1. Oakland Raiders – JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Al Davis probably wanted to pull the trigger on Calvin Johnson, but in the end he could not pass up on the best quarterback in the draft. Russell will give the Raiders a QB that can make any throw no matter where he is in or out of the pocket. Russell should start for the Raiders from day one.
Fantasy perspective: In a keeper league, Russell will be worth taking in the middle of the draft. He has the physical tools to succeed quickly in the NFL, but if the Raiders do not surround him with talent — especially on the offensive line — he could be in for a beating.
2. Detroit Lions – Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
Matt Millen is sure to take a lot of heat for this pick, but CJ is the best talent by far in this draft. If Millen is ever to take the can’t-miss wide receiver, Johnson is that guy. He played with a terrible quarterback in college and dominated. He will play with a declining Jon Kitna in Detroit, but he still should dominate. Calvin Johnson on one side, Roy Williams on the other … Mike Martz surely is salivating.
Fantasy perspective: Calvin Johnson should start right away for the Lions. Jon Kitna’s stock rises with the addition of CJ. Roy Williams’ stock also might rise given teams would not be able to double him with CJ on the other side of the line.
3. Cleveland Browns – Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
It is no secret Brady Quinn would love to play for the Browns as he has made that clear all spring. Cleveland has so many holes to fill on both offense and defense, it is hard to argue with any selection they make in this spot. Quinn becomes the face of the franchise, and if the Browns can build around him, he could be the QB they have sorely missed all these years.
Fantasy perspective: Quinn might be worth a late-round look in a keeper league. He probably has little-to-no fantasy value next season, as the Browns’ offense figures to struggle. Quinn may not even start his first year as a Brown with Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson ahead of him on the depth chart.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
The Bucs want Calvin Johnson, but if he is not available at four (or if the Bucs are unable to move up to grab him) Gaines Adams would be the guy. Adams is the start of a much-needed youth movement in the Bucs aging defense. John Gruden would be more than happy to take Adams and play him opposite of Simeon Rice. With Rice getting most of the double teams, Adams should get plenty of opportunities to get to the quarterback.
Fantasy perspective: Adams should be a good pass-rushing end for the Buccaneers, but his fantasy impact will be limited unless an owner plays in a league that drafts individual defensive players (IDPs). He could be a good keeper in an IDP league.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Edgerrin James and Matt Leinart rejoice! Joe Thomas is by far the best offensive lineman in the draft and is projected to be a starting tackle from day one. He will pave the way for James and protect Leinart’s blind side if they play him at right tackle. Thomas would provide a much-needed boost to the Arizona offensive line.
Fantasy perspective: Thomas has no fantasy value because he is a left tackle. But he does help the fantasy value of Leinart and James.
6. Washington Redskins – LaRon Landry, S, LSU
Landry solidified his place as the best defensive back in this draft with his combine results. Washington needs help everywhere on defense, but the thought of Landry and Sean Taylor all over the field is just plain scary. The two easily become the hardest hitting tandem in the league.
Fantasy perspective: Other than helping the Washington defense with turnovers, Landry does not have much individual fantasy value. He may be valuable in a deep IDP league, especially in a keeper league.
7. Minnesota Vikings – Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Minnesota would be more than happy to see Peterson slip this far on draft day. He would be a true steal at this position according to most NFL scouts. Chester Taylor had a good season for the Vikings last year, but more and more teams are going with the two-back method these days, and Peterson would give the Vikings a much-needed home run threat on offense.
Fantasy perspective: Peterson will carry a ton of value as the No. 1 running-back in this draft. Peterson probably would assume a role much like Reggie Bush did in New Orleans last year in Minnesota as he splits time with Taylor. Peterson is very valuable in a keeper league as a guy who is projected to be a stud starting running-back in the NFL, barring injury.
8. Atlanta Falcons – Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
It is no secret Atlanta needs help on defense. Branch would give the Falcons a much-needed run-stopper in the middle of the defense and would help upgrade the Falcons defense immediately.
Fantasy perspective: Other than upgrading Atlanta’s defense, Branch holds little-to-no individual fantasy value.
9. Miami Dolphins – Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
Okoye is 19-years-old and widely regarded as the defensive prospect with the most potential. He has both mental and physical fortitude and will provide a potential-laden talent to the Miami defensive line.
Fantasy perspective: Similar to Branch, defensive tackles rarely have much individual fantasy value. Okoye is worth watching, however, especially for his impact on the Dolphins overall defense.
10. Houston Texans – Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
It is hard for the Texans to mess up the draft again, so Levi Brown makes sense for Houston. The Texans’ offensive line woes over the last few seasons have been well documented, which is why Brown would be a good fit — but the Texans do have a history of blundering on draft day, so this is no guarantee.
Fantasy perspective: Brown would be the best blocker on the Houston offensive line and might protect new quarterback Matt Shaub long enough for him to have a significant fantasy impact.
11. San Francisco 49ers – Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
The 49ers opened up the checkbook this spring during free agency, but most of that money went to the defensive side of the ball. Now the Niners can target some offense and who better to snag than the explosive Tedd Ginn, Jr. Ginn would provide an immediate impact on special teams and give Alex Smith a true home-run threat.
Fantasy perspective: Ginn certainly is a far cry from Calvin Johnson, but his explosiveness is something to consider. He will have an immediate impact as a kick returner and could slip into the 49ers’ starting lineup by season’s end. He is a good value in keeper leagues, and a late sleeper in a redraft league.
12. Buffalo Bills – Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi
Now that the diaspora from Buffalo has been reduced to a trickle, the Bills can start adding players again. This team has two glaring holes — linebacker and running-back. Willis is the best prospect available at No. 12 and rates higher than any of the remaining running-backs available.
Fantasy perspective: Willis will start immediately with little competition. He could go fairly early in an IDP league as he will have an immediate impact and should make lots of tackles this season.
13. St. Louis Rams – Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
St. Louis needs to address its defense this off-season, and adding a strong defensive end from the SEC is a good place to start.
Fantasy perspective: None.
14. Carolina Panthers – Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
Olsen had a great combine and earned a mid-first round selection in the 2007 draft. Carolina is a team that certainly can use his talents. Olsen should see plenty of opportunities to thrive in Carolina with Steve Smith opening things up on the outside.
Fantasy perspective: Olsen should start at tight end for Carolina, and could make an interesting sleeper pick in a redraft league.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
Pittsburgh’s defense was less menacing last season and it will not surprise anyone if the Steelers address the D in the draft. Carriker is ranked a little higher on some mock drafts and the Steelers would gladly snatch him up should he fall this far.
Fantasy perspective: None.
16. Green Bay Packers – Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
The second running-back off the board, Lynch steps into a situation where he can compete for the starting job. He is a gifted back and the only other first-round talent in this year’s crop. Green Bay desperately needs a runner, so Lynch fits the bill.
Fantasy perspective: If Lynch can wrestle the starting gig from Vernand Morency and Noah Herron, he could play a significant fantasy role as a rookie. In a keeper league, Lynch is worth a mid- to late-round pick as he should assume the starting role in the coming years.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars – Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
Hall is considered by many the most polished of all the corner-backs in the draft and the Jags would be glad to add him to the defensive arsenal. Any help Jacksonville can get in battling Peyton Manning and Co. twice a year is worth adding. Hall should compete for a starting gig, and at least will play nickel in his rookie season.
Fantasy perspective: Hall is young, talented, and probably the most prepared of all the corner-backs in the draft. He has little value in anything but a keeper IDP league, where he could be a late-round steal.
18. Cincinnati Bengals – Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State
There are so many question marks with this team, but defense clearly needs to be the focus of this draft. Timmons is projected by many among the top-3 linebackers of this draft and would fit well in Marvin Lewis’ system. If he can stay out of trouble in Cincinnati, he could end up being a decent starter for this defense and a good upgrade to the existing LB corps.
Fantasy perspective: If Timmons can wrestle a starting position from one of Cincinnati’s incumbent linebackers, he could be worth a mid- to late-round draft pick in an IDP league. He carries a little more value in a keeper IDP league as someone with good long-term potential.
19. Tennessee Titans – Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
Based on potential, speed and explosiveness, Meachem-to-Tennessee makes a lot of sense here. The Titans need help at other positions, particularly running-back, but Meachem is best available skill position prospect on the Titans’ draft board. Vince Young certainly will approve.
Fantasy perspective: If Meachem and Young form a good rapport, it could be one of the better young quarterback-wide receiver tandems in the NFL. Meachem deserves a look in keeper leagues and could be a quality sleeper in a redraft league if he develops some chemistry with VY.
20. New York Giants – Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
The Giants defense needs help in the secondary and Revis is a highly-touted prospect who could compete for a starting job in New York.
Fantasy perspective: Little-to-none next season except in an IDP keeper league.
21. Denver Broncos – Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
The Broncos already have one of the most feared secondaries in the league with Champ Bailey, Dre Bly and John Lynch manning the open field. In Nelson they get another play-maker who was a ball-hawk and heavy hitter at Florida. Nelson also could help take some of the pressure off Lynch, who is getting up there in age.
Fantasy perspective: Nelson would be worth a look in an IDP league, especially a keeper league. In redraft leagues, the Broncos defense would move up in most rankings as Nelson would help generate more turnovers.
22. Dallas Cowboys – Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
The Cowboys are looking to add some youth to the wide receiver position, as both Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are reaching their mid-30s. Jarrett is big, tall and strong and destined to become a good possession receiver in the NFL … as long as he does not follow down the path of Mike Williams.
Fantasy perspective: Jarrett makes sense in a keeper league. If he moves into the No. 3 wide receiver spot next year, he could be a late-round steal in a redraft.
23. Kansas City Chiefs – Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
The Chiefs desperately need help at wide receiver. Bowe is the best available option here and a guy who has really improved his stock this spring. He is not the fastest guy in the world but he is a great route-runner and catches everything in sight. If Trent Green stays in KC, he will be more than happy to throw passes in Bowe’s direction this season.
Fantasy perspective: Bowe could become Kansas City’s No. 1 wide receiver this season if given the chance to compete. He is very valuable in a keeper league and worth a mid- to late- round selection in a redraft.
24. New England Patriots – Michael Griffin, S, Texas
New England spent a bunch of money this spring in free agency, improving both sides of the ball. They should be OK on offense and likely will use their two first-round picks on defensive talent. Michael Griffin gives the Pats a young safety who can learn the ropes from Rodney Harrison.
Fantasy perspective: Little-to-none, though he possesses to capability to improve the Pats’ defense this season.
25. New York Jets – Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
The Jets need to keep up with the teams in the AFC East and will go defensive to accomplish this goal. Ross is considered one of the top-5 corner-backs in this draft, but also carries some value as an explosive returner.
Fantasy perspective: He could start this season, but he may be a year off. If he earns a spot as a return specialist it would help his fantasy value.
26. Philadelphia Eagles – Jon Beason, LB, Miami
Philly needs a play-maker on defense and Jon Beason comes from the U, which has produced some great defensive products in the last few years. Beason will capitalize on Miami’s reputation for producing quality NFL talent, and the Eagles will be glad to run him at the likes of Tony Romo, Eli Manning and Jason Campbell twice a year.
Fantasy perspective: Beason is a linebacker, making him someone to watch in a keeper IDP league.
27. New Orleans Saints – Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas
It was glaringly obvious in the NFC Championship last year that the Saints needed help at corner-back. If the Saints add Jason David of Indianapolis, Houston would not be called upon to start in his rookie season. He likely would see time in the nickel spot next year, which will allow him to learn the ropes before being thrown into the fire.
Fantasy perspective: Houston will improve a much-maligned Saints secondary, which bodes well for the team’s overall defensive performance. He probably is a year or two away from being a starter in the NFL, unless the Saints do not land David in free agency.
28. New England Patriots – Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida
Defense wins championship … and a defense with Adalius Thomas and Jarvis Moss spells disaster for New England’s opponents. Moss is a freakish athlete with a lot of raw potential. If he lives up to that potential, Thomas and Moss could be one of the sickest defensive duos in the NFL.
Fantasy perspective: It depends on how the Patriots use him. It would be worth watching in training camp.
29. Baltimore Ravens – Joe Staley, OL, Central Michigan
Willis McGahee surely would approve of this pick. Staley may have improved his stock more than any other player in this draft, solidifying his spot as a late-first or early-second round guy.
Fantasy perspective: None individually, but McGahee owners would approve of his addition to Baltimore’s O-Line.
30. San Diego Chargers – Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
Wide receiver is one of the only holes on the San Diego roster. The Chargers are hoping for Dwayne Bowe to be available at No. 30, but with Bowe’s combine and pro day performances that now is unlikely. Rice is as good an option here than any of the remaining receivers, and has the size and speed to excel in the NFL. Or is he just another product of Steve Spurrier’s system?
Fantasy perspective: Rice has the potential to be a starting wide receiver in the NFL. He would benefit on San Diego’s roster as the team has a very established and successful offense.
31. Chicago Bears – Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
With the on-going Lance Briggs drama, the Bears need to solidify the line-backing corps. Posluszny is projected as a mid-first round pick and the Bears would be more than delighted to see him fall this far.
Fantasy perspective: Posluszny seems like the prototypical Chicago Bears linebacker, and if Briggs moves on or sits out this year, Posluszny would be a prime candidate to fill Briggs’ shoes. He could carry significant fantasy value in a keeper IDP league.
32. Indianapolis Colts – Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning and the Colts finally won the Super Bowl, and now they have to rebuild all over again. The Colts lost several players via free agency, with the defense taking a big hit. Harrell is a good talent with a lot of upside and would make a good run-stuffing addition to the defensive line.
Fantasy perspective: Not much, other than slightly upgrading the Colts’ run defense.
Marc Budyach and Aaron Kadkhodai contributed to this story.