A look back at the 2008 NFL Draft: Part 1

A Look Back: The 2008 NFL Draft First Round Part I

2008 NFL Draft Invitees

2008 NFL Draft Invitees

Teams are always looking for the best pick in a draft, whether it concerns an actual NFL team or a college kid’s fantasy team. Originally this post was going to include all 32 picks with some extra comments. The post will now be broken down into two parts and will become an annual column for the The Sports Dojo. With that being said, a draft can determine the success a team has in the future. Here’s a look back at the first round selections of the 2008 draft (with other standouts and analysis; and some help from the Dojo Master).

First Round:

  1. Jake Long — Miami Dolphins: Sturdy and reliant seem to be understatements for Long. After being the first overall selection, he went on to start his first 61 games of his career. Also winning pro-bowl nominations in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Over the summer, Long became a free agent and turned down a contract extension to join the St. Louis Rams, who interestingly are the next pick in the draft.

  2. Chris Long — St. Louis Rams: Long’s biggest asset is his agility and athleticism for a big man. One of the more unknown statistics in the league, Long led the league in hurries in 2010 along with being named a Pro Bowl Alternate. He was named to the 2008 All-Rookie team as well, recording 4 sacks in his rookie campaign. This past season, Long finished with 11.5 sacks and was named once again as a Pro Bowl alternate. Look for his reliability and maturity to emerge this season, don’t forget this name.

  3. Matt Ryan — Atlanta Falcons: Ryan’s been a good quarterback, but no super bowl and only one lucky playoff win… unlike quarterback taken at 18… 11-4 postseason record plus a Super Bowl win… no big deal or anything EXCEPT Peyton Manning only has 9 wins to go along with his 11 losses… no big deal… just kind of good is that guy who got drafted at 18. There are a couple of statistics that stand out in Ryan’s career. One of the more impressive ones was pointed out by Grantland’s Bill Barnwell. Ryan is now an incredible 27-10 (72.9 percent) in one-touchdown games during the regular season for Atlanta. The down side to this, he is 1-2 in those games during the playoffs. While his playoff appearances are a low, expect to see big things from him in the future.

  4. Darren McFadden — Oakland Raiders: In five professional seasons, McFadden has shown glimpses of the potential he displayed coming out of Arkansas. Through five seasons, he has only surpassed 1,000 yards rushing once (2010). Another problem has been health issues in his career. McFadden has never played a full season, due to to shoulder and ankle injuries. McFadden has displayed several signs of his value, whether that comes from the run game or catching balls out of the back field. Fantasy wise, you’re always looking for running backs that can catch the ball as well as run.

  5. Glenn Dorsey — Kansas City Chiefs: The big defensive end out of LSU remains a competitive force. With a fresh new look in San Francisco and a two year deal, hopefully the level Dorsey was expected to reach in Kansas City will come about. One of the factors that plagued Dorsey’s early career was the shift to a 3-4 defense in Kansas City. Forcing him to change his natural position, defensive tackle, to what he now currently plays, defensive end.

  6. Vernon Gholston — New York Jets: Unfortunately in every draft, there are the occasional busts. Gholston may just be one of them. After being drafted by the Jets, Gholston saw limited time in his rookie position as the perfect outside linebacker the Jets defense was looking for. After three years, Gholston failed to record a sack and was henceforth released by the team. He bounced to the Chicago Bears during the summer of 2011, but after just one month, was prompted released again. After being picked up by the St. Louis Rams during the 2012 offseason, one week into the signing, he was again released. Simply not the career you expect from the sixth overall pick, unfortunately, it happens.

  7. Sedrick Ellis — New Orleans Saints: He started at least ten games each of his five seasons with the Saints, including a Super Bowl win in 2009. Ellis also recorded at least 30 tackles in each of his five seasons. For one reason or the other, Ellis left the Saints following the 2012 season. In June 2013, Ellis signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, after two months, he decided to let the Bears organization know of his plans to retire from the NFL.

  8. Derrick Harvey — Jacksonville Jaguars: Being the last 2008 first-round pick to sign a contract didn’t bode well for the rest of his career. Harvey was waived by the Jaguars following the 2010 season and picked up by the Denver Broncos for the 2011 season. He had zero sacks to go along with two tackles, which inevitably ended with his release. In March of 2012, the Cincinnati Bengals signed Harvey but in August, he was yet again released.

  9. Keith Rivers — Cincinnati Bengals: Victim of the creation of the “Hines Ward Rule” which caused a season-ending injury, the incident would henceforth make it illegal for blockers to land a blindside block using their helmet, forearm or shoulder, to strike at the head or neck area of a defender. Rivers has had success with the Bengals but was traded to the New York Giants for a 5th-Round pick in the 2012 draft.

  10. Jerod Mayo —  New England Patriots: In a rookie year in which he eclipsed the 100 tackles mark, Mayo was named defensive captain for the Pats in 2010. A year in which he tallied a stellar 175-tackle total and a Pro Bowl nomination. His work ethic is the best in the game. On draft day, instead of being in New York under the spotlight with the other top ten picks, he was at home in Virginia raking leaves. One can only hope he leads the career of another famous and now retired linebacker… Ray Lewis.

  11. Leodis McKelvin — Buffalo Bills: This seems to happen more and more in the NFL. Crazy, super-athletic cornerbacks that have a knack for returning kickoffs or performing other position duties. McKelvin has made some electrifying plays courtesy of his speed and change of direction. The Bills recently re-signed McKelvin to a four-year $20 million deal in March. His 40-yard draft at the combine was an impressive 4.39, a full second slower than another player at the same position coming up on this list.

  12. Ryan Clady — Denver Broncos: If there is one pick that has paid its dividends, its Ryan Clady. As an offensive tackle, he placed third in the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award votings. The only offensive linemen to receive any votes. Clady set a new NFL record for most consecutive games without letting up a full sack (20 games). To go along with the 2008 season and to the delight of Peyton Manning, Clady allowed just one sack the entire 2012 season. This prompted the Denver Broncos to use their franchise tag (worth $9.823 million) on Clady this offseason and in July, they agreed to a five-year, $52.5 million deal.

  13. Jonathan Stewart — Carolina Panthers: Another player that make people feel like their potential hasn’t been reached. Stewart has always fluctuated his carries with fellow counterpart DeAngelo Williams as well as other running backs for his tenure in Carolina. During the 2009 season, both Williams (former first round pick in 2006) and Stewart rushed for over 1,000 yards, becoming the 6th rushing duo to accomplish the feat. Stewart and Williams also created buzz when they dubbed their one-two punch ‘smash and dash’. This combined with a 300 yard performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers forced Chris Johnson to claim his name to the nickname first. Stewart and Williams ultimately let this fans decide their new name, ultimately going with ‘Double Trouble’. Look for these two to make some noise. Fantasy wise having two running backs receiving equal reps during the game never helps your team.

  14. Chris Williams — Chicago Bears: The last of five SEC players to be selected in the top 15, Williams has shown promise as an offensive tackle. He’s been matched up against the likes of Jared Allen and didn’t allow a sack. Injuries to his hamstrings and back have hurt his playing time and during the 2012 season, he was released by the Bears. Interestingly enough, the team that claimed him mid way through the season and resigned him to a one year deal in 2013…yes, you got it…the St. Louis Rams (now have three players out of the top 15).

  15. Branden Albert — Kansas City Chiefs: The first offensive guard taken in the draft, Albert showed durability during his first five seasons in the NFL. While he struggled in his sophomore season, allowing nine sacks (5th most in the league) and committing 10 penalties. Albert started all sixteen games in 2010 and the Chiefs decided to place the franchise tag on him in 2013. Over the past two seasons, Albert has allowed fewer sacks and fewer combined quarterback hits than both Ryan Clady (12th overall pick) and Jake Long (1st overall pick).

    Notice some of the smaller themes from the top fifteen picks. Whether than be remaining with the team that drafted them, leaving for another team, or even retiring. Success in the NFL correlates with how much work a player puts in. Clearly there are some players who wanted to win and become successful more than others. Keep these ideas in mind and stay tuned for the release of Part II later in the week.

Joe’s god given ability to untangle any knot has shown that he’s a valuable asset to The Sports Dojo Team. Not to be confused with Daniel ‘Smilin Wanderer’ Dicce, Joe ‘Wicked Pupil’ Meola has been known across Philadelphia as one of the most prolific culinarians. @brosephmeola

Daily Dojo: Miguel Cabrera and Denver Broncos

Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown

Miguel Cabrera getting hurt is not good for the Tigers. They are pretty safely locked into a playoff spot, but they need Cabrera to succeed in the playoffs. It is also not good for his Triple Crown chances either. If he can’t play for awhile, there is no way he will be able to tie or pass Chris Davis in the home run category. However, I think if he did not play another inning this season, he will win the MVP and it might be unanimous. His season has been THAT good. Putting up 40 homers and 120 RBIs while hitting .356 is a RIDICULOUS stat line. He is easily a Hall of Fame hitter, and we are lucky that we get to see him in his prime.

I also think that his injury might be a sign of things to come. He definitely is not the most fit baseball player. I am actually going to be in the minority when I evaluate him for next year. I probably will not have him as my number 1 pick in fantasy baseball. I do not think that he will be able to stay healthy for full seasons going forward unless Prince Fielder becomes the DH and Cabrera moves to 1st base. I also do not like that he does not contribute in the stolen base category. I think that a 5 category player is better than a 4 category player, even if they are as good as Cabrera. I don’t know for sure, but taking a guess, I think I will be picking Mike Trout if I have the number 1 pick in fantasy baseball this year.

Von Miller (Photo Cred -John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Von Miller (Photo Cred -John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Onto football… The Denver Broncos, the almost unanimous favorite in the AFC, is getting picked apart in a variety of different ways. First, Elvis Dumervil moved to the Baltimore Ravens after he became a free agent from Fax Machine-Gate. Champ Bailey is in a boot for a foot sprain, and now, their best defensive player, Von Miller, is suspended for the first 6 games. I have said previously that if Von Miller got suspended, I think the Ravens will win their Week 1 tilt in Denver. Joe Flacco carved up Champ Bailey in the AFC Playoffs, so I think he will carry that confidence into the new year. Of course, I am a Ravens’ fan so I am probably a bit bias, but I am definitely not as bad as Gerdes who just rips Arsenal when the calls in their first EPL match were quite questionable, and thinks Chelsea is made up of perfectionists who will never lose a match because the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ has returned. But I’m done ripping Gerdes for being a homer or, in the case of his Chelsea fandom, a front-runner.

The Ravens defense will be better than last year. The biggest problem will be if they can find a second receiver. They should have tried to make a trade for Jonathan Baldwin. Unfortunately, Jim Harbaugh was able to get him instead of John. We’ll see how this season goes, but I think their over-under of 8.5 is a bit low. We’ll see what happens because Vegas is a lot smarter than I am.

Greg Danchik

First Fantasy Football Mock

These past couple of days I have done several mock drafts. I just completed one where I took notes on why I took each player and the situation I was in and what I was thinking. And here we go…

This was a Yahoo! fantasy football mock draft. It was non-PPR with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 DEF with 6 bench spots. I went into the draft looking for RB/RB in the first two rounds because of the scarcity. I was drafting from the 5th spot in a 12 team league.

1: CJ Spiller – I was looking for one of my top five running backs of Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster and CJ Spiller. I am not too high on Foster that is why I have him at 4. He has averaged over 300 carries the past three years. That is a lot of tread on those tires and he was hurt a bit last year. I would just look somewhere else with the top 3 picks. I ended up with CJ Spiller. The four running backs I have rated ahead of him were gone. I love Spiller. I think he could end up as the number 1 fantasy performer by the end of the year. Doug Marrone wants to speed up the Bills offense and I think Spiller will be the main cog. I am pumped with this first pick even if there is a tad bit of bust potential.

2: Larry Fitzgerald – I wanted a running back here, but I did not like any of the running backs who were available. Maurice Jones-Drew was here and I like him this year as a 3rd rounder, but not late second. He was hurt last year and has been hitting up way too many all you can eat buffets. If Jimmy Graham was available, I would have taken him, but I took Larry Fitzgerald because I thought he was the best receiver available. He has the potential to perform as a top 5 receiver. I think Bruce Arians will look to get Fitzgerald the ball. Carson Palmer will be the first quarterback that can actually throw it to him since Kurt Warner. I think he could have a great year. Happy with him as a WR1.

3: Dwayne Bowe – I was down between Bowe or Reggie Bush. I decided to go with Bowe because I thought I could get a comparable running back in the next round. So, I took Bowe and I am very high on him this year. This will be the best quarterback that he has ever had. Andy Reid loves to throw the ball. Bowe will get a lot of targets from Alex Smith and I think he will get a lot of looks in the red zone. It’s basically Toni Moeaki and Dwayne Bowe in the red zone. I love him as a WR2 and could have a huge year. I will have a lot of Dwayne Bowe stock this year.

4: Montee Ball – I needed a running back here and I love getting Ball this late. Peyton Manning makes every running back look good. Knowshon Moreno looked good last year and he had been awful. Yes, he was a first round pick by the Broncos, but remember Tim Tebow was also a Broncos first round pick. They weren’t the best drafters before Elway joined the front office. Sorry for getting off track, I just can’t turn down a chance to remind the world how bad of an NFL quarterback Tim Tebow is. Ball will be the starter and with the majority of the carries for the Bronces, I believe he will be a good fantasy asset this year. Good RB2, not the best, but good.

Andrew Luck and Roger Goodell at 2012 NFL Draft

Andrew Luck and Roger Goodell at 2012 NFL Draft

5: Hakeem Nicks – I was really tempted to take Andrew Luck here. I love Luck this year like more than I love LeBron James and Mike Trout. Yes, I said it, but back to this pick. If Nicks is healthy, he is a stud wide receiver. With Victor Cruz on the other side, Nicks will not get many double teams because teams will need to be worried about both receivers and Rueben Randle is not someone who should be slept on. The Giants offense should have a bounce back year. Nicks as a WR3 is a huge value for me. I could have taken Torrey Smith, but I am trying not to draft Ravens because I don’t want my fandom to get in the way of my line up selection throughout the year. I do think he could have an amazing year, and he went the pick after me. (Side note: I do like the Ravens a lot this year, don’t sleep on them. I’ll preview them later in the summer). Now I have my starters for RB and WR in the first 5 rounds. That is my goal for every draft I do this year.

6: Andrew Luck – I was getting scared that I wasn’t going to get him, but I got heeeem! I already wrote about why I love him this year.

7: Eddie Lacy – I wanted a tight end here. I was looking at Vernon Davis, but he went 4 spots ahead of me and Dennis Pitta went 2 spots ahead of me. Lacy is a good back up with upside. I like to draft upside because being safe later in drafts does not lead to drafting break out players and winning championships. Lacy will be the best running back Aaron Rodgers has ever had. Johnathan Franklin will probably split carries with him, but if Lacy gets most of the carries, I like him a lot this year. He is a big back that will probably have a lot of goal line carries with a lot of touchdowns in a good offense. I think he is a good back up. Happy with it.

8: Shane Vereen – I LOVE this pick. Someone has to get the ball in that offense. He got 3 touchdowns against Houston in the playoffs with 124 total yards. Tom Brady will get his stats, which means he needs someone to throw to. He has Danny Amendola at wide receiver and that’s about it. Vereen could be the next guy before Gronk gets back, if he ever gets back. Someone has to get the ball; why not Vereen?

Bryce Brown

Bryce Brown

9: Bryce Brown – First of all, people started drafting defenses and this is dumb in my opinion, but to each his own. I wanted TY Hilton here. Andrew Luck could make him really valuable. I’ll have a lot of shares of Luck and Colts this year. Love them. However, Hilton was gone. I took Bryce Brown. The reason is simple. If Chip Kelly‘s offense is anything like it was at Oregon, the back-up running back will get his share of carries; and LeSean McCoy did get hurt last year so maybe he can’t stay healthy this year.

10: Zac Stacy – Rams’ running back situation is very much up in the air. Zac Stacy could emerge and have an Alfred Morris-esque year. That’s what I am hoping for here. I am continuing to draft high risk/reward players late and hoping at least one of them hits. Otherwise, I could just dump one of them for the breakout player that is still on the waiver wire because he will always be there.

11: Justin Blackmon – I had been eyeing up Brandon Myers for the past couple rounds. He ended up going right after my Zac Stacy pick and I was not happy about this. I realized I had not drafted a back up wide receiver at this point. I took Blackmon. I did this because he was drafted in the top ten last year in the NFL Draft. He has a lot of talent. He is falling because of his suspension. I already have my starters so I might as well take a shot that he is great once he returns because I do not need him the first four games anyway.

12: Vincent Brown – I was thinking about going tight end. Mid-draft, I checked to see if everyone had a tight end already. Everyone else had one so I decided to take a “post hype sleeper” for this year. This means that everyone was talking them up last year, and he fell flat on his face. This year, everyone has forgotten about him because of an injury or poor performance. With Brown, his broken leg kept him off the field last year. San Diego may not have a good offense, but Philip Rivers has to throw the ball to someone besides Antonio Gates. Why not Vincent Brown? Again, I just need one guy that I have drafted to hit it big and I am golden.

Jordan Cameron

Jordan Cameron

13: Jordan Cameron – So I need a tight end here. I was looking Jordan Cameron all the way after Brandon Myers. I have a couple of reasons for taking Cameron. 1. I think he had the most upside of all the tight ends left and if he busts, I’ll just play the match ups each week. 2. Antonio Gates thrived in a Norv Turner offense. I think Cameron is athletic enough to do this same. He ran a 4.59 at the NFL Combine in 2011 and had a vertical leap of 37.5 inches.  3. I trust Ron Jaworski’s evaluation of quarterbacks. He has said that Brandon Weeden has the ability to thrive in Norv Turner’s offense. I think these three factors make this a good pick and the last two give me a good chance to get a break out player at tight end.

14: Tamba Bay Buccaneers Defense/Special teams – Revis Island. Period. Also, they play the Jets Week 1 and I can just dump them after they dominate that awful offense if I want a different defense.

15: Sebastian Janikowski – Biggest leg in the league. period. Not best but biggest. And they are kickers… so useless. If he busts, I’ll just pick someone else up in free agency.

Overall, if this was a real league, I would love this draft and be very happy with this team. It is really early so values will continue to fluctuate as the season approaches. I wouldn’t suggest doing an actual draft now, but I am getting excited about fantasy football so I did a mock and decided to write it up. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below.

Greg Danchik

Andrew Luck: 2013 NFL MVP?

Andrew Luck was one of the top rated quarterbacks EVER out of college. The only player Mel Kiper Jr, ESPN’s NFL Draft guru, has ranked higher is John Elway. That’s pretty good company in my opinion. He had been rated that high for two years. If he had come out after his redshirt sophomore year (third year in college), he would have been drafted number 1 overall to the Panthers. They said that before he made his decision to stay in school. Luck decided to stay in school and finish his degree even though his head coach, Jim Harbaugh, bolted for the NFL to join the San Francisco 49ers.

Andrew Luck and Roger Goodell at 2012 NFL Draft

Andrew Luck and Roger Goodell at 2012 NFL Draft

This decision did not change Luck’s draft position. He went to the Indianapolis Colts at number 1 overall.

Luck had a great first season considering the team he came into. The Colts in 2011 were by far the worst team in the NFL. They really had no talent and I was personally surprised that they ended up with even 1 win. They had very little talent at all the positions on the field. Their best player was probably Reggie Wayne, but he wasn’t utilized well because he did not have a quarterback that could throw to him. The organization made a coaching change from Jim Caldwell to Chuck Pagano. However, they did not make any really big signings to help the team either. They traded for Vontae Davis and Winston Justice. They also resigned Reggie Wayne, but decided to let Peyton Manning go after a great 14 years and a Super Bowl victory. This left them with the ability to draft Luck with their 1st overall pick. Throughout the rest of the draft, they did not worry about their torrid defense (5th most points allowed and 8th most yards allowed in 2011), and they focused on getting Andrew Luck more weapons. They drafted two tight ends in Coby Fleener (Luck’s college roommate at Stanford) and Dwayne Allen. Then they added TY Hilton and LaVon Brazill. Finally, they also added a running back in the 5th round in Vick Ballard. These were the only weapons and upgrades the Colts had going into the 2012 season.

Luck’s 2012 was very impressive because of what he was asked to do for his team. He was asked to put the offense on his back and carry them to victory. He threw for 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 54.1%, but he also had 18 interceptions. He was top 5 in the NFL in attempts per game as a rookie with 39.2 attempts per game.

Left to Right: Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson

Left to Right: Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson

This is very different from what Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson were asked to do. They ranked 39th and 40th in pass attempts per game with 26.2 and 24.6 attempts per game respectively. Now, if you compare Luck’s efficiency rating with Wilson and RGIII, you would think that he did not have a season as good as them. I, on the other hand, disagree. I believe Luck should have won NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) in 2012 rather than Griffin. Now he definitely was not as efficient as them, but he had about 14 more attempts per game than those other two quarterbacks and that just leaves a lot of opportunities for rookie mistakes.

Considering how many attempts he had, he did not make a ton of mistakes. 18 interceptions on 627 attempts, or an interception percentage of 2.9%, is an incredible feat for a rookie especially considering the game situations. Luck’s defense was not good by any standard. They were ranked 26th in yards allowed per game with 374.2 and ranking 21st in points allowed per game with 24.2. So he was usually playing from behind in the fourth quarter trying to catch up as evidenced by his 4 fourth quarter comebacks and 7 game winning drives late in the fourth quarter or overtime. Even when he had a lead, he was asked to throw because of his awful rushing attack. The Colts only had 104.4 rushing yards per game as a team, which gave them a ranking of 22nd in the NFL. Luck literally had to do everything for this Colts team. AND he still managed to carry them to the postseason with 7 more wins than the previous season! They didn’t win their 1st game, but at least they lost to the Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens (any chance I get to say that, I will).

After looking at RGIII and Wilson, it is easy to tell that they definitely had better supporting casts, which allowed them to have much more efficient stats and less interceptions. First, RGIII, whom actually won the OROY in 2012, had the best running game in the NFL. His team led the NFL in rushing yards per game with 169.3 yards per game. With a rushing attack like that, you can keep defenses off balance and it opens up the play-action passing game. For RGIII, this opened up the secondary and gave him very good passing lanes and open receivers. This alone limits mistakes because it doesn’t take a superstar to play catch with a receiver when there isn’t a tight window to fit the ball through. The Redskins did have 10 wins in 2012, but that was only a 5 win difference from 2011 to 2012.

Now some people may say, “Well, Russell Wilson led his team to 11 wins and if they didn’t get screwed with an early afternoon game on the east coast, they would have been in the NFC Title Game.” First of all, only one of those things is true. A west coast team playing a 1 pm game on the east coast is very unfair. It’s basically 10 am for those players. And the Seahawks did not WIN 11 games. They, themselves, won 10 games. The replacement refs gave them that 11th win against the Green Bay Packers in Week 3. Also, Wilson’s supporting cast was far more superior than RGIII’s and especially Luck’s. He had the third best rushing team, besides RGIII’s Redskins and Adrian Peterson‘s Vikings, with 161.2 rushing yards a game. It was already discussed how that helps out the quarterback. Now, Wilson also had a top 5 defense. His defense was number 4 in yards allowed and 1st in points allowed. They only gave up 15.3 points a game! On average, Wilson only needed to lead his offense down the field for 2 touchdowns and a field goal from a kicker who only missed 3 field goals all year and all those field goals were over 50 yards. I think these stats clearly show that Luck had an inferior supporting cast and his 4,374 yards and 23 touchdowns were deserving of an OROY award with all factors considered.

Luck’s 2013 could surprise some people with how good he is going to be. He has a slightly improved supporting cast. In the draft, they acquired talent in places of need. They drafted DE Bjoern Werner from Florida State to help out their torrid defense. Their next 2 picks were used on the offensive line. This was a huge need for the Colts as Luck took 41 sacks last year, which was the 4th most in the NFL. They were also ranked as the 2nd worst offensive line in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. I don’t expect Luck to be running for his life as much as he had to last year. In free agency, they have signed, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Ahmad Bradshaw, so far.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Heyward-Bey adds another dimension to the offense with his speed. He can stretch defenses deep. People will say he was a bust at the 7th overall pick for the Raiders, and he was. However, I think with a new organization that isn’t as dysfunctional as the Oakland Raiders, he can be a productive wide receiver with a stud quarterback throwing to him. I mean, any improvement at quarterback would be good for Heyward-Bey. He’s had to deal with JaMarcus Russell, Bruce Gradkowski, Jason Campbell, Kyle Boller, and a poorly playing Carson Palmer throwing him the ball. I think Heyward-Bey will be a nice addition for Luck. I talked about Bradshaw in this Daily Dojo. The players that were drafted with Luck in the 2012 draft have a year of experience under their belts. They should hopefully be improved and help Luck out even more.

Overall, I think Luck’s trajectory is only looking up. He could have an unbelievable season and shock people. My conservative prediction is that he has a stat line of 4,600 passing yards, 28 passing TD’s, 11 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles, 200 rushing yards and 3 rushing TD’s. This stat line equates to 308 total fantasy points using ESPN standard scoring for fantasy football. That would put him in the top 5 of all quarterbacks according to last year’s fantasy football scoring leaders. If he exceeds those numbers, he will definitely be in the running for NFL MVP. However, to go along with my stat prediction, I believe he leads the Colts to 11 wins and an NFC South crown over the Houston Texans (I don’t think Matt Schaub is good enough and Arian Foster is running out of tread on his tires). This would give him an incredible case for MVP and I think he really has a shot in his sophomore campaign.

 Greg Danchik