The 2012 Rookie IDP’s you want to add to your Dynasty squad
This upcoming season for IDP’s is an interesting one. For the first time in a couple years, there is no clear cut, can’t miss prospect that everyone knows is going off the board as the first rookie IDP. Many have made the argument Luke Kuechly should be that guy; but depending on the need of your Dynasty team; he may not be the guy you want to target right away. I see this year as being the year of “need”. Many employ the strategy to draft the best player available regardless of need, but because of the lack of standouts in this year’s draft class, this may be a year to gamble and draft a couple projects (if you have the bench room) that may bloom during their rookie or 2nd season. Again this class is highlighted by a number of linebackers who have the potential at some point to be your 2nd or 3rd starting linebackers (LB2’s or LB3’s as we like to call them) and a couple DL2/3’s and a couple DB’s. I am going to split this analysis up by position and let you decide, based on the content, who are the Beasts that you want to add to your Dynasty squad.
Luke Kuechly, LB (MILB-WLB?), Carolina Panthers: This kid is the definition of Beast. Yes, he will be competing with Beason in year one for fantasy production but Beason will not be able to hold him off for long. He has the ceiling of LB1 and was an absolute tackling monster in college racking up 190 take-downs his senior season at B.C. en route to winning the Lombardi trophy. He has been stellar in the pre-season so far racking up 10 tackles in game three against the Jets. So if you need to win now, draft him with confidence because he will be the highest producing rookie IDP of this class.
Lavonte David, LB (MILB), Tampa Bay Bucs: Man do I love this kid as a prospect. He ran a blazing 4.65 40 at the combine. He has amazing athleticism and instincts. He is a little undersized at 233 LBs but that’s what I love about him, he hasn’t peaked yet and can add to his frame. Some are projecting him to win the MLB position and that Mason Foster will be moved to weak side at the start of the season. If this holds true, those who took a gamble on him in their drafts will be loving life for the tackling opportunity. If he stays weak side, consider him a project as he may not be a 3 down LB right away. Either way, if you need LB depth, this kid is a Beast and could be the steal of this draft.
Mychal Kendricks LB, (WSLB), Philadelphia Eagles: Another undersized ILB who is all heart and coaches fall in love with. One thing coaches say about him is that it is incredibly hard to keep him off the field. He performed great at the combine being a top performer in 4/5 categories. At 5’11 his motor and instincts will have to shine to make him a 3-down LB, but don’t expect that right away despite being named the strong side starter. Kiper called him the 2nd best ILB of this class. This guy’s motor and heart may prove him right. His blazing 4.47 speed allows him to track down players in the open field and he had a knack for stuffing the run and causing havoc in the backfield in college. He has LB2 potential so draft him as a slight project with LB4 stats this year.
Bobby Wagner, ILB, Seattle Seahawks: I like to think I am pretty good at Ping-Pong. I don’t do one thing great, but I’m really good at a lot of things. The same could be said about Wagner. He isn’t big or have blazing speed or the long pedigree. But he just gets things done. Drafted to replace the departed Hawthorne, he will be competing with Ruud for playing time and Carroll has already hinted the he may start. We have seen him used in sub-packages during the preseason so temper your expectations a little. I project him to have this gig full time by week 8. Draft him as an LB4 this season with LB2 potential.
Nick Perry, LOLB, Green Bay Packers: After watching the highlights: http://youtu.be/5hESWV57To0 I started to disagree with analysts that Nick was a better fit for a 4-3. He is 30 pounds heavier than his fellow alum on the opposite side but damn is he athletic for 271; did you see that first step? If you play in a league that rewards heavily for turnovers and big plays I would jump all over this guy. He and Matthews are going to cause mayhem in the backfield and I can see Nick benefitting from Matthews knack for driving the QB out of the pocket. Draft him with the expectations of LB3 production.
My Deep Sleeper Pick
Demario Davis, ILB, NY Jets: We here at the Beast pride ourselves in giving you real value and content. You will thank us for this guy. Demario Davis drew many Ray Lewis comparisons at the combine due to his never die motor on the field and his leadership/motivating skills on display in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=insE7hE_Czs He was drafted by the Jets to play the Bart Scott role. He is a playmaker and will get to the QB. It is uncertain how much time on the field he will get this season, so temper expectations. Those of you in shallower Dynasty leagues; leave him on the wire and put him on the WATCH-CLOSE list. If you are in a deeper Dynasty league I would reach for this guy and stash him.
Mark Barron, S, Tampa Bay Bucs: This Beast is the patroller you want to nab in this draft. The Alabama standout is a rock solid 6”1 213 pound strong safety that may be most pro ready player not named Luke. He has amazing north to south speed, stuffs the run, has good hands and makes big plays; all on display in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aibmDF-lQC4&feature=related. There are not many knocks on him outside of being a little slow in transition due to his size and lunging into tackles. You love having prospects with all the measurements, but situation is also key. The great thing for Barron owners is that he will start from day one. But it even gets better, he is playing behind an incredibly young group of LBs in rookie Lavonte David, already mentioned in this article and 2nd year pro Mason Foster. If you play in a tackle heavy league this will make you want to reach for him even sooner because they will come in bunches. Draft him with confidence; don’t expect Eric Berry his first year, but he will be solid.
Harrison Smith, FS, Minnesota Vikings: Harrison Smith is another one of those guys that doesn’t blow you away with speed, tackling in the box or big hits. Despite lacking in those areas, he more than makes up for it in play recognition, anticipation, big plays and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He was a 4 year starter at Notre Dame was a total standout on that defense. The Vikings traded up in the first round to get him and I am a big fan of that when the guy you’re drafting isn’t named Tebow. Sorry Jet Fans. When drafting this guy, keep in mind, Minnesota grabbed him to help bolster their terrible pass coverage. He may not play in the box much and may be limited in his tackling opportunities. His instincts however, are going to lead to big plays and some decent fantasy production. Draft him with DB3 expectations.
Undervalued Potential at DB
Tavon Wilson, S, New England Patriots: Despite not seeing any weaknesses in this video clip, and why would we, it’s a highlight reel? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4bSoGMMTtg. You can see the potential there with this kid and why Belichick took this kid in the second round when he was projected no higher than the 5th. But when Patriots do things like this, I tend to pay attention… does Brady in the 6th round ring a bell?? Because Patrick Chung is always hurt, he is going to get a lot of play time early. If that is the case, hopefully we will find out why Bill had him rated so high. Draft him late in larger IDP only formats, if you are in standard Dynasty leagues, put him on your watch list and wait for him to blow up at some point in the season.
Chandler Jones, DE, New England Patriots: Another Guy that Belichick traded up to get in the first round. Of all the DL eligible rookies this year, this one is the guy worth drafting. He is a Beast! At 6’5 and 266 Lbs, he is a bit undersized but this kid can play! Not only can he pass rush and get to the quarterback; he has rare speed for his position so can track down runs as well going east or west. Check out these highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtSUS9VoV2s. He is going to play the “elephant” role in this defense (a hybrid DE and DL name) that Andre Branch played in last year. This kid has not disappointed this preseason getting 5 QB hurries in 14 drop backs and 2 tackles in just 26 snaps. I think he has the potential to have an Aldon Smith type season with more tackling because of his speed. If he gets better, he could be similar to JPP in a year or two. Draft him, he will be the best rookie DL IDP this season and is worthy of DL3 type production.
Andre Branch, LDE, Jax Jaguars: The other rookie DL worth drafting this year because of his skill set, pro-readiness and the situation he is coming into. He is going to get a lot of snaps this season for Jacksonville and consistency is the key if you are going to draft a rookie DL. The pass rush is his specialty and he is very athletic. He has had some troubles shaking off more than one defender so he needs to work on his strength to be one of the best at the next level. He has great upside though and will see a ton of time this year. Draft him this year and expect DL2/3 type productivity.
DL Watch List
Quinton Coples, DE, NY Football Jets: I am officially putting this kid on the Watch List. I really like what I saw out of him the other night in his preseason game registering 4 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The question on this gifted player has been his heart and motor. He has the size, 6’6 281 pounds. He has good speed and a good first step on his pass rush. But he just disappeared at times in his college career. This will not work in the NFL and maybe Rex Ryan has found a way to motivate this very talented player. He is going to start, and that’s a good thing… snaps are always a good thing; many have questioned him fitting into the 3-4 defense, others praise him for his versatility and ability to adjust. Time will tell. I have him on my watch list, you should too.