One of the things I like to do each year is to post our live rookie draft as it unfolds, giving our readers a chance to see the rookie picks of a long running, competitive, dynasty league. At the end of each round I’ll give a summary of the events as well as my “take” on the picks. This year, unlike previous years, I’ll include team labels so that you can see the different picks by the individual teams.
Rather than bore you with a lot of further useless text, I’ll assume that you understand what we’re doing here, the benefits and the how you can use this information if you have your own rookie draft coming up.
1.01 Team 1: A.J. Green, WR CIN
1.02 Team 2: Mark Ingram, RB NO
1.03 Team 3: Ryan Williams, RB ARI
1.04 Team 4: Daniel Thomas, RB MIA
1.05 Team 4: Julio Jones, WR ATL
1.06 Team 5: Cam Newton, QB CAR
1.07 Team 4: Mikel Leshoure, RB DET
1.08 Team 6: Kendall Hunter, RB SF
1.09 Team 4: Blaine Gabbert, QB JAX
1.10 Team 5: Shane Vereen, RB NE
First thing you may notice is that “Team 4” had four first round selections. I am “Team 1” and traded up to the first pick from 1.05, packaging it along with my 2012 first round selection to move up the four spots to 1.01. I believe that Green is far and away the best player of this draft and while I hadn’t planned on moving up until I got the offer, I was happy to accept. Team 4 is in rebuilding mode and is looking to do so over the next two years. Looking at Team 4’s selections, he is certainly happy with what has fallen to him (Thomas, Jones, Leshoure and Gabbert), all players that he coveted. Leshoure’s situation is not a good one in my opinion, but Team 4’s other picks make the Leshoure pick almost a luxury. Ingram is a clear second selection in my mind going to the Big Easy. Julio Jones doesn’t play as fast as his combine time would suggest, but his situation is a good one. Matt Ryan owners should be rejoicing. I actually prefer Williams’ skill-set over Thomas but it is hard to argue against Miami’s situation for Thomas. In most all cases, however, I find that talent over situation pays off over the long run. The only other noteworthy pick is the selection of Kendall Hunter at 1.08. Hunter has 1.08 value, but given his situation, I thought it was a bit high. However, due to talent, it’s hard for me to argue against that pick should you be looking for a running back and have the patience to wait out Hunter’s situation. He’s smaller than I like but he has starting ability. Vereen is a Swiss Army knife type of back and if not for landing in New England, I would be higher on his prospects. That said, I like backs that go into good offenses. Belichick likes to use upwards of three to four backs within his game planning, so patience will be required while we wait to see what Vereen’s role really is.
2.01 Team 4: Jake Locker, QB TEN
2.02 Team 7: Roy Helu Jr., RB WAS
2.03 Team 3: Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
2.04 Team 4: Greg Little, WR CLE
2.05 Team 1: Andy Dalton, QB CIN
2.06 Team 5: Jacquizz Rodgers, RB ATL
2.07 Team 5: DeMarco Murray, RB DAL
2.08 Team 4: Torrey Smith, WR BAL
2.09 Team 2: Leonard Hankerson, WR WAS
2.10 Team 5: Delone Carter, RB IND
Team 4 continues to have a dream draft by adding Locker, Little and Torrey Smith. Players just continue to fall to him due to roster needs by other teams. Being that this is the second round however, history suggest that only two of these players will be productive fantasy players. My money is on one of the QBs, either Kaepernick or Dalton, and Greg Little. There isn’t much athletically that I don’t like about Little. He’s got a world of talent and if his head remains screwed on properly, he has a chance to be special. Kaepernick is probably my favorite quarterback of this year’s class, I love his leadership, mobility and arm strength. His mechanics need a lot of work and his longer motion likely won’t be “fixed” in the NFL, but it is not as elongated as many that have come before him. I selected Dalton at 2.05, I wanted Kaepernick. My gut feeling was that Dalton would be the better long term quarterback, but I still wanted Kaepernick. Dalton’s arm strength is questionable and he throws an ugly ball much of the time. I’m not buying Rodgers or Murray although Quizz fell to a great situation. Hankerson is a prototypical boom or bust receiver. He’s as gifted as he is frustrating. I believe he could be a productive fantasy player early on, but he could also be a bust just as quickly. Delone Carter is a fast riser after being selected by Indianapolis, but I stand by my analysis that he’s going to be good for only occupying up a roster spot for three to four years on a fantasy roster before finally being released. Donabld Brown has been put on notice.
3.01 Team 4: Jonathan Baldwin, WR KC
3.02 Team 7: Bilal Powell, RB NYJ
3.03 Team 3: Kyle Rudolph, TE MIN
3.04 Team 9: Alex Green, RB GB
3.05 Team 10: Randall Cobb, WR GB
3.06 Team 5: Titus Young, WR DET
3.07 Team 10: Greg Salas, WR STL
3.08 Team 6: Christian Ponder, QB MIN
3.09 Team 1: Johnny White, RB BUF
3.10 Team 9: Ryan Mallett, QB NE
Team 4 has a single pick in the round but the magic continues, with Baldwin dropping all the way to 3.01. Baldwin is a head case but will have an immediate starting opportunity in Kansas City opposite the enigmatic Dwayne Bowe. Bowe finally has a quality target starting on the other side and should eventually benefit. Good spot for Bilal Powell although I think most are a bit over-excited about his game. He’s a big back with good balance and decent vision, but don’t get carried away. Much the same for Alex Green. He was fun to watch run in Hawaii, but the holes that he ran through were as big as the big island itself. He does have great power and nice hands and could draw some short yardage and third down duty should Brandon Jackson depart. He’s not a threat to Grant or Starks and don’t believe what some other sites have said about Green being drafted to start. Could he develop into a starter, sure … but so could Mr. Irrelevant. You just can’t count on it. Salas at 3.07 is a nice pick. Also from Hawaii, Salas is a good looking possession receiver that I think has upside for the Rams. Bradford needs reliable targets with reliable hands, Salas should be just that. Johnny White is one of my favorite picks in the draft and if you have our Dynasty Essentials Guide you already know that. I still believe he’s the best back you’ve never heard of. Too bad his Buffalo situation is as bad as it can get. Ryan Mallet rounds out the third round and is a nice long term project. I was hoping to pick him five picks later.
There you have it! Hopefully our live draft (which is continuing) here will help you determine where the rookies will come off the board. Each coach evaluates things differently and the more drafts you view, the better idea of the trends you will have.
Have fun and good luck. If you have interest in other rookies that you don’t see on this list, drop me a comment on this article and I’ll let you know where he went.
You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff