The Clipboard: Quick player notes for draft weekend

Todd Gurley, right, spent most of his summer wearing a hat, not a helmet. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Todd Gurley, right, spent most of his summer wearing a hat, not a helmet. (Harry How/Getty Images)

It’s the final draft weekend, an enormous weekend. No time for long stories. Here are the quick hitters you need.

• Hard pass on Todd Gurley. He’s the oldest 25-year-old in the league, given what his body has been through. No team ever has incentive to inform us or tell us the truth, but we specifically know the Rams will not help us.

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• The Bucs need to keep Jameis Winston protected and healthy — too many sacks in the preseason — but otherwise, I am all in on this passing game. Bad defense. Spotty backfield. Three super-talented receiving options (I have shares of all of them). And Winston might never be great, but he’s good enough. More importantly, he’s not afraid to push the ball downfield, even with a few loose throws now and then.

• If I had Josh Gordon right now, I’d be trying to move him. Root with your heart, all you can. But someone in your league might be shopping with an empty stomach.

Antonio Brown, all you. Wrong part of his career. He’s moving to a lesser QB, and he’s had very little time to work with Derek Carr. How will Brown react if the Raiders start 1-4 or 0-5? He never knew how good things were in Pittsburgh.

• I don’t have much faith in Carlos Hyde or LeSean McCoy. I’m not moving Duke Johnson down.

• I never moved Ezekiel Elliott lower than RB4. And with today’s thawing in the news, I’m keeping him in the same area. If you own Zeke and now the Tony Pollard owner wants to talk trade, keep in mind the leverage has shifted; if you don’t get a cushy price, walk away.

• I can see both sides of the Arizona offense story. Yes, they’re obviously holding stuff back. But no, Kliff Kingsbury was not a successful college coach (even with Patrick Mahomes, for crying out loud). Why did Arizona bother signing Michael Crabtree? He doesn’t even know the offense that well — the team has conceded, there’s a learning curve. The young wideouts need to play, and there are so many of them, I’m worried about getting my investment back. I was paying the Christian Kirk freight early; later in draft season, I shifted to KeeSean Johnson as a penny stock.

Someone usually wants to take Kyler Murray proactively. That’s never me. If he hits, he hits. There are so many other quarterbacks I’m more comfortable with.

• Julian Edelman steps into his age-33 season and doesn’t have a touchdown profile. He joined the league in 2009 and has played two full seasons since. He’s been overpriced all summer.

• You can buy Austin Hooper at his floor, but his career arc (enters Year 4, has improved every year) and two-point resume suggest there’s a little bit of upside here.

• The Curtis Samuel correction might be an overcorrection now. I was recently in an auction where Samuel and D.J. Moore went for the same price (Moore to me) and in both instances, the room had money. Scoop that Moore discount up.

• Give me all the James Conner.

• Tarik Cohen can play and can get us what we want, but the Bears felt they overexposed him last year, and now they have a usage tree that’s more congested than the Dan Ryan Expressway at 5 pm.

• You might dare Joe Mixon to beat Cincinnati’s lousy setup, but he did that last year. I don’t buy the scuttlebutt that Gio Bernard will see a major uptick in usage. Teams love to promote their secondary options before the season; when games start, it’s much easier to rely on your most talented players. And it’s not like Bernard is a new or emerging player; the Bengals already know what they have here.

• You can be afraid of Kareem Hunt if you want. I’ll keep drafting Nick Chubb.

• The Michael Gallup bandwagon is crowded, but save me a seat.

• Keep talking up Rashaad Penny. Keep leaving me Chris Carson in the fourth round.

• I love when a player can regress a modest amount and still turn a profit. That’s the Tyler Lockett frame. Easy endorsement.

• I like Kerryon Johnson, I don’t trust the Lions. Not that all of our takes have to be fine-point takes, but if you want me to lean one way, I lean out.

• You can draft a quarterback at any price point and do well. It’s the position you need to spend the least amount of time on. My three most common vanity QBs, in no particular order: Cam Newton, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan. And plenty of cheaper options make sense, too.

• Occasionally I hear someone talk down Davante Adams and it puzzles me. He scores touchdowns for a very specific reason, and it’s not just Aaron Rodgers. Heck, Rodgers didn’t even play that well last year and Adams still went bonkers. Adams is a technician that wins in tight spaces. That’s how you keep spiking the football.

• Jacoby Brissett obviously isn’t Andrew Luck, but I still think the Colts will be solid in a 9-7 kind of way. I made Indy ranking adjustments, but they weren’t seismic adjustments. Brissett has been in the building, he’s had first-team reps, and unlike 2017, he now has high-level coaching.

• Jared Goff is the easiest par at quarterback, and he could be a birdie — heck, an eagle — if Cooper Kupp makes a strong return. But again, there are so many right answers at quarterback. Dak Prescott is another one.

• Why do people keep talking themselves into Jordan Reed? Even in 13 games last year, he was merely TE17. And you can’t bet on 13 games to begin with.

• No matter who wins in the Miami backfield, we’re all likely to lose. Attack this team with your DST as often as you can. And while you’re considering the early-season DST schedules, look at the Dallas set of cupcakes. (I also like Baltimore and Cleveland early, or Philly as a one-week, get Washington rental.)

• Zach Ertz is one of my all-time favorites, but that congested roster could cost him 20-35 targets. I can’t pay the ADP freight. Wentz by far is my target here.

• It’s getting closer in ADP, but I’m still taking Matt Breida over Tevin Coleman, every time.

• I’m happy for Emmanuel Sanders but I’m not betting on it. Age and Joe Flacco; thank you, next.

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