A wild, and very, very fast 2008 NFL Draft is 2/7ths of the way over, but we can already identify who the winners and losers are. Here's a quick roundup.
THE BIG WINNER: Jonathan Stewart, who will likely fall into a starting role as the physical, running downs RB in Carolina. He should also see goal-line carries, and he'll work behind a line featuring Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah at the tackles and Travelle Wharton at left guard. I think he's got the best shot at over 1,000 yards and seven TDs as a rookie RB.
Jason Campbell, QB, WAS. Adding two big young receivers in Devin Thomas (good size, great speed) and Malcolm Kelly (great size, fair speed), not to mention TE Fred Davis (what are they gonna do with HIM?!), should put Campbell close to 3,750 yards or so passing. If these rookies can assimilate, I like Campbell in that platoon tier of Fantasy QBs. So much talent around him now, it's going to be hard for him not to complete 62 pct. of his passes.
Darren McFadden, RB, OAK. It's a borderline call. McFadden will get a lot of work by virtue of his high draft status and expensive contract. But between him, JaMarcus Russell, the rest of the RBs in Oakland and Javon Walker and Ronald Curry, the Raiders offense has a lot of speed and big-play ability. They'll be fun to watch. McFadden is no lock for any more than 6 TDs, though. He will NOT be this year's Adrian Peterson.
Matt Forte, RB, CHI. The versatile inside runner/outside receiver should push Cedric Benson hard for the starting RB job from day one. Benson's lackadaisical approach is going to cost him as Forte is a go-getter with a good head on his shoulders, and he can block! Forte might out-stat McFadden in 2008. Seriously. That's not any Chicago bias talking, either.
The Jaguars DST for sniping two really solid pass rushers in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. It was either draft those two young guys or trade their No. 1 pick for Jason Taylor. Long term, they made a really, really good choice. Very savvy move by them.
The Jets DST for getting Vernon Gholston. They could lead the AFC in sacks this season.
The Saints DST for getting Sedrick Ellis. Brilliant trade up, and now they could also generate sacks with Ellis taking on two offensive linemen.
Keith Rivers will be this year's Patrick Willis in IDP leagues.
THE BIG LOSER: Willie Parker, who now must split his workload with not only rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall, but also Najeh Davenport and potentially Mewelde Moore. I listened to the Sirius NFL Radio broadcast of the draft, and coach Mike Tomlin was ECSTATIC over landing Mendenhall. I got a bad feeling that Parker's days as a Fantasy stud are over.
LenDale White, RB, TEN. The Titans' drafting of Chris Johnson reeks of them looking at Combine totals and drooling, much like they did with Chris Henry last year. Henry doesn't fit into their plans (they should trade him to Detroit ASAP), but Johnson will not only be a 1,000-yard candidate, but he'll also help pad Vince Young's stats in the passing game. White has officially gone to a tandem, and while he'll still get TDs, his yardage totals are about to shrivel up.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR. Now he's got to share with Stewart. The only way Williams will see a full workload is if Stewart gets hurt or he signs elsewhere when his rookie contract is up. What a waste of amazing talent, and a waste of a first-round pick by the Panthers. I'm not optimistic that Williams will have a solid Fantasy starting status this season.
Michael Turner, RB, ATL. The Falcons' drafting of Matt Ryan waved the flag on the 2008 season, and the move-up to draft Sam Baker was very suspect. Baker will be a good player, but I don't see him grading out at left tackle. Guard maybe. Turner is still without a good O-line and a pass game to take some pressure off him. He'll grind out 1,000 yards still, but won't be as dominant as he could have been elsewhere.
Cedric Benson, RB, CHI. As they say in Chicago: Sha na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, gooooodbye (sorry it's late and I had a long day). Matt Forte is going to give Benson a big-time fight for the starting job. Benson is one dude I am not TOUCHING in Fantasy play this season.
Michael Bush, RB, OAK. McFadden's arrival means he's a long ways from being a premier running back. That broken leg is still costing him.
Fred Davis, TE, WAS. Thought he had 500-yard potential playing in an offense that wanted a nice tight end. Wound up in Washington watching Chris Cooley play in front of him. I like the player, hate the landing spot. Last time that happened was in '04 with Steven Jackson going to St. Louis. That turned out OK.
Willis McGahee, RB, BAL. Just a little bit, because the Ravens did not address the O-line and added Ray Rice to help McGahee in the run game, though I suspect both will be used at the same time. Rice is Cam Cameron's type of running back, though. I don't love this if I'm McGahee, but I am still expecting at least 1,300 total yards and 8 TDs.
I don't get Jerod Mayo at No. 10 overall. Sorry New England, you lost me. And the last time you lost me, you drafted a gem of a lineman in Logan Mankins, so obviously I'm a moron.