2018 IDP Draft Grades: AFC

Before the draft, we looked at the defensive needs that teams had heading into the draft. How’d they do? Let’s find out! We’ll start with the AFC teams and conclude with the NFC teams in another article.

Baltimore Ravens – Needs: OLB, DE, DT, & ILB

4th Round: Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama; Kenny Young, ILB, UCLA

6th Round: DeShon Elliott, S, Texas

7th Round: Zach Sieler, DE, Ferris St.

The Ravens traded down multiple times during the draft and were able to get a few positions of need on defense. Kenny Young could be an option next to C.J. Mosley which could be a mid to low level IDP asset. DeShon Elliott could be a replacement for Eric Weddle in the future or contribute in sub-packages. He would be a stash for me. Rookie corners could always get points for you if they are on the field so watch Averett’s snaps as he could be a useful waiver add if he gets playing time.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: C

Buffalo Bills – Needs: LB, CB, & DT

1st Round: Tremaine Edmunds, ILB, Virginia Tech

3rd Round: Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford

4th Round: Taron Johnson, CB, Weber St.

5th Round: Siran Neal, CB, Jacksonville St.

Buffalo had a very productive draft. The crown jewel of their draft on defense is Tremaine Edmunds. I think he could be a top 10 IDP scoring option overall, not just for rookies. The Buffalo assist heavy stat crew, and his sideline-to-sideline play could be a perfect IDP storm. Harrison Phillips was also a nice pick, and NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said immediately following the pick, “He’s Kyle Williams.” I’d take another Kyle Williams on my fantasy team. The two corners will join last year’s rookie CB, Tre’Davious White and could be options later in the summer.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: A+

Cincinnati Bengals – Needs: DE, DT, LB, & CB

2nd Round: Jesse Bates III, S, Wake Forest

3rd Round: Sam Hubbard, DE, Ohio St.; Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas

5th Round: Davonte Harris, CB, Illinois St.; Andrew Brown, DE/DT, Virginia; Darius Phillips, CB, Western Michigan

The Bengals needed some help up front as all their starters are entering free agency next season. Last year’s draft and this year’s class should ease the burden of overpaying their free agents. Bates could play free safety, but Bengals safeties aren’t the most effective for IDP. Sam Hubbard and Malik Jefferson could both be starters next season and could be productive. The corners could be their 3rd CB or sub-package corners and would be a watch-list contender. Brown was announced as a DE, but can slide into DT and could see time this season behind Geno Atkins and Chris Baker. I don’t see any immediate IDP impacts from these rookies, but some potential.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: B

Cleveland Browns – Needs: S, CB, & DE

1st Round: Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio St.

3rd Round: Chad Thomas, DE, Miami

5th Round: Genard Avery, ILB, Memphis

6th Round: Simeon Thomas, CB, Louisiana-Lafayette

The Browns grabbed the player they wanted with both their 1st and 4th overall picks in the draft. The perspective is that Ward was a reach at 4th overall, but if it’s the player they wanted and didn’t have any trading partners in the 5-10 range, then it was the right move. He wouldn’t have been around outside the top 10. The rest of their defensive draft class was used to create depth at positions that they needed. I’m a Genard Avery fan, but the landing spot behind Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert, and Jaime Collins is not optimal. He would be a taxi squad acquisition for me. I guess the Browns are happy with the safety combination of Damarious Randall and Jabrill Peppers as they did not address the position through the draft.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: B

Denver Broncos – Needs: DE, DT, & CB

1st Round: Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, N.C. State

3rd Round: Issac Yiadom, CB, Boston College

4th Round: Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa

5th Round: Kieshawn Bierra, LB, Washington

The Broncos were so shocked by the Browns selection of Denzel Ward instead of Bradley Chubb that they forgot they needed to draft a QB with this pick. Ultimately, it strengthens the pass rush and, let’s be honest, who wants to face Von Miller and Bradley Chubb? They also snagged Josey Jewell in the 4th who should eventually move into the starting lineup in the middle. They address the loss of Aqib Talib with Issac Yiadom, however he may not see much playing time unless he sees some nickel corner duties. While I love Chubb’s talent, if he is labeled an OLB, I will probably steer clear of him unless you get monster points for sacks. He was drafted as a DE, but MFL/Rotoworld sometimes has a difference of opinion.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: A-

Houston Texans – Needs: DE, DT, LB, & CB

3rd Round: Justin Reid, S, Stanford

6th Round: Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest; Peter Kalambayi, LB, Stanford

7th Round: Jermaine Kelly, CB, San Jose St.

The Texans lost a lot of their 2018 draft picks due to moving up last season to acquire Deshaun Watson. I’d say that was worth it. They did get some nice value in the drafts with Justin Reid to help out in the secondary and could take the job from Andre Hall if they are looking for an upgrade there. They planned for the loss of either Whitney Mercilus or Jadeveon Clowney with Duke Ejiofor and Peter Kalambayi that will more than likely play the EDGE/OLB position for Houston. I don’t love or hate their draft.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts – Needs: DE, LB, & CB

2nd Round: Darius Leonard, LB, South Carolina St.; Kemoko Turay, DE, Rutgers; Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State

7th Round: Matthew Adams, LB, Houston; Zaire Franklin, LB, Syracuse

The Colts invested a lot in the secondary last season, and this season they invested in the EDGE and LB. I love the pick of Darius Leonard. He should step in and become the MIKE linebacker and captain this defense going forward. They already had Jabaal Sheard and apparently, John Simon playing DE, so the fact that they took two more defensive ends show that they thought that was a huge need for this defense. I think Sheard will be IDP relevant, but Turay or Lewis could also be a name to keep in mind this season. The 7th round linebackers look like special teams players to start but could emerge because this team lacked so much talent on the defense. The Colts gained a lot of draft picks for only moving down three spots and did some damage with the picks.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: A-

Jacksonville Jaguars – Needs: LB, S, & CB

1st Round: Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

3rd Round: Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama

7th Round: Leon Jacobs, LB, Wisconsin

“Sacksonville” didn’t need to add much to their already dominant defense, but they added some quality pieces anyway. Taven Bryan doesn’t need to start for the team, but he will be a wonderful reserve player to start his career. Just imagine this spark plug coming in at full strength against offensive lineman that had to deal with their starters and are worn out. Oh yeah, they also got an Alabama safety that could have gone in the 1st round. The rich get richer here. I like both players to be IDP assets once they can wrestle away a starting job. Harrison could be some time this season. Bryan, on the other hand, may need to wait a year to take over up front. Both are great taxi squad adds.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: A

Kansas City Chiefs – Needs: CB, DL, OLB, & S

2nd Round: Breeland Speaks, DE, Ole Miss

3rd Round: Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida St.; Dorian O’Daniel, OLB, Clemson

4th Round: Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M

6th Round: Tremon Smith, CB, Central Alabama; Kahlil McKenzie, DT, Tennessee

The Chiefs hit pretty much every need that they had, though not in the order I would have addressed it. They traded Marcus Peters and released Tamba Hali, leaving voids in the defense. They didn’t address cornerback until the 6th round, which leads me to believe that they are happy with their secondary and felt the front line was more important. Speaks and Nnadi could play all over the 3-4 defensive line, and Speaks on MFL has already been moved to DE. I liked the pick of Dorian O’Daniel in the 3rd Round as he is a good football player in multiple facets of his game. He can cover, tackle, blitz and should see some immediate snaps with only Dee Ford to compete with on the depth chart across from Justin Houston.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: B

Los Angeles Chargers – Needs: DT, LB, & S

1st Round: Derwin James, S, Florida St.

2nd Round: Uchenna Nwosu, DE, USC

3rd Round: Justin Jones, DT, N.C. State

4th Round: Kyzir White, LB, West Virginia

The Chargers defense was good for IDP up front and in the secondary last season, and they added to that talent with this draft class. The Chargers were absolutely thrilled to see Derwin James still available at pick 17. They are getting another quality DB to go with the already good group of Jaleel Addae, Desmond King, and Casey Hayward. I was at first surprised to see them draft Kyzir White with their 4th Round pick, but he will play linebacker for the Chargers. The Chargers helped out their defense quite a bit through the draft. All that being said, I still believe that they need some help at DT with Corey Luiget suspended for the first four games.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: A-

Miami Dolphins – Needs: CB, DT, & LB

1st Round: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S (CB?), Alabama

3rd Round: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio St.

6th Round: Cornell Armstrong, CB, Southern Miss

7th Round: Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio

The Dolphins missed out on a QB with their 1st pick and decided not to take Lamar Jackson, but went with a talented Crimson Tide defender. So why does it seem like nobody LOVES the pick? Maybe it’s because the Dolphins already have two safeties that are paid pretty well. My best assumption is that the Dolphins may use Fitzpatrick on early downs as an outside corner and then in sub-packages to play a hybrid slot corner/safety. Teams want their 1st Round picks on the field. For IDP I’ve already mentioned previously that I don’t like Fitz, however he could prove me wrong. The Dolphins cut ties with a lot of the veteran LBs they brought in recently, so Jerome Baker could see the field, but remember Raekwon McMillan returns from his knee injury, and IDP players were salivating over him last season. They drafted some depth late, which was much needed, but nobody of note. They didn’t address the loss of Ndamukong Suh so that that middle might be a little softer this season.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: D

New England Patriots – Needs: CB, LB, & S

2nd Round: Duke Dawson, CB, Florida

5th Round: Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue

6th Round: Christian Sam, LB, Arizona St.

7th Round: Keion Crossen, CB, Western Carolina

When the Patriots draft players, we should all take notice. There may not be a better organization in the league with finding “their” players and putting them into their system. A great example of this in the realm of IDP is Patrick Chung. He fits the Patriots scheme and produces. When he left for a short time, he struggled both on the field and in IDP scoring. Duke Dawson will more than likely play across from Stephon Gilmore, or it could be Keion Crossen or an unknown undrafted free-agent. I wouldn’t pay a lot to get a corner until training camp, especially on this roster. Ja’Whaun Bentley wasn’t a player on many people’s radars but could be a sleeper to draft late to stash on taxi squads. I liked Christian Sam pre-draft and he is another player to stash. His major hurdle was some attitude red flags, and we all know the hoodie doesn’t accept those kinds of things. So maybe he will fall into the Patriot Way.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: B

New York Jets – Needs: LB, DT, CB, & DE

3rd Round: Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hays St.

6th Round: Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane; Folorunso Fatukasi, DT, UConn

The Jets had a glaring need on offense, so they traded up to #3 overall to draft a QB and picked Darnold. Moving up was costly as they gave up two 2nd Round picks in this draft and another next season. When they drafted defense, they did get a talented DT, which could be fantasy relevant in Nathan Shepherd. Besides Shepherd, the team did not draft any noteworthy prospects who could immediately start. Todd Bowles did bring in some talent through free agency, but they also lost their former 1st Round DE Muhammed Wilkerson and failed to replace him. They could have used an edge rusher instead of a second DT in the 6th round, but there wasn’t a lot of talent left there at that point.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: D

Oakland Raiders – Needs: CB, DE, LB, & S

2nd Round: P.J. Hall, DT, Sam Houston St.

3rd Round: Arden Key, LB/DE, LSU

4th Round: Nick Nelson, CB, Wisconsin

5th Round: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

6th Round Azeem Victor, LB, Washington

The Raiders certainly had an interesting off-season. Jon Gruden has taken this team from youthful and added a ton of veterans to the team. Overall, they got some nice value in some of their picks but probably drafted Hall a bit early. They did see value and take it with Arden Key and Maurice Hurst, but both of those players may never see a football field or at least not for long. Key has been waiving his red flags for two years now at LSU, and Maurice Hurst may never play a down if his heart condition is as bad as some teams believed based on them taking him completely off their boards. I certainly don’t wish terrible things on either of these players, but draft them at your own risk. P.J. Hall feel free to draft. He LOVES blocking kicks, and we’ll see if he can bring that skill to NFL special teams. Victor probably will not play immediately as the Raiders brought in Derrick Johnson to man the middle (yes another veteran). I think Johnson’s best IDP and playing days are behind him, but maybe his leadership and knowledge can be passed on to Victor.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: B-

Pittsburgh Steelers – Needs: LB, DE, DT, & S

1st Round: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech

5th Round: Marcus Allen, S, Penn St.

7th Round: Joshua Frazier, DT, Alabama

Apparently, the Steelers disagree that they need a Ryan Shazier replacement or plan to use Jon Bostic for a few seasons or even Edmunds there some. I mentioned on the Edge Crushers podcast that maybe the Steelers thought they were getting Tremaine Edmunds and got confused, but this could have been the most shocking pick of the 1st Round. The other surprise was that their next defensive selection was another safety, Marcus Allen. Keep in mind they brought in Morgan Burnett (looking like a one year trip) and already have Sean Davis. The Steelers are a talented team, and they keep doing what they do, draft replacements for players before they need to and groom them for what they want them to be. This secondary will be one to watch this upcoming training camp. Frazier is a guy I wouldn’t draft, but an interesting name to keep an eye on as linemen from Alabama are normally talented players.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: C

Tennessee Titans – Needs: DT, DE, & LB

1st Round: Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

2nd Round: Harold Landry, OLB/DE, Boston College

5th Round: Dane Cruikshank, S, Arizona

The Titans did well for themselves at filling needs with this draft. The only position that they didn’t fill was up front. Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry could have both gone in the 1st Round, so to get them both they were fortunate. They get Evans to play almost any linebacker position for them, and Landry to join Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan to rush the passer. Kevin Byard isn’t going anywhere which means Cruikshank could be a possibility at SS down the road. Just a name to watch at this point or stash on your taxi squad.

IDP/Defense Draft Grade: B

Thanks for reading! Some of these players are covered with more depth in our IDP Rookie Roundup, which is available for FREE. I’ll review the NFC with Draft grades as well so stayed tuned! You can contact me @seahawksdan8 on Twitter and hear more of my IDP thoughts on the IDP Edge Crushers Podcast every week with my co-host @DFF_DWIN.


Father of 2 AWESOME boys, Seahawks and Notre Dame fan, Dynasty footballaholic. Editor and #IDP Director, Writer and Ranker for @DFF_IDP & @DFF_Dynasty #DFFArmy #DynastyFootball #IDPMOTM

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