Looking for (and actually finding) value in a draft is just as essential as avoiding the busts. A majority of players do not even finish the season close to their average draft positions (ADP), and blindly trusting the majority of drafters is a recipe for failure. Some players are surprises and perform better than expected, while others demise and are labeled as busts. Here are three surprises and demises heading into the 2012 NFL season.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis (ADP of 81)
1. Despite the combined efforts of quarterback club Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins (only 2,995 passing yards and only 14 touchdowns in 2011), Reggie Wayne still managed to grab 75 balls for 960 yards and four touchdowns.
2. Andrew Luck is an upgrade over every quarterback that played for the Colts in 2011.
3. Wayne is still one of the best route runners in the NFL.
4. Pierre Garcon is now in Washington and his 134 targets will go elsewhere.
5. Wayne’s floor is 75 catches, and 1,000 receiving yards and that is a steal at the end of the seventh round.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati (ADP of 75)
1. Green-Ellis has touched the ball 536 times and has zero career fumbles.
2. The Cincinnati Bengals rushed the ball 454 times in 2011, 10th-most in the NFL.
3. Green-Ellis has scored at least 11 touchdowns in both seasons where he played 16 games.
4. Bernard Scott, who averaged less than 3.4 yards per carry in 2011, is the only threat to take playing time away from Green-Ellis.
5. Green-Ellis is an above average pass-blocker and will be on the field for most third down plays.
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina (ADP of 148)
1. The Carolina Panthers ranked third amongst the tight end position for most fantasy points scored.
2. Jeremy Shockey is not on the Carolina Panthers anymore.
3. Olsen would be a Top 10 tight end this year if he adds only half of the stats that Shockey had from 2011.
4. This is the first full offseason that Olsen will have the opportunity to work with Cam Newton and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
5. Olsen is being drafted as the 19th overall tight end and is a steal in the 13th round.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City (ADP of 52)
1. Bowe has still not signed his franchise tender.
2. Matt Cassel averaged less than 200 passing yards/game in his three years in Kansas City.
3. The Kansas City Chiefs threw the ball for a league-low 454 times in 2011.
5. The Kansas City Chiefs’ coaching staff has already stated that the team will operate in a run-heavy scheme again in 2012.
Roy Helu, RB, Washington (ADP of 65)
1. Mike Shanahan running backs are not reliable.
2. Last year in Week 7, Shanahan anointed Ryan Torain as the starting running back against the anemic Carolina Panthers defense. Torain had only two rush attempts in the game while Tim Hightower had 18.
4. The Redskins’ coaching staff is concerned about Helu’s ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact.
5. Sixth-round picks are far too valuable to be spent on bottom of the depth chart question marks.
Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego (ADP of 111)
1. Floyd has played 16 games in a season only once in his NFL career.
3. Floyd has never caught more than 45 passes in an NFL season.
4. Antonio Gates is reportedly healthy again this year.
5. The San Diego Chargers have the eighth-hardest strength of schedule against the pass in 2012.