The 2013 NFL Draft gets everyone excited about what could be — but there are several NFL veteran players that know their time as a starter might be short. It can’t be a good feeling to see your employer go out and spend a valuable draft pick on someone they hope will be good enough to replace you.
So we broke down the draft and looked at depth charts, trying to to figure out which veteran players might be in deep trouble.
You should really think twice before considering these guys in your Fantasy Football draft, considering their NFL teams are already thinking twice.
How this list was made
This article will use the methodology that I talked about in last week’s article (Judging Which Veteran Players are in Trouble After the NFL Draft). I’ll take into consideration three variables to calculate the most critical position battles: the talent of the player
drafted, the talent of the veteran player who will compete with the drafted player, and the position these players play.
Top 5 Veteran Players in Trouble
5. Kevin Kolb, QB, Buffalo
One of Bruce Arians’ goals as newly hired head coach of the Cardinals was to make sure that the team’s quarterback play was improved upon from last year. That meant Kevin Kolb — you’re out. And Carson Palmer — you’re in.
It stands to reason that after Arizona released Kolb, and the Bills took a flyer on the veteran quarterback, that Buffalo would not go into the season with Kolb as their only signal caller. That would be a torture of the cruelest nature for a town that has suffered through a seemingly never-ending quarterback shuffle and perpetual streak of losing seasons. Bills fans cringed at the idea of another mediocre season by another scrap-heap quarterback that threw for 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions over the last two seasons.
But fear not Buffalo, because help is on the way.
Buffalo traded out of their No. 8 spot with the Rams’ pick at 16, to pick Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel, and simultaneously say to Kolb, “You really thought you were our quarterback?”
Manuel has a lot going for him, but there are some specific reasons why Bills fans should be excited.
For one, he is not Kevin Kolb. Two, he is not Kevin Kolb.
OK, let’s be serious. At FSU, Manuel finished with the third-highest completion percentage in ACC history (66.67). Manuel has also said, via the team’s official website, that the offense the team will run is “definitely a new type of offense. It’s an innovative offense … It’s something I’m excited to work into and learn.”
The Bills will most likely look to take advantage of Manuel’s speed and playmaking ability. Speed and playmaking ability: two attributes that do not come to mind when anyone thinks of Kevin Kolb. (Gonos ranks Manuel as the top rookie QB in Fantasy Football for 2013.
4. T.J. Graham/Any Bills WR not named Stevie Johnson
After the Bills failed to tender a contract to free agent Donald Jones, it looked like second-year wide receiver T.J. Graham would get a chance to show the potential that made the Bills draft him in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
(By the way, I know the number four and five players on this list play for the Bills, and that this could be the most anyone talks about the Bills this year. I’ll speed through number four as fast as I can for our readers that could care less about Buffalo, which is probably all of them, but show some empathy! Preseason is the only time of year Bills fans can get excited!)
With their second- and third-round picks, the Bills selected Robert Woods, out of the USC, and Marquise Goodwin, out of Texas. The combination of these receivers, and incumbent veteran Stevie Johnson, could give Bills fans a reason to be excited beyond the preseason this year.
3. Alex Green/James Starks, RB, Green Bay
Headed into the offseason, the Packers made it a priority to improve on their offense that finished 22nd in rushing yards per game and 22nd in rushing yards per attempt.
The team lost 2012 offseason addition Cedric Benson four games into the season, and was left with Alex Green and James Starks to fill the void. It looks like the team has decided to scrap the idea of a Green/Starks backfield in 2013 with the addition of not one, but two running backs selected in last week’s draft.
While many Packer fans were pleased that Alabama’s Eddie Lacy fell to them in the second round, cheese heads should also be pleased with fourth-round pick, Johnathan Franklin. (And yes, he spells his name Johnathan with an “h.” I looked at several websites before I was convinced that it wasn’t some mistake.)
Franklin had his best season at UCLA as a senior when he rushed for 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns. But, as you may have heard me say, Franklin is a four-year college running back, something that does not equate to success in the NFL very often, and lacks pass protection ability, which is essential for a running back in the Green Bay pass happy offense.
(Gonos currently ranks Lacy third among rookie running backs, and Franklin ranks eighth.)
2. Isaac Redman/Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh
Headed into 2012, the Steelers hoped that a tandem of Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman would be enough to sustain a serviceable ground attack — at least until Rashard Mendenhall made his return from offseason ACL surgery.
Not only were Dwyer and Redman rendered impotent throughout the year — they combined to score more than 10 Fantasy points in a week just five times last year. Mendenhall was never himself, and was plagued by injuries and poor play throughout the season. Last year, the Steelers were 26th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, 29th in rushing yards per attempt, and they looked towards last week’s draft to solve their backfield problems.
The solution? Le’Veon Bell. Bell is a dynamic back that will make an impact from the first day he steps on the field. Anyone who watched Bell’s Michigan State team take on Boise State last year will be able to give a testament to Bell’s athleticism and big play ability. Along with Denver’s Montee Ball, they should be among the top rookies drafted in any Fantasy Football league.
1. Mark Sanchez, QB, N.Y. Jets
In 2012, Mark Sanchez compiled a stat total with a scent that resembled the aroma of a tire fire: 54.3 completion percentage, 13 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, and nine fumbles.
Sanchez was so bad last year in fact, the team decided that they needed to spend their second-round draft pick on West Virginia’s Geno Smith, one year after Sanchez signed a five-year $58.25 million contract. All this while the team has other problems beside their quarterback play.
The Jets recently traded arguably the best defensive player in the NFL — Darrelle Revis. They have no running back on their roster that has rushed for more than 750 yards in a season, and their biggest offensive weapon (Santonio Holmes) is coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury.
The Jets have made it well known that they would like to trade Sanchez, but who would want him? The pick of Geno Smith is a move of a team on the rebuild, and it does not appear that Sanchez is part of the renovation plans.
Obviously, there are a ton of veteran players that are in trouble because of the 200-plus players joining the NFL this season. These are just a handful that are really sweating it out this summer. Which veteran players do you think are in deep trouble?