Now that the NFL Draft is complete, and all the action has subsided, we need to take a look at each division and break down what was accomplished in their draft, in terms of fantasy production.
The Falcons did what they could to improve as a team. In addition to adding an additional guard through the draft, the team grabbed TE Austin Hooper from Stanford and WR Devin Fuller from UCLA. Hooper was somewhat vaunted coming into the draft, but I think there were better at the position. Many people are already trying to draw the Tony Gonzalez analogy which is about the worst expectation you could put on a less talented rookie. He could develop into a nice player, but I’m not really convinced on him. Fuller will be a nice addition, but will be nothing more than a depth option in the short term.
On defense, the team added three pieces. The first was S Keanu Neal from Florida, who will hope to give this secondary some more depth and talent. They also added 2 OLB’s in Deion Jones from LSU and De’Vondre Campbell from Minnesota. This was a unit that needed upgrades, so the hope is that both of these players will make strides in helping the defense. It isn’t a defense I want to have every week, but it was an excellent streaming option in 2015 and should be again in 2016.
The Panthers only had five picks in the draft, so it was pretty barren on the offensive end. Beau Sandland TE from Montana State was the lone offensive pick. With Greg Olsen on the roster, it is easy to see he won’t have much of an impact. One situation to monitor could be UDFA Jenson Stoshak, wide receiver from Florida Atlantic. He was a very skilled receiver during his time there, and flashes enough talent that he could make the roster and see some playing time.
On the defensive side of the ball, the team selected DT Vernon Butler from Louisiana Tech. He was very good during his time there and should contribute immediately to the Panthers. The team selected three cornerbacks in the draft: James Bradberry, Samford, Daryl Worley, West Virginia, and Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma. They will need all the help they can get with Norman gone, Tillman aging, and constant injuries that plagued the squad in 2015.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Another team with limited selections was the Saints. The team ended up with two skill position players on offense: WR Michael Thomas from Ohio State and RB Daniel Lasco from California. Thomas should help this team a lot alongside Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as an immediate contributor. Lasco will likely have to fight for a roster spot behind a number of players who will see more time than him.
The team started their draft by selecting DT Sheldon Rankins from Louisville. This team struggled a lot on defense, and while it isn’t likely that it is going to improve overnight, Rankins is a big step in the right direction. The team then selected S Von Bell from Ohio State. He should challenge for playing time immediately. The final defensive pick was DT David Onyemata from Manitoba. He should provide depth behind Rankins.
TAMP BAY BUCCANEERS
Interesting, the Buccaneers made almost no impact in the draft on the offensive side of the ball. The selected and offensive table in the fifth, and grabbed FB Dan Vitale from Northwestern. Nothing exciting here, and Vitale will not be a contributor. The most interesting pick was Roberto Aguayo, kicker from Florida State. He was very good in college, and should be a kicker you look at in 2016.
The defense saw the most improvement through the draft. The team took 2 CB’s in Vernon Hargreaves from Florida and Ryan Smith from North Carolina Central. Hargreaves will be an immediate contributor and help the pass defense off the bat. The team also took two OLB’s: Noah Spence from Eastern Kentucky [formerly Ohio State] and Devante Bond from Oklahoma. Spence could be a huge pick up where they got him and Bond should see playing time as well. Again, this isn’t a defense I am targeting other than streaming.