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SB Nation NFL Mock Draft: Part 1

Our sister blogs are busy conducting the SB Nation NFL Mock Draft right now and nothing gets the old football juices flowing like a good mock draft.  In this mock draft each blog drafts for their respective team, and each "team" can make trades independently of what the real NFL team is doing. Fantastic!  

The entire thing is being tracked at the Seahawks' blog Field Gulls right now.

What I'm going to do is analyze the fantasy implications of each one of their picks. I won't argue whether or not they made the right pick -- you can, and should, go to their blogs to do that (links on the right)-- I'm just going to give you my fantasy impressions of the choice.

OK, now you're probably asking "what the heck is the point of that"?  The players drafted in the mock draft probably won't be the same players drafted in the real draft.  Isn't fantasy football obtuse enough without spending time on "what if?" fantasy football?

Think of it as a great early-season training exercise.  Fantasy football is all about interdependencies.  A player's fantasy football value is based largely on factors external to that player.  I'll be having much more on that later, but for now let's just say that putting together a player's fantasy value gets easier the more you work on it.  So, why don't we stretch our fantasy muscles and take a look at what our SBNation experts have created...

1) Oakland - JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
The Raiders would give Russell the starting job right away and with Randy Moss catching the ball (assuming he stays) and both Rhodes and Jordan running the ball it appears as though Russell has some players around him.  The buzzkill on that thought is that the Raiders O-line is a sieve (giving up a mind-numbing 72 sacks last year) and Russell is going to spend his rookie season running for his life.  Fantasy owners will draft him because a rookie QB throwing to Randy Moss puts stars in their eyes, but he's not going to have a lot of fantasy value in single season leagues.

2) Tampa Bay - Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Johnson would start right away for the Bucs, but rookie WRs tend to be disappointments as fantasy players.  Joey Galloway doesn't strike fear into the hearts of his opponents, so Johnson would likely see a lot of double teams from opposing defenses.  Also, while the guy is apparently an amazing physical specimen I'm not sold on the ability of either Jeff Garcia or Chris Simms to maximize this guy's talent. Probably a #3 fantasy WR.

3) Cleveland - Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
The Browns need help on the offensive line like Britney needs an intervention, so this can only help the fantasy production of Jamal Lewis. But it won't help it enough.  Jamal Lewis is one year older and his Cleveland offensive line is several tiers worse than the one he ran behind in Baltimore.  Even in leagues that draft offensive lineman, Thomas won't be able to single-handedly turn around the Browns offense.

4) Detroit - Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Detroit desperately needs defense and Adams should start right away.  Opposing teams will probably run right at him so he may see decent tackle totals as a rookie.  If he's used on the left side he would likely free up some pressure on LB Ernie Sims which would cause Sims's tackle totals to drop from the 124 he rang up last season.

5) Arizona - Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Anything would be an improvement over the mess (83.6 rushing yards per game) that the Cardinals called an offensive line last year.  Everybody wants to see the old Edgerrin James return and while Brown won't do it all by himself, it's a good start.  A premier offensive lineman would also help keep Leinart's head attached to his body, which would improve his fantasy value a bit as well.