Six Players To Target Late In Your Draft
By Dave Hunter
Johnny Manziel – Okay, so we’ve all heard and seen the hub-bub on Mr. Football. The guy can play ball. So why not take a chance on him late in your draft? Especially if you come away with a very good QB over the first few rounds. If you’re initially only using Manziel as a backup option, I don’t see the risk. Brian Hoyer, the Browns current incumbent starting QB option, is the only obstacle standing in Manziel’s way. Well, maybe Manziel’s off-field issues do raise some concerns; however, I believe he’ll live up to the humble ways he’s professing to the media.
Bryce Brown – I was intrigued when the Bills traded for Brown. Landing the potential of Brown for a swap of seventh round picks in 2014 and a conditional fourth round pick in 2015 from the Eagles. The Bills didn’t give up much to secure Brown. When you consider C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson have had their share of injuries over the years, it’s not difficult to see why the Bills traded for easy RB protection. Plus, Jackson is a free agent in 2015, which may come into the picture down the line. We know that both Spiller and Jackson are injury prone. If an injury does occur, I expect Brown to pay immediate dividends this season. Give Brown a whirl as a RB four or five.
Latavius Murray – Maybe I’m partial to Murray since I’m a Raiders fan. Oops, did I just say that? I’ve taken many a tongue-lashing over the years because of my love for the Raiders. But living in L.A. as a kid in the 80’s, what choice did I have? Sure, the Rams were always a secret love of mine. Though I was extremely bent when they left for St. Louis. I never got into the L.A. Express of the old USFL (who did?). So for me, that left the Raiders. It was easier to forgive them for moving to Oakland. Murray is a hidden talent, He’s being buried on the depth chart right now mainly because he was injured all last season. Murray will have a tough time getting reps in 2014. But with the injury history of Darren McFadden, the unknown with Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcel Reece not being a true RB, Murray has a way-outside shot of contributing. But I do like his size, power and speed overall.
Tavon Austin – We all heard the comparisons to Percy Harvin last season. But Austin disappointed fantasy owners with only 418 yards receiving and four TD catches. Austin did manage to scrounge up 151 yards rushing with a score, but his struggles were apparent. It seems that Austin had trouble keeping up with the speed of the game and adjusting as some rookies do. He also battled an ankle injury that forced him out of the last three contests of the season. I’m not expecting miracles, but I do expect to see marked improvement on a talent that can run and catch the ball in a fantastic manner. I still have faith in Austin.
Marlon Brown – Brown put himself on the map last season with seven TDs scored for the Ravens. And while fantasy owners should pay attention to Brown, they likely won’t. Brown is going to get plenty of playing time, even with ex-Carolina Panther Steve Smith now with the Ravens. As far as receiver playing time in Baltimore, nothing is set in stone. You don’t have to worry about reaching too early. You should be able to snag Brown towards the bottom-third of your draft.
Jace Amaro – The Jets got a great value landing Amaro in the second round during the 2014 draft. Amaro is big, fast and extremely versatile. Amaro also has soft hands and fits the recent NFL mold of a receiver in a tight end’s body. Considering his receiving potential, Amaro is my surprise late-round TE to draft this season. He just may snag the starting gig in the preseason with a good showing.