Friday, 31 July 2009

Seahawks & Curry still negotiating

Training camp is under way for the Seattle Seahawks with one notable absentee - first round draft pick Aaron Curry. The associated press are reporting that an agreement is yet to be reached, with the linebackers' agent apparently holding out for a similar guaranteed sum recently awarded to Jets QB Mark Sanchez ($27m). The report goes on to say that Seattle are unwilling to pay this amount:

"The Seahawks think top quarterback deals are inherently richer and do not apply."

Some stats to bare in mind here. Chris Long (2nd overall, 2008) signed a $56.5m contract with $29m guaranteed. Darren McFadden (4th overall, 2008) inked a $60m deal with the Raiders with $26m guaranteed. Terrell Suggs recently signed a $63m contract to make him the highest paid linebacker in the NFL.

Seattle may not want to pay Aaron Curry $27m in guarantees, but they probably have little choice if they want him in camp any time soon.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Unger signs, one more to go

Danny O'Neil reports that Max Unger has agreed terms with the Seahawks on a four year contract worth over $3m. He'll get $1.95m guaranteed and could be set for a baptism of fire in the NFL if concerns over Mike Wahle's health are to be believed. Aaron Curry is the only rookie yet to sign a contract, with training camp beginning on Friday. Jason Smith agreed terms with the Rams today, potentially setting a marker for discussions between Seattle and the 2009 fourth overall pick.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Ten to watch for 2010

You may have noticed the recently updated list on the right hand sidebar. I've compiled a list of ten senior prospects (in no particular order) who may be worth keeping an eye on during the 2009 college football season. Some have been added due to their potential interest to the Seahawks and the 12th man. Others are present on merit as the highest rated prospects in the 2010 draft class.

#1 Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska)
Ranked by Rob Rang as the top senior prospect heading into the 2009 season, Suh has also been compared to Richard Seymour by Matt McGuire. His stat line as a junior is incredible - 7.5 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss and even two interceptions returned for touchdowns. If he showcases that kind of ability as a senior, he could be a potential #1 overall pick. Jim Mora's defense in Seattle relies heavily on pressure created from the front, making a stud defensive line pick a distinct possibility next year.

#2 Tim Tebow (QB, Florida)
Tebow will undoubtedly be the story of the 2010 draft. Nobody divides opinion more than Florida's stand out leader and it's a debate that will continue right up until next April's event. Is he a top ten pick or a third rounder? Described by Rob Rang as having, "the arm, poise and work ethic critical for success at the NFL level" Tebow could easily be described as the stereotypical Tim Ruskell draft pick. Big school, high character grading, massive production. Watch this guy closely to see if he adapts his game in any way to showcase any pro-style potential.

#3 Taylor Mays (S, USC)
Seattle born Mays has long been a favorite amongst the 12th man and many had hoped the Seahawks would be in position to draft him this year. His decision to stay in SoCal gives us another year to judge his talents and decipher just how good he really is. He has the physical attributes to be special (6'4, 225lbs) but is often untested - he plays so far behind the line for USC and not many teams throw deep against the Trojans. Matt McGuire is unsure, "Mays is definitely a first-round pick, but I doubt he is the top-five talent he is being hyped up as right now. I think he is a very talented player, but I wouldn't say he is an elite talent like Sean Taylor or LaRon Landry."

#4 Greg Hardy (DE, Ole Miss)
The best way to describe Hardy is that he's an 'enigma'. Dominant on the field, he registered eight sacks and an interception in just seven games last year. Off the field, he's a different prospect as Scott Cacciola testifies, "He attracts drama the way lamps lure moths, and seldom does a week pass without some made-for-TV moment." As a sophomore he was suspended by Ole Miss for two games for violating team rules and rumors circulated at one stage last season that he'd been kicked off the team. Not a likely pick for Ruskell's Seahawks, but his combination of soap-opera and raw talent makes him a must watch.

#5 Colt McCoy (QB, Texas)
At one stage last year it seemed McCoy could do know wrong. Leading an unbeaten Longhorns team he seemed a shoe in for the Heisman and a BCS championship appearance. The wheels fell off largely thanks to Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, so McCoy is back to do it again in 2009. According to Matt McGuire, he has lots to prove, "Colt McCoy is the next over hyped collegiate quarterback who really doesn't have much of a chance in the NFL. He is a late-round talent." Will another year of analysing damage his stock? We'll soon find out.

#6 C.J. Spiller (RB, Clemson)
A rarity these days - a highly rated running back staying for his senior year. Here's the facts though - Spiller has 390 carries in a three year career. Knowshon Moreno had 498 attempts in just two years before declaring. Simply put - they'll have a similar mileage upon entering the NFL. Truly elusive as a runner, his ability to dodge tackles reminds me of Shaun Alexander before he entered the league. Shifty speed and genuinely talented, it'll be interesting to see if he has the kind of senior year which propels him to the top of draft boards.

#7 Trent Williams (OT, Oklahoma)
It's unlikely the 2010 offensive line class will compare to the highly rated 2009 group. However, 6'5", 310lbs Trent Williams is being touted as the 'one to watch' from the senior class. Ranked second amongst senior's by Rob Rang, he's described as being, "Blessed with size, balance and quick feet." The Sooners' system will help Williams' excel in what should remain an elite offense retaining Sam Bradford and Jermaine Gresham.

#8 Brandon LaFell (WR, LSU)
Compared favorably by Rob Rang to former Tigers receiver Dwayne Bowe, LaFell will be hoping to eventually have the same impact on the NFL. The Seahawks signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh and drafted Deon Butler this off season, but may look to add some height (6'3") and raw talent to the position in 2010. Matt McGuire, in his most recently published 2010 mock draft, has the Seahawks selecting LaFell 16th overall, "LaFell is the top-rated senior receiver in the country and has the skill set Jim Mora likes in his offense."

#9 Jermaine Gresham (TE, Oklahoma)
It was a big surprise when Gresham decided to stay with the Sooners, considering he was widely expected to be amongst the top picks in the 2009 draft. Described by Rob Rang as a "matchup nightmare", Gresham is close to being the complete tight end. Compared by Matt McGuire to Tony Gonzalez due to his, "size, athleticism and production" Gresham is likely to enjoy another productive year due to Sam Bradford's return.

#10 Brandon Spikes (LB, Florida)
Outspoken, physical linebacker perhaps best remembered for destroying Andre Smith. It's nigh on impossible that Seattle will take another linebacker early next year but I had to add him to the list. He looks like a Raven in the making so it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up in Baltimore come next year. Matt McGuire thinks he has room for improvement, "Brandon Spikes is the prototypical 3-4 inside linebacker, but at this point I am not sold on him being the top-20 2010 NFL Draft pick most are hyping him as."

Monday, 27 July 2009

Kyle Rota on Tim Tebow

I recently caught up with College Talent Scout's Kyle Rota and took the chance to ask him about this year's hot topic in the draft world - Tim Tebow. For the last few days we've been discussing everything from Tebow's throwing mechanics, to his draft stock and potential landing spot in Seattle next year. It seems nobody splits opinion more than the Gators QB, but what are Kyle Rota's expectations ahead of the 2009 season and how does he compare to another recently drafted NFL quarter back?

"He has as much to prove this year as anyone in college football."
-Kyle Rota, College Talent Scout

To read the rest of Kyle's thoughts, click here.

"Let me talk about Tebow by comparing him to another player. Like Tebow, he played out of a spread-option system in college. Like Tebow, he went to a major program, got playing time early and won a national championship as a starter.

Like Tebow, his college stats were impeccable but his throwing motion gave scouts cause for concern. Like Tebow, this quarterback was renown for his leadership, size, and mobility.

Tim Tebow shares an eerie resemblance to Vince Young. Obviously we question Young's maturity now, but his play in the Rose Bowl to beat USC for a national title was every bit as powerful as Tebow's post-Ole Miss speech in 2008.

That isn't all bad.

Vince Young may not have the maturity to be an NFL QB, but he's shown flashes that convince me nobody graded the kid *wrong*. In fact, he's been accurate even at the NFL level.

He's obviously mobile and strong.

Considering the poor weapons he's been throwing too, it wasn't surprising that his play on the field struggled - until he was benched. We just saw a QB play well on a winning team and dubbed him a leader in the NFL.

That can't be the way we scout a player, but that's what we did.

We did the same thing with Peyton Manning, who was considered by some to be a lesser leader than Ryan Leaf because Manning never took Tennessee to a National Championship (Manning went #1, but plenty of people thought Leaf would be better).

We're doing the same thing with Tebow, who seems like a leader. But is he? I can't answer that, because I don't have a better way for scouting leadership. All I know is that we do it wrong, so I am hesitant to put a lot of weight into that trait.

As a passer, Tebow has a great arm and seems pretty accurate - accuracy is tough to scout in the Florida offense, so I might rescind that. But his passes seem to go where he wants to go.

However, his throwing mechanics are a mess. Of the five things I look for in a throwing motion, Tebow passes only 1 consistently - release point (his is fine). He takes too long, his balance is often off, his footwork is atrocious and he rarely gets his body into his throws (although he does seem to when he throws deep, when it matters most).

Vince Young had a funky delivery, but he passed 3 1/2 (His release point is low, but he's 6'5 so he still gets more air than most QBs) and the one he failed (sufficient torque) is fine on deeper tosses, like Tebow.

The similarities are really quite scary.

He has a big arm when he wants to, and sometimes gets good velocity on his medium-range targets. However, he also sometimes floats the ball when he could throw it harder, and has never lined up against a team with more talent than his team.

To me, he seems like someone who could turn into Ben Roethlisberger with some hard work - a guy who will take a beating due to slow release, can run around a bit, can throw it deep well and short well enough, and can lead a team. He doesn't look like a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady (perfect passers who can do whatever you want if you give them decent weapons), but he looks like someone who could fall into that 2nd tier.

You'll notice I haven't mentioned reading defenses. This is an area I don't feel good about grading a true junior QB on - I'll be going entirely off senior film for Tebow's mental skills, and probably for his entire game. The offense he operates out of makes him a risk simply by virtue of his footwork and reads.

Personally, I wouldn't take the 2008 Tebow on day 1. But, come draft day 2010, I might be singing a different tune.

He's progressed well every year in college, and that is important - shows he is still learning. His work ethic is reportedly incomparable. He's comfortable enough with the media and pressure (Young's downfall).

I'm concerned - not writing off - his ability to meld with an NFL locker room. His act could rub some the wrong way, or others could rub him the wrong way. Right now, I have him as a 3rd round project. I don't think he will deliver on the investment, but there's enough potential to make him worth the small risk to the right team."
-Kyle Rota, College Talent Scout

Saturday, 25 July 2009

NFL Draft Scout 2010 prospect rankings

NFL Draft Scout updated their 2010 prospect rankings this week with some notable choices. The list only includes seniors at the moment and is likely to be heavily influenced by an influx of underclassmen by the end of the college season (as is the norm these days).

Ndamukong Suh tops the list, no surprise there after Rob Rang put him top of his senior rankings. Seattle born safety Taylor Mays comes in second, earning high praise from Rang in the process:

At 6-3, 230 pounds with the straight-line speed that has led head coach Pete Carroll to call him the fastest player on the USC roster, it's easy to see why many have invoked the names of legendary Trojans safeties Ronnie Lott, Dennis Smith, Mark Carrier and Troy Polamalu when describing Mays' impact. -Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout

There are only two senior quarterbacks listed in the top 50 in what appears to be another thin class at the position. Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow are ranked 9th and 11th respectively. Tebow is listed at 6'3" 250lbs and running in the late 4.6's. He may well be 'Superman' after all.

"He has shown enough of a work ethic and enough natural ability as a passer, as a runner and most importantly a feel for the pocket that you have to prove to me or prove to whatever team that you can't do it before you assume he can't do it.

"He's certainly not as accurate as you want in a pro-style quarterback, he hasn't been asked to make the reads, he hasn't been asked to do any of those things, but at the same time you can't coach the ability to rise up in pressure situations that he has shown throughout his career. He's not a highly-rated quarterback in a pro-style offense at this point but the man who bets against Tim Tebow is making a foolish bet. He has too much talent not to give him a chance." - Rob Rang, NFL Draft Scout

Another interesting note - Ciron Black (OT, LSU) is given a second round ranking and is only listed as the 24th best senior. I'm not particularly a fan of Black's but I've seen him ranked quite highly in some quarters. I don't think 2010 will be a particularly good year for offensive tackles and I wouldn't be surprised to see Black's stock fluctuate regularly.

At this early juncture is appears the strength lies mainly amongst the defensive line. Not the worst news from a Seahawks perspective - Jim Mora's defense depends on pressure from the front.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Deon Butler signs four-year deal

Danny O'Neil at the Seattle Times is reporting that the Seahawks have agreed terms with third round pick Deon Butler. Terms haven't been disclosed, but it's a four-year contract. Only Aaron Curry and Max Unger remain unsigned, with training camp beginning at the end of July.

As O'Neil reports, only Matt Stafford (QB, Detroit) and Mark Sanchez (QB, NY Jets) have agreed terms from the 2009 class of first round picks. Terrell Suggs' recent $63m 6-year agreement with Baltimore may be used as a marker in negotiations with Aaron Curry, as could Chris Long's $56.5m contract with the Rams last year.

Curry is moving to Seattle today, according to the latest update on his facebook page. He's moving into his new house and picking up his dogs ready for life with the Seahawks. Hopefully an agreement is imminent.

Aside from Butler, Mike Teel, Courtney Greene, Nick Reed and Cameron Morrah have all signed contracts ahead of camp.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Draft goes prime time

The NFL announced today that the 2010 draft will move to prime time viewing for the first time. The switch will see the first round take place on Thursday 22nd April, the second and third on Friday 23rd April and rounds four through seven on Saturday 24th April.

The news will likely receive a frosty reception from fans on the west coast. Thursday's first round will kick off at 4:30pm PST - in other words when a lot of people are still at work. It's a similar story on the Friday, with round two starting at 3:30pm PST.

Might as well forget those draft parties next year.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Year of the Tebow

Even at this early stage, it seems clear that the 2010 NFL Draft will be known as the year of the Tebow. Throughout the college football season right up until next April's event we'll be locked in an endless debate about Tebow's draft stock, whether he can convert to the pro-game and question his throwing mechanics.

Perhaps more importantly, we'll be asking whether he's a future Seattle Seahawk.

Dennis Dodd from CBS Sportsline firmly believes the much discussed QB will lead Florida to another national title, whilst in the process enhancing his chances of being a top pick next year.

"Tebow is one of the best ever. Go ahead, get it over with. Stick a finger down your throat and self induce if you must. Yeah, here we go again. We first got into this subject the day before the BCS title game eight months ago.

Nothing has happened to dispute that assertion. No scandal. No erosion of skills. Just come back with me to Atlantic City seven months ago when Tebow and his brothers were in town for the Maxwell Award ceremonies. With a night to kill and nothing to do, Team Tebow did what any red-blooded set of brothers would do.

They sat in their room and played "Catch Phrase." It's an electronic game about the size of a swollen hockey puck. It's great for family gatherings and dinner parties. But for a free night in Atlantic City?

Before it was over, the Tebows had a Catch Phrase entourage that included their body guard. Drink of choice: Bottled water.
-Dennis Dodd, CBS Sportsline

It's well publicised what the Seahawks look for with their draft picks. Stayed in school, big programme, solid production with great character.

Or for short... Tim Tebow.

I have to confess, I'm a fan. I like to see passion in sport and watching Tebow just makes you want the guy to win. Tebow seems to understand the link between fan and superstar whilst appreciating the talent's he's gifted with.

But like a lot of people, I also have reservations about Tebow's ability to adapt to the NFL. Those throwing mechanics will need to be worked on. He has a big arm but can it deliver when pressured by big, fast NFL defensive lineman charging towards him?

Can he adapt to playing in a conventional offense? Personally, I think the best he can hope for is to be that Ben Roethlisberger 'air it out' type. I'm not sure he'll be able to manage a game and keep teams guessing, rather than fall back onto that arm.

At the same time, I respect the opinion I often hear as a counter. The guy is a flat out winner with the right attitude. If anyone can learn a system, my money is on Tebow. His whiter than white personality might not be the kind of thing you look for from a drinking buddy, but isn't it just what you want from your teams franchise quarter back?

This guy will work harder than anyone. He'll be a prominent member of the community and he'll earn the respect from his teammates, probably even as a rookie.

The questions becomes - do the pro's outweigh the con's?

Here's my thought - and it's terribly early to start making predictions about next year's draft but we have plenty of time to kill until then.

Tebow will be a first round pick and he'll go higher than a lot of people think.

Someone somewhere will take a chance. It'll be an expensive gamble, with no guarantees other than the fact Tebow will give it his all.

Would you like to see Tebow in Seahawk blue one day? Does owning two first round picks next year provide a better platform to spend such a high choice on someone like Tebow? Can he adapt to the pro-game or is he too big a project?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section or email

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Gil Brandt on top 2010 Senior OT's

Gil Brandt ( is certainly has his finger on the pulse when it comes to draft matters. He was the first person to suggest Tyson Jackson would go in the top five picks and was proven right when the LSU DE was taken 3rd overall by Kansas City.

He's currently running a weekly series looking at the top 2010 senior prospects at each position.

Today he's published his offensive tackle rankings.

"The left tackle is a paramount job to fill. He usually has to block the defense's best pass rusher, so teams are looking for players who have quick feet, long arms, speed and strength. In 1997, both the St. Louis Rams (Orlando Pace) and Seattle Seahawks (Walter Jones) both paid a high price to move up in the first round to select players they thought could be franchise left tackles and they were correct."
- Gil Brandt

Could the Seahawks be in the market for a LT next year?

Walter Jones will be a year closer to retirement by then and concerns still remain about his ability to return from serious knee surgery this year. Sean Locklear appears to be the long term answer at LT and hefty escalations in his salary in 2010 suggest that could be the thought process.

However, with two first round picks to spend... maybe the Seahawks will use one on a tackle if the player in question is too good to pass? Brandt has his top two seniors rated very highly.

(On Trent Williams, Oklahoma)... "He has good speed and athletic ability. He has been well-coached and is a good, but not great, worker. Williams will be a first-round pick and can be a long-time starter in the NFL."

(On Russell Okung, Oklahoma St)... "He is strong, athletic and has good feet. He was first-team All-Big 12 last season. He will start and play a lot of years in the NFL. Okung is a first-round pick."

Ciron Black (LSU) is, perhaps lazily, ranked particularly highly in some quaters due to his decision to stay at college rather than declare for the 2009 draft. However, I don't believe he was ever seriously considered a top-of-round-one prospect and therefore, he still has plenty to prove. Brandt echoes those sentiments, by ranking him 5th in this list.

"Black is a fifth-year player who has started 40 straight games at left tackle. He played a school-record 1,031 snaps in 2007. He is a better run blocker than pass protector. He is a good, but not great, worker. When you watch tape, you expect more than you see."

To see Brandt's other rankings click here... QB, RB, WR, TE.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Analyzing a Pass Play

Today, I'll be kicking off my 2009 previews. Over the next few days we'll be discussing a range of topics, so stay tuned to Seahawks Draft Blog and let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

The first entry will break down a pass play under new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, discussing some of the formations, personel and play calling we might expect to see in '09.

Analyzing a pass play

Offensive line: LT Jones, LG Wahle, C Spencer, RG Sims, RT Locklear
Wide receivers: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deion Branch
Tight end: John Carlson
Running Back & Fullback: Julius Jones and Justin Griffith
Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck

4-3 defense: DE, NT, UT, DE / Will, Mike, Sam / CB, CB/ FS, SS

*The Seahawks will face ten 4-3 teams in 2009 as opposed to six 3-4 teams, so for the purpose of this example I will use the St Louis Rams' 4-3 defense expected in week one.

The play call is a two-WR set with the TE acting as the primary receiver.To read the rest of the article, click here.

The offensive line will take on a man scheme in pass protection.

New St. Louis head coach Steve Spagnuolo likes his linebackers to blitz and create pressure from all angles.

The center Chris Spencer will look for the blitz pre-snap and may call a shift. In this situation, the line may move to the left or right depending on what the center has seen.

When the ball is snapped Spencer's duties will be to remain stout at the point of attack, making sure the pocket doesn't collapse.

He will also be expected to help out one of the two guards depending on who has the toughest assignment.

The two tackles Jones and Locklear will man up the DE's. The RB Jones and FB Griffith are both blocking, but Jones is also a check down option as a receiving target.

For this example, let's say the NT is to be given particular attention. The left guard Mike Wahle would receive help from the center, with the right guard expected to hold up his man.

The split end receiver Deion Branch will run a quick out with the flanker T.J. Houshmandzadeh using a basic hitch.

Greg Knapp generally prefers to use the deep ball more than Mike Holmgren, so one of the wide receivers may be called to run a go route to take out the cornerback and possibly a safety.

Hopefully this will create some space behind the linebackers for the tight end to run an in-route middle cross 10-12 yards deep.

TE John Carlson will be expected to disguise a go or seam route before faking an outside break. This should create enough space for the quarterback to feel comfortable finding the man in behind.

If the linebackers don't blitz and the TE is covered, this could bring the RB Jones into play via a dump off.

The ability of Chris Spencer to execute his duties will be crucial if Mike Wahle and Rob Sims start at guard.

Both are athletic linemen with solid technique but don't have great size or power and could be pushed back by an aggressive defensive line with superior bulk.

Spencer has similar athleticism but is much stronger.

He will be expected to adequately support the two guards with Seattle favoring smaller, more agile lineman for the running zone-blocking scheme, which could put them at a disadvantage against bigger DT's in pass protection.

One area the Seahawks struggled with last year due to their lack of threat in the passing game was a safety blitz.

If the safety, in this case Oshiomogho Atogwe, is positioned to attack the quarterback, the center should adjust the call so that he or the right guard pick up the blitzer, with the other lineman blocking the remaining UT.

The example above is the kind of play I would expect to see used by the Seahawks in 2009.

Greg Knapp is likely to feature the RB and TE a lot in the passing game, while using 2 WR sets.

The play is easily disguised as a potential run, keeping the defense honest.

It also takes advantage of the pass-catching qualities of John Carlson and short-medium accuracy of Matt Hasselbeck.

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Fantasy Files - Episode #2

Last week I published a fourteen-team Fantasy Mock Draft I recently took part in. Today we'll look at a smaller example for those of you who might be competing in an eight-team league this year. The format is standard PPR and as you will see, there are plenty of bargains to go around in the shorter format.

Round 1
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Adrian Peterson (Min - RB)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Michael Turner (Atl - RB)
(3) b_wilson9 - Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac - RB)
(4) Rob - Matt Forte (Chi - RB)
(5) charles f - Steven Jackson (StL - RB)
(6) dominick m - LaDainian Tomlinson (SD - RB)
(7) quietstorm052 - Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR)
(8) Nathan P - Brian Westbrook (Phi - RB)

No shocks in round one. Adrian Peterson is likely to be taken first overall in the vast majority of fantasy drafts. Personally, I still feel you're better off picking later in the first round and having the early pick in round two. For example, b_wilson took Jones-Drew and Brandon Jacobs in the first two rounds picking third overall. The guy who picked seventh(quietstorm052) in round one has Larry Fitzgerald and Frank Gore.

My Pick
Matt Forte is a solid option in round one as an all round back. He'll take the vast majority of Chicago's carries in the season whilst also offering an option out of the backfield. Having a QB like Jay Cutler could force teams to respect Chicago's passing game increasing the opportunities for Forte to make plays. I would probably rank Forte second only to Peterson in my overall rankings (which will be published soon).

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Round 2
(1) Nathan P - Andre Johnson (Hou - WR)
(2) quietstorm052 - Frank Gore (SF - RB)
(3) dominick m - DeAngelo Williams (Car - RB)
(4) charles f - Randy Moss (NE - WR)
(5) Rob - Chris Johnson (Ten - RB)
(6) b_wilson9 - Brandon Jacobs (NYG - RB)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - Drew Brees (NO - QB)
(8) colby_sharpe_31 - Steve Slaton (Hou - RB)

Once again a predictable outlook for round two, clearly the participants in this mock draft were taking things relatively seriously. Andre Johnson and Randy Moss are both value picks at receiver in round two if Fitzgerald leaves the board early. I was partly surprised to see Brian Westbrook leave the board before Frank Gore and Chris Johnson. Westbrook was far from convincing last year, he's a year older and the Eagles drafted LeSean McCoy recently. Both Gore and Johnson remain their respective teams' most potent weapon.

My Pick
I think it was quite apt that I took both Forte and Johnson in the first two rounds. Both were fantasy sleepers as rookies and in most cases went in rounds 7-10. This year they should both be first round picks and if you can get either in round two - you've got yourself a bargain.

Round 3
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Steve Smith (Car - WR)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Reggie Wayne (Ind - WR)
(3) b_wilson9 - Tom Brady (NE - QB)
(4) Rob - Peyton Manning (Ind - QB)
(5) charles f - Marques Colston (NO - WR)
(6) dominick m - Greg Jennings (GB - WR)
(7) quietstorm052 - Clinton Portis (Was - RB)
(8) Nathan P - Calvin Johnson (Det - WR)

This is where things got interesting. To see guys like Peyton Manning, Clinton Portis and Calvin Johnson fall into the third round emphasised the kind of value you will find in eight team fantasy drafts this year. I was surprised to see Smith, Wayne, Colston and Jennings taken before Calvin Johnson. Yes - they'll likely be starting a rookie QB in Detroit next season. However, Matt Stafford has the kind of arm that will make Johnson a star. Make no mistake, Johnson has the potential to become the NFL's leading receiver. If he registers 1331 yards and 13 TD's in a 0-16 team bringing people out of retirement to play QB, imagine what he could do with someone like Stafford throwing to him?

My Pick
Despite my rave review above for Calvin Johnson, I simply couldn't pass on Peyton Manning here. I was half hoping 'Megatron' would fall to round four, but he just stayed inside the third. The reason why I value Manning so highly in the fantasy world is simply because he starts every week. When other QB's would be sat on the sidelines nursing a knee injury, Manning is out there leading his team. He's the reigning NFL MVP and hasn't missed a game in 11 seasons. Getting him in round three secures the QB position and allows me to concentrate on other positions.

Round 4
(1) Nathan P - Marion Barber (Dal - RB)
(2) quietstorm052 - Anquan Boldin (Ari - WR)
(3) dominick m - Santonio Holmes (Pit - WR)
(4) charles f - Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB)
(5) Rob - Roddy White (Atl - WR)
(6) b_wilson9 - Brandon Marshall (Den - WR)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - Dwayne Bowe (KC - WR)
(8) colby_sharpe_31 - Terrell Owens (Buf - WR)

I was expecting a run on receivers and it happened in rounds 3 & 4. I was hoping Anquan Boldin would fall to me here but he goes three picks earlier. Don't worry about his contract complaints this off season, we've been here before. It looks increasingly likely he'll remain in Arizona and therefore, he'll also remain one of the best fantasy wide outs available. I've noticed Aaron Rodgers is the popular pick once Brees/Brady/Manning leave the board. He's getting more love than Matt Ryan (who I think will have a productive 2009) and Jay Cutler (who lacks weapons).

My Pick
I needed to take a receiver and the choice was pretty clear. Roddy White had a very productive 2008 season (1382 yards, 7 TD's) and should remain Matt Ryan's #1 target despite the excellent signing of Tony Gonzalez. Three receivers left the board after I took White. I like Owens as fourth round value pick here, but he is joining a new team who just lost their starting left tackle. Brandon Marshall is an unpredictable choice for many reasons, but mainly due to the mystery that is Denver's offense behind Kyle Orton. Dwayne Bowe is another unpredictable choice - he'll be Matt Cassell's main (only?) target but don't expect much from Kansas City's offense this year.

Round 5
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Wes Welker (NE - WR)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Ryan Grant (GB - RB)
(3) b_wilson9 - Jason Witten (Dal - TE)
(4) Rob - T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Sea - WR)
(5) charles f - Antonio Gates (SD - TE)
(6) dominick m - Tony Gonzalez (Atl - TE)
(7) quietstorm052 - Kurt Warner (Ari - QB)
(8) Nathan P - Tony Romo (Dal - QB)

Again, I was hoping for someone to fall and they just went ahead of my pick. Wes Welker offers tremendous value in round five especially if Tom Brady can regain his form upon returning from a long absence. Plenty of value here - Ryan Grant is a solid backup RB who could even start in certain scenarios. Kurt Warner and Tony Romo are both solid fantasy starters and the three tight ends taken here will all get you plenty of points.

My Pick
Needing to fill out my stable of receivers, I took Houshmandzadeh. I'm finding that I take Housh in a lot of my mocks. This either tells me that a.) I'm over rating a receiver in his 30's who is learning a new playbook or b.) Everyone else is under rating the fact he'll be Seattle's #1 receiver and has a knack of catching 90-100 passes. As I said in the mock I published last week, I've found I rarely select Seahawks players in my fantasy drafts. This year may be different, which is surprising because Seattle are largely fantasy irrelevant - especially at the top end.

Round 6
(1) Nathan P - Chad Ochocinco (Cin - WR)
(2) quietstorm052 - Pittsburgh (Pit - DEF)
(3) dominick m - Braylon Edwards (Cle - WR)
(4) charles f - Anthony Gonzalez (Ind - WR)
(5) Rob - Lee Evans (Buf - WR)
(6) b_wilson9 - Antonio Bryant (TB - WR)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - Baltimore (Bal - DEF)
(8) colby_sharpe_31 - Philip Rivers (SD - QB)

Chad 'Ochocinco' is an interesting fantasy proposition. Clearly, the Chad from three years ago would be an absolute bargain here. Cincinatti's passing game has been heavily damaged the last two years due to Carson Palmer's health. Some could find great value by taking a few Bengals later in the draft on the off chance of finding a steal. Personally, I'd take Philip Rivers ahead of Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo... and maybe even ahead of Kurt Warner. He had a superb fantasy season in 2008 and unlike some people, I don't expect San Diego's running game will be much improved this year. Playing in the AFC West should help Rivers' numbers.

My Pick
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, right? If I could go back I'd probably select Calvin Johnson in round three and take Philip Rivers here. It's hard to rue a decision to take Peyton Manning, but clearly Rivers & Johnson is superior to Manning and Lee Evans. I felt I still needed receiver help and Evans gave me a solid season in 2008. He'll either lose passes because of T.O. or thrive due to the extra attention afforded to Owens. Buffalo's will likely lean on their passing game early due to Marshawn Lynch's suspension, making Evans a decent fantasy option.

Round 7
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Kevin Smith (Det - RB)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Roy Williams (Dal - WR)
(3) b_wilson9 - Vincent Jackson (SD - WR)
(4) Rob - Eddie Royal (Den - WR)
(5) charles f - Joseph Addai (Ind - RB)
(6) dominick m - Ronnie Brown (Mia - RB)
(7) quietstorm052 - Larry Johnson (KC - RB)
(8) Nathan P - Dallas Clark (Ind - TE)

It goes to show how the real life NFL Draft can affect someone's stock. Had the Colts not taken Donald Brown in the first round this year, Joseph Addai would probably be a 1-3 round selection. Instead, you'll often find him swimming around rounds 6-10. I'd stay away from Addai personally, Brown will get more carries and offers better value in the later rounds.

My Pick
Not completely satisfied with my receiving options, I had to take Eddie Royal here. With the WR's I've taken I'll likely be mixing them around each week depending on matchups, there's no guaranteed choice. Royal may suffer having lost Jay Cutler, but Denver would be wise to include this talented young wide out as much as possible.

Round 8
(1) Nathan P - Santana Moss (Was - WR)
(2) quietstorm052 - Donovan McNabb (Phi - QB)
(3) dominick m - Chris Chambers (SD - WR)
(4) charles f - Devin Hester (Chi - WR)
(5) Rob - Knowshon Moreno (Den - RB)
(6) b_wilson9 - New York (NYG - DEF)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - Kellen Winslow (TB - TE)
8) colby_sharpe_31 - Pierre Thomas (NO - RB)

Some discussion points here, starting with Pierre Thomas taken at the end of round eight. He's regarded as New Orleans' best RB option. However, I understand why he might fall this far. Will the Saints abandon their investment in Reggie Bush enough for Thomas to deserve being taken earlier? Will they ride the Drew Brees express again like 2008? He had 625 yards and 9 TD's as a waiver wire sleeper last year, but this still looks about his range for me. Secondly - does anyone know what to expect from Kellen Winslow now he's in Tampa Bay? We still don't really know who will be their starting QB. The Buccs look like a team in transition and I personally think they'll be picking in the top 5 in 2010. However, Winslow could still be a productive pass catching TE - if he wants to be,

My Pick
I'll keep saying this until I'm proven right or wrong - Knowshon Moreno is this year's Matt Forte. He will get the vast majority of the carries in Denver - a team who for years have run the ball well. I see no reason why this won't continue under Josh McDaniels and the rookie head coach may use Moreno in the same way Chicago used Forte to take the strain from Kyle Orton. Just remember this - they took him 13th overall when they had two first round picks in the teens. They wanted this guy bad enough and rest assured he'll be a focal point on their offense. Also, he'll catch his fair share of passes out of the backfield. Top five pick in 2010 fantasy league.

Round 9
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Bernard Berrian (Min - WR)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Reggie Bush (NO - RB)
(3) b_wilson9 - Stephen Gostkowski (NE - K)
(4) Rob - Marshawn Lynch (Buf - RB)
(5) charles f - Carson Palmer (Cin - QB)
(6) dominick m - Matt Cassel (KC - QB)
(7) quietstorm052 - Willie Parker (Pit - RB)
(8) Nathan P - Jonathan Stewart (Car - RB)

Here's where the draft got kind of crazy. The user named b_wilson9 owned two RB's taken in rounds 1 & 2 (Brian Westbrook and Brandon Jacobs). However, rather than take a backup (and let's be honest, he'll need one) he's taken a defense (New York) and a kicker (Gostkowski) instead. This is a classic case of someone filling out their roster with starters instead of using the chance to get greater depth. You can always get a good defense later on and if you can't - just use the waiver wire every week. You won't however, find someone like Thomas, Moreno, Bush or Lynch sat on a plate the week they have a friendly matchup.

My Pick
Yes, Marshawn Lynch is suspended for the start of the NFL season. No, he shouldn't last this far in a fantasy draft. Without the suspension, he's a top pick in the first three rounds. To get him this late in the day is ludicrous. I can start two of Chris Johnson, Matt Forte and Knowshon Moreno early on and possibly turn to Lynch down the line. Even if this proves to be a bust, it's worth the gamble in round nine. To take a kicker this late with Lynch on the board is criminal.

Round 10
(1) Nathan P - LenDale White (Ten - RB)
(2) quietstorm052 - DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR)
(3) dominick m - Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ - WR)
(4) charles f - Donald Driver (GB - WR)
(5) Rob - Hines Ward (Pit - WR)
(6) b_wilson9 - Thomas Jones (NYJ - RB)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - Rob Bironas (Ten - K)
(8) colby_sharpe_31 - Owen Daniels (Hou - TE)

The penny drops and b_wilson9 realises he needs some backup at RB. Unfortunately for him, he realises this about five rounds too late and takes Thomas Jones - someone whose future remains unclear. He'd have been much wiser taking Derrick Ward in this situation, but more on him later. DeSean Jackson is nice value this late - his value is about the same as it was in his rookie year.

My Pick
Needing depth at receiver, I had to settle for Hines Ward. At 33 yeard of age, I'm not sure Ward is a reliable fantasy option these days. However, if he's healthy there'll be certain matchups where he warrants a start. This is about the right range for him to leave the board, but be warned if you choose him as an every week starter.

Round 11
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Tennessee (Ten - DEF)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Matt Schaub (Hou - QB)
(3) b_wilson9 - Jay Cutler (Chi - QB)
(4) Rob - Derrick Ward (TB - RB)
(5) charles f - Philadelphia (Phi - DEF)
(6) dominick m - New York (NYJ - DEF)
(7) quietstorm052 - Donnie Avery (StL - WR)
(8) Nathan P - Matt Ryan (Atl - QB)

This was a strong round for QB's. Matt Schaub, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler are all viable starters - so to see this kind of value in round 11 shows that you don't need to break the bank early to take, say, Peyton Manning (doh!).

My Pick
Derrick Ward could be an absolute steal here. He'll be Tampa Bay's starting running back and who knows, he could have a Michael Turner-esque break out season. Perhaps that's a little bit exagerrated, but he'll still get carries and is worth a flier this late.

Round 12
(1) Nathan P - Derrick Mason (Bal - WR)
(2) quietstorm052 - Greg Olsen (Chi - TE)
(3) dominick m - Fred Taylor (NE - RB)
(4) charles f - Fred Jackson (Buf - RB)
(5) Rob - Chris Cooley (Was - TE)
(6) b_wilson9 - Kevin Walter (Hou - WR)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - Torry Holt (Jac - WR)
(8) colby_sharpe_31 - Kris Brown (Hou - K)

I think it's important to stress here that before I entered round 12, I had no TE/K/DEF. I honestly believe there is absolutely no reason what so ever to panic when you get to rounds 8/9 and you notice big holes in your starting line-up. Get solid depth at key positions like RB and WR because that will win you a league. Be patient and pick the right time to complete your roster. Keep an eye on who is available and what other teams have taken. I noticed that all but one other team was missing a starting TE, so waited until that team took one before I made my move. When quietstorm052 took Greg Olsen (who could be a fantasy stud in 2009) I quickly snapped up Chris Cooley - who isn't a bad choice either.

My Pick
Chris Cooley doesn't get taken as early as the Jason Witten/Dallas Clark/Antonio Gates/Tony Gonzalez crew, but he's just as much fantasy relevant. There's no clear sign that second year TE from USC Fred Davis will take on a greater responsibility in Washington making Cooley the obvious starter.

Round 13
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Laveranues Coles (Cin - WR)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Lance Moore (NO - WR)
(3) b_wilson9 - Michael Crabtree (SF - WR)
(4) Rob - Ben Roethlisberger (Pit - QB)
(5) charles f - Felix Jones (Dal - RB)
(6) dominick m - Darren Sproles (SD - RB)
(7) quietstorm052 - Steve Breaston (Ari - WR)
(8) Nathan P - Jeremy Shockey (NO - TE)

Laveranues Coles could be a sleeper option if Carson Palmer starts more than a handful of games for the Bengals. Felix Jones could steal a fair few carries from Marrion Barber making him fantasy relevant, whilst Michael Crabtree could surprise a few people and have a great rookie year.

My Pick
It's important to have a backup QB you can trust. Having taken Peyton Manning in round three, I noticed his bye week was in week 6. During picks I took the time to see which QB's had favorable matchups that week and noticed Big Ben and the Steelers were hosting the Cleveland Browns. He might only play one week, but if he wins you a match - it'll be worth it.

Round 14
(1) Nathan P - Jason Elam (Atl - K)
(2) quietstorm052 - Minnesota (Min - DEF)
(3) dominick m - Leon Washington (NYJ - RB)
(4) charles f - Willis McGahee (Bal - RB)
(5) Rob - San Diego (SD - DEF)
(6) b_wilson9 - Zach Miller (Oak - TE)
(7) lewissharpe_12 - John Carlson (Sea - TE)
(8) colby_sharpe_31 - Eli Manning (NYG - QB)

Zach Miller is a bargain tight end close to the end of the draft. Leon Washington should be drafted in most leagues as an occassional starter. I'm not 100% sold on Eli Manning's value this year unless someone like Hakeem Nicks or Steve Smith step up and offer a legitimate #1 target. Otherwise, it'll be more grounding out wins through the running game.

My Pick
Time to fill out the roster with the last two picks. Having waited until late to take a defense, I still manage to get San Diego. This has to be the perfect example as to why you shouldn't take a team's DEF too early. Getting a solid defense is good but getting a defense that welcomes back Shawne Merriman and added Larry English via the draft is a bonus.

Round 15
(1) colby_sharpe_31 - Dustin Keller (NYJ - TE)
(2) lewissharpe_12 - Dallas (Dal - DEF)
(3) b_wilson9 - Chicago (Chi - DEF)
(4) Rob - David Akers (Phi - K)
(5) charles f - Nick Folk (Dal - K)
(6) dominick m - Darren McFadden (Oak - RB)
(7) quietstorm052 - Nate Kaeding (SD - K)
(8) Nathan P - Miami (Mia - DEF)

That's right - Darren McFadden made it to round 15. He shouldn't last this long, but that's what happens when you have teams taking 'backup' kickers. I would have taken him ages ago if I didn't already own a crowded backfield.

My Pick
I took a kicker with my final choice. David Akers is a solid pick up and again shows you don't have to go too early when taking a kicker. Get depth first and have the patience to take a K/DEF later.

My team
QB Peyton Manning
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB Matt Forte
RB Chris Johnson
RB Knowshon Moreno
RB Marshawn Lynch
RB Derrick Ward
WR Roddy White
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
WR Lee Evans
WR Eddie Royal
WR Hines Ward
TE Chris Cooley
K David Akers
DEF San Diego

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The Fantasy Files - Episode #1

Leading up to the 2009 season I'll be introducing a 'fantasy football' angle to the blog, with the first episode published today. I must confess to being something of a fantasy addict, I competed in four leagues last year and already look ahead to this year's drafts with anticipation. Did I win any of the leagues? One from four... so essentially I had the same .250 as the Seahawks last year.

In order to quench some of the impatience, this week I took part in a mock fantasy draft. I've published the results in full below, with some thoughts and expectations. As always I'd also love to read your opinions, so click on the 'comments' section at the bottom of the article and let me know your view.

Round 1
(1) Jason - Tom Brady (NE - QB)
(2) chuckred21 - Adrian Peterson (Min - RB)
(3) wprizee - Michael Turner (Atl - RB)
(4) Mike C - Drew Brees (NO - QB)
(5) j_n_d543 - Maurice Jones-Drew (Jac - RB)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Matt Forte (Chi - RB)
(7) ethman_19 - DeAngelo Williams (Car - RB)
(8) The MaeStro - Steven Jackson (StL - RB)
(9) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Brian Westbrook (Phi - RB)
(10) µ-Ziq - LaDainian Tomlinson (SD - RB)
(11) brent34bokel - Larry Fitzgerald (Ari - WR)
(12) Doug Fresh - Randy Moss (NE - WR)
(13) Rob - Chris Johnson (Ten - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Frank Gore (SF - RB)

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Obviously the first thing that stands out is the odd choice of Tom Brady first overall by 'Jason'. When quizzed on his decision, he complained that he'd chosen the wrong guy by mistake... he really wanted Randy Moss. OK.

My pick
Selecting at the back end of the round, I was hoping Larry Fitzgerald would fall to #13. I have a theory this year that the depth at receiver is pretty weak and that there are a handful of sleeper RB's hanging around rounds 2-4. With my first two choices I wanted to go RB and WR, but with Fitzgerald off the board I took Chris Johnson (Titans). Expecting the Titans to be run heavy again in 2009, Johnson presents good value at the back of round one.

Round 2
(1) sclayton1988 - Brandon Jacobs (NYG - RB)
(2) Rob - Andre Johnson (Hou - WR)
(3) Doug Fresh - Calvin Johnson (Det - WR)
(4) brent34bokel - Peyton Manning (Ind - QB)
(5) µ-Ziq - Clinton Portis (Was - RB)
(6) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Philip Rivers (SD - QB)
(7) The MaeStro - Reggie Wayne (Ind - WR)
(8) ethman_19 - Steve Slaton (Hou - RB)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Marion Barber (Dal - RB)
(10) j_n_d543 - Steve Smith (Car - WR)
(11) Mike C - Reggie Bush (NO - RB)
(12) wprizee - Greg Jennings (GB - WR)
(13) chuckred21 - Roddy White (Atl - WR)
(14) Jason - Santonio Holmes (Pit - WR)

I want to state at this point that I really don't see the benefit in picking early this year. None of the RB's at the top of the draft are worth picking late in the second for. The value in the late first/early second is much better. However, it's scandalous Clinton Portis lasted as long as he did here. Taking Philip Rivers before Steve Slaton is inexcusable. I personally feel unless you're getting Drew Brees or Peyton Manning in round two (guys who are near guaranteed to start every week with strong value) you might as well wait deep into the draft and take a Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers or Matt Schaub.

My pick
Having missed out on Fitzgerald I didn't waste any time taking Andre Johnson. The guy just flat out scores points every week. It was tough to pass on Portis but Johnson is the kind of guy you don't worry about taking in the second round.

Round 3
(1) Jason - Hines Ward (Pit - WR)
(2) chuckred21 - Kurt Warner (Ari - QB)
(3) wprizee - Ronnie Brown (Mia - RB)
(4) Mike C - Thomas Jones (NYJ - RB)
(5) j_n_d543 - Pierre Thomas (NO - RB)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Anquan Boldin (Ari - WR)
(7) ethman_19 - Dwayne Bowe (KC - WR)
(8) The MaeStro - Marques Colston (NO - WR)
(9) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Terrell Owens (Buf - WR)
(10) µ-Ziq - Tony Romo (Dal - QB)
(11) brent34bokel - Wes Welker (NE - WR)
(12) Doug Fresh - Jason Witten (Dal - TE)
(13) Rob - Jonathan Stewart (Car - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Brandon Marshall (Den - WR)

I begin to wonder if Jason warrants an invitation to one of my leagues - in three rounds he's taken Tom Brady, Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward. He's the Oakland Raiders of this draft. How do you take Hines Ward ahead of Anquan Boldin and Terrell Owens? He has no running backs so far. It's a sign of the relatively weak depth at running back that Pierre Thomas and Thomas Jones go here. Neither are guaranteed anything at their respective teams, with Jones recently holding out in New York.

My pick
Needing a second running back I take a shot on Jonathan Stewart. In a supportive role to DeAngelo Williams last year, Stewart scored a respectable 836 yards and 10 TD's. There's an element of risk involved because of the time share in Carolina, but Stewart should at the very least maintain the number of carries he had as a rookie.

Round 4
(1) sclayton1988 - Aaron Rodgers (GB - QB)
(2) Rob - T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Sea - WR)
(3) Doug Fresh - Ryan Grant (GB - RB)
(4) brent34bokel - Kevin Smith (Det - RB)
(5) µ-Ziq - Antonio Gates (SD - TE)
(6) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Marshawn Lynch (Buf - RB)
(7) The MaeStro - Joseph Addai (Ind - RB)
(8) ethman_19 - Antonio Bryant (TB - WR)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Roy Williams (Dal - WR)
(10) j_n_d543 - Donovan McNabb (Phi - QB)
(11) Mike C - Kevin Walter (Hou - WR)
(12) wprizee - Vincent Jackson (SD - WR)
(13) chuckred21 - Tony Gonzalez (Atl - TE)
(14) Jason - Pittsburgh (Pit - DEF)

Jason aka Oakland Raiders still struggles to grasp the concept of this draft, choosing to take the Pittsburgh defense in round four before he's even drafted ONE running back. Personally, I never draft a defense higher than the last two rounds. Put it this way - there is always a defense on waivers. However, RB's and WR's that have fantasy legitimacy are harder to find. Would you rather start a RB who might have the odd carry, or a defense that will definitely start but aren't considered worthy of being drafted? It only takes a wet afternoon or a weak opposition to make an undesirable defense fantasy relevant.

My pick
I was seriously tempted by Ryan Grant and Marshawn Lynch here, two backs who were taken in the top two rounds last year. Lynch starts the season suspended but could have value later on, whilst Grant is likely to start in Green Bay. However, with weak options at WR ahead I decide to take a chance and show some love to the Seahawks.

Round 5
(1) Jason - Santana Moss (Was - WR)
(2) chuckred21 - Larry Johnson (KC - RB)
(3) wprizee - Matt Ryan (Atl - QB)
(4) Mike C - Muhsin Muhammad (Car - WR)
(5) j_n_d543 - Braylon Edwards (Cle - WR)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Chad Ochocinco (Cin - WR)
(7) ethman_19 - Lee Evans (Buf - WR)
(8) The MaeStro - Eddie Royal (Den - WR)
(9) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Tennessee (Ten - DEF)
(10) µ-Ziq - Anthony Gonzalez (Ind - WR)
(11) brent34bokel - Devin Hester (Chi - WR)
(12) Doug Fresh - Jay Cutler (Chi - QB)
(13) Rob - Knowshon Moreno (Den - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Dallas Clark (Ind - TE)

It's quite clear what kind of fantasy player Jason is. He turns up to the draft, makes some wild picks. He loses every single game until it's your turn to face him - and suddenly every single one of his turgid selections has a monster week. He again snubs the chance to take a running back to select Santana Moss. Despite my claims that the options at WR are weak later on, round five really was last chance saloon to get a solid sleeper. Braylon Edwards is a steal here and well worth the risk. Lee Evans can be dependable but should see some targets snapped up by T.O.

My pick
I contemplated Cutler here until he was snapped up the pick before. He might not have great targets at Chicago but he does have a very good back in Matt Forte who will keep things honest and a tight end (Greg Olsen) who should offer a safety net. I go to my second choice here in Knowshon Moreno. I made no secret of my appreciation for Moreno's talents leading up to the 2009 NFL Draft and he could be this year's Matt Forte. He'll start for the Broncos and should see plenty of action to take the strain from Kyle Orton. Denver have run the ball productively in the past and I'd have no hesitation taking Moreno a couple of rounds earlier if needs be. Don't be afraid to draft Knowshon.

Round 6
(1) sclayton1988 - Donnie Avery (StL - WR)
(2) Rob - Bernard Berrian (Min - WR)
(3) Doug Fresh - Darren McFadden (Oak - RB)
(4) brent34bokel - DeSean Jackson (Phi - WR)
(5) µ-Ziq - Jerricho Cotchery (NYJ - WR)
(6) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Laveranues Coles (Cin - WR)
(7) The MaeStro - Torry Holt (Jac - WR)
(8) ethman_19 - Matt Schaub (Hou - QB)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Carson Palmer (Cin - QB)
(10) j_n_d543 - Lance Moore (NO - WR)
(11) Mike C - Baltimore (Bal - DEF)
(12) wprizee - New York (NYG - DEF)
(13) chuckred21 - Steve Breaston (Ari - WR)
(14) Jason - Jamal Lewis (Cle - RB)

Jason finally takes a running back and boldly declares (without a hint of sarcasm) that 'Jamal Lewis is a steal here'. Just to confirm, Lewis is currently the only running back on his roster and we're at the end of round six. The team defenses continue to be drafted ridiculously early with Baltimore and New York going ahead of the potentially high fantasy value of Steve Breaston.

My pick
I took a bit of a gamble on Bernard Berrien here. I expect Brett Favre to sign for Minnesota and if he does, Berrien will be his #1 target. If he can get nearly 1000 yards and 7TD's with Tavaris Jackson and Gus Ferotte throwing the ball, he should do well with Favre behind center.

Round 7
(1) Jason - Derrick Ward (TB - RB)
(2) chuckred21 - Derrick Mason (Bal - WR)
(3) wprizee - Michael Crabtree (SF - WR)
(4) Mike C - Visanthe Shiancoe (Min - TE)
(5) j_n_d543 - Owen Daniels (Hou - TE)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Greg Olsen (Chi - TE)
(7) ethman_19 - Chris Cooley (Was - TE)
(8) The MaeStro - Donald Driver (GB - WR)
(9) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Eli Manning (NYG - QB)
(10) µ-Ziq - Domenik Hixon (NYG - WR)
(11) brent34bokel - LenDale White (Ten - RB)
(12) Doug Fresh - Deion Branch (Sea - WR)
(13) Rob - Ben Roethlisberger (Pit - QB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Philadelphia (Phi - DEF)

Finally, Jason makes a brilliant choice. Derrick Ward in the 7th round is superb value. He'll start for Tampa Bay - a team who will lean on the run with an unclear QB situation. It almost makes up for the decision not to draft a RB until round six. Actually, no it doesn't.

My pick
I was disapointed to see Matt Schaub go in the last round and really needed to take a QB. Roethlisberger's fantasy value is very hit and miss but he was the best option here. If Greg Olsen had stuck around long enough he would have been my choice here - I predict he'll have a great year.

Round 8
(1) sclayton1988 - Chris Chambers (SD - WR)
(2) Rob - John Carlson (Sea - TE)
(3) Doug Fresh - Willis McGahee (Bal - RB)
(4) brent34bokel - Kellen Winslow (TB - TE)
(5) µ-Ziq - Minnesota (Min - DEF)
(6) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - David Akers (Phi - K)
(7) The MaeStro - Willie Parker (Pit - RB)
(8) ethman_19 - Dallas (Dal - DEF)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Chicago (Chi - DEF)
(10) j_n_d543 - Miami (Mia - DEF)
(11) Mike C - Le'Ron McClain (Bal - RB)
(12) wprizee - Tony Scheffler (Den - TE)
(13) chuckred21 - Darren Sproles (SD - RB)
(14) Jason - Jeremy Shockey (NO - TE)

Miami's defense and David Akers in round eight? Wow. I would always advise resisting the temptation to go too early on kickers and defense. You'd be much better taking a gamble on a rookie running back like Beanie Wells or Donald Brown here, or one of Julius Jones and Cedric Benson (who will both start).

My pick
Needing a tight end and with options becoming increasingly slim, I go to the Seahawks again to take John Carlson.

Round 9
(1) Jason - Nick Folk (Dal - K)
(2) chuckred21 - Matt Cassel (KC - QB)
(3) wprizee - Donald Brown (Ind - RB)
(4) Mike C - Ted Ginn Jr. (Mia - WR)
(5) j_n_d543 - Stephen Gostkowski (NE - K)
(6) Shawarma Rama - Rob Bironas (Ten - K)
(7) ethman_19 - Kris Brown (Hou - K)
(8) The MaeStro - Zach Miller (Oak - TE)
(9) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Jerious Norwood (Atl - RB)
(10) µ-Ziq - Ryan Longwell (Min - K)
(11) brent34bokel - New York (NYJ - DEF)
(12) Doug Fresh - Matt Hasselbeck (Sea - QB)
(13) Rob - Chris Wells (Ari - RB)
(14) sclayton1988 - Mason Crosby (GB - K)

I don't think there's any guaranteed starting QB who I dislike more than Matt Cassell this year. It's one thing to look good for the Patriots, quite another when you're in Kansas City. The Chiefs' will struggle on defense adjusting to a 3-4 (with a roster full of 4-3 guys) and lack any support at RB. Losing Tony Gonzalez will hurt, putting a lot of pressure on Dwayne Bowe to get free.

My pick
I'm happy to take a gamble on someone like Beanie Wells in round nine. Last year, rookie RB's like Matt Forte and Chris Johnson offered great value deep into fantasy drafts. He'll share carries with Tim Hightower and doubts remain about his durability. However, he's extremely talented and has a point to prove after falling to #31 in the draft. Worth a roster spot this late.

Round 10
(1) sclayton1988 - Cedric Benson (Cin - RB)
(2) Rob - Julius Jones (Sea - RB)
(3) Doug Fresh - Earl Bennett (Chi - WR)
(4) brent34bokel - John Kasay (Car - K)
(5) µ-Ziq - Felix Jones (Dal - RB)
(6) Miguel Treviño Cedillo - Anthony Fasano (Mia - TE)
(7) The MaeStro - David Garrard (Jac - QB)
(8) ethman_19 - Fred Jackson (Buf - RB)
(9) Shawarma Rama - Rashard Mendenhall (Pit - RB)
(10) j_n_d543 - Shonn Greene (NYJ - RB)
(11) Mike C - Isaac Bruce (SF - WR)
(12) wprizee - Jason Elam (Atl - K)
(13) chuckred21 - Leon Washington (NYJ - RB)
(14) Jason - Brett Favre (NYJ - QB)

Cedric Benson (surprisingly) did a good job for the Bengals last year and will start for Cincy in 2009. He's good value this late on even as an occasional starter based on good match-ups.

My pick
Another Seahawk. I usually avoid drafting guys from Seattle for no obvious reason. I was regularly burned by John Carlson last year so I've given the Seahawks more love in this mock draft. Julius Jones will likely last this long if you're in a draft not filled with Seahawks fans. TAKE HIM! He's not a lock to put up big numbers, but he will start and get most of the carries in Seattle. Like Benson, he's probably not an every week starter, but he's worth having for the two games (and multiple points) against the Rams.

My last five choices:

R11 - Trent Edwards, QB Buffalo
R12 - Steve Smith, WR NY Giants
R13 - Hakeem Nicks, WR NY Giants
R14 - Arizona defense
R15 - Neil Rackers, K Arizona

Edwards could be something of a sleeper. With Lynch suspended early on, the Bills could lean on their passing game which now consists of T.O., Lee Evans and last year's second round pick James Hardy.

With Plaxico Burress out in New York they'll need someone to step up. Taking Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks gives me a shot on one of them becoming a regular feature for Eli Manning. It's not much of a gamble in rounds 12 & 13.

I went all Cardinals at the end of the draft, taking their playmaking defense and kicker Neil Rackers. They have a defense that is capable of scoring TD's and a productive offense should create ample opportunities for Rackers.