Sophomore Sleepers: Defensive Back Sub-Package

Nicholson can rock in-the-box!

As IDP enthusiasts we fall in love with prospects every year. Annually my summer ends with cutting one or two or three of the rookie safeties I have collected on a hunch and hoped that they would start. Inevitably I cut the wrong guy (i.e., Budda Baker). So yeah we all make mistakes. This series of articles is meant to help you avoid doing the same. In 1989 Guns N Roses released a pretty awful ballad entitled “Patience.” The song professed “sugar make it slow, and we’ll come together fine, all we need is just a little patience.” This was a far cry from their rowdy breakthrough anthem “Welcome to the Jungle.” It shows maturity through time in the limelight.

Surely if even Izzy, Slash and Axl Rose can grow up and be slightly more mature, we too can exude a little patience when it comes to our dynastic approach (yeah, yeah)! Why must we continuously betray our drafted IDP rookies for literally greener prospects? As I lay in bed at night, I am just trying to get things right, all I need is just a little patience. If you are a parent you might, pray for just a little more patience…..yeaaa… yeah! Moral of this too elaborate metaphor is to treat your drafted IDP rookies like children who are not quite ready to leave the house. Yeaa…yeah!

Kevin King, Green Bay Packers – Sometimes I just hate to be wrong, so I will stick with a player or continue to recommend them. Is that being patient or just stubborn? If you answered the latter, I guess you can stop reading. King is big, fast and physical. What’s not to love? I still maintain once King gains a starting role he will be one of the few CBs able to hold consistent value. In 9 games in 2017 King made five starts. On a 48% snap share, he totaled 27 tackles and batted down 5 passes.

King was shut down in mid-December with a lingering shoulder issue. He tried to tough it out by wearing a brace, but ultimately Green Bay thought it was best for his future health to give him time to recover properly. King should be a full go for all off-season activities. With veteran starter Davon House set to hit the open market, the 2nd rounder (33rd overall) King should see a majority snap share.

Cordrea Tankersley, Miami Dolphins – Fellow Miami CB Xavien Howard is on his way to being the next great shutdown corner. The rest of the ‘Fins secondary consists of Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald at the safety positions and the 5-foot-9 Bobby McCain at the nickel (Alterraun Verner is pending free agent). Tankersley will get his snaps and likely see a ton of targets. McCain out snapped Tankersley in 2017. The 3rd year pro-McCain enjoyed career highs statistically, but Tankersley was not far behind him. Both defended seven passes each. Tankersley has the better draft pedigree and the preferred size while McCain seems better suited to match with slot WRs. As a Clemson product, Tankersley has spent many snaps versus some high caliber WR talent in practice. The NFL is also littered with many talented ACC WRs. The point is Tankersley is primed for the tests that lay ahead.

Montae Nicholson, Washington Redskins – Every year I overlook a few prospects for various reasons. Sometimes when they don’t flash immediately, I stubbornly turn my back. In Nicholson’s case, I maybe watched too much of him. As Sparty supporter, I watch a lot Michigan State football. He never really struck me as an NFL caliber box-safety. Washington thought otherwise and drafted him in the 4th round (123 overall), and I was bamboozled. A concussion and some other nagging injuries caused him to miss half of 2017. Nicholson did record 24 tackles in 34% snap share. Veterans Deshazor Everett and Deangelo Hall can both sign elsewhere this off-season and D.J. Swearinger could walk in 2019. The impending return of Su’a Cravens would certainly impact Nicholson snaps, but no one is truly counting on him, right? I am assuming Washington will desire a backup plan and Nicholson who will make under $500,000 until 2020 will fiscally fit that bill.

Xavier Woods, Dallas Cowboys – This Cowboy defense is in need of a little dynamite. You know (pun purposely intended) someone who can lay the wood! Sneaking Woods inside the box and letting Byron Jones uses his speed at deep safety seems almost too logical. Woods recorded 42 total tackles on a 53% snap during his rookie season. Perhaps what was more impressive were his 33 solo tackles. It is not the number that is impressive. It is impressive because solo tackles from third level defender are not only decisive, they are also potentially game altering. Current starter Jeff Heath is blocking Woods on the depth chart. Woods will cost Cowboys less than half of what it will take for them to bring back Heath. Also in 2019 Heath contract doubles while Woods only sees a slight increase.


I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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