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THE mock draft
June 28, 2012
Here's where theory and action converge. Twelve highly competitive fantasy football players went 16 hard-fought rounds. Who came out on top? You decide
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June 28, 2012

The Mock Draft

Here's where theory and action converge. Twelve highly competitive fantasy football players went 16 hard-fought rounds. Who came out on top? You decide

ROUND

CLUTCH CITY

Paul FORRESTER

Fantasy Sports Editor

SI.COM

DEBAUCHED SLOTHS

Mark MRAVIC

NFL Editor

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

REITERS BLOCK

Ben REITER

Staff Writer

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

DEITSCH INC.

Richard DEITSCH

Senior Editor

SI.COM

GENERATION WHY?

Jim GORANT

Fantasy Sports Editor

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

TERRIBLE TWOS

David SABINO

Staff Editor

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED PRESENTS

CATCH 22

Mike BEACOM

Contributing Writer

SI.COM

VAN BUREN BOYS

Gary GRAMLING

Fantasy Writer

SI.COM

DRY MAHR-TINI

Chris MAHR

Contributing Writer

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

HASTINGS TIGERS

Albert CHEN

Staff Writer

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

DILLON PANTHERS

Gene MENEZ

Associate Editor

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

HACK ATTACK

Damon HACK

Senior Writer

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

1

RB Arian FOSTER

Foster wins a coin flip with Ray Rice, thanks to playing in the AFC South.

QB Aaron RODGERS

It may seem hard to believe after last year, but Rodgers will only get better.

RB LeSean MCCOY

If Foster didn't magically fall to No. 3, was hoping Shady would. Easy pick.

RB Ray RICE

He was No. 1 on my board and should be tops on yours, too.

QB Tom BRADY

He and Josh McDaniels seen crooning Reunited at karaoke bar. Look out.

WR Calvin JOHNSON

What Madden Curse? Peerless at wideout, Megatron was the best player available.

QB Cam NEWTON

No slump for this sophomore. He'll pass for 25 TDs and run for 15 more.

QB Drew BREES

I assume the bounty scandal is the only reason he was still available here.

WR Larry FITZGERALD

It doesn't matter who's the QB. He'll be one of fantasy's top five receivers.

RB Maurice JONES-DREW

Yes, his 343 carries scare me, but he still must be considered an elite back.

QB Matthew STAFFORD

Megatron means meganumbers. Just needs to stay in one piece.

QB Tony ROMO

Romo's healthy and happy, and he may have the best skill players in the league.

2

RB DeMarco MURRAY

The Cowboys can't ignore someone who averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

RB Adrian PETERSON

Healthy, he'd be a top five pick. I'm willing to risk it in the second round.

RB Jamaal CHARLES

Charles or Adrian Peterson? J.C. had three more months to recover from his torn ACL.

RB Trent RICHARDSON

A physical marvel who will be even better than advertised.

RB Matt FORTE

Healed (MCL sprain), franchised and playing for a new contract.

RB Marshawn LYNCH

From Halloween until Week 17 nobody had more rushing yards than the Beast.

RB Darren SPROLES

Three reasons to love Sproles: He runs, he catches, he scores—in bunches.

TE Jimmy GRAHAM

The drop-off at tight end is enormous. Graham and Gronk are first-round caliber.

RB Ryan MATHEWS

With Mike Tolbert gone, Mathews will shoulder the workload.

RB Chris JOHNSON

I don't think he's going to be a stud. I do think he'll provide great round 2 value.

TE Rob GRONKOWSKI

Tempted to run with Chris Johnson, but Gronk's guaranteed production wins out.

WR Andre JOHNSON

The fluky injuries don't scare me at all; 'Dre is an absolute beast.

3

WR Hakeem NICKS

Had 76 catches for 1,192 yards, and now there's no Mario Manningham.

WR Wes WELKER

He won't get Gronkowski's TDs, but I won't argue with 100-plus receptions.

QB Eli MANNING

That I already had Philly's McCoy shifted my sights from Michael Vick to Eli.

WR Roddy WHITE

His final seven '11 games: 53 catches for 733 yards and five touchdowns.

RB Michael TURNER

Atlanta plans to run it, and he's the head of the battering ram.

QB Peyton MANNING

There are many concerns, but I'm banking that he's still the Manning I know.

RB Steven JACKSON

New coach Jeff Fisher loves to pound the football. Jeff, meet Steven.

WR Victor CRUZ

Hmm, the breakout receiver of 2011 shouldn't have been on the board this late.

QB Michael VICK

Always an injury risk; still worth a round 3 pick because of the team's weapons.

WR Greg JENNINGS

Not worried about Jordy Nelson; to me, Jennings is still the top threat in Green Bay.

RB Darren MCFADDEN

Worth the gamble at this point; if he's healthy, I get round 1 value in round 3.

WR A.J. GREEN

Another A.J. and another No. 1 receiver. You just can't have too many of those.

4

WR Julio JONES

Have a hunch that he'll pull even with Roddy White as Matt Ryan's favorite.

RB Ahmad BRADSHAW

Wanted Wallace or Marshall here, but I'm happy with the G-men's go-to guy.

WR Brandon MARSHALL

Dastardly Deitsch dashed my dreams of Wallace, so settled for next-best WR.

WR Mike WALLACE

Improved protection for Big Ben equals big things for this improving receiver.

WR Kenny BRITT

Looked awesome early in '11; hoping he has recovered from his torn knee.

TE Vernon DAVIS

He and Alex Smith found a groove during the playoffs with 292 yards and four TDs.

WR Demaryius THOMAS

His fantasy value should skyrocket with Peyton Manning behind center.

RB Fred JACKSON

A solid first three picks gives me a chance to swing for the fences at RB.

WR Dez BRYANT

He's primed to exceed 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns.

WR Marques COLSTON

I probably should've gone with more upside but can't complain with the production.

WR Jordy NELSON

Just landed 1,200-plus yards and 15 touchdowns in round 4. Score!

RB Reggie BUSH

I love having a running back who catches as many passes as Bush does.

5

WR Miles AUSTIN

Good health and Laurent Robinson's departure should make him a star again.

WR Antonio BROWN

Numbers almost identical to Wallace's last year. Expect more TDs in '12.

WR Steve SMITH (CAR.)

Don't get why 19 WRs went before him, but don't look gift horses, etc.

QB Philip RIVERS

As long as Norv Turner is calling plays, Rivers's numbers will flow.

WR Eric DECKER

He caught 44 passes last year; with a real quarterback he should get 70.

RB Frank GORE

Two seasons removed from a broken hip and coming off his second-best year.

WR DeSean JACKSON

Still one of the NFL's most explosive weapons. Fully expect a rebound season.

RB Isaac REDMAN

An upgraded Pittsburgh line gives him a shot at 1,200 yards, 10 touchdowns.

RB Jahvid BEST

If he's over his concussions, his '11 stats in six games project to a solid full season.

WR Brandon LLOYD

A total wild card; could get lost in the system or have Randy Moss numbers.

RB Doug MARTIN

You don't find many good three-down backs in round 5. The rookie will be one.

WR Jeremy MACLIN

On most Sundays, Maclin will end the day as the Eagles' top receiver.

6

QB Ben ROETHLISBERGER

New coordinator a concern, but Big Ben still has great receivers to target.

QB Robert GRIFFIN III

O.K., so I got a little excited. But RG3 could be an electric player.

WR Steve JOHNSON

To me, he's the last WR left whose production you can really count on.

RB DeAngelo WILLIAMS

As my RB3, I can live with him. I hope to only need him as a bye-week sub.

TE Aaron HERNANDEZ

D's will focus on Gronk; cue Hernandez, who pairs nicely with my quarterback.

WR Vincent JACKSON

Josh Freeman's best receiver ever can expect to reel in double-digit touchdowns.

TE Jermichael FINLEY

Unlimited upside—and at an asking price far less than Gronk and Graham.

WR Percy HARVIN

Underrated, Harvin is going to get as many touches as any receiver.

RB BenJarvus GREEN-ELLIS

Won't get as many TDs as he did with the Pats but will get bulk of Cincy's carries.

RB Roy HELU

If talent wins out and he gets the bulk of work, Helu finishes as a top 10 back.

WR Dwayne BOWE

Good for 70 catches, 1,100 yards. If the K.C. run game returns, so will his TDs.

TE Jason WITTEN

Witten's kismet with Romo makes him a guaranteed points producer.

7

RB Willis MCGAHEE

Peyton Manning loves his RBs, and McGahee has plenty left in the tank.

TE Antonio GATES

Let's all send good vibes to Antonio's toes, ankles, hamstrings and knees.

RB Peyton HILLIS

Breakout star of 2010 an essential handcuff for owners of Charles.

TE Fred DAVIS

Start working out with RG3 right now, Fred. The rookie will be throwing to you.

WR Anquan BOLDIN

Joe Flacco isn't inspiring, but a No. 1 receiver in the seventh round? Sold.

RB Shonn GREENE

New offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has been a star maker for running backs.

RB Beanie WELLS

A boom-or-bust pick. If Wells continues to progress, he'll be a steal here.

WR Robert MEACHEM

I love the upside as he slides in for Vincent Jackson in San Diego.

TE Brandon PETTIGREW

He'll continue to be a favorite over-the-middle target of Matthew Stafford.

WR Justin BLACKMON

Too early? Probably. But last year's early A.J. Green takers didn't regret it.

WR Torrey SMITH

Move over, Anquan. The game-breaking Smith is the Baltimore bullet now.

WR Reggie WAYNE

Shocked to nab Wayne here. He will help smooth Andrew Luck's transition.

8

TE Jermaine GRESHAM

Andy Dalton's big, athletic target should be even better in his third year.

RB Michael BUSH

Have liked him since his Louisville days. A nice power pickup for the Bears.

RB Mark INGRAM

The Saints' backfield is as murky as a bayou, but Ingram should emerge.

RB Stevan RIDLEY

Don't worry about Joseph Addai or Shane Vereen. Ridley's the guy.

WR Malcom FLOYD

If San Diego had done more to reinforce its line, I would have picked him earlier.

WR Lance MOORE

Busy slot man gets even more chances after the departure of Robert Meachem.

WR Pierre GARÇON

Has the potential to shine for a Redskins offense lacking a true No. 1 receiver.

RB C.J. SPILLER

I'm just making sure to lock down my insurance for Fred Jackson.

WR Sidney RICE

If healthy, he'll be the clear-cut No. 1 receiver of newly signed QB Matt Flynn.

QB Matt RYAN

Glad I waited on getting my QB. I'll take 4,000 yards and 30 TDs in round 8.

RB Donald BROWN

Who else will carry the ball in Indy? He'll be Andrew Luck's bail-out option too.

RB James STARKS

The Packers want to make him their No. 1 running back, and I'll be the beneficiary.

9

RB Daniel THOMAS

Sneakily productive as a rookie, and Reggie Bush won't stay healthy again.

WR Alshon JEFFERY

Count on the rangy Gamecocks second-rounder to be Jay Cutler's big body.

WR Denarius MOORE

The acrobatic Moore's huge games ought to be more frequent in his second year.

DST San Francisco 49ERS

Probably a little early, but I think this is the best fantasy defense.

DST Baltimore RAVENS

Aging, but they create turnovers, and the division's offenses score less than Urkel.

TE Tony GONZALEZ

The alltime greatest tight end is still the red zone favorite of Matt Ryan.

WR Michael CRABTREE

Yes, the 49ers' receiving corps is loaded, but Crabtree is still the No. 1 guy.

RB Jonathan STEWART

Better than DeAngelo Williams; can be plugged in during bye weeks.

DST Houston TEXANS

Fourth in scoring defense in 2011, and the unit is only getting better.

TE Jacob TAMME

Peyton Manning loved Tamme in Indy, and he'll love him in Denver.

WR Darrius HEYWARD-BEY

Foiled! I thought I could wait for Malcom Floyd. At least DHB is improving rapidly.

WR Santonio HOLMES

Tone is still money in the clutch. The spat with Mark Sanchez won't affect his numbers.

10

WR Titus YOUNG

Always a need for WR depth; Young is poised to move up the Lions' depth chart.

DST Pittsburgh STEELERS

Aging but consistent unit—I'm counting on Dick LeBeau's sage guidance.

TE Coby FLEENER

No use reaching for TE after Gronk and Graham. Luck-to-Fleener should continue.

WR Mario MANNINGHAM

Given the money ($7.4 million) the 49ers gave him, the ball will come.

K Sebastian JANIKOWSKI

He's a difference maker on the field, and he's never boring off it.

WR Nate WASHINGTON

Perpetually underrated, his stats can soar in the staff's passing-based system.

RB Isaiah PEAD

A rookie with upside; also selected as a handcuff to protect Jackson.

WR Greg LITTLE

He gets open and can create after the catch; just needs to eliminate the drops.

QB Jay CUTLER

New downfield threats and his old QB coach could give Cutler a big boost.

RB Ben TATE

A perfect guy to get as a bye-week plug-in. Always a 100-yard, one-TD threat.

RB Toby GERHART

If I owned a house, I would bet it on Adrian Peterson's not being 100% in '11.

QB Tim TEBOW

One way or another Tebow will find his way into the offense—and the end zone.

11

WR Laurent ROBINSON

Should be No. 1 in Jacksonville while Justin Blackmon learns the ropes.

WR Randy MOSS

This is turning out to be a great fantasy roster—circa 2007. Call it a comeback!

RB David WILSON

Mravic changed his pick from Wilson to Moss last second. I pounced on the rookie.

WR Michael FLOYD

I'm betting he's the next Anquan Boldin, especially as a rookie.

TE Jared COOK

He caught 49 balls and averaged 15.5 yards per; he'll be a solid TE2.

RB Pierre THOMAS

PT Cruiser has been a reliable source of points in Drew Brees's crowded backfield.

RB LeGarrette BLOUNT

Even if he loses the starting job, Blount could deliver as a goal line back.

RB Ronnie HILLMAN

Just a question of the rookie picking up the offense; better than Willis McGahee.

K Stephen GOSTKOWSKI

The departure of Green-Ellis makes the Pats' red zone offense slightly less potent.

QB Andrew LUCK

I don't expect him to be Cam Newton, but I expect him to be better than people think.

WR Brent CELEK

Damn Gorant. I wanted Jared Cook. But Celek's finish to '11 offers hope.

DST New York JETS

After a down year, Rex Ryan's prideful bunch will return to the top of the league.

12

RB Kendall HUNTER

Will starter Frank Gore go 16 games again? I'm betting he won't.

TE Heath MILLER

Miller's not flashy, but he has his role. Yes, I am from Pittsburgh.

QB Matt SCHAUB

Hope only to start him during Eli's bye when, nicely, he plays the Jags.

WR Stephen HILL

Athletic freak has a very good chance to start for the Fighting Tebows.

RB Jacquizz RODGERS

Insurance against Turner's getting injured or failing to produce.

RB Ryan WILLIAMS

Lost rookie year with a bum knee but now may be even healthier than Beanie Wells.

TE Kyle RUDOLPH

A potential breakout candidate for a Vikings team in search of targets.

QB Ryan FITZPATRICK

He will post solid numbers in his third season as a starter.

RB Jason SNELLING

If Michael Turner continues to regress, Snelling could see more snaps.

RB Mikel LESHOURE

Off-the-field issues make him a risk, but I love his potential to be Detroit's top back.

QB Andy DALTON

A year in the system and more pass-catching toys? Can you say, "Sleeper"?

TE Kellen WINSLOW

This athletic pass catcher will make quarterback Matt Flynn very happy.

13

QB Josh FREEMAN

New coach (Greg Schiano) and new WR (Vincent Jackson) equal a new Freeman.

K David AKERS

I avoided the early run on kickers and still got the No. 1 guy on many boards.

WR Leonard HANKERSON

Has the talent and tools to become RG3's top guy, but will he have the health?

RB Mike TOLBERT

Simply insurance. Unlikely to wear our jersey by season's end.

TE Martellus BENNETT

If he survives the Giants' TE curse, he could get a lot of opportunities.

WR Mike WILLIAMS (TB)

Playing alongside V-Jax will really help one of 2011's biggest busts.

WR Brandon LAFELL

Carolina is pushing LaFell to play a bigger role on offense this season.

RB Delone CARTER

North-south runner should overtake Donald Brown sometime in 2012.

RB Brandon JACOBS

He could reprise his role as a TD vulture if Frank Gore has trouble staying healthy.

WR Rueben RANDLE

Another rookie receiver with a high ceiling; he'll thrive in Mario Manningham's place.

RB Mike GOODSON

Had to get insurance in case Run DMC goes down. At least it came cheaply.

WR Nate BURLESON

On a high-powered offense, Burleson will have plenty of touches—and touchdowns.

14

TE Owen DANIELS

Perennially hurt but perennially productive when on the field.

RB Alex GREEN

Should slide into a backup role behind Starks—and may push the veteran.

RB Tim HIGHTOWER

He might beat Helu for Skins starting job. Will at least get goal line looks.

WR Kendall WRIGHT

Mike Munchak and Matt Hasselbeck love the rookie game-breaker.

QB Carson PALMER

New owner, new coach, new offense, old Palmer? Worth a try.

QB Matt FLYNN

Green Bay's former backups have had successful track records.

QB Joe FLACCO

Nothing pretty, just solid. Exactly what I want in a backup quarterback.

K Mason CROSBY

Happy to grab a guy who could lead all NFL kickers in points.

RB Joe MCKNIGHT

A dangerous kick returner who could see more touches in the Jets' renewed attack.

RB Felix JONES

Not a pick that excites me, but he'll get enough touches to stay relevant.

WR Brian QUICK

The fantasy equivalent to a Mega Millions ticket; he's already the Rams' No. 1 WR.

K Matt PRATER

With his leg and home stadium, anything from 60 yards or less is within reach.

15

K Neil RACKERS

A reliable option until he's cut in Week 4 for the flavor of the week.

WR Randall COBB

Will have to fight for touches with his Pack pals but has home run potential.

DST Buffalo BILLS

Mario Williams's sacks will make them a weekly start (except versus Pats).

QB Alex SMITH

I was a believer before he got Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins.

WR Mohamed SANU

Stud possession receiver in college with a name fans love to chant.

K Dan BAILEY

His 135 points as a rookie set Cowboys season scoring record for kickers.

DST Green Bay PACKERS

Dom Capers's 3--4 generates big plays; Randall Cobb is a dangerous return man.

DST Seattle SEAHAWKS

Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin adds to a dynamic group of pass rushers.

RB Kevin SMITH

Injury-prone but effective whenever he sees the field in relief of Best.

DST Philadelphia EAGLES

They underachieved last year, but they're still loaded with talent and playmakers.

K Alex HENERY

Eagles offense will give Henery a shot at matching David Akers's 2010.

QB Ryan TANNEHILL

A bit of a flier on a rookie, but it wouldn't shock me if he won the starting job.

16

DST Chicago BEARS

This unit has lost a little luster but still ball-hawks with the best of them.

RB Bernard PIERCE

Ravens rookie bides his time behind Rice. Watch out for that banana peel, Ray!

K Jason HANSON

Kickers on top five offenses tend to score a lot, even if they're 42.

K Nate KAEDING

Always accurate for a high-scoring offense; let's hope the ACL is healed.

WR Jon BALDWIN

Big guy (6' 4") with great ball skills could be a sleeper. Or a snooze.

DST New England PATRIOTS

An opportunistic nucleus added Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower in first round.

K Matt BRYANT

One of the league's steadiest (and most productive) legs the past two seasons.

RB Shane VEREEN

The best running back in New England. He just needs to stay healthy.

WR Kevin OGLETREE

I'm hoping Dallas coaxes a big year out of its No. 3 WR for a second straight season.

K Garrett HARTLEY

Love the indoor kickers, especially the ones that play in a Drew Brees--run offense.

DST New York GIANTS

The G-men had 68 combined sacks and picks; the TDs will come.

DST Denver BRONCOS

This feisty, active bunch has the talent to pitch a few shutouts in 2012.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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