I looked at each team’s IDP drafts, yesterday I reviewed the NFC North, 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…
1.19 Leighton Vander Esch MIKE Boise State
4.16 Dorance Armstrong Jr. 4-3 DE Kansas
6.19 Chris Covington 4-3 LB Indiana
LVE is the only guy to talk about here. Sean Lee will line up at WILL whenever he’s healthy. The assumption has to be Jaylon Smith at SAM and coming off the field in sub-packages and LVE at MIKE and on the field for all 3-downs. This plants LVE firmly in the 2nd Tier of Rookie LBs behind Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds. Just beware, they could keep Smith at MIKE and start LVE at SAM but still have him play 3 downs like AJ Klein down in New Orleans last year, which would limit his initial production. Smith has stopped using the brace to help him recover from drop foot, which is a reminder that he’s still recovering from that knee injury. He may never be the player he once was, but he’s not a fully developed prospect yet.
Dallas has spent so much on their secondary the last few years that they couldn’t keep pumping draft picks into it. Byron Jones is transitioning to CB this year, leaving Jeff Heath, R6 Sophomore Xavier Woods, and former R6 Kavon Frazier set to man the two Safety spots. Frazier would have the most upside if he were to earn a 3-down role at SS, as the Cowboys almost consider him an LB. This is a situation worth monitoring.
New York Giants
3.02 Lorenzo Carter 3-4 OLB Georgia
3.05 BJ Hill 3-4 NT NC State
5.02 RJ McIntosh 3-4 DE Miami
It’s interesting that while transitioning from a 4-3 to a 3-4, so little draft capital was spent on the defense. Carter will come in and likely start at OLB opposite Olivier Vernon. DC James Bettcher rides his OLBs. Last year, under Bettcher, Chandler Jones played the most snaps of any 3-4 OLB, but it’s hard to see Carter making an immediate impact. He’s an athletic stud, but he has never generated the production you would expect from his skills. Also Kareem Martin followed Bettcher from the Desert. That said, R3 EDGE rule in effect.
Hill and McIntosh are first and foremost perfect examples of why you never give your children “J” middle initials. Whenever someone has a “J” middle name, they will, at some point, be called by their initials. It’s a rule as old as time. Don’t do that to your children… Bettcher hasn’t had a productive D-lineman outside of Calais Campbell, so I’m not putting much stock in either of these guys.
No additions to the secondary means the Giants are rolling with what they’ve got, and that likely means Eli Apple is no longer considered a “Cancer.” For the 3rd or 4th time, Landon Collins, one of the most productive Safeties over the last couple of years, is stepping into one of the most productive IDP roles as the SS in Bettcher’s defense. He could be the top overall IDP next season. Try to trade for him now… Bettcher used a ton of Big Nickel down in the desert. This was likely a function of his personnel. Honeybadger was better at covering the slot than any CB he had in Arizona. If the Big Nickel trend were to continue, it would create production for a #3 Safety, likely Michael Thomas, formerly of Miami.
4.25 Avonte Maddox SCB Pittsburgh
4.30 Josh Sweat 4-3 DE Florida State
The Eagles have one of the best rosters in the league so most of their picks were luxury picks. CB had been a problem for Philly for a few seasons. They put a lot of effort into improving it, putting together Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sydney Jones, and Rasul Douglas. That said, none of those guys are slot CBs. Maddox is a slot CB. His ceiling will be nickel packages playing the slot.
As a rule, I avoid any EDGES taken after R3, unless they fell for injury or minor character concerns. Sweat fell because of his knee injury. In high school, he injured his knee so badly, doctors were discussing amputation. Sweat has played three seasons at Florida State on said knee and put up impressive athletic numbers at the combine. I will still keep an eye on Sweat and plan on stashing him if I can get him via waivers.
It’s a little surprising that Philly didn’t draft an LB at all considering Jordan Hicks has missed 17 games over the last three seasons. The lack of additions means status quo will continue for Philly’s LBs.
1.13 Da’Ron Payne 3-4 NT Alabama
4.09 Troy Apke FS Penn State
5.26 Tim Settle 3-4 IDL Virginia Tech
6.23 Shaun Dion Hamilton 3-4 ILB Alabama
7.23 Greg Stroman CB Virginia Tech
Payne will get some hype. Somebody will reach for him. As a tiebreaker, you want 4-3 DTs over 3-4 NTs. 4-3 DTs are on the field for more snaps than 3-4 IDLs. Washington’s scheme also limits D-line production. In dynasty, this is a good year to ignore DTs and wait for Ed Oliver next year.
Apke is hard to trust. Apke was a 1-year starter at Penn State. He got drafted as highly as he did because of his combine numbers. Sounds exactly like last year’s R4 pick Montae Nicholson. And Nicholson is who this pick likely affects the most. DJ Swearinger is set at SS. Nicholson, and Apke will likely compete for the spot at FS.
Unfortunately, I have to mention R6 SDH. SDH is very talented; he’s also had a torn right ACL and fractured right kneecap. He’s this year’s Alex Anzalone but with less draft capital invested. If SDH sees the field, he’ll produce, but if you roster him, get max trade value as soon as he sees the field before he gets injured. The depth chart won’t be too hard to climb. He’s not surpassing Zach Brown, but he’s likely already ahead of Zach Vigil and Martrell Spaight. That only leaves Mason Foster.