We are now a few weeks removed from the NFL Draft. Many dynasty and rookie drafts are in full swing. I wanted to take a quick look at a few draft trends. Keep in mind that every league is different, although when you take in account the 200+ drafts already completed, early patterns start to immerge that should be considered when drafting:
#1 Doug Martin is being drafted before Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.
I like Doug Martin as a complete running back for new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano. Martin brings a similar skill set to Tampa Bay that the more talented Ray Rice took to Baltimore. My concern is that Martin is not quite the dynamic runner that Rice is and that he will need more help from his offensive line to make plays. LaGarrette Blount and Utah State's Michael Smith are also in the mix for running back touches so he won't be the true workhorse that you need to be getting with a top two pick.
Both Luck and RGIII will be the focal parts of their offense and should get a chance at a longer shelf life than a talented running back like Martin. Unless you have a young quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and/or Matthew Stafford, I would select Luck or Griffin III at the 1.02 spot. In my eyes, rookie tier number one is Trent Richardson alone and the second tier is Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Doug Martin is a rookie tier below them.
#2 WR Stephen Hill is being drafted before WR Alshon Jeffery.
Stephen Hill was selected by the NY Jets who have Mark Sánchez and Tim Tebow as their top two quarterbacks. With the success of Georgia Tech wide receivers , Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas, the first conclusion many people make is to include Hill in their class of talent. I'm here to tell you that he doesn't have the same skill set of either receiver and he is extremely limited in his route tree. The second part of the Hill equation is that he is the second or third receiving option on a run first team so his opportunities will be limited this year and maybe longer.
On the other hand, Alshon Jeffery was drafted by a Bears team that likes to throw with the strong-armed Jay Cutler. Unlike Hill, Jeffery will have a true #1 wide receiver in Brandon Marshall (sorry Santonio Holmes) who will demand double coverage. Yes, the Bears offensive line is like swiss cheese so their coaching staff will try to get their skilled players in space to break plays wide-open. This style fits right into Jeffery's wheelhouse as he is no stranger to catching passes with defenders draped all over him. Cutler is the new NFC North gunslinger and Jeffery should receiver 80-100 targets easy. Ask yourself, how many targets will Stephen Hill get, 50-70 tops? To me the answer is obvious, take Jeffery before Hill in every rookie and dynasty draft.
#3 There is wide receiver value after the first 50 picks.
Of course there is value as every year someone breaks out. I am surprised that Oakland Raider Juron Criner is lasting until the 54th choice on average in rookie drafts. He isn't the burner like the rest of his Raider WRs are; however, he has strong hands and is drawing rave reviews early in camp. I expect him to be a red zone threat who could be a strong #3 or #4 wide receiver for your dynasty team.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Danny Coale as an option to replace Laurent Robinson in the slot. I like his skill set to be effective there and presents great value by being chosen as the 55th rookie on average. The Cowboys offense is geared to be a big play offense and with Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten occupying defensive coordinators thoughts, Coale could shine. I love his value here and could be a great #5 or #6 wide receiver in waiting.
My last rookie receiver with tremendous value is Carolina's Joe Adams. His forty time was very disappointing; however, he runs faster than those show. If anyone can turn a strong returner who has shown glimpses as a situational wide receiver, I wouldn't bet against Steve Smith. Adams also falls into a wide open situation, because other than Steve Smith, who does Cam Newton have to catch his passes? Jonathan Stewart was the second leading receiver for the Panthers last year. David Gettis and Brandon LaFell don't strike terror in the hearts of defensive coordinators. Grab Adams as a reserve wide receiver and you might be starting him for the next 10 years in a year or two.
Andy Miley is the host of Dynasty Blitz Podcast on Blog Talk Radio, Dynasty/Keeper Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Alarm and can be found on twitter @AndrewMiley