Each year during the NFL Draft there are winners and losers in terms of fantasy value. Nowhere is that more evident than in the IDP world. A premiere defensive end drafted to a 3-4 team can kill his IDP value, but on the flipside, a premier pass rushing outside linebacker drafted to a 4-3 defense can see his value increase. Just like we have with the offense, we are going to look at each division’s IDP Winners and Loser from the NFL Draft – today we’ll focus on the NFC North and South.
Vic Beasley, OLB Atlanta
The Falcons were desperate for a pass rusher and got arguably the second-best rusher in the draft. Beasley will pair with free agent signee Adrian Clayborn to get after the quarterback. With defensive-minded coach Dan Quinn on board now, Beasley’s arrow points straight up.
Eric Kendricks, ILB Minnesota
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
The de facto best ILB in the draft A.) Lands with a great defensive mind in Mike Zimmer, B.) Gets to play behind a great line, and C.) Gets paired with former UCLA teammate Anthony Barr and the ageless Chad Greenway. Kendricks should step in and be a LB1 from Day 1.
Danielle Hunter, DE Minnesota
Hunter came into the draft as a boom or bust prospect with high upside. Now he comes to a team with a strict, defensive-minded coach and plenty of talent around him. The Vikings are the best situation to get the maximum potential out of this talented player. He may only be a role player in Year 1, but he has plenty of long-term value.
Cameron Jordan, DE New Orleans
Enough with these kids, there has to be some veteran winners in this thing too. Jordan finally gets some help after holding down a maligned front seven last season. Stephone Anthony will soak up tackles in the middle of the field, while second-round pick Hau’oli Kikaha will help draw the attention of the opposing offensive line away from Jordan, leaving him with more sack opportunities.
Kwon Alexander, OLB Tampa Bay
He’s a great fit for Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defense on the outside. He’ll begin training camp behind Lavonte David but I would not be shocked to see him replace Bruce Carter at some point. His instincts aren’t the best, but he makes up for it with plenty of athleticism. Much like Hunter above, Alexander will yield you more points down the line as opposed to this season.
Shaq Thompson, OLB Carolina
Well, we wanted him to be a linebacker and we got our wish. The problem lies in the fact Luke Kuechly gets to everything, so Thompson may be fighting for scraps. He finds his way into the winners section because A.) He carries the LB designation and B.) I still think he’ll generate plenty of turnovers, thus helping buoy his value.
Carl Bradford, ILB Green Bay
I know you just said “Who?” because I did the same thing. He’s listed as the starting LILB on the Packers depth chart according to ourlads.com and since Green Bay didn’t take a linebacker in the draft, it appears he is a name to watch heading into camp. A 6-foot-1, 250 pound fourth-round pick last season out of Arizona State, Bradford was active for the final three games of the season, but did it record any stats. He is a high-motor player and had 61 tackles and 8.5 sacks his senior season for the Sun Devils.
Captain Munnerlyn, CB Minnesota
You gotta feel for Munnerlyn. First the Vikings bring in free agent Terrance Newman from Cincinnati, then they take Trae Waynes, who was regarded by most scouts as the most complete corner in the draft. Munnerlyn actually graded out as the better corner according to profootballfocus.com compared to Newman last season. Minnesota was clearly looking to get bigger on the outside and Munnerlyn only checks in at 5-foot-8.
Lamarr Houston, OLB Chicago
He was brought in as a high-priced free agent to help the pass rush, only to see his season end with a torn ACL celebrating a meaningless sack in a blowout loss. The Bears are transitioning to a 3-4 defense, while Houston was acquired to be a 4-3 rush end. He’ll at least start the season behind this year’s big free agent pickup, Pernell McPhee.
Ziggy Ansah, DE and DeAndre Levy, OLB Detroit
This should really say the entire Lions defense, because losing Ndamukong Suh to Miami is really, really going to cramp the team’s style. Suh was such a disruptive force, that you take a loss on whoever you bring in to replace him, even a player as talented as Haloti Ngata. I would expect Detroit’s defense to take a step backwards this season, with Ansah and Levy taking the biggest brunt of that hit without Suh to draw attention away from them.
Chad Greenway, OLB Minnesota
I called him ageless above, but the cold hard truth is there might not be enough action for the former Hawkeye. Kendricks and Barr are both young, dynamic playmakers who will suck up tackles. While there isn’t anyone behind to push him, Greenway is 32 and his production also took a step backwards in 2014. You may want to look elsewhere for linebacker help.