Having covered every defensive player taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL draft in two previous articles, I’ll address the second round here. We’re not actually “beyond Jack” in this section as Myles Jack fell all the way into the early second round based on a now irrelevant news report.
It was horrendous timing and really just a little too much honesty (and more importantly no real medical knowledge) on the part of Jack himself. It cost Myles millions of dollars upfront but hopefully he recoups plenty of that, joining a defensive front in Jacksonville that could turn into something special.
But more of that when we get there. Let’s start things off with the 32nd pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, which this year happened to kick off the second round. The NFL always knows how to save a few bucks in rookie salaries.
Emmanuel Ogbah, LB, Cleveland Browns (Oklahoma St.) Ogbah has prototypical NFL OLB size and speed but he will work his way into the lineup slowly and is worth a flier this season if he has defensive line eligibility in your league. He has to pass Paul Kruger and Barkevious Mingo as pass rushing linebackers in Cleveland’s depth chart. Otherwise, he’s a reasonable long term stash/investment and I’d be pretty excited to grab him in the fifth or sixth round. I haven’t seen very many people excited about him but it wouldn’t shock me to see a linebacker-desperate team in a larger league reach for him in the fourth as he was the 32nd player off the board — a first round pick in seasons when the Patriots have not been docked for cheating.
Kevin Dodd, LB, Tennessee Titans (Clemson) Now that the dust has settled on the draft season and training camps are set to start, the Dodd train is gaining steam. He’s about to be one of the hotter IDP rookie prospects. He’s another guy who’s a bit of sleeper in fantasy circles. He’ll start out the season on the Titans depth chart behind Brian Orakpo so what you think about Orakpo will influence a lot of what you think about Dodd’s 2016 season. Orakpo has faced many injuries but scored reasonably well from a fantasy perspective down the stretch. With his size and early second round investment from the Titans, Dodd would be a nice fifth or sixth round taxi squad stash ’em and forget ’em with upside then check back in a year or two to see how things pan out for him.
Jaylon Smith, OLB, Dallas Cowboys (Notre Dame) A transcendent talent with defensive end size and cornerback speed and coverage skills and safety hitting ability. The only reason Smith isn’t in the conversation with Jack is because he’ll be shelved for 2016. If you can afford to wait a season, you can expect ten years years of solid IDP contribution. Dallas selected him in the early second round in the 2016 NFL draft and he’ll go in exactly the same range in your 2016 fantasy rookie draft.
Myles Jack, OLB, Jacksonville Jaguars (UCLA) Not everyone loves Jack but he’s far and away the consensus top IDP prospect in this year’s draft. In rookie drafts, I’ve seen him go as high as tenth overall. Most people don’t want to reach for IDP in the first round, but he’s got a minimum of an early second round grade. He had an injury report scare but it had nothing to do with any real injury. There’s no more concern with Jack than any other player. He steps into a re-tooled Jacksonville starting lineup that (for the first time) will feature last year’s injured Top 5 overall pick Dante Fowler as well as 2015 fantasy stud Telvin Smith, and 2016 Top 5 overall pick, cornerback and playmaker Jalen Ramsey. They won’t be the best defense but they’ll potentially be very fun to watch with the potential to grow into something special.
Chris Jones, DE, Kansas City Chiefs (Mississippi St.) Jones joins the growing ranks of tall interior linemen in the Calais Campbell mold. He excelled at the collegiate level but has been termed unrefined for the pro game. He’ll start at 3-4 DE for the Chiefs which is better than DT for his fantasy numbers but not by much. I’d like him as a DT stash but he’s got a lot of worthwhile guys in front of him to become fantasy relevant at DL. Keep an eye out for his development. If he flashes, it’ll be time to believe but leave him to the waivers for now.
Xavien Howard, CB, Miami Dolphins (Baylor) Six foot tall, 200 pounds, ran a 4.58 40 yard dash. Plays corner. Mockdraftable.com says he compares to Bashaud Breeland.
Noah Spence, DE Buccaneers (Eastern Kentucky) Spence has gotten a ton of press but nothing has ever stood out about this guy for me. I certainly like Nkemdiche more and they’ve been going in the same range in the late second and early third round of IDP league rookie drafts. I don’t think Spence is going to bust by any means. However, all but the very very best rookie linemen take some time to adjust and I fully expect his value to go down before it goes up. My grade is mid-to-late third but if you’re in love with the guy, he’s more of a mid-to-late second.
Reggie Ragland ILB Bills (Alabama) I’ve seen some great scouting reports showing that this guy just isn’t a three down linebacker. He came off the field in passing situations in college. Can you really expect that to change at the pro level? As gang busters as the guy will be on the first two downs (and he’ll be FUN to watch), I just don’t want a two down linebacker who likely is going to face very serious speed deficiencies as soon as he loses a step. I absolutely want to love him as much as everyone else but Ragland is a major red flag bust alert. He’s going to get huge press from commentators all the time saying, “he does come off in third down situations but, man do I love that Reggie Regland. He’d be a great underrated addition to my fantasy team,” except that you don’t play fantasy, Cris Collinsworth, Reggie Ragland is not underrated in fantasy circles, he’s overrated, and he’s not a great addition to any fantasy team. I’d nab him as high as the late fourth round but he’ll be long gone by then.
Kamalei Correa, LB, Baltimore Ravens (Boise St.) Major underrated value alert. Correa is a guy who has gotten a lot less press and is going rounds later than Ragland but is someone I’m cautiously optimistic about. He’s penciled in to start on the strong side for Baltimore and that could quickly lead to some numbers should he cement that position, which I fully expect him to. Keep your eye on Correa now, or better yet grab him in the fifth round of your rookie draft for some serious value.
Those are the biggest highlights and everyone’s favorites from the second round. Next week, we’ll close out the remainder of the NFL Draft’s second stanza as we cover more IDP rookie sleepers and look at where they might go in your rookie draft.
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