Written by Wesley Wood Follow Wes: @chipper_DFW
Well that was quite an unpredictable draft. A lot of players fell further than expected and one quarterback was taken sooner than anticipated, while others fell further than most expected. The only position I think that was drafted as predicted was the wide receivers. Two weeks ago I went over my top players by position and gave you a short analysis of each. Now is the time to revisit the list and see who has risen and fallen.
1 – Geno Smith (Jets) – Previously #1
Geno Smith has landed with the Jets (no pun intended) and despite the mess that the organization is, I still see him having the brightest future of this batch of QB’s. New York has a solid D and a couple of receivers in Holmes and Hill that can help Geno whenever he starts. I do not see Mark Sanchez standing in Geno’s way for very long as pretty much no sane person likes Sanchez as a starting QB.
2 – EJ Manuel (Bills) – Previously #2
What a surprise in round 1 when the Bills shocked the Nation by drafting EJ Manuel before anyone else and at pick #16. I like EJ a lot and the Bills do have pieces around him to help him develop and succeed. Just don’t go expecting him to have a RG3 or Newton style rookie season.
3 – Matt Barkley (Eagles) – Previously #3
The Eagles traded up on day 3 to nab Matt Barkley as the 4th QB off the board. This is quite a long fall from where everyone else had him. Barkley is in an ideal situation which can very easily have him starting at the beginning of the 2014 season. Vick does not have a lot left unless he reverts back to the way he played in 2010. Chip Kelly seems to be a smart enough guy to know that he needs to make the system work around the QB and not the other way around. Go ahead and pencil in Barkley as the starting QB in 2014.
4 – Tyler Wilson (Raiders) – Previously #6
Wilson moves up my board two spots by landing in a place where he can be the starter sooner than later. With only Flynn ahead of him, all it would take would Flynn having a below average season (which I do not foresee happening, link to Flynn It To Win It) for Wilson to all of a sudden become the starter. He is mentally tough and shouldn’t crumble like Gabbert has down in Jacksonville. If Flynn succeeds then expect Wilson to be riding the bench for a few years.
5 – Landry Jones (Steelers) – Previously #4
Landry was a part of the 4th round run of QB’s and he lands in a place which I like a lot. In Pittsburgh he will be given time to develop by an organization who knows what they are doing and has an aging QB who has had some recent durability issues. This should allow Landry to take the starting job in two seasons if he progresses at a nice rate.
Other notable QB’s
6 – Mike Glennon (Buccaneers) – Fixing his inconsistencies could have him starting as soon as next season.
7 – Ryan Nassib (Giants) – He is backing up Eli Manning who isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
8 – Tyler Bray (Chiefs) – Went undrafted, however he landed in a spot that could make him a surprise starter three years down the road.
1 – Giovani Bernard (Bengals) – Previously #2
Bernard lands in an ideal situation where he can take over as the starter by the end of the season. Drafted as the 1st RB in the draft in the 2nd round shows how highly that Cincinnati thinks of him. He may start off 2013 splitting carries with Green-Ellis, however if he plays the way he did in college then expect a total take over.
2 – Eddie Lacy (Packers) – Previously #1
Eddie Lacy fell further than expected being drafted late in round 2 by the Green Bay Packers. This excited fantasy football owners as they saw a 3 down workhorse land in the perfect situation. All seemed well until round 4 when the Packers also drafted Johnathan Franklin. This has now made the picture unclear in Green Bay. However as a diehard fan of the Pack, I can safely say that barring injury, lacy should be the workhorse getting 15+ touches a game. The Pack committed to Benson last season while they had him and have no qualms about having a running game when they have the right back.
3 – Le’Veon Bell (Steelers) – Previously #4
Not everyone is sold on Bell like I am. But the Steelers are, and by selecting him in round 2, they showed they will trust him to lead the backfield. He will play on a team that is solid all around and has a good line to block for him. The lack of any real competition on top of his impressive skills shows me that Bell can be the workhorse back for Pittsburgh.
4 – Montee Ball (Broncos) – previously #5
Montee was drafted to a win now team that has a bunch of pieces in the backfield but no true workhorse. If Montee can show Denver that he can block and run the same way he did in Wisconsin then you can expect him to lead a RBBC in Denver. I anticipate him splitting with Hillman and Knowshon but still getting 15 total touches a game.
5 – Johnathan Franklin (Packers) – Previously #3
Franklin has only dipped two spot since he is behind Lacy on the depth chart. He has the abilities to be the starter in Green Bay if he shows more than Lacy or if Lacy goes down with an injury. Franklin is the most essential handcuff to get if you draft Lacy. I like him a lot and his situation is ideal for becoming the RB1.
6 – Andre Ellington (Cardinals) – Previously #6
Ellington has arrived on a team with a mess of RB’s in his way. As of now Mendenhall and Stepfan Taylor are ahead of him. But as the RB with the most explosiveness on the team, Ellington has a legit chance of being a starter within a year or two. Especially when you consider who started for the Cardinals last year when Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams went down with injuries.
7 – Joseph Randle (Cowboys) – Previously #7
Do you own DeMarco Murray? If so then you need Joseph Randle. With the injury history that Murray has, you are guaranteed to need Randle to fill in for 3 -5 games a season. Joseph might take over the starting job if he shows that he can handle the load.
8 – Zac Stacy (Rams) – Previously #9
While I think Isaiah Pead is the leading candidate in terms of who the RB1 in St. Louis will be at the start of the 2013 season, Zac Stacy can show him and Richardson up and take the starting job. It may take some time as the Rams invested a 2nd round pick in Pead and will probably want to give him his fair share of opportunities first. Stacy is someone I would want in round 3 of rookie drafts.
9 – Kerwynn Williams (Colts) – Previously #10
Drafted in round 7 does not evoke a lot of confidence by the Colts that Williams is meant to be the man. However Vick Ballard isn’t exactly an earth shattering RB and the rest of the Colts backfield is unimpressive. If Williams shows he can handle blocking and catching then he may be the Colts RB for passing downs making him part of a RBBC.
10 – Marcus Lattimore (49ers)
Lattimore lands in an ideal situation with a team that won’t need him till he is ready to play and is looking for a RB to replace Gore in the near future. While Kendall Hunter is a wildcard at this point and LaMichael James is clearly a #2 back, Lattimore can come in 2014 and take the teams backfield by storm. As a true workhorse back who just needs time to recover, he lands in possibly the best spot available. I would advise drafting him knowing that he is a shot in the dark and the soonest he will start is 2014. It is a gamble that championship teams can take.
Other notable RB’s
11 – Mike Gillislee (Dolphins) – Looks like he will be replacing Daniel Thomas as the #2 back. If Lamar Miller goes down or doesn’t perform then Gillislee may get his chance.
12 – Stepfan Taylor (Cardinals) – Fighting for time with 3 other RB’s and he isn’t anything special.
13 – Kenjon Barner (Panthers) – With talks of the Panthers doing away with DeAngelo Williams, Barner makes for an intriguing prospect behind Stewart.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends continued in part 2…
Comments? Questions? Concerns? Let me know below.