With the draft in the books, it’s time to take stock and work out what it all means… Pre-draft needs are taken from the 2.0 draft.
Pre-draft needs: QB, RB3, WR2, TE, S
What you started with: 1.01, 2.01, 3.01, 4.01, 4.11, 5.01, 5.11, 6.01, 7.01. Julian Edelman, Alex Ogletree, Ron Saunders, DeAngelo Williams
What you ended up with: Toddy Gurley, Marcus Mariota, David Cobb, Tyler Lockett, Jeremy Langford, Tre McBride, Kenny Bell, Stefon Diggs, Bradley Pinion, TY Hilton
The worst case: An over-used running back, with a succession of muscle injuries and topped off by one few, if any, players ever completely recover from, on a team who’s line has been rebuilt after stinking out 2014… Gurley out T-Riches T-Rich. The least Whisenhunt QB ever, going to work with Ken Whisenhunt, and two depth options from a moribund offence offer no viable fantasy starters. In fact, in the worst case scenario, the only fantasy relevant starter in this draft is a punter. At least there’s TY Hilton, until he signs somewhere else next year.
The upside: Hilton doesn’t land in a bad spot when he leaves the Colts. Gurley’s injury doesn’t take much of his top end and he becomes the best thing in St Louis since Faulk. Mariota rejuvenates the Titans offence, and Cobb quickly moves to the top of the depth chart behind a line which improves a lot as Warmack finally harnesses his talent. Bell replaces Jackson, Forte leaves the Bears and Diggs develops into Teddy’s favourite target. Then you wake up.
Realistically: Mariota may never be a fantasy starter, but he fills the need at QB, Gurley and Cobb offer solid RB3 options and Hilton is a very good WR2. The needs at TE and S can be filled in free agency, with good options available there.
Dynasty of Sadness
Pre-draft needs: QB?, RB1, TE, DE, DT, LB2.
What you started with: 1.02, 2.02, 3.02, 4.02, 4.12, 5.02, 6.02, 7.02. Calais Campbell*, Cam Newton
What you ended up with: Ameer Abdullah, Jaelen Strong, Josh Robinson, Matt Jones, Bud Dupree, Arik Armstead, DeAndre Carter, Zach Zenner, Eddie Lacy, Brock Osweiler, Markus Wheaton, Sheldon Richardson, DeAngelo Williams, Paul Richardson*, Drew Brees
The worst case: You wasted your top pick on a back up, and have thoroughly sewn up a wholly worthless Detroit backfield. Robinson and Jones are gambles that don’t work out. Armstead is a project who never projects to anything and Wheaton, Williams and Osweiler don’t even make it through roster cuts. With no targets in the passing game Brees wastes the last couple of years of his fantasy relevance and Teddy never kicks on, leaving two QBs who rank just outside the top 10. A third concussion in three years leads to a long lay off and he returns a shadow of his best on limited workloads, meanwhile Amari Cooper tears it up and somehow this trade ends up looking like the Sadness got the worst end.
The upside: Lacy is the RB1 the Sadness needed and Abdullah quickly replaces Bell who’d plateaued at mediocre to become a good RB2. Strong is a solid WR2/3, Richardson and Dupree are defensive starters, Jones replaces Morris who leaves in free agency and Robinson replaces Gore in 12 months. Carter outperforms Perriman and Armstead develops into the beast his physical stature suggests.
Realistically: Brees fills the need at QB immediately, giving time for Bridgewater to develop, Lacy is a definite filler for RB1. The need at TE could be filled in the medium term with a free agent rookie and Sheldon Richardson is a solid starting DE2. Dupree fills a need at LB and could play from year one. Need at DT remains. The Sadness are definitely improved in the draft, but for all the trading, they ended up with the same number of picks they started with and a lot of the trade pieces were middling at best.
East Flanders Dungeoneers
Pre-draft needs: RB2, WR1/2, DE1, LB3, S.
What you started with: 1.03, 2.03, 2.11, 3.03, 4.03, 5.03, 6.03, 7.03. Eddie Lacy, Drew Brees, Steve Smith*, Brock Osweiler, Charles Clay, Frank Gore, DeAndre Levy
What you ended up with: Amari Cooper, Kevin White, Devin Smith, Mike Davis, Rashad Greene, Paul Dawson, Cam Newton, Keenan Allen*, Vernon Davis, Darren Sproles, Ryan Tannehill
The worst case: You traded away a legitimate RB1 at pennies on the dollar, bringing in wide receivers who will get thrown the ball (sideways) by Derek Carr, Genome and sulky Jay Cutler (until he’s cut next summer). Cam is a busted flush, who isn’t a viable fantasy starter without running and Tannehill is not Brees. Keenan Allen turns out to be the guy from 2014, rather than 2013 and Vernon Davis and Darren Sproles are only starting because they play for the Dungeoneers.
The upside: Both Cooper and White hit big early, and given a couple of years Devin Smith develops into a viable starter when the Jets find a QB. Cam’s pocket passing develops, but he remains a big threat on the ground, and a top 5 QB, while Tannehill becomes good tradebait for a QB-needy team. Both Clay and Davis are solid TEs at least for the short term and Levy remains a top tier LB for a few more years. Gore turns out to be actually invincible as has long been suspected.
Realistically: At best one of Cooper and White develops into a top tier WR1/2, but the other is serviceable as a 3rd receiver. Yes, the team sucks this year, but that just puts them in a good position to get a good RB in 2016. Paul Dawson should be a fine ILB, and Keenan Allen’s true worth is probably as a decent WR2, regardless of which, stealing him for Steve Smith was a stroke of genius. Defensive End is still a problem.
Pre-draft needs: WR1, TE, DE1, LB1, CB1, S1.
What you started with: 1.04, 2.04, 3.04, 4.04, 5.04, 6.04, 7.04. Markus Wheaton, Vernon Davis, Orlando Scandrick, John Brown, Darren Sproles
What you ended up with: DeVante Parker, Duke Johnson, Vic Beasley, DeAndre Smelter, Cameron Artis-Payne, Landon Collins, Denzel Perryman, Karlos Williams, Darren Waller
The worst case: The bust rate on first round receivers is massive, and even if Parker doesn’t bust, there’s no guarantee he is anything more than a low end fantasy starter or flex in Miami’s uninspired offence. Smelter is a reach who never becomes relevant, Johnson is part of a committee and Artis-Payne and Williams only handcuffs. A defensive starter or two don’t make up for the misses on offense, meanwhile John Brown lights it up for the Champions of the Sun.
The upside: Parker works well underneath in Miami’s new offence and gets volume yardage as well as red-zone action. Johnson establishes himself as the main back in Cleveland and Beasley, Collins and Perryman all serve their teams well. Smelter needs time but becomes a flex option, replacing Boldin, while Williams and Artis-Payne back up the main men on Tamworth Two just fine.
Realistically: Parker is probably a WR2 at best, with his viability underneath and in the red zone making him a good option for Tannehill who doesn’t have the arm to make good deep throws. Johnson is in a committee in Cleveland, but could end up being the main part of it, either way, he’s probably a low end RB2 at best. Beasley should be a viable DE and Perryman and Collins could also be viable positional starters. John Brown might be the new TY Hilton, but without Andrew Luck that doesn’t mean much.
Champions of the Sun
Pre-draft needs: QB?, RB2/3, WR3.
What you started with: 1.05, 2.05, 3.05, 4.05, 5.05, 6.05, 7.05. DeSean Jackson, Paul Richardson*, Da’Norris Searcy, Terrence West, Isiah Crowell, Marquise Lee.
What you ended up with: Jay Ajayi, Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler Jr, Thomas Rawls, Bernardrick McKinney, Hau’oli Kikaha, MyCole Pruitt, Michael Bennett, Marcel Dareus, Calais Campbell*, Roy Helu, Philly Brown, John Brown
The worst case: Ajayi never displaces Lamar Miller, Williams is used situationally, Fowler never makes it to the NFL due to injuries, Dareus moves to nose, Helu disappears into Oakland’s depth chart much as he did in Washington, neither of the Browns are viable starters and Michael Bennett is more of a nose alongside San’derrick Marks. Lots of flex players, but few starters.
The upside: John Brown is the new TY Hilton with Palmer back, Dante Fowley and Williams develop into top tier NFL ends, and MyCole Pruitt takes over as the Vikings Tight End. Dareus ends up with all the play of an end, while remaining a DT by position on MFL.
Realistically: Having traded down and then out of the first there wasn’t a potential star available, and picking up the best two defenders in the mid rounds represents value, if not necessarily guaranteeing any success. Ajayi might be short term due to injury concerns, but it’s a short term position anyway, and with bell leading the RBs there’s no need for him to be a star. Rawls is a wasted pick, but gives you a monopoly on the Seattle running backs who never actually play.
Pre-draft needs: ‘elite’ players.
What you started with: 1.06, 2.06, 3.06, 4.06, 4.13, 5.06, 6.06, 7.06. Danny Lansanah, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Graham, Steven Jackson*
What you ended up with: Melvin Gordon, David Johnson, Chris Conley, Justin Hardy, Trae Waynes, Shane Ray, Grady Jarrett, Trey Flowers, Christian Ringo, Jeremy Hill, Orlando Scandrick
The worst case: Gordon ensures control of a San Diego backfield that sucks, his tendency to bounce outside and get tackled for a loss, relying on speed to beat sub-par college players proves unsurprisingly unsuccessful in the NFL. Conley discovers why Kansas receivers didn’t score a TD at all last year, Hardy is the new Harry Douglas while David Johnson ensure Arizona’s committee of mediocrity is maintained. With Green returning and Bernard fitter, Hill ends up part of a committee also, although not as mediocre as the one in Arizona, neither Bernard nor Hill are much more than RB2s.
The upside: Hill, Ellington, Johnson and Bernard fall into more traditional 1/2 roles giving 2 good starters, Conley shows the reason why KC didn’t score touchdowns was a lack of talent, rather than Alex Smith & Andy Reid and Gordon is the game-changing playmaker the Chargers traded up for. Waynes is a solid selection at CB, and Scandrick makes up a starting pair at the position with him.
Realistically: There’s probably an RB1 somewhere in the mess of Ellington, Hill, Bernard, Johnson, Oliver and Gordon, but whether there’s more than one is hard to call, and they could easily all get in each others ways. Conley and Hardy are upside picks, but both probably top out at WR2 or WR3. Shane Ray could be a decent DE in a year’s time, but might not offer much immediately. Hill and Gordon offer the best chance of hitting on an elite player and Green’s return to fitness should provide one at WR, but ultimately, the need to find an elite player or two probably wasn’t met in this draft.
Kelkowski Don’t Play By No DynaRules
Pre-draft needs: QB, TE?, DT, LB1, CB2.
What you started with: 1.07, 2.07, 3.07, 4.07, 5.07, 6.07, 7.07.
What you ended up with: TJ Yeldon, Devin Funchess, Stephone Anthony, Randy Gregory, Danny Shelton, Ahmed Brooks
The worst case: Gerhart takes over the Jags backfield making Yeldon wait. Funchess’ lack of pace combined with Cam’s erratic throwing make for a poor combination, Anthony barely plays, Shelton is a nose and Randy Gregory is a bit too much of a prick for the cowboys to stomach.
The upside: Gregory is a solid steal in the middle rounds, and Anthony blossoms with improved scoring for inside backers. Funchess is an Olsen like workable WR2, and Yeldon gives the Jags a proper running back threat, it not at elite one.
Realistically: There’s still a need at Tight End, and Shelton (being a Nose) is probably not going to fill the need at tackle. Projecting Anthony as an LB1 in the short-term seems a streatch, and the need at QB was not filled due to Kelkowski not recognising the danger when the Losers traded up. Yeldon might be a starter at RB, but there wasn’t too serious a need at the position anyway, so he might end up being a reasonable chip for a trade. Funchess could go either way, but projects as at best a bench option in a fairly limited Panthers passing attack.
Pre-draft needs: QB?, RB2, WR3, DT, CB
What you started with: 1.08, 2.08, 3.08, 4.08, 5.08, 6.08, 7.08. Sheldon Richardson.
What you ended up with: Nelson Agholor, Jameis Winston, Sammie Coates, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Clive Walford, Jake Ryan, Danielle Hunter
The worst case: Agholor dropped for a reason, and that reason was Sam Bradford, who isn’t good before he gets hurt and is Mark Sanchez after. Coates never gets a look in at Pittsburgh and Odighizuwa never replaces JPP. Winston meanwhile is every bit as good as advertised and becomes the best quarterback serving time in federal prison, trading Richardson for him turns out even worse as the massive hole at DE goes unfilled.
The upside: Winston is every bit as good as advertised in the NFL, proving to be almost as good as Luck and replacing Manning for 2016 in the Losers starting QB slot. Agholor develops into a WR1 due to his ability to turn routine plays into huge gains and be a threat in the red zone. Coates meanwhile shows his big game talent regularly, replacing Bryant and Wheaton as a clear #2 option for Roethlisberger. Ryan and Odighizuwa are solid defensive starters from the early days and Walford is a decent bench option at TE.
Realistically: There’s a hole at DE that Odighizuwa won’t fill in 2015, and Hunter is even less likely to. No viable tackle is found and the weaknesses in defence undermine the team by costing silly points each week. There is a serious lack of depth at RB, and even covering bye weeks, let alone injuries, will be tough.
Here Comes the Brees
Pre-draft needs: RB, WR, DE, DT, LB, CB2?, S
What you started with: 1.09, 2.09, 3.09, 4.09, 5.09, 6.09, 7.09. Marcel Dareus, Roy Helu, Philly Brown, Keenan Allen, Martellus Bennett
What you ended up with: Tevin Coleman, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Maxx Williams, Shaq Thompson, Garrett Grayson, Jordan Hicks, Steven Jackson*, Steve Smith*, DeSean Jackson, Danny Lansanah, Terrence West, Isiah Crowell, Marquise Lee
The worst case: Perriman, Dorsett and Williams offer little to nothing in 2015, and don’t exactly light it up in 2016 either. Jackson remains the boom/bust receiver who misses 2-4 games a year with injuries. Owning the browns backfield is as worthwhile as it would seem and Coleman is a RB2 in the good years. Keenan Allen refinds his 2013 form.
The upside: Coleman establishes himself early and for a number of years as an RB1-/2+ and Perriman replaces Smith fairly seemlessly as a WR2-/3+. Williams is a solid tight end with a QB who loves throwing to him, and establishes himself as a solid TE1 and Dorsett’s talent sees him work his way into the team in 2015, with Hilton barely missed in 2016. Marquise Lee becomes a good depth receiver with his fitness issues overcome.
Realistically: There were a lot of players drafted, but this is a long-term sort of draft. Tight Ends rarely offer much in year one, Dorsett doesn’t offer much hope of a strong first year and Baltimore’s offence is hardly electric, suggesting Perriman will need time also. Ultimately this draft was one to position the team to be more competitive in 2016, and Dorsett, Perriman and Coleman should do that. 2015 will likely be rough though.
Pre-draft needs: DE1, LB, CB, S
What you started with: 1.10, 2.10, 3.10, 4.10, 5.10, 6.10, 7.10. Jeremy Hill, TY Hilton, Ryan Tannehill
What you ended up with: Dorial Green-Beckham, Eric Kendricks, Javorius Allen, Mario Edwards Jr, Henry Anderson, Bryce Petty, Martellus Bennett, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Graham, Julian Edelman, Alex Ogletree, Ron Saunders, Charles Clay, Frank Gore, DeAndre Levy
The worst case: Trading starting offensive pieces for middling offensive and defensive starters is a tactic that backfires. Bennett is an expensive back-up for Gronk if he stays fit and a poor replacement if he doesn’t, Edelman isn’t going to replace Jones if he gets injured (again), and Ogletree is an upgrade at LB but at a stiff price. Kendricks is an ILB and doesn’t crack the top 20 LBs any time soon, Allen is the 3rd RB in Baltimore and DGB is nowhere on the Titans depth chart. Henry Anderson joined one of the worst rushing defences in the NFL.
The upside: Anderson becomes the pass rush in Indianapolis and the upgrades on defence offer more to the Firebirds than they lose on offence. Edelman is a good WR2, with Jones fit ahead of him and Hill isn’t missed because Lynch and Anderson carry the rock effectively and a lot.
Realistically: If / when Jones gets an injury the team will suffer as Edelman simply doesn’t have the potential to put up WR1 points that Hilton did and while Hill won’t be missed with Anderson and Lynch putting up solid RB1 points it’s likely that the points gained on defensive upgrades such as Ogletree and Levy only balance those lost on offensive players, with the team overall showing more variance in scoring and losing one or two more games in down weeks as a result.