NFL Draft Central

The Colts Lucked their way into the top pick – or should I say Sucked their way into Luck. Regardless they were able to secure what most experts think will be a franchise QB for the next decade. The Indy passing offense plummeted to 27th in the NFL under Curtis Painter (finished #1 in passing offense in 2010 with Peyton under center). At 6’4, 235 he has ideal size and played in a pro style the past two years under current 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh. Luck could emerge as a decent BYE week filler later in the season but the bumps in the road will likely limit his production early on.

Over the next month we are going to profile the most relevant offensive skill position players that were selected in April’s draft (sorry O-line). Today we present an article from that takes a look at each of the 32 teams with some insight on all of the players that heard their names called during the draft. This piece also grades each team to determine what level of fantasy impact the rookie skill position players will have for this upcoming season.

The Giants run game ranked a league worst 32nd in the league last season (89 YPG). The defending Super Bowl champs let Brandon Jacobs walk (signed with San Francisco). Big Blue’s thunder & lightning ground attack was in need of a jolt of youth which led to the selection of Virginia Tech’s David Wilson with the final pick of the first round (#32 overall). The ACC Player of the Year ran for 1,709 yards in 2011 and topped 100 yards in 10 games.

The 31st overall pick in the 2012 draft has a very good chance at unseating Legarrette Blount as the week 1 starter in Tampa’s backfield. Let’s just hope that Blount took some offseason anger management classes as I’m sure he’ll want to deliver a knockout punch to another Boise State alum after Martin steals his starting job. The Ray Rice clone has the potential to emerge as a solid RB2 especially in PPR leagues. I would expect a 70-30 split in Martin’s favor to start the season with a very good chance that he sees the lion’s share of the workload in the 2nd half of the season. Martin is a true 3-down RB and his dynamic playmaking ability and pass catching prowess will be a welcomed addition for a Tampa offense that averaged just 18 PPG last season.

Peyton Hillis was a top 5 fantasy RB in 2010 and Richardson has a much higher fantasy ceiling so it wouldn’t be crazy to consider him as a 2nd round value despite not having taken an NFL snap. T-Rich has ideal size (5’11, 225) to be a workhorse RB and his solid pass blocking / receiving ability makes him a candidate for 20-25 carries a game. Richardson is a borderline RB1 and rock solid RB2 as the Browns boast a solid yet unspectacular offensive line.

The 2012 draft saw four WRs (Blackmon, Floyd, Wright, and Jenkins) come off the board in round 1 (one more than last season when Julio Jones, AJ Green and Jon Baldwin heard their names called on Day 1). We expect to see as many as 10 more WR go off the board by the end of tonight once rounds 2 and 3 are completed. Stephen Hill (Ga Tech) and Reuben Randle (LSU) were considered potential first rounders and will be hot commodities when round 2 kicks off . The Rams and Colts own the first two picks of the round and have glaring needs at the WR position.

The Georgia Tech triple option offense relies heavily on the ground game which limits the production of its WRs causing many draft experts to question whether Stephen Hill will have a steep learning curve at the NFL level. The junior WR hauled in just 28 catches for 820 yards and 5 TDs in 2011 but his ideal size (6’4) / speed combo (4.36 forty) is intriguing. Hill also led the country with an eye pooping 29 YPC average this past season – a true sign of his potential as an explosive WR at the next level.

Wilson was the ACC Player of the Year in his first season as a starter. The 5-foot-10, 205-pounder is one of the more explosive backs in this draft class who has shown an ability to make tacklers miss. He had a breakout season in 2011 as the Va Tech junior rushed for 1,709 yards and nine TDs on 290 carries (5.9 YPC). His impressive combine performance very well may have cemeneted his first round status and teams like Cincy, Cleveland, Tampa, Denver, and Green Bay figure to consider Wilson with an early round pick.

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