In this series, we are going to look at the top 3 rookies from each position that will make their mark on the league from year one. From the Dynasty perspective, we focus mainly on talent, but if you need a contributor right away from this rookie class, you need to look for opportunity. We will focus on defensive ends this article that have the best chance to make an impact this season for your IDP squads. After reviewing the defensive tackle position we now move on to the defensive ends.
Rasheem Green, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks selected Green with the 15th pick of the 3rd round (79th overall). Green’s measurements are 6’4” and 275 lbs. The Seahawks had a glaring need at defensive end prior to the draft, and Rasheem Green figures to be a prominent force in the pass rush rotation for the Seahawks from day one.
The Seahawks lost two Pro Bowl defensive ends this offseason. Michael Bennett was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles and Cliff Avril was released with an injury designation. Avril is not expected to play another down in the NFL due to his neck injury and only contributed in 4 games, but played 151 snaps in those four games. That alone would be an opportunity for Green to compete for snaps, but also factor in Michael Bennett’s 931 snaps from 2017 and there is plenty of work to go around for the Seahawks ends. Some of those snaps are expected to go to Dion Jordan and Marcus Smith. Both are former 1st round selections that were cast off by their teams and collected by Pete Carroll. Jordan played 135 snaps, and Smith played 253 snaps. With 1,000 snaps up for grabs, there are plenty of opportunities for Green to get on the field.
Frank Clark is in line to be the top pass rusher on the team, and he was the team’s sack leader in 2017 with nine. Clark is entering his contract year, and he should shine with his opportunity. Clark could step up his 67% of snaps to near Bennett’s 931, but I wouldn’t expect too much more. Rasheem Green could see about 300 snaps in this rotation and possibly more if he seizes the starting job. His production could be similar to Dion Jordan’s last year with four sacks or like Braden Jackson with a half sack. The Seahawks are going to need production from this pass rush to have any success defensively, and Green is going to be a big part of that success or failure. I predict about 5 sacks and about 350 snaps on the season with about 10-15 tackles overall.
Marcus Davenport, New Orleans Saints
The Saints traded up from pick 27 to pick 14 giving up a 2019 1st round pick and a 2018 5th round pick to get Davenport. The Saints defense is on the rise and they see Davenport as the bookend to Cameron Jordan. Davenport is a raw prospect, but the potential is very high with this talent. Davenport measured at 6’6”, 264 lbs and ran a 4.58s forty yard dash time. Combine that with an impressive Senior Bowl week and Davenport can be a special pass rusher.
Cameron Jordan will not be ceding any snaps to Davenport, but his other competition for snaps shouldn’t be difficult. Alex Okafor played nearly half the snaps with 486. The rotational players last season split up the other half of the snaps because Jordan doesn’t come off the field much. Trey Hendrickson and Hau’oli Kikaha were the main rotation players and Davenport will be included in that group. I would expect Davenport in year one to get about 33% of the snaps, taking some from Okafor, Hendrickson, and Kikaha.
Okafor, Hendrickson, Kikaha and George Johnson combined for 13 sacks in 2017. I would expect Davenport to at least get a third of the snaps, but if he produces could see the snaps Okafor saw last season (45%). Okafor alone had 4.5 sacks, 27 solo tackles, and 16 assists. That would be my expectations for Davenport with about 5 sacks and 30 tackles as his ceiling. Given this poor draft class from the defensive end position, Davenport could be the best of the bunch.
Kemoko Turay, Indianapolis Colts
Kemoko Turay was drafted in the 2nd round with the 52nd overall selection. Turay is an edge rusher, who will play defensive end for the Colts and has the size to be effective there at 6’5” 253 lbs. The Colts also drafted Tyquan Lewis twelve picks later at pick 64 overall. Lewis is 6’3” and 263 lbs. There will be much debate as to which draft pick will be the better player for the team. For IDP impact I’m betting on Turay getting more sacks and tackles this season.
The Colts are switching to a 4-3 defense this season. That combined with an overhaul on the front seven of the defense will bring at least three to four new starters or rotational players in the front seven and some much-needed talent infusion. The only defensive end that has a secure job is Jabaal Sheard. Sheard last year played 900 snaps (83.6%) and should continue to see around the same percentage. The other side of the Colts line is up for grabs. Last year’s third-round draft pick of the Colts (80th overall), Tarell Basham may get the first crack at left defensive end. Basham played 220 snaps defensively last season but didn’t produce much, two sacks, five tackles, and two assists, while playing OLB. I expect last year’s defensive end starter Margus Hunt to play defensive tackle this season. As for John Simon, I don’t think he is going to make the team, so his 470 snaps from last season (at OLB) will not be relevant to the ends. I would expect the trio of Turay, Lewis, and Basham to split the snaps across from Sheard.
Kemoko Turay is going to be in a timeshare this season more than likely regardless of the play of the three young ends. I like Turay’s talent above Basham and Lewis and expect him to have the higher sack numbers out of the three. I don’t think any of them will be record-setting or even Rookie of the Year candidates between Turay and Lewis, but I can see Turay with 4 sacks and around 20 tackles in this upcoming season with Matt Eberflus calling the defensive scheme. Eberflus coached last season on the Cowboys staff and Rod Marinelli.
What about Chubb?
The defensive ends as a whole were not a very strong this draft class. Some of you may be thinking where is Bradley Chubb[profiler]? The scheme has a lot to do with his positional designation, and Chubb is going to play OLB, so if you are lucky enough to have Chubb as a defensive end in your league then he would be number 1 on my list of Rookie Impact Defensive Ends. Chubb should get the most sacks and opportunity to play especially with [profiler]Von Miller taking much of the offensive line’s attention.
Snap count and statistical information from Pro Football Reference.
We will move onto Defensive Ends next in this Rookie Impact series. If you would like to read up on the other rookies or look ahead, you can download the IDP Rookie Roundup for FREE. I’ll be talking defense all year long on the IDP Edge Crushers Podcast with my co-host, Darrell Winstead. You can find me on Twitter @seahawksdan8 or comment below. Thanks for reading and remember #IDPRocks!