The second round of this 10-team mock draft finds us looking at an interesting talking point for the summer of 2012, as two tight ends are off the board. Both Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski had monster seasons last year, and because of the mismatches, they present to opposing defenses, we should expect big things again.
11. Marshawn Lynch—The Skittles guy landed his new contract for basically one heck of a second half of a season and a great performance in the playoffs two years ago against the Saints.
The offense will run through Lynch, but it will be up to Seattle’s talented young defense to keep the games close in a tough schedule outside the division to maintain consistent production. Don’t be surprised if the defense does play well against elite offenses, with perhaps the best secondary in the league.
Even if the Seahawks fall behind, they will do everything they can to keep Lynch active in the game, so the risk in drafting Lynch is really if he has the drive to produce on the field. Something tells me he will be fine this year, but dynasty owners beware long term.
12. Maurice Jones-Drew—What appears to be a nasty contract situation has clearly affected Maurice Jones-Drew’s draft stock, as he fell into the second round. If Jones-Drew comes into camp on time, he’s a top-five tailback again, but I’m not sure that will happen.
If you should decide to snag Jones-Drew, remember to pickup his backup, Rashard Jennings. Almost a year removed from his ACL injury, Jennings will be the clear-cut backup for the veteran and has excelled when given a chance in the past.
13. Trent Richardson—I don’t care if Trent Richardson is a rookie or that he plays for the Browns. Richardson is one of the more gifted running backs to ever come out of the college ranks, and he will be a three down option from Week 1 and on.
Let us find strength in the stats Peyton Hillis put up in this offense two years ago as a reason to believe Richardson can have success against the Steelers and Ravens of the world.
Sure, OC Brian Daboll isn’t around like he was for Hillis two years ago, but Richardson still has a decent offensive line for run blocking, and the Browns will be committed to giving him the football. Hey, true bell cow backs aren’t easy to come by these days, so get one while you can.
This guy had a major knee injury late in the season and while he can run well straight ahead, it’s the lateral burst that takes time to come back. For me to justify taking Peterson in the second round, I have to feel confident that the Vikings will run him over 275 times, and I just don’t see the need when they won’t contend for a Super Bowl this year.
No, expect Toby Gerhart to split time with Peterson for most of the season and when the Vikings fall way behind against high-scoring offenses, they will likely pull Peterson from the game early.
15. DeMarco Murray—Love DeMarco Murray as he came out of the gates swinging against the Rams after injuries piled up on Felix Jones. With the Cowboys retooling the offensive line last year, they should continue to develop, and that only means good things for Murray.
My two concerns about Murray are his health and his lack of touchdowns last season. I think he will improve the touchdown total to around eight this year and, at least before his injury, Murray proved to be a durable weekly starter. The future is bright for Murray, and he’s an excellent second-round selection.
16. Jimmy Graham—Much discussion has already come about in the fantasy community about Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski going in the second round of drafts. I believe it’s a wise choice, as the upside of these tight ends dwarfs the rest of the pack.
Sure, maybe they won’t get back to the gaudy numbers from a year ago, but you should be drafting upside talent at this point, not worrying about some phantom voodoo jinx.
Be bold with your convictions and don’t feel like you're just chasing last years stats, because these guys have the talent, scheme and present mismatches to all teams they face. Opponents will be scarred, and you should feel confident about their ability to perform at a high level.
17. Larry Fitzgerald—You can’t argue with Larry Fitzgerald’s game, but I’m not a fan of drafting him in the second round, especially in standard scoring leagues. With Michael Floyd receiving single coverage on the other side of the field, he will be the big-play threat in this offense. Fitzgerald had a high yard per catch average last year, but expect that to shrink down.
If Fitzgerald is to produce at a value worthy of his selection in this mock draft, fantasy owners need to pray John Skelton can overtake Kevin Kolb. Not to mention the Cardinals' offensive line needs to somehow provide reasonable pass protection.
I like Skelton’s odds of winning the job, maybe not by Week 1, but, at the latest, sometime in October. The offensive line is another story. One name: Levi Brown. Not good.
18. Greg Jennings—A leg injury cut short what was another great season from Greg Jennings. I don’t care if Jordy Nelson had a monster season, he did so because of Jennings on the other side.
While Nelson will have a solid season, don’t expect him to come close to the touchdown total he had last year, and Jennings is worthy of viewing as a top-five option.
19. Matt Forte—While Maurice Jones-Drew is mired in a holdout, Matt Forte’s situation appears to be on a whole other level. Then again, maybe he will be in camp after all, as Jay Cutler went over to his house a few days ago and commented that Forte is in good shape.
Even when he does get back, having Michael Bush around is a major blow to his odds of a respectable touchdown total. I would stay away from Forte as an option in the second round of standard scoring leagues. Those points per reception will be crucially important to Forte’s value once again.
20. Rob Gronkowski—Absolute stud. Perhaps only Calvin Johnson is a better red-zone target, and it wouldn’t be by much. It doesn’t seem to matter if you have three or four guys around Gronk, he’s going to come down with the football with a little help from Tom Brady’s ball location.
As long as he looks good in camp coming off his ankle injury from the end of last season, Gronkowski is a solid second-round pick.