Jadeveon Clowney Gamecocks
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In 2006 the Houston Texan shocked the world by selecting Mario Williams over the likes of Reggie Bush and Vince Young. Reggie Bush has had a nice career as did Williams. Vince Young was an amazing college quarterback, but his game just didn’t translate at the pro level.
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This year the Texans again have the first pick in the NFL Draft. They could choose quarterback Blake Bortles, offensive lineman Greg Robinson or the speedy Sammy Watkins. I think they would be best served going with defensive lineman in this draft by selecting Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina.
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Williams is 6’6″ and 292 pounds. Clowney is 6’5″ and 266 pounds. Clowney has impressive speed and athleticism. Williams has 76.5 sacks in eight season, including four double-digit sack seasons. Playing opposite of J.J. Watt could lead to even impressive numbers for Clowney.
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It would be different if a talent like Andrew Luck was available. Unfortunately for the Texans, Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater aren’t surefire prospects. This is a quarterback driven league. If you can’t have a top passer, go after the talent to try to slow the elite ones down. Having Watt and Clowney as bookends would be a great start.
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 | Posted by | Categories: NFL, NFL Draft | Tagged: Jadeveon Clowney, NFL, NFL Draft |

Sammy Watkins Clemson
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By Jared Smola, Draft Sharks
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The NFL spotlight has shifted to the incoming rookie class.  And most of the top prospects will be in Indianapolis for the upcoming Scouting Combine.
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The Combine gives NFL teams and fantasy owners an opportunity to get an up-close look at the rookies.  Like, really close.
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Often referred to as the Underwear Olympics, the Combine’s actual value is debatable.  How these prospects perform on the field is much more important than their results in the 40-yard dash or bench press.
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Still, it’s helpful to know just how big, strong and fast these guys really are (or aren’t) – especially at the skill positions we care about in fantasy football.
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Here are 10 players fantasy owners should be keeping a close eye on at the Combine.
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Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
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He’s the only QB on this list … because he might not stick as a QB at the next level.  (Don’t put much stock into QB performances at the Combine.  They’re throwing without a pass rush to receivers they’ve never worked with.)
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Thomas arrived at Va. Tech as a raw project.  And he hasn’t shown much growth over the past 3 seasons, with his completion percentage vacillating from 59.8 to 51.3 to 56.5.
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Perhaps Thomas will resuscitate his QB stock by displaying refined mechanics at the Combine.  ESPN’s Mel Kiper still believes a team will gamble on Thomas as a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round.
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What’s equally likely, though, is that Thomas’ Combine performance has teams thinking about a position change.  The 6’5, 254-pounder is a freak athlete.  He rushed for 1,337 yards and 24 TDs over his final 3 college seasons, and some scouts believe he’ll record a sub-4.6 40 time.  That type of speed could turn Thomas from a disappointing QB to an intriguing TE.
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Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
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Hyde heads to Indianapolis as the favorite to be the 1st RB off the board.  He enjoyed a breakout senior season, ripping off 1,521 yards and 15 TDs on 208 carries — a sizzling 7.3-yard average.
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Scouts love Hyde’s sturdy 6’0, 235-pound frame, tackle-breaking ability and balance.  The concerns are with his speed, quickness and agility.  Those traits will be under close examination at the Combine.  Keep an eye on Hyde’s times in the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill and shuttle run.
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Hyde’s performance in those drills will help determine whether he’s a potential feature back or more of an early-down pounder.
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De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
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Thomas figures to light up the 40-yard dash and the other speed and agility tests.  He should show well in pass-catching drills, too.  That doesn’t figure to impact his draft stock much, though, because we know this is an explosive player.  He averaged a gaudy 7.8 yards per carry and 11.5 yards per catch in 3 college seasons.
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Thomas’ stock will rise or fall based on his measurements and strength.  Oregon lists him at 5’9 and 169 pounds.  That might be generous.  If Thomas comes in much lighter, it’ll be tough for teams to justify spending more than a late-round pick on him.  Teams will also be keeping a close eye on Thomas’ performance on the bench.
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Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
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Watkins is almost unanimously regarded as the top WR in the 2014 draft class.  He’s also the early favorite to be the 1st rookie off the board in dynasty drafts.  Fantasy owners should be glued to this guy’s workout.
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Watkins is expected to take part in all the drills at the Combine.  The 40-yard dash will be the main event.  Watkins’ agent claims he’ll be pushing for the Combine record, which stands at 4.24.  Even something in the 4.3s would propel his draft stock.
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It’ll also be interesting to see just how big Watkins is.  Clemson lists him at 6’1, 205 pounds.  If that’s confirmed in Indianapolis, teams will have no problem making him a top 10 pick.  But Watkins’ profile will take a hit if he measures in much shorter or lighter.
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Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
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We know that Evans is big and physical.  But is he just a #2 possession receiver, or can he develop into a dominant #1?
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Evans can start to answer that question at the Combine, where he’ll reportedly take part in all drills.  Scouts will keep a close eye on his 40 time.  Something in the 4.4s would have Evans pushing Sammy Watkins for top WR honors.  Low 4.5s would be just fine for the 6’5, 225-pound Evans.  If he slips into the 4.6s, though, we could see a Keenan Allen-like slide into the middle rounds.
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Click here to see the remaining five players to watch at the NFL Combine.

Eddie Lacy jump
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When I looked at the top five 2013 running backs I ranked Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy, Le’veon Bell and Johnathan Franklin as the top five. Bernard, Lacy and Bell delivered. Ball did not get enough opportunities to do his thing, but I still think good things will come. I totally missed the boat on Franklin. Zac Stacy came out of nowhere to shine. Here is how I rank them for keeper leagues.
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1. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Lacy led all rookies with 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 11 rushing touchdowns trailed only Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles in total rushing scores. He added another 257 yards on the ground. There were some concerns entering the year about his weight. Clearly he put those to bed. Lacy is a nice fit in this offense and Aaron Rodgers will keep teams from loading the box. He’s a force going forward.
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2. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
Stacy was the lead back in 12 games. In those dozen games he averaged 92.5 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns. He is a bowling ball that is hard to bring down. Expect big things to continue for Stacy.
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3. Le’veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’veon Bell was limited to 13 games, but still managed to accumulate 1,259 total yards (96.8 ypg) and eight touchdowns. He’s a big back (6′ 1″, 244 pounds) with soft hands (45 receptions). He should continue to develop into a premier back in this league.
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4. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard, unlike the top three backs played the full season, only he had to share the load with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Bernard still finished with 1,209 yards and eight touchdowns (75.6 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game). If the Law Firm is out of the picture in 2014, Bernard could slide up the scale. The top four backs are quality options.
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5. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball had 704 total yards and four touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 4.7 yards per carry. If Knowshon Moreno doesn’t return, he too could shoot up this board.
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Also check out:

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Click here to enter the 2013 Lester’s Legends Fantasy Football Team Name Contest!
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Tyler Eifert Draft
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2013 NFL rookie tight end class.
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1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Eifert caught 50 passes last year at Notre Dame for 685 yards and four touchdowns. He will team with Jermaine Gresham to give the Bengals a potent tight end set. Eifert is a really nice option in dynasty leagues, but will take some time to develop as a rookie. He will likely go undrafted in re-draft leagues. I expect him to scored six touchdowns given his size and jump ball ability. He’ll likely be feast or famine.
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2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce caught 45 passes last year for 722 yards and eight touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bearcats. He has good size, speed and blocking ability. There are some character concerns, which should be the only thing that prevents him from seeing a heavy dose of snaps. He has the potential to be even better than Eifert. Kelce has value in dynasty leagues, but can be avoided in re-draft ones.
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3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ertz averaged five touchdowns per season in his three years at Stanford. He took advantage of Coby Fleener’s departure to the tune of 69 catches for 898 yards and six touchdowns. Ertz has good long-term potential, but Brent Celek and James Casey are blocking his path.
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4. Gavin Escobar, Dallas Cowboys
Escobar averaged 661.5 yards and 6.5 touchdowns in the past two years at San Diego State. He will team with Jason Witten to provide the Cowboys’ version of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. He could eventually take over for Witten, but it could be a few years.
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5. Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers
McDonald averaged 462 yards and five touchdowns over the past three years at Rice. He is playing behind Vernon Davis, but should see the field plenty. I expect consistency to be an issue.
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Also check out:

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Click here to enter the 2013 Lester’s Legends Fantasy Football Team Name Contest!
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Tavon Austin draft
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2013 NFL rookie wide receiver class.
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1.  Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams
Austin caught 215 passes over the past two seasons for 2,475 yards and 20 touchdowns. He should hit the ground running, working the slot for the Rams. He will also be used out of the backfield and in the return game. He will likely be an immediate WR3 in PPR leagues. His speed and versatility should translate to the pro game. Think Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb.
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2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Hopkins gives Andre Johnson, on paper anyway, his best running mate to date. He was a beast last year, catching 82 passes for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns. With opposing defenses focusing on Johnson, Arian Foster and Owen Daniels, Hopkins should have a productive rookie season. I’d consider him a WR4 at best. He’s an attractive option in dynasty leagues.
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3. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings
Patterson is raw, but he’s a freak athlete. He also doesn’t have a difficult path to playing time. He is explosive when he gets his hands on the football, often resembling a running back. Patterson will be used a lot like Percy Harvin, touching the ball in the passing, running and return game. He had 778 yards receiving and 308 yards rushing last year. He is likely a WR5 in fantasy leagues. He gets a bump in leagues that reward points for return yardage.
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4. Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots
Dobson is expected to start in New England. He easily has the best quarterback of any wide receiver taken in the first three rounds. He was quiet during his four years at Marshall, averaging 599.5 yards per season. He did scored 12 touchdowns in 2011. He has the makings of a player that is more productive at the NFL level based on his landing spot.
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5. Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
Woods took a step back from the 1,292 yard and 15 touchdowns he provided as a sophomore, but he still managed to catch 76 passes for 846 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is expected to start right away on the outside as Stevie Johnson moves to the slot. Kevin Kolb’s presence at quarterback limits his initial value. Long-term, he has a good chance to grow with fellow rookie E.J. Manuel.
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Also check out:

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Click here to enter the 2013 Lester’s Legends Fantasy Football Team Name Contest!
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E.J. Manuel Draft
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2013 NFL rookie quarterback class.
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1. Geno Smith, New York Jets
Geno slid to the second round, which ultimately led to Tim Tebow’s dismissal from the Jets. They say it’s an open competition, but it’s more likely Smith’s job to lose. Mark Sanchez will likely join Tebow on the unemployment line. Although the Jets did not surround him with talent, Smith has the athleticism to be productive.
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Smith topped 4,000 yards in each of his past two seasons at West Virginia. He threw for 73 touchdown in those years, while throwing just 13 interceptions. He ran for just 336 yards and four touchdowns combined over the past three seasons. Don’t expect to get a ton of fantasy points from Smith with his feet.He should be on the radar in dynasty leagues. He doesn’t hold a lot of value in re-draft leagues.
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2. E.J. Manuel, Buffalo Bills
I like Manuel’s long-term potential. He has tremendous athletic ability and a strong arm. Manuel hasn’t been as productive as some of the other rookie quarterbacks. He averaged just 3,029 passing yards over the past two seasons, throwing 41 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He has averaged four rushing touchdowns and 230.5 rushing yards over the past two seasons. The ability to add fantasy points on the ground is invaluable for young quarterbacks as they adjust to the NFL game.
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He will get to learn the system as Kevin Kolb will likely be the initial starter.Manuel could possibly get a shot towards the end of the year as the Bills play their way out of contention. He’ll eventually team with C.J. Spiller to give the Bills a dynamic offense. I like his long-term potential more than any other quarterback in this class.
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3. Matt Barkley, Philadelphia Eagles
Barkley will likely enter the season as the third quarterback. Given Michael Vick’s style of play, it’s likely more than one quarterback takes snaps for the Eagles this year.
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Barkley likely hurt his chances by returning for his senior year, but he was still fairly productive. Granted the 3,273 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last year weren’t nearly on par with the 3,528 yards, 39 touchdowns and seven interceptions he produced as a junior. The way Barkley has been groomed, he should be able to perform at the next level.
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If Nick Foles struggles and Dennis Dixon is cut loose, it could be Barkley’s job for the taking. Realistically, Barkley will learn this year. With a creative coach and solid weapons, he is a decent option for dynasty leagues.
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4. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Glennon threw 31 touchdowns in each of his past two seasons. He threw for nearly 1,000 more yards as a senior, but also threw five more interceptions.
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Glennon won’t likely make an impact this year unless Josh Freeman struggles or gets injured. Freeman is in a contract year. If things don’t work out, Glennon could be in play for the 2014 starting gig.
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5. Tyler Wilson, Oakland Raiders
Matt Flynn had to cringe when he found out that he has to look over his shoulder at a Wilson again. I don’t expect this Wilson to overtake Flynn, but there is a chance that he sees the field this year. Both Flynn and Terrelle Pryor are unproven. Wilson averaged 3512.5 yards, 22.5 touchdowns and 9.5 interceptions over the past two seasons.
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Also check out:

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Click here to enter the 2013 Lester’s Legends Fantasy Football Team Name Contest!
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Montee Ball Combine
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Now that the NFL Draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2013 NFL rookie running back class.
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1. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Ball should assume the starting role in a very potent offense. Peyton Manning has plenty of weapons in the passing game, but he knows the value of a strong running game. Ball ran for a ridiculous 73 touchdowns over the past three seasons. He had 39 combined touchdowns in 2011. Ball should handle the early downs and the goal line work. He should be a solid RB2 with some upside.
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2. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard gives the Bengals a dynamic running back. In two years at North Carolina he averaged 1,240.5 rushing yards, 426 receiving yards, 16.5 total touchdowns and 46 receptions. He’ll have to share the load with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, which limits his 2013 value, but he gives Cincinnati more explosiveness. His versatility should keep Bernard on the field.
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3. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Lacy was expected to be the first running back to come off the board, but some concerns caused him to slide. Green Bay should be a great landing place. He should see plenty of early down carries and in the red zone. He’d likely be ranked higher if the Packers didn’t add Jonathan Franklin as well.
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4. Le’veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Bell should see plenty of opportunities as Pittsburgh struggled to find an answer at running back last year. Bell isn’t an elite talent, but he’s a big back with solid hands. Bell gets a little bump in PPR leagues.
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5. Johnathan Franklin, Green Bay Packers
The Packers all but ensured they will have a better running attack next year by drafting Lacy and Franklin. Lacy’s presence hurts Franklin’s value, but he should still get his touches. If Lacy’s toe becomes an issue, suddenly Franklin has a ton of appeal.
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