Total Access showed footage of Wes Welker running around in practice yesterday, and it completely ruined my night. I had no desire to draft him early this year, because while many players have come back quickly from a torn ACL, it always, always, always takes a full season before they’re back to full speed. How many times have we seen it? Carson Palmer sticks out in my mind, but he tore is MCL too, but he didn’t look the same for a long time, still doesn’t in fact.
Anyway, it may have something to do with his small size or maybe he’s just as big a beast in rehab as he is in a PPR league, but Welker is making me rethink the early rounds of my draft. At full health he definitely gets picked in the first round (technically the 3rd round because of keepers) among available receivers like Fitzgerald, Moss, Roddy White, Megatron, Brandon Marshall, and Greg Jennings. I wouldn’t take him with the 3rd overall pick over a few of those guys, but might with the supplemental pick (13th overall), although he may not even be available. History scares me on this one, and I hope someone else takes the gamble before I have to think about it.
I’ve mentioned the “Who’s Wes Welker” draft on here before, and everyone certainly knows who he is now. Every year my Life Associate and I seem to draft a receiver with low expectations in the late rounds and get good production out of them. Last year it was Steve Smith 2.0, and I won’t go into how that turned out for us again. What I will do is share some names that are on my radar this year:
Mike Williams (Tampa Bay): He’s a rookie (4th round pick) that was just named the starter for the Bucs. The offense is young and probably going to struggle, so they may be behind in a lot of games which bodes well for a receiver in a PPR league. The Bucs play the AFC North and NFC West this year, which boast some good defenses, but some pretty dreadful ones as well.
Kevin Walter (Houston): Ok, this isn’t going that deep, but he had a down year last year due to injury and may be forgotten a little bit. He had 60 receptions and 8 TD’s in ’08 which is solid production from your 4th or 5th receiver.
Bears WR’s and Raiders WR’s: I’ve been bitten before by preseason performance and every year I tell myself it won’t happen again. That makes these groups difficult to figure out. Mike Martz being in Chicago makes every receiver have more value, but it makes 2 or 3 receivers have great value, but which 2 or 3? I’d like to find some of that out in the preseason, but can we really trust what happens in August? I say no, not if Mike Martz is involved. The same goes for the Raiders.
Wilford Brimley would be an improvement at quarterback over JaMarcus Russell, but is Jason Campbell that much better than Wilford Brimley? I still don’t know, but he has to make the receivers better. Chaz Schillens and Darrius Heyward-Bey are the starters right now, so keep your eyes on them over the next month.
Bernard Berrian (Minnesota): Call me crazy (You’re crazy!), but I have a sneaking suspicion about this one. Percy Harvin’s having migraine issues already, Sidney Rice is having hip issues, and Berrian was hurt last year. With or without Favre, I just have a feeling.
Brian Robiskie (Cleveland): This is going pretty deep and I think he may not even get drafted, but at some point this season he’ll be the hot waiver wire pick-up. You probably know his father, Terry, more than you know Brian. Terry Robiskie was a running back for five years for the Raiders and Dolphins from ’77-’81. After that he had coaching stints with the Raiders, Redskins, Browns, Dolphins, and now with the Falcons. For some reason he just always made his way onto the television screen of whatever game I seemed to be watching.
For me he’s the “that guy” of NFL coaches. Anyway, his son is now Jake Delhomme’s possession receiver, which means he’ll be running shorter routes, which are the routes that Jake has a much better chance of not getting intercepted. I’ve got my eyes on you Brian.
Broncos receivers: Good luck. I got bit in the bottom by Eddie Royal last year. Now they’re starting Jabar Gaffney, seriously. Someone is getting hurt in that camp every day anyway, so I’ll probably be staying away from the whole team.
Brandon LaFell (Carolina): I’m hesitant to even put his name here, because I want him to be my little secret, but here you go. Let me preface this by saying I know nothing about scouting, I just have eyes. I’ve been to a number of Panthers practices in the last few weeks and LaFell, a rookie from LSU, has been running with the first team on and off in Steve Smith’s absence. It’s been discussed in the Charlotte media that Dwayne Jarrett is no lock to make the team, and there’s always a chance that Steve Smith re-injures that arm or gets hurt again during the season. LaFell looks like he wants to be the guy to step in. He’s made at least two catches that I would call nice at each practice I was at and I haven’t seen him drop anything yet. I’m interested to see how this develops in the preseason, he may not be a secret by September anyway.
With that, I’m off to come up with a new name for the NFC East. I leave you with One Team Mock’s first official video (I can’t tell if the clarity of it is an error on my part or if I’m just HD-spoiled, but I’m working on finding out). It’s a very brief montage of my trips to Panthers camp. First is Steve Smith strutting in sweet shoes, then video evidence of Dwayne Jarrett signing an autograph, followed by a Captain Munnerlyn interception, and finally a nice touchdown catch by Wallace Wright (featuring slo-motion). Yes, I finally got a video editing program on the computer and figured out how to put videos on youtube. Lookout world!