As the NFL Draft is less than a week away and the anticipation keeps on growing and growing, lets take a look at Daniel Jeremiah's of NFL.com latest mock draft. I am going to examine this from a fantasy perspective, looking at offensive skill positions, to see if where he projects for that athlete is beneficial for them and their NFL careers.
Lets get started:
Pick 3 Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel QB- No player in this years draft class has garnered as much attention as Johnny Football. He was an absolute stud at Texas A&M. He broke several school records and SEC records in only 2 years. The Jaguars franchise has needed a franchise quarterback for nearly a decade, along with needing a "stud" in any position. Manziel would fit both those roles. If he ends up in Jacksonville there is an excellent chance he can start from day one and bring great excitement to the NFL world. Jacksonville has a decent wide-receiver core, and if Justin Blackmon can get his act together it would be like Manziel to Mike Evans all over again. I love this spot for Johnny and his potential for next year.
Pick 4 Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins WR- Sammy Watkins is an absolute stud. He started as a freshman at Clemson and made an immediate impact. He has the rare combination of speed, great hands and every catch is an opportunity for a big play. In this mock draft, he is ending up in Cleveland, which has had an interesting off-season. Looking past the front-office issues, this team has some great building blocks. Pairing Watkins up with Josh Gordon will give defensive coordinators nightmares. Watkins would benefit greatly with Gordon on the other side. The Browns do not have a solid franchise quarterback, but Brian Hoyer showed some potential in the limited starts he had last year. Watkins has tremendous potential and will be an WR2 for fantasy teams next year if he ends up in Cleveland.
Pick 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans WR- There has been debate recently of who made whom in regards to Johnny Manziel and Mike Evans. I think they both helped each other. Each other showed what they could do when they had an NFL prospect passing/catching the ball. Mike Evans is another rare talent, who is tall and can make big plays. While Evans lacks some of the speed Watkins has, his big play capability is undeniable. The Bucs after the Mike Williams trade are very thin at wide receiver making this choice seem like a no-brainer. Evans stands at 6'5", which is tremendous advantage in the red zone when the average defensive back is around 6 foot. Vincent Jackson will help the growth of Evans. While there is no clear cut quarterback in Tampa Bay right now, I do not think that will be a detriment to Evans. His potential is high for the next couple of years, but next year I see Evans as a WR3 or a Flex player.
Pick 8 Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles QB- Most of America at this time last year had no idea Blake Bortles existed. After a strong showing with key big-play moments at UCF last year Bortles jumped onto everyone's draft board. Bortles who stands at 6'5" 230 pounds is the prototypical NFL quarterback. Minnesota desperately needs a quarterback after the Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman experiment did not work out. Adrian Peterson came out publicly this offseason asking for the Vikings to go after Mike Vick. It is clear that the Vikings need a quarterback to help grow this franchise. Adrian Peterson is not getting any younger and needs someone to help take the pressure off of him. While Bortles might make a push to be the opening day starter, I do not see him taking any snaps week one. There is a strong chance that he will get some snaps as the season progresses. I see next season for Bortles as a learning year while getting adjusted to the NFL game.
Pick 12 New York Giants: Eric Ebron TE- The Giants were awful last year. This surprised a lot of people as the Giants had similar weapons that made Super Bowl runs in the previous years. Eli Manning has always had a reliable tight end for him to depend on. Last year they experimented with Brandon Myers, but it did not translate well for either party. Eric Ebron is the highest rated tight end in this years draft class. NFL teams are starting to see the real importance of having a quality tight end with the likes of Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski becoming viable passing weapons. Ebron is an athletic tight end who can move after he catches the ball. He runs great routes and provides mismatches in man-to-man coverage. He needs some improvement on his blocking, which will keep him off the field for some snaps during his rookie season. He will most likely be a TE2, but has the potential to be a TE1 depending on how quickly he translates to the NFL field.
Pick 18 New York Jets: Odell Beckham WR- Along with their fellow New York team, the Jets desperately need some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Odell Beckham is a complete wide receiver with quick hands and feet. He can go up and get any ball thrown his way. He will be solid NFL receiver, but how long will it take him to get there is the question. With the Jets in desperate need of wide receivers, Beckham will get the chance sooner rather than later. Beckham will also probably see time as a kick returner as well. I see Beckham being drafted in the late rounds of fantasy drafts.
Pick 20 Arizona Cardinals: Derek Carr QB- People figured that Manziel and Bortles would be the first two quarterbacks off the board and then most thought Bridgewater would be the third. In this mock draft, Derek Carr is the third of the board. Carr's kept on moving up people's draft boards after the season ended. Scouts are impressed with his athletic ability especially his feet. He has a great arm and can make all the NFL throws. Arizona has Carson Palmer has their quarterback right now, but his years are limited. Having Palmer has a mentor will greatly benefit Carr and his growth in the NFL. Derek Carr will fit nicely into Bruce Arians system that just had Andrew Luck at his disposal in Indianapolis. Next year Carr might not see the field, but the future would be bright if he was drafted by Arizona.
Pick 22 Philadelphia Eagles: Kelvin Benjamin WR- The Eagles shocked the football world by releasing DeSean Jackson this offseason. Who knows the real reason for the Eagles releasing him, but one-fact remains the Eagles need to draft a playmaker to compliment Jeremy Maclin and help the growth of Nick Foles. Kelvin Benjamin fits both those needs. Philadelphia fans have been asking for a tall wide receiver on the outside and Benjamin definitely fits that role. I envision Benjamin having a solid season but not really worthy of starting on a consistent basis on your fantasy roster if drafted by the Eagles. He would be great grab in the late rounds, but he has great potential for the future.
Pick 23 Kansas City Chiefs: Brandin Cooks WR- Brandin Cooks came out publicly and said he was better than DeSean Jackson when Jackson was released. Andy Reid used to coach Jackson when he was in Philadelphia. Connect the dots and Cooks could be real valuable to the Chiefs offense. The Chiefs had a great year last year, but really lacked a vertical threat. Cooks is fast and small which will provide some durability questions, but overall he has the potential to be a real threat. It will take Cooks some time to adjust to the NFL game, but he will probably have a few big games that makes fantasy owners salivate over. He will not be consistent enough to start, but he is probably worth grabbing in the late rounds as a bye week replacement.
Pick 26 Cleveland Browns: Teddy Bridgewater QB- One of the highly touted quarterbacks going into the college football season was Bridgewater. He had a solid campaign, but some scouts seem to be split on his potential. He is extremely football-smart, as he played in a progression-read offense, which forced him to scan the entire field. One of the weaknesses to Bridgewater's game is that he doesn't have excellent arm Sargent. This was put on display at his pro-day in which his draft stock plummeted. He has trouble driving the ball down the field, but is very accurate in the short passes. The Browns have an excellent wide out in Josh Gordon. Gordon put up incredible numbers in just 12 games with mediocre quarterbacks throwing him the ball. Brian Hoyer will look to claim the starting job this training camp, but Bridgewater will definitely give him some competition. I do not think Bridgewater will touch the field this season, but with the weapons the Browns are trying to put into their offense can only help Bridgewater's future potential.
Pick 27 New Orleans Saints: Marqise Lee WR- Entering into this past college football season Lee was highly touted by many NFL scouts. His junior season though was filled by a lot of injuries and a head-coaching carousel at USC. He is a solid playmaker who can run through traffic and still catch balls. New Orleans would be the perfect place for Lee to end up. Drew Brees will be throwing him accurate balls that he can go up and get. The Saints wide receiver core is not what it used to be therefore giving Lee a real shot to be consistent contributor to the offense. I cannot think of a better place for Lee to end up. He will contribute next year if in New Orleans probably warranting WR3 status on a weekly roster. Marques Colston is getting older, but still can provide valuable knowledge that helps Lee transition to the NFL game.
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