The NFL Draft is just 3 weeks away, so don’t lose site of what your team is going to be doing amidst a big weekend in sports with the Masters, MLB Opening Day, the NBA Playoff race all vying for attention. This week I’ll keep the analysis nice and quick this week and focus on the players that will have fantasy impact since (as we saw last year) rookies can be game-changers in fantasy football and across the League. As you get geared up for the draft make sure you think about your fantasy football team as well as your real team.
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: Luck looks like he’ll be a great QB for year and most experts are expecting him to be good right away. He’s still risky as a QB1 headed into the fantasy football season but I’d rank him around 15 depending on if your league rewards accuracy (completions/attemps/percentage)
2. Washington Redskins (Trade with the Rams)
Robert Griffin III-QB-Baylor
Fantasy Impact: Looks like RG3 will be the starter from day 1 for the ‘Skins. He’ll have some weapons in that offense after the Reskins added Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan. He’ll be a popular pick in fantasy drafts as owners look for this year’s Cam Newton. Due to the team around him and his rushing ability, I would definitely rank him ahead of Luck in fantasy football for the coming year. 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 12-15 and take him as a QB2 if at all possible.
3. Minnesota Vikings
Analysis: No surprising, but it’s a good pick for the long-term and the short-term.
4. Cleveland Browns
Fantasy Impact: The Browns turn this draft with the pick. It looks more and more to be Richardson who’s the pick here. He’s a power back that makes a nice RB2 if he becomes the feature-back right away in Cleveland. He’ll be ready to jump right in and contribute coming from Alabama’s offense.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Analysis: Claiborne fits a big need on the Tampa D and could be an elite CB in the leagues as early as this year.
6. St. Louis Rams (from Washington Redskins)
Justin Blackmon WR-Oklahoma State
Fantasy Impact: The Rams could move even further back to continue their pick collection. Some team who wants to get the top receiver in the draft might make the Rams draft haul even more impressive, but if a trade isn’t there the Rams will be happy to add a nice weapon for Sam Bradford.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
Melvin Ingram-DE-South Carolina
Analysis: Another team that might look to move back, Ingram is a nice addition to the Jags pass rush. Although he doesn’t have the upside of Quinton Coples, his motivation is unquestioned and he’s the safer pick to step in and make a difference right away.
8. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill-QB-Texas A&M
Fantasy Impact: We’ve all heard the “Joe Philbin coached up Aaron Rodgers” and “Tannehill’s former A&M coach Mike Sherman is the new OC” lines of reasoning. I think both of those things are true and valid, but the Dolphins are so desperate at QB I can’t see them passing on the upside of Tannehill even with his raw skill set.
9. Carolina Panthers
Analysis: I’m not high on Poe since he seems to be a workout wonder, but I think the Panthers need a run stuffer in the middle and Poe’s freakish athleticism makes him the pick here. It’s not a pick I like, but it’s the one I think they’ll make.
10. Buffalo Bills
Michael Floyd-WR-Notre Dame
Fantasy Impact: Floyd has a nice skill-set to complement Stevie Johnson. His addition boosts Ryan Fitzpatrick and Johnson’s value. I think Floyd could be a WR1 in the future but is a high upside WR3 for this season.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Analysis: Kuechly had a great combine and will further enhance Romeo Crennel’s D as they have to deal with Peyton Manning in their division now.
12. Seattle Seahawks
Quinton Coples-DE-North Carolina
Fantasy Impact: He could absolutely freefall down this draft, but Pete Carroll may not be able to pass up on the DE with the most upside in the draft as he looks to build the speed and playmaking ability on his defense.
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: Reiff represents great value at this point and should help keep Tony Romo upright and in the game.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
Fletcher Cox-DT-Mississippi State
Analysis: Many think that Cox is the best DT in the draft and getting him here to strengthen the middle of the line. The Eagles may have considered going O-Line before they signed Demetress Bell to replace the fallen Jason Peters.
16. New York Jets
Fantasy Impact: The Jets signed LaRon Landry but still may look to further strengthen the Safety spot by going with Mark Barron, but Upshaw is a perfect fit for the Rex Ryan system and makes plays both in the pass rush and in rush defense.
18. San Diego Chargers
Analysis: Mercilus is continuing to rise up boards due to his athletic ability to get to the QB. The Chargers need a pass rush and they’ll take the best available edge-rusher.
19. Chicago Bears
Analysis: Glenn’s versatility has him rising up draft boards and he could be a huge part of keeping Cutler healthy enough throughout the season.
20. Tennessee Titans
Analysis: Brockers is a great value at this pick and could develop into a Albert Haynesworth (the good version) type talent for the Titans in Mike Munchak’s defense.
21. Cincinnati Bengals
Stephon Gilmore-CB-South Carolina
Analysis: If the Bengals can land Gilmore or Jenkins at CB and a DeCastro/Martin linemanin their 2 picks they’ll be thrilled.
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. Wright’s speed was on display on his pro-day where he allayed some concerns after a slow Combine time. The Browns offense would be transformed with these 2 offensive playmakers.
23. Detroit Lions
Janoris Jenkins-CB-North Alabama
Analysis: Jenkins is best player available and the Lions overlook character issues when they need to in order to improve their team.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Analysis: Martin falling this far is great for Pittsburgh who can develop him into either a right or left Tackle to reinforce their line
25. Denver Broncos
Devon Still-DT-Penn State
Fantasy Impact: Still gives the Broncos the pass rush they want up the middle.
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. If Shaub is healthy he could be the best rookie receiver for fantasy purposes next year since Andre Johnson will get plenty of attention on the other side.
27. New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
Fantasy Impact: Hightower’s versatility will let Bill Belichick move him all over the field playing multiple positions and making plays all over the field.
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
Analysis: Matt Birk’s replacement is a nice value if he’s still on the board.
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
Fantasy Impact: Giants need help after losing TE’s, but Miller is a nice value at the last pick of the first round and is a solid replacement for Brandon Jacobs. Miller could be a decent RB2 depending on his time-share with Ahmad Bradshaw.