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Draft Day Primer: Pre-Draft Rookie Profiles with Best Fits

We’re thrilled to announce that Paymon Shokoohi of setmyroster.com will be providing DLF with even more great dynasty content in the future as a full time Staff Writer. He’s agreed to share all his detailed rookie profiles for us in one big package as we sit back and get ready for the draft. These rookie profiles include not only his personal opinion of the players, but also his thoughts on their best fits as well.  Enjoy them and enjoy the draft – we’ll be loading up on post-draft coverage, so keep it here as we break it all down.

Quarterbacks

Andrew Luck, QB Stanford

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 235 lbs. 40 Time: 4.73

Stats:

2011 Season

Yds Comp % TD Int
3517 71.3 37 10

Overview:

What can be said about Andrew Luck that hasn’t been said already? He’s been analyzed by everyone and the consensus among most scouts is that he’s as close to a “can’t miss” Quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. Luck is all of that and more. He excelled on a team with very little NFL talent at the WR position. Most of his damage came via the use of TE position. He’s poised, accurate, and possesses the leadership qualities you could ask for from the position. In short, he’s every bit as good as advertised.

Best Fit:

It’s silly to list anyone other than the Colts here because we all know that’s where he’s going.

Fantasy Forecast:

About the only thing up for debate is whether Luck is the first rookie you should take in your dynasty drafts. The debate is between Trent Richardson or Luck. It’s simple in one sense, because if you have a QB you should take Trent, but if not, you can’t afford not to. Luck will be an elite fantasy producer. The only thing in doubt is how soon will it happen. That depends on how quickly the Colts are able to surround him with talent in this rebuilding project. I believe it will take two years before Luck is able to enter the elite fantasy QB numbers conversation. He won’t have the Cam Newton type rookie year because he’s not the do-it-yourself type creator that Cam is. But rest assured, it’s only a matter of when.

Ryan Tannehill, QB Texas A&M

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 221 lbs. 40 Time: 4.65

Stats:

2011 Season

Yds Comp % TD Int
3,744 61.6 29 15

Overview:

Ryan Tannehill is a strong armed, mobile quarterback, who prefers to play the position from the pocket. He’s an excellent athlete and makes plays with his feet when he has to, electing to make plays with his arm rather than bail at the first sign of trouble. In other words, he’s ahead of many athletic quarterbacks. Another trait Tannehill possesses is he also throws with accuracy on the run, whether it’s to his left or right. The two things that stand out most when evaluating his film is his smooth and easy throwing motion and his ability to maintain accuracy throwing on the run. In a lot ways, Tannehill plays the quarterback position the same way you see Aaron Rodgers do it. Tannehill’s offensive background is the West Coast Offense and there’s no reason he can’t go into a West Coast system and contribute sooner rather than later. He’s still developing as a quarterback, but he’s developing quickly. With Tannehill a part of the 2012 draft class, this is turning out to be one heck of a selection crop at the quarterback position.

Best Fit:

Miami Dolphins (1.8): You can’t draw it up any better for the Fins as they missed out on both Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. With the Dolphins moving to a west coast scheme, and hiring Tannehill’s head coach out of Texas A&M, this is a great match.

Buffalo Bills (1.10): I know the Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick, so Tannehill’s likely not landing here. However, if the Bills want to be a contender in the AFC East, they need to upgrade the position. Even if Tannehill is groomed for a year, he’s an upgrade at the position long-term.

Seattle Seahawks (1.12): If Tannehill makes it down to Seattle, I think it’s a virtual lock for him to get selected. To say Tannehill is an upgrade for them would be a big understatement.

Fantasy Forecast:

While Andrew Luck and RG3 look to be can’t misses in this draft, Ryan Tannehill is more of the traditional available talent you’d expect to find in a draft. Put him up against last year’s class, and he’d likely be the number second quarterback selected (after Cam Newton and yes, before Jake Locker). Tannehill is a legit QB 1 prospect. Again, in a West Coast offense, I can see him being a very viable starting caliber fantasy quarterback. I project his fantasy ceiling around where I had Matt Stafford coming out, which is a top 10 QB caliber talent. It took Stafford three years to reach that level and I can see a similar 2-3 year timeline for Tannehill.

Robert Griffin III, QB Baylor

Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 220 lbs. 40 Time: 4.52

Stats:

2011 Season

Yds Comp % TD Int
4,293 72.4 37 6

 Overview:

Like Andrew Luck, you’ve probably heard everything there is to say about the man known as RG3. He’s an elite mobile quarterback prospect. He’s exceptional at making plays with his feet and throws accurately on the run. He has an elite arm, perhaps the best in the draft. His best trait, in my opinion, is he throws a beautiful and accurate deep ball.

However, he does have a few flaws.

He tends to bail on the pocket and looks to run more often than he should for the NFL level. When facing a pass rush, instead of moving in or out of the pocket looking to throw, his first instinct is to run. That will have to be coached out of him. He also tends to throw off his back foot often, but that’s not uncommon with young mobile QBs. It’s all fixable. What RG 3 is not is another Cam Newton. Newton is an absolute freak of a talent, both size wise and skill wise. I don’t think it’s accurate to compare the two. A better comparison of RG 3 is to Tennessee’s Jake Locker. Their game is similar, but RG 3 is much more accurate, and if you think about it, that’s the only thing that kept Locker from being a top three pick (he went eighth overall in the 2011 draft). Despite some flaws, RG3 is an elite level talent. The quicker he learns patience, the quicker his ascent to a top level QB.

Best Fit:

Washington Redskins (1.2): The Redskins are the top players for RG3 because this team has been QB starved for several years.

Fantasy Forecast:

RG 3 should be treated as a top level fantasy option for dynasty leagues. In yearly leagues, not so much, because there will be a much higher learning curve for RG3 than there was for Cam Newton. I believe that because Cam went to an ideal situation where the staff tailored the offense to what Cam did well in college – that’s not the norm in this league. Also, there is a difference in talent level and style of play. Like I said, RG 3 is more talented version of Jake Locker. With that said, I project RG 3 as an eventual top 10 fantasy QB. I’m hesitant in labeling him a top 5 QB because I see enough flaws to his game where it puts a little doubt in my mind. There’ve been enough QBs like him to dominate at the college level but absolutely flop at the NFL level to make me pause. What makes me bet he’ll make it up to a QB 1 is his accuracy and his character.

Brandon Weeden, QB Oklahoma State

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 221 lbs. 40 Time: 4.92

Stats:

2011 Season

Yds Comp % TD Int
4,727 72.3 37 13

Overview:

Brandon Weeden is a prototypical pocket passer. He has little to no scrambling ability, but does tend to move well within the pocket. Weeden has a great quick release and is very accurate. Like most pocket passers, where he gets into trouble is when he’s rushed. However, there isn’t a throw he can’t make. Weeden possesses leadership, poise, and every other accolade you want to put out there when talking about a franchise quarterback.

The negative of course is his age. I hate talking about it, but it’s there. He’s a 28 year old rookie. That fact is what keeps Weeden from being a 1st round selection. I have little doubt that Weeden will have success as a starting quarterback in the NFL. A quarterback’s life span is longer than most other positions, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t expect many years of service from him. His NFL comparison is Kurt Warner, but with a bigger arm. NFL teams that need quarterbacks will regret passing on him.

Best Fit:

Cleveland Browns (2.5): This would be a nice consolation prize after trading out of the #2 pick. Whether or not the Browns brass agrees is a whole other topic.

Miami Dolphins (2.10): Weeden is an ideal fit in the second round. I suspect the Fins will want to use their 1st round pick on a pass rusher.

Fantasy Forecast:

I’m a believer in Branden Weeden. On the right team, he’s a worthy dynasty investment. He’s a better prospect than many of the rookies that were drafted last year. To me, he’s a better NFL prospect than Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick, or Ryan Mallett. He’s as good if not better than Andy Dalton. He has QB 1 potential, but at worst he’s a solid QB2. I won’t have any issues drafting him on any of my fantasy teams.

Running Backs

Trent Richardson, RB Alabama

Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 224 lbs. 40 Time: 4.5

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
283 1679 5.9 21

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
29 338 11.7 3

Overview:

Trent Richardson is the best pure running back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson. He doesn’t quite have the speed of Peterson, but does have a better set of hands. Like Peterson, he runs angry. The one thing he does better than Peterson is he doesn’t run as upright, which makes him a bit harder to tackle (which is truly saying something because Peterson as we all know is a true beast). Richardson finished third in the Heisman balloting and won the Doak Walker Award (nation’s best running back). He accomplished those feats against stiff defenses, as he went up against top 25 defenses six times. He’s a top ten talent and should be a top ten pick, however I think you will see many drop him into the teens on their boards due to the decline in running back value in the modern day NFL.

Best Fit:

Cleveland Browns (4): With the running back issues the Browns have, he fits the system well.

Tampa Bay Bucs (5): The next coach has to decide if LeGarrette Blount is their guy. Personally I don’t trust him and his deficiency in the passing game has been a big detriment to the offense. If Blount is in, it’s likely a run. If they a call pass with Blount in the game, it’s essentially playing 10 on 11. The best cure for a young team and a young QB is a stud RB. Tampa has many needs beyond a back, but a running back of this caliber can solve some of their offensive issues and make them less predictable.

Fantasy Forecast:

Trent Richardson will be a fantasy superstar. There aren’t many every down running backs in the NFL anymore -Trent is one. I compare him to Peterson for a reason, as that is where I place his ceiling. Not many backs are in Peterson’s class, but Richardson’s ability places him close. He’s a dynasty RB 1. If I were to rank his overall value among the current backs, he slides in at seventh as of today, behind only Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew and Adrian Peterson (we can debate Peterson’s current dynasty ranking at another time due to his knee). I understand that’s quite the ranking for a player who hasn’t played a down in the NFL, but it also illustrates what type of talent we are talking about.

Chris Polk, RB Washington

Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 224 lbs. 40 Time: 4.48

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
293 1488 5.1 12

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
31 332 10.7 4

Overview:

Chris Polk is a workhorse type back. He’s not going to wow you with highlights and shake defenders out of their shoes. He’s a tough inside runner with good long speed, meaning if he breaks it to the second level, he’s certainly capable of taking it all the way. While he’s not overly elusive, he’s very effective at using the stutter step, perhaps his signature move in traffic. He’s fundamentally sound and able to get the yards that’s blocked for him. His skill-set is perhaps best suited for zone blocking schemes, but not limited to it. Polk is a better pass catcher than he gets credit for out of the backfield. Essentially, Polk is a tougher running version of Daniel Thomas. He’s a solid two down back with ability to contribute in the pass. Stated differently, Polk is not a liability in the pass like many bigger backs tend to be.

Best Fits:

Cleveland Browns (3.4): With all the headaches the Browns have at running back, Polk would be an ideal fix and a fresh start.

NY Jets (3.14): Team “ground and pound” is another ideal place for Polk to land. He’d instantly be the best running back on the team. Under Sparano, the Dolphins elected to take Daniel Thomas in an similar circumstance. Guess who’s the new offensive coordinator of the Jets?

Fantasy Forecast:

Chris Polk on the right depth chart will be able to be a consistent fantasy producer. If he gets 20 carries a game, he’s more than capable of being a fantasy starter. Again, he probably will get overlooked or be undervalued in drafts because there will be guys who will run faster and move quicker. Polk does have the necessary skills to be a very effective running back, thus has the potential to reach RB2 levels. While he may not be as shiny as some of the other rookies, I view him as a lower risk to be a bust. He’ll be one of the safer rookie picks after the top two guys.

Lamar Miller, RB Miami, FL

Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 212 lbs. 40 Time: 4.42 (he’s even faster than that, though)

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
227 1272 5.6 9

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
17 85 11.7 1

Overview:

Lamar Miller had the best running back season for the Miami Hurricanes since the likes of Willis McGahee in 2002. He’s a very smooth runner. He glides and doesn’t look like he’s running as fast as he is. His gliding motion reminds me of Eric Dickerson in the sense it’s effortless. You can only tell that’s he’s blazing fast by the fact that he’s running away from the defenders during his long runs. His weakness is experience. He’s raw and just learning to be a better runner. Unlike most rookies with this kind of speed, he doesn’t look to bounce it outside. It’s the opposite. Miller is patient waiting for his blockers, but at times I feel he’s too patient and just needs to make a cut and turn on the 4.3 jets. Like I said, he’s just learning.

I thought the new Miami coaching staff did a heck of job with him in his one year as the starter. He’s running between the tackles improved tremendously from his freshman year to his sophomore year. That shows me he’s coachable and when a NFL staff gets a hold of him – I feel this guy’s upside is off the charts. He’s still working to be a better pass blocker but did improve in 2011. He also is just learning how to be a better pass catcher. It doesn’t look natural for him in some of his receptions. All in all you have the draft’s only legit homerun hitter. He has Chris Johnson abilities, but has a better NFL running back body.

Best Fit:

New York Jets (16): The Jets may not think so, but if they truly want to be a ground and pound team, they need to upgrade their running back position. With Tomlinson gone, and a very average Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell (won’t even mention Joe McKnight since I’ve always thought of him as a poor RB), they need a legit running back running back.

Cleveland Browns (22): If the Browns pass on Trent Richardson, and the Bengals somehow pass on Miller, this is another perfect spot for him. With the ongoing injury issues with Montario Hardesty and the impending free agency of Peyton Hillis, the Browns need to invest in a young playmaking running back. Their offense could use a good shot in the arm.

Fantasy Forecast:

In my development league last year, I selected Lamar Miller with the 12 development pick (I own his draft rights prior to this year’s rookie draft), so I’ve been high on him since June of 2011. I project Miller to have the number two fantasy career out of this class, with only Trent Richardson higher. Miller may be a bit rawer, so you may have to wait another year for him to truly breakout, but I assure you the investment will pay off. You can’t let 3 down backs with this much talent and upside to pass if you have the opportunity to draft him in your rookie drafts.

David Wilson RB, Virginia Tech

Height: 5′ 10″ Weight: 205 lbs. 40 Time: 4.42

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
290 1709 5.9 9

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
22 129 5.9 1

Overview:

David Wilson has good speed and is a great open field running back. Give the guy some space and he’ll hit the jets. He has nice ability to cut and make tacklers miss when he’s running near his top end speed. He’s pretty decent at breaking tackles and certainly doesn’t shy away from contact. He possesses most of the traits you’d like to see in a great running back. The one thing he’s deficient in is vision – that’s the one trait that separates the average/good running backs from the great running backs. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a good running back, he just likely won’t be a great running back. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Felix Jones as they have very similar type of ability and running style.

Best Fit:

Denver Broncos (1.25): They need to upgrade their running back depth. Willis McGahee is serviceable, and will be in the mix, but they need to add some speed at the position so the backs can complement each other.

St Louis Rams (2.2): Steven Jackson’s career is winding down. The depth chart behind him isn’t pretty. I believe that the Rams will invest in another back this offseason and more than likely it’ll be through the draft.

Fantasy Forecast:

I compare David Wilson to Felix Jones in fantasy as well. He’ll be a homerun hitter and will be great on highlight reels, but his production will be sporadic. I like consistency from my running backs and Wilson’s lack of vision and inability to diagnose the crease/hole will make him an inconsistent fantasy producer, especially early in his career. The same problems that Reggie Bush has being an inside runner at the NFL level may plague Wilson. Both are great in space, but how often does that happen at the NFL level? For that reason, I project Wilson as a RB3, with potential to be a low end RB2. Like I said, he’ll be good but won’t be great.

LaMichael James, RB Oregon

Height: 5′ 9″ Weight: 195 lbs. 40 Time: 4.42

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
247 1805 7.3 18

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
17 210 12.4 1

Overview:

LaMichael James is a real challenge to project to the next level. He dominates as a running back at the college level. He’s a tough inside runner for his size. He’s great at finding a crease and hitting it. He cuts well in traffic and doesn’t shy away from contact. He doesn’t look to bounce everything outside, a trait most young running backs of his size/speed don’t possess. He’s also a patient running back that allows his blocking to develop. He has good hands out of the backfield, though Oregon didn’t incorporate him into their passing game much, mostly due to the spread option attack. He’ll drop in the draft because of his size, but pound per pound, he’s one of the best inside running backs in this class. I emphasize the term pound per pound because his size will limit his capabilities at the NFL level. However, in the right offensive system he’ll still make a formidable weapon.

Best Fit:

San Diego Chargers (3.15): Did you see how poorly this offense played without Sproles? James would be a nice fill-in for that role.

Detroit Lions (3.22): With the health issues and uncertainty of Jahvid Best, this is an ideal fit for both parties. Offensive system, depth chart situation, and player are a great match.

Denver Broncos (3.24): Of all the teams, this may be the team that fits James the most.

Fantasy Forecast:

You’ll see a lot of comparisons to Falcons’ Jacquizz Rodgers. That’s fair, but I see James as a much more complete back than Rodgers. Plus, he’s listed as 3 inches taller, and that’s a big difference. If any of the teams above select James I would bump his fantasy value up, because so much of James’ fantasy value is contingent on the offensive system. As an example, look how much Darren Sproles’ value changed going from San Diego to New Orleans. He was good with the Chargers, but great with the Saints. Keeping the offensive system in mind, I project James as a flex play or RB3 in fantasy. You’ll hear a lot of stereotypical talk about his size over the next few months. A word of advice, don’t listen to it. He’s not your typical small running back.

Isaiah Pead, RB Cincinnati

Height: 5′ 10″ Weight: 197 lbs. 40 Time: 4.47

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
237 1259 5.3 12

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
39 319 8.2 3

Overview:

Isaiah Pead made a name for himself by earning the 2012 Senior Bowl MVP. Prior to the game, I’d watched a few of his games and observed him closely at the Senior Bowl practices. The Senior Bowl MVP, other than a few nice headlines, did nothing but reassure my evaluation of him. Pead is a utility back and a nice returner. He’s a good third down option out of the backfield. After all, it was his performance in the return game that earned him the game MVP. The 38 yards on 8 carries (3.8 avg) didn’t do it. I see Pead as a slightly better version of Joe McKnight (a player I had ranked in 7th round range). The difference? Pead possess much better vision and has better agility than McKnight – that makes Pead a viable option in the offense rather than just as a returner and a solid backup running back.

Best Fit: 

Seattle Seahawks (4.12): Pead would be a nice change of pace to Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll likes running backs like Pead to complement his bigger backs.

San Diego Chargers (4.15): Pead would offer some depth for the often injured Ryan Mathews (especially with the recent free agent departure of Mike Tolbert).

Detroit Lions (4.22): The Lions need an insurance policy for Jahvid Best. At worst, Pead would be able to contribute in the return game but the Lions backfield is ALWAYS filled with injuries.

Fantasy Forecast:

Isaiah Pead can be a decent fantasy option IF he gets the playing opportunity. Because he won’t be much more than serviceable, he doesn’t have a future as a starter on any consistent basis. In other words, if Pead ever comes into a starting role by way of an injury, he’ll do ok, but he’ll be easily upgradable on a yearly basis. His ceiling is no higher than a RB3 in my opinion. In the right depth chart situation he could provide depth and be a spot starter for your fantasy team. That makes him draftable in larger leagues only.

Cyrus Gray, RB Texas A&M

Height: 5′ 10″ Weight: 206 lbs. 40 Time: 4.47

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
198 1045 5.3 12

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
31 239 7.7 3

Overview:

Cyrus Gray is one of the most underrated backs in this draft class. Gray has great cutting ability and is able to make sudden and decisive cuts in traffic and in the open field – some of his cuts our down right ankle breakers. He has good vision, is able to find small cracks and creases and hits them very decisively. His natural cutback instincts make him an ideal fit for the zone blocking scheme, but he’s more than talented enough to play in all schemes. I’m most impressed by his elusiveness and his sneaky burst after cuts. He has the speed to hit the home run. He also has good hands out of the backfield and is more than capable of being a 3 down back. He has a lot of LeSean McCoy wiggle to his game. I find him to be one of the more underrated players in this draft and I think he will surprise many people.

Best Fit: (Reminder: this is where I think players should be drafted. Not a prediction)

Cincinnati Bengals (2.21): Again, this comes down to what the Bengals do in the first round. Gray would be a talent upgrade over what they have on their current roster.

Denver Broncos (2.25): Gray would give the Broncos a multipurpose back that can create a more diverse and more potent attack. With or without Peyton Manning, he fits this depth chart.

St. Louis Rams (3.2): Gray would get one year to be groomed behind Steven Jackson as a backup/third down back and then unleashed as the starter in year two.

Fantasy Forecast:

Cyrus Gray is getting lost in the conversation in the talks of who’s the number two back in this class (after Trent Richardson, of course). I won’t make that mistake as I feel Gray has a wealth of talent. He’s good combo back that will produce in traditional and PPR leagues and should be in the conversation as one of the better running backs in this draft class. I project his long term/dynasty value as a high-end RB 2 or low-end RB 1. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel on Gray.

Bernard Pierce, RB Temple

Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 218 lbs. 40 Time: 4.59

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
273 1481 5.4 27

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
3 52 17.3 0

Overview:

Bernard Pierce is a good inside runner in the mold that you’d expect your power back to be. He possesses good vision and is usually a pretty decisive runner. He cuts well in traffic for his size and runs with good leverage. He knows his limitations, meaning he knows he’s not Barry Sanders, so he sticks to being a power runner. Pierce will definitely be limited to a two down role, as he contributes very little in the passing game. In many ways, he brings the same skill-set you see from NY Jets running back Shonn Greene. They have the same strengths and weaknesses and run with similar styles. Overall, know you are getting a solid power back that has a long way to go before being able to contribute in the passing game.

Best Fit:

San Diego Chargers (3.16): Pierce would serve as a good replacement for Mike Tolbert  and would compliment Ryan Mathews nicely.

Baltimore Ravens (3.29): With Ricky Williams retiring, the Ravens are left with many question marks as to who would serve as the number 2 back behind Ray Rice.

Seattle Seahawks (4.11): Obviously if they go Pierce here, they’d be committing to a running back by committee approach, but it’s something Pete Carroll has done before.

Fantasy Forecast:

I see no reason to separate Pierce’s fantasy value out of what you’d expect from Shonn Greene. Greene finished last season (his 3rd year) as a low end RB2, which was a career year for him.  I project Pierce’s fantasy ceiling to be a high end RB3 or a flex play. He’s serviceable and can help your fantasy team, but don’t have your expectations set for him to be a high potential fantasy prospect. Draft accordingly.

Doug Martin, RB Boise State

Height: 5′ 9″ Weight: 210 lbs. 40 Time: 4.48

Stats:

2011 Season Rushing

ATT YDS AVG TD
263 1299 4.9 16

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
28 255 9.1 2

Overview:

Doug Martin is a nice combination of power and speed and is a legit three down back. He’s shifty and possesses good vision. He has great balance and able to make decisive cuts in traffic and in the open field. He has great leverage on power runs, often catching defenders flat footed and delivers the blow. Defenders rarely know if he’s going to run around them or through them. He has a sneaky fifth gear on film and also possesses good hands out of the backfield. My favorite traits about Martin is his balance, cutting ability, and the fact he always runs hard. He gets the ball, and most of the time he’s very decisive on where he wants to go. Those traits usually equal to good production at the NFL level, regardless of what a stopwatch says. I’ve heard comparisons to Ray Rice, and on film, there is some resemblance to Rice. Overall, Doug Martin should be a productive running back in the league for many years to come.

Best Fit:

St Louis Rams (2.1): This is an ideal spot for Rams to take Martin. Steven Jackson will be around for at least another year. At any rate, the Rams not only need depth and talent behind Jackson, more importantly, they need a succession plan.

NY Jets (2.15): You may like the Jets running back duo of Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. I, however, do not and Doug Martin is a significant upgrade from those two. For a team that loves the “ground and pound”, this is a position that needs upgrading.

Cincinnati Bengals (2.21): If by chance the Bengals don’t address the running back position in the first round, this would be the ideal place to address it.

Fantasy Forecast:

Let’s start with the Ray Rice comparisons because of their similar game. At this point, I’d label Martin as a “Ray Rice lite” type of fantasy running back. He’ll be more valuable in PPR leagues than in traditional leagues. I project his fantasy ceiling as low-end RB1 in PPR leagues and RB2 in traditional leagues. He’s fully capable of reaching Ray Rice rushing numbers, but where’s he’ll be a notch lower is in the receiving numbers. Draft him with confidence.

Wide Receivers

Justin Blackmon, WR Oklahoma State

Height: 6′ 1″ Weight: 215 lbs. 40 Time: 4.54

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
121 1522 12.6 18

Overview:

Justin Blackmon is a QB’s best friend. Why? He has elite level range/hands at the receiver position. He plays bigger and taller than his measurables. What he lacks in top end speed, he makes up for it with his yards after catch ability. He’s tough to tackle one on one and can make you miss for a big guy. The Terrell Owens comparisons are legit, though he’s not quite as angry of a runner as Owens is. Blackmon’s best attribute is perhaps his uncanny ability to adjust to catching the bad throws. He runs good routes and is very good at creating separation from a defensive back. Most young receivers can be slowed down with press coverage, but Blackmon is certainly the exception to that rule. All in all, he’s an elite level talent who will instantly become the favorite target of any QB he plays with.

Best Fit:

St Louis Rams (6): The most likely scenario is for the Rams to trade down from this pick, but either way, the Rams could use a weapon like Blackmon to pair up with Sam Bradford. Together, they’d form another dangerous QB/WR duo.

Cleveland Browns (4): If you are a great offensive player, you are a candidate to play for the Browns. This team is severely lacking at the skill positions.

Jacksonville Jaguars (7): The Jaguars are one of the most WR deprived teams in the NFL. If Blackmon happens to fall in their laps, and they pass on him, it’d be like having Jack Del Rio influencing the draft picks again.

Fantasy Forecast:

We all know that Justin Blackmon will be a good fantasy player. That’s not the issue. The issue is, how good of a player will he be? Today, he’s a high end WR 2 with the ability to climb the top 10 within a few seasons. Two big factors are how good of a QB will he play with and will he be the number one target on that team. Blackmon isn’t as talented a receiver as Julio Jones or AJ Green (not many are), but I’d put those guys as the fantasy barometer to compare rookie receivers. To recap, Blackmon is at worst a WR2 with the upside to climb into WR1 in the right team/QB situation.

Alshon Jeffery, WR South Carolina

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 229 lbs. 40 Time: 4.57

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
49 762 15.6 8

Overview:

Alshon Jeffery is an impressively sized receiver. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing about him that’s really impressive. He’s not overly fast. He’s not overly quick. He’s not an exceptional route runner. He’s about average when it comes to creating separation. He’s not a big presence in the red zone for a receiver of his size.

He is, however, a decent yards-after-catch guy because he does use his size to his advantage. His best route is the quick hitch or WR screen, allowing for his size to overpower smaller corners. I had a very similar scouting report on Michael Crabtree, but at a slightly higher grade. At the next level, I see Jeffery a good fit for a west coast offense. I project him to be a solid to average receiver. That’s not a bad thing as long as your expectations of him are as such. He could make a good number 2 WR.

Best Fit:

Cleveland Browns (2.4): Obviously you see I gave Jeffery a 2nd round grade. Cleveland is a west coast offense oriented team, and now even more so with Brad Childress at the helm of the offense.

Seattle Seahawks (2.11): I’m connecting the dots here. Jeffery was once a USC commit when Pete Carroll was still at USC. And yes, the Seahawks do run a west coast offense.

San Francisco 49ers (2.30): They already have the receiver I compare Jeffery to (Crabtree) on the team. He’d fit the scheme, though.

Fantasy Forecast:

Jeffery will be worth drafting in your fantasy draft. Even though I don’t view him as elite, there is an upside to him as long as you draft him in a low risk spot. If he’s in a west coast type system, he’s got value on fantasy teams. I place his value ceiling at a WR 3 range. I mentioned Michael Crabtree above, and that’s about the same category I’d place Jeffery in fantasy as well.

Marvin Jones, WR California

Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 199 lbs. 40 Time: 4.46

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
62 846 13.6 3

Overview:

The first time that Marvin Jones really caught my attention was at the Senior Bowl practices, which I attended. The thing that caught my attention right away about Jones was his incredible use of his hands. He caught everything. The more tape on him I saw, the more impressed I became. I’d even venture to say that Jones has the best hands in this draft class. The main reason that Jones hasn’t received the attention he deserved was due to his sophomore phenom of a teammate, WR Keenan Allen. Jones runs precise routes and has an outstanding knack for making tough catches, which makes him a very QB friendly target. He’s versatile, and is able to run every route in the route tree, including the vertical routes. The player he most resembles is Chad Johnson (not Ochocinco because when he changed his name, so went his game).

Best Fit:

St Louis Rams (3.2): At this point in the draft just about every team in the NFL could be a candidate to take Jones. Rams are as good of a fit as any.

Chicago Bears (3.10): Another receiving hungry team that would be foolish to pass on a talent like Jones.

Fantasy Forecast:

Marvin Jones is perhaps the most NFL ready receiver of this draft class. He’s ahead of most in route running and understanding the art of creating separation from a defender. I see no reason why he can’t contribute to a fantasy team right away. He has high end WR2 talent and I’m confident he’ll reach that potential a lot quicker than most of his peers in the right offensive system (you never know with some coaches). For that reason, I’ll probably rank him higher on my draft board. He’s a low risk pick and should be high on your rookie draft board.

Tommy Streeter WR, JR. Miami (FL)

Height: 6′ 5″ Weight: 215 lbs. 40 Time: 4.49

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
46 811 17.6 8

Overview:

Tommy Streeter is perhaps the most intriguing WR prospect in this draft class. The jump he made from his sophomore year to his junior year was really off the charts. He learned to catch with his hands, ran much better routes, and just became a more natural pass catcher. Like many of the kids who have played at Miami in recent years, he has been underdeveloped. But with the new staff in 2011, he made huge strides. It was night and day when comparing 2010 to his 2011 year. Physically, the story gets even more intriguing. He has the height and skills combo to rival Randy Moss. On film, what I saw from Streeter this year shows he’s barely scraped the surface of how good he can be.

Best Fit:

Jacksonville Jaguars (2.6): Jacksonville could use a real receiver on this team. They certainly could use one that’s a big target to make life a bit easier for Gabbert.

Fantasy Forecast:

He’s probably a guy you haven’t heard much about. I see Tommy Streeter as an ideal risk/reward fantasy rookie. There are certainly safer picks. However, if you want to be bold and take a real chance at getting a steal, take a stab at Streeter. Yes, you’ll have to be patient as he learns the position, but his physical talent, and now having proven that he’s coachable with his development in 2011, Streeter is exactly what I look for in a sleeper. What I saw from him in 2011, is a receiver who got better each and every week and I’m betting that’ll continue at the next level.

Chris Givens, WR Wake Forest

Height: 5′ 11″ Weight: 198 lbs. 40 Time: 4.41

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
83 1330 16.0 9

Overview:

Chris Givens is a natural deep threat. By natural, I mean the deep routes come easy for him. With the combination of his speed and quickness and good footwork, Givens has no problem creating separation on fly patterns. He’s the cover two’s worst nightmare. However, press coverage does tend to give him problems at times. Givens possesses very good open field agility, and is able to stop and start on a dime. His most effective patterns are the fly, post, slants, and the receiver screen. While Givens is a fit for all offenses, his skill-set best suits the west coast offense. Ability wise and player comparison, he’s somewhere in between Torrey Smith and Greg Jennings. Given’s role and best roster fit will be as a team’s number two receiver in a complimentary role. Overall, Chris Givens is a receiver still on the rise, having not yet reached his full potential. In a west coast offense, Givens has a chance to be a real weapon at the next level.

Best Fit:

New York Jets (2.15): Givens could take the place of the headache known as Santonio Holmes on the roster in 2013.

San Francisco 49ers (2.30): Hello west coast offense. The 49ers need to upgrade their receivers. They can’t simply assume the band-aid named Randy Moss will solve their problems. It’s too risky of an assumption.

Miami Dolphins (3.9): It’s likely Joe Philbin and the Dolphins will consider Givens in the 2nd round, but given the depth at receiver in this draft, they may elect to wait for him until round 3. It’s also the best way to play the value game.

Fantasy Forecast:

Chris Givens is a player that will rise and fall based on what offensive style he lands in. Like I mentioned in my overview, I love him in a west coast system. I project him to be the Greg Jennings of his team in that system. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him in other systems, but it does mean his ceiling changes accordingly. In a West Coast system I project his dynasty value to be at a solid WR 2, but it lowers to a WR 3 in most other offenses. The Givens case is a prime example of why I don’t rank my players until after the NFL Draft.

Rishard Matthews, WR Nevada

Height: 6′ 0″ Weight: 217 lbs. 40 Time: 4.62 (Combine) 4.44 (Pro Day)

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
91 1364 15.0 8

Overview:

Rishard Matthews is just another example of how deep this receiver class is in 2012. Matthews is a versatile receiver that can play both the slot and outside. He has good speed and definitely plays faster on game film than his 4.62 Combine 40 would indicate. On the field he looks closer to his Pro Day time of 4.44. Matthews is a smooth runner and has a knack for finding the right angles in a defense to pick up yards after the catch. He’s a tough runner and breaks tackles. Add all of that together and you have a very proficient receiver who doesn’t leave many yards on the field. Matthews also catches the ball well in traffic and fights for the ball, helping out his quarterback with tough catches. As a bonus, Matthews also is a very capable punt returner.

There are a few things I don’t like. For one, Matthews doesn’t seem to be a natural ball catcher and at times seems to fight the ball in, but to his credit, still manages to make the catch most of the time. And to nitpick a little, he could stand to improve his awareness of the sideline. In all, I was impressed with Matthews and feel he’s a very capable wide receiver at the next level.

Best Fit:

Kansas City Chiefs (3.11): The Chiefs roster is a bit crowded with mediocre receivers after Dwayne Bowe. Add Matthews to Bowe and Jon Baldwin and you have a much better trio. I’m no Steve Breaston fan and think the Chiefs can/should do better.

Dallas Cowboys (3.19): Matthews doesn’t seem to be the kind of player that Jerry Jones usually goes for, but he could fill the void left by the departure of Laurent Robinson.

New England Patriots (3.31): The Patriots have a very veteran receiving group. They need a few young receivers to develop. Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd, and Chad Ochocinco are all at or over the age of 30.

Fantasy Forecast:

It was hard to find enough tape to truly get a feel for Matthews, but I did manage to find enough to come to the conclusion that if Matthews is able to find his way into playing time, he will stick around. His run after catch ability is what I find to be his best trait and is what separates him from a lot of the other rookie receivers that will go in the 3rd and 4th round. In fantasy, he has WR3 talent. Matthews reminds me of a more athletic version of Brian Hartline. All he needs is opportunity and a decent offensive system.

Kendall Wright, WR Baylor

Height: 5′ 10″ Weight: 190 lbs. 40 Time: 4.42

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
108 1663 15.4 14

Overview:

Kendall Wright is both quick and fast. He runs precise and sharp routes. If you can take DeSean Jackson and mix him with Percy Harvin, you’d get Kendall Wright. He has the speed to be a home run hitter and also has the elite agility to take a short pass and turn it into a big play. He has a knack for getting open and making the big play routinely. Best of all he plays the game hard and with an attitude of a winner. Quite frankly, he’s my favorite WR in this year’s draft class.

Best Fit:

Jacksonville (7): It’s unlikely Wright will go this high, but Jacksonville needs playmaking receivers in the worst way. The fit is there.

Chicago (19): Chicago is receiver starved even with Brandon Marshall and they’ve put this position off for too many seasons. If they get a chance at Wright they need to pull the trigger. The Bears need to commit to building around Jay Cutler. This would be a great way to do that.

Fantasy Forecast:

I mentioned that Wright is my favorite WR in this class. In fantasy, he’s my favorite as well. I project him to be a better fantasy producer than any WR in this class, including Justin Blackmon, and especially in PPR leagues. That’s not to take away anything from Blackmon, because he’s going to be good, but I project Wright to out produce him over their careers. The more I’ve seen of Wright the more I’ve become more convinced. It also goes against the grain of my preferences as well, since I usually prefer big physical WRs over the smaller ones. It’ll be bold to take Wright over Blackmon in your fantasy drafts. Obviously the NFL team that ends up drafting these guys will factor into their standing, but as of today, I have Wright ahead of Blackmon in fantasy.

Michael Floyd, WR Notre Dame

Height: 6′ 3″ Weight: 224 lbs. 40 Time: 4.54

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
100 1147 11.5 9

Overview:

Michael Floyd is arguably the second ranked WR in this draft class. I say arguably because there’s no consensus on his ranking, among draft experts. I’ve seen him anywhere from 2-4, and he’s certainly not number two on my early draft workups.

Floyd is a big receiving target with decent hands and shows his size well on patterns. By that I mean he makes himself very visible to a QB and shields off defenders with his body positioning, sometimes TE-like. Smaller DBs are at a major disadvantage because Floyd uses every bit of his 6’ 3” frame on jump balls and when finding the soft spot in zone defenses. He impresses on vertical routes by his understanding how to work the sidelines. He often makes tightrope catches in tight coverage, using his body to shield away the DB, while adjusting to the football and keeping his feet inbounds. He’s also a great redzone threat because he often wins the jump ball battles. He’s not a burner but is a complete receiver, able to run all the necessary routes in a prostyle offense.

The closest player he resembles is Dwayne Bowe. What worries me, and most everyone else, is Floyd’s consistency issues along with his not-so-stellar off the field record. You can handle the consistency issues but when you give a kid with character concerns a multi-million dollar contract, you never know how he’ll handle it. History dictates there will be further issues. For that reason, his stock will drop down closer to where Dez Bryant (high teens to late 1st round) was taken in the NFL draft.

Best Fit:

New England Patriots (1.27): Michael Floyd fits a real future need for the Patriots. The Patriots have been awful at scouting the receiver position but they could make up for it here. And really, this would be the best locker room situation for a guy like Floyd.  In 2010 the Patriots went TE, TE. In 2011 they went RB, RB. And this year it could be WR/WR.

San Francisco (1.30): If Floyd falls this far, which I understand is less likely than likely, he provides a real boost to a very suspect WR depth chart situation. Crabtree has been unreliable at times and Vernon Davis could use the case for less attention by the defenses. Floyd would instantly open up the offense, even with Alex Smith at QB.

Fantasy Forecast:

Michael Floyd’s knack for the jump ball is his most attractive skill when it comes to projecting his fantasy numbers. He’s got the ability to be a perennial 10 TD range weapon. Yes, he comes with risk due to character concerns, but he’s a legit talent nonetheless. His fantasy ceiling is a solid WR 2 but you’ll have to be patient with him. Treat him like Dez Bryant. He’s not as talented as Bryant, but he has the ball skills. You’ll have to deal with his inconsistencies early, but he’s ready to be a WR3 in year one and contribute to your fantasy team.

Stephen Hill, WR Georgia Tech

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 215 lbs. 40 Time: 4.36

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
28 820 29.3 5

Overview:

Stephen Hill is a tall and rangy receiver. He’s a deep threat and his speed and range must be respected. He’s exactly what you want in a receiver on “go” routes. Unfortunately, that’s where the intangibles stop. In too many games, Hill was absolutely shut down. He was invisible. Teams were able to cover him. You can make the “he plays for Georgia Tech” argument, but it doesn’t fly. Both Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas played in the same offense and produced consistently. And in the years that Johnson and Thomas came out, I graded them number 1 and number 2 in their class. Plain and simple, Hill is a one trick pony. He’s a deep threat that can be neutralized too often by the skilled corners in the NFL. He’ll have occasional big games, but he’s a situational play who will struggle to obtain a consistent starting spot at the next level.

Best Fit:

Minnesota Vikings (4.3): Hill would be a nice compliment to Percy Harvin and would allow the Vikings more diversity in 3 and 4 wide receiver sets.

Jacksonville Jaguars (4.6): If you play wide receiver and you’re over 6 foot tall, Jacksonville is a potential home for you this year.

NY Jets (4.13): A nice backup, and perhaps a succession plan, for Plaxico Burress. Will bring bring a speed element to the Jets 3 wide receiver sets.

Fantasy Forecast:

Stephen Hill won’t be on any of my fantasy teams. His brilliant 40 time to go with his 6′ 4″ frame makes it hard to pass on him, but I don’t see much skill from a receiving standpoint. He’s a WR 4 at best, but will be likely drafted as a WR 2. I see him compared to Demaryius Thomas, but frankly, he’s nowhere nearly as gifted, nor does he possess his ball skills. Draft at own risk. Don’t be the Al Davis of your league and fall in love with the 40 yard dash.

Rueben Randle, WR LSU

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 208 lbs. 40 Time: 4.57

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
53 917 17.3 8

Overview:

Rueben Randle is a big physical wide receiver. When you look at his measureables, you can put two and two together to see that. Randle runs solid routes and has good field awareness. He creates good separation and usually runs his patterns giving his quarterback a good window to throw the ball into. He positions his body well between the ball and the defender. He also is a decent yards after the catch guy. He’s a good solid receiver prospect. The one thing that keeps me from really liking Randle is his lack of explosiveness. Doesn’t mean I don’t like him, but he does lack that big trait I like to see in my receivers.

Best Fit:

Indianapolis Colts (4.2): Good spot for Randle as Indianapolis attempts to rebuild their offense. Randle brings some size and physicality to the Colts. Something this team has lacked in the Peyton Manning era. (As you can see my draft grade for Randle is 4th round. Most scouts have Randle graded in the 2nd round. Right or wrong, that’s where I would draft him.)

Jacksonville Jaguars (4.6): The Jaguars are another team that has lacked size and physicality from their receivers. This would be a good addition and offer Blaine Gabbert a good solid target.

Chicago Bears (4.8): Another receiver deficient team that could use a receiver of Randle’s stature. Very interested in seeing how the Bears draft this year with a new GM in place.

Fantasy Forecast:

I have a lot of doubt about how well Randle’s skill-set will translate to the NFL level. For that reason, I’ll probably pass on him in my drafts unless he drops significantly. I believe he has WR3 potential, but given how high rookies tend to get overvalued in dynasty drafts, I doubt he ends up on any of my rosters. I project Randle as a guy who’s NFL value will be much higher than his fantasy football value.

Devon Wylie, WR Fresno State

Height: 5′ 9″ Weight: 187 lbs. 40 Time: 4.39

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
56 716 12.8 1

Overview:

Devon Wylie is a slot receiver in the same mold of a Wes Welker. That’s the common comparison. In some ways Wylie is more and in some areas he’s less. Wylie is both quick and fast. His cutting ability is better than most of the receivers in this draft class. Wylie is very elusive and an absolute nightmare in the open field. He has good hands and catches the ball well in traffic, and as a bonus, he’s also a dynamic returner.  He’s definitely raw and has ground to make up among some of the other receivers in this class when it comes to route running. Best NFL comparison/visual of his game is if you picture a combination of Welker and Darren Sproles. He’s not as polished as a route runner as Welker was coming out of school, but he possesses another level of speed and quickness. In the right system (I say this because we should all remember that Wes Welker didn’t become great until after he left the Dolphins because they didn’t know how to use him.) Wylie could become a very difficult matchup problem for defenses. But again, Wylie is very raw and is without a doubt a project. He has a very high ceiling ability wise, but how good he’ll be, and how fast he gets there, depends on coaching and offensive system.

Best Fit:

St Louis Rams (4.1): This is a good spot to take on a project like Wylie. I’m tired of including the Rams but dang it, if you play receiver you’re a candidate to play for the Rams.

Indianapolis Colts (4.2): New regime. New players. Anthony Gonzalez is gone and Austin Collie is a free agent next year. At worst, Wylie will contribute as a returner and grow into a nice slot receiver for Andrew Luck.

Kansas City Chiefs (4.12): Wylie is exactly the kind of player Scott Pioli likes. After all, he was the general manager in New England when they traded for Welker. Based on the fact he drafted small players, Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas in the second round (I’m still scratching my head), it’s a high probability Mr. Pioli may be all over Wylie.

Fantasy Forecast:

You can’t ignore the fantasy potential Devon Wylie has when you look at the NFL’s growing reliance on slot receivers in the passing game. But you have to understand Wylie is a project. He could just easily end up being Joshua Cribbs, a better returner than receiver, rather than a Wes Welker. There’s just not enough tape on him to project with any sort of confidence. Team, scheme, and coaching will be vital to his progression. In fantasy, it’s hard for me to project Wylie at anything higher than a WR3, especially in  non-PPR formats. In PPR formats, I think he’s a safer bet to reach WR 3 level with enough upside to possibly surpass that level. One thing is for sure, Wylie will make it on a few highlight reels over the next few years. In fantasy, he may be a popular sleeper pick. Popularity also tends to mean he’ll likely get priced out of where he should get taken in drafts.

Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers

Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 211 lbs. 40 Time: 4.67

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
115 1206 10.5 7

Overview:

One of the things that stands out to me about Mohamed Sanu is even though he’s listed at 6′ 2″, on the field he plays like he’s 6′ 4″. Sanu has great hands and shows his quarterback a big target to throw to. Sanu really excels at beating zone coverage, being able to find a soft spot and sit. In other words, Sanu is really a very good possession receiver. That’s not to knock his game because a good possession receiver is very important in NFL offenses. Just know what you’re getting. He’s not a vertical threat, though he’s very good at jump ball situations. The NFL player he resembles most is a younger Michael Jenkins.

Best Fit:

Jacksonville Jaguars (3.7): I know I sound like a broken record, but these are the type of receivers that the Jaguars should be going after.

Seattle Seahawks (3.12): Sanu fits the system and would be an upgrade over Mike Williams.

New Orleans Saints (3.27): This is a shot in the dark. The Saints haven’t drafted a receiver highly in three years. With Colston’s injury history, he’d make for a nice eventual replacement as Sanu can do a lot of what Colston brings to the table.

Fantasy Forecast:

Because Sanu is mostly a possession receiver, his real life football value will be far greater than his fantasy value. In fantasy, he’s capable of making his way up to WR3 levels in the right offensive system, but there’s not much more upside than that. I have no problems drafting him on my team for depth and lineup flexibility, but I’ll temper my expectations on his ceiling in fantasy football….unless he ends up with the Saints. That’s about the only team in the league that would utilize Sanu’s skill set in a way where he’d have the potential to be a fantasy force.

Jeff Fuller, WR Texas A&M

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 223 lbs. 40 Time: 4.53

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
70 828 11.8 6

Overview:

Jeff Fuller is a big bodied physical receiver who is a superbly gifted athlete. He is a decent route runner who can create separation on a routine basis. He can make dazzling catches that wow you and excels at the jump ball, thus making him a great redzone target. Fuller has good ball skills, able to just go get the ball with defenders draped on his back. He is a good deep ball threat as well, though he uses his body and physical skills to get open rather than relying on his speed (though he runs very well for his size).

Negatives? Well that’s where things get tricky. Despite having tremendous gifts athletically, Fuller is vastly inconsistent. He’s too much of a body catcher and loses concentration almost on a per game basis. That lapse in concentration equates to dropping of routine passes. In other words, he will drive you nuts. When Fuller is on his game he can be downright dominant. He reminds me so much of  Brandon Marshall. Overall, I’m probably much higher on Fuller than most because I’m willing to live with the inconsistencies in exchange for a physically gifted playmaking receiver.

Best Fit:

San Francisco 49ers (3.30): The Randy Moss project will last a year or two tops. With or without Moss, this team needs to upgrade their receivers and Fuller fits a west coast scheme well.

St. Louis Rams (4.1): If the Rams don’t add two receivers in this draft, I’d be surprised. They have to get some weapons in the door in a hurry or risk further slowing Sam Bradford’s development. With the departure of Brandon Lloyd, Fuller would instantly be their best receiver. That’s shows just how much they lack talent at the position.

Minnesota Vikings (4.2): The addition of a big physical receiver would compliment what the Vikings have with Percy Harvin. Michael Jenkins is ok, but a receiver of Fuller’s physical ability will drastically change the Vikings passing offense.

Fantasy Forecast:

I see something in Jeff Fuller. He’s a prospect I project to be a much better NFL player than he was in college. He’s received so much grief over his inconsistencies that people seem to be overlooking his talent. Will he ever have the hands of Larry Fitzgerald? Of course not. But he possess every tool at the receiver position that Brandon Marshall possesses. Fantasy wise, do you know what that means? It means he’s an absolute low risk high reward draft pick. I project Fuller’s fantasy ceiling as a high end WR2 and will draft him as such. Like I said, I value Fuller higher than most.

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen, TE Clemson

Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 255 lbs. 40 Time: 4.76

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
50 598 12.0 8

Overview:

Dwayne Allen is a tight end with H-back skills, but also possesses the size and blocking skills to contribute in the running game. In today’s NFL, the tight end position has changed in the same way the running back position has. Most NFL teams have a two back system and now many teams are moving to a two tight end system.

There are seam threat tight ends (smaller H-back types) and then bigger tight ends which are valued more because of their blocking ability than their pass catching ability. Then you have a handful who contribute in both phases at high levels. Those guys stay on the field in all offensive situations. That’s important because I put Allen in that dual category. It means he’ll be on the field on most downs, regardless of whether it’s a pass or goaline situation.

Allen has possesses good hands, though at times he drops a few balls. Most of his drops come due to concentration lapses and allowing himself to become a body catcher. His route running is a bit on the raw side, but he does excel at moving well after the catch. In fact, he can rival wide receivers with his run after catch abilities. He has some technical and fundamental issues but none of that concerns me at the next level. NFL coaches can easily fix those problems.  Overall, Allen is one of the most gifted dual threat tight ends that’s entered the draft the last few years.

Best Fit:

San Diego Chargers (1.18): With the issues of age, health, and expensive details of tight end Antonio Gates, this has now become a need for the Chargers. Problem is the Chargers have many needs, but a forward thinking GM cannot ignore the reality and impact of what losing a future hall of fame tight end will have on the offense.

Chicago Bears (1.19): The Bears traded away their talented tight end (Greg Olsen) to the Carolina Panthers last year for a 2012 3rd round pick. They did this because Olsen didn’t fit the Mike Martz system. A year later, Martz is gone and boy could they use an Olsen type tight end now. This is now a need for the Bears.

Fantasy Forecast:

Allen has all the traits to be a very good fantasy tight end. While he’s not as dominant as some of tight ends that were drafted in the 2010 draft class (mainly Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham), but he’s still one most talented tight ends that’s come out since then. He’s a bigger and more complete of a tight end than Aaron Hernandez (another outstanding member of the 2010 draft class) because he moves just as fluid, but is closer in size to a prototypical tight end. I project Allen’s fantasy ceiling to TE1, and feel quite confident he’ll reach that potential. He’s someone I’m personally targeting in one of my dynasty leagues where I have tight end issues.

Orson Charles, TE Georgia

Height: 6′ 2″ Weight: 251 lbs. 40 Time: 4.75

Stats:

2011 Season Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD
45 574 12.8 5

Overview:

Orson Charles is an H-Back type tight end. Charles is a decent route runner with solid hands. He’s also a solid, strong blocker for his size. The problem for Charles is he lacks speed and explosiveness at the position. To be an effective H-Back at the next level, you need to be explosive and be able to outrun linebackers. Charles will have difficulty getting open and separating from NFL linebackers consistently. The closest player comparison is last year’s rookie, Arkansas’ D.J. Williams. The difference is D.J Williams is much faster and much more explosive with his 6′ 2″ frame. I liked Williams a lot last year and feel he’ll eventually crack the Packers rotation. I don’t have the same feel for Charles.

Best Fit:

Indianapolis Colts (5.1): (Yes, the 5th round is where I’d take Charles. Keep in mind D.J. Williams, a player I liked more, went in the 5th round of last year’s draft.) The Colts could use an eventual replacement for Dallas Clark sooner rather than later.

Washington Redskins (5.6): The Redskins need some depth at tight end with Fred Davis on a 1 year contract and Chris Cooley’s injuries taking a toll on his effectiveness.

Atlanta Falcons (5.22): Tony Gonzalez is retiring after this year. While Charles doesn’t fit the mold of what the Falcons generally like at the position, you can’t ignore the NFL’s evolution to the two tight end system.

Fantasy Forecast:

Just like my overview said, I’m not as high on Charles as others. I feel he’ll get lost on NFL rosters. For that reason, I probably won’t have Charles on any of my teams. I see too many deficiencies in his game and size. My conclusion – I’d take a flier on him in the final round of my rookie draft if I’m unable to find another player with a bit more upside.

Enjoy the draft!

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. David Reisner

    April 26, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Great article! How do you think Fleener compares to Allen and Charles?

  2. Paymon Shokoohi

    April 26, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Fleener has the most upside by far. Because Fleener has ways to go on the blocking side, he’ll probably be a situational (passing downs) TE early in his career. He needs to improve as a blocker to stay on the field more. Allen is more ready as an every-down TE but isn’t nearly the receiving weapon that Fleener is, or at least has the potential to be. As for Charles, I am not a fan of his game. To me, there are only 2 TEs in this class worthy of dynasty consideration. That’s Fleener and Allen.

    • Greg G.

      April 26, 2012 at 7:17 am

      Welcome aboard. Nice write up!

      • Paymon Shokoohi

        April 26, 2012 at 7:34 am

        Thanks, Greg. Excited to be part of the DLF team on a full-time basis.

  3. Keith Fortier

    April 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

    OK. Bookmark. Awesome!

  4. Ryan Krcil

    April 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

    So great article. I have a quick question. Since you rank Richardson as high as #7 with MJD at that #5 or #6 range, would you say MJD for 1.02(Richardson) is a good trade? (1/2 ppr, Luck locked into #1 since we are expanding to a 2QB league in 2013)

    • Steve Moyer

      April 26, 2012 at 7:14 am

      Keep the younger RB — Richardson.

  5. Max Rabinowitz

    April 26, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Excellent Write up.
    Love the format.

  6. Rob

    April 26, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Nice article. I was looking for someone that might be a little under the radar (that I could snag later in drafts) and came away impressed with highlights of Cyrus Gray. Glad to see someone else sees it as well.

    As for Pierce, I was not overly impressed. Am I missing something? Maybe it’s just his herky-jerky, running style. It is not fluid at all.

    • Paymon Shokoohi

      April 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Thanks, Rob. Yes, Gray is someone way under the radar. Very few people have a high opinion of him mostly because of his size. His size is plenty big enough to play in today’s NFL, IMO. His quickness gets questioned as well. I’m not sure we’re watching the same player. As for Pierce, we’re on the same page there as well. You’ve probably named the two running backs I’ve had the most disagreements with folks about.

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