April 30, 2012

Here is an early reaction to the first round and thoughts on where the offensive skill players selected should be ranked by fantasy owners.

Luck is a great prospect, but the Colts are far from a good team right now. Luck has some fantasy value as a backup but he'll be more help to owners down the line. The Colts have a couple of good receivers in Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie and they'll likely be playing from behind a lot. On the flip side, the Colts offensive line could get Luck killed by Halloween.

Early Position Rank: No. 23 at QB.

Griffin is in a better spot to succeed early on in his career than Luck because the Redskins have a team that should challenge for a playoff spot. I like the look of this Redskins squad. Their speed on offense with Griffin, Roy Helu, Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson and Fred Davis is scary. RG3 will make an immediate fantasy impact. He won't put up Cam Newton-type numbers as a rookie, but at worst, Griffin will be a solid spot starter for fantasy owners like Andy Dalton was last year.

Early Position Rank: No. 18 at QB.

This was a home run for both the Browns and fantasy owners. Cleveland was the best possible landing spot for Richardson in terms of fantasy value. He's going to come in right away and be the primary ball carrier for the Browns. This kid has it all and he should be a fantasy monster right away.

Early Position Rank: Richardson will be in the Top 15 in my RB rankings. He won't get out of the second round in a majority of fantasy drafts. There aren't many backs in the NFL that are going to get the number of touches Richardson will in 2012.

This was a great pick for Jacksonville. However, for fantasy owners hoping Blackmon would get paired up with a quarterback like Sam Bradford or Ryan Fitzpatrick, it's a big disappointment. Even if Blaine Gabbert improves in 2012, the Jaguars' offense will need to get better by leaps and bounds for Blackmon to have a lot of fantasy value. Blackmon will be a fantasy star someday; just don't think that day will come in 2012.

Early Position Rank: Others are going to have Blackmon rated higher than I will. But there is a big difference between NFL football and fantasy football. Blackmon will help Jacksonville's passing game improve but I don't see enough production from him to be a fantasy starter at receiver. A great talent but he'll probably just make my Top 50 next week.

Miami had to take a shot on Tannehill if they thought he was a highly rated quarterback prospect. Matt Moore is a decent stop-gap, but now the Dolphins have a legitimate option for the future. Tannehill likely won't play much this year unless the Dolphins have an awful season and he gets the call in the final month. He just isn't polished enough to come right in and be a starting NFL quarterback.

Early Position Rank: Outside of the Top 35 quarterbacks. For fantasy purposes I think he's purely keeper league material.

This was one of my favorite picks in the first round. In Arizona, he'll team with Larry Fitzgerald to give the Cardinals one of the most feared receiver tandems in the NFL. Floyd rates as one of the 10 best prospects in this draft, so I expect him to come in right away and contribute. I'm not ready to close the book on Kevin Kolb quite yet but I will be if Arizona's offensive line can't keep him upright.

Early Position Rank: Floyd will debut as one of the Top 50 receivers. He would also be one of my top targets in keeper leagues. This was a perfect landing spot for him.

Wright is going to help fantasy owners down the road, but considering where he'll be on the pecking order at receiver in Tennessee, I'm not high on him for this season. Wright is the fastest player in this draft at any position. He'll come in and provide some big plays for the Titans offense, but with Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Damian Williams in the mix, Wright will have to fight for targets as a rookie.

Early Position Rank: Wright wouldn't be in my Top 50 receivers at this point. He's probably between 60-70 for me. I like him a lot more in keeper leagues than I do re-draft leagues right now.

The reason I liked Weeden to the Browns is because everything he does well fits what Cleveland likes to do on offense. Weeden is a quick decision maker and he's deadly accurate on short-to-intermediate throws. Weeden looks ready to step in right away and lead an NFL offense, so Colt McCoy better get a lot better soon or he'll be holding a clipboard.

Early Position Rank: Weeden will come in between 35-40 in my quarterback rankings. He could have fantasy value in 2012, but McCoy will likely begin the season as Cleveland's starting quarterback unless he bombs in training camp.

Update: Reports say the Brows are shopping McCoy, and Weeden will start for Cleveland from Day 1. I think this makes Weeden an intriguing fantasy QB, especially if the Browns add more weapons at receiver. I like what Cleveland is doing. In that division you have to make bold moves. Weeden will now move into the Top 30 of my QB rankings.

I'm in the minority here but I love this pick for the 49ers. To me, Jenkins ranked as the No. 5 receiver in the draft, so I wasn't surprised to see him go late in Round 1. I'm telling you right now that this kid can play. Just because these draftniks didn't have Jenkins in their mocks doesn't mean it's a bad pick or a "reach." Jenkins caught 90 balls last year at Illinois with average quarterback play. People are going to criticize this pick but that's just because they don't know how good Jenkins is and will be in the NFL.

Early Position Rank: Jenkins will come in somewhere between 50-60 at receiver and is one of my top rookie sleepers. I wouldn't be surprised if Jenkins ends up being one of the most productive fantasy rookies in 2012 .If you are in a keeper league, I would strongly suggest targeting Jenkins after the top guys go off the board.

This pick makes sense for Tampa Bay. Martin is a good pass protector and receiver, something LeGarrette Blount isn't. Martin is an intriguing fantasy running back because I get the feeling coach Greg Schiano doesn't love Blount. Tampa Bay would have drafted Richardson and then they traded back into the first round for Martin. The former Boise State star will see a lot of playing time as a rookie and his fantasy value goes up in PPR leagues because of his ability as a receiver. Don't be surprised if Martin catches 50 balls this season.

Early Position Rank: Martin will most likely crack my Top 50 running backs. If he doesn't, he'll be just outside my rankings. I have a feeling that the closer we get to fantasy drafts, the more I'm going to like Martin.

A great pick. First of all, the Giants needed a running back. The only guy they really have is Ahmad Bradshaw, and while he's a very good player, the Giants coaching staff doesn't want like to overuse him. That's smart because while Bradshaw is as tough as they come as he has played with foot injuries in the past. Wilson is coming into a perfect situation. He was my second ranked running back in this draft. Wilson is known for his speed but his power is underrated. Wilson led all backs in this class in yards after contact. Plus, he's a home run hitter. Bradshaw is good but he's not going to break off 80-yard runs. Wilson gives the Giants a big-play guy in the backfield. Wilson's only drawback is he put the ball on the ground too much in college. If he does that early on in his NFL career, he could see his playing time decrease.

Early Position Rank: Wilson is one of my top-rated fantasy rookies. He should have a big role in the Giants offense from Day 1. He ranks among the Top 50 running backs and he should go really early in keeper league drafts.

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