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.
This is a bad stat crew situation. The Titans finished 23rd last season in solos per tackle opportunity, but only 15th in assist per opportunity. I often find myself unexcited about watching this unit because it’s so bland and I think the lack of high tackle numbers definitely contributes to that.
Quick – who is the most exciting player on the Titans defense? Anyone? Everyone keeps saying it’s a sneaky-good unit, but there’s just not much to get pulses pounding.
Regardless of excitement, we’re interested in pure numbers, and although it might not be much fun there are a couple of potentially very useful IDPs here.
Sorry Titans fans (including DLF’s own Travis May), there is just no one I can get behind as an elite IDP option this season.
Jurrell Casey, DE
I’m not thrilled about Casey, but I do have him at #22 which makes him a low-quality starter in standard leagues. Even so, he’ll likely bring you weekly points totals that could be bettered by successful streaming ends.
Key stats: 771 snaps, 32 solo tackles, 19 assists, four sacks, four passes defended.
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Wes Woodyard, LB
Full disclosure: I signed him today in one league. I bid $1 out of a salary cap of $1,000 . No-one else bid on him.
I like Woodyard and he’s a perfectly okay NFL player, but he doesn’t get me excited at all – just like most players on this team. I have him at #36.
Key stats: 1,005 snaps, 60 solo tackles, 37 assists, three sacks, two passes defended, one interception.
Adoree’ Jackson, CB
Remember when I asked earlier who the most exciting player on this team is? I think it’s Jackson – purely because of the potential for return yardage and maybe, just maybe a handful of trick plays on offense. I don’t include return or offensive yardage in these projections but if it counts in your league Adoree’ could easily be a cheat code player for you. I have him at #32, but as with other rookie corners this could easily be much higher.
Key stats: 756 snaps, 50 solo tackles, eight assists, ten passes defended, one interception.
I have Cyprien at #33. Come at me bro. I hate having Cyrprien down this low since he’s been such a tackling machine, but I have to see how he fits into Dick LeBeau’s scheme. Famously LeBeau is the master of the zone blitz. The whole core concept of his (Hall of Fame level) defense is flexibility and disguise. Where does an in-the-box banger fit into that? The archetypical safety in his system over the last few years was Troy Polamalu and although he loved to make physical plays he was also a tyro in coverage. Unless Lebeau makes a significant departure, Cyprien will be used far less in the box than he has been over the last few years, and that’s really bad news for him as an IDP.
Key stats: 903 snaps, 55 solo tackles, 27 assists, two sacks, four passes defended, one interception.
There’s nothing to see here – this is quite possibly the most boring spot on the most boring defense in the NFL. Whoever wins the spot will be my #52 tackle. I’d rather spend a roster spot on post-retirement Vince Wilfork. At least that would make me smile.
Key stats: 431 snaps, 18 solo tackles, 12 assists, two sacks, one pass defended.
DaQuan Jones, DE
Once or twice this season he’ll pick up a sack and look good briefly, but don’t be suckered in. He does not deserve a spot on your team. I have him at #78.
Key stats: 488 snaps, 15 solo tackles, ten assists, two sacks, one passes defended.
Avery Williamson, LB
I could see him being a bit better than this, but even so he’ll maybe be an LB3 type who can fill out your roster. There just isn’t a high ceiling here. He’s my #45 linebacker.
Key stats: 821 snaps, 59 solo tackles, 31 assists, four sacks, two passes defended.
Logan Ryan, S
Logan Ryan has been a top five corner in most formats over the last two seasons. I have him at #73 for 2017. That’s quite some drop. The difference again lies in scheme change. Ryan was so productive in New England because of his huge tackle totals. In LeBeau’s scheme, no corner has been asked to do that. The system could change to utilise Ryan’s talents, but until that happens my stance is that coaches tend not to change their spots.
Key stats: 937 snaps, 36 solo tackles, 11 assists, nine passes defended, one interception.
Kevin Byard, S
Some other analysts are very high on Byard, but for him to be a really effective safety two things have to happen:
- LeBeau has to have his scheme altered enough for one safety to contribute far more than the other one.
- The safety not getting the high tackle numbers would be tackling machine Jon Cyprien.
I could see one of those happening, but I really don’t see both, which means I have Byard way down at safety #64.
Key stats: 817 snaps, 45 solo tackles, 17 assists, five passes defended, one interception.
I’m sorry this wasn’t more positive. I like The Titans as a franchise. The Air McNair and even Vince Young years were great fun to watch. However, I find this defense stultifying. I know they’re a popular pick as a team to break out and become a playoff contender, but I’m not seeing it. I see them as a middle-of-the-pack team without a compelling defensive identity.
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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