Dynasty Draft Winners and Losers - Part 2
By Jeff Tefertiller
May 24th, 2010

The NFL Draft has come and gone. Rookie camps are now in full action. Like every year, the draft has a dramatic effect on dynasty teams. Many presumed safe starters are now on a short leash after the selection of a promising rookie while some teams showed confidence in a player by not drafting a future replacement. After looking at the winners in the last article, we will identify and address the losers below.

Matt Moore is now on a short leash after the drafting of Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike. Clausen is a legitimate threat to Moore while Pike is nothing more than a developmental player. In fact, Pike will likely struggle to beat out former Louisville product Hunter Cantwell to be the team's third quarterback. But, the selection of Clausen is another matter. After playing well to close out the season, Moore was assumed to be the long-term option in Carolina. His strong play pushed veteran Jake Delhomme out the door at a high price. Moore only has one year remaining on his contract so there is a chance that he is not a Panther in 2011, depending on how he plays this season. The veterans on the team support Moore, but he will need to prove himself early in the year or there will be an undercurrent for the former Golden Domer. Coach Fox is on his last year under contract as well and needs wins to keep his job. The Panthers have been uneasy to lock up big money on a contract for Fox with the uncertainty for the 2011 season. For this reason, the Carolina coach will stick with Moore as long as possible. Moore gives the team the best chance for wins in 2010. If Moore does well, he and his coach get new contracts ... assuming a new labor deal. If not, both may not be back with the Panthers.

Kyle Orton is one quarterback who took as big of a hit as Moore. Not only did the Broncos trade for Brady Quinn before the draft, but they gave up a mint to trade up for the legend that is Tim Tebow. Coach Josh McDaniels has stated how he loves Tebow's ability to pick up the offense and the cerebral parts of the game. McDaniels went on to say that Tebow's weaknesses were things that he (McDaniels) is able to correct ... like footwork and delivery of the football. Coach McDaniels is now fully invested in Tebow, not the ex-Bear. Orton is signed only through 2010. This could be his last season in Denver. In addition to Orton, Tebow, and Quinn, the Broncos have last year's draft pick Tom Brandstater on their roster. It is doubtful that Orton will remain the starter throughout the season, even if healthy. On the bright side, he has probably shown enough to start elsewhere in 2011. Tebow appears to be the future of the franchise and why not after selling all of those "15" jerseys ... or were those just Marshall uniforms on clearance?

The Houston Texans have been able to run the ball effectively no matter who was toting the rock. Even Ron Dayne was productive in Kubiak's offense. Steve Slaton and 2009 undrafted rookie Arian Foster were the tops on the depth chart after the 2009 season. The drafting of Ben Tate speaks volumes about how the team views the nature of the Slaton injury. After a productive 2008 season, Slaton bulked up to better handle the increased workload. It did not work. His yards per carry average plummeted. Slaton looked slow to the hole and was minus the speed that made him effective. This was not good for a smaller back. Slaton's neck injury was just the icing on the cake. The injury is very serious. There are many doubts whether the once-speedy Slaton will be able to be effective again. Foster, who had a pair of strong games at the end of the 2009 season, was not able to separate himself enough to be relied upon as the primary ball carrier going forward. Tate is a good one-cut runner, making him a great fit in Houston. He was drafted to be the primary running back.

Another productive back, Jerome Harrison, was seemingly replaced on draft day. The Cleveland Browns traded up to select Montario Hardesty as the team's starting back. Harrison was very productive at the tail end of the season, carrying a heavy load and leading the team to a string of victories. It is very possible that the team did not view the 27 year old as big enough to carry the ball 300 times in a season. He will still be used in the passing game and on third downs, but the luster has worn off of Harrison's fantasy value. James Davis flashed potential in the 2009 preseason before being lost for the year with a shoulder injury. He now has little chance at the starting gig. Hardesty is the presumed starter unless injury or poor play.

Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch were thought to be the 2010 Buffalo ball carriers. But, something happened to upset the applecart. The Bills selected the play-making C.J. Spiller to give their team another weapon. While Spiller may make an impact in a myriad of ways (returns, slot receiver, etc.), the selection greatly impacts the backfield. Buffalo bypassed badly needed upgrades at quarterback and offensive tackle in order to select the speedy Spiller. Spiller will help the offense with big plays, but the void of talent at quarterback and tackle is tremendous. The Buffalo brass thought it was more important to get Spiller than upgrade the two needy areas. It is difficult to take this as anything but a poor outcome for Jackson and Lynch. The line is still horrible at blocking with no threat of a passing game to take the pressure off the run. Lynch could still be traded, but the backfield looks crowded as it sits now.

Kevin Smith is still recovering from the severe knee injury that cost him the latter part of the 2009 season. Even before tearing his knee up, the Lions were not thrilled with Smith's lack of big-play ability nor his inability to run tough between the tackles. For a young offense on the rise, the drafting of Jahvid Best is a great fit. He is a big play threat every time touching the ball. Detroit gave up quite a bit to trade back up into the latter part of the first round to select Best. He will add another element to the Lions' offense. Detroit needed some speed at the running back position. The team was hoping last year's draft pick Aaron Brown would pan out, but it did not happen. This move should signify the end of Smith's reign as the primary ball carrier in Detroit. The only worry about Best is his history of injuries, especially the severe concussion that kept him out of action for part of this past season.

Glen Coffee had showed some quickness in limited duty as a rookie. He was the only backup to Frank Gore for much of the 2009 season. Maybe it was the lack of faith in Coffee that led to Gore getting most of the team's carries. The 49ers decided they needed a bigger back in the reserve role so they chose SEC leading rusher, Anthony Dixon, in the sixth round. A great value at that pick, Dixon will be able to spell Gore and be groomed for the future. At this point, Coffee is nothing more than a situational back. Also, with Gore's injury history, Dixon is good insurance for San Francisco.

After the departure of Willie Parker, Mewelde Moore was the only viable reserve to Rashard Mendenhall. The Steelers selected the powerful Jonathan Dwyer in the sixth round to help with depth at the position and provide valuable injury protection for the young Mendenhall. Moore will continue to be the third down back, but his upside is limited to third down duty with Dwyer now in the Steel City. There is a chance that Dwyer garners an even larger role, possibly as the short yardage runner. If so, the selection of Dwyer would impact Mendenhall as well as Moore.

Roy Williams has been a huge flop for the Cowboys after the infamous blockbuster deal to bring him back home to Texas. Before the draft, it was believed that Jerry Jones still held out hope for Williams ... even though the rest of mankind knew that Williams was far from a worthy starter. But, Jones' draft day trade to nab Dez Bryant solidified Williams' place as the third receiver, at best, for Dallas. Bryant should be inserted into the lineup early in the season. He is able to make plays Williams only dreams about. The presence of Bryant is also bad news for slot receiver Patrick Crayton as he will see his role decrease while Williams moves down the depth chart.

Todd Heap has played well for the Baltimore Ravens when healthy. But, the ball club showed Heap what they think of his future in Baltimore with the selection of two talented tight ends in the third and fourth rounds respectively. Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are both athletic pass catchers who know how to make plays in the passing game from the tight end position. The addition of the two talented rookies should signal the end of an era for Heap in a Ravens uniform. He will see his role phased out over the course of the season as the newcomers get up to speed. There is even talk that Heap, and his $4 million salary, could be released depending on the play of the youngsters. This is the beginning of the end for Heap.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to tefertiller@footballguys.com.