Last night’s NFL Draft featured little of the usual drama, with the top 2 picks effectively locked down for almost a month leading up to draft day. Sure enough, standout QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III made the headlines as they took their rightful places on Thursday night, but while there may not have been any bombshells, there were some unexpected surprises, including some interesting selections that fantasy owners should note.
Here is a look into the first round picks that should make the most impact this fantasy season:
- Thanks to last year’s trade with the Atlanta Falcons, the Cleveland Browns drafted the blue chip RB in this year’s class in Trent Richardson (Alabama). With the number of touches he should receive, Richardson has the potential be a playmaker and point machine.
- Doug Martin (Boise St.) is a complete RB, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers know it’s not a stretch that he could unseat LaGarrette Blount as a number 1 back. Martin has a great set of hands, and as a double threat, could cause havoc for opposing defenses.
- WR Michael Floyd (Notre Dame) will give the Arizona Cardinals’ QBs a viable second strong option downfield. Look for him to be targeted early and often to draw some attention off of Fitzgerald. The Cards’ passing game should benefit greatly from this pick.
- WR Kendall Wright, RG3’s teammate at Baylor, was an excellent value for the Tennessee Titans at no. 20 overall. Not only is he a threat in the slot, he could also be a solid return man. Wright has huge potential.
- The biggest boost to team defense came in the form of the New England Patriots trading up twice in the first round to bolster the front seven, selecting Chandler Jones (Syracuse) and Dont’a Hightower (Alabama). This should indicate the Pats’ commitment to improving their D, which was dismal in 2011.
Following the top 2 picks, who will be obvious fantasy contributors, the QB class in the first round was a general letdown. Cleveland Browns pick Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State) and the Miami Dolphins’ choice Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M) don’t even seem like true starters, let alone viable fantasy producers.
Now that the first round has come and gone, fantasy owners have to step back and evaluate which rookie players will merit a look come fantasy draft time. Stay tuned to the blog for more insights from scoutPRO on this year’s draft class!