Adam Levitan

Draft Analysis

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Draft 2012: Impact Rookies

Monday, April 30, 2012




11. Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals
Yes, Jones went two rounds after Mohamed Sanu. But he’s more NFL-ready right now after playing in a pro-style offense at Cal. Jones has drawn comparisons to Chad Ochocinco throughout the draft process and is widely considered one of the weekend’s biggest sleepers. Jordan Shipley is a slot receiver, not true competition on the outside.

12. Brian Quick, WR, Rams
The weapon-desperate Rams didn’t use the No. 33 overall pick on a kid from Appalachian State to have him sit and develop. Quick has a basketball player’s body at 6’4/220 with ridiculously long/strong arms and 4.51 speed. It’s the kind of skill set that the highly accurate Sam Bradford has been dying for. Quick tentatively projects as the Rams’ No. 1 receiver come Week 1.

13. Kendall Wright, WR, Titans
We’re always looking for guys that can do something special after they get their hands on the ball. Wright can certainly do that, and that’s why he went 20th overall. The reason he’s not ticketed for a major impact as a rookie is because of depth chart concerns. Kenny Britt (torn ACL) is expected to be ready for Week 1, Nate Washington is only 28 and coming off a career year, and Damian Williams showed some skills as a long-term No. 3 wideout.

14. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants
As we saw last season, the Giants’ pass offense is explosive enough to support three wideouts. And with Mario Manningham now in San Francisco, Randle is the early favorite to line up outside in three-wide sets, kicking Victor Cruz into the slot. Randle slipped to No. 63 overall due to a relatively slow 40-time at the Combine, but he was fast enough to get open for 917 yards and eight touchdowns against SEC competition in 2011.

15. Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns
By now, everyone knows that Weeden is the oldest player ever drafted and will turn 29 in October. But from a redraft perspective, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s obviously going to start in Week 1 and will have a long leash as a first-round pick. The problem is that his No. 1 receiver is Greg Little. At the exceptionally deep quarterback position, it’s going to be an uphill climb for Weeden in fantasy.

16. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos
Note that the Broncos gave up two picks to move up 20 spots in the third round and snag Hillman. They clearly weren’t overly set on getting a “power back” to team with Willis McGahee. Hillman won’t even be 21 until September and is a bit undersized at 5’9/200, but the depth chart in Denver isn’t that daunting. McGahee will be 31 in October and has a history of knee issues while Knowshon Moreno is coming off an ACL tear. Hillman’s skill set complements Peyton Manning well.

17. A.J. Jenkins, WR, 49ers
It’s certainly interesting that the Niners used their first-round pick on a wideout after bringing in Mario Manningham and Randy Moss to team with Michael Crabtree this offseason. On the surface, it looks like a reach for a position that is not a need. Jenkins is going to have to make some noise in offseason workouts and at training camp to get on the redraft radar.

18. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins
Miller looks like a developmental project with Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas atop the depth chart. But the Dolphins are going to a one-cut running scheme under new coach Joe Philbin and Miller fits that perfectly. Before last year, Bush had missed 20 games in the previous four seasons.

19. LaMichael James, RB, 49ers
The easy comparison here is Darren Sproles. James is lightning fast, but drastically undersized at 5’9/194. Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs are all clogging up the depth chart. A specialized package role for James as a rookie seems likely.

20. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals
While most of the rookies on this list are game-changing playmakers, Sanu is more of a possession receiver. He had just four catches of 20 yards or more in his entire college career and ran a 4.67 at the combine. In the fantasy world, that’s just not good enough.

Honorable mention: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, Saints WR Nick Toon, Rams WR Chris Givens



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Adam Levitan is in his fifth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan


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