Just completed the draft with my fellow Sporting News experts that we'll play out this season. For the first time ever (in my six-year association with the magazine/web site), I had the first pick in the 12-team league.
Here's what I was able to do...
Round 1: Adrian Peterson, RB -- A no brainer, especially considering the worries associated with CJ2K and Arian Foster.
Round 2: Tom Brady, QB -- Rodgers, Rivers and Vick were gone. No complaints here.
Round 3: Steven Jackson, RB -- As I've written, I think S-Jax is a steal in the mid-2nd round or later. He should be huge this year as the workhorse of the Rams' improved offense. My backfield is now stacked.
Round 4: Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets -- The problem with going RB/QB/RB -- especially in a 12-team draft -- is that you miss out on the top-tier wideouts. Holmes was the best WR left on the board, in my opinion.
Round 5: Austin Collie, WR, Colts -- Boom or bust pick. I predict boom.
Round 6: Lance Moore, WR, Saints -- Could be Drew Brees' top receiver this season, especially if Colston isn't fully healthy.
Round 7: Owen Daniels, TE, Texans -- Dallas Clark almost fell to me. I like Daniels in a bounce-back season.
Round 8: Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints -- As much as I think Mark Ingram will dominate, Pierre is still expected to play an important role in New Orleans' offense.
Round 9: James Starks, RB, Packers -- Ryan Grant's starting job is anything but secure. Starks is the guy threatening his security.
Round 10: Johnny Knox, WR, Bears -- I'm expecting him to win back his starting job early on. Won't need him till Week 9, so there's plenty of time for Roy Williams to wear out his welcome.
Round 11: Eagles DST -- The run on elite units had started, and the Eagles are at the top of my rankings.
Round 12: Mike Williams, WR, Seahawks -- Yeah, I know. I wasn't jumping up and down about this pick either. Trust me...the draft board was awfully bare by this point.
Round 13: Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos -- Love him as a backup. I only need him to hold onto the starting job till Week 7 (Brady's bye).
Round 14: Aaron Hernandez, TE, Patriots -- His teammate Gronkowski almost made it to me. Hernandez is a good consolation prize, especially in a backup TE role.
Round 15: Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams -- I'm actually more excited about Gibson's potential than Williams'; but I figured I could wait until this round to bag him. He should be a starter for Sam Bradford, which makes him a decent WR5 with upside.
Round 16: Stephen Gostkowski, K, Patriots -- One of the very best.
Round 17: Cadillac Williams, RB, Rams -- S-Jax's handcuff.
QBs - Brady, Orton
RBs - AD, S-Jax, Pierre Thomas, James Starks, Cadillac
WRs - Santonio, Collie, Lance Moore, Knox, Mike Williams (Sea), Gibson
TEs - Owen Daniels, Aaron Hernandez
K - Gostkowski
DST - Eagles
I hate 12-team leagues, because the pickings get so slim by the time you reach the double-digit rounds. But unlike the mock I did with this group a couple weeks ago, I'm pretty pleased with how this draft turned out. Sure, I could use some more WR firepower; but if Collie dominates this year like he did early in 2010 -- and keeps his head clear in the process -- I'll be just fine.