This 12-team mock draft was hosted on Fantasy Football Calculator, and we had a full draft room with no computer picks. As is the normal trend in mocks this summer, the big three tailbacks in Foster, McCoy and Rice went off the board first.
They were followed by Aaron Rodgers, and, while I still have the Packers superstar listed as the top option at quarterback on my draft board, I’m beginning to wonder if Tom Brady should be moved in front.
What holds me back is a small point, and that is Rodgers' ability to pick up points on the ground. Maybe he will only run for about 250 yards and one score, but that’s more than we should expect from Brady.
When it comes to offensive weapons, I like the Patriots over the Packers by a small margin. In Gronkowski and Hernandez, Brady has perhaps the top two-man tandem the game has ever seen in terms of receiving weapons.
Wes Welker has changed the game with his impact from the slot, and Brandon Lloyd was terrific in Josh McDaniels' offense back in Denver. In Lloyd, Brady finally has a vertical presence, and this element could help Brady rival his numbers from 2007.
Lloyd isn’t Randy Moss, but Brady has a better cast of overall weapons when you include his talented tight ends from his campaign five years ago.
Maybe Rodgers should be the first quarterback off the board in your summer draft(s), but Brady could be the top option when the season begins.
1. Arian Foster (ADP 1.02)
I’ve learned the hard way that over-thinking Foster’s situation or abilities can haunt you for a long time. Some may claim Rice or McCoy are better selections because Foster has Ben Tate behind him and that you will be obligated to handcuff your top pick.
Others may point to losses on the offensive line as concerns, but I won’t encourage such advice.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak has been running this offense for a long time, and he knows the type of offensive lineman that will fit in his scheme. As for Tate, who cares? Foster already proved last year that he will get his production consistently with Tate around.
At least you have an option to trust as a potential backup later in the draft with Foster. In McCoy and Rice, you have situations where, even if the backup gets in, there is no guarantee they will perform better than an RB3 option.
As for being pulled early, Foster has consistently proven that he’s going to be the driving force for the Texans. He can do in one half what many running backs hope they could do for a highlight game in their career.
2. LeSean McCoy (ADP 1.03)
McCoy’s short area quickness and elusiveness are tops in the game. Perhaps the closest thing we have to Barry Sanders today, McCoy will continue to give opposing defenders nightmares in one-on-one situations and is likely to have another terrific season.
3. Ray Rice (ADP 1.03)
Back with the team after missing time in OTAs, Rice will be the workhorse in the Ravens offense. With quality depth at the receiver and quarterback positions, it would be wise to select Rice as the third option off the board and be thankful you have one of the more reliable runners in the game to start for your team.
4. Aaron Rodgers (1.03)
Rodgers has earned the right to be the first quarterback off the board, but the gap between the Packers star and Tom Brady is narrow. Don’t be surprised if Brady throws for more yards, but give Rodgers the nod because of his running ability.
5. Ryan Mathews (ADP 1.07)
Believe in Mathews this season. Mike Tolbert is gone to Carolina, and Mathews is in the best shape of his career. The third-year tailback still needs to prove he can put it all together, but no running back from this point on comes without some type of baggage.
After the big three, Mathews is the first running back on my list, and it’s not even close.
6. Chris Johnson (ADP 1.07)
I’ve been pumping Evan Silva’s article “Leap Of Faith” for over a week now, and I recommend you give it a look before deciding on Johnson as your first-round pick.
He could bounce back for a top-five finish, but he should be viewed as a risk-versus-reward player after the lack of effort he showed in 2012.
7. Darren McFadden (ADP 1.10)
While McFadden’s effort on the football field shouldn’t be questioned, he is a risk-versus-reward player because of health concerns. McFadden has missed at least four games in each year of his career.
With a new blocking scheme, I would like to see McFadden play a little more in the preseason, but I can understand if the coaching staff wants to keep him fresh for the regular season. This is one of the better talents in the game, and he’s clearly a top-10 option, even with his injury risks.
8. Tom Brady (ADP 1.06)
Brady has had some great seasons in fantasy leagues since 2007, and this will be another one. Maybe he won’t throw for 50 touchdowns, but Brady has a great group to work with. Plus, with Brandon Lloyd on the outside, he finally has a deep threat to stretch the field.
9. Drew Brees (ADP 1.09)
When Sean Payton was away from the sidelines last year, Brees struggled at times and his interceptions total spiked. Without Payton for an entire season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Brees has one of his worst turnover totals in his time as a Saint.
Still, he’s a top-four quarterback in fantasy leagues, as the New Orleans offense won’t shy away from begin a pass-happy group.
10. Jimmy Graham (2.04)
I like Jimmy Graham and he could end up with a better performance than last year, but I wouldn’t take him over Calvin Johnson. Sure, wide receiver is a deep position, but Johnson is in a tier all on his own.
11. Calvin Johnson (ADP 1.06)
If you feel like you can wait on your second running back until late in the third round, go with Johnson at this point. Personally, I had the 12th pick in this mock draft and took Rob Gronkowski with my second pick.
By the time my third pick came, the running backs were picked through and I had to land two receivers, waiting for a later time to finish off my ground game. If I had to do it over, I would’ve taken two running backs because of the scarcity at the position.
12. DeMarco Murray (ADP 2.03)
We should be a little concerned about the Cowboys' interior line, but with Bill Callahan overseeing their development I have no problem drafting DeMarco Murray at this point. Murray is a talented running back, and he will be the Cowboys' feature option.