By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
‘Tis the season, folks.
The time of year when every prognosticator from every sports website puts in their non-refundable two cents on who they think will be selected by whom in this month’s NFL Draft.
So why should we be any different?
Of course, you’re not reading this because you want to know who I think will go where. No, you want to know who will go where and how they’ll help your fantasy team next year or possibly for years to come. I know, reading minds is sort of a gift of mine.
I’m going to go through the entire 1st round and give my predictions on which players will be selected where. No, I will not predict trades. That seems pointless to me. But what I will do is give you reasons why I like said player on said team, but also how I feel they can impact your fantasy team this year or next, or if you’re a baller and play in a dynasty league, how it can help your team for years to come.
What about defensive players you ask? Well, some play in IDP leagues – Individual Defensive Player leagues if you didn’t know – so there’s that. If you’re skeptical, just look at CB Marcus Peters from last year’s draft. A 1st round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, he snagged eight interceptions last year. You don’t think that helps out the Chiefs D/ST?
This is now my 3rd attempt to do this mock. First, the Rams trade up with the Titans. Then the Eagles trade up to two in a swap of firsts, and then some, with the Browns. Can I get a mock draft in before the Chargers deal the third pick? Pretty please?
So how about those picks?
The Los Angeles Rams select QB Jared Goff
You don’t think the Rams traded up to select someone other than a QB did you? Aw, your naiveté is so cute. Many will say Carson Wentz will go here, and up until recent reports came out that the Rams were leaning towards selecting Goff, I still thought it would be Goff. A California kid, a team in a new city – Los Angeles to be exact – and a solid team with no leader to speak of. Just feels like a Hollywood story in the making doesn’t it?
Fantasy Implications: Not likely any this year. I know the past few years have seen some pretty solid rookie QBs come out of the gate slinging and putting up some decent numbers for fantasy teams. But the position is deep and Goff just doesn’t feel like that kind of player to me. I think he will have more of a learning curve, maybe even enough to warrant the Rams starting the season with Case Keenum as their QB. He feels more like a dynasty league pick to me, one that will emerge to help your fantasy squad in year 3 and 4 more so than year 2.
The Philadelphia Eagles select QB Carson Wentz
First, they guarantee Sam Bradford $22 million in a two-year contract. Then they hand Chase DAniel $12 million guaranteed to back up Bradford. How many quarterbacks does one team need? Apparently one more. In another stunning trade, the Eagles move up to two in a swap with the Browns. They now are in like to their quarterback of the future. If the Rams select Goff, Wentz becomes their guy. As an Eagles fan, and after a few shots, I can finally say – I’m on board. Now excuse me while I go vomit.
Fantasy Implications: Same as Goff, not likely this year. Wentz was hurt the majority of last year, and for someone that needs to get up to speed on the pro game coming from an FCS school, he may have an even steeper learning curve than Goff. The Eagles don’t need Wentz this year, and maybe not even next year. Dynasty leagues only. And if the Eagles find a new running back in the time before he takes over, watch out. He could be really good.
The San Diego Chargers select LT Laremy Tunsil
I know Jalen Ramsey is a tempting pick here, but when the most important person on your team – in this case, QB Phillip Rivers – spends most of his games getting knocked on his ass, you take a player that can help keep him upright. Personally, I would rather have LT Ronnie Stanley, and with new reports coming out that the Chargers are open to trading the third pick, it may be that they themselves aren’t high on Tunsil. Still, quarterbacks get you to title games, not defensive backs. Protecting your quarterback gives you a better chance of getting there.
Fantasy Implications: Much more immediate impact than the 2 QBs. You’re likely not getting points for sacks prevented or pancake blocks – but if you are, kudos to you – but he affects everyone around him. If his play stacks up from day one, RB Melvin Gordon now has running room, RB Danny Woodhead can catch more passes, and River has time to find WRs Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin down the field. So far, the most impactful pick of the draft.
The Dallas Cowboys select RB Ezekiel Elliott
I hated typing every word of that. As an Eagles fan, I despise the Cowboys. As a UM fan, I really despise the Buckeyes of Ohio State. But with the Eagles moving up to get their QB of the future, I think the Cowboys may feel a sense of “now is our time.” Yes, Romo was hurt last year, but it was pretty clear they missed DeMarco Murray. Taking the best running back in the draft will make that offense near unstoppable with a healthy Romo and a healthy Dez Bryant. They can now use every remaining draft pick on the defensive side of the ball.
Fantasy Implications: Rookie of the Year. A solid second round draft pick. If you’re in a keeper league, a likely first rounder. Write that down.
The Jacksonville Jaguars select DB Jalen Ramsey
You know you’re about to have yourself a good season when the best player in the draft falls in your lap. They made strides on offense last year so fixing their defense becomes priority number one. Plugging in Ramsey and essentially Dante Fowler Jr.’s rookie season helps tremendously.
Fantasy Implications: The Jaguars defense could be slowly creeping towards respectability. Ramsey could be a surprise as an IDP play, but a lot will depend on if they line him up at corner or safety.
The Baltimore Ravens select LT Ronnie Stanley
With Terrell Suggs coming off his second torn Achilles, I can see the appeal of taking a defensive end like Bosa or Buckner as the heir apparent. But I am not enamored with this group of defensive ends. Yes, the position is deep with quantity, but to me it lacks valuable quality. They have invested a ton of money in QB Joe Flacco and they need to protect him. It’s not often the Ravens are selecting this high and they need to hit a home run with this pick. Anyone remember what Jonathan Ogden did for the Ravens? Meet Ogden 2.0. The easiest pick in the draft.
Fantasy Implications: Similar to what Tunsil can bring to the Chargers, Stanley can step right onto the left side of the line and be a force. His forte is pass blocking, so he will undoubtedly be Flacco’s new best friend. Later on in the draft, they can look to find a compliment to RB Buck Allen, who was not unspectacular last season in replacing Justin Forsett.
The San Francisco 49ers select DE DeForest Buckner
I mean, you didn’t see this coming? An Oregon Duck becomes available for the King of the Ducks to draft? It’s almost poetic. If Buckner is available here, we will undoubtedly see how much pull HC Chip Kelly has within the 49ers organization. The 49ers may be looking to trade down to accumulate more picks to rebuild the team and be in a position to get value for the next best QB, Paxton Lynch, or even Laquon Treadwell; he seems like a Chip Kelly style receiver. But if they stay here, Buckner is an easy pick as someone who’s familiar with the coach and practice schedule, and someone who can help that defense right away.
Fantasy Implications: I am going to go out on a limb and say none. He might be the best player on that front line upon being drafted, so he’s likely to see the occasional double team as a result. He may struggle to pick up the sack numbers you want right away, but he has a motor that doesn’t quit. It will bode well for future fantasy campaigns.
The Cleveland Browns select WR Laquon Treadwell
So they’re running with Robert Griffin III. If you think he’s going to succeed this year with no talent around him, I want a hit of what you’re smoking. This is crazy early for a wide receiver with better players still available. Maybe the Browns look to trade back again to get more picks and better value. But you need playmakers and I think Myles Jack’s knee is uncertain enough to scare teams in the top 10.
Fantasy Implications: Not this year. A dynasty pick for sure. RGIII needs a least one reliable target. Treadwell could be a number four wide receiver for fantasy this year just because he’s not shy about going up to get the football. A quarterback will need that kind of assurance when the line in front of him could easily be better.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers select LT Jack Conklin
I think they want to help the defense. But it may be too early for Vernon Hargreaves III with a lot of concerns about his height and broad jump. Do the Bucs still bite? Their offensive like overachieved last year, so a small regression could be in order. That could be mitigated by adding a talent like Conklin.
Fantasy Implications: Anything that gives Jameis Winston more time to throw the ball to Mike Evans is a boon for fantasy owners. Winston, in a position as deep as quarterback, could crack the top 12. Maybe Jillian as onto something.
The New York Giants select DE Joey Bosa
You knew he’d eventually find a home, right? Everyone knows the Giants need more depth on their offensive line, but Conklin was just selected. But remember when the Giants were beating Tom Brady and the Patriots and winning those Super Bowls? Yeah, me too. I always remember when Tom Brady gets beat. Anyway, what they had was a relentless pass rush. They had three legitimate threats in Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, and then Umenyiora, Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul is still there, and they just gave Olivier Vernon more cash than Trump needs to build his wall. Add in Bosa, someone with a Hemi for a motor and you have the makings of a ferocious defensive line. I think this is the perfect home for Bosa, one where he won’t have to be the man, where he can be a complimentary piece and just asked, at least right away, to get after the QB. If he lands in New York with the Giants, it pains me to say this, but he’s likely to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Fantasy Implications: If all breaks right, he could be a solid IDP play. He wouldn’t be a starter, more of a situational pass rusher. But remember what that did for Aldon Smith some time ago? Could also help the Giants D/ST be a solid streaming play. They don’t have an overly difficult schedule this year, playing the AFC North and NFL North, plus a 3rd place schedule to boot. Keep an eye on them.
Stay tuned for part two, covering picks 11-21.