Video producer/director from Georgia Tech stops by to talk NFL rookies and the ones likely to be impact fantasy players in 2013.
Just going to throw this out there like birdseed, the 2013 draft class is nowhere near as fantasy potent as last year’s class. However, there are still potential impact rookies to go out and grab for your dynasty team or in the later rounds in deep leagues. Of course, there’s the few obvious candidates and deeper guys, which both Scott and I delve into on this podcast.
Tavon Austin — People are in love with this guy!!! He was in the media the other day facing the familiar problem most athletes face and that is, people want money from him’. Well Tavon, not only do people want your money, we also want you to save our fantasy teams. Speaking of people related to Tavon asking for money, I used to babysit a kid named Austin, so I think Tavon owes me rent money now. responds to my recent twitter request asking to pay my rent. The pressure is on, welcome to the NFL. Already the Rams best receiver. This is going to actually be a big year for Sam Bradford too (we’ll save that for another podcast, but were going to find out if this guy can play ot not). Back to Austin, he will play 13, repeat, 13 games in a dome this season. So he’ll have ideal conditions basically every game.
ESPN’s prediction: 59 receptions, 961 yards, 8 touchdowns
I think that’s a little steep because he’s playing with a very young offense without a clear-cut running back and a quarterback who we don’t know can be competent for an entire season. Sam Bradford ranked 20th in passing efficiency last year. Now, is that his fault? Considering their best receiver last season, Danny Amendola couldn’t stay healthy and Bradford really hasn’t had a big name receiver ever, I’d say we’ve yet to see what the former No. 1 overall pick is fully capable of. Tavon is also garnering much hype after being selected in the Top 10, so he’s got some added pressure on him.
The Rams other two receivers are young guys Brian Quick. Quick is the more physical receiver, while Chris Givens is the deep threat, but both are still working projects. I still believe in Tavon’s talent, he’s the perfect type of receiver for how the NFL is now. But the Rams team still needs to change its culture and a great receiver typically doesn’t change that.
Over the past three seasons, we’ve seen a coach change the culture (Jim Harbaugh). Quarterbacks (RG3, Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck.) Running backs (Adrian Peterson). I can’t remember the last time a receiver stepped into a losing organization as a rookie and turned their team into a point-scoring, winning machine. If Tavon was an AJ Green, deep-threat guy who could go up and make plays I could see it. But this guy will need a good system to thrive in.
Not to mention, he’s going up against San Francisco and Seattle twice, two of the premier defenses in the league. He’ll be playing against the likes of Richard Sherman in Seattle, and Carlos Rodgers in San Francisco twice. So I’ll downgrade him a little bit and say.
2013 Prediction: 50 receptions, 750 yards, 5 touchdowns
Giovanni Bernard — Great offensive line in Cincinnati. A great back for the NFL, catches the ball well. Explosive. Can make moves in the open field. A little small, he’s 5’8 but we’ve seen players like LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Doug Martin, and Darren Sproles succeed despite their height, mainly because of their receiving skill set and elusive ability. Bernard has that in spades.
The first taken running back in the draft, Bernard was everything at North Carolina. He benefitted from a wide-open offense, but he also returned kicks, and played wide receiver out of the backfield from time to time. Rookie running backs typically contribute quicker than most other positions, the one thing that sometimes prevents them from immediate success is pass protection and ball security issues, which can keep them off the field. We saw that with David Wilson last season on the Giants, and to some extent Bryce Brown with the Eagles. I think there will be a learning curve with Bernard when it comes to pass protection, but this guy will bring a lot to the table for cincy in the receiving game
2013 Prediction: 550 rushing yards, 35 receptions, 380 receiving yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 5 receiving touchdowns
Aaron Dobson, WR New England Patriots — Doesn’t have much competition in New England since Brandon Lloyd is gone. Could very well take advantage and grab the starting X Spot. Amendola will be all over the place, they’ll probably use him in the slot and occasionally split him out.
At 6’3, 210, Dobson has great size and is sure handed. Tom Brady will deliver him the ball where it needs to be. He’s raw, but talented. But when it comes to teaching raw players, the Patriots have one of the best coaching staffs to do just that. Was fantastic at his pro day. In the snow, outdoors, he caught everything that was thrown to him.
His catch against ECU last season, where he caught a deep touchdown pass where he cradled the ball underneath his arm with the back of his hand was one of the most unbelievable plays I have ever seen. This guy isn’t just a highlight reel type dude though. He also makes the routine catches. He uses his hands most of the time and rarely lets the ball come into his body. He’s not super fast, but he ran a sub 4.4 40 at the combine. He’s also a great route runner, which is essential in the Patriots complicated offense.
The situation: With Wes Welker now gone, the Patriots bring in Danny Amendola, who’s talented but has had trouble staying on the field. The Patriots still have the best two tight end combination in football with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Dobson could be a great fit to replace Brandon Lloyd and maybe hover around that 700-800 yard mark and grab five touchdowns. Keep your eye on Aaron Dobson.
Tyler Eifert, Tight End, Cincinnati Bengals
Three words. Red zone efficiency. Eifert runs routes fluidly like a Jason Witten, has Velcro hands like Jason Witten, but is slightly more athletic and quicker. He can also go up and get the ball, which will be a nightmare for defenses when you factor in A.J. Green will also draw double teams. He’s also a good leaper, and can go up and get the ball. People have drawn comparisons to Gronkowski, but Eifert isn’t nearly as big or physical. He’s a leaner guy, think Greg Olsen. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been a puts-up-great-numbers-against-bad-teams kind of quarterback, but he still threw for nearly 30 touchdowns last season and now he has two new toys in Eifert and Bernard to throw to, he still fills the stat sheet and shouldn’t impede on Eifert’s stats.
Projected stats: 50 receptions, 470 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns