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Round 3 Fantasy Analysis

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, just eight skill position players were selected and none seemed to be immediate, sure-fire, fantasy stars in their rookie season.

And as we progressed through the rounds, there were less and less opportunities for the guys to become a fantasy factor, at least in their first season because they are less likely to get the chance to start from Week 1 of the regular season.

The teams looked a little bit more towards the offense in Round 2 with 17 offensive players selected and 12 of those at a skill position.

Round 3 took a turn for the defense with just seven skill players and three offensive lineman versus 22 defenders.

Let's go over the seven.

First off the board in the third round was Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray. Murray is talented, but a bit injury-prone. Still, the selection of a running back this high has to worry Marion Barber III, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.

Barber is most likely gone and given what he has shown over the past two seasons, won't find a home where he'll be a fantasy factor, at least barring injuries.

Jones, owner Jerry Jones' favorite, should be the solid No.1 running back, but given his injury history will need to be handcuffed to whomever wins the backup battle between Choice and Murray.

New England then took two offensive players back-to-back at picks No.73 and 74. Stevan Ridley, the running back from LSU and troubled quarterback Ryan Mallett should make the Patriots roster, but not have much of a fantasy value in year one.

Mallett, of course, will help the team by holding the clipboard for All-Pro Tom Brady. Ridley will join a crowded backfield along with second-round choice Shane Vereen and a head coach who likes to use all his backs. Since Brady figures to throw 500 times, that leaves around 400 plays for BenJarvis Green- Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Vereen, Ridley and who knows who else.

If Sam Bradford was looking for a big receiver to target in 2011-12, the Rams found one for him in third rounder Austin Pettis out of Boise State. The 6'3" Pettis was a four-year contributor to a powerful Broncos offense and finished his career with 229 receptions for 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns. He's not a speed guy, but could develop into a great red-zone target. Assuming Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton are healthy, Pettis won't put huge numbers up in his first season.

The Washington Redskins selected talented Leonard Hankerson of Miami with the No.79 pick. With Santana Moss a free agent (though he says he wants to return to Washington), the best pass catchers on this team are tight ends Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. Hankerson could certainly help, though he did drop more than his share at Miami. If Moss actually leaves, Hankerson could have value, but don't bet the house on it.

The Chargers had plenty of problems at the wideout spot in 2010 due to injury and contract problems, so it's no surprise they drafted a receiver. Local product Vincent Brown, from San Diego State, could have plenty of value if the team doesn't re-sign Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd. They already declined to tender Legedu Naanee. This is one to watch closely throughout training camp, because with Philip Rivers at quarterback any receiver in the top three on the depth chart has value.

Finally the New York Giants drafted wideout Jerrel Jernigan from Troy at No.83. If Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are healthy, Jernigan figures to fight for the fourth spot. He'll also be a kick returner, but that won't get him enough touches to have any fantasy value.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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