With the NFL season winding down I figured it’s time to start looking ahead into the next crop of young bucks. Now these are the guys that will feed your fantasy football addiction. They’ll have you sneaking on fantasy sites at work, blowing off the wife to get some pivotal insight from Mel Kiper Jr., and have you waking up late night with fantasy revelations dancing through your head. You NEED to know who’s going to be the next RG3 or Doug Martin. So I’ve decided to start writing this weekly analysis on the top offensive players in the 2013 class, who could make a difference on your squad next year. Hold the applause. Now the season isn’t over yet, and a draft order hasn’t been established yet, so the projections could still be a little shaky. I’ll continue to update you on how these prospects fare in the off season, and their stock/projection will vary depending on their NFL Combine/team day/off the field issues/injuries until I release my top 25 close draft day. Then after the draft I’ll project their success on their new teams.
Player: Giovani Bernard
Projection: Late 1st – Early 2nd
Compares To: LeSean McCoy
Possible Teams: Packers, Bengals, Jaguars, Dolphins
I currently have Giovani Bernard out of North Carolina as my #1 ranked RB in the 2013 class. Gio has a good shot at being a starting running back in the NFL next year, and could be a nice pick for a team craving a RB like Green Bay late in the 1st round. Now premier offensive players are at a premium in this draft class, and I have a hard time believing 32 teams will pass on the top RB in the class. If that does happen expect him to be scooped up quickly by the likes of the Jaguars, Dolphins, Cardinals, and Rams. He could start at any of these locations, and he also has the receiving ability to really boost his production. Gio is one of the quickest running backs out there, and could potentially be a viable RB2, if drafted by the right team. I have him higher on my board than other running backs in Eddie Lacy, and Marcus Lattimore because of his versatility. Gio caught 47 passes out of the backfield last year and was one of the best punt returners in the nation. I think those added factors will entice teams to choose Gio over other backs. He runs with no hesitation, and is extremely tough to bring down in the open field. He still has a lot to prove before the draft, but for now he’s my #1.
Player: Justin Hunter
Projection: Mid-Late 1st
Compares To: A.J. Green
Possible Teams: Vikings, Dolphins, Rams, Texans, Seahawks, Patriots
I currently have Justin Hunter out of Tennessee as my #2 ranked WR in the 2013 class. While Hunter is my #2 receiver for now, he also in my opinion has the most upside of any receiver in the class. He also tore his ACL in 2011 which damaged some of his elite speed, but the former track star still had an outstanding senior season. Hunter is the most physically gifted receiver in the class, and his tall/lean 6-4 body will catch any pass in his area. He also projects as a great red zone target, as thee man can also jump out of a gym and elevate for that much needed touchdown catch. Tons of teams will jump at the opportunity to grab such a raw talent like Hunter, and I figure him to have a decent showing in 2013. Most receivers usually don’t explode their rookie year, but Hunter is gifted enough to do so on the right team. I shutter to think the damage Tom Brady could do with a talent like Hunter. If Hunter gets drafted by a talent-less team he’ll still be a viable option, as he’s a big target, and that’s always a plus for low caliber QBs. If he ends up somewhere like Houston across from Andre Johnson, he’d be a great option with most of the attention going across the field to the veteran, and providing the Texans with that #2 receiver they’ve never really had. Hunter’s fantasy value really depends on who he is drafted by, but if he wind’s up in the right situation he could have a stellar rookie campaign.
Player: Geno Smith
Projection: Early 1st
Compares To: Josh Freeman
Possible Teams: Chiefs, Cardinals
I currently have Geno Smith out of West Virginia as my #1 QB in the class of 2013. Okay so Geno is going to Kansas City, unless Peyton Manning sees “orange barrels” and “reroutes” to Siberia, and his call to “Papa bear, hutt hutt” doesn’t go through, (Verano commercial…I’m funny) and the Chiefs somehow stun the Broncos next week. (Moving them to the 2nd pick). Now KC doesn’t have the terrible weapons, and has a decent O line. He’ll have a nice running game with Jamaal Charles to lean on, and if Dwayne Bowe stays it’ll help him tremendously. Also Dexter McCluster is the pro version of his college target Tavon Austin, and maybe they’ll mesh nicely. Geno should be drafted in all formats next year, because of his upside and ability to create. Lots of people have been comparing Geno to RG3…but why? While Geno has the ability to run, he only rushed for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns last year. I see him more like a Josh Freeman, with an ability to run and avoid rushers if needed, but not overly reliant on his legs. I think Geno has the potential to one day become a star in the NFL, but should probably start the 2013 season off on your fantasy bench. He could end up having fantasy seasons like RG3, Luck, or Wilson, and is worthy of higher draft pick than most backups.
Be sure to check back next Wednesday for more prospects! Also hop on the forums and talk about who you think could have a breakout rookie year! Happy Holidays!
Related Tags » 2013 NFL Draft • bengals • Cheifs • Dolphins • Fantasy Football Blogs • Giovani Bernard • jaguars • Justin Hunter • North Carolina • packers • patriots • rams • rookies • seahawks • Tennessee • Texans • vikings