From the obvious selection of Sam Bradford at No. 1 overall to the Rams until the final picks of Round 7, we celebrated and critiqued this latest round of NFL entrants.
And now, we start to pick things apart more. I’m evaluating 10 players/situations who were most helped by the draft. — Mike Harmon
Arrelious Benn, WR, Tampa Bay
I left Benn off of my list of top 10 rookies and felt that I needed to expound on his potential value herein. I left him off of that list given the questions surrounding the Tampa Bay offense overall. In the spirit of this piece, he was a huge winner, as he is essentially handed the No. 1 slot for quarterback Josh Freeman. – Mike Harmon
Jason Campbell, QB, Oakland
Campbell’s future had been up in the air since the end of the 2009 season, and he clearly wasn’t coming back after the team dealt for Donovan McNabb. Campbell goes to a system with a solid two-back system, a good tight end (Zach Miller) and intriguing receivers in Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens (and maybe Darrius Heyward-Bey?). – Mike Harmon
Brandon Jacobs/Ahmad Bradshaw, RBs, New York Giants
Instead of further crowding the New York backfield, the Giants drafted defense and more defense. As such, the team moves forward with the same committee situation as it did in 2009.
The main question is whether Jacobs and Bradshaw can work past their injuries and get back to the dominant 1-2 combination punch we’d seen in 2008. Jacobs’ rushing average dropped by 1.3 yards per carry in 2009, and his efforts at the goal-line were pathetic. – Mike Harmon
Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati
The Bengals worked tirelessly to upgrade the receiving options for Palmer and dancing star, Chad Ochocinco. First, the team brought in two-time 1,000-yard receiver Antonio Bryant to replace the one-and-done Coles. The team then worked to upgrade the receiving corps during the draft. The Bengals added a potential game-changer and red zone beast in tight end Jermaine Gresham, and Jordan Shipley enters as a quick-hit slot receiver and possession option. – Mike Harmon
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seattle
Hasselbeck emerged from the draft as one of the biggest winners. The team brought in Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego as a backup, but there is presumably no competition on the horizon. The Seahawks did not draft a quarterback.
The team’s first-round pick was Russell Okung, the 300-pound behemoth out of Oklahoma State. The receiving corps was later bolstered by the addition of former Notre Dame receiver Golden Tate, who stands to become an impact player immediately.
When you add the expected contributions of LenDale White and Leon Washington, who were acquired in trades (No. 3 on this list), the Seattle offense becomes mighty intriguing in Pete Carroll’s return to the NFL. – Mike Harmon
Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington
It came as a surprise to no one when the Redskins announced the selection of Trent Williams with the No. 4 pick. Washington fans breathed a sigh of relief, confident that their offseason quarterback acquisition would stay upright.
I also like the addition of tight end Dennis Morris from Louisiana Tech, who figures to assume the role of fullback with Fred Davis and Chris Cooley firmly entrenched as the team’s top tight-end options. Morris’ addition should aid the re-tooled running game, not to mention stall a few blitzes, in Mike Shanahan’s Washington debut. — Mike Harmon
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco
The 49ers had the opportunity to trade for Donovan McNabb this offseason. They didn’t pull the trigger. The 49ers had multiple opportunities to draft a quarterback to compete with, or least push, Smith this summer. They eschewed the sexy pick of a Jimmy Clausen or another quarterback and picked two offensive linemen to start their draft.
The additions of Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis signal a dedication by the San Francisco brass to giving Smith an opportunity to build on an intriguing 2009 season. Remember, Michael Crabtree didn’t come into the mix until the second month of the season and Vernon Davis is challenging to be fantasy's No. 1 tight end after a monster year. — Mike Harmon
LenDale White/Leon Washington, RBs, Seattle
White served only as a cheerleader while Chris Johnson amassed his jaw-dropping yardage total. He’s saved by the trade that reunites him with his college coach. I would assume that he returns to the role of goal-line beast that had fantasy owners celebrating in 2008.
As for Washington, he’s clearly the speed and receiver of the re-tooled Seattle backfield. He’s shifty in the open field and offers Matt Hasselbeck an excellent check-down option. Washington averaged 4.8 yards per carry in a secondary role for the Jets in 3 1/2 seasons. If healthy, Washington could serve as a valuable third fantasy running back. — Mike Harmon
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay
There isn’t much to improve in Rodgers’ overall stat line, but the number "50" under sacks left us holding our breath during the 2009 season. The Packers received a gift when tackle Brian Bulaga out of Iowa, a projected Top-10 pick, was sitting on the board at No. 23. — Mike Harmon
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville
Did I believe all the rumors that the Jaguars would add game-breaker C.J. Spiller to the fold? No, but I didn't see the selection of Tyson Alualu coming down, either. The Bills snagged Spiller at No. 9, thereby allowing all MJD owners in keeper leagues and those who have already etched himself into a top-5 slot in their single-league rankings to breathe a sigh of relief.
The Jaguars focused squarely on shoring up their defense in the NFL Draft, which allows MJD and his 54 career touchdowns in four seasons to continue as the man unabated. — Mike Harmon