NFL scouts have called the 2016 class one of the deepest in recent memory for defense. With guys like LSU safety Jalen Mills going in the 7th round to Philadelphia, that’s an easy claim to believe. For me, this is the class to beef up your IDP ranks with later round guys who could be contributors both on the field and in fantasy for years to come.
Despite Miles Jack being the top talk of fantasy, Joey Bosa came off the NFL board first at third overall to the San Diego Chargers. Bosa is already pencilled in as a day one starter at left DE in SD’s 3-4 defense. He leaps ahead of last year’s sixth round pick Darius Philon. This is the same position that JJ Watt plays. He’ll have two stout interior linemen inside of him in the form of 2011 first round pick and DT fantasy contributor Corey Liuget as well as a combination of nose tackles led by Brandon Mebane.
Additionally, Bosa will be protected by LB coverage outside of him in the form of emerging third year player Jeremiah Attaochu. Attaochu, by the way, is a guy who remains a slightly under the radar breakout candidate, especially now that’s he playing next to the talented Bosa. Obviously expecting Watt numbers is a bit much for anyone but I certainly like Bosa to come in and contribute from a fantasy perspective with some stats right away given how great this situation is for him. Talented guy, great situation, Bosa is an easy early second round pick in IDP dyansty league rookie drafts that require DE or DL.
Next off the board, at fifth overall, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected CB Jalen Ramsey. While a talented and exciting player on the field, I personally have a lot of difficulty finding excitement for corners who are basically the kickers of IDP. Their point scoring is eratic, almost random, and there’s always one (or twenty) on the waiver wire. If I’m going to draft a CB, I like one who could develop into a safety with more consistent point production later. Think Charles Woodson in his day. That’s not Ramsey.
Together with Jaguars second round pick and fantasy hero Miles Jack, Ramsey’s biggest fantasy impact may be in diminishing the amount of late game trash time heroics for Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson. Ramsey will almost certainly be a great defensive back and possible lock down corner. He does have the ability to take any turnover to the house and rookie corners get picked on a lot by NFL QB’s. Given how unimportant and unpredictable corners are for fantasy stats, Ramsey is worth a 5th round pick in rookie drafts where you have to start a CB. But never roll with more corners than you have to.
The San Francisco 49ers pick at seventh overall, DeForest Buckner, was not as well regarded in some IDP rookie drafts I’ve been in as I’d been expecting. This isn’t a terrible surprise as he’s the perfect boom or bust candidate. Personally, I really expect there’s a good chance Buckner explodes onto the scene and racks up some fantasy stats in the short term. Whether he’s actually a good NFL DE is a little more questionable. Chip Kelly loves his Oregon guys and Buckner was an Oregon guy who’s now a Kelly 49er. He has the speed and quickness to attack the football that Kelly covets.
There are some serious questions though about whether or not he has the weight to hold up against the run and play solid defense. For this reason, and because DE’s are historically inconsistent and difficult to get a read on, he’s been going close to a fantasy round lower than Bosa, despite coming off the NFL board only four picks later. He’s got a third round grade for IDP rookie drafts where you need to play a DE. He loses a little more interest if you only need a DL, and it’s questionable whether he holds any generic IDP value.
I really expected more of a bump in fantasy circles for the ninth overall pick out of Georgia, Chicago Bears OLB Leonard Floyd, surprisingly our first linebacker of the day when Miles Jack began to slip. He’s a Bear, he’s a linebacker, what more do you need to know. To me this is a guy who looks a lot like Khalil Mack who had a big time breakout season for Oakland in 2015. It’s true he’s a “passrusher” so generally he’d get a little dinged for me because “passrush” guys don’t typically pile up the tackles which are IDP bread and butter. But Floyd could be really special in this league because he doesn’t just get to the quarterback but he can also tackle and be all over the rest of the field.
I hesitate to use such a big name but to me this is a guy whose game reminds me of Lawrence Taylor. He’s big and he’s fast, and he’s just a beast all over the field. Now, let’s temper expectations a little bit of just how good this guy can be but as a Top 10 NFL draft pick, I think that’s the kind of upside you want to take a chance on. I have no problem putting a late second round grade on this guy no matter what your IDP requirements are. People may call Miles Jack the defender of the future but Leonard Floyd is an old school throw back.
That’s the defenders from the Top 10 of the 2016 NFL draft and how they fit in IDP rookie drafts. I’ll round out the first round and go deeper in upcoming articles.
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