This past February we once again participated in Athlon Sports' college fantasy football magazine mock draft. You can find the full results here. Over the next few days, I'll be posting some rationale (or lack there of) for my picks.
A few things to keep in mind. First, the draft was done before spring practices were completed and several starting position battles were still up in the air. So you'll notice a few picks that didn't go my way later in the draft. Also, I like to have a little fun with these drafts, be risky and pick some newcomers that are clearly in the sleeper category.
Anyway, on to the picks...
Rounds 1-5 Rounds 6-10 Rounds 11-20 Full Results
Round 1 (Pick 6) - Robert Woods, WR, USC
In a nutshell, this pick was between Woods and QB Collin Klein from Kansas State. Both project well given the scoring system. My original intent was to take Klein, but made a last minute switch to Woods. I'm more worried about Klein repeating his numbers than Woods. Barkley is back and coach Lane Kiffin isn't ashamed of running up the score and putting Barkley in the Heisman race. Marqise Lee is not a concern, I see it as a benefit. Teams can't cover both and combined they should post 200 receptions. It would be nice to get Lee to go along with Woods, wouldn't it? Klein's bulldog running style concerns me from an injury perspective. I wouldn't shy away from drafting him in the first round, but it was enough to sway me towards Woods at pick #6. By passing on Klein, I've locked myself into playing the QB waiting game. Always a fun and nerve racking game. My top two targets are Kain Colter and Bryan Bennett. Two guys that can slip, but high on my board. How long can I wait to pull the trigger?
Round 2 (Pick 19) - Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
There was really no decision here for me. Michigan State is breaking in a new QB and whole new group of WRsand RB Edwin Baker (170 carries) declared for the NFL Draft. All of this spells more carries for Bell, who was an absolute beast in the second half of the season. I wouldn't be shocked to see 250+ carries for Bell this fall. With an offensive line that is expected to be much better in 2012, that puts him in the 1300+ yard range and high-teens in touchdowns. He's also capable of hauling in 40 receptions (0.5 PPR).
Round 3 (Pick 30) - Charles Sims, RB, Houston
Again, not much hesitation here. The only other consideration was grabbing Lee to go along with Woods. Houston's offense was gutted due to graduation. The Cougars return just 24 percent of their offensive fantasy production from last season. Worst of any FBS team from 2011. So either their offense is going to blow and this pick is a bust, or the Cougars are going to lean on Sims this fall. I think it goes without saying which I rooting for. The triple-headed running back monster of Michael Hayes, Byrce Beall and Sims is gone, leaving Sims to carry the load. The new coaching staff plans on keeping the same uptempo Air Raid offense in place. David Piland is no stranger to the starting QB job and the Cougs return four starters on the OL. Oh and Sims has had 121 receptions in two seasons (0.5 PPR).
Round 4 (Pick 43) - Kain Colter, QB, Northwestern
Lee didn't make it around the turn so my focus is on getting my quarterback. One person drafting after me has yet to grab a QB1 and we are at the point in the draft where QB2s also start to come off the board. Could I wait and get Colter later? Possibly, but he's the guy I want and I'm not willing to take that risk given the talent on the board at RB and WR. In the last Athlon Mock Draft in 2011, I took a guy by the name of Collin Klein in the 18th round. That worked out pretty well. Colter and Klein look very similar. Both can run, but there are questions about their arm strength. In a 4pt passing TD league, I'll gamble on the running QB.
Pick 5 (Pick 54) - Dominique Whaley, RB, Oklahoma
Am I concerned that he wasn't able to participate in spring ball and they brought in a JUCO RB on Signing Day? Yes. But the upside is huge. In half a season Whaley racked up 627 yards and nine TDs. Do I see an end of the Belldozer package (Blake Bell at wildcat at the goal line)? No. But if Whaley is healthy, he'll get plenty of red zone carries. Side note, there were a lot of picks I like in this round: WR Darrin Moore, RB Ray Graham, RB Matt Brown, WR Terrance Williams, QB Alex Carder, etc.
Rounds 6-20 coming up next. Also be sure to check out our 2012 Draft Kit.