Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2008 NFL Rookie Report

Ranking the 2008 NFL Rookie Class
Ranking the 2008 rookie class by expected fantasy football significance...

June 11, 2008 JunkyardJake.Com

#1) Darren McFadden,RB
1st Round (#4) (6'2" ,210) 40 Time=4.34
Complete RB with the size, speed and nifty moves. Compares to Adrian Peterson, with the receiving ability of Marshall Faulk. Oakland may mix in scrubs Jason Fargas and Michael Bush, but probably not for long.
Fantasy Significance=

#2) Jonathan Stewart,RB
1st Round (#13) (5'11" ,235) 40 Time=4.45
Power RB that can run over or sprint away from defenders. Only concern is his injury history, but Carolina is apparently considering the use of Stewart as the primary back over incumbant DeAngelo Williams, who is probably better suited for 3rd downs anyway.
Fantasy Significance=

#3) Rashard Mendenhall,RB
1st Round (#23) (5'10" ,225) 40 Time=4.42
Mendenhall has a nice combination of strength, speed, acceleration and smarts. He is probably the superior choice over current starter Willie Parker, but Pittsburgh will likely use both backs, with Mendenhall the better bet for goalline carries.
Fantasy Significance=

#4) Felix Jones,RB
1st Round (#22) (6'0" ,200) 40 Time=4.42
Blazing speed, great elusiveness and a threat to score from anywhere. Likes to run outside, and he's also a dynamic receiver. Is not known as a proficient inside runner, so he should be a nice complement to Marion Barber and Tashard Choice.
Fantasy Significance=

#5) Matt Forte,RB
2nd Round (#44) (6'2" ,220) 40 Time=4.44
The Bears love him, and probably couldn't wait to release the underachieving Cedric Benson. While Forte is the favorite for prime-time carries Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe figure to see action on 3rd downs. Drafting Chris Williams helps the Bears offensive line after a dreadful 2007.
Fantasy Significance=

#6) Kevin Smith,RB
3rd Round (#64) (6'1" ,222) 40 Time=4.51
The Lions running-game has a huge void after the departure of Kevin Jones, and Smith is the favorite to fill it. He is not a track star, but has good vision, instincts and work ethic. Tatum Bell looms, but he looks pretty much washed up after another lost season in 2007.
Fantasy Significance=

#7) Chris Johnson,RB
1st Round (#24) (5'11" ,198) 40 Time=4.25
Chris Johnson becomes the leagues fastest RB, but more importantly, he is an instinctive football player who should become a versatile weapon for the Titans as runner, receiver and kick returner. If Lendale White can't keep his weight down and stay out of court, Johnson's stock will skyrocket.
Fantasy Significance=

#8) Devin Thomas,WR
2nd Round (#34) (6'2" ,215) 40 Time=4.41
He seems like he could be a perfect fit for the new west-coast offense that Jim Zorn brings to Washington. He has the best size/speed combination of the 2008 class of receivers, but has only one solid college season to show for it, so he could be slow to develop.
Fantasy Significance=

#9) James Hardy,WR
2nd Round (#42) (6'6" ,219) 40 Time=4.45
At long last, Lee Evans has a legitimate teammate to take some of the attention off him. At 6'6", he has the size of a tight end, and while he is not going to run behind the secondary, he shows decent quickness, and runs good routes. Could be an immediate starter for the Bills.
Fantasy Significance=

#10) Matt Ryan,QB
1st Round (#3) (6'5" ,227) 40 Time=4.85
Matt Ryan was the most NFL-ready QB in the draft, and has the intelligence, mobility and accuracy to become a quality starter. Although he throws a decent long-ball, he is better managing a quick strike attack. Chris Redman and Joey Harrington may see action early in the season, but Ryan should start before long.
Fantasy Significance=

#11) Ray Rice,RB
2nd Round (#55) (5'8" ,200) 40 Time=4.43
For a small RB, Rice shows a lot of strength and power to go along with his great cut-back ability and lateral movement. He is the heavy favorite to backup Willis McGahee in 2008, and he could see fantasy significance as the preferred option on passing downs.
Fantasy Significance=

#12) Limas Sweed,WR
2nd Round (#53) (6'4" ,215) 40 Time=4.47
Sweed needs to improve his route running, but there is a lot to like about his natural quickness, change of direction and strong work habits. He will start off behind Nate Washington at #3, but that situation should be temporary, and could be a real factor if Hines Ward's knee problems persist.
Fantasy Significance=

#13) Malcolm Kelly,WR
2nd Round (#51) (6'4" ,225) 40 Time=4.65
Kelly joins Devin Thomas to give Washington an impressive pair of young receivers. Thomas is faster, but Kelly is the more physical, natural pass catcher who has amazing hands. Kelly could be relevant very quickly if he outplays Thomas in camp.
Fantasy Significance=

#14) Jerome Simpson,WR
2nd Round (#46) (6'2" ,200) 40 Time=4.42
Simpson has the speed to stretch defenses, an impressive array of nifty moves, and the athleticism to make the tough catch. He is the favorite to replace Chris Henry as the #3 receiver for the Bengals, so he is an intriguing prospect in 2008.
Fantasy Significance=

#15) Will Franklin,WR
4th Round (#104) (6'1" ,215) 40 Time=4.38
Franklin's physical attributes and raw speed potential compare favorably to any receiver in the 2008 draft class. He fell to the 4th round because of doubts that he can learn a complicated pro offense. He has only Jeff Webb and Devard Darling to beat for a starting spot , so he is a player to watch.
Fantasy Significance=

#16) Tim Hightower,RB
5th Round (#149) (6'0" ,225) 40 Time=4.55
Hightower has the prototypical size, vision and power you want in an RB, but the knock on him is his slow 40 time. He lands in a great situation in Arizona, where Edgerrin James is turning 30 this year, and he only has the even slower Marcel Shipp to beat out for significant carries.
Fantasy Significance=

#17) DeSean Jackson,WR
2nd Round (#49) (6'0" ,188) 40 Time=4.35
Jackson is a very talented receiver with rare speed and agility. He was arguably the best deep-threat WR in the draft, but appears to be coming along slowly with the Eagles. On talent alone, he should be a starter over Reggie Brown, but we may need to wait for 2009 to see that.
Fantasy Significance=

#18) Eddie Royal,WR
2nd Round (#42) (5'10" ,185) 40 Time=4.39
Eddie Royal makes up for his small stature with elite breakaway speed, and a football intelligence that is advanced for a young player. The Broncos bolstered their receiving corps with Darrell Jackson and Keary Colbert this offseason, but Royal should immediately compete with Brandon Stokley at the slot position.
Fantasy Significance=

#19) Jamaal Charles,RB
3rd Round (#73) (5'11" ,200) 40 Time=4.38
Depending on the health of Larry Johnson, Charles could achieve significance this season, but he projects as more of a 3rd down specialist because of his size. He is an interesting prospect because of his speed and game-breaking ability, but probably couldn't handle full-time carries.
Fantasy Significance=

#20) Steve Slaton,RB
3rd Round (#89) (5'9" ,198) 40 Time=4.45
Slaton is a small back who will need to add some weight, but he could be an effective change of pace player by virtue of his speed, burst and acceleration. Houston has a crowded RB situation, with Ahman Green, Chris Brown and Chris Taylor vying for carries, so Slaton will need to make an impression.
Fantasy Significance=

Other Rookies to Watch:
#21) Early Doucet,WR
#22) John Carlson,TE
#23) Ryan Torain,RB
#24) Tashard Choice,RB
#25) Dustin Keller,TE
#26) Joe Flacco,QB
#27) Earl Bennett,WR
#28) Mario Manningham,WR
#29) Donnie Avery,WR
#30) Chad Henne,QB