Jun 23, 2010
As part of my draft preparation every year, I pull out my trusty red Sharpie to mark off players I want absolutely nothing to do with under any circumstances. Names in recent years I’ve avoided include Larry Johnson, Shaun Alexander, Marion Barber, and Clinton Portis even if they were considered 1st or 2nd round picks. The argument can be made that some players on this list are worth drafting based on the value you can get from them, but we’ve already done that article (see big picture of Joe Flacco on the home page). We’ll call this group “Matt’s Migraines” because that’s what I get when I think of how bad I’ve been burned by risky picks, especially in the early rounds. I’ll be adding to this group throughout the Summer, but for now here’s a few guys I’ll be avoiding come draft time.
Ronnie Brown (RB, Mia) – Look, we know how talented this guy is, but he’s played a full season just once in the last four years and just 32 games over the last three. Whether it was the torn ACL in 2007 or last year’s Lisfranc foot problem that continues to plague him this off-season, Brown just can’t seem to stay healthy. There have been whispers that the team was not completely happy with Brown, especially after his DUI arrest in March. They’ve been hesitant to give him a long-term deal, which is very telling considering backfield mate Ricky Williams has mentioned retirement multiple times in the last few years. When Brown went down last season, Williams did a great job picking up the slack when the team transitioned into a more conventional offense, as opposed to the gimmicky Wildcat that was used when Brown was the starter. I’d rather have Williams, especially in what should be a conventional offense now that Brandon Marshall is in town and Chad Henne is ready to take the next step. Brown might have more upside than Ricky, but the injuries scare me and his role in this offense is not clear after an underwhelming off-season.
Brandon Jacobs (RB, NYG) – Jacobs at his best is one of the more entertaining guys to watch because of his punishing running style. That same punishing style also had many believing, me included, that eventually Jacobs would wear down and succumb to injury. We saw the first signs of this at the backend of the 2008 season when Jacobs dealt with a knee issue that noticeably limited him in the playoffs. However, he entered last year as someone you’d feel good about as a low-end #1, but great about as a #2. Jacobs has to share the load because he invites contact with the way he runs, but everyone seemed to live with that because he scored a ton of TDs (15 in 2008). I never liked relying on TD numbers, especially a big spike like the one Jacobs had. In three previous seasons, he score a total of 20 TDs, so I had a hard time believing he could match that total last year. He ended up breaking down, yet still managed to trudge through 15 games last season, but saw his YPC drop from 5 to 3.7 because he was no longer able to run through defenders as he had done in previous seasons. His TD total dropped from 15 to 6, which was the big reason he went from 15.6 FPG in 2008 (tied for 4th) to 9.2 FPG in 2009 (33rd). He’s coming off knee surgery, which he’s still working his way back from, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be 100% by the start of the season, if ever. I believe his best years are in the rearview mirror and he’ll probably plod his way through another season. I’m not willing to chance taking him with the hope he magically starts finding the endzone on a regular basis once again. He’s no longer good enough (or healthy enough) to make up for a lack of TDs, so I’m staying far away.
LaDainian Tomlinson (RB, NYJ) – Watching one of the greatest fantasy players of all time fall from grace is difficult, but Tomlinson’s drop was almost predictable. Injuries began to creep up on him in recent years and the once quiet and selfless player began talking a lot more than he was producing, especially in big games. He ended up finishing with career lows in rushing yards (730), carries (223), YPC (3.3), receptions (20), and receiving yards (154) last season. While it made sense for the Jets to bring him on as a backup for Shonn Greene, his role is expected to be similar to the one Leon Washington played before a broken leg ended his season. Tomlinson has lost the balance that set him apart from the rest and his explosiveness is long gone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like LT has figured that out and may be trying to convince himself he’s still that guy. Until he realizes that player no longer exists, it will be tough to watch him struggle to prove he can be a big-time back although I don’t expect the Jets to give him too many chances barring an injury to Greene. Tomlinson is a nostalgia pick in this year’s draft, and I’m not one for living in the past.
Lee Evans (WR, Buf) – Evans has been thrust into the de facto #1 WR role once again in Buffalo after the T.O. experiment didn’t work out so well last season. Evans never had more than 5 catches in a game and nor did he even crack the 80-yard mark. I can’t say I expected him to do much last season, but putting up the lowest catch (44) and yardage (612) totals of his career isn’t exactly reassuring considering he had help on the other side of the field. The QB situation was terrible last year and hasn’t improved much since the team has yet to even figure out a top candidate in the job and will probably be stuck with Trent Edwards or Brian Brohm under center come Week One. Add all that to HC Chan Gailey’s penchant for running the ball and Evans is probably looking at another disappointing year. His upside is minimal and his typical output doesn’t excite me enough to take him over a guys like Johnny Knox or Malcom Floyd, who both have the same if not more upside than Evans and could out produce him even if they don’t reach their potential.
Santana Moss (WR, Was) – Moss might produce a little more consistently than someone like Evans, but also has those occasional great games that tease you just enough to keep him in your starting lineup a few weeks too many. The perfect example is the 10/178/1 he put up against a poor Detroit secondary in Week Three last season. He never hit the 100-yard mark for the rest of the season and had 6+ catches just three times. Yes, the QB situation has improved, but I feel much better about TEs Chris Cooley and Fred Davis than I do any of Washington’s WRs. Moss only scored 3 TDs all of last season, tying the lowest total of his career. The tease factor weighs heavily for me here since Moss always seems to do just enough to give him a shot and ends up sticking on your roster too long just based on name value alone. I haven’t looked his way in the last few years, and even if he is using HGH it probably won’t help.