I’ve said it before, no one cares where lineman get drafted. So here are the players selected in the 2014 NFL draft this weekend, who you need to keep an eye on for the upcoming season.
This year’s winner for the draft is definitely the Jags. With the third pick in the draft, they selected Blake Bortles, who checks in at 6’4″, 230 lbs. The guy has great talent, passing for almost 300 yds. per game, breaking pretty much every school record, and ending the 2013 campaign with a total QBR of 163.4. And let’s be real, kudos to the Jags’ organization for passing on Johnny Manziel and the circus that will inevitably follow him. It seems like every few years there is a QB coming out of college, who transcends normal athletic ability, and the media turns that player’s declaration of pro status into an impetus for some pro organization to suckle his big left toe and name him the starter.
I’m glad they passed (or were forced to pass, whatevs).
Bortles’ size is one thing, (guys like Cam Newton and Big Ben use their size to their advantage), but the talent that the Jags also picked up to help shoulder the load, I think, is what makes them the clear fantasy draft winners.
Remember how the Chargers have sucked since…well, for a long time. Then, last year, they picked up a huge receiver in Keenan Allen. And all he did was go for 1,000+ yards and help his team get into the playoffs. Having a WR at 6’2″ or greater is a must for any franchise these days. Guys like Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Dez Bryant stand out because they have the size to take a hit and still go up and get the ball. And in this year’s draft, the Jags picked up two huge receivers, who could help turn the franchise around next year, in Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson with their 39th and 61st picks respectively.
Marqise Lee runs a little shorter than desired at 6’1″, but checks in at 195 lbs., and is widely viewed as one of the best steals in the draft. Why did he drop to 39? Well, his numbers at USC dropped last year, but anyone who is able to remotely be good in that trashcan fire deserves a gold medal, for sure, and he maintained his 14 yard average on catches, but just had less balls thrown his way. Lee still looked explosive, and the thought is that if he can come into a system with a good QB and routes that fit his style, he could easily be the next Keenan Allen.
Allen Robinson has more of the height at 6’2″. The Penn State product tore up the college ranks for nearly 1,500 yards last year, and with him, Lee, and potentially Shorts and Blackmon, the Jags could be flush with young raw talent. Whereas Lee is super fast and agile, Robinson is fundamentally sound and productive. Sending Lee deep and allowing Robinson to cover the short range should really help to open up the Jags’ offense next year, although having a RB would help. But Bortles can help with that, a la Cam Newton or RGIII. If recent history has proven anything, it’s that a mobile QB can excel for at least their first year.
And that is why Jacksonville is your 2014 fantasy winner in the draft.
Don’t get it twisted, though. There’s still many a rook to be had this upcoming fantasy season. Here are some guys to keep an eye out for in 2014, the guys who can come in and make a huge fantasy impact right away:
I have a feeling the Texans could be the fantasy behemoths on defense like they used to be. Him and J.J. Watt? Psssh, you might wanna burn an early pick on the Texans D this year.
The Bucs picked up this physical specimen of a WR, and if they can figure out some way to have a productive offense, this guy could be HUGE!!
How could you not have faith in ‘ol Johnny Boy?! As I mentioned, mobile QB’s do well for a year, then teams figure out how to stop them. Manziel is mobile, ergo his first season should be a smash. Don’t pick him as a QB1, but definitely a backup.
This dude might literally be the bridge over troubled waters for the Vikings. Bridgewater’s epic fail on his pro day cost him, but it also allowed the Vikes to pick up a desperately needed piece of the puzzle…an actual quarterback. I think his pro day might have just been a show of nerves, something that can be dealt with. I see him starting, and I see him handing the ball to Peterson about ten times in a row his first game, just to get the jitters out. Low-end QB1 for a big league, or backup with potential for most.
Sleeper Pick: Tre Mason
I know, I know, the Rams have Zac Stacy, who is a clear cut RB1, but you can’t deny the resume this guy has. He almost reached 2,000 yards rushing last year, and he could get an opportunity to gash defenses after Stacy wears them down with the ground and pound. Look for Mason to be a change of pace back and a short yardage receiver. I wouldn’t be surprised if they created some plays with both Stacy and Mason. Add to that the WR talent of Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin, and we could see some big offensive numbers from the Rams in 2014.