Name: Jake Ballard
Team: New England Patriots
Position: Tight End
Years Pro: 3
Draft stock: (Rising) Rob Gronkowski is obviously the Patriots’ tight end you want, but he appears to be on the shelf for a little while.
2012 fantasy impact: Believe it or not: Ballard din’t even play in 2012 due to a torn ACL he suffered in Super Bowl XLVI with the New York Giants. However, 2011 was a career year for Ballard, who was Eli Manning‘s security blanket for most of the season and playoffs.
Best-case scenario: Brady finds himself low on talent, which means that Ballard gets a heavy dose of looks in 2013. New England revives Ballard’s NFL career in a big way.
Worst-case scenario: Gronkowski’s injury isn’t as severe as we all think and Ballard is pushed to the back burner. Meanwhile, Ballard’s ACL acts up once again and the tight end is forced to miss time.
Where you should draft him: Ballard isn’t surefire by any means, but if he can get a starting gig with Gronkowski out then he’s definitely worth a 14th-round pick.