I am always confused as to why people draft so early in the summer. Injuries to key personnel can directly and indirectly ruin a season. Another reason to draft late is to see what the general consensus is on where players should be drafted. Granted, it fluctuates based on the league configurations, but the overall average, known as the Average Draft Position (ADP), provides some good insight to the target location of players. Based on that, and overall player and team projections, I have highlighted key players to avoid at or near their current draft positions.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger – Big Ben has been beat up over the years, which has slowed him down and made him easier to catch during his mad scrambles. Having a good running game could help him out, but the Steelers do not have one. It may have worked out if Le’veon Bell had not gotten injured. However, with the backfield that the Steelers have, the defenses aren’t going to have to worry about stacking the box. Now, when it comes to the passing game, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are good receivers, but they will not strike fear into any defensive coordinator’s heart. Take away Heath Miller and Big Ben is a six-shooter with only a few bullets. He will be on the run all season. I would draft Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer before opting for Ben.
RB: Darren McFadden – I cannot think of what McFadden has done in recent memory to deserve to be drafted as a starting RB1/2. I personally have been dropping him in my rankings and started him lower than most sites. He gets injured every year and is on the worst Raiders offense since he was drafted. Matt Flynn has been a dud since having one blowout game with the Packers and doesn’t have the arm strength to stretch the defense and the team has no other weapons for the defense to focus on. Sure, he has the talent to have a monster year, but odds are that he will be a bust and not worth the risk. I am taking my chances with Lamar Miller and Giovani Bernard before DMac.
WR: Wes Welker – It seems that the Patriots are almost always correct when it comes to personnel choices. With no other top WR in the stable, they let Welker go and replaced him with a shinier model. On the surface, moving over to play with Peyton Manning seems like a sideways move, but it is not. Manning is very comfortable with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. On top of that, he has a few tight ends that he has grown fond of. I would not be surprised to see Welker’s numbers cut in half this season, which is not what you want in a single digit round draft pick. I’ll gladly take Lance Moore or even a few rounds later, Golden Tate, before overpaying on Welker.
TE: Brandon Pettigrew – With Detroit receivers getting hurt every week last year, I would have expected much better numbers for Pettigrew. However, Matthew Stafford lost all faith in Pettigrew due to far too many Drops for an offense that couldn’t afford them. Stafford turned to Joique Bell and Tony Sheffler more and more as the season wore on. The Lions receivers are a bit healthier this year and they added Reggie Bush to catch 80-100 balls out of the backfield. With his inability to block, I expect Pettigrew to see more bench time than ever this year. I expect better production from Brandon Myers and Jared Cook in later rounds.
D: Baltimore Ravens – This one is easy. After losing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and coming off a Super Bowl win, this defense will regress in a big way this year. Cincinnati is the defense to have this year from that division over perennial stalwarts in the Steelers and Ravens.
K: Mason Crosby – Crosby was terrible last year. So far, he hasn’t regained a step this pre-season. The Packers will not live and die with him again this year. There are some good kickers without jobs so Crosby’s rope may be shorter than his manhood. Avoid at all costs, especially if you are a Packers’ fan.