On Sunday night, a group of eight normally very calm and level headed writers gathered on the internet to do an auction style mock draft. Heading into the draft, my first goal was to not blow all of my money in the first few rounds so that I could actually form a complete team. This went relatively well, as I was able to handle my urges to blow close to $100 on a single player and formed a team that could challenge for any league’s title.
Here is how my draft went:
Adrian Peterson ($53) — When drafting Peterson, there was some trepidation over whether he really can stay healthy after rushing for over 2000 yards. But then again, he did rush for 2000 yards, and is the most motivated player in the NFL. It seemed to be a safe rout to go, and if I wanted to hedge my bets on anyone player to be the rushing yards leader this season, it would have to be Peterson.
Peyton Manning ($33) — With the pick of Peyton Manning, the thought process was really simple: he is Peyton Manning. This man is the most consistent regular-season passer in football history, with Dan Marino providing the closest competition. With Wes Welker now in the fold for the Denver Broncos, this season will surely be another season of passing yards in the high 4000s. A very safe pick in my opinion.
Cam Newton ($19) — With Newton, I must say that this was somewhat of an accidental pick due to a technical mishap. This is not to say that Newton is a bad player, but with Manning already on the roster, the quarterback position was pretty well filled for 16 out of 17 weeks. Hopefully Newton has a career week when Manning has his bye.
Vernon Davis ($19) — Davis has been a machine since coming into the NFL, especially on the offensive side of the ball. With Colin Kaepernick now fully entrenched as the San Francisco 49ers‘ quarterback, my expectation is that Davis will be featured very heavily. Hoping for Davis’ first 1000 yard season may be a little ambitious, but shooting for the stars makes things fun.
Monte Ball ($10) — Ball had a great career at the University of Wisconsin and is now fortunate enough to receive handoffs from Peyton Manning. Anyone that is afforded that opportunity will have a lot of space on the field, and more often than not ends up carving out a nice little career. Ball will be no different.
Shane Vereen ($6) — Despite not reaching even 300 yards during his first two years, Vereen is an obvious breakout candidate. He is expected to get many more touches than ever before during the 2013 season and with Tom Brady spreading the field will have a lot of space to run the ball. It seemed like a safe pick at the time.
Rob Gronkowski ($9) — With Gronk, the thought was that he will be able to return from his injury relatively soon because we all know that when he’s on the field, he can not be stopped. There may be off-field issues stopping him from doing other things, but if Bill Belichick doesn’t think it is a big deal, then either do I.
Miles Austin ($3) — When Austin is healthy, he is a real threat. He has speed, is tricky and makes smart runs to get open on a consistent basis. This pick was a steal at this price, and if he gets back to the 1320 receiving yards he had in 2009, this will be the best pick of the draft.
Sydney Rice ($5) — If anyone knows how to use a player with Rice’s skill set, it is Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Despite struggling in his first two years with the Seahawks, the hope with this pick is that Rice will return to the form that saw him pick up 1312 receiving yards in 2009. A low-risk, high-reward pick.
Tavon Austin ($10) — If rumors are to be believed, Austin will be one of the most explosive players in the NFL this year. This led me to spend a decent amount of money on him, as sometimes a small gamble will pay off big time. Even if he doesn’t pan out though, my team is more than prepared in the skill positions, making his success nearly all-reward.
Kenny Stills ($6) — If he receives any playing time, it is clear that Stills will be targeted a substantial amount of the time. After all, he plays for the New Orleans Saints, who will surely be better than ever at their passing game with coach Sean Payton back in the fold.
Houston Texans D/ST ($5) — The Texans have had a solid defensive unit for a few years now, and there is no reason to expect the 2013 season will change that. As far as defenses go, this seemed to be a relatively safe pick, as they will not fluctuate up or down too far on a week to week basis.
Stephen Gostkowski ($1) — This pretty much comes down to the fact that Gostkowski kicks for the Patriots. If you didn’t know, they score a lot of touchdowns and normally get close to the end zone if they do not. This will equal a lot of points from Gostkowski and made this an easy pick.
Hakeem Nicks ($12) — Nicks has the ability to catch 1000 yards or more in any given year with Eli Manning throwing him the ball. With Victor Cruz now a bona fide star, he will be receiving less attention from opposing defenses. Plus, I am a little biased from being present when Nicks made an incredible catch for UNC against Duke a few years back, and had a lot of money to spend.
Tony Gonzalez ($14) — As it got later in the draft, I began to realize that I had a lot of money left in my $250 pot. With Gonzalez on the board and my roster spots gone, I figured why not break the bank to sign him? So that’s what I did. And although I think Gonzalez is going to struggle immensely this year, why not let him prove me wrong while having him on my side?
RB- Monte Ball
D/ST- Houston Texans
Bench: Cam Newton, Sydney Rice, Tony Gonzalez, Rob Gronkowski, Kenny Stills, Shane Vereen
Looking back on my draft, a little bit more attention should have gone to getting one more reliable wide receiver. Still, I am content with my draft and will chalk some of my team’s deficiencies down to a learning experience.