Daily Haze, fantasy football, NFL, sports news

The NFL lockout has given me lots of free time this offseason, which explains the lack of football-related posting around here lately.

But thankfully, the 2011 NFL Draft gave football fans something to talk about during an offseason filled with such turmoil. It was a nice reprieve from the legal jargon, propoganda and uncertainty as we head toward the 2011 NFL season.

From a fantasy football perspective, the 2011 draft provided an influx of talent to the positions fantasy owners most covet — quarterback, running back and wide receiver. There will be rookie rankings in the coming weeks for dynasty league owners, but for now here are a few players whose names should be remembered on fantasy draft day.

First Round

Cam Newton to the Panthers … Clearly the Panthers were in need of a quarterback, but they took perhaps the biggest risk of the bunch.

A.J. Green to the Bengals … Likely signals the end of Chad Ochocinco in Cincinnati. And the Bengals second-round pick did the same for Carson Palmer.

Julio Jones to the Falcons … The Falcons went all-in for Jones, so there is a great deal of pressure on his shoulders to perform.

Jonathan Baldwin to the Chiefs … The passing attack gets an upgrade, with Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki and now Baldwin.

Mark Ingram to the Saints … Bye-bye Reggie Bush? Maybe not, but this is a crowded backfield. Still, lots of opportunity for Ingram (read: touchdowns) to make his mark.

Jake Locker (Titans), Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars) and Christian Ponder (Vikings) … All go in the first half of the first round. To everyone’s surprise, Locker was the second quarterback taken. The Jags traded up to get Gabbert, who can sit behind David Garrard for a few seasons. And the Vikings are hopeful that Ponder can start day one of the 2011 season.

Second Round

Andy Daulton to the Bengals … Looks like Carson Palmer will retire (or be traded) after all. Here’s hoping he gets traded to a team like Arizona.

Colin Kaepernick to the 49ersAlex Smith may man the helm one more season, but then it will be Kaepernick’s show.

Ryan Williams to the Cardinals … Crowded, average backfield. Williams will need to blow coaches away to get significant playing time.

Titus Young to the Lions … Loved the Lions’ draft. Young is a nice addition to an increasingly potent offensive attack.

Mikel LeShoure to the Lions … Another weapon for the Lions on offense, LeShoure joins Jahvid Best and Co.

Torrey Smith to the Ravens … Baltimore paid a lot for wide receiver help last year, but neither Anquan Boldin nor T.J. Houshmandzadeh lived up to expectations.

Greg Little to the Browns … Interesting pick. The Browns have no play-makers at wide receiver, so there is an opportunity here for Little to shine as a rookie.

Daniel Thomas to the Dolphins … The heir-apparent to Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams in a run-first offense. Should be a popular fantasy pick.

Other Notable Picks

Ryan Mallett to the Patriots … Zero immediate fantasy value. This is a long-term project.

Austin Pettis to the Rams … Rams needed some pass-catchers for Sam Bradford.

Leonard Hankerson to the Redskins … Washington’s wide receivers are old (save Anthony Armstrong), finally an injection of youth.

Alex Green to the Packers … A tell by the Packers. Not fully invested in any of its running backs (Ryan Grant, James Starks, Brandon Jackson, etc.).

Here are today’s great reads:

  • More recap and links for those of you in need of more 2011 NFL Draft coverage. It is about the only football-related activity fans should expect for a while, so I hope you enjoyed it! [Fantasy Football Librarian]
  • 10 things football fans learned over the course of draft weekend. Clearly, Cincinnati had a plan to move on from Carson Palmer, Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens heading into draft day. It worked out well for the Bengals (A.J. Green and Andy Daulton). [Shutdown Corner]
  • In addition to drafting Austin Pettis, the Rams beefed up the passing attack with two other draft picks. Sam Bradford has some new toys, which should buoy his surging fantasy stock after a solid rookie campaign. [FFToolBox]

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