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.

Cleatgeeks.com has teamed with an IDP podcast that we believe our fans will find both entertaining and insightful. It is called the IDP Guys Podcast and you can listen to their work while you continue to read more sports stories here @cleatgeeks.

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.

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: The “IDP Tipster” 6/10/18

“IDP TIPSTER”


The introduction to what should be an ongoing series as the off-season events unfold in the NFL is short and sweet. We are here to cover those under the radar “sleeper” or “flier” IDP players who may have something to offer us in 2018 and perhaps beyond. And any additional info that may be relevant for a winning edge. Remember that all bets are not locks and nothing is ever full proof, but when it comes to filling in the tail end of our rosters for IDP value we want to get a jump on the situations at hand as early as possible. Who knows maybe even jump on the info to bail on a few players at times. We will cover per case on each player at what level the situation is to the best of our knowledge. While keeping in mind we can not advise that a player already inserted with any worth on a roster be replaced at the early stages of these tips. So take heed how you approach this info. I’ll try to define things as the way they are, but don’t expect as deep of  “takes” as you might see normally in my other articles. The object here is to just get the player on our radars as they develop and then act accordingly.

Eagles Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill

FLIER APPROACHING SLEEPER: Eagles 2nd year LB Kamu Grugier-Hill is turning heads while running with the 1st team defense at mainly the Weakside LineBacker. To note, LB Nathan Gerry has also seen time with the starting unit as well. With Hicks and Graham nursing back from injuries the 2 youngsters have been getting those reps in OTAs and auditioning for the vacated weakside LB role that Kendricks had held. Fast fact on who may have an edge, Grugier-Hill was the player the Patriots tried to sneak onto the practice squad in 2016 and the Eagles snatched him up and never let him off the active roster. While Nathan Gerry was drafted by the Eagles the 6th in 2017, cut, sent to the practice squad and, finally, called back up to play special teams. Which LB should we think might have held more value? Don’t “take” this wrong, Gerry is firmly still on the radar as a flier, but per OTA reports Grugier-Hill has been the one making the plays and catching the attention of the coaches. Now we know that in a perfect world that the WLB spot for the Eagles isn’t normally a full-time position when Hicks isn’t hurt over the last couple of years. Something that helped keep Kendricks borderline relevant in that time span. But without going really deep here, Hicks has a hard time staying healthy, and some indications are that it could have been Grugier-Hill that would have prompted the Eagles to release Kendricks as well. And just because the Eagles haven’t been using the WLB full time with Kendricks, it doesn’t mean that they may not have wanted to. The weakside is a relevant LB on 99% of the 4 – 3 defensive schemed defenses in the NFL. And there is no reason to think that the Eagles DC Jim Schwartz, a former head coach who is famous for his type of 4-3 “wide” defense, doesn’t want his WLB to actually be on the field more. In five years in Detriot and one year in Buffalo, his WLBs were on the field as every-down players. There is some “upside” here with KGH if he wins the role. KGH is likely going undrafted in full redrafts and on the waiver wire in standard size leagues, do you have a hole to fill? possibly a “flier” 3 – 4 outside linebacker to drop? How about too many cornerbacks? According to KGH’s NFL.com combine report, there is a reason old Bill in New England took him as a compensatory pick late in the third round in 2016.

Bonus Flier: Keep tabs on Nathan Gerry as well. Again, Jordan Hicks has a hard time staying healthy. And when the pads come on all bets are off. It isn’t far-fetched we end up seeing both KGH and Gerry come into play. And Joe Walker is also in the wings recovering from his own injury and not entered the picture as of yet.

 

Chiefs Rookie Armani Watts

FLIER: We are going to list Chiefs 4th round safety Armani Watts as a flier with momentum. The Chiefs recently released Ron Parker and they weren’t too happy overall with Eric Berry’s replacement Daniel Sorenson by the end of the season as a full-time starter. Sorenson may have been IDP gold for us but for the Chiefs, his PFF grade of 40.7 (Poor) reflects his play on the field. All indications are they were surprised that Watts fell to the 4th round with Brett Veach himself saying:

“We didn’t anticipate Armani Watts falling that low” … “This guy’s a really good player and we had some big grades on this guy.”

Eric Berry will return from injury and will likely secure the free safety position for the Chiefs to try and keep the superstar away from the line of scrimmage and out of harm’s way more. And they are certainly not betting on Sorenson to make some great leap in his playing heading into his 5th season. So Watts has little to moderate competition to win the strong safety role if he can step up. From what is being stated they want him to succeed just as much as they know they need him to. He actually had positive grades with “upside” to become an instant starter or even an in-season starter option when it’s a matter of time Sorenson does falter. He does have some work to do to gain the Chiefs trust, but we need him firmly on our radar as his situation has “upside” as a potential IDP play. According to the current Rookie Draft ADP info on MyFantasyLeague.com (that I like to play on personally), he is going undrafted in standard size leagues. And is likely sitting on the waiver wire as you read this. As a Flier, he has one step heading to be a sleeper sooner than later.

Tipster: If there is an owner in your league(s) that may believe that Raiders Khalil Mack being switched back to a designated defensive end from last years outside linebacker, take advantage if possible. As an OLB he was basically a Tier 3 / Low Tier 2 in 2017. When designated as a defensive end he has always been Tier 1 DL player and normally an upper Tier 1 DL play every week.
Keep in mind that these articles may not always be “crisp” as we go, the object will be to get the info out ASAP and sometimes the formalities may be lacking. Especially when “in-season.”
know there are only two players and one I have been hinting on for a week or two on Twitter. It is early yet and if the players I tip-off to were always so easy to find we wouldn’t be gaining an edge to win by covering them. I do have another couple players coming out soon, so stay tuned as I gather up my info so I can “Tipster” on them with confidence.
Here is to hoping that something here gives you the winning edge. Please feel free to follow and contact me @HBogart27 on Twitter or email me at gmtvandyke@gmail.com titled “IDP Tipster.”  I would be happy to follow up on this and every article I write or just anything IDP. Thank you for reading.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Minkah Fitzpatrick / Darius Leonard / Leighton Vander Esch

Miami Dolphins Minkah Fitzpatrick

The “Brain” Take: Fitzpatrick is a highly aggressive and top-notch talent who will change the landscape of the Miami Dolphins deep secondary. With a high football I.Q. (Wonderlic score: 30), speed, versatility, and just as competitive as they come, the Dolphins may have found a challenger in the deep field to limit the Patriots more than they have ever been able to in the last 20 years. We simply do not have to bolster his “take” in this section any more than this. He is a complete package with a grand college career via the powerhouse of Alabama who produces ready-made NFL caliber IDP players. By all accounts, this rookie has just as good or better odds of living up to any rookie hype bestowed him in the 2018 draft process.

The “Gut” Take: The only thing limiting his IDP production is the fact he’ll be playing as the free safety on the same field as super-stud strong safety Reshad Jones. According to current OTA reports he has already shown that he has stepped up and by all means will live up to his billing. He has Pro-Bowl abilities with the heart and football pedigree to become a long-term IDP asset. If not for the fact he is going to be playing as the free safety instead as the strong safety we would have likely seen him listed in our top three for potential production in 2018. It won’t be tough for him to top the ceiling of potentially combined tackles suggested of 60, but additionally, something tells me that we will see a high level of playmaking ability stats like interceptions and such in 2018. If we are lucky and with as versatile as he is, they’ll give him some time rotating with Jones up close to the line of scrimmage in some packages giving him the opportunity to pad his tackle stats while giving the 30-year-old Jones a break here and there. Jones was just signed through 2021 in a huge payday, so unless they trade or release him at some point, Fitzpatrick’s dynasty production could be capped from what it actually could be for a few seasons. On any other team and in any other situation we may have seen him as a top-tier option in all of IDP overall real soon. Dare we say the next Neal and Collins clone? His football I.Q. and heart combined with his physical traits just may push him into that tier.

 

(Note: Tier Separation Here Between 1 thru 5 and 6 thru 10 At Odds of Succeeding In 2018)

 

Indianapolis Colts Darius Leonard

The “Brain” Take: Leonard is a high motor linebacker with outstanding technique who has extended starting experience at the college level. He is a product of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference out of South Carolina State that may find the level of competition in the NFL is something he’ll need to adjust to. Leonard did earn high marks overall in the draft assessments indicating his transition to the pros in time is likely. The draft status of being the Colts second pick and selected 36th overall should guarantee he is thrown into the “fire” and receive every opportunity to earn a role with the starting defensive unit.

The “Gut” Take: As of now and with OTAs underway I found it a little harder to insert him as the fifth rookie IDP off the board for potential production for stats in 2018, where I originally was inserting him. Currently, he is not participating in OTAs with an undisclosed injury dropping him to the sixth spot. There are no pending reports of surgery at this time of submitting this article so we still have to consider his situation as a positive one as of now. Other than his draft status by the Colts it’s simply boiling down to the lack of real competition he’ll face to earn a starting role with the current Colts depth chart. He’ll need to work on his aggression level and gain more strength and power to play with the big boys, but this should not hamper his outlook in 2018. Fellow inside linebacker Antonio Morrison was with the starting unit in 2017 but lacks the speed for coverage and earned a poor grade of 35.8 by ProFootballFocus.com. Reports currently have him practicing as the strongside linebacker in OTAs with the stating unit as the Colt’s switch from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 base in 2018. If this sticks he is likely to be slated for a 2 down role. Last years fifth round selection Anthony Walker is currently running as the middle linebacker with the first unit in OTAs. Walker earned a below average grade of 62.7 by PFF in his limited action of 115 snaps on defense in 2017. And newly signed Najee Goode who has been in the league for seven years and never earned a starting role is currently occupying Leonard’s likely position at weakside linebacker while he sits out. Goode, who played a whopping 200 snaps (sarcasm) with the Eagles last season, also earned a poor grade of 57.7 with PFF in 2017. There are a couple other rookies and veteran depth players, but on paper at a glance and current OTA reports, Goode, Walker, and Morrison seem to be the cream of the crop. If this undisclosed injury isn’t serious and Leonard can get on the field by the time summer camp starts the sky’s the limit for him to earn snaps with the starting unit. We may have a production by default situation or he may be the savior of the linebacker core, but either way, his potential situation for stacking the stat box has him firmly in our sights for 2018. The Colts could likely sign an upper free agent linebacker at this point and not affect Leonards potential if healthy.

 

Dallas Cowboys Leighton Vander Esch

The “Brain” Take: A very talented young man with one season as a full-time starter in 2017 at Boise State that dominated in the Mountain West Conference. He reportedly had the highest SPARQ score with a 96th-percentile among the (off the ball) inside linebacker class. He shows good coverage skills and sideline to sideline speed while being a sure tackler. Physically gifted with room to grow, he will likely blossom over the next few seasons as he fills out his frame.

The “Gut” Take: There are a couple reasons that Vander slides down on my off the board list for production in 2018. And out of all the “takes” so far I believe this will be my most unpopular take. But we have minor red flags that prohibit suggesting he is taken off the board over anyone list before him. First, we will start with what feels obvious. Even if he was selected at 19th overall and Dallas had an opening for a 3rd starting linebacker it does not mean his situation is as cut and dry as it looks. The Cowboys have Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, the latter spent his 2nd season in the league getting his legs back underneath him after missing his rookie season with a terrible ACL and MCL injury he endured in college. As of right now, Lee is not going anywhere and Smith still has his upside with one rebuild season in the NFL under his belt. Reports currently are that Smith is 100% at this time. The Cowboys did insert three safety sets more often in 2017 taking a linebacker off the field on passing downs. And indications are that it’ll likely be the case in 2018 as a lot of NFL teams follow the trend. Even with all those positives in the “Brain” take Vander is at a disadvantage at the pro level at the moment and among his fellow linebackers as a one-year starter from a non-powerhouse conference. He did have sideline to sideline speed and great coverage skills last year in college, but leading into my second red flag is the level of competition he faced in during the 2017 season. Let’s take a look at the Boise State 2017 schedule.

One has to keep in mind that none of those schools are what you would call powerhouses at the moment. Could Vander had been a man amongst boys?

For those out there that love Vander, don’t take this wrong. I think dynasty wise he is a great rookie to pick up. But the bottom line is he can’t be suggested any higher than 7th off the board for the potential of production in IDP in 2018. In other words, we need to see he can beat out Smith for an every-down role and then that he can be a solid linebacker for our IDP purposes. That might be tough for a rookie that’s likely slated for a 2 down role with one year as a full-time starter out of the Mountain West Conference. Unless Smith completely falters or gets hurt or Lee goes down, I don’t think we can automatically insert Vander as a full-time player with the skillset at the pro level yet to risk he’ll produce the numbers before anyone above him on this list. As a fantasy owner of his, we should be pleased if he surpassed the suggested potential combine tackle floor of 60. We’ll just leave this fact-based article at the end as to why his odds are what we should be giving him on top of what has been stated. I’d personally rather be 100% wrong here in 2018 over risking the suggestion he’ll dominate and win fantasy IDP owners league championships in 2018. The situation is just not as appealing as his selection at 19th overall could indicate. Unlike the linebackers listed above Vander, he has real competition for playing time, not just his likely starting role.

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. (soon)
  9. (soon)
  10. (soon)

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

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

 

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: Derwin James

Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James

Drafted: 17th overall

Team Defense: 4-3 Base

State of Team’s Offence: Playoff Caliber 

Rookie Tier: #1

Rookie IDP Draft: Wave #1

All IDP Position Draft: Late Wave #2

Potential 2018 Position Tier: Upper #2

Position Competition Level: NONE

Potential 2018 Combined Tackle Range:60-90

Play Making Ability Potential: High

Dynasty Value: High

 

Why he has the potential to succeed at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Draft Status.
  2. Skillset.
  3. Physical traits.
  4. Defensive Coordinator Ideology.
  5. Mental Approach.

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

 

Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Lack of experience declaring as a sophomore.
  2. A tendency to absorb tackles rather than attacking.
  3. In coverage can be a “step” slow at times.
  4. Medical red flag with previous ACL injury
  5. Unlikely situation the defensive coordinator does not play to his strengths.

 

The “Brain” Take:

If Derwin James had stayed in college at least one more season he would have been a top-five prospect in the 2019 rookie class and likely picked as one. Everything listed in the “Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018” should not affect his opportunity he’ll be given to succeed his rookie season. Until he is “coached up” and those listed items are addressed he will rely on his strong physical and mental traits and do well to get by. The ACL injury is a bit of a concern, but no more of a concern than any player playing in the NFL. His supporting cast of fellow defensive backs is at a high level which in turn he’ll receive top-notch information on the field of play as games unfold. Instead of him being relied on and under pressure to perform and turn the secondary around he’ll have the luxury of making rookie mistakes without glaring criticism. Defensive coordinator Gus Brady has a large amount of success over the years in getting the most out of his safeties or in general his defensive backs as a top defensive mind in the NFL. There were two examples of this last season. One, he took fifth-round selection Desmond King and his potential and made him relevant. He also used veteran special teams ace Adrian Phillips in a hybrid role to reduce the impact of the fact that they had linebacker problems with some success. We should expect similar to better results out of the way he uses James in 2018.

The “Gut” Take:

My gut is running side by side with the brain here. As long as James stays healthy he’ll be inserted at the worst as the full time free safety. His best-case scenario would be to see him inserted as the strong safety for our IDP purposes. And that isn’t as far-fetched as one could envision here. Jahleel Addae is an above average strong safety, but not without a couple of issues. One could be seen as his physical stature of 5’ 10” and 195 lbs versus James at 6’ 3” and 211 pounds. Would James have a better mass to play up on the line to shed blocks? Addae has benefited from a weak linebacker core in front of him over the last couple of seasons resulting in racking up combined tackles. But overall the playmaking stats are average overall. In the last three seasons he has only recorded 1.5 sacks, 1 interception that happen to go for a touchdown, and 15 passes defended. Those are nowhere near outstanding stats as a playmaker. Not to mention the amount of injuries he has had. 2017 was his first in three seasons to play a complete schedule. Out of a possible 48 games over three seasons he has managed to be healthy for 37 of them, and that is less “give” than “take” because those include the games he was injured in. This is likely due to his physical stature we mentioned above. Strong safeties are often caught up in the wash near the line with the big guys on the field in harm’s way. Another issue is Addae’s coverage skills, 15 passes defended and 1 interception does not scream top notch either. The point here is that Addae can be outplayed by James if James is up to the task. The strong safety position is much more friendly for those tackle opportunities over the free safety in the deep field. Especially when there are talents at the cornerback position like the Chargers have in Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett (when healthy), Desmond King, and even Trevor Williams (depth player) who don’t let plays get by them as often. We want James at strong safety in 2018 for our best IDP results. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll excel at free safety also, but fingers crossed we at least see him alternating with Addae in certain situations putting James closer to the line of scrimmage. There is also another huge factor that should benefit James in 2018 as a defensive back in IDP land. The Chargers linebacker core is average at best. In my opinion it is actually below average. In 2017 players did not step up as they should have in the 4-3 scheme. And injuries with what talent they did have remained a problem. Could we possibly see James used as a weakside linebacker as defensive back Adrian Phillips was last season? We can only dream that would play out in our favor. With the Chargers not stunning us with selecting a well-known linebacker in the draft or making any current move to add a known stud to the group, this is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Bradly tried to do it with Phillips out of necessity last season, and fortunately, that necessity on paper has not changed much at this time. In the end, we could see James easily top his floor potential combined tackle range if things play out in our favor as fantasy football owners and he lands the strong safety role. If not we may be looking at the lower floor of his potential combined tackles as a free safety with all that talent around him in the secondary. It should not shock us if he reached lower tier 1 however if we are lucky. that tier one, of course, would be among the defensive backs position, to reach an overall IDP tier one would like striking gold outside your back door. Possible? Yes! Likely? No.

 

Personal note: The only reason James was 4th and not higher at this point was based of the potential results by position played. This can be explained more HERE and why. I also need to verify how I approach any excitement on “takes” on rookies. I recently published the following short fact-finding article, please be sure to check it out. Just a simple click on the title will shock most in finding out the odds.

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. (soon)
  6. (soon)
  7. (soon)
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

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

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

The IDP Geek Huddle: Five Year Rookie Success Rate

By The Numbers

 

 

Rookie IDP overall who have managed to reach the top 64 in combined tackles according to NFL.com end of the year statistics in their rookie season. This is an all position and all player available ranking. Tiers may vary, but I choose to use these tiers for a floor with “standard” size leagues of 10 – 14 teams and with 6 – 8 IDPs per starting lineup.

Tier 1 = Ranked 1 – 16  

Tier 2 = Ranked 17 – 32

Tier 3 = Ranked 33 – 48

Tier 4 = Ranked 49 – 64

The Last Five Seasons

2013 IDPs drafted: 51 DL – 25 LB – 52 DB (128)

Tier 1: WLB Kiko Alonso ranked 3rd

Tier 2: WLB Alec Ogletree ranked 25th

Tier 3: S Jonathan Cyprien ranked 40th

Tier 4: N/A

Total: 4 out of 128 (3.12%)

2014 IDPs drafted: 42 DL – 34 LB – 53 DB (129)

Tier 1: ILB C.J. Mosley ranked 7th

Tier 2: W/MLB Preston Brown ranked 23rd

Tier 2: ILB Chris Borland ranked 27th

Tier 3: WLB Telvin Smith ranked 33rd

Tier 4: S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix ranked 51st

Total: 5 out of 129 (3.8%)

2015 IDPs drafted: 43 DL – 36 LB – 46 DB (125)

Tier 1: N/A

Tier 2: MLB Stephone Anthony ranked 20th (tied)

Tier 2: S Landon Collins ranked 20th (tied)

Tier 3: MLB Kwon Alexander ranked 44th

Tier 3: MLB Eric Kendricks ranked 45th

Tier 4: N/A

Total: 4 out of 125 (3.2%)

2016 IDPs drafted: 42 DL – 34 LB – 51 DB (127)

Tier 1: N/A

Tier 2: MLB Deion Jones ranked 25th

Tier 2: S Keanu Neal ranked 26th

Tier 3: N/A

Tier 4: CB Daryl Worley ranked 51st

Tier 4: S Vonn Bell ranked 53rd

Total: 4 out of 127 (3.1%)

2017 IDPs drafted:  42 DL – 32 LB – 56 DB (130)

Tier 1: N/A

Tier 2: MLB Jarrard Davis ranked 28th

Tier 2: I/OLB Zach Cunningham ranked 38th

Tier 3: N/A

Tier 4: S Jamal Adams ranked 61st

Total: 3 out of 130 (3.9%)

Grand Totals For Last Five Seasons.

Total IDP Drafted: 639

Total Rookies Reaching Tier 1 – 4: 20

Grand Total Percentage: 3.129%

3.129%!

Don’t depend on hyped rookies to assist you to win in his first season, no matter the hype!

 

Personal Note: This is why I don’t like ranking rookies in my upper tiers when ranking IDPs. This is also why we should never depend on a rookie for our starting lineups. There are too many factors that can play out from what can be rookies being injury prone to their acclimation to the pro-level of the NFL. You may find that I support or hype a rookie from time to time. Please don’t ever take that as more than me promoting at a “rookie level.” They are great “sleepers” or “fliers” and as long as we approach it this way we will not be disappointed but elated when they do succeed. This is why I personally target second thru fourth-year players, I’ll pay the price after they show us something. And there is nothing better or safer to me personally than a veteran who has displayed his talents for at least a couple seasons. Being Consistent matters, period.

 

*** Disclaimer: This info was calculated by observation, allow a margin of error. I am only human.

 

Thank you again for reading and please feel free to find me on Twitter @HBogart27 for everything IDP.

Where Will Bowman Land & Will He Be IDP Relevant?

The following article is a guest article By Nathan Cheatham of the IDP Guys Podcast.

 

A major date is right around the corner for the NFL, June 1st marks a major accounting shift for player salaries who are cut. Teams have the option of designating up to two players who will be released from the team after that date, and in turn any guaranteed money gets postponed to the following year’s dead cap.

 

This means players are added to the free agency pool, and money is added to team offers. A last minute feeding frenzy ensues as teams fill out their rosters with last minute vets before training camp.

Image result for navorro bowman

Photo by; NBC Bay Area

One of the highest profile free agent veterans still available that IDP (individual defensive player) fantasy football players should be keeping a close eye on is middle linebacker Navorro Bowman. He became a free agent after spending last season with the Oakland Raiders.

 

Coming off an Achilles tear, the San Francisco 49ers cut Bowman in October of last season, unexpectedly. While he wasn’t young (turning 30 this year), he was still producing with double digit tackle totals in two games for the 49ers that year. San Francisco was obviously wanting to give the position to their newly acquired rookie Reuben Foster.

 

Missing only one game in 2017 due to the cut (week 6), and one game due to bye (week 10), Bowman was able to put together a season with 127 total tackles. He ranked as linebacker 11 by the seasons end, even after coming off a major injury, dealing with a team change, and missing a week. Depending on where Bowman ends up for 2018, he could still be in the conversation to be a mid LB1 sleeper if he lands in a 4-3 defense.

 

Teams in a 4-3 defensive scheme

 

There are nine teams in the league that run a 4-3 defense, and two teams switching to a 4-3. All nine teams have a solid starter at MLB this coming season. All cap numbers mentioned are from spotrac.com and are current as of May 25th, situations are subject to change on June 2nd.

 

Dallas Cowboys: Sean Lee is an effective middle linebacker when healthy, and Dallas drafted Leighton Vander Esch in the first round of the NFL Draft this season in case of Lee getting injured, which is common. Bowman would be too expensive for the Cowboys who have only $5 mil in cap space left, and wouldn’t spend that on a backup.

 

Atlanta Falcons: Deion Jones is the rockstar of their linebacker corps. He is a top tier IDP option and runs that defense alongside Vic Beasley at edge rush. Jones is going into his third NFL season and Beasley his fourth, neither would be supplanted by Bowman who is trying to make the most of his twilight seasons in the league. Falcon’s cap is at $7 mil.

 

Minnesota Vikings: Eric Kendricks is another young linebacker with control of his defense. The Minnesota defense is starting to age, and with that comes cap issues, but it is still a year or two off before that affects the linebacker corps. By then Bowman will probably not be in the league any longer, or if he is, will be on the tail end of a three-year contract where he got paid by another team and is considering retirement. Vikings cap is at $18 mil.

 

Carolina Panthers: Luke Kuechly is nearing Bowman’s age, and having more health problems with the numerous concussions he has dealt with in his career. That hasn’t stopped Kuechly to be considered one of the top linebackers in the league. When he has missed games, teammate Shaq Thompson has stepped in and filled the gap as a versatile player. Unless Kuechly unexpectedly retires in the next month, I don’t see a place for Bowman in this corps. Panthers cap is at $1 mil.

 

Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati made a play in free agency already for a linebacker in Preston Brown formerly of the Buffalo Bills. Brown will play with often suspended Vontaze Burfict and Nick Vigil. There are clearly no holes in this linebacker corps that would support a second signing, especially with the depth Cincinnati has after drafting Malik Jefferson in the third round this year. Bengal’s cap is at $15 mil.

Image result for top middle linebackers 2017

Jacksonville Jaguars: A team that should be referenced by no other name than Sacksonville because of their oft dominate defense, lost a key piece in the off-season when MLB Paul Posluszny retired. This allows Myles Jack to start at middle linebacker. Jack is a good IDP option this year, and will be between Telvin Smith and Blair Brown. If the Jags were worried about their LBs (which I doubt) they could make a play for Bowman, but personally I think that would be overkill and the team could spend the money elsewhere (like getting a QB…). Jags cap is at $14 mil.

 

Oakland Raiders: Bowman’s former team offered him a contract, which he turned down looking to test the market. So the Raiders went out and signed Detroit Lions linebacker Tahir Whitehead and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. While Oakland has said the door is always open to get talent like Bowman’s, this door seems to be slammed shut. Raiders cap is at $5 mil.

 

New Orleans Saints: The Saints don’t exactly have a top tier linebacker corps, but did make a move to get former Jets linebacker DeMario Davis in the off-season. Davis had a good season last year mopping up after a terrible Jets offense. He comes from a good situation to a lesser situation. If Bowman doesn’t get signed, and the Saints LBs aren’t pulling their weight, a conversation could be had for Bowman getting a job mid season in New Orleans. Saints cap is at $3.9 mil.

 

San Francisco 49ers: This team just dodged a bullet with the court case against their star linebacker Reuben Foster, whom they have invested both a first round pick in 2017 and fired their former star Navorro Bowman for. If there isn’t bad blood between San Fran and Bowman, I congratulate him for being a bigger person. That said Foster still has to deal with a marijuana charge which will lead to a suspension. Their 2018 third round pick Fred Warner looks like an interesting player to keep an eye on during that time. 49ers cap is at $37 mil.

 

Teams switching to a 4-3 defensive scheme

 

Image result for indianapolis colts logoIndianapolis Colts: The Indianapolis Colts linebacker situation is so dire going into this season that they used four picks in the 2018 draft on linebackers. Getting Kemoko Turay and Darius Leonard in the second, and Matthew Adams and Zaire Franklin in the seventh. According to ourlads.com the rookies are slotted as backups to John Simon from Houston, Anthony Walker (last year’s fifth round pick), and Antonio Morrison (fourth rounder two years ago).

 

This group of linebackers aren’t really impressive. Morrison being talked about in the IDP community as a possible stash due to his role at MLB and the situation he finds himself in. From a football perspective, if he doesn’t step up he is looking to be replaced and if the new Colts LBs don’t pan out then they have a serious problem.

 

What is working in the Colts favor is having hired a new head coach, and in turn getting Matt Eberflus who is the former Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach. This means that he might be able to make solid linebackers out of the players he has, though it might also mean he convinces Frank Reich to pursue a linebacker in free agency that could be a difference maker.

 

As of late May the Colts have about $52 mil in cap left to spend, so if they decide they want someone it’s more than likely they will get them. There is a chance that Bowman could be pursued by the Colts, if they feel they just need a couple years to get their other players up to speed and are looking for a veteran presence.

 

Image result for arizona cardinals logoArizona Cardinals: Arizona didn’t spend any draft capital this year on the linebackers, spending most of their picks on offensive holes that were glaring. This wasn’t surprising as their defense is littered with top IDP fantasy names. But what is even more glaring is the name slotted at middle linebacker, Josh Bynes. Between big name players like Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick is a player who was a backup in the talent poor Detroit Lions linebackers of 2016.

 

Bynes was someone that Detroit Lions fans were hopeful to reach his potential while with the Lions, especially with how bad Tahir Whitehead was in coverage at middle linebacker. That lead to the Lions drafting Jarrad Davis in the following draft, and when Bynes had his chance in 2016 he didn’t impress. He was then signed by the Cardinals and during 2017 he played in 14 games and started one. For the entire season he made only 34 total tackles and had one sack and one interception.

 

Having been with three teams so far in the NFL, his best season was for the Lions in 2015 where he started 11 games and had a total of 80 tackles. He is turning 29 years old this season, which means this is his last chance if he makes it through training camp. The Cardinals did give Bynes a three-year deal in March so smart money would be on him making the team, but if Arizona doesn’t address that middle linebacker role Bynes will be a fantasy viable option because he will be a black hole in the middle of that defense.

 

Also with the switch to a 4-3, there will be less help in the linebacker corps if a player isn’t fulfilling his potential. There is already concern that Haason Reddick could have a slow adjustment to the new scheme, being only in his second season and now making a major switch. This would leave Deone Bucannon as the force on one side of the field, causing quarterbacks to target the opposing side. A lopsided defense like that will produce tackles, but will also cause teams to make personnel changes.

 

The addition of Bowman in this defense could solidify two-thirds of that corps and provide veteran help for Reddick in the scheme switch. The hole in the middle of that defense would be patched up, and the defense could be relied on to help a rookie quarterback gain his feet in the league. Bynes could maintain a roster spot, being an above average backup who can make sure there isn’t a drastic talent drop off if injuries occur. In IDP terms, don’t spend a lot of capital on Bynes till the coming free agency period is over.

 

The Cardinals aren’t exactly strapped for cash at $13 mil, but won’t be able to compete with the likes of Indianapolis. They should however have a more attractive situation to woo Bowman, a team that could have a solid chance in the near future and the opportunity to make San Francisco pay two times a year.

Image result for navorro bowman

Where will Bowman go?

 

This is where the hard part comes in, trying to discern where a player might sign. There is no way I could know, unless I had some direct line with his agent. But, I can describe the situations from his point of view and compare.

 

He likely is looking to get paid in this free agency period, considering he turned down what was probably a low Raiders offer. Since he proved himself this past season, and since he is aging, he probably is looking for a longer deal (maybe three years) that could take him to retirement. I’d expect that he wants a shot at a title in those three years, rather than a place where he has little chance of glory. Also considering he made no attempt to leave the west coast after being cut from the 49ers, I’d expect him wanting to stay in that part of the country with his family.

 

My prediction is that Navorro Bowman lands in Arizona on a three year deal and a moderate salary. If this happens I see Bowman as a upper-tier LB2 and a draft able player this year and next.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Rashaan Evans

Tennessee Titans Rashaan Evans

 

Drafted: 22nd overall

Team Defense: 3-4 Base

State of Team’s Offence: Playoff Contenders in 2017

Rookie Tier: #1

Rookie IDP Draft: Wave #1

All IDP Position Draft: Late Wave #2

Potential 2018 Position Tier: Mid #2

Position Competition Level: Moderate

Potential 2018 Combined Tackle Range:80-100

Play Making Ability Potential: High

Dynasty Value: High

 

Why he has the potential to succeed at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Titans will give him all the opportunity he needs to do so.
  2. Coaching. Head coach is Mike Vrabel, a former linebacker.
  3. Only one other linebacker likely to compete for production.
  4. High-end athletic skills.
  5. Experience adapted to the pressure of the game with 3 NCAA championship appearances with Alabama.

IDP GUYS AD?

 

Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Possible durability issues.
  2. Instincts are a bit slow at times.
  3. Physical stature.
  4. Can be caught up in the flow of the opposing blockers
  5. Form tackling needs improvement, tendency to go high.

 

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

The “Brain” Take:


Evans barely missed out on the number #2 spot on my list. It was extremely hard to not “take” on him over Raquan Smith of the Bears for my second player off the rookie IDP board. In my opinion, Evans is just like Smith and the new trend of linebacker taking hold in the NFL. The only real reason Evans is not above Smith is that in college Evans had a bit of durability concerns. And at 6’3” and 234 lbs along with the potential for him to be “washed” into the blocking leading to injury should be considered. Granted the Titans do have a margin better defensive line in front of Evans than the Bears do in front of Smith. Though the depth behind him is not as threatening as it sounds the Titans did sign veteran Will Compton who has a few solid years as a backup with plenty of starting experience in the same defensive scheme the Titans will be running. Compton was not a “star” per say, but solid. Then there is the Titans fifth-round pick from last season who found himself earning snaps last year as well. Jayon Brown did struggle a bit but had been rumored to have slotted in to have an expanded role in 2018. The Brown hype and the Compton signing was pre-draft and before Evans was drafted. This, in turn, should give that edge to Evans just based off draft status. Keep all this in mind while I now bring up the anchor of the Titans defense in Wesley Woodyard. We are likely fooling ourselves if the 31-year-old veteran isn’t the leader in stats again in 2018. Coach Vrabel may have a new toy in Evans, but being an “old hand” in the NFL and knowing how he approached rookies on the field as a linebacker’s coach and defensive coordinator in his NFL career, he may not be in a rush with Evans.

 

 

The “Gut” Take:

With all that was mentioned in the “Brain” take it is possible here that my “gut” take is a bit surprising. Though I do not believe that he will surpass Woodyard in 2018 I do believe he’ll have no problem adjusting and succeeding in outplaying Compton and Brown as long as he is healthy. Coach Vrabel will be able to help keep Evans cleaner on the field with the defensive unit in front of him allowing him to make some plays. I’ll be honest here, I don’t see Evans playing a full season. I’m going to set his 2018 game mark at 14 games played. It is the pros, and at this level with durability and how the Titans will likely not be 100% forced to have him on the field with Compton in the wings I can see a “hammy” or something coming up. In the end, I’m going to give Evans the same as I did Raquan Smith at #2 and say he’ll do nicely to hit the low-end of his potential in combined tackles of 80. I will “check” myself here, my gut tells me if I’m missing with a conservative “take” to this point it’s here on Evans. If he can stay healthy, it would not be surprising to see him surpass all the rookie IDPs and be the leading producer in stats out of them all. Just remember, Vrabel will depend on veteran Woodyard in 2018, experience matters.

 

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

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. Roquan Smith
  3. Rashaan Evans
  4. (soon)
  5. ?
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

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

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

The IDP Geek Huddle: Roquan Smith

Chicago Bears Linebacker Roquan Smith

 

Drafted: 8th overall

Team Defense: 3-4 Base

State of Team’s Offence: Rebuild

Rookie Tier: #1

Rookie IDP Draft: Wave #1

All IDP Position Draft: Late Wave #2

Potential 2018 Position Tier: #2

Position Competition Level: High

Potential 2018 Combined Tackle Range: 80-100

Play Making Ability Potential: High

Dynasty Value: High

 

Why he has the potential to succeed at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Simply said, he has the right situation on top of the right skills as a player.
  2. An Atlanta Falcons Deion Jones “clone” with coverage skills and speed to get from sideline to sideline.
  3. His draft status as a top ten pick will give him every opportunity to learn on the field as a starter with the first unit.
  4. With the Bears offense in transition in the attempt to find their “mojo” on the field with a second-year quarterback and supporting cast could struggle to a point ensuring plenty of snaps for Smith and the defense.
  5. The other “main” supporting inside linebacker is veteran Danny Trevathan who has struggled to stay healthy over his career.

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018:

  1. The Bears defensive scheme.
  2. The lack of talent on the defensive line and at outside linebacker for the Bears overall.
  3. If inside linebacker Danny Trevathan would stay healthy for the larger portion of the 2018 season.
  4. The development of third-year inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.
  5. His physical stature.

 

The “Brain” Take:

All indication should be that Smith is one of the two rookie IDP players we should consider for our IDP purposes if needing the chance to hit a home run with a rookie in 2018. There is nothing not to like about his situation’s potential. Even if there are a couple schematics that should be concerning, but again not to the point that he is shied away from as the first choice IDP rookie off the board. His 6’ 1” 236 lbs may not translate as a WILB/MILB so easily in year one as one may hope. That is a very “slight of build” as a rookie in my opinion as an ILB that will likely need to shed blocks a bit more in the 3-4 scheme compared to a 4-3 WLB/MLB. He’ll likely have to rely heavily on his instincts and that great speed to produce in the scheme at the pro level until he adds some more muscle mass. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in Chicago. The likely outcome from my point of view would be to have Smith as the starting WILB in more coverage duties and have Trevathan hold down the MILB for more of the run stopping and block shedding in 2018. And we shouldn’t forget Kwiatkoski who has flashed when healthy as a starter. The advantage for Smith is that Kwiatkoski doesn’t fit the WILB position nearly as well as he does as the MILB. This has to get us wondering exactly how the Bears will utilize Smith in 2018. His draft status should guarantee it is as a starter in one form or another. If he can find and hold his nitch for the Bears his first season we should see a very solid tier 2 type linebacker with upside.

 

 

The “Gut” Take:

I believe the concerns are real and that in 2018 the best we can hope for out of Smith in that scheme and with Trevathan and Kwiatkoski is he can push to win the WILB. I like Smith more as a dynasty player than one in 2018 with the different scenarios. If Trevathan can stay healthy, and he has a huge incentive to do so in the third year of a four year contract, the Bears are not going to bench the good veteran. This is the first year for him to make some real cash at $5.8 million and to set up the same amount in 2019 after only making just under $4 million combined in both his first two years of the contract. He does have a potential “out” in 2018 in his contract the Bears could exercise, but this is highly unlikely at this point and time with the depth of inside linebackers on the roster. Kwiatkoski is firmly in the third year of his rookie contract and shown growth as a 4th round pick each year so far. As for Smith, as much as being selected the 8th overall should mean, my gut is telling me that in this year’s draft it isn’t as relevant as most years. The gut tells me when there were 15 defensive players selected in the first round that there was a lack of talent overall to be had and concluding that some players in this years class would have simply gone in lower rounds in other years. I think Smith will be lucky to max out at his floor of potentially combined tackles at 80 total. Dare I say a possible time share among all three linebackers? I do like him enough to take him off the board 2nd overall, but in 2018 it was a fine line between him and the next player at 3 that I’ll be writing about soon.

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board.

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. Roquan Smith
  3. (soon)
  4. (soon)
  5. ?
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

 

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

 

Thanks as always for reading and please find me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

 

The IDP Geek Huddle: Buffalo’s Milano vs. Edmunds

Who you taken’?

Anyone that knows of me has known that I’ve pegged Buffalo’s second-year linebacker Matt Milano as my breakout player for 2018. And now that the Bills drafted Tremaine Edmunds I’ve received a few notifications asking if them doing so will effect Milano and his chances of that breakout this coming season. To answer this properly we will use this article to do some comparing and evaluation of each player versus the situation. Hopefully, in the end, clarifying who may have the upper hand when it comes the time that a choice may need to be made. Please keep in mind this is not full proof rocket science. At this time I’m writing this article all we got going for us is the “hype” of what should happen. It’ll be clearer around preseason before we have a better idea of what should unfold. And even when dealing with a Rookie and a second-year player who only played a portion as a starter last season, nothing is written in stone as we all know. Let’s see what we can come up with now.

Image result for matt milano bills

While Edmunds combine numbers are nice and fresh, Milano’s is only a year old and still pretty viable to match-up. If anything we need to keep in mind that if Milano has gone “all in” on Buffalo’s training methods he could have improved. Don’t get me wrong on “pulling” for Milano when I mention a few things as we go thru this. I’d do the same for Edmunds if he wasn’t a rookie and had a bit more to mention about concerning him if he had a year under his belt in the NFL. Just something to keep in mind, now to the combine and from what I see, neither attended a full Pro Day workout. And shockingly to actually get the full grid of each player’s results I had to refer to Draftscout.com, and they don’t share well so you’ll have to google them. Draftscout breaks things down a little different including the 10-20 yard dash splits. And mentioning that neither player has recorded results for the 20-60 yard shuttles or 3 cone drill at the combine. I’m also not able to find out why Edmunds didn’t record a vertical jump. I do like to compare things to “known” solid players when comparing. So we are going to include two similar in size players with Atlanta Falcons MLB Deion Jones and Carolina Panthers Luke Kuechly.

Edmunds: 6’4” – 253 lbs              Luke Kuechly: 6’3” – 238 lbs

Milano: 6’0” – 223 lb                     Deion Jones: 6’1”

So in general what are we looking at? Well, the whole point was to compare Edmunds and Milano to a point. And the two “known” players are our high base as both of them are considered to be current top five linebackers by most football fans and experts. So as a whole I believe that by the numbers Milano and Edmunds do stand out. So now we will take on the two we are discussing these combine results. Keep in mind without extending this article really long I have the NFL combine results for 2017 and 2018 in front of me. You can locate them HERE (Milano Bench) or HERE (Edmunds 40 YD) if you’d like.

Edmunds Take: His size compared to his speed in the top end and the short burst has him at the Beast level. His power or strength needs a bit of work. The bench press especially is glaring considering his size. And the broad jump doesn’t inspire much either to make up the difference. Looking at it now, is there a seeded reason he did not participate in the vertical jump? But in general over the last two rookie classes of linebackers, he is fast, man is he fast and larger than 90% of the NFL inside linebackers. His power will come as the Bills work with him these next couple of years. But as of now, we will just say it again, not impressed compared to his size and the past two rookie classes. I do want to ask, I wonder how often he’ll need that top end speed a season to run down guys. Just a thought.

Milano’s Take: His speed in the top end is just about average or comparable to most per combine, but his short area burst is a lot better and just above average. Likely due to his leg strength with such strong results in the jumping categories. The bench press is another story. He pushed his body weight 24 times. That’s no small feat. Comparable to the last two classes he is tied in seventh. The most was 27 reps and out of those players here are the body weights of those players, including who he tied with: 266,248,244,244,240,236,230. So I believe we may go out on a limb here as we did saying Edmunds was really fast for a big man, pound for pound Milano seems to have the power to burn. I wonder how often that top end speed matters each season for him versus his strength. Just a thought.

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

So we have split the hairs on the (physical) combine numbers, that was the easy part. Now to address tendencies on the field.

Here is where I’ll ask you that know me to trust me, and those that don’t know me feel free to follow up on what I’m about to state about each player. I’ve spent my time watching tape on both players and have researched many resources to get all this information together. Of course, depending on the same resources that never lead me to wrong very often at all. As I sat here I was trying to figure out the best way to write out this information. In the end, I’m cheating a bit. I’ll first use what the NFL draft profiles have listed by NFL.com. Because overall, I believe they are 100% correct anyhow and mirror 90% of what I’ve seen with all the other resources. And again, I watched some tape myself to see what exactly is being pointed out.

Edmunds NFL.com: Weaknesses

  • Instincts are average and relies on athletic gifts
  • Can be a step slow to diagnose
  • Lured by misdirection
  • Will take random downhill paths that trap him in the quagmire
  • Patience is lacking
  • Races ahead of plays and voids his leverage and run fits at times
  • Needs to add more upper and lower body strength
  • Average base strength and high center of gravity create issues holding up at the point of attack
  • Needs to be quicker to punch in order to maintain clearance
  • Mental busts in man coverage hurt his team
  • Takes time to process moving pieces

I 100% agree, and also happen across a YouTube video that shows and explains in depth exactly what’s listed. High five to this gentleman doing the video.

 

Milano NFL.com: Weaknesses

  • Needs to add a little more size to his frame
  • Can be outmuscled by size
  • Hand usage is inconsistent
  • Needs to improve in the art of discarding blockers
  • Just average at punching and shedding to keep himself clean in take-on situations
  • Bad habit of ducking head into crunching tackles rather than seeing what he hits
  • Tightly wound with average change-of-direction talent
  • Can improve his path to the perimeter to avoid traffic around him

Again, I 100% agree. And want to point out that most of this is more “size” related. I’d have another video added here like the “Boom or Bust” on Edmunds, but unfortunately, I can not find one that anyone took the time to make. In light of this, I did find this one if you’re interested. Hopefully, the volume works better for you than it did me. To hear it I had to boost the old laptop with added speakers. Please, if anyone out there can locate anything on Milano other than highlights and more of scouting material please let me know. Who knows one of these days I may venture into making my own.

Now on to an overall comparing of the flaws. When it comes to Edmunds it seems he has a mental lapse at times and some technique habits that the Bills will need to work on for him to reach his potential. He is just 20 years old so all this will be either worked out of him or he’ll struggle and depend on his freakish size and athleticism for the length of his career. But, he isn’t quite as polished as one may think at the moment. And some don’t “get it” for a few years. I’m betting he’ll be fine sooner than later.

As for Milano, I think we can say that he has already had the luxury to prove his potential in his rookie season and overcame the “too small” tag to play at the pro level. He has a full year to learn and acclimate to the NFL and grow. Advantages yes, but perfect, no. He did grade out well as the highest graded Bills linebacker in 2017 and also as one of the top rookies in his limited snaps as well. Again, with Milano already “showing” last season there is an unfair advantage to this part of the assessment. But I can not simply ignore his rookie season and follow this up as if he was a rookie right now. You’ll need to decide what you think about that in the end.

Position Battle: So we know by the current reports that Edmunds is penciled in as the middle linebacker and possibly calling the plays while Milano is penciled in as the likely weakside linebacker. I do agree this is the more plausible outcome. But what should be pointed out is if things go as they should both of these players will be in prime spots no matter which position they play, as long as it isn’t the strongside linebacker. Traditionally that position in the 4-3 is the least productive among the 3 linebackers. And yes I understand how Preston Brown cleaned up at the middle linebacker spot last season. And whoever, odds are Edmund, mans the middle will have an advantage. But as I’ve stated in this article HERE, the weakside linebacker can be just as viable. As someone that has followed the Bills LBs over the last few years let me just say they have not managed to have a “set” group to stay in their positions, this is why we are seeing a changing of the guard.

In Conclusion: Time to add it up.

  1. Is there a clear favorite in a clear path to the most production between these two in 2018?
  2. Does either player have a real advantage at this point and time?
  3. As you read this was there any one thing that made you waiver one way or the other?
  4. Is either of them a “sure thing” to be better than the other long-term in Dynasty?

My Conclusion: I have been toting Milano as a “breakout” player in 2018. That does not change for me. At no time did I state he would be the next top 5 linebacker in the league. I simply thought and think he’ll be relevant for our IDP purposes in our starting lineups, possibly as a third or fourth option with upside. Do I think after they have drafted Edmunds that Milano’s ceiling is as high as it would have been if they hadn’t drafted such a prospect, no I do not! Here’s how I look at it currently altogether. In 2018 I think if both players stay healthy we will see them both produce within 15% of each other per your league’s fantasy points scoring by the end of the season in 2018. Simply based on the advantages I’ve mentioned for Milano versus Edmunds being an unpolished rookie and the odds that Edmunds is the middle linebacker and Milano is the weakside linebacker. As for Dynasty, until I see Edmunds do his thing, I feel safer with Milano at this moment and will accept it in a couple years if I’m wrong and coming up on the short in of the stick in dynasty. I’m pretty confident in any drafts going forward this year that Milano’s ADP to draft him should be a bargain compared to Edmunds also. If I’m in a rookie only draft, Edmunds is the guy, the number one target overall off the board. If I’m in any sort of all player draft, I’m gambling on Milano who I can likely get at least a round or two later. That’s my thoughts.

ADP: So by this recent poll, who’ll be the better value by round?

I can’t leave Edmunds with no video love. My pride is not that strong to not give him his dues.

And of course, there’s my breakout player pick, with some college highlights. Was the 2017 class that deep he slipped thru the holes? And a special shout-out to Brian Serrano @Ano_611 For turning me loose and bringing Milano to my attention shortly after the 2017 draft. Thanks, Brian! He has some great stuff and should be followed on Twitter. When he talks, I listen.

Additional Thought: Micah Hyde should see an uptick in production in 2018 as the young linebackers adjust to the pro level. And as long as all goes well 34 years old Lorenzo Alexander will man the strongside linebacker position where he’ll be solid, but unlikely to top his 73 combined tackles from last season.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to catch me on Twitter @HBogart27, I love talking IDP. And catch my other articles HERE if you would like to see more.

The IDP Geek Huddle: Tremaine Edmunds

Buffalo Bills Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds

 

Drafted: 16th overall

Team Defense: 4-3 Base

State of Team’s Offence: Rebuild

Rookie Tier: #1

Rookie IDP Draft: Wave #1

All IDP Position Draft: Wave #2

Potential 2018 Position Tier: High #2

Position Competition Level: Moderate

Potential 2018 Combined Tackle Range: 80-110

Play Making Ability Potential: High

Dynasty Value: High

 

Why he has the potential to succeed at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Physical Beast.
  2. Lack of real competition at his position.
  3. The state of the Buffalo Bills offense as it rebuilds.
  4. Draft status
  5. Defensive Scheme in favor of his skill set.

Are you addicted to IDP? This is a relatively new space for @cleatgeeks but it is catching on quick with our fans! One of the main reasons for the outpouring of support from our fans is that we not only give you great articles on the subject, but the fact that we have partnered with a great podcast as well. That podcast is the IDP Guys Show. Check out their latest podcast right here!

Why he may not reach his potential at the pro level in 2018:

  1. Youth (20)
  2. Instincts.
  3. Mental mistakes.
  4. Matt Milano presents.
  5. Acclimatizing to pro level.

 

The “Brain” Take:

The perfect example of the perfect situation in landing with the Bills. At only 20 years old and a physical beast with above average size and speed combo he will rely on those traits until he mentally can process the pro level of play. He’ll likely be “coached” up and given priority by the coaching staff to help him along and be as ready as possible for week one. With the Bills having a lack of youthful talent, other than Matt Milano, with some proven aspects of their game he’ll dominate as an opposing figure in camp. The 4-3 scheme is well suited to his style of play as either the middle linebacker or the weakside linebacker. If there is any struggling he still could play the strongside with his size at 6’5” and 253 lbs, which in turn would still likely leave him on the field every snap available increasing his odds of producing stats. Unless he just completely flops and cannot get his head into what the coaches are saying the Bills have no real other choices but to make him a part of the plans in 2018. With the Bills in a rebuilding mode on the offensive side of the ball, he could be a leader in the league in snap counts among linebackers if he can stay healthy.

The “Gut” Take:

I see no reason that Edmunds won’t reach his potential as a rookie. In this case, the “brain” take above coincides well with the “gut” take. As I have toted Matt Milano as a breakout player for 2018 with the situation in Buffalo it is not surprising to me that I was likely now going to tote whoever the Bills selected at linebacker as long as it was one of the upper prospects. There are two questions in my gut on this take, but neither seem enough to worry about at this moment. If I had a rookie pick in a draft and I needed a linebacker, he would be my safest pick every time. Off the top and after doing my research and watching his college tape I do agree with many “gurus” that his mental approach to his game needs to catch up to his physical traits. His youth is likely the collaborate there and will be overcome by simply being thrown into the fire because the Bills just don’t have any other viable choice. The other thing of no real concern will be that he’ll have to outplay Matt Milano for the prime opportunities to stack the stat box. All I can say for now is don’t let Milano’s draft status versus Edmunds fool you into thinking there is a large gap between the two. There were 15 defensive players selected in this year’s class in the first round. I 100% believe that was due to the lack of talent in this years class versus last years class overall versus the league’s needs. But no matter this situation between picking Milano versus Edmunds, which I plan on writing an article soon about, know that Edmunds will be viewed as the top linebacker prospect to succeed his first year in the league because of his situation. Opportunity is where a rookie lands are just as important to his chances to succeed as anything. Hence, see Preston Brown, who Edmunds will be replacing him somewhere in the lineup. With the difference being that Edmunds looks like a better talent on paper at this time.

 

My suggested order for rookie IDPs off the board.

  1. Tremaine Edmunds
  2. (Soon)
  3. ?
  4. ?
  5. ?
  6. ?
  7. ?
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

 

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

 

Thanks as always for reading and please find me on Twitter for everything IDP @HBogart27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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