I love the NFL Draft, but I am so glad it’s over because now we can end the speculation and start to solidify some of the uncertainty headed into this year. With the NFL draft behind this, some of my 2010 rankings have obviously changed. The first position I want to take a look at is QB. If you missed my last QB rankings, here’s the link . None of the QBs drafted made the rankings. Bradford may be the only one starting by week one and even still, he’ll have his growing pains and there are better options. Bradford may make a nice bye week fill in as the year goes on, but he’s not a guy I’ll be drafting in 2010. I’ll list the QBs, mark the changes and add in some post-draft comments. What’s also included is the downgrade to Big Ben because of his six game suspension. It’s a sad story when I’d still rather have Big Ben minus six games over 33 percent of the other starting NFL QBs, ouch. The sleepers are also denoted with an (S) .
1. Aaron Rodgers, GB (Previous rank 1)- The Packers added Bryan Buluga and that should give Rodgers some much needed protection. More protection means more time to throw and the more time Rodgers has to throw, the more opportunities he’ll have to get the ball downfield to Jennings which was lacking in 2009.
2. Peyton Manning, Ind (Previous rank 2)- The Colts added some depth on the OL in the draft so it should be business as usual for Peyton.
3. Drew Brees, NO (Previous rank 3)- Madden Curse? People still buy into that garbage? Good, I hope it hurts Brees value, because I’ll have no problem grabbing him in the 2nd or 3rd round this year. The Saints also added a huge TE for Brees with 6’6 Jimmy Graham out of Miami. Shockey is still the starter and David Thomas the backup, but Graham could beat out Thomas and be the eventual replacement for Shockey.
4. Tony Romo, Dal (Previous rank 4)- I’m in love with the addition of Dez Bryant. Bryant should come in and be able to start alongside stud Miles Austin. Not to mention they have one of the best TEs in the game in Jason Witten. Romo should have no problem finding an open WR this year. Romo gets a nice bump from eight to four.
5. Philp Rivers, SD (Previous rank 4)- The Chargers got the workhorse RB I was expecting them to get. Their OL still needs to play better and VJack could still be in for a suspension because of his DUIs. If VJack does get suspended I’ll drop Rivers a little more.
6. Matt Schaub, Hou (Previous rank 5)- The Texans added a power back in Ben Tate and a TE to potentially back up Owen Daniels in Garrett Graham. I like the addition of Tate and would not be surprised if he ends up winning the starting job in Hou. They’re obviously not happy with what they had or they would not have spent a second round pick despite other glaring needs on defense. Tate should bring more stability to the run game and that’s great news for Schaub.
7. Tom Brady, NE (Previous rank 6)- I was a little concerned with the Patriots and the fact that they’re aging a bit, but they brought in two of the best TEs to replace Ben Watson who split for Cleveland. They also added the speedy Taylor Price at WR. Some are calling him the heir to Moss, but I’ve also heard that about current WR Brandon Tate. We’ll see who ends up filling those big shoes. The good news is the Pats added more weapons for Tommy B. They didn’t add a RB so they’ll roll with their usual corps of eight or nine guys. It’s frustrating from a fantasy perspective but Bill Belichick could care less about that. The Pats also added Torry Holt last week. It will be interesting to see if he plays on the outside opposite of Moss or takes over in the slot for Welker until he returns healthy. My guess is it’s on the outside alongside Moss.
8. Brett Favre, Min (Previous rank 7)- Not much news on the offensive side of the ball for the Vikes other than the addition of Toby Gerhart. They didn’t need much though as they have plenty of weapons. Favre may be one of the safest plays at the QB position this year.
9. (S) Joe Flacco, Bal (Previous rank 9)- The Ravens added two TEs to eventually replace Todd Heap who GM Ozzie Newsome said will see less snaps this year. The Ravens always draft well and continue to make moves to ensure Flacco’s growth/success.
10. (S) Kevin Kolb, Phi (Previous rank 11)- The Eagles spent the first half of their draft addressing the defensive side of the ball. This tells me that their happy with the pieces they have on their young offense. Andy Reid knows what he’s doing which gives me confidence in Kevin Kolb as a nice value at the QB position this year.
11. Donovan McNabb, Was (Previous rank 13)- The Skins wisely selected a tackle to give McNabb some much needed protection. I’ve felt that it was their OL that was the bigger issue, not Jason Campbell. The Skins added a WR but did so late so I’m not expecting him to compete for a starting job. Last week, Shanahan said no to bringing in TO so that tells me the Skins are happy with who they have. I’ve always like Devin Thomas so that could he could be a nice sleeper at the WR position. McNabb also gets upgraded because Chris Cooley said today he’s 100 percent and spoke highly of McNabb. I’m still concerned about his health, but I feel a lot better about McNabb being considered a starting fantasy QB in 2010.
12. (S) Jay Cutler, Chi (Previous rank 12)- The Bears didn’t add anything to help Cutler in the draft, but I’m still convinced he deserves to be ranked this high. Cutler was the 11th best QB last year despite throwing a league high 26 INTs and with little help from the OL, running game, and no stud WRs. He also has Mike Martz now as his OC. Most will avoid Cutler this year so he’ll be a guy I take late should I hold off on a QB.
13. (S) Carson Palmer, Cin (Previous rank 14)- The Bengals added the best TE in the draft in Jermaine Gresham and a nice slot WR in Jordan Shipley. The Bengals addressed a lot of needs in the passing game this offseason, so that tells me they are serious about opening it up again in 2010. Palmer will be available late and will be a guy I pair with one of the other 12-20 ranked QBs and play matchups.
14. Eli Manning, NYG (Previous rank 15)- The Giants didn’t add a single offensive player in the draft. The Giants are a pretty complete offense. I don’t feel comfortable taking Eli as an every week starter but like Palmer, I like him in a paired QB situation.
15. (S) Alex Smith, SF (Previous rank 16)- The Niners added two OL in the first round which I loved. They showed their commitment to Smith as their starter and also ensured that they’ll be able to keep pressure off of him with an effective running game. Smith has two great targets in VD and Crabtree and will also play in a pass friendly system. He won’t go off every week, but his numbers should be pretty steady. The 49ers schedule is also very soft. If Alex Smith can’t do it this season, he never will.
16. (S) Matt Stafford, Det (Previous rank 17)- The Lions added speedy playmaker Jahvid Best this weekend. Best will make a nice complimentary back to Kevin Smith and provide the Lions with some extra speed. I love what the Lions have done this offseason. Having Best, along with Burleson, Tony Scheffler, Smith, Pettigrew, and Megatron, Stafford should have his fair share of weapons to get the ball to. Couple that with the fact that the Lions will likely play in some shootouts, Stafford is looking like a nice sleeper for 2010.
17. Matt Ryan, Atl (Previous rank 18)- The Falcons added some guards for depth. I thought they should have gone after another WR, but they had other plans. This team should be a run first team so that hurts Ryan’s fantasy value. Their schedule is easier this year though so that is one thing working in his favor in 2010.
18. (S) Matt Cassell, KC (Previous rank 19)- Kansas City took Ole Miss RB Dexter McCluster in the second round. They’ll be converting him to a WR. He’s fast and will likely play out of the slot with Chambers and Bowe on the outside. The Chiefs should be able to run a very effective spread offense. If they do, Cassell will benefit and be a nice backup/bye week starter.
19. (S) Chad Henne, Mia (Previous rank 20)- The Dolphins only took one offensive player in the draft, offensive tackle John Jerry. Jerry likely won’t play this year, but he does add to their depth. Not adding anything else offensively tells me that the Dolphins like who they have and so do I. Henne will have stud Brandon Marshall as his main target, but Brian Hartline, Devone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Ronnie Brown, and Ricky Williams will also make contributions in the passing game, giving Henne plenty of options. Most aren’t very high on Henne, I’m not one of them, I like him quite a bit.
20. (S) Jason Campbell, Oak (Previously unranked)- I’ve been pleading with the Raiders to drop the Jasuckus Experiment and pursue another QB. They finally listened. This gives Oakland a legitimate chance at making the playoffs as the rest of their team is pretty solid. Some have laughed at that statement, but I think it’s true and I’ll even go out on a limb and say the Raiders win more games than the Redskins this year. I really like what Campbell’s working with here at WR with Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy and stud TE Zach Miller. I’m not a Raiders fan by any means, but it will be nice to get some better fantasy production offensively from a team that has pretty much been dead weight the last few years.
21. Vince Young, Ten (Previous rank 21)- Young wins and he can put up decent fantasy numbers but he doesn’t have a dominant No. 1 WR. Kenny Britt should be his go-to guy and it’d be nice to see him develop into a consistent fantasy WR. Young also has CJ28 who can take it to the house at any time. Not a guy I want as my starter, but I’ll take him as a backup late.
22. Matt Leinart, Ari (Previous rank 22)- The Cards went out and drafted a QB I really liked in John Skelton. Skelton may be the guy who beats out Leinart next year. It’s not good news for Leinart that they went out and brought in Derek Anderson then drafted a potential franchise QB in the draft this offseason. I have no confidence in Leinart for now. If he can win this job, then he’ll have a lot of weapons. Taking the wait and see approach here.
23. Mark Sanchez, NYJ (Previous rank 24)- Sanchez only gets the bump here because Big Ben is suspended for a third of the season. I don’t expect big numbers from Sanchez, but he should put up solid, steady numbers. He’ll make a quality backup. I probably won’t draft him though as he’ll likely be available on the waiver wire for most of the year.
24. Ben Roethlisberger, Pit (Previous rank 10)- Big Ben is here for now, but there’s a lot not to like mainly the suspension. It may hard for him to come back and put up consistent numbers but he should be good for a few games. However looking at Pittsburgh’s schedule, I may drop Ben off the rankings completely. His schedule is difficult and the two usual “gimme” games vs Cleveland happen in week six which is the last game of his suspension and week 17 which doesn’t matter for most fantasy leagues. Thanks for nothing in 2010.
- Matt Moore, Car - I was starting to feel him then the team drafted Jimmy Clausen, plus he doesn’t have anyone else to throw to outside of Steve Smith.
- Kyle Orton, Den- This team’s a mess, plus they brought in Tebow.
- Trent Edwards, Buf- Love the addition of Spiller and Fred Jackson is my boy, but they are RBs. This team needs WRs.
- Jake Delhomme, Cle- Never really liked the guy. He should be better than Anderson was, but still not wasting a pick on him.
- Matt Hasselbeck, Sea- The Seahawks improved their running game and added Tate. I’m not convinced Hasselbeck can stay healthy. He may be a guy I add after the first few weeks of the season if he’s getting it done.
- David Garrard, Jac- He’s not a bad option, just not a guy I’m drafting. Like Hasselbeck, maybe I’ll add him should he show up early
- Josh Freeman, TB- I like Freeman a lot and I love the addition of Benn. He now how has some decent options, but I think this offense is a year away from being fantasy relevant though.
- Sam Bradford, Stl- He’ll likely win the starting role. Even if he doesn’t, I’m not spending a draft pick on him or Feeley. Their schedule will be easy enough though and they do have some decent options in their O.