Once you reach adulthood Christmas is more about the joy you can bring others than it is about finding a new bike under the tree.
Luckily, NFL fans get to enjoy that bike-finding thrill every April during the NFL Draft. For fantasy fans, every year a pile of fresh blood is injected into the skill player ranks of the NFL, and a few of them will make an impact.
Many early 2010 mock drafts have only 7-9 fantasy-relevant rookies being selected in the spectacle that is the opening round.
There were 11 skill players mentioned in six first-round mocks I reviewed from ESPN, NFL Draft Dog, Walter Football and Draft Countdown, in order from most likely to be picked early to least likely to be picked in the first round:
Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma — Bradford was in all early mock drafts and made an appearance in at least one top-5.
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma — Only one list didn’t think Bryant would be the top WR taken. Every one had Bryant on them.
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame — He wasn’t on every list, but Claussen was projected as a top-5 pick by at least two sites. Walter Football had him being selected first overall by the Rams.
CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson — The first running back listed at most sites. He was in the top-15 on most sites.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma — Gresham was the consensus top TE, but not unanimously. He was the second of two first-round TEs on one mock draft.
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame — Tate was on most every list and rated second only to Bryant on most of them.
Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois — Flip-flopped with Tate as the No. 2 receiver on some lists, but was also absent from at least one.
Jahvid Best, RB, California — Didn’t make every list, but was on four of them, usually going to the Chargers at No. 28.
Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida — Mel Kiper has Hernandez getting picked ahead of Gresham in one of his early mocks.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State — The most likely oddball pick of the lot. Draft Countdown replaced Best with Matthews on their list — and had him going to the Chargers. Draft Countdown also expects Tim Tebow to be picked in the first round, so proceed with caution.
Tim Tebow, QB (athlete?), Florida — Tebow is an unlikely first-round pick, but Draft Countdown has him going to the Patriots in the bottom third of the first round.
Obviously, we’ll have more on these players and many others after the NFL Scouting Combine, Feb. 24-March 2.
What 2010 NFL Rookies interest you? Let us know in the comments.