As the 2012 NFL Draft unfolds, we're finally learning where the latest crop of young blood is heading. Here's my initial, knee-jerk analysis of the fantasy prospects for the offensive skill-position players selected in the 1st round.
Ratings key: 5 - Instant Fantasy Stud
4 - Solid Fantasy Contributor
3 - Bench Depth Only
2 - Maybe in 2013
1 - Could Be a While
No. 1 -- Andrew Luck, QB, Colts. Rookie passers going to crappy teams make lousy fantasy QBs. Right, Cam? I suppose if Newton can make chicken salad out of Carolina's chicken scratch, Luck has a chance to produce with veteran Reggie Wayne and, um, the others. But Cam's rushing ability was the real difference-maker, and Luck isn't similarly blessed. Not only is Luck not a runner, he won't have any decent RBs behind him. Rating: 2
No. 2 -- Robert Griffin, Jr., QB, Redskins. RG3 has a great chance to be this year's Cam Newton. Or perhaps the next Michael Vick. He'll have decent talent around him in Washington, and he's equally lethal as a rusher and passer. It helps that he'll play against three division rivals with suspect secondaries. Rating: 3
No. 3 -- Trent Richardson, RB, Browns. The best rusher in the draft will line up behind a solid offensive line for a team that lives and dies by the run. Jackpot! Rating: 5
No. 5 -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars. No matter how talented he is, a receiver can't throw the ball to himself. Until Jacksonville puts a decent QB under center, I'll pass on Blackmon. Rating: 2
No. 8 -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins. As a life-long Miami fan, my reaction to using the 8th overall pick on a not-terribly-impressive quarterback with 19 career college starts can be summed up in two words: Damn it. Rating: 1
No. 13 -- Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals. I'm already worried about confusing him with Malcom Floyd, but at least I have four months to figure it out. Like Malcom, Michael is a big red zone target with good speed. But Arizona's rookie won't have a QB the caliber of Philip Rivers targeting him. Lining up opposite Larry Fitzgerald isn't exactly a ticket to fantasy stardom either. Just ask every Cards WR not named Boldin. Rating: 2.
No. 20 -- Kendall Wright, WR, Titans. RG3's favorite target at Baylor won't necessarily claim a starting job in his rookie year, as long as Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are healthy. Even if he cracks the lineup, his ceiling is fairly low in a rush-oriented offense piloted by either Matt Hasselbeck or Jake Locker. Rating: 2.
No. 22 -- Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns. Will be given a shot at the starting job over Colt McCoy. Even if he wins it, though, I'm not interested this year. Probably not for a couple of years. Rating: 1
No. 30 -- A.J. Jenkins, WR, 49ers. A huge surprise/reach at this spot, Jenkins definitely has speed to burn. But the Illinois product will be competing for balls with Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and Vernon Davis. And Alex Smith isn't exactly Tom Brady. I don't expect to see many Jenkins highlights on the Red Zone Channel this fall. Rating: 2.
No. 31 -- Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers. Tampa Bay coveted Trent Richardson, but Martin is a heck of a consolation prize. The Boise State workhorse should seize the lead role in the Bucs' mediocre backfield immediately. He's not considered explosive, but runs tough between the tackles. He could be a goal-line stud. Rating: 4.
No. 32 -- David Wilson, RB, Giants. The ACC Player of the Year is small in stature, but extremely explosive. He's a good receiver out of the backfield and in the slot, but the Giants don't seem like the perfect fit for him. He won't take over the departed Brandon Jacobs' power role, but rather will be more of a complementary back to Ahmad Bradshaw. Rating: 3.
No doubt, my projections will change over the next few months. But for now, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.