Fantasy: 2012 NFL Draft Impact – AFC West

| May 7, 2012

Draft grades? Those matter little in the fantasy realm. We break down the fantasy impact of each team’s draft in this series.

IDP analysis written by Co-IDP Director Ross Miles

 

Denver Broncos

Derek Wolfe – DT

After losing Broderick Bunkley in free agency, defensive tackle was an area of need for the Broncos. Wolfe isn’t the flashiest or biggest player but he is consistent. If your league starts defensive tackles, Wolfe could be a solid DT2.

Brock Osweiler – QB

Osweiler is a project quarterback. With only a year of starting experience at Arizona State and with an unusual height (6’7) and size which has led to bad mechanics, the Broncos will look to groom Osweiler to replace Manning when he retires. He will likely sit out all of 2012.

 

Ronnie Hillman – RB

Hillman will join the Denver backfield with plenty of age and injury concerns, and one would expect at least a couple of games in 2012 where he could be the lead back by default. The rest of the time, he should see the smaller side of a workload split with Willis McGahee, and he has the quickness and agility to be successful with limited carries. However, he is not much of a pass catcher and the major concern will be his ability to pass protect with his small frame. Still, even with his limitations, he will be in the mix for 2nd rookie RB behind Trent Richardson. He and Giants’ rookie David Wilson are similar players with similar short-term potential.

Omar Bolden – CB

Bolden should find himself buried on the depth chart after the team signed Tracey Porter in free agency to play opposite Champ Bailey, while Cassius Vaughn impressed in limited time last year. He’ll need to show he has fully recovered from his ACL injury that cost him his senior season in college if he is to see time in sub packages. He’s a very, very deep sleeper.

Malik Jackson – DT

More likely to play defensive end for the Broncos, he should see some time in rotation as after Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers, there isn’t much depth. He’ll go undrafted in your league.

Danny Trevathan – OLB

A tackling machine in college, Trevathan will have some opportunities early while D.J Williams is suspended, as Wesley Woodyard’s back-up. Has potential as a late round flyer that can be stashed for a year or two.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Dontari Poe – DT

He has excellent size and speed, but severely lacks the college tape to back it up, raising question if he can even survive, much less succeed at the NFL level. Very hard to project and I’d prefer to look elsewhere for my DT in fantasy leagues.

Devon Wylie – WR

Wylie will take time to develop. Injuries held him back in his career at Fresno State. He has the natural speed, quickness, and fluidity to become a deep threat at receiver, but that will likely not come in his first few years in the league. He could see some immediate work in special teams, but is otherwise undraftable in fantasy leagues this year.

DeQuan Menzie – CB

Menzie has talent and could compete early for snaps in sub-packages over that somewhat disappointing Javier Arenas. Brandon Flowers and new signing Stanford Routt look secure in their starters roles though, so he upside is limited.

Cyrus Gray – RB

It will be difficult for Gray to make an impact in 2012. His one real tool is speed, but on the Chiefs who have Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster to fill that role, not to mention other RB options including Peyton Hillis, it would take a series of injuries like the Chiefs suffered last season for Gray to merit consideration. If that happened, Gray would see only occasional touches.

Jerome Long – DT

Might see time in rotation, but is undraftable.

Junior Hemingway – WR

As is expected of a late 7th-round pick, Hemingway has some flaws in his game. He is unnatural as a route runner, is slow off the line, and has an extensive injury history at Michigan. He does have the size and strength to be a factor across the middle and in traffic and has decent speed. His run blocking could eventually create playing time, but do not expect much in 2012.

 

Oakland Raiders

Miles Burris – OLB

Looks more of a rotational or top special teams player rather than a future starter, but should have a prominent back-up role, even as a rookie. Worth a late round pick.

Jack Crawford – DE

Another player who is likely to be used in rotation, or as a back-up. Unlikely to have any fantasy value.

Juron Criner – WR

Criner is an atypical Raider receiver in that he is really slow. That is actually a good thing for his prospects because he could eventually handle the short routes with his size while Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Denarius Moore limit each other’s value. But Criner is not a special athlete and is doubtful to crack the top-10 of rookie WRs.

Christo Bilukidi – DE

Again, a depth player who wouldn’t see anyone’s fantasy roster.

Nathan Stupar – OLB

Stupar will look to leverage special teams playing time into a more prominent role. Not a draftable player at this stage.

 

San Diego Chargers

Melvin Ingram – DE

Ingram has landed in a decent spot in San Diego as he’ll convert to playing OLB and be coached up by the man who has had decent production from Shawn Merriman, Shaun Phillips and situation pass rusher Antwan Barnes. It will be interesting to see how many he snaps he gets and how he is used alongside Phillips, Barnes and free agency signing Jarret Johnson as a rookie. He’ll have much more value in big play leagues, but I’m not sure he’ll post starter value points for your team in year one.

Kendall Reyes – DT

A decent player who can play multiple positions on the defensive line, but will not produce the stats to merit owning in fantasy leagues.

Brandon Taylor – SS

Penciled already by many as a future starter opposite Eric Weddle, Taylor is a solid tackler and would be my idea of the #3 ranked IDP rookie safety in the class (behind Mark Barron and Harrison Smith). Has every chance to beat out an ageing Atari Bigby (on his third team in three years) in camp and worth keeping an eye on in the later rounds of your rookie drafts.

Ladarius Green – TE

Green is one of those TE prospects that projects to be a better fantasy player than actual player. He has great hands and enough speed and quickness to be dangerous after the catch. He is tall but needs more size. He is a terrible blocker, so his future is Antonio Gates’ replacement. No complaints here. Knee tendonitis is a concern, but Gates’ own injury issues make Green the 2nd rookie TE behind Coby Fleener.

Edwin Baker – RB

Baker is a solid back with adequate but not excellent vision, balance, quickness, and patience. His hands are small which has contributed to his ball security issues and limits his potential as a pass catcher. He lacks an elite tool to get you excited about his professional potential. The best thing going for him is the lack of options behind oft-injured Ryan Mathews—Curtis Brinkley and Le’Ron McClain seem to be it—but that is not enough to elevate Baker into the top-10 of rookie RBs.

Questions and comments are always welcome via Twitter – @PFF_ScottSpratt and @PFF_RossMiles

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