The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft didn't offer much in terms of potential impact fantasy players, at least not in the immediate future. In fact, there wasn't a single player selected who'll be worth more than a middle-round pick in standard seasonal formats. Here's a look at all the offensive skill position players taken on Thursday night.
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: I don't see how Newton won't start ahead of Jimmy Clausen this season, assuming the Panthers don't add a free agent quarterback this offseason. While he's clearly on the dynasty-league radar, Newton will have a tough transition from college to the pros in an offense that has few playmakers in the pass attack.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals: Green is the most talented wideout in the 2011 class, but who will be throwing him the football? While he will be a likely starter this season -- this move signals the end of the Chad Ochocinco era in the Queen City -- Green won't be worth more than a middle- to late-round pick at best outside of dynasty leagues.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: I love this move for the value of Matt Ryan, who gains another playmaker in the pass attack. But with Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez in the mix, not to mention Michael Turner in the backfield, it's hard to see Jones making a significant impact in 2011. He'll have some late-round appeal in standard formats.
Jake Locker, QB, Titans: Locker has all the tools to be a nice NFL quarterback, but owners in seasonal leagues won't have much reason to take him in drafts. Even if he opens the 2011 campaign atop the Titans depth chart, his immediate value is very limited. If the Titans add a veteran free-agent quarterback, Locker won't be draftable.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jaguars: Some draft experts believe Gabbert is the best quarterback in this class, but I don't see him starting ahead of David Garrard in 2011. In fact, I think Gabbert will learn behind Garrard and becomes the obvious heir apparent in the future. The Missouri product won't be worth much in most seasonal fantasy leagues.
Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings: With only Joe Webb ahead of him on the current depth chart, Ponder has a real chance to start for the Vikings in 2011. Time will tell, but I'd like to see the team acquire a veteran quarterback like Donovan McNabb to start for a year or two before handing over the reins to Ponder down the road.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Chiefs: Baldwin has some definite upside at the NFL level, and he'll benefit from the presence of coach Todd Haley. Even if he starts opposite Dwayne Bowe, however, keep in mind that the Chiefs are going to continue to run the ball a ton moving forward. I don't see Baldwin making a major impact in his first pro season.
Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: The Saints backfield became very crowded with the addition of Ingram. He's an all-around solid runner, but he's not going to come in and become a true featured back. His presence in the offense decimates the seasonal- and dynasty-league value of both Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory. Look for Ingram in the middle rounds.