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.
Ding dong, Jeff Fisher is dead! If the Rams had any fans I’m sure they’d be celebrating riotously. For neutral fans like me the Rams are now suddenly a much better proposition too. They might even score some touchdowns. Gregg Williams leaving town isn’t ideal given how much fun his defences are, but Wade Phillips is a great replacement assuming the personnel do okay with the transition.
The Rams are actually a fairly solo-heavy stat crew so inside linebackers and strong safeties tend to thrive there. How well the linebackers do this year is the biggest theme of this team for me.
Aaron Donald, DE
As my good friend Sticky said on Twitter recently you shouldn’t worry too much about Donald’s alignment. He’s still going to be really good. It’s not ideal that owners have lost such a great asset in DT-premium leagues, but he’s still going to be a menace at end. I’ve got him down for six sacks but I won’t be shocked if that’s much higher in the end. I expect him to be the #6 defensive end.
Key stats: 909 snaps, 44 solo tackles, 16 assists, six sacks, seven passes defended.
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Dominique Easley, DE
I have him at #26, so starter is a somewhat loose term but I think he deserves it. He clearly had some issues early on in his career in New England but last year was excellent and I think he’ll be the natural fit at 5-tech opposite Donald. I think he’s an underrated asset right now.
Key stats: 685 snaps, 32 solo tackles, 12 assists, five sacks, two passes defended.
Alec Ogletree, LB
Here’s my big issue. I have Ogletree at #45. Last year was a perfect storm for Ogletree (and Mark Barron). They played for a defensive coordinator who likes to ride his starters, the depth behind them was bad and there were no other really good players gobbling up tackles. Ogletree and Barron did great but it was all there for them. I think it’s unlikely that Wade Phillips keeps them both out on the field for virtually every single snap again, and the surrounding cast should be a little better. I think my ranking is a bit low and I won’t be at all shocked if he’s a LB2 but I don’t think he’ll be an elite star at the position again.
Key stats: 777 snaps, 65 solo tackles, 30 assists, one sack, four passes defended.
I don’t care that much who’s going to play nose tackle to be brutally honest. I only have the spot at my #40 tackle rank anyway.
Key stats: 572 snaps, 22 solo tackles, 12 assists, two sacks.
Mark Barron, LB
For exactly the same reasons I have Ogletree dropping hard, I think Barron will also slide quite far. #68 is probably a bit far but how many times has Wade Phillips’ second inside linebacker been that relevant? Aside from the Super Bowl season in Denver, not that many times – and the Rams are NOT winning the Super Bowl. He’s worth holding onto in the hopes I’m wildly wrong (it’s fairly likely!), but if anyone makes me a fairly okay bid, I’d be likely to sell Barron.
Key stats: 627 snaps, 51 solo tackles, 25 assists, four passes defended, one interception.
Robert Quinn, LB
This actually surprises me in a good way. I’ve been very anti-Quinn for the off-season simply because it’s been so long since he was a relevant IDP asset. Having said that, he’s my #53 linebacker which is pretty good for a pass rusher. I’d say he’s worth that end-of-the-bench stash spot for a few months more at least.
Key stats: 922 snaps, 45 solo tackles, 11 assists, nine sacks, two passes defended.
He’s one of the best named players in the NFL. I love to think of him reporting to Pop Warner football and the coaches instantly thinking “I know where you’re playing son!”
Slot corners tend to do really well in Phillips’ scheme and there’s really not that much talent to beat out. I have him at #38 corner.
Key stats: 974 snaps, 53 solo tackles, seven assists, eight passes defended, one interception.
Trumaine Johnson, CB
I think he’s by far the best corner on the team, even if he’s not as good as his reputation. I don’t think he’s worth rostering really and I have him way down at the #52 corner.
Key stats: 893 snaps, 38 solo tackles, seven assists, 14 passes defended, two interceptions.
There’s a lot of love for Mo in this spot but I’m very reticent. Again it comes back to the defensive coordinator. Wade Phillips does not feature his safeties, he’s much more flexible with them. Alexander will do that job nicely, but I don’t expect him to be anything like as productive as most strong safeties. I have him at #40.
Key stats: 910 snaps, 58 solo tackles, 16 assists, six passes defended, one interception.
If Alexander is low down, Joyner is worse. He might not even get the job, but I do like him as a player. He’s tenacious and has good mobility even if he’s a bit lightweight. He’s my #57 safety.
Key stats: 820 snaps, 51 solo tackles, 12 assists, seven passes defended, one interception.
It’s swings and roundabouts for the Rams. They’ll almost certainly be a vastly improved team under McVay with some hope around the team. On the other hand, I do think their reputation for being a ferocious defense will start to look a little bit undeserved.
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.