Survivor I - Round 15 Commentary
NOTE: this draft was completed on 7/24
Positives - Jurevicius is an experienced veteran who has been a competent receiver for Tampa Bay for the last three seasons. He possesses great size (6-5), and good hands, traits currently in short supply in Seattle. Jurevicius will battle Bobby Engram for the starting receiver position opposite Darrell Jackson with the loser likely playing the slot position in the Seahawks 3 WR sets. I think this is a great opportunity for Jurevicius to earn more playing time than he has received in recent seasons. If he can win the starting spot, I believe he will quickly become one of Matt Hasselbeckís favorite targets and post his best receiving numbers to date. I think Jurevicius has good ability, is a great fit, and has great opportunity to succeed.
Negatives - Jurevicius has had nagging injuries throughout his career. He has never been able to crack a starting lineup or catch more than 51 passes in a season. Bobby Engram is currently the favorite to earn the starting gig, forcing Jurevicius into a potential third WR role with competition from Jerome Pathon. Thereís also no guarantee that Jurevicius will make the team should he struggle in preseason. There have been rumors regarding Seattle making a trade for a WR which would muddy the waters even more.
Draft Strategy - Iím honestly not sure why I made this pick. Maybe because we were already about 6 hours into the draft, maybe because I was targeting Samie Parker, Reggie Williams, Caldwell, and Glenn who were all selected in the 8 picks prior to my selection, or maybe it was simply food deprivation. At the time I felt much better about this pick, but I likely could have selected Jurevicius several rounds later and taken another QB like Eli Manning here.
Positives - Manning was able to get about half of a season under his belt last year and get used to the speed of the pro game. He showed marked improvement over the final 3 games completing 61% of his passes and throwing for 5 of his 6 TDs. Manning has a top rated RB & TE to rely on and take pressure off of him. The Giants also signed Plaxico Burress to come in and stretch the field. The Giants also beefed up their offensive line bringing in former Jet Kareem McKenzie.
Negatives - Even with a strong final 3 games, Manning only finished the year completing 48% of his passes. He did not throw for over 200 yards in any game and was sacked the second most times in the league. Manning still has a lot to learn and unfortunately must do all his learning on the fly.
Draft Strategy - Once I was left with Tom Brady as my starter I decided to employ a QBBC philosophy and thus was looking for a 3rd starter. I really wanted that person to be Bledsoe who has the potential to put up big numbers a few times during the year. Left with Manning or Rex Grossman, it was easy to choose Manning based on his lineage and the fact heíll have more weapons at his disposal. I have now filled out depth at all key positions and can concentrate on filling out remainder of roster.
Positives - Everything out of the Panther's camp has talked about the TE
position being primarily one of a blocker. I don't buy everything I read and
look for Jones' size, hands, and speed to be incorporated into the red zone
package. At 6'4" Freddie Jones towers over the entire Panther's WR corps.
Let's not forget that the Panther's actually used Julius Peppers as a target
in last year's goal line packages. I expect Jones to pick a portion of
Muhammad's production as talent and necessity win out over philosophy.
Negatives - He might up and retire at the drop of a hat.
Draft Strategy - I was confident that I crushing the competition at this point in
the draft, so I figured adding a guy collecting a retirement check will
level the playing field and keep people interested in this competition.
Positives - Troupe is probably the more athletic of the Titanís TEs. The Titans also now have Norm Chow as the offensive coordinator (who will pass the ball) and you would think this would bode well for the Titanís passing game. McNair no longer has Derrick Mason to throw to and the rest of the Titan WRs are young. That means the TE position could see a lot more action this season. Tennessee will probably find themselves passing more as well since there DEF has been depleted and thus will probably require the Titans to play from behind most of the season.
Negatives - Troupe is still recovering from a foot injury which does raise questions as to when he will be ready for action. He is targeting his return at mid to late training camp. He also could find himself splitting time with the Titanís other TE Erron Kinney.
Draft Strategy - Looking to begin building a ďplatoonĒ at the TE position. Troupe was another touted ďsleeperĒ pick and one of the best TEs left on the board at this late stage in the draft.
Positives - Comments from FBG.com: Rex Grossman has a strong arm and usually does a good job of hitting his receivers. He has a bigger target in receiver Muhsin Muhammad to work with, and a bruising runner in Cedric Benson. The Bears have made strides in improving their offensive line, and they have added to the speed of players surrounding Grossman. There won't be any quarterback controversy in Chicago, as coach Lovie Smith has made it clear that Grossman is entrenched as his starter. The complicated offense from 2004 is being scrapped in favor of a simplified run oriented scheme, and that should help everyone on this young offense.
Negatives - Comments from FBG.com: Grossman suffered a fractured ankle in a preseason game and will be lost for a minimum of 3-4 months. That puts his timetable for a return sometime around late November at best. Considering he wasn't a prime player to begin with, Grossman is just about undraftable in any league that doesn't involve keepers. He is expected to be placed on IR at some point, which would end his season.
Draft Strategy - n/a
Positives - Daniel Graham plays big, and is a threat near the goal line. He had a huge start to the year, with 5 TDs in his first 4 games, so he has already shown that he has pass-catching abilities. If he can keep the nagging injuries away, thereís no reason think Graham canít put together a solid season.
Negatives - Graham had a few injuries last year and basically disappeared mid-season. Ben Watson will provide some competition for TE receptions, and Brady has not shown a tendency to look for TEs over the past few years. As everyone knows, New England spreads the ball around a lot, so itís hard to predict how a player might fare as far as TD receptions go.
Draft Strategy - Needed a TE to pair with Cooley, and Graham showed last year that he is capable of a big game now and then. Thatís what you need in a Survivor situation where you donít choose your starters, so I think heís a good fit for the system. At this point Iím not planning on taking another TE, so hopefully Cooley and Graham can come through with a few big games.
Positives - The 2005 version should be a marked improvement over 2004 with the addition of James, Winfield, Udeze, Scott, Thomas, Smoot, Sharper, Williams, Cowart, and Harris. They may not ever be confused with the Doomsday Defense, Steel Curtain, and Purple People Eaters of old, but they will be improved and should offer some fantasy point surprises.
Negatives - All these new faces could take some time to gel. If they donít, well they canít get much worse than last year, ranked 28th in total defense.
Draft Strategy - DT1s were starting to leave the board, and I wanted to make sure I got MIN as part of my DTBC package. At least, that seemed to be the consensus from the message board. Chase Stuartís DTBC column came out a couple of days after the draft, and MIN was nowhere to be found. Iíve never really been a fan of DTs, usually grabbing a stud or resorting to playing matchups off the waiver wire during the season. Since there will be no waivers here in Survivor, DTBC is as good a strategy as any.
Positives - Last year Jonathan Wells saw action in all 16 games and scored 5 TDs. In his two full games as a starter, while Domanick Davis was injured, Wells put up 210 combined yards and 2 TDs. Wells showed that he can produce if Davis goes down, and is the top backup on the Texans roster.
Negatives - Wells is not a starting RB, but if youíre drafting him as such, youíve got bigger problems. He was unable to secure the starting roll in Houston, and must compete with Tony Hollings and Vernand Morency to keep the backup spot.
Draft Strategy - This was a handcuff selection. With my #1 RB position filled by Dom Davis in Round 1, I needed his backup in case he went down with an extended injury. There is always the upside possibility that Wells could become a goalline back, but it is an outside shot.
Positives - As a 1st round draft choice last season, JP Losman was able to learn behind Drew Bledsoe and get acclimated to the NFL. This off-season, Drew ended up in Dallas and JP has been anointed the starter. With two strong receivers, a stud RB, and an excellent defense, JP should have the tools available to succeed. The coaching staff understands he will have some rough outings, but will give him the room to develop into an NFL QB.
Negatives - He is in his first season as a starting NFL QB. The game is much faster on Sundays than it is during practice. He should have some decent games, and some awful games. He is a third string fantasy QB that I would not want as a back-up in a standard redraft league.
Draft Strategy - This is not a standard redraft league, and I wanted a third QB who would be on the field. The situations in CLE, DET, CHI, and MIA were more questionable than BUF, hence JP is on my squad. If Iím using JPís stats this season, either he is doing much, much better than I anticipated, or Collins and Griese turn out to be horrible.
Positives - Gifted runner from Miami only has to beat out Barlow for the job.
- Has a history of injury.
- Already chipped bone in shoulder blade in pre season.
Draft Strategy - Like Anthony Thomas, Gore is a guy who could be a steal if an injury occurred to Barlow or if he beats out Barlow outright. He's my sixth RB, not expecting much, but the potential for massive upside is there.
Positives - At the time of the pick, Gardner was still with the Redskins, but it was apparent that he was either going to be cut or traded. It turns out Carolina picked him up and heíll likely be the #2 wide receiver for the Panthers behind Steve Smith. The Panthers needed a tall receiver to take over for the departed Muhsin Muhammad and Rod Gardner at 6í2 fits the bill. While Steve Smith will very likely be the go-to guy for Jake Delhomme, Rod Gardner will still get plenty of looks himself. Second year receiver Keary Colbert is having hamstring issues in training camp, which also further opens the door for Gardner to excel.
Negatives - Gardner is new to the Carolina offense, unlike Keary Colbert. Even though the Panthers want Gardner to fill the role of the departed Muhammad, it may not be that easy of a transition. Redskins fans will tell you that Rod Gardner is not all heís cracked up to be. Although he has never had less than 46 receptions or 4 touchdowns in a season, he hasnít exactly lived up to his lofty expectations of a first round draft pick.
Draft Strategy - Value Ė I knew that Gardner was not going to stay with the Redskins. The moment David Patten signed, he was gone Ė the only question was, where is he going? At the time of the pick, it was still up in the air. I was hoping it wouldnít be Tennessee, because that would mean that the Titans arenít that high on Tyrone Calico (my 11th pick) coming back strong after injury. I would be happy with Seattle or Carolina and as luck would have it Ė heís Carolina bound. To get a player with Gardnerís talent and skill this late in the draft is a steal, in my opinion. The fact that heíll likely be the #2 wide receiver on a good offensive system is icing on the cake.
Positives - On the surface, the Colts appeared to be a poor defense last season, allowing staggering amounts of points to opposing offenses. But quietly they placed third overall in takeaways and sacks. Thatís steady output folks. Indy faces 6 easy opponents this season, with only 1 tough game, making this a possible defensive steal.
Negatives - With most of the money going to offense, the Colts D is a hodgepodge of pedestrian players. With their points allowed, you arenít going to get shut out points any time soon. The Colts special team is also far from special, so donít expect many TDs this season.
Draft Strategy - My plan at these next two back-to-back picks was to grab a good defensive combo. From the start, I planned to combine the Colts and Vikingsí schedules. Looking at the strength of schedule, the Vikings have 7 easy games and only 2 difficult. The Colts have 6 great match ups and only 1 hard game. Their schedules overlapped very well. Unfortunately, the Vikings went a few picks earlier and I was scrambling to find a replacement. I still took the Colts and will analyze another D to take when it comes back to me in 23 picks.