By now, everyone should remember the steals and incredibly dumb misses that I had in the early rounds, and how I tried to make up for those mistakes in the middle rounds. For this article, I’m going to change my style a little bit. Before, I was writing out all of the picks as well as my strategy for each round. Instead, I’m going to focus more on my picks so that this doesn’t get too long-winded. Each player will have the round that I drafted them in and my rationale essentially in a vacuum.
So, with that said, let’s get started!
Round 16: Kam Chancellor
This is the only pick that I didn’t make myself. Sometimes we have real lives, and we can’t draft the players we want. C’e la vie. That said, I’m not upset about it. Despite his hold-out, Chancellor is a monster for picking up tackles. Few DBs will be as reliable in points as Chancellor should be. While the hold-out scares me, this is a talent over everything situation.
Round 17: Brandon Marshall (LB)
I’m taking a huge risk with this pick. There’s a very good chance that Marshall doesn’t even come close to his 2014 season based upon his situation alone. Marshall was phenomenal. He picked up a huge amount of tackles, was active in pass defense, and even contributed on the rush. That said, he’s competing with Danny Trevathan for the starting spot. The worst case scenario is that they both play well in the preseason and each have diminished play-time as a result. Luckily, Marshall is in the final year of his rookie contract and should find himself in a better situation come 2016 even if his 2015 ends up being lackluster.
Round 18: Fletcher Cox
I love Cox. There, I said it. He’s an ascending talent on a defense that loves to hit hard and fast. For a defensive end, he has a high tackle rate. Cox had a tackle every 8.2 plays in which he had the opportunity to make a play (PFF). If he keeps being the linchpin of the Eagles defense, then there is a huge potential for Cox to be a long-term stud.
Round 19: Roy Helu
Helu has been underutilized for years. He’s a great PPR running back and will likely be a significant part of Oakland’s running game. Plus, he’s still incredibly young. Helu should be on the field for a good amount of Oakland’s 3rd down plays, and he has a good shot at stealing carries from Latavius Murray.
Round 20: Michael Crabtree
If you remember my first Dynasty Noob article, you’ll remember that I did a write-up on why Crabtree had a good chance for success in Oakland. I’m a believer, so I’m going to take a chance on him. His upside was always top tier, so I’m willing to take him here as my WR5 to limit my risk while maximizing my investment potential.
Round 21: Calvin Pryor
At this point, I’m pretty confident in my DBs. I have two safe guys in Harrison Smith and Kam Chancellor and I’m pairing them with two high-upside guys in Jonathan Cyprien and Calvin Pryor. Last year, Pryor struggled because he was miscast as a FS. Now that he gets to play his more natural SS position, Pryor should be able to bring the boom. The hope is that Todd Bowles brings the dominant defense that he had in Arizona.
Round 22: Owa Odighizuwa
Most of you will look at this pick and just scratch your head. Don’t. Owa may have slipped in the draft, but he was a clear top 20 talent in this year’s draft. He’s a dominant run defender with great instincts. While he won’t be the most effective as a pass rusher, my league is tackle-heavy anyways, so I bet on his potential. The only worry is his injury history. His hips checked out at the combine, though, so I’m proceeding with him cautiously. Also, for those interested, I highly recommend checking out Justis Mosqueda’s #ForcePlayers project. Owa is only one of this year’s standout Force Players.
Round 23: Shane Vereen
Vereen seems like a perfect fit in New York for me. The Giants love to air out the football, and Vereen adds a consistent target for Eli in the flats. With OBJ drawing defenders out of the box, Vereen should be in a good place for his talents to excel.
Round 24: Benardrick McKinney
Of the three stud linebackers from this year’s draft class, McKinney is the most risky. Stephone Anthony just oozes talent and is put in a place to maximize his immediate impact on the Saints where he’ll take a large percentage of starting snaps. Eric Kendricks goes to a team in similar need with the Vikings. That said, while both are in better situations, McKinney has the talent and situation that could make him a future star linebacker for the Texans.
Round 25: Stedman Bailey
Unfortunately, this is my most regretted pick. I’ve actually already dropped Bailey. While he was productive in the Rams’ offense, he just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He has a decent chance of 80 or so targets, but with Brian Quick returning and the supposed emergence of Tavon Austin, Bailey’s role is in jeopardy, especially with Kenny Britt being the Rams’ most consistent receiver.
Round 26: Henry Anderson
This draft season, I bought into the Anderson hype. Big time. He brings intelligence and athleticism with a certain savvy for the game that’s hard to teach. Once Anderson starts seeing the field, his role should only increase. I’m hoping that he turns out to be a stud, but at this price, if he doesn’t pan out, that’s fine.
Round 27: Eric Ebron
I was honestly surprised that Ebron fell this far. He has potential top 10 TE upside. With Travis Kelce as my starting TE, I can afford to wait for Ebron to mature. As reports come out of training camps, I’m incredibly happy that I made this pick.
Round 28: Ryan Mallett
I needed a back-up QB. Mallett was one of the few potential starting QBs left on the market, and I made sure to grab him. While Mallett has suffered from accuracy issues throughout his whole career, he definitely has the arm talent to take the team a long way and make plays. Since the league is 6 point passing TDs, I’m betting on his aggression to get me points. If he loses the starting job to Hoyer, I’m a bit screwed, but I made my move with who I could.
Round 29: Josh Robinson
The most accurate description of Josh Robinson that I’ve heard is an older Frank Gore. And in no way is that an insult. Robinson has that lower center of gravity and bowling ball style. On top of that, he gets to mature as a runner behind the original Frank Gore. While he may not have an immediate impact, I feel confident in Robinson as a long term investment.
Round 30: Carl Davis
Just like in the draft, Davis slid much farther than he should have. In round 30, I see Davis as a steal. The potential replacement for Haloti Ngata, Davis should hold an important role on the Ravens defense sooner rather than later. With the Ravens linebacking corps, Davis should benefit from seeing a larger number of plays bouncing outside than DEs on other teams.
Round 31: Brian Quick
This is another player that I feel like I stole. Quick has great upside if he can stay healthy. He looked great last year, and we’re looking for him to continue that success next year.
Round 32: Preston Smith
Speaking of Force Players, Smith is another player on Mosqueda’s list. But that’s not actually why I took him. I scouted Smith because of his potential as a swing DE/DT in a 4-3 system. One of Smith’s standout traits is his ability to bend the edge. When I drafted Smith, it was the hope that he would fill Brian Orakpo’s role. Little did I know that the Redskins would sign Junior Galette. That said, I still have Smith on my roster. Galette is not a long term option in Washington. Smith is.
Round 33: Conner Barth
You need a kicker. I tend to like kickers that are on offenses that have strong potential but also have the ability to get stuck in the red zone. With Peyton Manning fading, this is exactly the kind of situation that I’m looking for. I can either have tons of points from extra points or stall points from field goals.
Round 34: George Iloka
I love Iloka in coverage. In the NFL that is seeing more of a transition to bigger roles for tight ends, it’s important to have that strong cover safety, and Iloka is just that. He also plays a ridiculous amount of snaps. Iloka has the potential to be a great source for pass defense points.
Round 35: DeAndre Smelter
I saw this as highway robbery. Smelter should have been gone long ago. His potential is amazing. He’s huge with dinner plate hands and is an excellent blocker. Smelter is an athletic specimen and I needed him on my team.
Round 36: Brett Hundley
I’m drafting Hundley to be patient. While he will likely not start over Aaron Rodgers any time soon, Hundley has the potential to be a top tier starter if the Packers take the time to educate him and mold him into a confident passer.
Round 37: Mark Barron
So what if Barron hasn’t been all that successful in the NFL so far? The potential is still there. Barron has all the makings of a top tier safety. If he makes it even remotely close to what was expected of him during the draft, he’s well worth the incredibly late pick.
Round 38: Kevin Minter
While his first two seasons have been a disappointment, Minter has been a strong run defender. He generates a solid amount of tackles as is, and if he can become a reliable pass defender, then he should see his role expand.
Round 39: Tre McBride
McBride was a draft community darling this offseason. He has size, strength, speed. What he needs now is competition and experience at the highest level. With rumblings of unhappiness with Justin Hunter in Tennessee, McBride has the chance to force his way into a role. If he must start on special teams, so be it. I’ve drafted a number of receivers already, so I can afford to be patient.
Round 40: Jeff Janis
Janis was always going to be incredibly raw. He had inconsistent hands and suffered from lower competition in college. That said, there have been some pretty big flashes of his Julio-esque potential. The first preseason game of the year Janis showed how badly he can burn a defense when he took a 26 yard pass from Scott Tolzein to the house. After struggling in drills, it’s his game potential that really sells Janis.
The final roster:
QB: Drew Brees, Blake Bortles, Ryan Mallett, Brett Hundley
RB: Le’Veon Bell, CJ Anderson, Ameer Abdullah, Roy Helu, Josh Robinson
WR: Odell Beckham, Martavis Bryant, Marvin Jones, Cody Latimer, Michael Crabtree, Stedman Bailey, Brian Quick, DeAndre Smelter, Tre McBride, Jeff Janis
TE: Travis Kelce, Eric Ebron
K: Conner Barth
DB: Harrison Smith, Jonathan Cyprien, Kam Chancellor, Calvin Pryor, George Iloka, Mark Barron
DL: Sheldon Richardson, Fletcher Cox, Owa Odighizuwa, Henry Anderson
LB: Luke Kuechly, Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, Benardrick McKinney, Kevin Minter
So, how did I do? Are there any players I should have avoided? Did I make up for passing on Mike Evans early? Let me know!
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