Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama, 6-foot, 220 pounds
Eddie Lacy PROS: Lightning quick feet, decisive cuts to the hole, good vision, tackle-breaking ability, has shown passing game skills.
CONS: Not a creative runner, overly reliant on spin move, follows blueprint well but unproven in creating plays when they're not there, downside to running behind an elite level offensive line.
DRAFT BRIEFING: Since no one else has emerged from the running back pack, he will likely be the first one taken on draft day. Reasonable guess would be about the same time former teammate Mark Ingram was selected - the very end of Round 1.
2013 OUTLOOK: If he is drafted at the end of Round 1 as expected, it depends if he goes to a team currently needing a running back or if he is going to be mixed into the rotation with plans on role expansion later, i.e. David Wilson last year. Strong bet that if he is drafted at the end of Day 1 he will go to a good offensive team, so think optimistically, right now.
DYNASTY OUTLOOK: From a pure talent perspective, it is tough to get
excited about Lacy. The situation will mean a lot for his long-term success. He probably needs a situation like Rashard Mendenhall in Pittsburgh to be a Top 10 back, and actually I think he could be Mendenhall's replacement in Pittsburgh if he slips to Round 2. For now, expect an uninteresting Top 20 running back, something better than Shonn Greene but without the upside of a David Wilson.
Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee, 6-foot-3, 200 pounds
PROS: Arguably, the most physically gifted wide receiver prospect in this draft. He has quicks in and out of his breaks, is difficult to jam at the line, has an array of moves, and can get on top of the defense vertically.
CONS: Raw...very, very raw. Another year in school would have answered a lot of questions, but those answers could have just as easily pushed his stock deep into Day 2 as it would have vaulted him into the Top 10. He has a tendency to play very undisciplined, run sloppy routes, and effort-related questions have circulated around him since getting to Tennessee.
DRAFT BRIEFING: Due to the lack of physical specimens at wide receiver in this draft, I think he will be picked somewhere in the 20-40 range. Someone is going to fall in love with the potential and believe they can fix the problems.
2013 OUTLOOK: Not someone I will be keeping in the back of my head in August, 2013. Given his weaknesses, his reasonably best case scenario is probably his former teammate Denarius Moore's rookie year. The key phrase there is "best case." That's the type to look to pick up early in the season, not draft day.
DYNASTY OUTLOOK: Arguably, the biggest ceiling of any wide
receiver prospect in this draft. Also, a frighteningly low floor. If a strong organization like the Green Bay Packers or Houston Texans were to pick him up I will be significantly more optimistic about his prospects than I would if a historically undisciplined franchise like the Detroit Lions or New York Jets plucked him up. He needs grooming and tough love, but he can flourish if given the appropriate tools.
Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State, 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
Markus Wheaton PROS: Explosive, freakish athlete. Once in space he is very difficult to contain. He reads defenses well and does a good job finding the creases against both zone and man defenses.
CONS: Susceptible to the jam and has a bad habit of body catching the ball.
DRAFT BRIEFING: If a team in need of a home run threat falls in love with him, he has some dark horse Round 1 potential. More than likely a Day 2 pick, a team hoping to find the next Mike Wallace instead of paying for the ready-made version in free agency.
2013 OUTLOOK: Likely an afterthought for 2013 leagues. If he is given a role on the team that drafts him it will be that of the home run nature, but reasonable best case is probably Chris Givens last year. More likely he'll be of the Torrey Smith mold, though. You hope for a deep touchdown, but if he doesn't get it you're looking at a very poor per-game performance.
DYNASTY OUTLOOK: His ceiling is a notch lower than Patterson, but his floor is much, much higher. Without knowing where either of them will be drafted, I prefer Wheaton. Patterson may have superstar upside that Wheaton lacks, but he is just behind. Worst case with Wheaton is he develops into an inconsistent deep threat you can feel good starting as your No. 3 each week. Can't say the same about Patterson.