Our SECOND Fantasy mock draft of the offseason is several rounds deep and full of surprises. Just goes to show you that even an expert draft has a few curveballs. If you'd like to follow it, you may do so here: www.sportsline.com/nfl/fantasy/stor
Going over my picks ...
ROUND 2: Earnest Graham
I was hoping for either Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Grant or Willis McGahee here -- any of those three would be fabulous second-round picks, but Graham was a no-brainer for me. As many of you know, I've just finished a study on him and Ryan Grant (the article is forthcoming) and how they stack up on their teams, in Fantasy Football and overall in the history of undrafted running backs. I learned a lot about Graham, and I'm probably going to target him as my No. 2 RB in several leagues this year. The only hole I found in his game was his efforts at Raymond James Stadium. Otherwise, he's about as solid as you'll get with a middle-to-late second-round pick. Darren McFadden crossed my mind, but he's going to either be a Jet or a Raider, and I don't love him in either spot. Reggie Bush is a gimmicky-type player who I'm trying to avoid, and Brandon Jacobs, as good of a player as he is, isn't a lock for 16 weeks, which means I would have to spend another pick on Ahmad Bradshaw later on. Graham is in the same mold as Jacobs without the wear-and-tear, or the overwhelming need to handcuff him.
ROUND 3: Andre Johnson
I love Johnson for 2008, especially since he's spending much of the offseason refining his game and not rehabbing injuries. I really, really wanted Larry Fitzgerald (who might end up being a top-three WR before this offseason is through), but it looks like if you don't pick in the top 30 overall, you don't get him. It was a close call between Johnson and Marques Colston, but I've picked Colston in this spot before and felt that Johnson would give me just as good production. Maybe Johnson is a smidge more injury prone. If this were a for-keeps league, I might have gone Colston. Dang it, now I have drafter's remorse. And it's MARCH. I have some problems.
ROUND 4: Wes Welker
In the past, I'd grab my third running back here, but with the 2008 draft class of RBs deep, and plenty of decent runners left on the board, my philosophy is changing. Welker fell into my lap here, picked behind the likes of Brandon Marshall and Edgerrin James. Plaxico Burress was the only other name I was considering, and when I thought about how he played while hurt last year, I didn't think twice.
POSSIBLE WR-HEAVY DRAFT STRATEGY RECOMMENDATION COMING?
If there's one thing I've caught on to, it's that there are going to be a LOT of "GOOD" running backs to pick from this year. About six will be drafted, and I'd guess another 15-to-20 are already in the NFL. By good, I mean No. 3-type runners. That said, I think the right focus in 2008 is to spend your top two picks on RBs, then raid wide receivers until the talent pool gets shallow. Then, raid the running backs and platoon at quarterback, likely with whomever slips to Round 8 or 9.
The rankings have been updated. As I've been doing all offseason long, here's a look at why who has gone where. You can find the positional rankings here: http://cbs.sportsline.com/fantasy/f
ootball/rankings and the top 200 here: http://www.sportsline.com/fantasy/f
ootball/rankings/top200. If you like this feature, or have a suggestion on how to improve it, please leave a comment below or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shaun Alexander's slide continues. With Julius Jones signing in Seattle, the writing appears to be on the wall that Alexander's days there are over. Without question, his days as an every-down back in Seattle are over. Why else would Jones have signed otherwise? We're expecting Jones to start with Maurice Morris and T.J. Duckett aiding him along the way. Jones should post his best numbers in two seasons and should make the jump to low-end No. 2/top-end No. 3 Fantasy RB before this offseason ends.
Minor stuff: Adjustments/corrections made for Torry Holt and Ron Dayne. ... D.J. Hackett slides since he's not going to be in a big role next season.
TOP FIVE PLACES I WANT SHAUN ALEXANDER TO LAND IN NEXT YEAR ... FOR FANTASY PURPOSES: