Cleat Geeks

The IDP Geek Huddle: Justin Reid / Bradley Chubb / Ronnie Harrison

Reminder: My approach to this series on “Top 10 Rookie’s Off The Board” is based on the potential odds they produce year one in the NFL. Not necessarily the amount produced.

Complete rankings in order are at the conclusion of the article.

Houston Texans Justin Reid

The “Brain” Take: Reid is a high-end speed versus size ratio player with “at length” college experience that the Houston Texans were “gifted” when he was still sitting there in the third round as their first pick of the draft came up in the third round. He is aggressive, versatile, and an instinctive player that has the “package” of football traits that any team would have benefited from. A “tackler” with coverage skills that has the speed to get the job done while adding a “pop” when called for with his physical mentality. He can be a bit overly aggressive at times, but his football intelligence outweighs any flaws we could possibly list.

The “Gut” Take: The safety position hasn’t been a position that the Texans have properly address for quite some time. They have been plugging in and playing sub-par talent while just trying to get by. The one incumbent starter left from last season is a former 2014 draft pick Andre Hal, who was actually a cornerback and switched to free safety by the Texans out of desperation a couple seasons ago. All other attempts in any form over the past few seasons have been complete misses in terms of finding a long-term solution. Hal did just sign an extension in late August 2017 for 3 years at $5 million a year and he has been solid, but that is the extent of it. Enter the “Honey Badger” signing, we should wonder if everyone bought into or buys into the idea a smaller safety like Tyrann Mathieu could last at playing strong safety as reported when he was first signed this off-season. And adding in his injury history that has already taken a toll on his playmaking abilities, should we actually have thought they would throw him up near the line of scrimmage at strong safety and deeper into harm’s way? The Texans were likely going to draft or address the size issue of Hal ( also smaller) and Mathieu one way or the other. Enter Reid, they completely may have made the bargain pick of the draft as far as the Texans are concerned. A huge “need” and the perfect player with some size falling in the draft to where they needed it most. Don’t be mistaken with Reid’s fall to the third round, it was likely a result of teams selecting positions of “needs” over best player available. Reid is an upper tier strong safety in this class of rookies. The Texans starting safeties in week one should be Mathieu at his natural free safety spot and Reid manning the strong safety if the Texans have any intention of actually improving the defense. Hal should still have a role as the third safety in three safety sets and possibly covering the slot. Additionally, at this moment we do not know exactly how the inside linebackers will perform in 2018. That situation is a bit suspect also and when Reid is the starting strong safety it might lead to a solid rookie campaign. If the Texans decide to risk Mathieu as their strong safety to start the season just wait it out. Reid will be a contributor sooner than later if things stay as they are on the Texans depth chart and no free agent is brought in. And even if that would happen, odds are still high Reid produces in one form or another in 2018. 

 

Denver Broncos Bradley Chubb

The “Brain” Take: A relentless and polarizing athletic “Big Man” with football running through his veins. He has shown all the traits of a player that opposing teams will likely have to “scheme” towards as he progresses through his career. Chubb could have simply gone as the first defensive player in the draft if a team ahead of the Denver Broncos were in need of a defensive end-outside linebacker over the position they may have addressed. As a 21-year-old rookie who benefited and raised his draft stock by returning for his senior season, he’ll still have room to “grow” in physical stature as well as mentally over his first few seasons in the NFL. With the drive to be the best he can be, he will likely flourish to an upper level under the tutelage of fellow Denver Bronco star outside linebacker Von Miller. A more natural defensive end per college position he played his overall adjustment to a stand up outside linebacker will be a seamless transition with his natural abilities and instincts. A good candidate to win the Rookie Defensive Player MVP with a bright future as a Pro-Bowler.

The “Gut” Take: Chubb may have likely been more of a relevant player long term for our IDP purposes if he had been drafted to a team that he would have played in a 4 – 3 scheme as a defensive end or even possible in a 3 – 4 scheme base. But this article is about the potential for production by IDP rookies in 2018, so he makes the list despite not being designated favorably. As it is he will produce as long as there are no rookie “blues” of injuries in his transition to an outside linebacker. He is slated to be a starter from day one across from an outside linebacker that’ll demand more scheming by opposing offensive lines in Von Miller, for now. This relationship between Chubb and Miller will benefit each of them on the field as well. It is hard to suggest him as a designated linebacker for our starting lineups due to his position as an outside linebacker, which can be explained why HERE. But he is certainly due to produce one way or the other with some extra “upside” as a designated edge rusher with the potential to record the sacks that some fantasy football leagues may require. And we certainly shouldn’t disregard his potential at all of becoming the next best OLB either. Which could creep him up into a tier 2 linebacker range for our IDP lineups. This is highly unlikely his rookie season. But as many snaps this young man should play in 2018 he’ll produce enough to have made this list. If your league happens to make sacks scoring a more prime stat then he is well worth the gamble in 2018.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Ronnie Harrison

The “Brain” Take: Another one of those NFL ready Alabama products that happened to hurt his stock with a poor Pro Day 40 yard dash of 4.63 seconds and not running at the combine. On tape, he does show great makeup speed if caught out of position as a positive. His on-field coverage lacks a bit but doesn’t stand out as a concerning flaw. His aggressive approach to the game makes him relevant in any case. Pre-draft (Gurus) Scouts seemed to either love him or discard him as an overhyped rookie, but he has the ability to put himself in place to make the play with a “pop” to his tackling. He may not be as “polished” as player as desired, but with strong indications that his work ethic is at a high level it seems he has always managed to get things done at a high level. Any college athlete with his resume and able to commit to graduating a year early should not be dismissed as easily as some may have especially just over his 40 yard dash time. A 4.63 time is not actually slow per say, it just isn’t up to par this day and age with the prototype desired as a safety. If he was to add 25 lbs to his frame in muscle and mass he would have fit nicely as a linebacker prospect and the 4.63 wouldn’t have been as critical. He has character and the football intelligence to succeed in the NFL. There have been plenty of “fast” players drafted lacking those traits that have failed at the NFL level. Lucky for the Jaguars not all teams see it this way apparently.

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The “Gut” Take: Slotting Harrison in the 10th spot on the list for rookies to potentially produce in 2018 is a bit risky for our IDP purposes. The Jaguars had to be excited to see a talented player like Harrison sitting on the board at pick 93 and certainly couldn’t pass up on the best player available at the time. With free safety Tashaun Gipson and strong safety Barry Church already on the roster as the starting tandem it is unlikely in 2018 Harrison can be seen as straight out winning a starting role by week one of the season. Both Church and Gibson are playing at a high level that Harrison, no matter how good, won’t likely match and be able to unset them. But all is not lost for his chances to get on the field as a solid contributor in 2018. Harrison is one of those players that teams normally will find a way to get on the field one way or the other while playing their best players on the roster. It is a known and proven formula for winning to do so. Harrison is a natural fit as a strong safety to be utilized closer to the line of scrimmage. Hence a situation where we should see more three-safety packages out of the Jaguars if they do follow the best player on the field way of thinking. Blair Brown has recently been named or vying for the strongside linebacker position and is likely only going to be a two-down player. In passing situations, the three safety set that a lot of the NFL teams are implementing in recent years isn’t out of the question in getting Harrison on the field. His suggested potential as a low tier #2 DB in 2018 hinges on the health of an aging Barry Church or possible injury to any main defensive starter to be honest here. It is interesting that the Jaguars have a potential out after 2018 with Churches contract that would save them around $13 million the following two seasons if they were to release or trade him. So Harrison’s future and dynasty value here at the 10 spot shouldn’t be all that disappointing if he doesn’t produce as we would like to see for our IDP purposes in 2018. If he had landed on any other roster with less talented safeties we would have seen his name towards the top five on this list most likely. His potential is there for 2018 with upside, but there just has to be a couple things happen to make it become relevant at a higher level.

 

At the conclusion: So here are the final three of my top ten rookies to target for the potential to produce in 2018. The odds at this time it is not exactly a big secret to some that this list is what it is. But I do hope that it is helpful to those who may find the series of articles useful in some way. I do want to make a statement in case someone is wondering, I do know that there are a couple cornerbacks we may see produce at a decent level over a few of these listed players. Opposing quarterbacks will target them in their rookie season on purpose to see if a rookie mistake will be made if they are starters. But how I’m approaching this ranking is with a dynasty outlook as well. And I never suggest cornerback unless they are forced per league to be inserted in our lineups. Something I expressed in an article that hopefully, you may have explored in the Chubb portion of this article where it says “which can be explained more HERE.”. If I was to suggest a rookie cornerback it would likely be the Browns first overall pick Denzel Ward in case your wondering. In addition after Brady Chubb was selected by the Denver Broncos which will insert him as an outside linebacker we lost a likely defensive lineman to produce at a level that would warrant mentioning here in this series of articles. Again, if I was to suggest one I would likely have slotted in the Saints Rookie Marcus Davenport in the top fifteen if the list included cornerbacks and defensive lineman. The Saints traded up for him in the draft and all indications are he’ll be a week one starter. But let it be known it can be a tough position as a rookie to stand out and make a major impact no matter the draft status.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Five Year Rookie Success Rate

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board for potential production in 2018.  

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. Roquan Smith
  3. Rashaan Evans
  4. Derwin James
  5. Minkah Fitzpatrick
  6. Darius Leonard
  7. Leighton Vander Esch
  8. Justin Reid
  9. Bradley Chubb
  10. Ronnie Harrison

Missed any of the ten? Check them all out and more HERE.

Thank you as always for reading and please feel free to locate me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

This will be the final article Gary will write for @cleatgeeks. In parting he was professional, and therefore we wish him the very best in his future endevours and thank him for his content and his professionalism.

 

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