Mock Draft Review: Part Two

Ryan McDowell


As you may have heard, one of the June DLF Mock Drafts was comprised completely of DLF writers. This is a the second part of a three part series which will analyze the draft of all twelve teams, rankings those teams based on expectations for 2014 and offering some comments about their hopes for the future

If you missed part one featuring my predictions for the bottom four teams, you can find that here. Here are the middle four teams, in reverse order of projected 2014 finish.

Rob Leath:

1.01     Jimmy Graham, TE NO
2.09    Jordy Nelson, WR GB
3.04    Andrew Luck, QB IND
4.09    Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA
5.04    Carlos Hyde, RB SF
6.09    Ryan Mathews, RB SD
7.04    Allen Robinson, WR JAX
8.09    Kelvin Benjamin, WR CAR
9.04    Jeremy Hill, RB CIN
10.09  Emmanuel Sanders, WR DEN

Other picks of note: Rashad Jennings, Frank Gore, Dwayne Bowe

Draft Analysis: Knowing that Rob is such a fan of the devy format of dynasty leagues, as am I, it is interesting to see the makeup of the base of his team. Three of his first four picks are veterans who have been in the league for at least four years. That is obviously not a knock considering he landed Jimmy Graham and Jordy Nelson and Rob found some good balance with rookies Carlos Hyde, Allen Robinson, Kelvin Benjamin and Jeremy Hill.

Potential Starting Lineup

QB       Andrew Luck
RB       Marshawn Lynch
WR      Jordy Nelson
TE       Jimmy Graham
FLEX   Ryan Mathews
FLEX   Kelvin Benjamin
FLEX   Frank Gore
FLEX   Dwayne Bowe

2014 Outlook: While I normally consider rookies the weak spot of a fantasy starting lineup and would ideally have the stability of a veteran, I see things differently with Rob’s squad. I’ve plugged in Panthers’ rookie receiver Benjamin as a possible starter and he should perform well, as he’s already considered the team’s top receiver. On the other hand, it’s Rob’s veterans that give me pause. Dwayne Bowe struggled last year and seems like he may have hit a wall when it comes to fantasy production. Running back Marshawn Lynch has been in the news for all of the wrong reasons lately and the 49ers just added the rookie Hyde. That reminds me of the great play that can often be seen in dynasty startups. Rob actually handcuffed the 9ers run game by taking Hyde earlier and then the undervalued starter Gore later in the draft. If Gore and Lynch can continue their production and Bowe turns things around, I can see Rob’s team finishing even higher than eighth.

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Predicted Finish: 8th of 12

Long-Term Potential: I’ve already pointed out the four rookies that Rob chose among his top ten picks, along with quarterback Andrew Luck, who should have eight to ten years of top production, at least. While Lynch, Bowe and Gore may not be long lasting components of his lineup, Rob did build a good base of youth during the early part of his draft and should be a solid playoff contender in the coming years.

Eric Hardter:

1.02    Dez Bryant, WR DAL
2.10    Keenan Allen, WR SD
3.03    Rob Gronkowski, TE NE
4.10    Andre Ellington, RB ARZ
5.03    Shane Vereen, RB NE
6.10    Tavon Austin, WR STL
7.03    Dennis Pitta, TE BAL
8.10    Robert Griffin III, QB WAS
9.03    Mike Wallace, WR MIA
10.10  Stevan Ridley, RB NE

Other picks of note: Cecil Shorts, Danny Amendola

Draft Analysis: You can’t start a draft much better than Eric did here. I love his first three picks of Dez Bryant, Keenan Allen and Rob Gronkowski and those are the exact picks I would’ve made in all three spots. After that, Eric turned his focus to the running back position and if you’ve read Eric’s work on DLF or Twitter, you won’t be surprised he selected Andre Ellington as his top runner. While I’m not a long-term believer in Ellington, he does have great potential to be a top fantasy scorer for the next couple of years, at least. Eric added some of his other personal favorites. My only issue with this is that many of these players have lost a great deal of dynasty value recently. While you have to grab players you believe in, I also think it’s important to collect assets that others find value in, and I’m not sure that’s the case here.

Potential Starting Lineup

QB       Robert Griffin III
RB       Andre Ellington
WR      Dez Bryant
TE        Rob Gronkowski
FLEX   Keenan Allen
FLEX   Shane Vereen
FLEX   Tavon Austin
FLEX   Dennis Pitta

2014 Outlook: I expect another big year out of Bryant and Ellington seems primed to improve on his rookie campaign, but after that, there are a collection of “what ifs” for the 2014 season. To make the playoffs, Eric needs Rob Gronkowski to fully recover from his most recent injury and stay healthy and it’s a similar story for his teammate Shane Vereen, who’s battled injuries in recent years. If all goes right for this team, Eric will easily march into the playoffs, but I think that’s a long shot.

Predicted Finish: 7th of 12

Long-Term Potential: I like Eric’s team more in the long haul than I do in 2014 alone. While Gronkowski’s ability to come back strong in 2014 is in doubt, there’s no reason to think he won’t be making impact plays for the next several years. Adding him to the young receivers Bryant, Allen and Tavon Austin, Eric should be an annual contender.

Steve Wyremski:

1.03     Giovani Bernard, RB CIN
2.04    Aaron Rodgers, QB GB
3.09    DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU
4.04    Jordan Cameron, TE CLE
5.09    Jordan Matthews, WR PHI
6.04    Andre Johnson, WR HOU
7.09    Tyler Eifert, TE CIN
8.04    Cody Latimer, WR DEN
9.09    Julian Edelman, WR NE
10.04  Terrance West, RB CLE

Other picks of note: Marcus Lattimore, Johnny Manziel

Draft Analysis: Steve focused on collecting some young valuable assets from each of the four fantasy positions and added some veterans like Andre Johnson and Julian Edelman who can help bridge the gap until rookies Jordan Matthews and Cody Latimer are ready to be a staple in his lineup. While many dynasty owners seem to be following the redraft trend of late round quarterback, Steve wasn’t afraid to take the best quarterback in the game, Aaron Rodgers, in the second round.

Potential Starting Lineup

QB        Aaron Rodgers
RB        Giovani Bernard
WR       DeAndre Hopkins
TE        Jordan Cameron
FLEX   Andre Johnson
FLEX   Julian Edelman
FLEX   Jordan Matthews
FLEX   Tyler Eifert

2014 Outlook: Quarterback and tight end are set for Steve’s starting lineup, and he has a couple of pieces who should be reliable starters this season, but it’s unclear if players like Matthews and tight end Tyler Eifert can be trusted to start for a contending team. If one or both prove to be ready, Steve should contend for a playoff spot in this league.

Predicted Finish: 6th of 12

Long-Term Potential: Steve’s is one of my favorite teams in the league, based on a long-term outlook. As I mentioned, he went young with most of his picks, especially the early ones. Outside of Johnson, the majority of his lineup has several years left of prime production.

Jeff Miller:

1.04    Calvin Johnson, WR DET
2.12    Matt Forte, RB CHI
3.01    Michael Floyd, WR ARZ
4.12    TY Hilton, WR IND
5.01    Zac Stacy, RB STL
6.12    Ben Tate, RB CLE
7.01    Jeremy Maclin, WR PHI
8.12    Justin Blackmon, WR JAX
9.01    Bernard Pierce, RB BAL
10.12  Wes Welker, WR DEN

Other picks of note: Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady, Greg Jennings

Draft Analysis: It’s hard to argue with the start to Jeff’s draft grabbing Calvin Johnson with the top overall pick and then adding some balance with the remainder of his top picks. Not only did he have a balance among running backs and wide receivers, but also between veterans to help him potentially win in the short-term and youth who can help him down the road. The pick that stands out to me in Justin Blackmon in the late eighth round. Since his off-field issues over the past year, Blackmon’s value has obviously tumbled, but this is a decent gamble at this point in the draft.

Potential Starting Lineup

QB        Tom Brady
RB        Matt Forte
WR       Calvin Johnson
TE         Antonio Gates
FLEX    Michael Floyd
FLEX    TY Hilton
FLEX    Zac Stacy
FLEX    Wes Welker

2014 Outlook: Jeff’s lineup may not be flashy, but it is very solid from top to bottom with no real weaknesses. Not only is his actual lineup very impressive and balanced, but he also has depth on his bench with this potential lineup. In a dynasty league, starting Antonio Gates may seem like his weak spot, but even is his “down” year in 2013, Gates was still a top ten fantasy tight end and should give Jeff another year to find his long-term replacement.

Predicted Finish: 5th of 12

Long-Term Potential: While Jeff’s team is in great shape for the upcoming season, there are some long-term questions with this team. With his top two picks of Johnson and Matt Forte both on the downside of their careers, there will be some major holes in his lineup in the coming years. Michael Floyd has the potential to fill that spot as a stud wide receiver, but the rest of the team is filled with solid fringe fantasy starters. If Blackmon is able to make a return to the field, he could make a huge impact on the future of Jeff’s team.

Be sure to check back for the final installment of this series and to find out which DLF staffers rank in the top four.

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ryan mcdowell