The notes below pertain to all 16 AFC teams. For the NFC notes, click here.
First-round WR Breshad Perriman was not handed a starting job at OTAs, running behind sneaky talent Kamar Aiken and showing some of the inconsistent hands we saw at Central Florida. Perriman remains a strong bet to win the No. 2 job and a reasonable bet to capitalize on the opportunity left behind by Torrey Smith, but I prefer guys like Allen Robinson, Charles Johnson and Zach Ertz in Rounds 7-9. … Dennis Pitta (hip) did not participate in spring workouts. If the Ravens get anything from him at all this season, it will be a bonus. … Maxx Williams admitted to swimming in the playbook a bit. Rookie right ends are never on my radar in fantasy. … The Ravens confirmed RB checkdowns will be a bigger part of the scheme under new OC Marc Trestman. Justin Forsett’s PPR arrow is pointing up and Buck Allen is a deep-league PPR flier. … Hard to buy coach John Harbaugh’s claim the team would like to reduce Steve Smith’s snaps. They don’t have any other reliable options for Joe Flacco.
The quarterback battle was predictably ugly, with Matt Cassel faceplanting badly. It looks like E.J. Manuel will head to camp with his nose slightly in front of both Cassel and Tyrod Taylor. Yikes. I’m most intrigued by Taylor thanks to his running ability, and it sounds like Rex Ryan may be as well. … Sammy Watkins (hip) did a little 11-on-11 work and should be ready for training camp. But he’s still in a Rex offense with a zero at quarterback. Even as Watkins’ ADP tumbles, I’m passing. … Fumbling sideline-magnet Bryce Brown will need a big camp to keep his job ahead of Anthony Dixon. Even franchise favorite Fred Jackson isn’t guaranteed a spot at the crowded running back position. … The Bills haven’t been shy about their desire for LeSean McCoy to push for the league-lead in carries. Effectiveness behind a poor offensive line and reception volume are question marks, but volume is not.
Welcome back, Marvin Jones. Finally fully healthy off foot/ankle injuries, the playmaking Jones is penciled in opposite A.J. Green. Available in the Round 11-14 range, he’ll be one of my favorite fliers. … Tyler Eifert (elbow) is also back and “caught virtually everything thrown his way” during spring practices. A talented pass-catcher who will have a big role now that Jermaine Gresham is gone, Eifert is firmly on the TE2 radar. … A.J. Green may slip in your draft because his 2014 numbers were not that impressive. Realize those numbers were heavily impacted by injury. Green led the entire NFL in yards per route run last year (2.96) and is a steal in the mid- or late-second round. … 2014 fifth-rounder A.J. McCarron showed up big in the spring, leading to some whispers he could push Andy Dalton at camp. I doubt that, but the win-now Bengals should have Dalton on a short leash this season – especially now that he has all his weapons back healthy. No excuses.
The star of Browns OTAs was rookie RB Duke Johnson, who outplayed incumbents Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. It’s not a surprise, as speedy space backs always excel at padded practices. Johnson’s skyrocketing ADP is not something I’m on board with as he could max out in a Gio Bernard kind of role. …. Isaiah Crowell opened the offseason as the starter and is in the lead for the early-down portion of this mix-and-match/hot-hand committee. I’d rather take a shot on the Crow over Johnson considering both are available in Round 7 or so. … The good news is Johnny Manziel hasn’t had any serious off-field incidents since getting out of rehab. The bad news is he continued to struggle on the field and enters training camp firmly behind 36-year-old journeyman Josh McCown. … Buried in Bruce Arians’ TE-unfriendly scheme with the Cardinals, pass-catching Rob Housler is locked as the first-teamer for the Browns. He’s a good bet for 50-60 catches as an “ideal” flex tight end (Mike Pettine’s words).
Cody Latimer didn’t know the plays as a rookie last season. This year, he was at Duke for the Peyton workouts and is penned in as the No. 3 wideout. I’d be higher on him if the Broncos weren’t shifting to a balanced offense under a new head coach that prefers to run lots of two-TE sets (Virgil Green and Owen Daniels). … I actually believe the Peyton Manning pay cut/trade rumors. Look at his tape over the final six games of last year and tell me if you wouldn’t take a couple first-round picks for him. That horrid play was all a result of the quad injury? Are you sure? Expect Manning’s attempts to dip sharply as Gary Kubiak emphasizes the run game. … A slimmed-down C.J. Anderson held the first-strong RB job throughout the spring, as expected. Don’t expect Montee Ball to muster any real threat in August – CJA’s one-cut style and pass-game ability fits perfectly. … Even Emmanuel Sanders thinks his statistics to take a hit this season thanks to the scheme change. I’m not chasing last year’s stats. More from Manny on that here.
Rookie WR Jaelen Strong missed a lot of time due to a hamstring injury, leaving the coaching staff to talk up Nate Washington. It’ll be an underwhelming three-man competition between Strong, Washington and Cecil Shorts for the right to complement rising stud DeAndre Hopkins. … Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett split first-team reps during the spring. Beat writers came away more impressed with Hoyer, but this is a competition that won’t be decided until mid-August at the earliest. Volume should mitigate the QB troubles Hopkins is sure to deal with. … Arian Foster enjoyed one of the healthiest offseasons of his career, participating fully in the program. The Texans are going to ride him at least as hard as they did last year, when he averaged 22.9 touches per game.
First-round WR Phillip Dorsett spent time at multiple positions during practices. He’s a sneaky bet to see the field more than some expect in Year 1, at the expense of Donte Moncrief and quite possibly Coby Fleener. … Another rookie to keep an eye on is sixth-round RB Josh Robinson. He could easily beat out Boom Herron and Vick Ballard for the right to back up 32-year-old Frank Gore. Ballard (Achilles’) remains a PUP candidate. … Andre Johnson and Gore did not take any veteran time this spring. They appear poised to hit the ground running right away in their new surroundings. … Johnson was singled out for his early chemistry with Andrew Luck. Remember that Reggie Wayne had a 106-1,355-5 line at age 33 while playing the possession receiver role for Luck in 2012.
Allen Robinson was the most hyped player in the NFL this spring. Beat writers wouldn’t stop raving about the way the second-year WR dominated practices, calling him “unbelievable” and a “star.” I love taking Robinson in the sixth round. He can pay off that position even if Blake Bortles doesn’t make a leap. If Bortles does improve, look out. …The Jags wasted no time with rookie T.J. Yeldon, immediately installing him as their starter and talking up his three-down tools. He’s going to get a big workload while Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart fill complementary roles. I like Yeldon if we can get him in the fourth or fifth round. … Julius Thomas has gotten so “overrated” that he’s now underrated. He’s a talented athlete and red-zone focal point at a thin position and is available in the eighth or ninth round in many leagues. … Marqise Lee can’t stay out of the training room. This spring, it was his knee that bothered him. I’m completely off this train as he enters camp behind Allen Hurns. … The Jags have written off troubled wideout Justin Blackmon.
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