Archive for the ‘2013 NFL draft’ Category

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There’s a whole lot of talent to discuss with the Bucs, and a whole lot of potential for booming fantasy numbers. Then there’s Josh Freeman.

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It’s fascinating how opinions differ on former Syracuse offensive tackle Justin Pugh and his arm length. His arms are only 32 inches long, which is shorter than ideal (33-34 inches) for his position. That lack of length has led to many debating whether or not Pugh can play on the edge, where he’ll face endlessly long and speedy pass-rushers on a weekly basis. Jerry Reese, the New York Giants general manager who drafted him, isn’t concerned.

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As our search for fantasy value continues following the draft and we meander through the deepest depths of depth charts, my wandering gaze keeps coming back to the 49ers. Other members of the male species may have more conventional targets for said gaze. Not I.

Oh, those wild and crazy 49ers. When Colin Kaepernick isn’t loving himself tenderly while reminding us that he has a lot of money, he’ll be going all beastmode, especially with new receiver Anquan Boldin. Meanwhile, first-round pick Eric Reid should do just fine in Dashon Goldson’s old hole, and usually when you draft a guy who’s nicknamed Tank (Cornellius Carradine in the second round), that ends pretty well.

But it’s the 49ers’ other second-round pick who could provide sleeper value. Let’s meet Vance McDonald together.

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The Ravens entered last week’s draft with 10 picks, and seven of them were invested in the defensive side of the ball. Of the other three, only one player could touch a football with any frequency while trying to score (wide receiver Aaron Mellette, picked in the seventh round).

That was a predictable direction by general manager Ozzie Newsome, but it’s still concerning.

The Ravens’ defense was dealt repeated body blows during the early days of free agency, highlighted by the retirement of Ray Lewis, the need to release Bernard Pollard and make him a salary cap casualty, and then Paul Kruger, Ed Reed, and Dannell Ellerbe signed elsewhere.

So sure, it’s quite easy to understand the logic behind waiting until the 168th overall pick in the draft to select someone who doesn’t play defense. Because, you know, scoring points becomes a little futile when you can’t stop the other guys from doing the same. Matt Elam in the first round to replace Reed and play alongside Michael Huff made a whole lot of sense, as did Arthur Brown one round later.

But the hole left at wide receiver could lead to some mighty fine fantasy value.

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Together, let’s gaze upon the glory that is the draft pick cartoon.

David Rappoccio is a cartoonist who draws all things NFL over at The Draw Play. You’ll likely recall his British NFL logos (Rather Large Men…still the best).

His latest project was an exhaustive one: caricaturing the entire 2013 first round, and then some. You need to check out all 32 plus a few others, including Jon Gruden, Mel Kiper Jr., and Chris Berman, whose face is exceedingly red (purple?). Here are a few bits of the awesome…

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Everyone is picking on Geno Smith

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Anonymous sources and the information gleaned from them are a necessary — and often vital — aspect of how the media conducts itself. Without them, the public simply wouldn’t be exposed to certain information related to all topics, from sports to politics.

The distaste among some for sources that hide behind anonymity is understandable. When they’re relied on too heavily or used in abundance (example: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez by Selena Roberts, which used 19 anonymous sources for core information), they can subtract from the legitimacy of what’s written. This is especially true when those sources aren’t just used for factual information, but instead they make personal claims and attacks.

That’s sounding familiar. Every March and April during the pre-draft period that’s laced with rumors and speculation, we — the football following public — are asked to make decisions between fact and fiction while being bombarded with anonymous sources from all angles. An AFC scout says this guy is a two-down linebacker, and an NFC East scout says a quarterback is chronically noodle-armed. It’s dizzying.

Geno Smith was in the crosshairs of the blank face vitriol before the draft in Nolan Nawrocki‘s scouting report which relied on sources to lob shots from afar, and question his dedication and work ethic.

Now, just five days after his draft fall was complete and he went to the Jets in the second round, Smith’s character is being questioned again by people who don’t have names.

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Rookie fantasy impact is always tied to the depth chart, that evil touch killer. That’s true at any position, but it seems worse at running back, often because it is worse.

Unless we’re dealing with a more dynamic player who can be frequently utilized in the passing game (think someone who’s as tools-y as Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles), any blockage on the depth chart can lead to limited returns immediately.

Consider last year’s rookie class at the position, which was led by Trent Richardson. He was the Browns’ top running back the moment he finished his Roger Goodell shug, because usually that happens when a team can justify using a top three pick on a prospect at a highly combustible position. Doug Martin followed suit after beating out LeGarrette Blount,

Beyond them, though, the production of the 2012 rookie running backs was scattered, and that’s being rather polite. Despite the enormous potential he eventually showed and will continue to show this year, David Wilson was held back by Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown for much of the season. The likes of Isaiah Pead and LaMichael James (both second rounders) saw only deep and very limited reserve roles during the regular season, while Alfred Morris — easily the most successful rookie running back in 2012 with his 1,613 rushing yards, behind only Adrian Peterson — waited until the sixth round, and was initially an afterthought.

Therein lies the woefully unpredictable nature of the rookie fantasy running back. As we saw with Wilson and his fumbling, the hype train stops chugging with one wayward step.

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