Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals secretly worked out a trade for Kyler Murray’s old buddy Marquise Brown prior to Thursday night. They were not done adding to the offensive arsenal.
Arizona took the consensus top tight end in this draft, Trey McBride, at 55th overall. It’s an interesting fit considering this team runs more three- and four-wide sets than anyone in the NFL and re-signed Zach Ertz this offseason. Frankly, it’s hard to square where all of their four wide receivers will line up either. Distributing volume and playing time between DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green, Rondale Moore and Brown will be a chore. Especially with McBride and Ertz adding an extra wrinkle.
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However, all that goodness circles back to Kyler Murray. The Cardinals’ offense may be hard to parse out but it’s certainly stacked with quality options for its quarterback.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets
We’ve seen plenty of teams get aggressive while building around talented young quarterbacks on rookie contracts. The New York Jets are officially the latest in that line.
The Jets snagged two starting receivers in Corey Davis and Elijah Moore while beefing up the backfield with Michael Carter the last offseason. Joe Douglas and co. kicked it up a notch this year by taking Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall, arguably the best prospects at their respective positions. All along the Jets have added players on the offensive line and none of it has come at the expense of defensive investments.
This offense is loaded with potential. If Wilson hits, the Jets could be a sneaky fun environment for fantasy value. They have given the young passer every resource possible to be a success story.
Christian Watson, Green Bay Packers
The Packers missed out on the wide receiver run on Thursday night. They weren’t going to let that happen for a second day. Green Bay traded both of their Round 2 picks to get up to 34th overall and draft Christian Watson out of North Dakota State.
Watson is a Packers pick through and through; traits, size, speed, small school and all.
To me, Watson shines the brightest with the ball in his hands out in space. As a run-after-the-catch and vertical receiver, he brings some shades of Martavis Bryant to the table. That should encapsulate both his high potential and the need for some seasoning in his game. All told, Watson certainly will rise up rookie ranks simply due to this landing spot.
Skyy Moore, Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs waited until Day 2 and even traded down before snagging a much-needed wide receiver. It was worth the wait. Skyy Moore was an awesome selection at 54th overall.
Moore is an explosive player who wins as a route runner at all levels of the field. His varied and detailed package of release moves shows the potential for inside and outside ability in the pros. Landing in Kansas City with a climbable depth chart and, of course, Patrick Mahomes, will rightly cause Moore to rocket up over receivers taken ahead of him in rookie rankings.
James Cook, Buffalo Bills
The Bills were oft-mocked a running back in the first round. That never felt like a move this front office was going to make and their ability to snag James Cook on Day 2 is perfect validation. Cook is an explosive player who makes things happen in the open field and is heralded for his pass-catching prowess:
He’s also Dalvin Cook’s brother, so get ready to hear that 100 times.
Devin Singletary had a nice run to end the 2021 season and even kept the fun rolling in the postseason. That was the lone time during his tenure with the team that they were willing to give him a full workload. Buffalo showed its hand in wanting a pass-catching specialist at running back by offering a contract to J.D. McKissic. Now they get their man in Cook.
It’s no lock that he outright usurps Singletary for the starting gig but he could carve out a sizable receiving workload as a rookie. This is a crucial camp battle to watch.
Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts
Considering the supporting cast Matt Ryan operated with his final Falcons season, he has to be stoked with what the Colts have put around him. Ryan was already set to go to work with two ascending young players in bonafide superstar Jonathan Taylor and the underrated Michael Pittman. Chris Ballard added Alec Pierce at wide receiver in Round 2 and Jelani Woods in Round 3.
A pass-catching corps that desperately needed an injection of juice just got it.
Pierce is a straight-line player who can win on slants and vertical routes. There was no one else on this roster beyond Pittman who could win outside or in tight coverage. Pierce is an option to develop.
Woods is a tantalizing athlete at tight end who could quickly climb to the top of that depth chart if he develops faster than most rookies at that position.
Ryan won’t be a big-time fantasy QB1 because he offers no rushing upside, but his Superflex outlook certainly appears better now than he did 24 hours ago.
Antonio Gibson, Washington Commanders
There were whispers this offseason that Washington’s brass was not thrilled with the way things went down with Antonio Gibson last year. The high-end play was a bit inconsistent while the fumbles and injuries were a constant.
Washington matching the hefty offer JD McKissic received from Buffalo seemed to confirm those whispers. The front office drafting Brian Robinson out of Alabama at 98th overall cemented it. Robinson is a rugged, tough runner who fits Ron Rivera’s ground-and-pound preferences.
Gibson was already blocked from most of the pass-catching work. Now he has a legitimate threat for the early down work. We could see a real Gibson vs. Robinson camp battle. At the very least, Robinson will be on speed dial if Gibson falters again.
Gibson might be the biggest faller in fantasy football this offseason.
Michael Carter, New York Jets
After some flashes during his rookie season, Michael Carter stood alone on the Jets’ running back depth chart… at least until Friday. The Jets traded up to select Iowa State’s Breece Hall with the 36th overall pick. He was the consensus top running back in this year’s draft.
Carter won’t be completely pushed to the side but Hall projects as a three-down back and will be the favorite to lead the team in touches this year and beyond. Hall was a celebrated pass-catcher coming out of the draft and that was the strength of Carter’s game too.
There’s just no way around it: Carter simply doesn’t have close to the same fantasy upside he did 24 hours ago.
Kadarius Toney, New York Giants
Trade rumors were already swirling around the Giants’ 2021 first-round pick and taking Wan’Dale Robinson on Friday night doesn’t exactly seem like a ringing endorsement for Kadarius Toney. Especially since this isn’t the same front office that brought him in last year.
It was easy to see that Toney was an extremely raw technician coming into the NFL and his ride in the league has been anything but smooth. He certainly has electric talent but isn’t an easy player to integrate into an offense.
Robinson profiles as a gadget player and could be a direct replacement or at least competition for the role Toney should ideally play.
Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks rewarded Rashaad Penny‘s blistering run to end 2021 … with a one-year deal. Then they proceeded to draft some competition for him in the form of Kenneth Walker in Round 2.
Jettisoning his future Hall of Fame quarterback and doubling down on the running back position might just be the bones of Pete Carroll’s dream offseason. It’s clear what kind of identity this team wants to bring to the table.
Penny was already facing an uphill battle to repeat what he did to end last season while playing on an offense that’s sure to have some struggles in the post-Russell Wilson era.
Now he has almost zero chance to earn a workhorse workload.
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
The Bears very well may be building the right way. There’s no doubt this team needed a complete tear-down and full reset. A quick fix was not in the cards for the hole this organization had dug itself in over the last few years.
You can justify the way the Bears have gone about their business in free agency and the draft but you cannot deny that it’s come at the expense of building a competent offense around Justin Fields.
The Bears walk 2022 with an extremely questionable offensive into line and a receiver corps featuring Darnell Mooney and a bunch of guys. The team addressed the defense — which needed the help — in Round 2 and took a questionable receiver in Round 3. It looks like the depth chart they have right now is what we’re going to get. And it’s not ideal.
The teams aren’t in the exact same place right now but the difference in the way the Jets are stacking the deck for Zach Wilson vs. what the Bears are doing around Fields could not be starker. Ironically, it brings to mind how the Jets previously didn’t go all-in to fortify the offense around Sam Darnold while the Bills assembled a fantastic ecosystem for Josh Allen. We know how those stories ended.
Fields might still be a good NFL quarterback. He will have to do it in spite of what the Bears will roll out around him in 2022. Chicago’s rebuild can still work out in the long-term despite how it ends with Fields.
In a weird way, their best interests just might not be aligned right now. That’s what happens when a coaching staff and front office turn over with an existing, unproven, young quarterback still on the roster.
Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos
After Noah Fant was traded to Seattle in the Russell Wilson package, Albert Okwuegbunam’s destiny was to be the chalkiest “sleeper” of all time this offseason. That path got a little bit cloudier when the team drafted Greg Dulcich at 80th overall.
We know rookie tight ends don’t typically make a major splash. So this isn’t a death knell to Albert O’s 2022 fantasy outlook. It does, however, add a variable that was not there prior to the draft and could block him from his theoretical ceiling. At least the offseason debates about Albert O will be slightly interesting now.
All of us
The 49ers drafted another running back on Day 2: Tyrion Davis-Price at 90th overall. Can’t wait to track this storyline all offseason.