After months of impatiently waiting for the NFL Draft, it regrettably went by far too fast. Now, we are left to dissect what transpired over those glorious three days and examine which players benefited or suffered the most. Below are the key IDP winners and losers from the AFC West.
Karl Joseph, SS OAK
The situation and news does not get much better than this. The Raiders selecting Joseph as the 14th overall pick indicates to me that they are confident in his ACL recovery. This landing spot also makes him a day one starter at strong safety beside Reggie Nelson. Joseph was one of the best all round safeties in the class. He has reasonable coverage skills, allowing him to stay on the field in all situations, although Joseph’s real talent is tackling and hitting. While some of his tackles are highlight reel splash hits, he also shows good tackling form when necessary. The only question with Joseph is how healthy can he stay in light of his extremely physical style of play at only 205 pounds. I hate comparing rookies to pro bowlers, but the Bob Sanders comparisons are not far off base.
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Joey Bosa, DE SDC
While many think the Chargers are a full time 3-4 defense, they actually run many 4-3 under and over fronts. Defensive coordinator John Pagano prides himself on tailoring assignments and positions to what suites a player’s strengths. As far as raw production, I do not think the fit could have been better for Bosa. Pagano will allow him to do whatever he is best at such as two gapping on the outside on running downs and one gapping from the inside on passing downs. The only real question was Bosa’s defensive positional designation. Currently MFL has him listed as defensive end, as does rotoworld.com, which is where MFL gets their defensive designations. It is worth noting that ourlads.com has him list as an outside linebacker. One of the best defensive lineman in the draft, fell into a great defensive scheme fit, and the MFL designation is currently advantageous; it is hard to call this anything but a win.
The Broncos did not draft any linebackers to replace Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker. The good news is that Nelson and Davis could see a large uptick in snaps, and Trevathan’s 110 tackles are up for grabs. The bad news is that we could be looking at a time share with Nelson as the coverage linebacker and Davis as the early down thumper. If either player can secure the lion’s share of snaps, IDP starters will not come cheaper than this. This is a camp battle to watch closely. If you have the roster space I would stash both of them, but Davis would be a higher priority.
Chris Jones, DE KC
Chris Jones walks into a depth chart where he can be a day one starter. Jones is an incredible two-gapping defensive lineman that can collapse the pocket. He also has some reasonable pass rush skills, but he is not going to fill up the box score. If your league has increased tackle scoring for defensive lineman, Jones may be worth a look. Although his upside is probably capped to stats similar to Mike Daniels or Malik Jackson. While I classify him as winner, it hurts in DT premium leagues that he is classified as a defensive end currently.
Ben Heeney, ILB OAK
I have been a Heeney backer for over a year. I actually called Heeney a winner a year ago in this same article. I do not think he is an overwhelming talent, but good enough to be an NFL starter. The Raiders did not resign Curtis Lofton and did not draft any inside linebacking talent (unless you think the Raiders are considering James Cory at inside linebacker). This job is now Heeney’s to lose. He is an athletic risk-taker known for making tackles for a loss in college. The problem is that Heeney takes too many bad risks. On the other hand he is most likely one of the cheapest young starting mike linebackers you will find this year.
Adam Gotsis, DE DEN
Jared Crick and Vance Walker do not form an imposing depth chart. Gostis may be a reasonable two-gapping five technique, but I think this will likely look like a rotation across from Derek Wolfe. Gostis is technically a winner here because he sits atop the depth chart due to attrition and lack of back filling. Honestly, there is not much to see here unless you play in a very deep league that has some type of premium for defensive ends.
Justin Simmons, S DEN
Simmons is only a loser in the short term due to Denver’s depth chart. He will not challenge Darian Stewart or TJ Ward immediately for snaps, but could play in nickel and dime formations. Simmons has a ton of athleticism illustrated by his 40 inch vertical, 126 inch broad jump, and 6.58 three cone. Stewart is a free agent in 2017, and Simmons will most likely be groomed as his replacement. If you play in a league deep enough to stash a safety, he may be worth considering.
Shilique Calhoun, OLB OAK
Calhoun had a productive senior year with 15 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks. I was excited for Calhoun’s prospects as a pro due to productivity in a major conference and athleticism highlighted by a strong three cone and vertical jump. Although this landing spot is a double buzz kill. First, Calhoun will most likely be classified as an outside linebacker in Oakland’s system, hurting his value in most IDP scoring formats. Second, the Raiders have daunting depth chart of edge pass rushers including Mario Edwards, Khalil Mack, Jihad Ward, Bruce Irvin, and Aldon Smith. I love Calhoun’s talent, but he is really just a stash until depth chart clears up.
I had high hopes for both of these players in the pre-draft process. I like the landing spot as well, but just not together. Manti Te’o is a free agent next year and not really great a football. Pro Football Focus has given him poor grades every year, highlighted by his abysmal 35.4 overall grade last year. Perry is a great replacement for Te’o because his is an outstanding tackler and his instincts allow him to play faster than his athletic measures indicate. Brown is a great compliment to Denzel Perryman due to his athleticism, range, motor, and nose for always being around the ball. My major concern is here is that they will cancel each other out.