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Where to start? Well, I’m happy with the team, so that’s good. I initially wasn’t happy at all with drafting first, but after the team started to come together I kept reminding myself, “Oh, I have Chris Johnson too.” As soon as I found out that I was drafting first, my immediate thought was, “Oh man, that’s a lot of time in between picks, I’ll probably start drinking.” But vices be damned, I sat here with a gallon of sweet tea, threw on my lucky Antonio Gates powder blue jersey, did a last minute check of ProFootballTalk, and was on my way.
As I said, I’ve never drafted in this league before, so I’m unfamiliar with any draft tendencies of any owners. I knew there was a Favre lover, but that was about it. There were also three people on auto-draft which means they were not in the online draft room, they allowed the computer to pick for them based on their pre-draft rankings sheet. I don’t usually set-up a rankings sheet in the draft room, but I did in this case because I didn’t want to get burned by taking a quarterback too early if something went wrong with my internet connection. You’ll remember that quarterbacks only get four points for a passing touchdown in this league, so I intended to wait as long as possible to pick one or maybe go Palmer/Cutler back to back around rounds 7 and 8.
I knew this was going to be a different kind of draft when 4 quarterbacks went off the board in the first round. Brees (3rd), Manning (5th), Rodgers (10th), Schaub (12th). This leads to things like Ray Rice going 6th and Frank Gore 11th! The team that got Gore at 11 turned around and got Ryan Matthews after the turn to give him the best running back tandem in the league.
I figured most of the stud running backs would be gone by my second and third picks, but I also wasn’t sure if Arian Foster was on anyone else’s radar. We were up to the pick before mine and these were the receivers still available: Marshall, Fitzgerald, Jennings, Colston, Roddy White, Austin, DeSean Jackson. Marshall went to the team picking before me and I was left with quite a decision. What would you do? I’m curious. This is a non-PPR and I’ve said over and over again here how scared I am of Fitzgerald this year. I’ve also said that I don’t trust Austin. I wasn’t even expecting to make this kind of decision with that slot, but here I was. Ultimately I went with my gut, I like Roddy White a lot this year and I wanted in on the Packers offense in some way so I picked White and Jennings. I’m not sure what I would have done if Marshall were available. Either way I will second guess this decision every Sunday for the next four months.
Fitzgerald, by the way, didn’t go until 5 picks later after Jennings, Steve Smith 1.0, and Austin. The team with Fitzgerald picked Rice and Mendenhall earlier so that’s a damn good start if Fitzgerald pans out. The Favre homer picked Favre right after Fitzgerald went, then Romo and Brady were taken.
Surprisingly the tight end run started in round 4 and it wasn’t me that did it. It actually started 8 picks before my turn with Dallas Clark.
Gates went a couple of picks later so I had to sit there and pray, “Please don’t take Jermichael Finley” over and over to myself. Five picks later and he was mine. Arian Foster also made it back to me so I was pretty damn happy at that point. Looking back, had I known I were going to get Finley, I may have taken Fitzgerald, oh well, not a bad spot to be in.
I still had an open receiver and quarterback spot to deal with on my next go round to fill out my starting line-up, not counting kickers and defenses. There was a lot of sameness among the receivers left and still some pretty good running backs available with my next picks approaching. C.J. Spiller and Ronnie Brown went right before my turn, which left Ahmad Bradshaw in my lap. He’s too good to pass up as my third back, and I had a hunch that no one was taking Jabar Gaffney or Mike Williams from Tampa Bay, who I’d be happy with as my 3rd and 4th receivers, so I grabbed Bradshaw and Flacco there. Then I just had to wait and see what receivers would be available for me at the end of the 8th round.
That’s when the defense run fell from heaven. Five defenses went in the 8th round, too early, with San Francisco being the first. Even a kicker got taken, presumably by teams concerned with filling out a starting roster first, then worrying about depth. This lead to Lee Evans’ availability at my pick. He’s the only decent receiver on the team and they will be throwing so I’ll take him for my third receiver. Then I had to wrestle with pulling the trigger on Gaffney or hoping he would make it through another 24 picks. I was staring at Felix Jones’ name for some reason.
He burned me last year, but at that point he was my fourth running back and I knew that I was not drafting a back-up defense, kicker, and tight end, so I would need a few drop/add spots to play with. I’ll have the depth to drop Jones if he stinks it up early. I don’t have to worry about a second defense, kicker, or tight end until week 10 anyway so things should work themselves out by then.
On the next go round, after the kicker run got into full swing I took Gaffney. I was toying with the idea of taking Sidney Rice, but he was taken by the Favre homer a few picks in front of me. It’s probably better that way. With my next pick I had Fred Jackson on the board and Matthew Stafford there too. Stafford intrigues me this year, and he’d be very a nice trade chip if need be later. But this gut keeps telling me things. The Bills running back situation could be a fantasy disaster this year, and I may be getting Fred Jackson a year too late, but again, I have the running back room to play with. I would wait and hope that Stafford would make it until the next go round, but he got taken with the very next pick.
I still needed a back-up quarterback, a defense, a kicker, and another bench spot with my last four picks. Matt Moore is playing the Rams during Flacco’s bye week. Done, I just hope Jimmy Claussen isn’t starting by then. The Saints defense was still available too, so I snatched them up. Not bad for the 12th defense off the board.
That left the spine-tickling kicker and last bench spot selection. I went with Matt Prater over David Akers and Janikowski. I see lots of field goals in the Broncos future and Prater kicked my ass last year.
Then I took a shot on Mike Williams of Tampa Bay. I thought there was no way he’d get taken, then Arrelious Benn went right before I chose so that scared me a tad.
There are still some good players available. Montario Hardesty didn’t get drafted, so I may be scooping him up at some point. I’m looking at you, Felix. Javon Walker, however, did get drafted. Good for him.
Well there it is. On to the TUFFKL draft starting tonight at 1:30 AM and spanning out over a few days until it’s done. I did find out that Space Mountain will be drafting second in the supplemental round so you can rest easy, America.