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2012 NFL Draft Review: The DLF Writers

The draft is in the books and now it’s time for all the evaluation to begin. For this premium content installment, I decided to seek out some dynasty league junkies and ask them a series of draft related questions. Lucky for me, they already write for us so they weren’t that hard to find!

I gave our writers the same six questions and asked them for their own personal responses. While some themes were discovered (Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon were two hot topics), there were many different takes on the interview questions.

Here are the participants representing DLF:

KK = Ken Kelly
JH = Jeff Haverlack
TS = Tim Stafford
JB = Jarrett Behar
GH = The FF Ghost
KC = Ken Clein
PS = Paymon Shokoohi
ED = Eric Dickens
SW = Steve Wyremski
RM = Ryan McDowell

1.)    Which player do you believe gained the most dynasty value based on the results of the draft?

KK: For me, it’s Ryan Lindley of San Diego State. Being drafted by the Cardinals was a great thing for him. I’ve never been sold on Kevin Kolb or John Skelton and Lindley could have a chance eventually. He’s gone from being an afterthought in the draft to someone you’d need to seriously consider as early as the third round.

JH: A.J. Jenkins – he went from being ranked potentially in the 60’s or 70’s to #17 in our consensus rankings.  He came out of nowhere to become a first round receiver and being likened to T.O.  I don’t see anything to that comparison, but he’s rocketed up draft boards because …. well, you have to give him that much given his drafted position.

TS: I have it as a tie between Jake Locker and Jay Cutler.  Both of them added weapons that should boost their production.  I particularly like the addition of Kendall Wright in TEN, but just getting another viable WR in Chicago (Alshon Jeffery) is huge for Cutler.

JB: Ronnie Hillman.  He has the tools to become a three down back with some seasoning.  He’s in a perfect situation where he can learn from Willis McGahee and then take over in 2013.  With Peyton Manning leading the offense, he could develop in to a solid RB1.

GH: For me, it would have to be Doug Martin or Brian Quick. In Martin’s case, he at some point will replace LeGarrette Blount because he’s an every down back who can rush and receive. Blount is so one dimensional that he is going to become the next Brandon Jacobs – basically used only for short yardage situations. As for Quick , he falls into a great opportunity to become the #1 WR in St. Louis. I think his presence means the end of the road for Danario Alexander.

KC: In my mind, Brock Osweiler gained the most dynasty value based on the results of this draft.  Hear me out on this. Osweiler had almost no value and most likely would not have been drafted due to how raw his skills are.  By getting picked by Denver, he was plucked and put into the perfect situation. Learning behind the master in Peyton Manning and from general manager John Elway is exactly what the doctor ordered.  Nobody ever questioned his size, arm strength or physical attributes, they only questioned his quarterbacking skills. He now has three years or so to to learn from the master, which in my mind makes him draftable in the second or early third round of a dynasty rookie draft.  If you are patient, this could be a wonderful gem of a pick for future use.

PS: I thought very hard to come up with a name other than Brian Quick and I couldn’t come up with one. Although I am not a big proponent of his, he’s risen from draft sleeper all the way to a virtual lock for a first round pick in rookie drafts. He’s perhaps in the best depth chart situation of ALL the rookie receivers, so he’ll get a very early opportunity to impact a fantasy roster.

ED: I think San Francisco’s first round selection of wide receiver A.J. Jenkins improved his value the most. While I had him on the radar as a talented player, he was nowhere near my top 12 overall pre-draft. He will get every opportunity to produce and should receive single coverage due to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis. The only question for me is how many targets he’ll receive on a predominantly ball control team.

SW: Ronnie Hillman. The Broncos drafted him into a situation with no lead back. It’s fantasy euphoria. He’ll immediately compete for touches.  If he went elsewhere as a definitive backup, he would be a third round draft pick, but now he’s worthy of consideration at the end of the first round.

RM: In my opinion, the player who gained the most value based on draft results would be Ronnie Hillman, the undersized running back from San Diego St. In my rookie draft held between the combine and the NFL draft, Hillman fell to the early fourth round, drafted behind players like Devon Wylie, Marvin McNutt, Tommy Streeter and Rishard Mathews. Now, Hillman is looked at by many as a late 1st round or early 2nd round rookie pick, based on his landing in Denver. It was widely assumed that Denver would draft a running back and many thought that might be a perfect spot for Lamar Miller. Denver bypassed Miller multiple times in the second round before selecting Hillman early in the third round. Considering the Broncos add Hillman to an aging Willis McGahee and a disappointing Knowshon Moreno, many see Hillman as having a prime opportunity for quick success. 

2.)   
Which player do you believe lost the most dynasty value based on the results of the draft?

KK: Without question, it’s Lamar Miller. He was battling to be the fifth player off the board and now he’s going to be a late second or early third round pick in most drafts. As a fourth round pick, nothing is guaranteed for him. Even if Reggie Bush leaves via free agency next year, Daniel Thomas is still in the mix for the Dolphins. Instead of going to a desirable place like Cleveland or Tampa Bay, Miller is stuck in a mess of a depth chart.

JH: There were a lot of them, but Chris Polk going undrafted was a complete surprise and his value has dropped precipitously, perhaps even more than Lamar Miller’s.

TS:  Chris Polk.  Many had him as a first round pick (some in the first half of the first round).  Now he’s borderline undraftable.

JB: Stephen Hill.  His game is predicated on being a downfield threat, and he went to a team that doesn’t even try to get the ball downfield.  Maybe the offensive coordinator will change that, but the Jets are more likely to go back to a run based offense.  In addition, by all accounts, Hill needs polishing and I highly doubt that Santonio Holmes will be a good mentor.  

GH: Doubling up again here with Justin Blackmon and Kirk Cousins. I was actually cursing when Jacksonville moved up to take Blackmon because I think his talents will be generally wasted in Jacksonville. MJD *IS* their offense. Couple that with the fact Blackmon must compete for targets with Laurent Robinson and has a QB who doesn’t appear NFL ready and you have a recipe for underproduction.

Meanwhile, Cousins being drafted as a backup in Washington is a shame because he could have done well for a team like Arizona or Kansas City. Drafting him behind RGIII clearly means he is not seeing the field for the foreseeable future.

KC: Without question, Lamar Miller lost the most dynasty value. Honestly, I never ranked him very high because he dances in the hole and does not have great vision. If you watched full games of his, he had many great runs, but also had a lot of indecisive negative runs or hit the wrong hole. Anyway, I think what I saw, NFL scouts saw and made him a much lower pick than the media believed. In Miami, he is behind Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas. I wouldn’t pick him prior to the third round in his current situation and that’s a big drop from the first rounder that everyone thought he would be.

PS: I can’t come up with a more baffling case than Lamar Miller. At the very least, the perception of Miller has been changed because of where he landed. So yes, Lamar Miller lost the most dynasty value of after a two round free fall. But after letting the shock of it wear off, to tie his draft fall directly to his dynasty value is a mistake. In my opinion, it’s short sighted to drop Miller to the later rounds just because he fell to the fourth round of the real life draft.

We’re talking dynasty.

Yes, Miller is now on a depth chart with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas. Bush has one year on his contract, and unless he plays for a bargain price, he won’t be re-signed after the 2012 season. Daniel Thomas? What did Daniel Thomas do last year to make you think this guy was a sure bet to start for the Dolphins in 2012 or 2013? Not much. If Lamar Miller went in the second round to the Dolphins would we be freaking out? I don’t think so. It’s all about perception. Lamar Miller is super talented, but needs a little time to develop. That was my assessment of Miller prior to the draft and that is my assessment after the draft. He may not do much in 2012, but I’m betting when the dust settles, Lamar Miller’s talent will surpass Daniel Thomas on the depth chart. 

ED: Other than Lamar Miller and Chris Polk, who are obvious selections, I will go with new Colts tight end Dwayne Allen. The early second round addition of Coby Fleener gives Andrew Luck the receiving tight end he needs, while Allen is presumably going to be used as more of a blocking tight end. He obviously still has fantasy value, but this was not the ideal landing spot for him.

SW: Unfortunately as a Jet fan, I’m going to say Stephen Hill. If Mark Sanchez can keep the starting job, he’ll be fine. However, if Tim Tebow takes over (which I think is likely), Hill will struggle to reach his potential. Hill has top five ability and is a classic boom/bust player, but he would have had more fantasy value in Houston, for example.

RM: This one is close between two running backs – Chris Polk and Lamar Miller. Miller was thought of as a certain first round rookie pick with the potential to be the second running back in rookie drafts, depending on the team situation. Instead, his stock and his draft position plummeted as teams showed concern about his injury history. He was finally chosen by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round. While it is actually a good landing spot for Miller, the fact that so many teams passed on him hurts his fantasy value. Polk is in nearly the same situation in that he was thought of as a second or third round NFL draft pick and likely a first round rookie pick. In the end, the seven round NFL draft came and went and he was not even drafted. Polk signed as an undrafted free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. He will compete with fellow rookie Bryce Brown and second year man Dion Lewis.

3.)    Who do you believe will be this year’s fantasy rookie of the year?

KK: I’ll go with Trent Richardson because it’s easy to see him being an every down workhorse back for the Browns, but I won’t be surprised one bit to see Doug Martin of Tampa Bay give him a serious run for his money.

JH: I think RGIII is going to light it up much like Cam Newton did last year.  They have enough pieces to make it interesting and RGIII will be running for a lot of yards as well.

TS: It’s hard to go against Trent Richardson.  The touches will simply make him the best bet for this award.  I think he’s a low end RB1 as a rookie.

JB: Trent Richardson.  He’s going to be an immediate three down back for the Browns.  Not only is that in short supply, but he has all of the tools to dominate.  

GH: I think this one has to go to Trent Richardson, it just seems like a perfect situation for him. I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see RGIII sneak in there too depending on how slowly they bring Richardson in or how committed they are to getting Montario Hardesty some playing time.

KC: Everyone will say that Trent Richardson will be the fantasy rookie of the year and odds are that he will. I also believe that Doug Martin has a great chance to be this year’s fantasy rookie bust-out.

PS: I think it’s foolish to not have Trent Richardson as the answer. The Browns offensive gameplan will be pretty much built on the running of Richardson. Barring injury it will be tough for another rookie to top the production of Richardson this year.

ED: I’m sure this will echo everyone else’s answer, but I have to believe that it will be Cleveland’s Trent Richardson. He went to a perfect spot for his dynasty value and should see a lot of touches. With their addition of Brandon Weeden at quarterback, the offense should be able to utilize the passing game with more success than last year, opening up room for Richardson to run.

SW: Doug Martin. He can catch and run and Coach Schiano is known be a ground and pound guy. Martin should start right away. He also already has a seasoned quarterback and Vincent Jackson to take the safety out of the box. Martin should run wild.

RM: This one is a tough call, but I think both of the top running backs are in great position to claim that title. If I had to choose one, I would go with Tampa Bay runner Doug Martin, mostly due to the offensive skill players around him, who should help in creating a balanced attack, taking some of the focus off Martin. The offense in Cleveland has struggled in past years and while they added some other pieces, namely quarterback Brandon Weeden, they still have a long way to go.

4.)    Which draft result made you cringe the most?

KK: If there was one place I didn’t want to see Justin Blackmon go, it was Jacksonville. This is the receiver nexus of filth. You just have to hope he doesn’t end up with the same fate as R. Jay Soward, Reggie Williams or Matt Jones. His fantasy production is now tied to Blaine Gabbert and that knocks him down a peg or two in my rookie rankings.

JH: Justin Blackmon to Jacksonville (where receivers go to die) takes it for me.  A close second was Stephen Hill going to the Jets.  Hill needs mentoring and leadership to realize his potential and the Jets seem to be a band of cannibalistic mercenaries.  Horrible situation for both, but Blackmon’s made me cringe worse than Hill’s.

TS: Watching the free fall of Lamar Miller.  I had backed him heavily and had him in my second tier with Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Doug Martin.  It was disappointing to have missed badly on that one, but I guess I can take comfort that I wasn’t alone in that.  

JB: Justin Blackmon to Jacksonville.  Hopefully he doesn’t die on the vine before they get a good QB in there.  

GH: Referring back to my second answer, it would have to be Justin Blackmon or Kirk Cousins. Cousins edges Blackmon on this one because at least the Jaguars are trying to use his talents, while the Redskins are flat out using Cousins, whether for motivation for RGIII or as a bargaining chip in the future. Either way, it’s really unfair for Cousins, who should at least be given an opportunity.

KC: Justin Blackmon to Jacksonville, Bernard Pierce to Baltimore, Stephen Hill to the New York Jets and Kirk Cousins to Washington.

PS:  It has to be Justin Blackmon. It’s not a horrible position for his fantasy numbers, but it’s certainly the worst possible landing spot for him. His value has taken a severe hit because no one thought he’d last long enough to get past the Rams at six. No one (including Jeff Fisher) saw Jacksonville leapfrogging the Rams to take him at five. 

ED: Where do I start? Kirk Cousins to the Redskins to backup RGIII, Cyrus Gray to the Chiefs in the crowded backfield, and Marvin McNutt to the Eagles all gave their dynasty value a hit.

SW: I’ll say what most people will say… Justin Blackmon. Why? Blaine Gabbert. Enough said.

RM: I actually was very pleased with the team/players matches for most of the top offensive players. The one that left me scratching my head regarding value would be Rueben Randle. I liked him a lot coming into the draft and expected him to be drafted in the late first round or early second round of the NFL draft. Instead, he fell to the end of the second round and was snagged by the New York Giants. This leads me to several questions. First, what caused his free fall? What were NFL teams concerned about? How is Randle’s dynasty value affected? Does this cause Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks to lose any dynasty value?

5.)    Who is your draft sleeper?

KK: I loved Nick Toon before the draft and I love him more now. New Orleans needs receiving help after losing Robert Meachem and Toon will have a legitimate chance to emerge in the Big Easy.

JH: I think Chris Givens may be underdrafted.  I’m not overly excited about him, but I can’t discount his situation or his opportunity.  He’s quick, has enough size and should be starting with Brian Quick and Danny Amendola.  In an offense that needs to reestablish the passing game, I think Givens has a chance to outplay his drafted position.

TS: Mohamed Sanu.  I like the combination of talent and fit.  He’s the clear cut favorite to be on the opposite side from AJ Green.  I expect people will get him around the top of the second and find they have a bye-week/flex player by week six.

JB: Devon Wylie of Fresno State who went to Kansas City.  He’s a good route runner and he’s not afraid to work the middle of the field.  Great fit for the Chiefs offense and could dominate the short to intermediate areas in the passing game if Tony Moeaki isn’t healthy with Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin attracting attention downfield.

GH: Ready for this? Nick Toon. On the Saints with Drew Brees, marginal WR depth and an opening provided by Robert Meachem and Marques Colston injuried at least once a season, I think Toon makes the most of it and either lines up opposite Colston or gets into the action in the near future.

KC: Alshon Jeffrey is my draft sleeper. Chicago’s offense has been poor ever since Jay Cutler arrived. I truly believe they are going to open it up this year though. With Brandon Marshall on one side and Jeffrey on the other, Jay Cutler now has the tools he needs to succeed in the passing game. Mike Tice has promised to take advantage of the things Jay Cutler does well as opposed to Mike Martz trying to fit Cutler into his offense. I believe Chicago will surprise people offensively this year and Alshon Jeffrey will have a great rookie season.

PS: I have several, but I’ll settle for Marvin Jones of the Bengals. I had a very high grade on him and was very surprised he slid as far as he did. Over time, I’m projecting he’ll be the ying to AJ Green’s yang. Just need a little patience. 

ED: My draft sleeper is pretty evident from my personal rookie rankings. I have Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones at 11 overall. While fellow rookie Mohamed Sanu was drafted by the Bengals two rounds earlier, I think Jones will be the better producing fantasy wide receiver there. His skill set fits perfectly opposite AJ Green and I expect him to give Sanu a battle for the WR2 position from day one.

SW: Greg Childs. It wasn’t long ago that Childs was viewed as a first round talent. He’s now the magical two years removed from his knee injury. Being selected in the fourth round makes it clear that he checked out medically. 

RM: There were a few guys I liked a lot coming into the draft and some ended up being drafted earlier (AJ Jenkins) or into great spots (Chris Givens) and may not carry the sleeper tag any longer. One guy I love to watch play and can’t wait to see how he is used in the NFL is Chris Rainey of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has speed and talent and I know the Steelers will put both to use. He should also be available late in rookie drafts.

6.)    Based on their freefalls, where would you draft Lamar Miller and Chris Polk now?

KK: I have Miller ranked at #20 and Polk at #31 in my recent rankings. Both have high upside, but they’re both going to inevitably be overdrafted in dynasty leagues. People need to remember these two are guaranteed nothing after being taken so late (or in Polk’s case, being undrafted). Owners need to throw away their pre-draft values for both them and face reality.

JH: If I had multiple picks in the second, I might risk a pick on Miller in the late second round, but in all likelihood, I’d wait for the third.  NFL teams aren’t usually wrong when it comes to situations like that. A low football IQ player (let alone one with a possible recurring shoulder injury) just has the potential to underperform and potentially negatively impact new QB Ryan Tannehill.  Behind Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, it’s hard to see him getting significant work without first sitting on the bench for a couple years.  That’s a lot of wasted space on a dynasty roster.

Chris Polk is a solid third round selection now.  His situation isn’t terrible in Philly but, again, he went undrafted for a reason and I wouldn’t leap to take him myself.

TS: Polk is on my “do not draft list” at this point.  I disliked him before and things are worse now – not just the free fall, but the landing spot in Philadelphia.  There’s really very little to like here.  I’d rather take my chance elsewhere or on the waiver wire.  

Miller on the other hand will get underdrafted.  I still think he’s worth a shot at the end of the first, but I suspect I am much higher on him than others.  His situation is excellent – Reggie Bush is injury prone and Daniel Thomas is mediocre.

JB: I would take Miller in the early second.  Reggie Bush isn’t a shining example of health.  I hated Daniel Thomas and his upright, less-aggressive Brandon Jacobs running style before last year, and nothing seems to have changed.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller eventually take over.  

Polk has been relegated to a Shady McCoy handcuff, and there are no guarantees that he beats out Dion Lewis and Bryce Brown.  When all 32 teams pass on a guy because of shoulder problems and a degenerative hip issue, there is fire behind that smoke.  I’d take him in the 4th, if at all.  

GH: Miller I’d take a late round flier on with injury prone Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas ahead of him – if the cards fall right, he could see some time. Polk, despite his talent, sounds like a huge risk with degenerative and reoccurring injuries and complete lack of interest by teams. I’m talking him completely of my interest list. 

KC: Not only did they freefall, but neither of them landed in a particularly good situation. I wouldn’t draft either of them prior to the third round.

PS: Like I said above, I’m not going to let the real life draft fall of Lamar Miller change my projection of his career. He’s still no worse than a 2nd round pick for me. As for Polk, he’s in a big uphill fight on that Eagles roster. He’s almost undraftable in a four round rookie draft.

ED:  I have Lamar Miller dropping considerably from my pre-draft rankings to 27th overall and 7th in running back rookie ranks. That makes him an early third round selection in my opinion. With Chris Polk going undrafted and now reportedly signing with the Eagles as a UDFA, his value takes an even bigger fall. He is 37th in my overall rankings which would make him an early fourth round pick in dynasty rookie drafts.

SW: I would draft Miller in the mid-second round given that he was still drafted in the fourth round and into a decent situation. There’s something that’s clearly an issue with Polk’s announced medical condition with him going undrafted. I wouldn’t draft him until the fourth round.

RM: I still rank both guys relatively high. I try not to let the outcome of the NFL draft affect my rookie rankings, but with the fall they had, especially Polk, that becomes tough. I would consider Lamar Miller as early as the 2nd round of PPR rookie drafts and would gladly take a shot on Polk in the mid-3rd round.

Ken Kelly
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Matt Caldwell
10 years ago

What are your thoughts on Chris Givens now that he is going to New Orleans?

Admin
Reply to  Matt Caldwell
10 years ago

Givens was actually drafted by the Rams at 96th overall. I have him higher than most and think there is opportunity for him to become the WR1 in St. Louis, in spite of Quick being a higher draft pick. I love his speed and elisiveness…the question for him is can he stay healthy after a couple of ACL tears.

Matt Caldwell
Reply to  Eric Dickens
10 years ago

Hah there are 2 Chris Givens WR (my mistake). Saints grabbed one as an UDFA.

Chris Givens – Wide Receiver, Miami (Ohio) (6-2, 203): Givens, a Chilicothe, Ohio native, recorded 157 receptions for 2,121 yards and 15 touchdowns in his five-year career as he ranked seventh in Redhawks record books in both catches and yardage. As a redshirt senior in 2011, Givens had 60 receptions for 695 yards (11.6 avg.) with five touchdowns.

Admin
Reply to  Matt Caldwell
10 years ago

Is that the Chris Givens you were asking about or the one referenced in the article?

Matt Caldwell
Reply to  Eric Dickens
10 years ago

Sadly I did not know there was a difference….but yes I wonder how the other (Saints) Chris Givens will do. Up hill battle with Morgan, Arrington and Toon fighting it out for roster spots.

Admin
Reply to  Matt Caldwell
10 years ago

To be honest, I think Givens (NO) is a longshot to make the roster…With the addition of Toon through the draft, I think they’re set at WR & likely just brought him in for a camp body since the rosters were expanded to 90.

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