I was hanging out in a local taproom, enjoying myself before watching "Solo: A Star Wars Story" (which is magnificent, in case you were wondering) and this dude in a Cowboys jersey saddles up to me. He had that glean in his eye. I know that glean. And then he was like, "Hey, you're the guy from that thing, right?"
"Oh yeah, NFL Network. Huge fan. What was your name again?"
And I said, "sure" because look, I don't want to ruin this guy's holiday weekend. But we ended up talking for a while and the point I finally made to him was this, "If this guy wasn't able to make it work with one of the most innovative minds in all of football, do we really think he's going to do all that great for Jason Garrett and the Cowboys?
"We see players fail to make it happen in one spot, and then find a way to thrive in another. Usually, it's players in the AFC East who fail and then go and crush it for the Patriots. Maybe there is a chance Austin could really thrive in Dallas. But I've seen that movie before, and I'm not getting tickets for it."
So then I bought him the next round because it was the least I could do. Actually, my friend Skip the Bartender got the next one. But I feel like I made that whole thing happen, so I was rather proud of myself.
Anyway, here are some sleepers for you to check out in Rank's 11 2.0.
I know, the Buccaneers are trying to make us believe Charles Sims is going to be a factor in this offense. Then there are Adrian Peterson rumors. That's fine. I'll take Jones, though. I watched a lot of USC games and felt like both Sam Darnold and Jones were held back by some unimaginative play-calling. Like future stars about to break out in a big role. Like when I was watching an old ep of "The Office" the other day and Charlie McDermott was in the background of one of the scenes. And I was all, "That's Axl from 'The Middle!'"
The Broncos have a bit of a muddled backfield, but the running back who emerges will get his opportunities. I've loved Freeman's running style since his early work at Oregon. He battled through injuries during the final part of his Ducks career, but I have him as the front-runner for the Broncos who could have a surprisingly efficient offense.
This sounds like the name of a caller to your local sports talk radio station who wants to tell you that Mookie Betts is better than Mike Trout (he's not). But Scott could be the early-season replacement for Mark Ingram and you should keep an eye on him.
I want shares of the 49ers offense this season. And I imagine Jerick McKinnon is going to be gone in the second round, so I'm going to grab Breida later. I know I might look like Carrie Mathison with a big-board trying to draw a comparison from Tevin Coleman to Breida, but the pieces are right there. I took Breida with my final pick in a recent mock and I'm comfortable rolling the dice with him.
I know, I know. The 49ers drafted a wide receiver and such. However, Taylor was impressive during his rookie season. He's a tremendous value that you can again snatch at the end of your drafts. I'm looking for some high-end lottery picks in the double-digit rounds. Taylor fits that bill.
While you're still waiting for Amari Cooper to break out, I'll take a chance with Bryant. He's had some issues and eventually wore out his welcome with the Steelers. But that's fine. I almost feel a bit nostalgic, thinking of how the Raiders would take castoffs in the past and turn them into gold. I mean, not Randy Moss. But I'm talking like the old- old-school Raiders.
We all want part of that Redskins offense, but it's going to be tough to figure out which receiver to target. Chris Thompson has a carved out role, but it seems to me there are going to be a number of receivers vying for targets. I'm going to lean towards Richardson, who coach Jay Gruden compared to DeSean Jackson.
The second-year receiver had a rather uneventful rookie season, with just 22 targets. But that role should increase with Torrey Smith in Carolina (I know Mike Wallace is there, but dude). The Eagles hired Gunter Brewer, who was Hollins' receivers coach at North Carolina. He's going to take the next step.
Well this one is for my friend I was speaking about at the top. If there's one Cowboys receiver I'd like to dive in with this season, I'm going with Hurns. I know Michael Gallup will be more-celebrated and will eventually end up with a higher ADP once the season hits. But I really like Hurns as a sneaky breakout performer in Dallas. He's got the burst, agility and ability to take a hit and still come up with the football. I like him to be a pleasant surprise.
The poor-man's Travis Kelce. Hey, look, it's not me who said it. Coach Matt Nagy said he will play the Kelce-role in the Bears' offense and Burton has a lot of similar measureable qualities to the elite Chiefs tight end. I'm not saying he's going to have a better year than Gronk. But I would rather pass on Gronk in the second and grab Burton later.