In case you missed it, here are the divisions we’ve covered in previous installments:
With the AFC taken care of, we switch our focus to the NFC East, where three players look poised to bounce back from injury and under-utilization and become IDP difference-makers.
Vinny Curry, DE, PHI
We haven’t discussed too many defensive linemen in this series, but Vinny Curry is one that deserves the recognition.
Playing somewhat out of position as a 3-4 DE the past few seasons, Curry has nonetheless posted quality sack totals – 16.5 the last three years, this, despite never starting a game. In fact, Curry played all of 426 snaps last year, which is criminal considering he received Pro Football Focus’ sixth-highest pass rushing grade among 3-4 DE’s despite playing between 300-600 less snaps than the five players ranked above him.
Now, all signs point to Curry getting the chance he deserves:
- He recently signed a five-year, $47.25M dollar contract, which is starter money any way you look at it.
- He is a perfect scheme fit for new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
Schwartz, by the way, was quick to heap praise on Curry after he signed his contract, stating that he plans on taking the handcuffs off the potential break-out star.
We can realistically expect Curry to come close to doubling his snaps from last year, which makes him a strong candidate for double-digit sacks. Owners are starting to come around on Curry as an IDP asset, but there may be time still to get him at a slight discount before he goes berserk in 2016.
Devon Kennard, LB, NYG
I can already hear the skeptics out there: “But, Al, the Giants just signed Keenan Robinson and re-signed Jasper Brinkley to hold down the fort at middle linebacker!”
Are those names supposed to deter me? Newsflash: “middle linebacker” doesn’t carry the same weight that it use to in IDP circles. Rather, the term “every-down linebacker” is the new phrase with which IDP owners love to butter their bread. And let me tell you, Robinson and Brinkley are not “every-down” material.
Devon Kennard, on the other hand, could be.
Granted, health has always been a concern with Kennard. But when healthy, he has proven adept at rushing the passer, stopping the run, and dropping back into coverage.
Kennard missed seven games last year, but had he played a full season he was on pace for 103 tackles. He should easily achieve that number next year, assuming he remains upright for a full slate of games. He has also shown a penchant for big plays, as evidenced by his 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, six passes defended and one interception in 21 games the last two years.
Assuming the Giants don’t add many more linebackers – which is likely considering their history of avoiding the position early in the draft – then Kennard has more than a fair chance at earning three-down responsibilities this year. That opportunity, combined with his natural ability to pad the stat sheet, should make him a very attractive IDP asset in 2016 and beyond.
Kyshoen Jarrett, S, WAS
As a rookie in 2015, Kyshoen Jarrett was used as one of those CB/S hybrids that the NFL finds en vogue these days. In total he played 616 snaps on defense as a rookie, showing particularly well in coverage while notching 58 tackles, a forced fumble and four passes defended.
With a full season under his belt, Jarrett should be in line for an even bigger role moving forward, especially considering the team no longer has free agent bust/safety Dashon Goldson on the roster. He has the upside to be a Walter Thurmond-type, which would be good for quality DB2 numbers at the very least.
His only downside is his health, as he finished last year on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Head coach Jay Gruden recently expressed concern with the injury, but was optimistic that he would be ready for training camp and the regular season. If that is the case, he could make for a nice value for IDP owners savvy enough to scoop him off of waivers.