As the countdown until the NFL season continues, a group of Rant Sports writers conducted the network’s second 2012 NFL Mock Draft. I had the fortune of drafting ninth as the owner of Team 9.
Here are the results for Team 9 in the Second Rant Sports Writers 2012 NFL Mock Draft
Round 1, Pick 9: Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford- The top three quarterbacks had already gone and I was worrying about being left without an elite QB. Stafford had an eye-popping statistical season last year in what was his first full season. Stafford has always had the potential to be a great quarterback but could never stay on the field until last year. He may not reach 5000 yards again but he should challenge those numbers thanks to Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, and Titus Young. Calvin Johnson will be Calvin Johnson but if the other two best their numbers from last year, Stafford is in for another monster year.
Round 2, Pick 12: New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham- Graham stormed onto the scene last year and provided wide receiver like stats, 1,300+ yards and 11 touchdowns, from the tight end position. His stats look even better when you take into account that he played on a Saints team that likes to spread the ball around. Reports from the Saints say that Graham is in better shape than last season and when you add that to the fact that he has another year of football under his belt, the results may be a better season that last, which is definitely worth a second round pick.
Round 3, Pick 29: Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson- Every fantasy football team needs a bell cow and I needed one in the third because I neglected to pick one in the first two rounds. Peterson is a perennial first round pick but many people are sleeping on him because of his leg injury. He is expected to be healthy during week one of the season and will notch at least 1000 yards this season. There is a lot of upside with this pick if he returns to form.
Round 4, Pick 32: Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson- A three down running back is fantasy gold and that is exactly what Trent Richardson is. Richardson is supposed to do it all for the Browns and should flirt with 250 touches. Cleveland may not be a good team but you can expect Pat Shurmur to let Richardson tote the ball at least 18-20 times a game. Richardson’s stock may rise with a standout training camp but even without one, grabbing a back with lots of upside in round 4 is a good pick.
Round 5, Pick 49: New England Patriots WR Brandon Lloyd- Two words. Josh McDaniels. Lloyd enjoyed his best season when he had McDaniels as a head coach in Denver and now the two are reunited in New England. He had his breakout season with Kyle Orton throwing him and now Tom Brady will be tossing him the ball. Can you say monster season? I needed a wide receiver in Round 5 and Lloyd is a solid pick up.
Round 6, Pick 52: Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin- Most of the league’s no.1 receivers were off the board by this point and Austin slipped due to the sub-par season he had last year. Austin missed six games last year due to injury but he is now healthy and should return to form.
Round 7, Pick 69: Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe- At this point in the draft, I was looking for someone to fill my flex spot. Most of the running backs at this point in the draft share carries and aren’t as attractive as a starting wideout. Even though the Chiefs are looking like a team that will run the ball 75% of the time, Bowe is still a good bet to lead the team in yards and catches.
Round 8, Pick 72: Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith- Smith showed flashes of his potential throughout last season and is clearly a more dynamic weapon than Anquan Boldin. He should become Joe Flacco‘s favorite target and eclipse 1000 yards. This pick marked the halfway point in the draft and it signifies when the top talent is gone and you try to find players with high ceilings that people forget about. Torrey Smith fits that description.
Round 9, Pick 89: New York Giants RB David Wilson- Ahmad Bradshaw, at one point in the season or another, always falls apart. This is what makes Wilson a good pick. He is Bradshaw’s handcuff and can possibly steal the starting job from his veteran counterpart. Wilson is a better bet to produce than Issac Redman, James Starks, and Mark Ingram at this point in the draft. Take my word for it. A good offensive line and a good quarterback mean a good season for Wilson.
Round 10, Pick 92: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger- I drafted Big Ben before I learned off his partially torn rotator cuff but the injury is not believed to be serious. Ben had slipped a couple of rounds and I just could not pass up having a quality back up to Stafford. The Steelers will run a pass heavy offense that will allow Ben to eclipse 4000 yards. The best part is the offense involved a lot of the no-huddle, which will keep Ben upright more often.
Round 11, Pick 109: New York Giants WR Reuben Randle- After the 1oth pick, my goal was to draft the best player available and that is how I saw Randle. He is competing for the Giant’s slot position and could be a weapon in that position. He may also see time on kickoffs. Randle’s speed and size will get him on the field, add in Eli Manning, and you have potential for a good rookie season.
Round 12, Pick 112: Kansas City Chiefs RB Peyton Hillis- One thing I have learned from being a veteran fantasy football player is you can never have enough depth at running back. Hillis is the clear backup to Jamaal Charles in KC but will see a fair share of snaps in a run heavy offense. Charles is coming off an ACL injury and who knows if his knee will hold up. If he can’t, Hillis will step in as the starter. A lot of upside with this pick.
Round 13, Pick 129: Oakland Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey- The young speedster had a career season last year after finally putting it all together. Heyward-Bey will benefit from having Carson Palmer as his quarterback for a full year and can possibly catch 70-80 passes for over 1000 yards. Darrius can turn the tiniest hole into a long touchdown and makes for a nice bye week fill in.
Round 14, Pick 132: Atlanta Falcons RB Jacquizz Rodgers- Quizz is a huge sleeper pick this year and a pick I felt that I needed to have. The Falcons know run a no-huddle offense that involves using running backs in the passing game, one of the young back’s strengths. Micheal Turner is no longer the burner he once was and Rodgers is ready for a larger role. Don’t be surprised if Rodgers racks up 600 or so yards on the ground.
Round 15, Pick 149: Atlanta Falcons D/ST- When your friends start going after defenses around picks 9 and 10, let them do that. There are always good defenses to be found late in the draft. The Falcons D is one of them. They added Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and nabbed Asante Samuel from the Eagles. This is a much improved defense and it will show on the field.
Round 16, Pick 152: Denver Broncos K Matt Prater- Peyton Manning is now quarterbacking the Broncos and that means a lot of scoring opportunities even if he is 80% of what he used to be. Add in the thin air in Denver and Prater’s big leg and you have a solid fantasy kicker. Not many kickers will kick multiple field goals from 60 yards or more.
I believe that I had a pretty solid draft but realize that it is a team built on upside. AP returning to form can be huge for my team and make it championship caliber. However, there are a lot of solid pieces on Team 9.