The first Sunday of the season is upon us at freaking last. Here’s a bold fantasy prediction on every team for the upcoming season, some quick Week 1 names to remember and my All Breakout and All Sleeper teams for the year.
Okay, okay. So it’s cheating a bit, especially given the result of Thursday’s game. But here we are anyways, hence the asterisk in the title. For six years I’ve posted my season predictions for the standings, the playoffs and the yearly awards, and generally I’ve managed to complete them and post them within an hour or two of the Thursday kickoff. A last-minute 3:00 PM draft on Thursday derailed that tradition, but the show must go on. Admittedly, the predictions are tainted since I originally had New England at 15-1 and in the Super Bowl and Kansas City at an underwhelming 8-8 and on the outside of the playoffs looking in. Now my skeptical overreaction to one game has me going down a different path to pit elite defense versus elite offense in a matchup that I think would please many people. See (and decide) for yourself:
A couple weeks ago I covered my top 10 keeper RB’s, an endeavor that was made more difficult by the sensational rookie crop that I also detailed. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of this year’s rookie receivers. Nevertheless, it was no small task to wade through the best of the best in a league loaded with amazingly athletic and gifted ball catchers.
Back in my days of heavier offseason blogging one of my favorite topics to discuss was always ranking keepers by position. In recent seasons, I’ve often referred to my favorite home league during the fall, a Simpsons-themed keeper league that is entering its 10th season. It’s the first keeper league I joined and the format we use for it, which puts no restrictions on how long someone can be kept or costs a draft pick for the kept player, quickly made me become obsessed with finding ascending talent.
At the 11th hour finally getting a chance to re-mock the second round. No time for the third since my Pack are about to be on the clock. Here’s to another fantastic night!
GO PACK GO!!!
- Green Bay Packers (from CLE) – Dalvin Cook, RB (Florida State)
– I’ve often wonder what could have been if Brett Favre had Barry Sanders in the 90’s after we passed him up by one pick in 1989. Now, by no means am I saying Cook could be anywhere close to Barry, but he can also make the Green Bay defense nearly unstoppable in the back half of Aaron Rodgers’ career.
- Seattle Seahawks (from SF) – Cam Robinson, OT (Alabama)
– Robinson can protect Russell Wilson and open holes for a fellow Crimson Tide alum and new Seahawk. With all the depth at corner on Day 2 it makes too much sense.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – Forrest Lamp, OG (Western Kentucky)
– Fournette and Lamp will be cornerstone pieces to transforming the Jacksonville offense over the next 5-7 years. They can recreate what Seattle did in the early 2000’s with Shaun Alexander and Steve Hutchinson.
- Chicago Bears – Zay Jones, WR (East Carolina)
– This is Keenan Allen with a little less size and a little more speed. The Bears coaches got to work with Jones at the Senior Bowl and now add him to the mix of Alshon Jeffrey replacements.
- Los Angeles Rams – Kevin King, CB (Washington)
– With so many needs, the Rams opt to go best player on their board and get a top tier corner to replace a much-missed Janoris Jenkins.
- Los Angeles Chargers – Obi Melifonwu, S (Connecticut)
– One of the top value picks of the second round, Melifonwu will provide a huge boost to a San Diego secondary and Gus Bradley defense that is going to emerge as one of the league’s best very soon.
- New York Jets – Zach Cunningham, LB (Vanderbilt)
- Carolina Panthers – Jordan Willis, DE (Kansas State)
- Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Mixon, RB (Oklahoma)
– Since Marvin Lewis has been leading the Bengals the team has showed an affinity for giving trouble players a chance to grow as football players and men. Jeremy Hill has struggled the last two years with efficiency and consistency and is a free agent next spring while Giovani Bernard has dealt with numerous injuries. Mixon will solidify this backfield as a huge strength again.
- New Orleans Saints – Marcus Williams, S (Utah)
- Philadelphia Eagles – Alvin Kamara, RB (Tennessee)
- Buffalo Bills – JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR (USC)
– The Bills pair huge need with good value in Smith-Schuster, who possesses all the tools to play a great “Robin” to Sammy Watkins’ “Batman.”
- Arizona Cardinals – DeShone Kizer, QB (Notre Dame)
– Bruce Arians can’t get this pick in fast enough and must be absolutely giddy to land Carson Palmer’s heir apparent without having to make a trade. Kizer has all the physical tools to orchestrate Arians’ aggressive downfield passing attack and his intellect will help him to absorb a deep playbook.
- Indianapolis Colts – Tyus Bowser, OLB (Houston)
- Baltimore Ravens – Chris Godwin, WR (Penn State)
- Minnesota Vikings – Chris Wormley, DT (Michigan)
- Washington Redskins – Budda Baker, S (Washington)
– A tremendous value pick, Baker will captain the back seven for Washington and inspire teammates to raise their level of play.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Malik McDowell, DT/DE (Michigan State)
- Denver Broncos – Adam Shaheen, TE (Ashland)
– A Division II “Gronk,” this monstrous tight end has all the physical tools to develop into a premier weapon once his technique as a route runner and blocker are refined.
- Cleveland Browns (from TEN) – Curtis Samuel, WR (Ohio State)
– A bit redundant with Corey Coleman and Duke Johnson offering similar skillsets to Samuel, but the Browns just flat out need more playmakers.
- Detroit Lions – Cooper Kupp, WR (Eastern Washington)
– By Week 8 when Kupp already has 20-something catches for first downs Lions fans will love this pick. In the quick-throw, rhythm Detroit offense, Kupp’s exceptional technical polish and strong hands will translate to a lot of chain-moving plays.
- Miami Dolphins – Dion Dawkins, OG (Temple)
- New York Giants – Samaje Perine, RB (Oklahoma)
– For all the hype about Joe Mixon’s talent, Perine just so happens to be Oklahoma’s all-time career rushing leader – a.k.a., the guy whose college numbers bested OU alums such as DeMarco Murray, Billy Sims and some Adrian Peterson guy. Now he’ll be punishing courageous defenders in the NFC East as Big Blue’s bell cow.
- Oakland Raiders – Raekwon McMillan, ILB (Ohio State)
- Houston Texans – Taylor Moton, OT (Western Michigan)
- Seattle Seahawks – Sidney Jones, CB (Washington)
– Seattle steals Jones with an awesome value pick. The smooth corner mirrors as well as anyone in this draft not named Marshawn Lattimore.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Desmond King, CB (Iowa)
– You can’t have too many ballhawks in the secondary, especially ones unafraid of hitting.
- Dallas Cowboys – Marcus Maye, S (Florida)
- Green Bay Packers – Ryan Anderson, OLB (Alabama)
– Cheesehead fans that were disappointed to miss out on T.J. Watt with their first pick will quickly get over it when they see Anderson’s instincts and intensity churning out critical plays in the fall.
- Pittsburgh Steelers – Jourdan Lewis, CB (Michigan)
- Atlanta Falcons – Dan Feeney, G (Indiana)
- Carolina Panthers – Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE (Villanova)
– The untapped potential for Kpassagnon parallels well with Ezekiel Ansah coming out of BYU in 2013, but this freaky athlete boasts even more size. Carolina went back-to-back defensive tackles when they took Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in the first and second rounds, respectively, and could now grab two bookend rushers to groom behind franchise stalwarts Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson.
My brother-in-law bleeds blue. As much as it disgusts me, I respect his deep-rooted love for all things New York Giants. So since we’ll be watching the entire draft together, and it’s his birthday on Saturday, I’ll take my shot at improving an already loaded Giants roster. But there’s no way I’ll give them the time or energy I put into My Packers Draft Class, that in keeping with “tradition,” I posted earlier this afternoon.