by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all knew that the quarterbacks were going to go 1-2, so there was no surprise. We also know that there’s a good chance Jared Goff starts, while Carson Wentz will likely sit Year 1 (even if the team does trade Sam Bradford). Which of the other offensive skill position players selected were winners and losers? Let’s take a look:
Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys – Running Back
Elliot is a rarity in that he’s a potentially true three-down back who will be running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Two years ago DeMarco Murray rushed for 1,845 yards and last year the enigmatic Darren McFadden put up a 1,000+ yard season. In this situation Elliot has the potential to be one of the elite running backs from Day 1, especially with defenses also having to focus on Dez Bryant and company. Elliot was likely going to be a winner regardless, but this is as good of a situation as he could’ve asked for.
Josh Doctson – Washington Redskins – Wide Receiver
Many felt like he was the top wide receiver in the draft, given his size (6’2”) and speed. Considering that Desean Jackson (5’10”) was the team’s top receiver and Pierre Garcon is heading towards the downside of his career, as well as the fact that the team had little behind him (only Andre Roberts really), this is an outstanding selection and fit. He’s got a solid quarterback throwing him the football and he should produce immediately, both in terms of touchdowns and receptions. With Jordan Reed operating in the middle of the field and Doctson on the outside, defenses are going to have their work cut out for them.
Laquon Treadwell – Minnesota Vikings – Wide Receiver
There was a time when he was viewed as the top wide receiver in the draft, but after posting a slow 40-yard dash at the combine his stock fell. Instead he was the fourth receiver selected, and will step in to form a solid 1-2 punch (along with Stefon Diggs) for emerging quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He also will benefit from the presence of Adrian Peterson, who even at his age will require the focus of opposing defenses. It should all come together for Treadwell to produce immediately.
Corey Coleman – Cleveland Browns – Wide Receiver
He’s a potential playmaker who can absolutely fly, but he was the first wide receiver who came off the board and that is going to add some significant expectations. That’s not to say that he’s going to be a complete bust, but with Robert Griffin III as his QB can we expect him to thrive immediately? There will be some big games, but there also could be days that he’s non-existent as he learns and develops. A lot has been made of his ability to run routes and the Browns are going to have to find ways to put the ball in his hands and let him make something happen. Will they be able to do it? Time will tell, as we’ve seen receivers like Darius Heyward-Bey and Cordarrelle Patterson be selected early and ultimately disappoint in the NFL. We aren’t making that direct comparison to those two, but they are warnings not to get overly excited on this type of prospect.
Will Fuller – Houston Texans – Wide Receiver
Landing in Houston, where he will play opposite DeAndre Hopkins, was going to be an ideal landing spot for any receiver (though it will also limit his potential opportunities). Fuller is not going to be the focus of the defense, and that should generate opportunities. Of course there also were concerns regarding Fuller and his potential to produce at the next level entering the draft (we took an in-depth look at those concerns, which you can read by clicking here), and his landing spot does little to curb them.
Paxton Lynch – Denver Broncos – Quarterback
The Broncos need a quarterback and while they weren’t in position to grab the top options in the draft, they moved up and were able to get Lynch. The thing is he isn’t ready to step in and assume the role of starter immediately, instead needing time on the bench to learn and develop. As of today can the Broncos offer him that? Maybe, if they are willing to open the season with Mark Sanchez as their starter, but is anyone confident that he is going to be able to produce and keep the job? Given the weapons around him Lynch should produce at least passable numbers if forced into duty, but the hope has to be that Denver brings in a better place holder for a year or two to help Lynch learn and develop before being thrown to the fire (much like the opportunity that Brock Osweiler was given).
Sources – NFL.com, CBS Sports
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