I looked at each team’s IDP drafts and how it will affect the players already on the team. I’m not going to spend time discussing picks who likely won’t make the team or whose ceilings are to be a Special Team contributor. That usually means any EDGE drafted after R3 and any LB or Safety drafted after R4…
1.05 Bradley Chubb 3-4 OLB NC State
3.35 Isaac Yiadom CB Boston College
4.06 Josey Jewell 3-4 ILB Iowa
6.43 Keishawn Bierria 3-4 ILB Washington
Chubb has fantastic upside in Denver. He should easily become a regular fixture in the double-digit sack club. Unfortunately, it’ll be as an LB rather than a DE. He’ll have a chance to learn from Von Miller and the two should wreak havoc together. Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett are not reasons to keep Chubb off the field. As soon as he’s ready, Chubb should be playing a lot of snaps. Miller played 850 snaps last year. Chubb should be playing that many snaps by 2019 at the latest.
Yiadom will be kept in the bullpen at the start of his career. Chris Harris and Bradley Roby will be starting. Last year’s R3 pick, Brendan Langley likely has the headstart for sub-package snaps.
Jewell will be an interesting case study. Very productive in Iowa City, his athleticism at the Combine left something to be desired. Denver just signed Todd Davis to a 3-year deal. Jewell’s realistic ceiling this year would be to beat out Davis in camp, but Davis’s role is only a 2-down run stopper as the Broncos like to bring in a 3rd Safety for sub-packages. Those hoping Jewel could eventually take over Brandon Marshall’s 3-down role need to hope he’s more athletic than his numbers would suggest. Still, he’s a Hawkeye, so I’ll likely draft him.
Kansas City Chiefs
2.14 Breeland Speaks 3-4 OLB Mississippi
3.11 Derrick Nnadi 3-4 NT Florida State
3.36 Dorian O’Daniel 3-4 ILB Clemson
4.24 Armani Watts FS Texas A+M
6.22 Tremon Smith CB Central Arkansas
6.24 Kahlil McKenzie 3-4 IDL Tennessee
You look at the measurables of Speaks, and you expect him to play 3-4 DE, but KC is planning on using him at 3-4 OLB as they did with Tanoh Kpassagnon last year. They’re both behind Justin Houston and Dee Ford, but that’s the extent of the depth chart.
Nnadi will start at NT. I still like him, but I would’ve preferred he want to a 4-3 team as 4-3 DTs play more snaps than 3-4 NTs and you can’t get tackles when you’re sitting on the bench…
O’Daniel is a little undersized at LB, meaning he’s likely ticketed for backing up recently signed Anthony Hitchens in the old Derrick Johnson coverage WILB role rather than Reggie Ragland’s 2-down, run-stopping role. They drafted O’Daniel in the R3 though so they have to have a plan for him. This may end up being bad news for backup SS Daniel Sorensen. Two seasons ago, when Eric Berry was healthy, Sorensen was a subpackage LB. Last year, with Berry missing almost the entire season, Sorensen was the base SS and the subpackage LB with Eric Murray coming in as SS in sub-packages. If KC likes O’Daniel enough to draft him in R3, maybe they see him as taking over for Sorensen in sub-packages. Something to keep an eye on going forward.
Watts has a chance to see the field pretty early. KC hasn’t resigned starting FS Ron Parker, leaving a hole in the secondary. Berry, Sorensen, and Murray all profile as SSs. Keep an eye on how it shakes out.
Los Angeles Chargers
1.17 Derwin James S Florida State
2.16 Uchenna Nwosu SAM USC
3.20 Justin Jones 4-3 DT NC State
4.19 Kyzir White SS/WILL West Virginia
Los Angeles’ strengths on defense were their secondary and their D-Line. Their biggest weakness was LB. So, of course, they draft a pair of Safeties, an EDGE and a DT and no LBs… After letting FS Tre Boston walk in free agency (he’s still available), their biggest hole in the secondary was at single high FS. When Derwin fell to them though, they couldn’t pass up on that value. Where will he play? Drafting Derwin and playing him at FS is like buying a really expensive sports car, and using it to drive kids to soccer practice. Derwin is built to play near the line of scrimmage, potentially even as a moneybacker.
This could obviously turn out to be a Jabrill Peppers situation of playing single high for one season before getting better personnel to allow him to play to his strengths. The other options on the roster for single high safety would be Jahleel Addae, who is a SS through and through, Adrian Phillips, who played subpackage LB last year, R4 sophomore Rayshawn Jenkins, who profiles as a SS and played 76 defensive snaps as a rookie, or Desmond King, LA’s dynamic sophomore slot CB. Expect a lot of different looks in the secondary as the Chargers try to get their best 11 guys on the field at once.
As for upgrading their LB corps, they got creative. Nwosu is undersized to play EDGE in the NFL so they’ll give him a try at SAM. White, on the other hand, has coverage and athletic limitations that could prevent him from playing Safety, so they’ll give him a try at WILL. This isn’t great news for former R5 Jatavis Brown. Denzel Perryman should replace Hayes Pullard at MIKE with better options available.
Jones seems to be depth. I wouldn’t expect him to see the field extensively any time soon.
2.25 PJ Hall 4-3 DT Sam Houston State
3.23 Arden Key 4-3 DE/OLB LSU
4.10 Nick Nelson CB Wisconsin
5.03 Maurice Hurst 4-3 DT Michigan
6.42 Azeem Victor 4-3 LB Washington
For my first and most important take on Hall, read the Giants recap. Hall is a small school guy with great production. He wasn’t invited to the combine but showed great athleticism at his Pro Day. Christian D’Andrea from SB Nation compared Hall to Aaron Donald (https://www.sbnation.com/2018/4/23/17202856/nfl-draft-2018-sleeper-pj-hall-aaron-donald). I’m a sucker for Donald comparisons, I’m like Charlie Brown with that stupid football, so I’m intrigued. I’ll keep an eye on him and maybe open a roster spot for him from waivers after the rookie draft. But I’m probably not spending a draft pick on him.
Key is a tough evaluation. There are some visible red flags. Also, it’s hard to see how Key can stand up against the run at 6’5”, 238 lbs. There’s light for a DE. Key is light for an LB. That’s basically what former R1 bust Barkevious Mingo weighs and he was considered too light to play 3-4 OLB. Rotoworld still needs to see usage in the Preseason to switch Oakland to a 4-3 which would clear up positions on MFL. Key simply isn’t on my list. That said, I have to admit R3 EDGE rule applies.
Nelson is worth keeping an eye on. He’s watchlist material. The Raiders have been trying to put together a solid group of CBs for years. They need to get more from R1 sophomore Gareon Conley this season. Assuming Conley is the #1, there’s just a big group of guys who will be competing to be the #2, Leon Hall, Dexter McDonald, Rashaan Melvin, Daryl Worley, Shareece Wright, and Senquez Golson.
Anyone thinking about drafting Hurst needs to read Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller article, where he had this to say about the selection of Hurst:
“I spoke to over 10 scouts, coaches and executives regarding Hurst. One, in a heated rant, labeled the selection “irresponsible” by the Raiders because of Hurst’s heart condition (which hasn’t been publicly shared) and hoped the talented defender would “never put a f-king helmet on again in his life.”
That sentiment was echoed many times over, with one head coach adding, “Only the Raiders would draft a guy who could literally die on the field from a known condition.”
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to discuss some IDP you can find me on Twitter @Ben_Glaser.