Mock drafts this time of year are pointless. Inevitably, a few big names will tear hamstrings, break shoulder blades or blowout knees during the sideshow that is training camp and preseason. Nevertheless, I’m not above pounding out a first-round mock if for no other reason than to mislead my competition. Wink.
1) Adrian Peterson – Who else belongs here? No one. I’m sure a bunch of jackasses will nab Turner or Forte in this spot just to be different, but All Day should be the pick.
2) Michael Turner – Yeah, yeah, I’ve read all the 300+ carries theories, but they apply to older backs, big backs and guys with nothing left in the tank. Turner isn’t old, particularly big, and he’s still fresh. Among the other guys who could go here, he’s the safest bet. However, he is a classic Jekyll/Hyde player.
3) Steven Jackson – The smart owner will consider him here rather than Forte, MJD and DeAngelo. Stevie Jax is primed to explode this season. He’ll have a full training camp to get himself right and his new head coach will run the offense through him. 2000 total yards and 12-15 touchdowns is more than possible.
4) Matt Forte – Forte reminds me of Duce Staley. He’ll never get much pub, but he will be consistently good for the next 5-7 years. Cutler should only help his stats. 1300 yards rushing and 50 catches is what you want from a number one runner.
5) Maurice Jones-Drew – Now that albatross Fred Taylor is ring hunting in New England, MJD can become the man in J’Ville. As a part timer he’s racked 38 scores in three seasons. Unlike fragile Fred, Pocket Hercules doesn’t get nicked. I would not be surprised one iota if MJD ends up as Fantasy’s top back.
6) DeAngelo Williams – D-A-W won me a title last year, so I’ll forever sing his praises. That being said, no way the dude crosses the goal line 20 times in ’09. J-Stew will steal more carries this season and some of those will be inside the five. Like online dating, lower your expectations if you draft Williams.
7) Coach’s Dream – Chrissy Johnson doesn’t lack self-confidence, I’ll give him that. If he keeps it up, he might strip the Mr. Me title away from TO before long. As long as he keeps backing it up, I’ll consider utilizing his services for my fake teams. As backs go, he’s one of the top home run threats.
8) Steve Slaton – I’ve always believed in Steve since his days at West Virginia. Pat White stole the glut of headlines, but Slaton can ball. He’s a dual-threat in a potent passing offense. What’s not to like? He won’t score a ton of touchdowns but his weekly total yardage numbers will keep owners smiling.
9) Drew Brees – I’ll never draft a quarterback in the first round, but when you toss for 5000 yards in a season, you deserve some hype. Imagine if Colston, Shockey and Bush stay healthy. Look out Marino. Drew is coming for you again.
10) Clinton Portis – I love the resume, but the length of it concerns me. Portis is only 28, but he has logged mucho carries over the last five years. He broke down late in ’08 and Jason Campbell still doesn’t scare defenses. Draft Portis with caution.
11) Larry Fitzgerald – Fitzy was uncoverable during the Cardinals magical playoff run. No reason to think he won’t continue his dominating play. He’s the new Randy Moss. Chuck it up and watch him pluck. No wonder old man Warner is enjoying a renaissance.
12) Randy Moss – And now the original go up and get it receiver. Golden Boy Tom is back, which means Randy’s consistency will return as well. Don’t plan on 23 like in ’07, but 15 is within reach.
Conspicuous by their absence:
LaDainian Tomlinson – Killed me last year in one league. Too much mileage. Pick him if you must, but his best days are clearly behind him.
Brian Westbrook – See Tomlinson.
Frank Gore – If he gets over 300 carries he’ll be special. Mike Singletary should feed him the ball. Then again, Singletary laughs maniacally while sharpening his kitchen knives, so there’s no telling what he’ll do.