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NFL fantasy football mock draft yields some surprising results

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NFL.com held it’s first experts league mock draft of the year on Thursday, July 12th. The standard scoring league consists of NFL Fantasy LIVE crew Dave Dameshek, Elliot Harrison, Michael Fabiano, Adam Rank, Matt Smith and Jason Smith. Also in the league are NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt, NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano and associate fantasy editors Adrian Mojica and Marcas Grant. Each team must start one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one flex (RB/WR/TE), one tight end, one kicker and one defense. Reserves can be drafted at any position.

 
Round 1
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
1.
Brandt Arian Foster, RB, Texans
2.
2.
M. Smith LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
3.
3.
Siciliano Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
4.
4.
Fabiano Ray Rice, RB, Ravens
5.
5.
Harrison Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
6.
6.
Rank Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
7.
7.
Dameshek Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
8.
8.
Mojica Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers
9.
9.
Grant Drew Brees, QB, Saints
10.
10.
J. Smith Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

Fabiano's take: It should be a surprise to no one that Foster was the top overall pick, and the first four players (Foster, McCoy, Rodgers, Rice) taken in this mock will be the top four selected in countless 2012 drafts. Proving that times have in fact changed, a total of five quarterbacks were taken in the first 10 picks including two breakout stars from last season -- Stafford and Newton. I was a little surprised to see Stafford go ahead of Brees, but his value could slide just a bit because of the absence of coach Sean Payton. It was also telling that Mathews came off the board in Round 1. He definitely has the upside to be worth that level of draft selection, so now he just needs to make good on it on the field.


 
Round 2
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
11.
J. Smith Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
2.
12.
Grant Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars
3.
13.
Mojica Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
4.
14.
Dameshek Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks
5.
15.
Rank Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
6.
16.
Harrison Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
7.
17.
Fabiano Andre Johnson, WR, Texans
8.
18.
Siciliano Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots
9.
19.
M. Smith Greg Jennings, WR, Packers
10.
20.
Brandt Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

Fabiano's take: The round began with a run on running backs, as Chris Johnson, Jones-Drew, McFadden and Lynch all came off the board. You have to like the potential value of CJ2K and especially Jones-Drew, who will be a first rounder in most leagues. McFadden is a risk due to his proneness to injuries, but his potential makes him worth the second-round price. Two tight ends, Graham and Gronkowski, were taken in the first 18 overall picks. I'm not sure I can remember two players from that position being worth such a prominent pick in the same season. I could have taken Gronkowski, but I went with Andre Johnson instead. I just couldn't get myself to take a tight end so soon! Charles was the first "ACL back" taken.


 
Round 3
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
21.
Brandt DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys
2.
22.
M. Smith Trent Richardson, RB, Browns
3.
23.
Siciliano Matt Forte, RB, Bears
4.
24.
Fabiano Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
5.
25.
Harrison Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants
6.
26.
Rank Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
7.
27.
Dameshek Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers
8.
28.
Mojica Roddy White, WR, Falcons
9.
29.
Grant Victor Cruz, WR, Giants
10.
30.
J. Smith Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings

Fabiano's take: The third round also started with a run on runners, as Murray, Richardson, Forte and Peterson were all taken. I was hoping to get one of the first three backs, but I instead rolled the dice on Peterson because he was the best player left at his position. Clearly, it's a boom or bust move for a stud runner coming off major knee reconstruction. Once the run on backs ended, a huge run on the wide receivers position ensued. I was a bit surprised to see Nicks, who is talented but coming off foot surgery, go ahead of Welker, Wallace and White. Cruz will have to be close to his 2011 totals to be worth taking this soon, especially when wideouts like Julio Jones, Steve Smith and A.J. Green were still on the board.


 
Round 4
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
31.
J. Smith Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
2.
32.
Grant Marques Colston, WR, Saints
3.
33.
Mojica Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
4.
34.
Dameshek A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
5.
35.
Rank Steve Smith, WR, Panthers
6.
36.
Harrison Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
7.
37.
Fabiano Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
8.
38.
Siciliano Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
9.
39.
M. Smith Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears
10.
40.
Brandt Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys

Fabiano's take: The wideout run from Round 3 continued into the fourth stanza, as Jones and Colston were the first of four receivers taken with the first five picks. Jason Smith landed an absolute steal with Jones, who I see as a potential top-five wideout this season. In fact, Green and Smith could also turn into solid values for Dameshek and Rank respectively. The word on Vick having a potential bounce back season is clearly increasing his value, as he came off the board with the No. 33 overall pick. I went with the best quarterback left in Romo, who should post another nice year in Big D. Potential breakout wideouts Thomas and Bryant also came off the board, making it seven receivers drafted in the top picks of the round.


 
Round 5
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
41.
Brandt Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
2.
42.
M. Smith Phillip Rivers, QB, Chargers
3.
43.
Siciliano Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers
4.
44.
Fabiano Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs
5.
45.
Harrison Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
6.
46.
Rank Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
7.
47.
Dameshek Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers
8.
48.
Mojica Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys
9.
49.
Grant Darren Sproles, RB, Saints
10.
50.
J. Smith Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins

Fabiano's take: The question of where Peyton Manning would land was answered in this round, as Brandt took him with the first pick (No. 41 overall). I would have preferred Rivers, who came off the board with the very next selection, but Manning going at this point in the draft makes sense. If you take him sooner, as in the top three rounds, I think you're reaching a bit. Another topic of note is the level of running backs still on the board at this point -- Jackson was a stud last season before getting injured, Gore was a top-15 runner and Sproles was a solid option even in standard leagues. Keep that in mind before reaching for a player at the position that might not perform up to the standards of a higher selection.


 
Round 6
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
51.
J. Smith Eric Decker, WR, Broncos
2.
52.
Grant Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots
3.
53.
Mojica Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers
4.
54.
Dameshek Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
5.
55.
Rank Michael Turner, RB, Falcons
6.
56.
Harrison Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles
7.
57.
Fabiano Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
8.
58.
Siciliano Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
9.
59.
M. Smith Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers
10.
60.
Brandt Eli Manning, QB, Giants

Fabiano's take: Oh how the mighty have fallen! Gates, once the top tight end in fantasy land, dropped into the sixth round. That could be a terrific pick for Mojica, as long as Gates can avoid the trainer's room. Turner, one of the best fantasy runners in the league over the last four years, didn't come off the board until the No. 55 overall selection. The reason for his drop is simple -- Turner is 30 and has carried the ball 300-plus times in three of the last four years. That's a major workload and could cause a drop in his production this season. I was hoping to land Maclin in this round, but Harrison grabbed him right in front of me. As a result, a switched my strategy and took a sleeper running back in Martin.


 
Round 7
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
61.
Brandt Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
2.
62.
M. Smith Benjarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Bengals
3.
63.
Siciliano Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals
4.
64.
Fabiano Steve Johnson, WR, Bills
5.
65.
Harrison Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots
6.
66.
Rank Shonn Greene, RB, Jets
7.
67.
Dameshek Roy Helu, RB, Redskins
8.
68.
Mojica Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos
9.
69.
Grant Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
10.
70.
J. Smith Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens

Fabiano's take: If you don't think solid tight ends will still be on the board at this point in your standard draft, think again. Witten, who finished with more fantasy points than any other tight end in 2010, could turn into a great value pick for Brandt. Furthermore, Hernandez and Finley could be nice bargains for Harrison and Grant respectively. There was still some value to be had at the running back position as well, with the likes of Green-Ellis, Wells, Greene, Helu and McGahee all coming off the board. None of them are considered fantasy studs, but all could serve as No. 2 or 3 options in most leagues this season. I decided to take Steve Johnson, who would serve as the No. 3 fantasy wideout on this squad.


 
Round 8
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
71.
J. Smith Mark Ingram, RB, Saints
2.
72.
Grant Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins
3.
73.
Mojica DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
4.
74.
Dameshek Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets
5.
75.
Rank Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
6.
76.
Harrison Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers
7.
77.
Fabiano Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
8.
78.
Siciliano Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
9.
79.
M. Smith Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions
10.
80.
Brandt Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers

Fabiano's take: Andrew Luck might have been the first quarterback taken in April's rookie draft, but Griffin III went first in this fantasy mock draft. While I would have taken Ryan ahead of him, it's tough to argue with RG3's upside in the stat sheets. Speaking of Ryan, he could turn into a solid bargain for Rank. In offense loaded with weapons, the Boston College product could be on the verge of his best season at the NFL level. Best, one of the bigger risk-reward picks in fantasy this year, went to Siciliano with the No. 78 overall selection. Time will tell if the move bears fruit. I went with Fred Davis, who was the best tight end still left on the board and a potential draft bargain in the eighth round.


 
Round 9
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
81.
Brandt Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots
2.
82.
M. Smith Michael Bush, RB, Bears
3.
83.
Siciliano 49ers defense
4.
84.
Fabiano Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers
5.
85.
Harrison Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins
6.
86.
Rank Bears defense
7.
87.
Dameshek Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions
8.
88.
Mojica Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts
9.
89.
Grant C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
10.
90.
J. Smith James Starks, RB, Packers

Fabiano's take: This round was chock full of potential sleepers, from Ridley to Meachem and Leshoure. I took Meachem, the new top wideout in San Diego, as a No. 4 fantasy option. The first two defenses also came off the board here, as Siciliano took the Niners and Rank landed the Bears. While defenses can no doubt help in that quest for a league title, taking one that soon is not something I recommend. The player that could turn into the best bargain here is Starks, who has been getting nothing but positive press and appears to be the featured back in Green Bay. When you consider the statement from Greg Jennings about the team running the football more this season, Starks could help up being a real steal.


 
Round 10
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
91.
J. Smith Greg Little, WR, Browns
2.
92.
Grant Lions defense
3.
93.
Mojica Packers defense
4.
94.
Dameshek Titus Young, WR, Lions
5.
95.
Rank David Akers, K, 49ers
6.
96.
Harrison Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings
7.
97.
Fabiano Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
8.
98.
Siciliano Sebastian Janikowski, K, Raiders
9.
99.
M. Smith Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars
10.
100.
Brandt Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders

Fabiano's take: I was looking to land Gerhart in this round in an effort to handcuff Peterson, but Harrison landed him right ahead of me. As a result, I altered my strategy and just took the best running back available, Stewart. As the fourth back on this fantasy roster, I think he's a nice addition. A few more sleepers came off the board here, with Little, Young and Moore. I especially like the selection of Moore, who could turn into the best fantasy wideout in Oakland in his second pro season. The first rookie wideout, Blackmon, was also taken in this round. While he's the most talented first-year receiver, playing in an offense with Blaine Gabbert will drag his value down (at least until Gabbert improves).


 
Round 11
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
101.
Brandt Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
2.
102.
M. Smith Seahawks defense
3.
103.
Siciliano DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers
4.
104.
Fabiano Matt Schaub, QB, Texans
5.
105.
Harrison Texans defense
6.
106.
Rank David Wilson, RB, Giants
7.
107.
Dameshek Jay Cutler, QB, Bears
8.
108.
Mojica Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs
9.
109.
Grant Ben Tate, RB, Texans
10.
110.
J. Smith Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos

Fabiano's take: Roethlisberger in the 11th round? Are you kidding me? Talk about a potential steal! I was hoping Big Ben would fall to me at No. 104, but Brandt snagged him as him. What I don't like about the move, though, is that Brandt already had both of the Manning brothers on his roster. In my opinion, there's no real need to grab a third quarterback when your first two are that good. As for the rest of the round, Cutler and Tamme could turn into decent values for Dameshek and Jason Smith respectively. The same goes for Rank, who landed the rookie Wilson with the No. 106 overall pick. If he can improve on his pass-catching and blocking skills, Wilson could make some real noise behind Bradshaw in Gotham.


 
Round 12
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
111.
J. Smith Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers
2.
112.
Grant Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers
3.
113.
Mojica Carson Palmer, QB, Raiders
4.
114.
Dameshek Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins
5.
115.
Rank Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
6.
116.
Harrison Coby Fleener, TE, Colts
7.
117.
Fabiano Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
8.
118.
Siciliano Donald Brown, RB, Colts
9.
119.
M. Smith Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
10.
120.
Brandt Lance Moore, WR, Saints

Fabiano's take: What stuck out most to me in this round is the selection of Luck, and more to the point, how far behind Griffin III he was drafted (43 spots). Rank is on the Luck bandwagon, so he had to be thrilled with the value. Freeman, a potential sleeper after a poor 2011 campaign, has some bargain appeal for Jason Smith as his second quarterback. Other potential value picks included Fleener, Brown and Moore. Speaking of Brown, this is a make-or-break season for the Connecticut product. He's been all but handed the top spot on the Colts' depth chart after the release of Joseph Addai and needs to prove himself as an NFL back. He was well worth the risk for Siciliano as his fourth fantasy running back.


 
Round 13
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
121.
Brandt Eagles defense
2.
122.
M. Smith Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills
3.
123.
Siciliano Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders
4.
124.
Fabiano Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
5.
125.
Harrison Matt Prater, K, Broncos
6.
126.
Rank Danny Amendola, WR, Rams
7.
127.
Dameshek Jared Cook, TE, Titans
8.
128.
Mojica LeGarrette Blount, RB, Buccaneers
9.
129.
Grant Santana Moss, WR, Redskins
10.
130.
J. Smith Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

Fabiano's take: The best values of this round could be Heyward-Bey (Siciliano) and Cook (Dameshek), as both players should be in a position to post attractive totals for their respective teams. I was also shocked to see Gonzalez, a top-five fantasy tight end last year, still on the board. Despite already having Fred Davis, I couldn't pass on the value there. Moss could also turn into a decent value pick for Grant, assuming he retains a starting spot.


 
Round 14
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
131.
J. Smith Jets defense
2.
132.
Grant Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys
3.
133.
Mojica Dustin Keller, TE, Jets
4.
134.
Dameshek Steelers defense
5.
135.
Rank Laurent Robinson, WR, Jaguars
6.
136.
Harrison Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams
7.
137.
Fabiano Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers
8.
138.
Siciliano Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
9.
139.
M. Smith Jermaine Gresham, TE, Bengals
10.
140.
Brandt Randy Moss, WR, 49ers

Fabiano's take: We have a Randy Moss sighting! Despite all the positive offseason reports he's received, the veteran still didn't come off the board until the third to last round. Keller (Mojica), Crabtree (Siciliano) and Gresham (Matt Smith) could turn into decent bargains for their respective teams, and I didn't mind rolling the dice on Mendenhall at this late stage of the draft. In a worst-case scenario, I would just release him from the roster.


 
Round 15
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
141.
Brandt Rueben Randle, WR, Giants
2.
142.
M. Smith Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots
3.
143.
Siciliano Nate Washington, WR, Titans
4.
144.
Fabiano Ravens defense
5.
145.
Harrison Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks
6.
146.
Rank Tim Hightower, RB, Redskins
7.
147.
Dameshek Jon Baldwin, WR, Chiefs
8.
148.
Mojica Mason Crosby, K, Packers
9.
149.
Grant Dan Bailey, K, Cowboys
10.
150.
J. Smith Mario Manningham, WR, 49ers

Fabiano's take: Clearly the 49ers wideouts aren't getting much love, as Manningham went in Round 15 -- one round after Moss and Crabtree. The most shocking pick here was the selection of Hightower by Rank, who had sworn off Redskins running backs (at least so I thought). I'm guessing that pick had something to do with his recent interview with Griffin III. As for another potential value selection, I like Dameshek grabbing Baldwin at this point in the draft.


 
Round 16
Pick
Overall
Team
Player
1.
151.
J. Smith Stephen Gostowski, K, Patriots
2.
152.
Grant Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints
3.
153.
Mojica Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers
4.
154.
Dameshek Jason Hanson, K, Lions
5.
155.
Rank Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers
6.
156.
Harrison Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals
7.
157.
Fabiano Garrett Hartley, K, Saints
8.
158.
Siciliano Sam Bradford, QB, Rams
9.
159.
M. Smith Matt Bryant, K, Falcons
10.
160.
Brandt Rob Bironas, K, Titans

Fabiano's take: Ah, the most boring round in every single fantasy draft, a round full of kickers. Six of them came off the board here, including Gostkowski and Hartley. There was some value in the other four picks, though, as Thomas, Sanders, Dalton and Bradford were all well worth a look at this late stage. Dalton, a top-15 quarterback based on fantasy points last season, should serve Harrison well as a backup behind his top signal-caller, Brady.


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