The Den Returns!! A month or so (at least!) later than I had originally hoped, but we’re (finally) going to run thru what happened a few months ago in the 2005 NFL Rookie Draft. We’ll be running down each and every selection that was made on the offensive side of the ball, pointing out each player’s potential impact both in the short term (re-draft leagues) and long term (dynasty leagues).
I’ll be breaking down the positions into groups where I see their overall impact. As you know, the Dynasty Den is really geared towards those of you in dynasty leagues, so the rankings listed here will reflect that. In other words, these rankings are based on what I believe the player’s overall career will be like in the fantasy sense, this is by no means a ranking of how I think these players are going to perform in 2005.
Here’s how we’ll be breaking down the players:
Great White – Guys that have value in both the short (redraft) and long (dynasty) term
Hammerhead – Guys that may have short term value, but do have long term value
Blue – Guys that have an outside chance at helping in the short term, more likely will have long term value
Leopard – Virtually no short term value, slight chance of having some long term value
Sand – No short term value, little to no long term value
As always, if you think I’m a fool, drop me a line here: firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t always get a chance to respond to everyone (sorry!), but I do read everything. Thanks in advance and good luck!
The good thing about getting these articles off the ground later than usual is that I’ve had some time to digest what these players have been doing since being drafted. Had I done this a month after the draft, the order of the top two guys would have been different. But they still don’t qualify as Great White’s. Much like last year, I’m not a big fan of this year’s quarterback class, even now as I put the finishing touches on this article. There are questions aroung the “top” guys that were taken, and there is little depth to this year’s class as well. I don’t see much production from any of the drafted QBs in 2005, thus no player is ranked in the coveted Great White Category.
Alex Smith, San Francisco (1, 1, Utah)
I initially didn’t like Smith being taken over Rodgers, but now that I’ve had a chance to digest, San Francisco probably made the right call. They need a quarterback pretty much right away, and Smith is the most prepared of the 2005 Rookie QB class to step in and perform on an NFL field this fall. While I would not be surprised to see Tim Rattay hold onto the job for much of this year, if the team starts going south in the standings, then Smith will be put onto the field in preparation for 2006. I see Smith as a solid fantasy player, nothing really fantastic, but above average. While most of your dynasty drafts have already taken place, if you have to choosen between Smith and Rodgers, it probably comes down to when your team will be needing a quarterback. If you need one sooner than later, then Smith is your guy, if you can wait, then Rodgers should get the call.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (1, 24, California)
I originally had Rodger ahead of Green, but the early reports I’m getting on him are not good. Even though this excersize is to try and rank players based on their entire career before it happens, these reports have me a little worried. That said, don’t be fooled by Rodgers being selected so “low” in the first round, he and Smith were ranked 1 and 1A (or vice versa), it just worked out that there weren’t many other teams that wanted/needed to draft a quarterback this year. Green Bay has no need to rush Rodgers onto the field, Favre will be there in 2005, and probably again in 2006 (and maybe even 2007 if the Packers haven’t won a Superbowl by then). Rodgers is clearly the signal caller of the future and what better guy to learn the ropes from than Brett Favre. Let’s just hope that his learning curve starts to spike upwards very soon.
Not in a position to draft one of the top two QBs in your dynasty draft? No worries, stock up on a couple of these guys as they all have a good shot at becoming NFL starters down the road.
Charlie Frye, Cleveland (3, 67, Akron)
Let me see if I’ve got this straight, the Browns will enter the season with Trent Dilfer as their starting quarterback? Ugh. I know, I know, the guy won a Superbowl, but still, ugh! Frye has not looked good so far in training camps, struggling to get past Josh Harris on the depth chart. That said, of all the Blue Sharks, I think Frye has the best chance of becoming a starter in the NFL. Not this year, maybe not next year, but somewhere after that.
Jason Campbell, Washington (1, 25, Auburn)
The Redskins seem intent on going with Patrick Ramsey, and Mark Brunell is in the mix so there’s really no pressure on Campbell. And Campbell is certainly a winner, leading Auburn to an undefeated National Championship…er, wait, I forgot the Tigers got hosed. Anyway, Campbell and Frye are both in a position to be groomed into playing in 2-3 seasons so grab one or both and hold onto them to reap future rewards.
Andrew Walter, Oakland (3, 69, Arizona State)
Walter’s stock has been rising ever since draft day, he’s a perfect fit for the Raiders. A guy with a strong arm that can throw the long ball. Kerry Collins is actually a very good person for him to play behind, and Walter is another guy that down the road could become a viable fantasy quarterback. Oakland’s signal caller always has good fantasy value, so that helps him out as well.
Kyle Orton, Chicago (4, 106, Purdue)
Reports out of Chicago on projected starter Rex Grossman are not good at all. I’m hearing his knee is still giving him trouble, which is not a good sign at all. The Bears just can’t be going with Chad Hutchinson if Grossman can’t go, can they? I’m not saying that Orton will be the beneficiary by getting some playing time, this is probably far from the case. A less than stellar senior season for the Boilermakers had his stock from from mid second round a year ago, into the fourth round this year. He’ll either latch on as the third string and learn the ropes, or he’ll be gone after collecting his first paycheck.
We work our way down the list, talking about some of the ‘reaches’ for your fantasy team. A list of players here that should have little trouble earning the third position on the 2005 opening day NFL roster. What they do from there is anyone’s guess.
Matt Cassell, New England (7, 230, Southern Califonia)
I’m going out on a limb here and rank Cassel not only with the Leopards, but as the top Leopard. Before you fire down an email telling me I’m insane (I already know I am), hear me out. Ever heard of Tom Brady? Seriously. Cassell had the misfortune of playing behind two of the most successful quarterbacks while at USC (Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer). I believe Leinart has some serious hardware on his bedroom shelf, while Palmer has done pretty well for himself in his young NFL career. If you can find the room, he’s worth a roster spot on your team, here’s how it will play out: 2005 New England will put him on their practice squad. No one will hear much from him. In 2006, Cassell moves up the depth chart, possibly all the way to #2 (goodbye Rohan Davey). In 2007 or 2008, he might be ready for a starting role somewhere, maybe not in New England if Brady continues to fill his fingers with Superbowl rings, but Cassell will be good to go.
Adrian McPherson, New Orleans (5, 152, Florida State)
Let’s just say that McPherson had a little trouble closing out his college career. He has some tremendous running ability as well as a great arm, the knock is that he’ll need to get the mental part together as well. The Saints have been riding the roller coaster known as Aaron Brooks, and Todd Bouman is the only other viable alternative at QB in New Orleans so if McPherson can keep all his ducks in a row, he should easily make the opening day roster third on the depth chart.
Dan Orlovsky, Detroit (5, 145, Connecticut)
Intruiging long term prospect here, Orlovsky comes out of Connecticut where the Huskies had only recently elevated their program to Division 1-A. Playing in the Big East, its hard to get a feel where that league’s competition has him in relation to his peers. In any case, he’s another guy that should have no trouble assuming position #3 on the depth chart (behind Joey Harrington/Jeff Garcia, not necessarily in that order). Orlovsky doesn’t excel in any particular area (running ability, arm strength, accurracy, etc), but he doesn’t do poorly in any area either. I have no idea what that means, just putting that out there.
Stefan LeFors, Carolina (4, 121, Louisville)
The Panthers seriously considered pulling the trigger on Aaron Rodgers, but they did the wise thing (as should you) by waiting to get a better value QB late in the draft. LeFors fit their mold very well, and he should be carrying the clipboard behind Jake Delhomme and Chris Wienke.
David Greene, Seattle (3, 85, Georgia)
Greene was one of the winningest starting QBs in all of NCAA Football, leading the Bulldogs to win after win in a difficult and competitive conference. He too shouldn’t have much of a fight to make the opening day roster, settling in behind Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace.
Now we’re really reaching here, guys that will have to fight tooth and nail to just make the squad in 2005.
Derek Anderson, Baltimore (6, 213, Oregon State)
With the path to the starting lineup blocked by youngsters Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright, Anderson has his work cut out for him. Besides that, when’s the last time a Raven quarterback held any fantasy value?
James Kilian, Kansas City (7, 229, Tulsa)
Kilian will have to fight to even make the practice squad. Could be a short lifespan in the NFL here.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, St.Louis (7, 250, Harvard)
I know it’s nostalgic, just the thought of an Ivy League quarterback, but let’s not let our feelings get in the way here. The Rams already have three legitimate players at the position so Fitzy has a long road to hoe if he is to see the playing field.