1) Bernard Berrian, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings
Reason: Sidney Rice
Team: Nicholas Minnix | Team Roster
stole Berrian's thunder, and Percy Harvin
put a fork in him. If (when) No. 4 returns, this offense could be just as explosive as it was last season. Berrian and Brett Favre
took awhile to get on the same page. Berrian suffered through a nagging hamstring strain or ankle injury for pretty much all of 2009. His best game of the year came against the New Orleans Saints
in the NFC Championship game (nine receptions, 109 yards), when he felt right. I can picture a scenario in which Sidney Rice
(some pounding on that hip) or Percy Harvin
(migraines) misses time, too.
2) Roy Williams, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys
Team: Tim Heaney | Team Roster
Big shoes to fill
Reason: For my No. 6, why not? He's still in competition for No. 2 work. Dez Bryant is a rookie, after all, and might not make the impact many are hoping for. An eight-touchdown, 700-yard season from Roy Dubs isn't hard to ask for in this offense. The contract year and his fall from grace should wake him up a bit.
3) Matt Leinart, quarterback, Arizona Cardinals
Team: Ilan Mochari | Team Roster
Leinart quietly completed 66.2 percent of his passes last season. I believe he will put up big numbers at the helm of an offense that looked just fine without Anquan Boldin
in the playoffs. Even without Boldin, Leinart still has three terrific receivers and two productive running backs at his disposal. And if he fails to deliver? It's not the end of the world for my team, since I have Philip Rivers
. But if Leinart finally lives up to his first-round promise, I believe he will out produce the Kevin Kolb
s and Chad Henne
s of the world. His supporting cast is certainly good enough, as is the offensive system he plays in.
4) Mark Sanchez, quarterback, New York Jets
Team: Mike Egnak | Team Roster
I took the risky move here and picked a quarterback that has the same bye week as my starter. I think Sanchez has a chance to break out with a strong supporting cast around him, and I'm hoping to be able to trade him before Week 7. Worse comes to worse, I cut him and pick someone up for the week.
5) Baltimore Ravens, defensive team/specials teams
Team: Ryan R. Bonini | Team Roster
Baltimore's defense may be getting a bit older and have some injury questions, but they have a knack for big plays, turnovers and getting after opposing quarterbacks. What may benefit their "D" the most this year is their offense, which has the makings to be special. If Baltimore's offense plays up to their potential, it could put many opponents in catch-up mode, which will allow the defense to tee off.
6) Green Bay Packers, defensive team/special teams
Team: Keith Hernandez | Team Roster
I'm not usually keen on drafting team defenses this early, but
nothing else stood out to me at this spot. Dom Capers
and the Pack's D have shown that they are good at forcing turnovers - they led
the league with 30 picks last year and returned three of them for scores. Their
rush defense is also a strong point. The old secondary could be a concern, but
(knee) are two of the best at their position. The frozen tundra of
Lambeau Field remains of the best homefield advantages in the NFL
and the Packers
definitely know how to make use of
it on defense.
7) John Carlson, tight end, Seattle Seahawks
Team: Jack Douglas | Team Roster
I needed a second tight end and Carlson is a good sleeper. He gets little fanfare but plays well and has a fair amount of upside. He is just entering his third pro season, so he has lots of tread remaining on his tires. In 2009 he caught 51 balls for 574 yards and seven touchdowns. He will be a good backup for when Dallas Clark
has the week off or if he is injured.
8) Mario Manningham, wide receiver, New York Giants
Team: Tim Piotrowski | Team Roster
Carlson as a sleeper?
Reason: I went with Manningham here because he should be a quality No. 3 receiver that could have a chance to compete for the No. 2 job during training camp. The Giants may pass a bit more this season if their running back is not able to improve some from last season.
9) Matt Cassel, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs
Team: John Kotch | Team Roster
offense should be improved overall this season. Cassel should have an improved offensive line and an effective running game to work with. The addition of wide receiver Dexter McCluster
gives Cassel what should be a viable option in the slot. The hiring of Charlie Weis
as offensive coordinator should also benefit Cassel, who is a decent backup with some upside.
10) Denver Broncos, defensive team/special teams
Team: Jared Byrd | Team Roster
Denver had the seventh-best overall defense in the league last season, allowing an average of 315 yards per game. It helps that six of their games will come against arguably the worst division in football, the AFC West. I'm hoping their play this year more closely resembles their first-half performance rather than their second-half slump.
11) Golden Tate, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks
Team: Cory J. Bonini | Team Roster
I see enough upside in Tate to make him the second rookie receiver on my team. I've never done that before. He should be an underneath option in the passing game but has the ability to turn it upfield for big gains. I'm not crazy about his sloppy route-running ability, but Tate is dynamic enough to give me upside in my fifth receiver - just as long as his sweet tooth doesn't get the best of him.
12) Dustin Keller, tight end, New York Jets
Team: Bryce McRae | Team Roster
Reason: New York plans to loosen the reins on quarterback Mark
Sanchez, and he and Keller have been working together in the offseason to
make sure they're on the same page. The Jets are
also adding new plays to their offense to specifically exploit Keller's skills.
His finish to '09 was only the beginning. He's a solid flex play or contingency
plan should Chris Cooley not be able to return
to form after last year's ankle injury.
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