Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
In the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, just eight skill position players were selected and none seemed to be immediate, sure-fire, fantasy stars in their rookie season.
And as we progress through the rounds, there will be less and less opportunity for these guys to become a fantasy factor, at least in their first season because they are less likely to get the chance to start from Week 1 of the regular season.
The teams looked a little bit more towards the offense in Round 2 with 17 offensive players selected and 12 of those at a skill position.
With four quarterbacks selected in the first round, the remaining top quarterbacks went early on Day 2.
The third pick of the day, No.35 overall belonged to Cincinnati, and to no one's surprise they chose a quarterback - Andy Dalton of TCU. Given the problems between last year's starter Carson Palmer and the team, Dalton could be in line to see a lot of action in his first season.
You'll have to pay attention to the Palmer situation all summer, but Dalton could start if Palmer leaves and could end up with Joe Flacco type numbers as a rookie. The Bengals will have a young receiving corps that Dalton could grow with and could be a good long-term selection in keeper leagues.
One pick later San Francisco picked Nevada signal-caller Colin Kaepernick which looks to be an indictment on the 49ers current quarterbacks. Kaepernick is a project, he's got great physical tools, but isn't ready to start on Opening Day. He's a late-round selection in keeper leagues only.
Arizona surprisingly picked Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams at No.38 which means more shared time in Phoenix for Chris "Beanie" Wells, Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling. This is definitely not good for Wells' fantasy value. Williams wasn't much of a receiver at Tech and at 5'9 210 probably won't steal red zone carries from the bigger Hightower.
Minnesota selected Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph at No.43, but they already have the talented Visanthe Shiancoe at the position, therefore his fantasy value in year one is likely near zero.
Detroit made an interesting choice at No.44, picking Boise State wideout Titus Young. It could spell the end for Nate Burleson as a fantasy wideout. Burleson has been largely disappointing over his eight-year career, only once cracking the 1,000-yard mark (2004 in Minnesota). In 2010 Burleson played in all 16 games, but was fantasy-worthy in just three of them. Last year at Boise, Young never caught less than four passes in a game and finished the year with 71 receptions for 1,215 yards and nine touchdowns. He should supplant Burleson early in the year and be a more consistent compliment to Calvin Johnson.
The Lions also added a talented running back, Mikel Leshoure, which should muddle things in the Detroit backfield that already had 2010 first round selection (No.30 overall) Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith and Maurice Morris. I'd still bet on Best being the star of the backfield, but it will warrant watching in preseason. Leshoure, at 230 pounds, could steal goal line carries.
New England drafted running backs in both the second and third round which makes predicting who could emerge as a crap shoot. Add in that coach Bill Belichick loves to use a running back by committee, neither second round pick Shane Vereen or third round pick Stevan Ridley is likely to be fantasy worthy in their rookie season.
Torrey Smith was selected by Baltimore late in the second round and he could provide a deep threat for the Ravens who were vertically challenged last year with possession receivers Derek Mason and Anquan Boldin. Still, this team has too many weapons for Smith to see enough targets to be fantasy worthy, at least until Mason retires.
Cleveland, in need of wide receiver help, selected North Carolina's Greg Little, who will join a crowded group of mediocre talent at the position. if he proves to be the best of the receivers, he could become a fantasy worthy target for Colt McCoy.
The Miami Dolphins tried to add to a running game that may not have either Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams in 2011. If that's the case, No.62 overall selection, Daniel Thomas could be very valuable. Thomas isn't a speed back, but can break tackles, run inside and catch the ball - similar to Brown.
The last pick of the second round, Randall Cobb, will join a talented group of receivers in Green Bay. But I wouldn't expect him to be fantasy worthy in year one despite having one of the best quarterbacks on his team. The Packers still have Greg Jennings, the ageless Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and a great pass-catching tight end in Jermichael Finley. That's a lot of receivers to share the ball with, which likely means Cobb's value will be minimal in his rookie season.
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