For NFL veterans, Draft Day is unlike any experience in the world. It’s a mixture of Christmas with a little bit of death mixed in. The new crop of talent comes in and it’s like Christmas for these NFL veterans.
These veterans get new toys to play with and new weapons in their arsenal. Some on the other hand are slowly coming to the realization that they are about to be replaced.
So here are the five NFL veterans that I believe benefited the most from last week’s draft. These players should have a better Fantasy Football season based on the presence of their new teammates.
Five Happy Post-Draft NFL Veterans
1. Andre Johnson/Matt Schaub, Houston
With the Texans’ first pick, they selected former Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins. This kid is a star in the making, and Johnson finally has someone to draw some coverage off him. For the past few years, Johnson has been asking for wide receiver help, finally his prayers were answered. While this will take double-teams off Johnson, it will also help open up the passing game. Houston’s problem over the past few years in the playoffs, is being stacked up against eight defenders in the box. Their stretch running plays and play actions aren’t quite as effective in the playoffs against a stout defense as they are in the regular season.It’s a lot like the Denver Nuggets of the NBA, a talented diverse team that can win any regular season game, but struggles when the grind of the playoffs come around.
Hopkins is the next stud receiver that will be picked up off waiver wires across the Fantasy universe. Some of his red flags include injuries and personal problems. This has been one of those kids in college who gets suspended, doesn’t work hard, gets injured and is hard to trust. His talent will overcome his inability to make the right decisions off the field. What wide receiver isn’t a diva anyway? He also got a spot on the Clemson basketball team, further emphasizing his athleticism and abilities as a wideout.
2. Rashard Mendenhall/Ryan Williams, RB, Arizona
The Arizona Cardinals took Clemson running back Andre Ellington, also from Clemson with their sixth-round selection. Why did he drop so far? It’s simple — injuries. Just like the fear with most football players, injuries have hampered this kid, yet his talent is undeniable. I watched a lot of Clemson football this last year, and when you see him run, his NFL talent is undeniable.
Honestly, I would have taken Ellington over any other back in the draft. When you see him play, you can just see that NFL swagger that’s hard to come by. He’s got a burst unlike any player I’ve seen since C.J. Spiller. In this thin Arizona backfield, He should find himself with a shared starting role with players like Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams. This formidable threesome should be able to pound the rock for Arizona and bring them back closer to a .500 record.
Not only that, but Ellington’s a dynamic back that can catch the ball out of the backfield, as well. Over the past two seasons at Clemson this young man has ran for 2,000 yards, 20 tds, and has over 300 yards receiving. The thing I like most is his 5+ yards per carry. This young man is a playmaker with the ball in his hands, and he can go the distance on any play.
3. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia
Another veteran with a big smile on his face on Draft Day was former All Pro, Michael Vick. Anyone who watched this terrible team get 20 prime time games last year could tell you this team NEEDS an offensive line. They finally added a key centerpiece. They got a big right tackle to cover Vick’s blind side — Oklahoma’s 6-foot-6, 300-pound, Lane Johnson.
This team is just one or two players from making a serious run. Not too long ago, this “dream team” was the talk of the NFL, only to get seven wins in a very disappointing season. At the beginning of last year, they had 8-to-1 odds to win the Super Bowl.
They are now 40-to-1 and a huge value bet — if you’re into those sort of things. It hurt to watch all the hits Vick would take, and the Eagles were tied for first with their quarterback getting hit the most. This recipe will undoubtedly fail in the NFL. All Vick needs is a little time in the pocket to show off that rocket arm and runner’s legs.
4. Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis
The next player who improved the most through the Draft is struggling quarterback Sam Bradford. He is near the end of his rope and if he can’t figure it out this year he might be done in St. Louis. With their first-round selection, the Rams took West Virginia WR Tavon Austin. This is a player who is small, 5-foot-8 170 lbs.
What their hoping for out of Austin is to produce the next Percy Harvin. This young man has the tools to be a special talent. With his quick feet and great catching ability, he will be a big factor. They’ll use him exclusively for short screens, kick returning, and as a deep threat. I believe he has what it takes to become a star, as long as he can stay healthy in that tiny body.
This is the Rams’ final straw for Bradford — if it doesn’t work out this year, he could be gone. Unfortunately, this franchise has done a poor job in bringing in wideouts. Along with Austin’s staggering numbers last year, his combine was unmatchable. He ran an almost perfect 20-yard shuttle and was one of the top players in the 40-yard dash. This team — who went undefeated in the division last year — is looking for a nice spark and Austin may just be that guy.
5. Mark Sanchez, QB, N.Y. Jets
The last guy I’m going to talk about will be a bit of a surprise, the great Mark Sanchez of the attention-grabbing New York Jets. He needed a kick in the ass worse than any quarterback in the league. The Jets took the right step by adding quarterback Geno Smith. While I honestly believe this situation will crumble and fail, I do think drafting Smith was the right choice. While Sanchez is a bad quarterback, he is still starter-worthy in the QB-thin league we are in today.
All the stupid Tim Tebow antics last year and distractions for Mark just set him up to fail. If you want to know how not to develop a quarterback properly, watch the New York Jets. I think Sanchez with a healthy Santonio Holmes is bound to have a bounce-back season, with Geno riding his backside for a starting spot.
If Sanchez was just average, based on his numbers, this year will look something like 20 TDs, 15 INTs, and 3,000 passing yards. Those are decent numbers for a quarterback; they’re not great but their OK.
I think with Geno in the background and a healthy receiving corps Sanchez is poised to have a 25-TD season and lead his team to a shocking seven wins. With all the slack Sanchez gets, I think he will rebound and find his place in the league.
Although, this year’s draft was a weaker class than past year’s, there are many weapons that will influence Fantasy Football for years to come.