As exciting as it is to drool over incoming rookies each year, it inevitably has an inverse effect on some veteran players. While it’s important to realize a lot of these players were drafted to provide depth on NFL rosters and will potentially never make a single career start, the majority were selected with the intention to replace veterans throughout the league. Here we’ll touch on the IDP “Winners and Losers” in the AFC West.
Malik Jackson, DE DEN
I showered Jackson with praise in the Defensive Lineman Dynasty Duel. He now has the starting right defensive end spot on lock, with Denver not investing any draft capital in five technique rushers. The 3-4 alignment is not often a gold mine for fantasy defensive ends, but Jackson is a very good player and offensive lines will have a lot to worry about dealing with all the Denver pass rushers.
Mario Edwards, DE OAK
Edwards has been a divisive player during the draft process. He has serious potential, but his motivation is a big concern. I am not completely sure he is a true edge rushing 4-3 end, but I think he can be NFL defensive line starter. He lands in a great place in Oakland where he will be starting immediately. As more team switch to 3-4, Edwards could be nice late pick in fantasy drafts for a hungry DE team.
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Ben Heeney, MLB OAK
According to the new College Pro Football Focus, Ben Heeney ranked 6th best in run stop percentage. He also looked better at the combine than I expected with a 4.59 forty and a blazing 6.68 three cone. He may be a better player than he is given credit for, but the real story is that he lands as a second string middle linebacker behind Curtis Lofton. Lofton graded out negatively at PFF in the last three seasons. He graded out whopping negative 21.5, ranking him 122 out of 125 inside linebackers. Heeney may not be an elite linebacker, but opportunities to steal a prime IDP starting job do not get much better than this.
Ramik Wilson, ILB KCC
Like Heeney, the story here is the depth chart not Wilson’s skills. James-Michael Johnson and Josh Mauga both graded out negatively at PFF last season. A 32-year old Derrick Johnson is the only solid member of this inside linebacker core, but he is far from a guarantee to stay healthy. Honestly I was not impressed with Wilson’s tape or combine performance. On the other hand he has solid length and passable athleticism. Wilson should come cheap in rookie drafts and I like his odds of playing meaning inside linebacker snaps this year.
Corey Liuget, DE SD
My IDP partner in crime Eric Breeze recently opened my eyes to Liuget. He has some holes in his game in the run stop department but San Diego did not spend very much draft capital on a replacement. San Diego did draft big bodied Darius Philon in the sixth round, but it will be awhile before he matures enough to see the field consistently. Liuget should have a very nice snap count this year and will continue to be start-able in all but the shallowest IDP leagues.
Shane Ray, OLB DEN
Steve Wyremski put Shane Ray in the losers column in his Day One IDP Winners and Losers article. In full transparency, I have been a Ray doubter for some time, ranking him in my third tier of edge rushers before the draft. While I think his landing spot is an immediate negative, it may also be the key to his long term success. His path to the field is blocked by Demarcus Ware and Von Miller, but he also has the chance to learn from these elite edge rushers. This may give Ray the guidance and time he needs to become more than a one dimensional edge rusher. Also Ray has the chance to be worked in slowly and succeed in packages designed for him. The 32-year old Ware is a 2017 free agent and the probable spot Ray is being groomed for. I most likely will not own many Ray shares, but he may be target of mine in a year as owners get impatient with him.
Neiron Ball, OLB OAK
Ball was probably very excited to be chosen in the fifth round, which is much higher than most had him graded. I would be he became less excited once he released the fit. He is a light linebacker that found himself on a 4-3 defense. Khalil Mack and Sio Moore should make it quite hard for Ball to see the field as an outside linebacker. The only chance Ball has to see game snaps, is if he can excel in coverage as his athletic profile suggests. Even he does see some coverage snaps, it will be a while before he becomes an IDP factor.
Manti Te’o, ILB SD
San Diego drafted Denzel Perryman in the second round of the draft, which may be even worse news for Donald Butler than Te’o. Butler has graded out negatively that past two years at PFF. Perryman is the best tackler in this class bar none. Although on film he seems to lack range and sometimes struggles diagnosing plays. Even with these holes, Perryman is immediately the best inside linebacker on the Chargers. I expect Perryman to outright take the job of Butler or Te’o. I suspect it will be Butler, but I think Te’o’s snap count will be hurt no matter what.
Craig Mager, CB/S SD
I had hoped the very athletic Mager would end up playing safety for IDP purposes. Those dreams were dashed when he was announced as a corner when he was drafted. I still think there is chance he could be the heir to Eric Weddle’s throne, but I am not hearing much evidence of that yet. Even worse, Mager may not see the field much as a corner due to San Diego’s strong cornerback crew including Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett, and Patrick Robinson. It may ultimately be a good thing and allow Mager to hone his craft, but he will not be helpful in any IDP formats this year.
- IDP Dynasty Debate: Linebackers - March 1, 2017
- IDP Dynasty Debate: Defensive Line - February 18, 2017
- IDP 20/20: Raekwon McMillan - February 17, 2017
When I open this page in Firefox or Chrome on my laptop or phone I’m only seeing two names under winners and nothing else. It’s as though the page is cut off. It’s not happening for all articles, but for more than one or two of the recent IP articles.