I guess I’m gonna roll up on you with a series. Undervalued from their average draft position. Guys to snap up when the time comes. Not so much sleepers, but sleeper like substances.
Note: I will throw in a defense from the 12-16th round. Especially after Stewart Bradley’s ACL injury, this defense has real sleeper value.
QB: David Garrard (10.06 ADP)
There’s never much of the Cansei De Ser Sexy with David Garrard. He’s never been a stud QB. Somewhere between 10th and 12th place. That’s where Garrard lives, though in fairness he hasn’t had much to throw to. And for a 10th round pick? It’s great value. That being said? There’s reason to hope. With Tra Thomas and the draft picks of Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, you have to figure the offensive line will be stronger than last year.
The receiving corps? It’s not without it’s upside. Torry Holt could be in line for a renaissance, but his knee is shaky. Mike Walker held off Brandon Marshall in college, but his knees love to shear the ligaments off the bone. But you want to know the strange thing? The Jaguars love all three wideouts that they’ve drafted. I personally love Jarrett Dillard, but do not sleep on the burner that is Mike Wallace or Tiquan Underwood.
So, what you have here is a fringe starter with tremendous upside.
RB: Ray Rice (8.11 ADP), Earnest Graham (9.10 ADP)
I love Ray Rice. He’s a fringe RB2 who could explode. If he gets 300 carries it’s 1200 yards and 8 scores (with another 35-40 points as a receiver). It’s likely going to be a RBBC scenario. But as it stands? He’ll probably get 900 yards rushing, 300 yards receiving, and 8 total scores. Not as sure that he’ll be the consistent 20 carry guy.
Earnest Graham is probably going to be the 35-40% of the carries guy in the RBBC that Tampa’s going to have if it all breaks right. Will he get the majority of the run on the goal line? Remains to be seen. But you know what? Ward’s got a streak of the injury prone in him. And all Mr. Graham does is run with grit and guts. For 9th round ADP, he could steal his way into a Top 20 numbers.
WR: Donnie Avery (8.05 ADP), Domenik Hixon (11.06 ADP)
There are three schools of thought on Donnie Avery. One, he’s going to be someone in the Lee Evans school of tantalizing but ultimately disappointing with multiple seasons as a overdrafted bust. Two, he’s going to be like Bernard Berrian or Santana Moss as a boom-bust candidate who will run with a 6-181-3, 1-5, 3-161-2, 2-12 series of games. Or three, could he be Greg Jennings? Well, could he be a strong WR2?
I say to that yes. He kind of has a Steve Smith skill set. He’s supercharged with speed, and you see him developing the ability to take the slant pattern to the barn. They’ve done work refurbishing the line, and they don’t have anyone else. I believe. He’s got 75-1100-8 in his stride.
As for Hixon? You’re looking at a potential #1 receiver who did well in replacing a seemingly untenable situation. He dropped a TD in the playoff game and with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, you’re seeing Giants fans sleep on Hixon. Smith is a valid safety valve, and Nicks does have hands of glue. But someone needs to run the twenty yard out pattern and go up and get it. Bet on Hixon.
TE: Zach Miller (10.12 ADP), John Carlson (9.07 ADP), Dustin Keller (11.02 ADP)
These three tight ends are similar. All are young. All will likely get the number of targets that are commiserate with a wide receiver. All are going into year two or year three. And you’re going to see at least one of them go off.
Zach Miller’s been the lone dependable part of the Raiders passing game. While he inexplicably had one target last season when the Raiders were in a pure goal line situation? He ended up with 86 targets. Goal line trust waxes and wanes, he’s going to get 60 catches and 800 yards either way. It’s only a matter of how many scores he gets.
Ironically, considering his ADP anyway, drafting John Carlson is the trickiest proposition. You are not going to see near the attrition that you have seen last year with the Seahawks passing game. But here’s the thing, Burleson has disappeared for seasons at a time and Branch has a horrid injury history. Carlson’s downside is stagnation. But watch to see who gets the ball in the first quarter.
Rookie quarterbacks are scary. Never mind last seasons rosterability of Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. Rookies are scary. But rookies love the safety valve. And while Jerricho Cotchery will not see his targets drop by any stretch? Most of the missing 120 targets that went to Coles last season are going to go to Dustin Keller.
But here’s why Keller is the most likely of these tight ends to breakout. He is the best mix of athleticism and receiving skills that the Jets have. He’s going to lose linebackers and overpower safeties. They will gameplan for him, but he’s a strong style force.
Def: Green Bay (14.06 ADP)
This may be the insane ramblings of a crazy person. But you look at Dom Capers, and you see a guy who brought three defenses up to speed with great rapidity. And you actually have defensive pieces in Green Bay that were pretty good in 2007, and only had trouble when the glue guy that is Cullen Jenkins went down. Capers generates sacks and stops scores. It’s bingo. Considering the torn ACL that we’ve already seen from Stewart Bradley? Hear me now and believe me later. The Green Bay Packers will be a top 5 defense.