I believe that to properly analyze the 2017 IDPs you need to have an idea of how they’ll ALL perform so you can benchmark and compare them effectively. So I built a model using past performance, efficiency, scheme information and coaching tendencies to predict what will happen in 2017. I’ve applied that to my best estimates for how teams will use players this year which gives a projection and ranking for all IDPs. You can read more about what I did and how here.
It’ll be fascinating to watch the Chargers in their new home of Los Angeles for several reasons, but for IDP obsessives like us one of the key questions will be how that affects defensive stat-keeping. The old crew in San Diego were fairly generous with handing out solo tackles but there’s a decent chance it all changes for this season.
It’ll also be fascinating to see Gus Bradley take over this defence. His time in Jacksonville helped make that scheme one of the most recognisable ones in the NFL given it’s crossover with the Seahawks and everyone is assuming that Bradley just implements it wholesale. I think that’s a very strong possibility but it’ll be fun to watch and see.
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The one true star I see on the Chargers this coming year. As everyone knows, he’s the obvious candidate to slot straight into Jon Cyprien’s role. Cyprien played over 650 more snaps close to the line of scrimmage in 2016 than Addae, so it’s a significant potential change in terms of opportunity. Assuming he takes the job and holds up physically, it could be a huge breakout. I think he’ll be a top five safety.
Key stats: 1,028 snaps, 85 solo tackles, 28 assists, one sacks, four passes defended, one INT.
Jatavis Brown, LB
I’m super-high on Brown and that comes directly from coach Bradley. The Jags/Seahawks scheme is at its best with a linebacker who has mobility (Telvin Smith in Jacksonville). What worries me a bit is how poorly he came out in PFF’s signature stats (near the bottom in coverage and run-stop %), but in the absence of other top candidates I think he’s going to hoover up opportunities and finish as a top ten linebacker.
Key stats: 951 snaps, 99 solo tackles, 32 assists, two sacks, six passes defended, one INT.
Brandon Mebane, DT
This is a case of really nice situation trumping moderate talent. Mebane was a good-but-not-great player in 2016, but did finish 18th amongst interior defensive line players in terms of pass rush ability. I think he’ll be the starting 3-technique and that role will suit his talents far more – unlocking a top ten season for him.
Key stats: 764 snaps, 31 solo tackles, 11 assists, seven sacks, four passes defended.
Joey Bosa, DE
There are few hotter names in IDP now after Bosa managed 10.5 sacks in just 11 games as a rookie. He was a top five overall edge player per PFF and was sixth overall in sacks per snap in 2016.
However it’s that efficiency that causes me to advise a little caution. He could repeat it over more playing time but it’ll be tough – and which dominant edge rushers has Gus Bradley’s scheme produced so far?
I still like Bosa and I think he’s clearly a top dynasty asset at end but my projections are a little more prosaic with him as the 20th-best end in 2017.
Key stats: 784 snaps, 28 solo tackles, 11 assists, seven sacks, four passes defended.
Denzel Perryman and Joshua Perry, LB
I said above that I think Jatavis Brown is the clear favourite to win one of the linebacker spots. Who the other one is is a total guess. I like Perryman as someone who has been effective before, but it’s anything but clear. What we do know is that Bradley can make an average talent look good (see Posluszny, Paul) so this again is a prime opportunity you’ll want to watch. Whoever does win the role will be my #29 linebacker
Key stats: 914 snaps, 77 solo tackles, 25 assists, two sacks, four passes defended, one INT.
Corey Liuget, DT
I just can’t stop talking about this player. Too Liuget to quit. He’s my #24 tackle so a great prospect, but in some leagues run-stuffing tackles can be useful. And that name…
Key stats: 524 snaps, 25 solo tackles, nine assists, three sacks, two passes defended.
Melvin Ingram, DE
Everyone knows about the Leo position in this scheme, and Ingram should be the starter there. It’ll certainly help give him a bit more space considering he’s light for a 4-3 end.
Even so I have some worries about him as not even the top pass rusher on his own team and I’ve got him projected as the #47 end.
Key stats: 615 snaps, 24 solo tackles, ten assists, four sacks, two passes defended.
Casey Hayward, CB
The Charger’s corners might simply be too darn good for their IDP prospects. They were an excellent unit last season, and traditionally Bradley’s corners have not scored wonderfully. Heyward is the best option for me and he’s only just inside the top 50 corners.
Key stats: 656 snaps, 43 solo tackles, four assists, 12 passes defended, one INTs.
It’s a bit of a mixed bag here I’m afraid. I love Addae at strong safety and I’m high on the linebackers, but I’m pouring cold water on Bosa and I’m a bit worried about the stat crew at the new stadium.
Those are my predictions as of right now. Obviously things will change as we get a better idea of who will play and how going towards the season. If you disagree with any assertions here feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter (@TomDegenerate) and I’ll be happy to discuss.
Thanks for reading.
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