Fantasy Football 2012: 7 NFL Draft Prospects Who Will Make an Immediate Impact
With the NFL draft set to get underway, a lot of NFL fans will get their football fix in full effect on Thursday. Since the free-agency period has died down, football enthusiasts have been deprived of real football activity for weeks.
The wait will be over soon.
The NFL draft represents new opportunities and ways for teams to improve, but alert fantasy players should be tuning in to see where the next batch of elite prospects will end up and how they can affect fantasy drafts this summer.
There will be no shortage of rookie studs entering the league, and when the NFL draft ends, we will know exactly where they will be playing and how they could possibly be used.
It’s should be an interesting draft, to say the least. So, let’s assess the seven best draft prospects who should make an immediate impact in the NFL next season.
Trent Richardson: Alabama
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will no doubt be the headline names of Thursday’s draft, but for fantasy purposes, there will be perhaps no more immediate impact player than the multi-talented Richardson.
Richardson is explosive in the open field while also possessing an incredible amount of strength. Richardson is a complete back, who can also catch passes out of the backfield with ease.
Many project him to be a Cleveland Brown, and that certainly seems inevitable. Regardless of where he lands, Richardson will be a featured back and is without a doubt at least a No. 2 running back for fantasy purposes.
Justin Blackmon: Oklahoma State
With the NFL becoming more of a passing game, more and more teams will be trying to scoop up young and exciting playmaking wide receivers.
Just look at the success rookie receivers like Julio Jones and A.J. Green had this past year.
There is no receiver more skilled, hard-working and physically gifted than Blackmon in this year's draft. Blackmon possesses all the tools to make an immediate impact.
The Rams (with the sixth pick) have a tremendous amount of interest in Blackmon. If he ends up there, expect him and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford to instantly develop a rapport conducive for immediate success.
Andrew Luck: Stanford
Has there ever been a more hyped quarterback than Luck?
You may have to go back 14 years to find a quarterback who was hyped as much as Luck was and, as "luck" would have it, that quarterback is the one Luck is about to replace: Peyton Manning.
With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to announce the selection and make it official on Thursday, Luck will be given the reins in Indianapolis.
While he could struggle at first with a suspect supporting cast, at least Luck can lean on veterans like Reggie Wayne to help him through his learning curve. By the end of the year, Luck will have made an impact and should register as a low-end No. 1 QB or high-end No. 2 QB for most standard fantasy leagues.
Robert Griffin III: Baylor
As sure as we are that the Colts are drafting Luck, the same can be said about Griffin, who is about to become the Redskins' new quarterback.
Griffin will no doubt be given the keys to the Redskins offense, and he should be able to make an instant impact. While some compare him to Cam Newton, don’t expect Griffin to put up numbers similar to Newton.
However, Griffin has a great combination of raw skills and moxie to make his presence felt as soon as next year and, like Luck, should make for a serviceable starting quarterback or high-end No. 2 in fantasy leagues next year.
David Wilson: Virginia Tech
Savvy fantasy players know that you can’t have enough good running backs, and Wilson might just be the next best thing after Richardson.
Since running backs usually have the easiest time adjusting to the NFL, Wilson should pay off immediate dividends.
Depending on where he is drafted, he could find himself in a timeshare. Wilson has enough upside and talent for fantasy owners to call his name in the later rounds of drafts this summer.
Lamar Miller: Miami
Piggybacking on the statement I said about never having enough good running backs in the league, Miller is another rusher who will be worth a look in fantasy drafts.
Miller will likely go somewhere in the second or third round in this weekend’s NFL draft. As such, he’ll likely have to work himself into some carries for his new team.
Miller is a better pick for dynasty/keeper leagues, but if he falls to the right team, Miller could be steady contributor as early as next year. He could be this year’s DeMarco Murray.
Michael Floyd: Notre Dame
Floyd has tantalized scouts for years with his natural abilities, and he has yet to scratch the surface of his immense talent.
Floyd is another young receiver who should be drafted somewhere in the middle of the first round. Floyd has the playmaking skills to work his way into a starting position. Perhaps the Arizona Cardinals?
While Floyd is no Blackmon, he should get every chance to make an immediate impact next year regardless of where he ends up.
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