This time of the offseason is fun. It’s where we can sit around and read beat writers’ opinions on players in OTAs, which then manifests into hype for a particular player, and with momentum of that hype, a hype train is born. Here are a few players who have been hyped up this offseason which caused their ADP to rise. With each player I’ll give my opinion on whether we should hop aboard or hop off.
Jay Ajayi – Hop on, but only if he’s playing 3rd down
Ajayi’s being drafted alongside the elite RBs. We’ve been hearing that his workload will be off the charts and that he will be involved in the passing game. A RB who stays on the field on all downs is rare and valuable. Coaches have been adding to the hype, but they’ve been hyping up everyone on that team, so take that with a grain of salt. The other running backs who are in the fold here are Damian Williams and Kenyan Drake. Drake was drafted by the team in the 3rd round last year, and is a pass-catching specialist, but Williams, who was an undrafted free agent in 2014, is who the Dolphins have been using in passing situations between the two.
We know Ajayi will be used on early downs, but what lets him belong in the upper echelon of the draft is if he’s going to be used in passing situations. His opportunity goes way up if he’s involved in every type of game script, and we’ll have confidence that he’ll be on the field no matter what. Last year, Williams had 23 receptions and Ajayi had 27. Ajayi, however, only averaged 5.59 per reception, which is pretty bad. However, with the rumblings coming out of camp that Ajayi has improved his pass-catching abilities, and the fact that Damian Williams didn’t do that much better, he can take over that job. Adam Gase wants to have a RB to rely on as a workhorse, and we’ve seen that throughout his coaching career. With Ajayi working on that part of his game, I think the coaching staff will at least give him the opportunity.
Michael Thomas – Hop on
Like Ajayi, Michael Thomas is being drafted with the elite of his position. He caught 92 balls for 1,137 yards and 9 TDs. Thomas was Brees’ favorite target last year, especially around the end zone. He basically took the Marques Colston role, which has been productive for years. He was almost free in drafts last year, and now he’s going in the 2nd round. That’s a big jump, so the question of whether he will maintain those numbers is a legitimate one. The big argument against Thomas is that Brandin Cooks is gone, and there’s no one to take the pressure off of Thomas. In turn, he will now be facing elite corner talent and might not be able to hold up to that pressure and perform.
Drew Brees can hit anyone on a dime. Cooks was extremely fast, and Brees would hit him in the money on those go routes. Another guy coming in this year can also run those go routes, and his name is Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn isn’t as talented as Cooks, but he can take the top off a defense. Defenses have to be concerned with Ginn, and they will play their safeties back to account for that speed. Because of that, all of the attention cannot be on Thomas. They have another receiver named Willie Snead who is also very capable and caught 72 balls himself last year. Michael Thomas has superb route running skills, and will remain Brees’ favorite target. Any favorite target of Brees who has the talent of Thomas belongs in that upper echelon of receivers.
Terrelle Pryor – Hop off
I’m not buying it. Desean Jackson is a generational type player. There aren’t too many receivers that come along that consistently take the top off defenses like he can. When he’s on the field, the offense becomes a more efficient one. Terrelle Pryor has had one good season at wide receiver, and barely hit 1000 yards on 77 catches. The argument to be made for him is that he has a better QB in Kirk Cousins, but this better QB might want to throw it to his better wide receivers who are more experienced at the position. The Browns didn’t have any talent at the wide receiver position most of the year, so I don’t blame them for throwing it up to their 6’4″ receiver to go get it. I do expect Pryor to get a bunch of targets in this offense, but I don’t think it’s going to be what people think. The offense still runs through Jordan Reed, and Crowder and Doctston are going to be a big part of the offense as well. It’s going to take time for an experienced Cousins to gain rapport with an inexperienced Pryor. I would love to have Pryor on my team because of his deep threat ability and his opportunity might be pretty good in this offense, but I can’t take him in the middle of the 3rd round. Give me Landry, Davante Adams, Sammy Watkins, Crabtree, Edelman, and Martavis over him. I can keep going. Tate, Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, even Crowder. The Redskins signed him to a 1 year deal, and the fact that he couldn’t get a longer term deal with any team should be as interesting and telling to you as it is to me. There is just too much unknown there, so I’m hopping off this train.
Tyreek Hill – Hop off
See what I wrote about Tyreek Hill here. Let me add to it. He’s going in the 4th round, and that’s WAY too high for me. Tyreek is a straight up playmaker, but in this offense, we can’t expect 4th round production. I rather take all of those guys I mentioned up in the Terrelle Pryor section than Tyreek. This passing offense is capped because of Alex Smith’s inability to get the ball downfield. Andy Reid does know how to use his playmakers, but he’s done so with his running backs on this team. With wide receivers, he needs a different QB for that to happen. Teams now have some film on Hill, and now that Maclin’s gone, they will be keying in on him and he won’t be able to make the same types of plays as much. There’s no doubt that he’s going to have some incredible games that could win you a week, but he will have some duds that could lose you a week. I’m not a fan of boom/bust guys, so I’m off this train, especially at that ADP.
Isaiah Crowell – Hop on
I think I mention Crowell in every one of my articles. See what I think about him here. His ADP is rising, but I think he’s still in the right spot, and I’m willing to draft him there in the third round. He’s not going ahead of anyone who has a secure early down role on their team, except Christian McCaffrey, assuming that his draft capital puts him in that position.