Written By Saagar Sarin
The NFL Draft, held each year in the Radio City Music Hall in New York, is the meeting point of the dreams of both NFL teams and the bright, fresh out of college hopefuls, looking to make an impact at the highest level of the sport and fulfill their lifelong dreams.
It also is the first official event on the fantasy football calendar. The days of rookies being eased into duty with their respective teams is long gone. First-year players are expected to make an impact immediately, especially those selected in the first round or two.
I’m willing to wager all that I have to my name (a stray bus coupon and a safeway card) that your fantasy league two years ago was decided by the dude who tripped over himself and found Andrew Luck or RG III fall into his lap in a late round autopick selection.
Rookies have an enormous impact in fantasy leagues, so this May make sure you pay attention to one critical thing while watching the draft… …fit.
In any professional organization, sports or otherwise, fit is the absolute most important determining factor when trying to figure out whether a certain employee will be successful in a company or vice-versa.
Marquise Lee is a phenomenal talent, probably the most explosive receiver in the draft this year (Ok, I guess that Sammy guy from Tahj Boyd University is alright too), but if the Compton native ends up in Cleveland? Next.
Do not be enamored by great talents; every player in this draft from the first overall pick to the famed Mr. Irrelevant (although, to be honest, isn’t the guy taken before Mr. Irrelevant REALLY the most irrelevant player in the draft?) has proven himself at the collegiate ranks to be an outstanding competitor and overall football talent.
Johnny Football has dazzled us on (and off) the field for the past two years, but it is important to remember that he’s not in College Station anymore. He doesn’t get to play Southern Illinois Technical Institute for Cow Grazing. He will be facing 16 professional football teams who are coached by some of the greatest minds in the sport (and Monte Kiffin), and riddled with angry men on the field.
So don’t go into your fantasy draft assuming you’re going to draft your favorite college quarterback because he was fantastic in college. Look at where he ends up, and take some time to do your research on the situation he is walking in to.
Washington has a brand new coach, which, at first glance, seems to be a huge red flag should they take a skill player early on. But keep in mind their new coach is none other than Jay Gruden (no not that one, the other one). The same Jay Gruden who made ANDY DALTON look like an overly competent NFL Quarterback these last three years. He’ll probably be able to get a phenomenally gifted athlete like Griffin back on track, and that could bode well for that fancy new receiver they pick up in the second round.
Detroit already has a fancy receiver in Calvin Johnson, but don’t be shocked if they pick up Lee or Sammy Watkins with the 15th pick in the first round. Subsequently, don’t be shocked when that guy who always seems one step ahead of you takes Lee/Watkins midway through the draft and the move pays off and then some.
The point being, take a step back and evaluate the whole picture, especially if you’re in a keeper league. Fit will determine who succeeds and who doesn’t, both on the field and in your league.