Last updated: August 24. 2013 11:36PM - 1874 Views
RICH SHEPOSH rsheposh@timesleader.com

By the end of the year, Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will be reminding folks of C.J. Spiller and Jamaal Charles.
By the end of the year, Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will be reminding folks of C.J. Spiller and Jamaal Charles.
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Wouldn’t it be great if your great-great-great grandson invented a time machine? And, out of the goodness of his heart, he came back and gave it to you?

You could gas up the tank with 1.21 gigawatts of unleaded and head back to play those Powerball numbers a week before anyone else. Or invest in Google at the ground floor.

Or avoid that second shot of Jack Daniels that one night in ’89, and not end up in that Poughkeepsie motel room with Regis Philbin’s pants on your head. (If, theoretically that ever happened …)

Or, maybe you’d draft Adrian Peterson at pick 12 last year.

Alas, reality has conspired with physics to make time travel impossible. You didn’t win the lottery, you don’t have a parking spot at Google HQ, your mug shot still hangs up in the Dutchess County Police Station and you will always regret taking Chris Johnson at the turn.

But suppose, just suppose, your future self could skirt the laws of reality and find a way to send you this year’s draft guide before last year’s draft. Or, better yet, the 2014 version before this year’s draft. You’d be able to do some serious damage with that knowledge.

And what would next year’s Top 10 look like if you got a hold of it today? A little like this …

1: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: You were expecting someone different? It’s very tempting to have an up-and-coming back steal his crown, but if we learned anything from Peterson’s recovery from 2012 ACL surgery, it’s that he’s not human. Take the over on 1,500 yards and 12 TDS and don’t look back.
2: C.J.Spiller, RB, Bills: His 1,703 total yards and eight TDs were good enough for seventh among fantasy RBs in 2012 – And he only started nine games. With a full season as starter in 2013 those numbers figure to be upwards of 2,000 total yards and 12 plus touchdowns. Them’s good numbers, folks.
3: Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Kansas City finished 2-14 last year and somehow managed to send six players to the Pro Bowl. How does that happen? It means the team was more talented than its record. Add Andy Reid as head coach and you have the makings of a nice surprise in K.C. Remember how good Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy were in Reid’s offense in Philly. Well, Charles is a BETTER back than those guys.
4: Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Forte makes a big jump here based on the new coach Marc Trestman’s offensive style. If you are a RB and can catch, Trestman likes to get you the ball – a LOT. He was coordinator for the 49ers in 1995 when Derek Loville had 13 total TDs and 87 receptions. With with the Raiders in 2002, he helped Charlie Garner to 2,000 total yards and 11 TDs. And Forte is one of the NFL’s better pass-catching backs.
5: Trent Richardson, RB, Browns: Little known fact: Among RBs with at least 200 carries in 2012, Richardson finished third with 51 receptions. He was also one of eight RBs with 10 or more TDs. Cleveland may actually have a decent offense for a change and if Richardson stays healthy in 2013, that will propel him into the top of the 2014 draft board. Here’s betting he stays upright.
6: Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Watch the Lions for five minutes in preseason and you call tell that this team has no idea what a running game is. The only running they do is after the receiver catches the ball. Not surprising since they have a QB who chucks it around like an old San Diego State-BYU game from the late 1980s. This is a recipe for a record-setting year for “Megatron.”
7: LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: The good news: He clocks in at the seventh spot on next year’s countdown. The bad news: He should have been higher. Many pundits, prognosticators and prestidigitators think new Eagle coach Chip Kelly will be able to take his Oregon offense and work wonders in the NFL. And he just might. But the track record of college coaches moving to the big time shows a first-year learning curve. Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll had great PAC-10 offenses but took some time to get things rolling in the NFL. Look for McCoy to be really good and a hair short of great.
8: Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals: Four or five weeks into the season, this pick won’t look very smart. Bernard will be splitting time with hyphen hoarder Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis. By the end of the year, you will understand. Bernard is a Charles/Spiller/Forte kind of back who will eventually become a prime weapon in the running and passing games for the Bengals.
9: Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: When you look at 2012 year-end stats, you’ll see Martin’s name sitting at No. 2 among RBs. When you break down the season, however, you’ll see had almost 471 of his 1,458 yards and 6 of his 11 TDs came in a three-game midseason explosion. The rest of the year, he was remarkably better than average. He’s good, he’s just not top 5 good.
10: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers: Take the Giovani Bernard blurb at No. 8 and just sub in Bell ’s name. He’s hurt now and will start the season on the bench and sharing carries until he’s healthy. But Pittsburgh drafted him to be “The Man” in the backfield and by the end of the year he will have the job all to himself. He’s not as speedy as some of the other top guys, but he will be used in the passing game and that only increases his value.

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