With the 2012 NFL Draft completed, we now have plenty of so-called answers. Values went up and values went down. Unlike my earlier rankings where I started at the end, I decided to give my rankings from front to back. The list can and will change as the NFL gets into training camps and preseason games occur. Hopefully this can give you a jumping point in your rookie drafts. Here are my top 16-30 rookies:
16. WR Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals- I know the Bengals selected Mohammed Sanu before Mr. Jones; however Sanu is more of a possession wide receiver. Jones is the more dynamic playmaker by contorting his body, catching the ball with soft hands, and playing anywhere needed (slot or outside). With A.J. Green drawing double coverage, he should see plenty of targets. I wouldn't worry that he dropped to the fifth round, get him cheap while you can.
17. WR Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams- Once again the better receiver got selected later. Givens was once ranked in Mike Mayock's top five wide receivers and is ready to play in the NFL from Day 1 unlike Brian Quick. He dropped in the draft due to some character concerns and potential knee issues. Givens is a solid route runner who body catches too much. The Rams do not have much in established wide receivers and I think he will have the opportunity to play right away.
18. WR A.J. Jenkins, San Francisco 49ers- He was a bit of a reach in the first round of the NFL Draft. Jenkins plucks the ball at its highest point and is good at finding openings in coverage. He isn't a very physical receiver and may struggle lining up outside. I would expect him to see limited playing time year one, but other than Michael Crabtree I don't see a better wide receiver on the 49ers as Mario Manningham is not really better than a #3 WR and Randy Moss is past his prime.
19. WR Stephen Hill, New York Jets- I love his upside potential, but his quarterback situation is scary (Sánchez and Tebow). Hill is big and fast, but he isn't an accomplished route runner. I'm not sure he knows more than a few routes and he has dropped some easy passes along the way. With Rex Ryan going to a more running focused offense, Hill might see less than five targets a game and like any young receiver he needs the reps. I don't see him being a good fit for the Jets with only Santonio Holmes on the other side.
20. DT Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles- He has good speed/quickness to work around the opposing offensive line in front of him. Cox fights to get himself in the backfield to disrupt the play before it starts. His skill set will lead the Eagles to line him up at every position on the defensive line. Sometimes he is too instinctive and will need to read and react with more of a plan in mind. Cox will be a great fit with Trent Cole and Jason Babin to cause fear in opposing quarterbacks. Grab him now on the cheap especially in leagues that you must start defensive tackles.
21. LB Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks- With David Hawthorne gone, I really like the pick of Mr. Wagner. His physical hard-hitting style along with his pass rushing abilities will help strengthen this good defense. Wagner needs to work on stopping the run and pass coverage as fellow rookie Bruce Irvin will be rushing the passer quite often. I like him as a true thumper linebacker who will get a piece of every tackle.
22. S-Mark Barron, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs were looking for a defensive playmaker and they found one in Barron. He is a physical, old school safety like former Buccaneer John Lynch. Barron is better as a run support safety than he is versus the pass. With much of the Tampa Bay line backers in flux, Barron could have upside in tackle heavy formats until the situation sorts itself out. He is clearly the best rookie defensive back for dynasty leagues.
23. WR T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts- He is an undersized wide receiver at just under 5' 10" and 183 lbs and can be out-muscled at the line. Hilton has not seen a high level of competition, but was very productive in college. He runs his routes well and catches the ball well with his hands and can high point the ball. Hilton can start/stop on a dime with his combination of speed/quickness/agility. I'm not sure how much action he will see this year as the Colts might be more prone to run two tight end sets with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen alongside wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie. Hilton's value should increase as Andrew Luck gets more control over the offense.
24. TE Evan Rodriquez, Chicago Bears- He is an intriguing pick because he has the quickness/agility of a wide receiver. Rodriquez has good hands and can contort to the ball in the air. For an undersized tight end/fullback tweener, he blocks well but is not a very physical player. Rodriquez will be best used as a move tight end or fullback sent into the flat. He is a better athlete than Kellen Davis and should become a nice fallback option for Jay Cutler.
25. QB Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns- He brings stability to the Cleveland Browns, but not much fantasy upside to your dynasty squad. Weeden is great at throwing to a spot and has done most of his work in a spread offense. He doesn't read coverages well and will hurry his throws instead of taking a sack. Richardson in the backfield will help him out tremendously, but I don't expect Weeden to ever be more than a bye week starter.
26. LB- Dont'a Hightower, New England Patriots- The Patriots got another young linebacker that will be very productive. Hightower is instinctive finding the ball and is a good tackler who forces turnovers. He will probably play outside as he is one of the most athletic linebackers the Patriots have. Hightower needs to work on his pass coverage skills so he can keep up with backs and the more athletic tight ends.
27. DE Quinton Coples, New York Jets- Can Rex Ryan find a way to motivate this beast of a player? Coples runs a bit hot and cold demonstrated by the excellent play he showed during his junior year and Senior Bowl week. He can be effective applying pressure on the quarterback and jumping up knocking down passes. Coples is quick off the ball, but needs to use his leverage better against offensive linemen. I would bump him up further in big play IDP leagues.
28. WR T.J. Graham, Buffalo Bills- The Bills need more offensive weapons and since Fred Jackson is coming off injury, it makes sense to give Ryan Fitzpatrick another weapon in Graham. He is a track star so he can fly down the field and is quite agile. Graham is great at making the spectacular catch, but is a very limited route runner. He doesn't have much upper body strength and can get knocked around by physical defenders. Graham would be best in the slot and may need a little time to grow into a starting role.
29. WR Mohammed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals- He is a good route runner who catches the ball well, but struggles to gain separation as he is not a quick twitch guy. Sanu shields defenders from the ball, and is more of a possession wide receiver than a downfield threat. With playmakers AJ Green and Marvin Jones already on the team, I expect Sanu to be more of the move the chains, clutch receiver. The Bengals did not take a running back in the draft so I would expect them to pass more which will bode well for both Sanu and Jones.
BROKEN WR Greg Childs, Minnesota Vikings- If he overcomes his knee injury, sky is the limit for Childs. He is a big wide receiver at 6' 3" 219 lbs that snags the ball at its highest point and can manuever his body to make the difficult catch. Childs runs great routes, but he needs to build up his speed to go full throttle. With the Vikings having only Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson as playmakers, there is room for a Sidney Rice replacement in Greg Childs. Remember keep this secret to yourself and draft him in the 3rd round of your rookie drafts.BROKEN
Andy Miley is the host of Dynasty Blitz Podcast on Blog Talk Radio, Dynasty/Keeper Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Alarm and can be found on twitter @AndrewMiley