Some sleepers for the final draft weekend, the first week of the NFL. It’s here people, and I’m one happy camper. Some players I think you should target toward the end of the draft as low-risk/high-reward options:
New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem: Meachem has passed Devery Henderson on the depth chart and is the team’s No. 3 receiver. He is more talented than either Marques Colston or Lance Moore. However, being talented and showing it are two different things. This is his third year, he knows the offense, he’s now relying on instinct, he has matured, and both quarterback Drew Brees and the coaches say he had an outstanding camp and has taken a step forward.
Baltimore Ravens FB Le’Ron McClain: I think McClain is too talented not to be picked up toward the end of a draft. Ray Rice is showing himself to be the real deal, but I also believe McClain will see his short-yardage and touchdown opportunities. Willis McGahee does worry me because it’s a contract year for him and he shows up when he sniffs the potential for big money. However, he’s injury-prone. Rice needs to show he can handle the week-in, week-out pounding. In the end, why not take a chance on the 260-pound back who has power and agility? If he doesn’t pan out, just cut him.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Chris Henry: He’s having a great camp and quarterback Carson Palmer is calling him Randy Moss Jr. based on the talent he believes Henry has. I agree for two reasons: It appears as if Henry’s legal problems are behind him and he’s showing signs of maturity. I believe, with T.J. Houshmandzadeh gone, Henry can eventually supplant Laveranues Coles as the No. 2 for a couple of reasons. Coles is aging quickly and his health on an every-week basis is not a given. Henry also knows the offense inside and out; Coles is new to the offense and team. Take a chance and Henry could pay dividends.
Minnesota Vikings WR Sidney Rice: Rice is entering his third season and is finally healthy. He’s a great red zone target, and while he may not see a ton of receptions, he will be a consistent red zone threat. He worked in the offseason with Cris Carter and Larry Fitzgerald. They were supposedly brutally honest with him and he took their advice to heart. Let’s not forget two more things: (1) He was a project coming out of college, despite being a second-round pick, and should finally have a handle on the offense, and (2) He now has quarterback Brett Favre throwing to him.
Dallas Cowboys WR Patrick Crayton: This cat’s simply being ignored until the end of many drafts, and he’s locked into the No. 2 wideout job. Grab him and ride him for as long as you can. I believe quarterback Tony Romo will go to tight end Jason Witten most of the time, but he’ll also spread the ball around to the receivers versus keying in on No. 1 option Roy Williams. What do you have to lose? Regardless of what you think of Romo, when healthy, he can be an elite quarterback, and someone other than Witten has to catch the ball, right?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Cadillac Williams: Of the three backs (Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham being the other two), Cadillac is the most talented. Take a flier on him, as he’s the No. 1 running back on the depth chart, and see what pans out. It’s tough to find running backs on the waiver wire and if he can revert to his old form, he could be a steal. Granted, the team’s quarterback and offensive coordinator situation are jokes, but he could be a solid injury or bye week play during the season. If not, dump him.
The magic of all these players is that you can get them late in a draft and if they don’t produce you can dump them without having lost much, if anything. Go for broke, good luck with your drafts, and let’s get it on!
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