Fantasy Football

2016 NFL Draft: IDP Primer

This is the final of my four-part series this week. We will complete the draft week preview with the defense. This for my real fantasy players that play in IDP leagues. There’s no other way to go in my opinion. This is not a prediction in what order these players will be drafted but rather my rankings through my own personal evaluation. These guys could be future stars in your fantasy football leagues. If you are wondering about the inconsistent amount of players per position, I cut it off after I see a significant drop off making them irrelevant in IDP leagues.

Defensive Tackle
1. Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss
Nkemdiche is the most talented tackle in a draft class that’s very deep at the position. He just needs to keep himself out of trouble. There are some red flags from a personal standpoint, but physically his upside is immense.

2. Andrew Billings, Baylor
I love his combination of power and quickness. He has the ability to be a dominant force in the middle. His biggest concerns are technique-based and can be improved with coaching.

3. Jarran Reed, Alabama
Reed isn’t a three down player but could be dominant in the middle. He eats up blocks and can wreak havoc against the run. A guy like him can be very valuable. We just saw how much Damon Harrison got paid in free agency and rightfully so.

4. Sheldon Rankings, Louisville
Rankings is very gifted but has a lot of work to do to improve his game and play with consistency. I think he’s being a little over-hyped heading into this draft. Nonetheless, being fourth in this draft class is not a knock whatsoever. He’s a very good player.

5. Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
Butler can dominant at times. He’s a high-motor tackle with a ton of talent. His issues are very fixable. He may emerge as a star in this draft. Butler shined bright at the Senior Bowl.

6. A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
I have Robinson lower than most and that honestly surprises me. He lacks the athleticism of the players in front of him and on film doesn’t look like he’ll be great on the next level. He’s physically built like a pro, nevertheless, it doesn’t translate on film. It wouldn’t be shocking if he turned out to be a bust.

 

Defensive End
1. DeForest Buckner, Oregon
At 6-foot-7, 291 pounds with ridiculously long arms, Buckner is a monster of a man. He reminds me of Miami Hurricane’s great Calais Campbell coming out. While he has work to do, his physical makeup should allow him to have an immediate impact.

2. Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State
There’s not much to dislike about Ogbah. He looks the part and has an outstanding combination of speed and power. Brute strength is his forte, nevertheless, he has the athleticism as well. The big concern with him is the fact Oklahoma State players have fallen short of expectations in the past.

3. Shaq Lawson, Clemson
Lawson may be the most polarizing of the defensive ends in this draft. Some believe he’s worth of a top 5 pick, while others don’t think he should be drafted in the first round at all. I’m believe he’s firmly in the first round in the 10-15 range.

4. Kevin Dodd, Clemson
Dodd has all the physical gifts needed. He does not lack the size, speed or explosion to be outstanding. The concern is that he played opposite Lawson who clearly commanded more attention. There’s a reason why offenses focused more on Lawson. The concern is that he may have looked better due to the guy opposite him. We’ve seen that go both ways in the past.

5. Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky
There is no doubt Spence has the talent to be a high first-round pick. However, he has a well-documented history with drug addiction. He was kicked out of Ohio State and has passed all his drug tests at Eastern Kentucky. I expect Spence to fall and love his upside. Whoever gives this kid a second chance may be very thankful.

6. Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Bosa has been ultra-hyped this draft season. At one point he was built up to be the No. 1 overall pick. However, there are issues with that. I believe J.J. Watt’s success has done a lot to help Bosa’s stock. He clearly lacks the quickness of an elite pass rusher and his technique isn’t exactly unbelievable. I don’t see the upside with him.

7. Jonathan Bullard, Florida
Bullard is a bit of tweener and is more of a run stopper than a pass rusher. That’s not a bad thing, however, pass rushers hold more value in the draft at the position. I could see him translating into a bigger Olivier Vernon type in the NFL.

8. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State
Calhoun needs to get stronger on the next level and improve his technique. He’s not going to be a year-one starter, nonetheless, he has the potential to be a very good player in the coming years. His motor is always running and his upside is clear.

 

Outside Linebacker
1. Myles Jack, UCLA
In my eyes Jack is the second best defender in this draft. However, concerns about his knee may be sinking his stock a bit. He’s a bit undersized and his knee is a concern for his immediate and long-term health. I wouldn’t let that stop me from drafting him. I felt the same way about Jay Ajayi last season.

2. Darron Lee, Ohio State
Lee is an exceptional player. I have him just barely behind Jack and way ahead of anybody else on this list. He should be one of the five top defenders off the board. The only major concern with him is he needs to get stronger. I fully expect him to put on some weight and improve his functional strength in the NFL.

3. Su’a Cravens, USC
Cravens is a versatile athlete. He could very well be moved to strong safety on the next level. Along with aggressively attacking the run, he’s also solid against the pass even for a strong safety. He can be a very valuable asset if used correctly on the next level.

4. Joshua Perry, Ohio State
Perry has all the intangibles. He’s a high-energy leader and is very good at his positon. I believe the only reason he’s going a bit overlooked in this draft is because there is so much talent on Ohio State and that’s the only reason.

5. Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
By now we all know about Smith. He’s a top 5-10 pick, but a devastating knee injury has torpedoed his draft stock. There’s a chance he could never fully recover. Nonetheless, considering his upside he still is very much worth mentioning.

 

Inside Linebacker
1. Reggie Ragland, Alabama
This position is not deep this year and Ragland is undoubtedly the cream of the crop. He’s an outstanding run stopper and can make all the tackles. An instinctive LB with good size and speed.

2. Kentrell Brothers, Missouri
Brothers is very good, just not great. He is a high-volume tackler because he has no issues getting to the ball carrier, however, he sometimes struggles to finish the tackle. His aggressiveness is an asset, but he also needs to learn when to stay home. Brothers isn’t a perfect prospect, nevertheless, he’s near the top of this weak class.

Cornerback
1. Vernon Hargreaves, Florida
Many are concerned about his 5-foot-10 height. Anybody that passes up on him because of that will live to regret it. This kid is far and away the top corner in this class. What he lacks in height he more than makes up for with technique, awareness and footwork. He deserves to be a top 10 pick.

2. William Jackson, Houston
Jackson is a long aggressive corner that can matchup with big receivers. His technique needs some work and he may not match up great with smaller quick wideouts. Still, he can be a very valuable asset much like a Sean Smith.

3. Artie Burns, Miami
Burns is a good athletically as any CB in this class. He’s a long corner with a lot of room to improve. His technique needs work because he relies on his athleticism a bit too much. On top of his ability to physically match up with just about anybody, he also has excellent ball skills leading the ACC in picks last year.

4. Mackensie Alexander, Clemson
Alexander like Hargreaves isn’t the tallest at 5-foot-10, but he has great technique and can latch onto a receiver. Right now he is better than burns and maybe even Jackson. I just don’t think he has the upside down the line. Still, he’s the kind of guy that can play man or zone and be left alone with a receiver.

5. Eli Apple, Ohio State
Apple is another long, aggressive disruptive corner. However, his technique needs significant work and he can be too aggressive at times. This leads to him getting beat and unnecessary penalties.

6. Xavien Howard, Baylor
Howard is another guy that can be left on an island. His coverage abilities are very strong and his hands are excellent, both in coverage and on the ball. Still, he’s another guy that can be beat because he’s over aggressive and draws too many flags.

7. Kendall Fuller, Virginia Tech
Fuller has the potential to be a steal. A torn meniscus has derailed him for 2015 and this offseason. Look for him to be a potential steal in this year’s draft because of the knee injury. We’ve seen his ability over the course of his career.

8. Sean Davis, Maryland
Davis is a ruthless hitter, however, he plays more like a safety. I love his talent, nonetheless, he may not end up staying at corner at the next level. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but certainly worth mentioning.

 

Safety
1. Jalen Ramsey, Florida State
Ramsey is not only the best defender, he’s the best player in this draft. He’s a freakishly athletic playmaker with the ability to matchup with anyone. There is very little not to like about him. He won’t be, but should be the first-overall pick in this year’s draft. It’s still unclear exactly what position he’ll play.

2. Vonn Bell, Ohio State
Bell is a versatile athlete with strong footwork and hips. Not only does he have the toughness to steo up and stop the run, he also is very capable in coverage as well.

3. Karl Joseph, West Virginia
Many have Joseph climbing into Round 1 now, I still have him being drafted Round 2. He’s still recovering from a knee injury. With that said, he’s super tough and extremely physical. While he lacks ideal size, he makes up for it by playing much bigger than he actually is.

4. Jeremy Cash, Duke
Cash is strong against the run and is also a capable cover guy. He steps up in the box like a strong safety, while covering players like a corner. In December broke his wrist and it could still be hindering him a bit. Other than that, I really like Cash.

5. Keanu Neal, Florida
Neal is very good, nonetheless, he is a bit overrated in my eyes. While he has a ton of strong qualities, he also has bust potential due to a lack of consistency and awareness.

 

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