Sometimes its tough to pick a target for the year, especially when your team doesn’t have a discernable rookie that will be a huge factor during the season. Last year, I was lucky to be able to chase Percy Harvin on his way to eventually being named rookie of the year, but this year it isnt so cut an dry without a Vikings first round pick. I know that most of you out there are starting to begin your chase for cards, so here is who I would chase and who I would stay away from.
The Top Offensive Picks
Sam Bradford – I wouldn’t touch Sam Bradford right now, as he is not worth the money that some people are paying. He may eventually be a great QB, but the Rams are so terrible, he should end up very much like Stafford. That is, he should end up like Stafford if he gets signed in time. Because he may not start from day one, and because he will most like have a myriad of problems without a good receiving corps, he is a no go.
Tim Tebow – If you buy Tim Tebow right now, you must have a few screws loose. His value is so ridiculous based on his college career, that I don’t even think I would spend someone else’s money on him. In fact, if I go to the rookie premiere events this week, I wont even bother looking for him because there are much better uses for my time. Per early reports he is number 4 on the depth chart, and though Denver wont be able to keep him there for long, he isnt going to play for a long time. If he does end up on the field in the distant future, I am almost positive he will not be effective.
CJ Spiller – Spiller has the biggest opportunity of anyone at the top of the draft, mainly because of how much he will play. The problem is that Buffalo’s offensive line has the effectiveness equal to Marshawn Lynch’s english speaking skills. This will hinder Spiller tremendously, and he will most likely end up more like Laurence Maroney than Maurice Jones-Drew when all is said and done. Watch out.
Dez Bryant – Its tough to deny that Bryant has the skills to be a great receiver, and playing in Dallas sure helps that cause. His prices are astronomical right now, and he easily could live up to them after being surrounded by Romo, Austin, and Williams. I would give him a good shot at the ROY if he can keep his head on straight, but then again, who wants a WR that isnt all about themselves? Their job is to be a ball hawk, so a me-first attitude can help in a lot of situations.
Demaryous Thomas – I have this gut feeling that he will turn out to be this year’s Hey-Bey. He was a big reach over both Benn and Bryant, so Im not sure if I would even waste any time on him. Orton really has a lot of expectations to fufill, which could work in his favor without a true number one in Denver anymore. However, with the additions of him and Eric Decker, they may end up battling for reps if production falters for either one.
Ryan Mathews – This is a guy I would chase, he looks like he is going to have a great situation in San Diego when he gets there. A good QB, a good offensive line, and Darren Sproles. If you are a charger fan, you are happy they picked him, though you are sad that his prices are inflated due to the Peterson effect. Ryan Mathews is a sleeper for ROY, and as time moves on, he should end up being the best RB in the class. That’s my prediction.
Jahvid Best – See CJ Spiller’s predicament, because Best is going to have a similar challenge. The Lions are just a terrible team and their offensive line is not where it needs to be. However, he will have more reps due to Kevin Smith’s injury, but im not sure if it will matter all that much. Its tough to be a good running back when your team has more three and outs than anyone else in the league.
Jimmy Clausen – I like Clausen a lot, and I was pissed when the Vikings passed on him TWICE. He was projected as a top 5 pick, but teams didn’t think it was worth passing on a lot of the amazing defensive talents in the draft. I think Clausen will have the biggest impact of any of the rookie QBs in the first few years, only because Carolina is the best team with a new QB. The Panthers tore it up the last few weeks of the season and I think they will have a better year this year despite losing Julius Peppers. They play in a weaker division than I would expect, and Matt Moore doesn’t look like he is primed for a long run as their QB. Clausen could get on the field this year, and I have a feeling he will be effective as soon as he is handed the reigns.
Colt McCoy – McCoy is more NFL ready than Tebow in my opinion, but like St Louis, the Browns are horrid. He has nobody to throw to even if they let him play, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns pick number 1 next year and take a QB again. Stay away from McCoy for that reason.
Sleeper Offensive Players to Watch
Toby Gerhart – As a Vikings player, he will have a huge following. As a Vikings player he will also be limited in his carries and role in the offense. He was selected to replace Chester Taylor, but I think a combination of Percy Harvin and Peterson will fill the role initially. He will get touches, but not a major amount until next year. Gerhart was a beast in college, but lost stock because of a less than stellar 40 time and because he didn’t have a big program on jersey. He may have been second in the Heisman voting, but im not sure what kind of success he will have, especially if Favre retires.
Jonathan Dwyer – Same situation, but in Pittsburgh. Dwyer has Rashard Mendenhall to compete with, and as a later round pick, they don’t have much invested in him. Yet, with all Steelers guys, they always find a way to be good, so don’t count him out. His stuff will probably be cheap, so its not going to be a big investment to buy in.
Eric Decker – I like Decker a lot, and think he can be a good number 2 receiver in the pros. I definitely think he could end up being better than Thomas, but it will all depend on who plays QB. Decker’s stuff wont go for shit, so again, it may be worth it to buy a few cards just because.
Ben Tate – Slaton has fumblitis, and was hurt last year, which means that Tate will get some reps. I mean, look at who they ran with last year. Brown? Cmon. Tate has a lot of upside, but his stuff is high because of where he played in college. I think if he shows initial promise, it’s a good idea to buy in. He plays for a good team with a good line, so he may be this year’s LeSean McCoy.
Golden Tate – WRs always have a shot, but they are never worth very much unless they are named Jerry Rice. Tate will have a great shot in Seattle, mainly because of lack of options not named Houshmanzadeh. Tate showed flashes of brilliance in College and was a projected first rounder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being Carroll’s number 2.
Ill be doing the normal Rookie Battle Royales again this year with focus on these guys, so check in as we get closer to the season for more updates.