Mike Clay

Offseason Low Down

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Opportunity meets upside

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Browns TE Jordan Cameron

Much like Housler, Cameron is stuck third on his team’s depth chart at the tight end position. He’ll likely head into Week 1 behind 31-year-old Ben Watson, but has a shot to pass out Evan Moore, who is more of a receiver than an all-around tight end. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Cameron appeared in only six games and saw most of his snaps when Watson was injured over the last three weeks of the season. Overall, he hauled in just six of 13 targets, but dropped only one.

Cameron has drawn comparisons to Jimmy Graham, as he’s a basketball player-turned-tight end. He does need some tuning in the blocking game, but a strong camp could mean a changing of the guard from Watson to Cameron at some point this season. It’s worth noting that Watson is entering a contract year, so the Browns would be wise to give Cameron a long look, especially if they fall out of the playoff hunt.

Draft Board – I generally don’t even recommend carrying two tight ends, so stay away from Cameron in all but very deep leagues. Monitor his reps and give him a shot if he starts to see six-plus targets per week.

Ravens WR Tandon Doss

Fellow 2011 rookie Torrey Smith stole the show last season, but don’t forget about fourth-round pick Tandon Doss, who is expected to step into the No. 3 role this season. The good news is that the team is still high on Doss – high enough to not replace departed free agent Lee Evans anyways. Additionally, Anquan Boldin will turn 32 this season, so the team is looking towards the future at the position. The bad news is that Doss was unable to beat out Evans or undrafted free agent LaQuan Williams for reps a season ago. On top of that, the Ravens could always target a wide receiver early in this weekend’s draft.

Talent-wise, Doss is not my favorite name on this list, but the opportunity is there. If an impact rookie is not added to the mix, all it would take is an injury to Boldin or Smith and Doss would find himself as an every-down player.

Draft Board – Keep Doss on your late-round sleeper list, but he’s one you can probably let go undrafted. Monitor his snaps and pounce if Boldin or Smith goes down with an injury.

Rams WR Greg Salas / Austin Pettis

Because I can’t yet get much of a hold on which of these two sophomore wideouts Jeff Fisher and Co. likes more, I’m including them both. The Rams are sure to add wide receiver help in the first two rounds of this weekend’s draft, but that won’t erase all of the question marks facing this unit. Danario Alexander is in place as a situational deep threat, but has a scary injury history and can’t be relied on for 55-plus snaps each week. Danny Amendola is a reliable threat out of the slot, but missed all but 37 snaps in 2011 due to a triceps injury. Steve Smith was added to the mix and can be a terrific possession receiver, but he missed a chunk of 2010 with a knee injury and wasn’t the same player with the Eagles in 2011.

Enter 2011 third and fourth round draft picks Austin Pettis and Greg Salas, respectively. Pettis isn’t very fast, but has good hands and can make it as a slot receiver. Salas has excellent hands and has drawn comparisons to possession receivers along the lines of Wes Welker. Pettis is suspended for the first two games of 2012, which definitely gives Salas an edge here. The key will be playing time. As of now, it looks like three-wide sets will feature Amendola in the slot with Alexander or Smith outside across from Justin Blackmon or another early-round rookie selection. Both Salas and Pettis have the skills to work their way up the depth chart, but only one of them is likely to make an impact in 2012.

Draft Board – Considering Pettis’ suspension, he’s absolutely not worth drafting this year. I also don’t recommend touching Salas unless he finds his way into the starting lineup during the preseason and the Rams’ offense is showing signs of life. No surprise here – monitor Pettis and Salas early in the year and snatch up the one who emerges.

Dolphins WR Clyde Gates

With Brandon Marshall out of the picture, the Dolphins will need to replace close to 30-percent of their targets from last season. Davone Bess is an obvious choice to step up as the team’s go-to possession receiver, but 2011 fourth-round pick Clyde Gates has a chance to emerge, especially with underwhelming Brian Hartline as his only current competition for regular reps. Even if Miami adds an early-round draft pick at the position, the speedy Gates could still find himself playing 50-plus snaps-per-game. The production won’t be consistent, but, if he can find five or six targets every week, he’ll make for a fine WR5 and bye week lottery ticket.

Draft Board – Keep an eye on his training camp progress here. If Gates emerges into a starter, take a late-round stab. If not, keep him on your watch list, as an in-season rise up the depth chart is likely.

Others to monitor

Falcons RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Saints WR Joseph Morgan, Bucs TE Luke Stocker, Colts RB Delone Carter, Packers RB Alex Green, Panthers WR Brandon LaFell, Bills WR Marcus Easley

Mike Clay is a football writer for Rotoworld.com and the Founder/Managing Editor of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. He can be found on Twitter @MikeClayNFL.
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