Sunday, May 2, 2010

Top Tiers

An early look at the tiers at each position and the early drafting strategy it entails.

Running backs

Chris Johnson
Ray Rice
Frank Gore
Maurice Jones-Drew
Adrian Peterson
Steven Jackson

Wide Receivers

Andre Johnson


Aaron Rodgers
Drew Brees
Peyton Manning
Phil Rivers
Matt Schaub
Tom Brady
Tony Romo

The big six running backs are so far ahead of the pack that there is no reason for them not not to come off the board 1-6. The order is arguable, but I'd question the sanity of someone who wanted to swap one of them with another back. Chris Johnson was 50 points ahead of second last year. MJD and Peterson were the next two rbs last year and their situations haven't changed that much. Rice has the best line in football and he is now established as the feature back in Baltimore. Gore benefits from an improved line and what I believe will be a more consistent passing game and better team play. Jackson finished in the top 10 last year and his situation couldn't possibly be worse. My biggest doubts are about AD, who faces a worsening team situation and a declining line.

The tough question is what to do with the seventh pick. At the point, I'd probably take Andre Johnson. He is in a class by himself among receivers this year. The seventh and eighth picks are probably the worst spots this year. You end up hoping that one of the second tier backs slips. to 13 or 14.

The 9-10 picks seem superior, because they offer a greater opportunity of taking two second tier backs and solidifying the position.

Second Tier Backs

Ryan Grant
Cedric Benson
Rashard Mendenhall
Michael Turner
Ryan Matthews(value only)
Dangelo Williams

The problem, if you run out of these guys in the second, you don't really want to take a receiver in the early-mid second. The second tier or receivers will last until the early-mid third. That's why you are better off picking in the top 6 and
taking two top receivers when it comes back around. That strategy pays off as there is running back value in the 4th round and even into the early 5th. In the first few mocks I've done, I've taken Matthews in the early 5th, even though his ranking is much lower than that. If his ranking rises, that strategy may not work, but as of now, he is a second round value in the 4th.

Quarter backs is a tricky situation. There are only seven ,which isn't enough to go around. Taking a top qb may be a good, safe play, especially if you end up in an awkward spot and miss out on second tier backs or receivers. Like always, if you don't manage to land a reliable quarterback, you need to take two that you like the upside of.

Upside Quarterbacks

Jay Cutler
Brett Favre
Kevin Kolb
Donovan McNabb
Joe Flacco
Alex Smith

Second Tier Receivers

Very deep with a lot of options, but there really isn't an obvious beginning. Who is the number 2 receiver this year? An argument for several guys.

Larry Fitzgerald
Miles Austin
Reggie Wayne
Brandon Marshall
Vincent Jackson
Roddy White
Randy Moss
Desean Jackson
Calvin Johnson

The last three have more question marks than the rest. 2-7 are pretty solid and reliable with plenty of upside. DJax has a new qb, Moss has effort issues and CJ was disappointing last year, but all three have as much upside as the rest of the tier, and any of these 9 could end up number 2. Jennings and Rice aren't too far behind either. Lower tiers will be explored after a schedule analysis.