There's no shortage of draftable rookies from the offensive skill players who had their names called in April. With so many options available, Athlon Sports is here to help you break down this crop of talented rookies in terms of fantasy potential, both for 2012 and beyond.
1. Trent Richardson, 5-9, 228, Alabama
Drafted by: Cleveland in the 1st Round, No. 3 overall
Richardson easily was the best all-around back in the draft and should be in position to record 200-250 carries in 2012. He brings a good blend of power and speed, which will be valuable in a division in which weather is a factor late in the year. Richardson should be the No. 1 rookie off draft boards this year and has RB1 potential.
2. Doug Martin, 5-9, 223, Boise State
Drafted by: Tampa Bay in the 1st Round, No. 31 overall
New Bucs coach Greg Schiano wants to build his offense around the rushing attack. LeGarrette Blount has 1,788 yards combined in the last two years, but Martin is expected to emerge as Tampa Bay’s feature back. Martin isn’t flashy, but he brings power and deceptive speed. Expect the Boise State product to lead the team in rushing this season.
3. David Wilson, 5-10, 206, Virginia Tech
Drafted by: New York Giants in the 1st Round, No. 32 overall
Brandon Jacobs is gone, and Ahmad Bradshaw has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. Wilson is expected to serve as Bradshaw’s backup this year, but he brings some much-needed speed and explosiveness to the backfield.
4. Isaiah Pead, 5-10, 197, Cincinnati
Drafted by: St. Louis in the 2nd Round, No. 50 overall
Steven Jackson is one of the league’s most dependable backs, but the Rams have neglected to address the depth behind him. Pead won’t log 20-25 carries per game, but he should be a change-of-pace option while contributing on passing downs and special teams. If you draft Jackson, be sure to swipe Pead as insurance.
5. LaMichael James, 5-8, 194, Oregon
Drafted by: San Francisco in the 2nd Round, No. 61 overall
James, a big-play machine while at Oregon, won’t be an every-down back, but look for the 49ers to use him in a variety of ways to save Frank Gore some wear and tear.
6. Bernard Pierce, 6-0, 218, Temple
Drafted by: Baltimore in the 3rd Round, No. 84 overall
Pierce was a workhorse at Temple, recording 663 carries over three seasons. With no backup for Ray Rice on the roster, Pierce should serve as Baltimore’s No. 2 back.
7. Ronnie Hillman, 5-9, 200, San Diego State
Drafted by: Denver in the 3rd Round, No. 67 overall
8. Chris Rainey, 5-8, 180, Florida
Drafted by: Pittsburgh in the 5th Round, No. 159 overall
9. Robert Turbin, 5-10, 222, Utah State
Drafted by: Seattle in the 4th Round, No. 106 overall
10. Lamar Miller, 5-11, 212, Miami (Fla.)
Drafted by: Miami in the 4th Round, No. 97 overall
— Originally published in the 2012 Athlon Sports NFL Fantasy Football preview magazine
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