets seem to be adding pieces even if they’re not ideal fits (see Tebow, Tim).
17. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland)
Analysis: Cincy addressed the Defensive backfield through free agency by 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: Martin will be a huge part of keeping Cutler healthy enough throughout the season. New OL coach Mike Tice will build around Martin and Gabe Carimi (first round OT from last year).
20. Tennessee Titans
Stephon Gilmore-CB-South Carolina:
Analysis: Cortland Finnegan left to join Jeff Fisher in St. Loo; Gilmore fills the void. They had needs in the pass rush but signed Kamerion Wimbley in free agency.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Janoris Jenkins-CB-Alabama State
Analysis: Jenkins has the talent to be taken even higher, but character issues have him dropping in some mocks out of the first round. I think a team will care more about talent than character and since the Bengals have been known to do just that (and it’s a position of need) look for Jenkins to be a good possibility here.
22. Cleveland Browns (from Atlanta)
Fantasy Impact: The Browns can go Richardson early and grab whatever WR is still on the board with this pick. I had Wright falling to Cleveland’s area in round 2 in previous mock’s but a good pro-day has probably moved him back into the first round. If the Browns can add Wright and Richardson, their offense will get a major upgrade in 2012. Wright’s skill set is a nice complement to Greg Little’s and I think both would be decent WR3 picks headed into next year.
23. Detroit Lions
Analysis: Barron would probably be considered best player available in this scenario and fills an area of need in the Lions secondary. They got torched by Drew Brees in the playoffs and Barron is a big-hitting safety who could be a part of fixing that problem.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Hightower is a perfect fit for the Steelers and most mocks have him going here. This is what the Steelers experts over at Nice Pick, Cowher have in their mock draft and it makes a lot of sense for Pittsburgh to go with way.
25. Denver Broncos
Fantasy Impact: With Peyton Manning joining the Broncos (fantasy fallout analyzed here) 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)
Fantasy Impact: Upshaw would be a great value at this point in the draft after skyrocketing after a great Sr Bowl and now settling back to the late teens in most mocks. The Pats would be thrilled to get an edge rusher like this at this spot in the draft.
28. Green Bay Packers
Analysis: Getting mocked all over the first round, the Packers would love to have Perry here since he could help get pressure opposite Clay Matthews.
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
Analysis: Chances are the Pats don’t pick 27 and 31. They always move around on draft day, but getting 2 key pieces for their defense and getting consistent pressure on opposing QB’s could go a long way to getting New England back to the Super Bowl.
32. New York Giants
Devon Still-DT-Penn State
Fantasy Impact: While his motivation is questionable at times, his raw skills aren’t. Adding a big interior rusher to go with the DE’s that the Giants have is the rich getting richer. The Giants would be getting huge potential and value if Still is on the board.