The 10 spot: Jason Smith mock draft recap

So after the first of what will be many this season, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with how my first mock draft of 2012 turned out. Here’s some of the highlights …

I picked on the button of a 10-team league (10th and 11th). That spot can either be great or a burden. It all depends on how the picks fall in front of you and how many chances owners take by reaching for players. My first two picks were Cam Newton and Chris Johnson. I had hoped Ryan Mathews would be available but he was taken eighth. So my choice was between CJ2K or Maurice Jones-Drew (and C3PO and R2D2). I am always partial to the player on the upswing or in a bounce-back situation, hence Johnson — and well, the possible MJD holdout was a little scary …

It was fun watching Michael Fabiano squirm when he was forced to take Adrian Peterson in the third round. Hey, at least he’s been consistent in saying he wouldn’t take him in the first two rounds — so he’s consistent  — but I know he didn’t like it …

Peyton Manning went in the fifth round, which is what I expected — for now. When the drafts come for real in August and September, everyone will have seen a fully healthy Manning spraying the ball all over the field and he’ll jump to the second round …

I thought I could wait on Eric Decker, who I think will wind up with the better fantasy season than Demaryius Thomas. Decker’s a better route runner, which Peyton Manning likes, and Manning wanted the Colts to draft him a couple of years ago. But if I didn’t get him in round six,  I wasn’t going to get him. I was hoping to wait until the eighth round, but it wasn’t happening …

Torrey Smith and Mark Ingram were my seventh and eighth rounders. Again, I love the upswing possibilities. Smith is going to be the number one receiver in Baltimore and has huge breakout potential. I know that as long as Ingram’s healthy, he’s going to finally break through. These were probably the picks that were the most satisfying to me — until the next round …

James Starks came off the board for me in the ninth round, and Greg Little in the 10th. Seriously, I felt fortunate as if someone bought be a free ice cream cone. I know the Green Bay Packers don’t run the ball, but when they do, Starks is the only guy there (I sort of sounded like The Most Interesting Man In The World just now). He has breakout potential, as well as Greg Little, who was within 20 points of A.J. Green’s total last season. Green went in the first five rounds, but Little remained because no one likes the Browns. I think Little was the steal of the draft this late …

My backup quarterback spot went to Josh Freeman. It was nip and tuck with Carson Palmer. I had one angel on my shoulder saying “If Cam bombs, you want a solid guy in his place,” and the other angel saying “Freeman could be a huge sleeper this season.” In the end, the potential for bigger points won out — that and the fact that I think the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be in more shootouts than the Oakland Raiders …

Jason Smith hosts “NFL Fantasy Live” on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca and listen to his “Cover 2″ podcast with Steve Wyche every week on NFL.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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