NFL Draft recap: 5 moves with most fantasy impact

30 04 2009

1. Cards grab Wells. Days later, Arizona cuts The Edge. Clearly, the Cardinals have a loaded offense but the 39.5 yards a game last season from Edgerrin James were not going to cut it. Chris Wells (Ohio State) is expected to battle with Tim Hightower (no, not the guy from Police Academy) for the lead running back spot. Whoever wins it, should expect around 20 carries a game. But beware: this is a prime spot for a TD vulture. If not a goal-line TD artist, then Larry Fitzgerald could also snag some cheap scores. Keep a close eye on this RB tandem during training camp.

2. Michael Crabtree falls to the Niners. Think about another talented WR who had off-field issues that left him sitting around draft day longer than expected. This WR was picked No. 21, and he entered the NFL on a mission to burn the teams that passed on him. Randy Moss caught 17 touchdowns his rookie season and helped the Vikings develop one of the most potent offenses in NFL history over the next several years. He rejuvenated his career with the Patriots, setting the single season touchdown reception record in 2007 with 23. Could Crabtree become another superstar like Moss? Only time will tell. For those in keeper leagues, the potential of high reward could be worth an early-round selection.

3. Lions grab Pettigrew. The jury is out on the Lions first selection in the first round, Matthew Stafford. He will be paid handsomely but will he succeed? The Lions used their second pick in the first round to grab a TE that Stafford may come to rely on — quickly. Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma) is very athletic and strong, and could be destined to be a top TE in the league. Young QBs often look toward their TEs for help so Pettigrew could up some decent numbers. He won’t be a top 10 to start the season but will likely provide more value at his position than his fellow Lions rookie.

4. Colts select RB Brown. This is another team that is potentially looking at a rookie RB as part of a time-share. Donald Brown (UConn) will start as the backup to Joseph Addai. But in the Colts offense, there is plenty of talent, yards and scores to go around. Running yards (544) and scores (5 running, 2 receiving) were disappointing for Addai last season. If he gets off to a slow start, the Colts new regime may be tempted to give Brown a real shot. Addai is the clear top choice from the Colts backfield, but Brown will be worth a reserve position.

5. Jets zoom up to get Sanchez. Years from now, it will be clear whether Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez was the better pick. Remember the great Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf debate from the late 1990s? It didn’t take long for pro football fans to see that the Colts made the right pick. Will the Jets be rewarded with their draft day dealings to nab Sanchez? Only time will tell. As the New York Daily News reports, Sanchez gives the Jets a QB of the future. But they still need a top-tier wideout to lead an average cast and complement emerging tight end Dustin Keller. Sanchez will likely have a rough first year but he may be worth stashing as a second or third QB, especially in keeper leagues.

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