With the 2012 NFL Draft completed, we now have plenty of so-called answers. Values went up and values went down. In my past two articles, I have broken down my top 30 rookies and will continue today with my top 31-45 rookie players. The list can and will change as the NFL gets into training camps and preseason games happen. This should help you navigate through your rookie drafts. Here are my top 31-45 rookies:
31. DE Chandler Jones, New England Patriots- The Patriots decided to step up their defense and their choice of Chandler Jones will go a long way. He is a very powerful man who uses his hands well to keep linemen off his body. Jones is very instinctive and is constantly trying to find the ball when rushing the passer or when he is holding his ground against the run. He has a great bloodline as he has a brother Arthur, who plays for the Ravens, and another brother Jon, who is a UFC heavyweight champion! The concerns with Chandler Jones are that he is not very quick or agile and that he only uses power moves to rush the passer. He will need to get more quickness to his game and stop getting too tall and losing leverage. I am confident that Belichick will exploit his skills to become a relentless pass rusher for him and your dynasty team.
32. WR Ryan Broyles, Detroit Lions- This tells me that the Lions are preparing for life without Nate Burleson. Broyles was a special athlete before he had his ACL injury in the fall. He has amazing hands, very quick and agile off the ball, and a terror in the open field with the ball in his hands. His biggest concern, other than knee health, is that he is not a physical wide receiver and struggles against man coverage, but with his excellent route running and fantastic body control, he should be a game changing slot receiver. He is already running below a 4.6 40 so hopefully his knee will be at full strength before the end of the season.
33. S Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings- The Vikings need secondary help is the worst way and that is why they traded up to draft Smith in the first round. In this weak class of defensive back IDPs, Smith is in a great situation. He is a strong, powerful tackler who has good instincts and on field awareness. Smith is great at finding good angles to take in both the running game and the passing game. He is not good moving from side to side though and can be beaten with a good first burst as it takes Smith time to recover. Also if you are relying on him to make the big turnover, you might be waiting for a while as Smith had 8 turnovers total in over 40 college starts with zero in his senior year.
34. WR Rueben Randle, New York Giants- Randle came into a great situation for a rookie wide receiver as he has zero pressure to be an opening day starter with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz manning the top two receiver spots. He is a very physical wide receiver that doesn't give up on routes or a developing play. Randle is very good finding the ball in the air, reading his blockers, and isn't afraid to go downfield on routes. There have been some Hakeem Nicks lite comparisons. Randle disappeared in some big games which may have caused him to drop in the NFL Draft, so I did not rank him higher. I would expect him to have the Mario Manningham role to start the season.
35. RB Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks- I can see why the Seahawks drafted him. He is a powerful runner without Marshawn Lynch's wiggle, but could be a very effective short yardage back year one. Turbin has issues finding the best running lanes and has a history of knee issues that affect his agility and lateral movement. I see him being more of a complementary back at the beginning of his career, but someone who has the tools to develop into a complete running back. I would suspect that we will see more of Turbin this year to keep Lynch fresh.
36. WR Juron Criner, Oakland Raiders- Unlike the other receivers the Raiders have, Criner is no speed demon; he is a powerful physical player. He attacks the ball in the air with great body control. Criner works well in traffic shielding defenders away from the ball and then can highpoint the ball right into his big hands. The Raiders do not have a receiving red zone threat besides Criner, who is a towering 6' 4" and 215 lbs. With the glut at receiver, it is hard to tell in Oakland how much playing time he will get. When I watch him, Criner reminds me of San Diego's Malcolm Floyd. I would love to get him on a dynasty team for my taxi squad or a 5th or 6th wide receiver.
37. WR Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams- As you can see from my ranking, he was a reach for the Rams at pick 33. Quick does a good job using his body and getting in position to make catches. He doesn't have anything outstanding in his game as he isn't overly fast or quick (see what I did there). I see a lot of potential with Quick if he gets the best coaching and techniques taught to him, but right now he is about two years away in terms of being a productive fantasy wide receiver. In a dynasty league, that is a lot of time to sit. If he had to be on my active roster with limited bench, I would not select him, but the upside is there.
38. LB Mychal Kendricks, Philadephia Eagles- With new linebackers, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles are finally getting serious about their entire front seven. Kendricks is a beast because he is a high motor player, uses good leverage to rush and evade blockers, and will be one of the best tacklers on the entire roster. I like his burst, and his power tackling which causes turnovers. His weaknesses are that he is on the small size of NFL linebackers at under 6' and 240 lbs and he struggles in pass coverage. I like the addition and think he can settle into a dominate run stopper and blitzing linebacker role. He will be a good #2 LB for your fantasy team with upside.
39. RB Chris Rainey, Pittsburgh Steelers- Offensive co-ordinator Todd Haley finally got the chance to flex his muscles and drafted a small jitter bug player more similar to Dexter McCluster than Jamaal Charles. Rainey is excellent in space as he has the speed and quickness to out maneuver most defenders, so plan on him being used in the slot and on screens. Unfortunately, he lacks the size and strength to break tackles once he is in the grasp of defenders. Rainey has wide receiver's hands, but struggles with concentration at times. He also has some character concerns with threatening texts to an ex-girlfriend. Fortunately for him, he has fans in the entire Pouncey family (with whom he has lived with since high school) that put in a good word with the Rooneys in his behalf. I like Rainey as a change of pace back and as a candidate for being a full-time returner for the Steelers (bonus for leagues with return yardage).
40. DE/OLB Nick Perry, Green Bay Packers- Getting to lineup opposite the dominate pass rusher OLB Clay Matthews will give Perry a chance to get good pressure and avoid double teams. Perry can explode off the snap, uses his powerful lower half to gain leverage, and quickly move around his would-be blockers. He needs to keep his head as he can come in too aggressive and be re-directed away from the play. Perry is a better fantasy play at DE than OLB so keep that in mind when drafting.
41. WR Danny Coale, Dallas Cowboys- Now this is more of the case of situation over ability. The Cowboys typically run a three wide receiver set and they drafted Coale who is a good fit for the slot; in fact, it might be his only fit in the NFL. He isn't a physical wide receiver and had issues in college with defensive backs knocking him off his routes. Coale can change speed easily and is good at selling fakes to the defensive backs. He isn't an accomplished route runner and will have a lot to learn as he tended to round his routes in college. Despite the flaws in his game, Coale can be a good third/fourth option in the Dallas passing game and should be a target in the third round of your rookie draft.
42. WR Devier Posey, Houston Texans- He gets a great opportunity to lineup opposite Andre Johnson so he will see single coverage against the weak secondaries of the AFC South in six games a year. Posey has good hands and can position himself well to make the difficult reception. He isn't a physical receiver, but is an adequate run blocker as he demonstrated by playing for Ohio State. I'm not convinced Posey is an upgrade over Kevin Walters, but then again Posey will be an asset for the Texans as he already played in a very run-oriented offense with the Buckeyes.
43. TE Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers- While in the short-term, Green ending up in San Diego isn't good for his fantasy value; however, getting the chance to learn from Antonio Gates who has struggled with health lately will be good for his development. He has good speed/quickness, but lacks physical toughness as he is ineffective as an inside blocker as he only gets in front of defenders for a few seconds. Green is an oversized skinny wide receiver so he may struggle to see much playing time initially, until he bulks up and gets better technique getting into his breaks and running routes. He is a raw piece of clay, but then again so was Gates as a rookie.
44. WR Joe Adams, Carolina Panthers- It is a little ironic that he ends up in Carolina with a pretty good returner turned wide receiver in Steve Smith. Hopefully, Smith can work with Adams so he can gain the strength and technique to deal with physical defensive backs. Adams will show off his speed by catching the long passes thrown by Cam Newton, but still needs to be a more consistent hands catcher. He has work to do, but because he will not be the focus of the offense, he has the time to improve on the little things that will make him a better NFL receiver. If you play in leagues that give you points for return yardage, his value will be even higher.
45. DE Vinnie Curry, Philadelphia Eagles- He is a welcome addition to the Eagles already formidable defensive line that has DEs Trent Cole and Jason Babin. Curry should be able to keep all of the d-line fresher and stronger. Curry has a non-stop motor, and excellent strength/power to use against whatever blockers the offense lines up against him. He is a sound tackler, and uses his hands well to keep the o-line away from his body. Curry is not that stout versus the run, can be controlled by good technique as he isn't that athletic, and although he has a lot of game experience, he is not very instinctive. With the unrelenting rotation, Curry will find holes to exploit and be a solid contributor this year and eventually replace Babin.
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