I believe that to properly analyse 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.
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The Falcons sacked Richard Smith after the defensive collapse in the Super Bowl. This seemed harsh given the season they had, but this is the NFL. Marquand Manuel promptly took over. This is his first defensive coordinator role but he’s been in the Seattle/Atlanta scheme since 2012, so it’s safe to assume he’ll use a similar system.
Keanu Neal, S
Some thought Neal was a slight reach in the first round, but he quickly proved to be an excellent player. He has a fantastic opportunity to put up big numbers this year in the Kam Chancellor role.
Key stats: 816 snaps, 68 solo tackles, 31 assists, eight passes defended, two INTs.
Dontari Poe, DT
I have Poe projected at the #29 tackle in 2017. Teams using the Seattle/Falcons/Jaguars scheme tend to rotate interior players to keep them fresh, which may limit his opportunity.
Key stats: 578 snaps, 18 solo tackles, 19 assists, two sacks.
Deion Jones, LB
Jones is my #10 linebacker. I expect him to build on a promising rookie season and cement his position as an LB1.
Key stats: 872 snaps, 80 solo tackles, 41 assists, four sacks, seven passes defended, one INT.
Desmond Trufant, CB
I expect him to come back healthy, and with what should still be a fairly good offense be targeted heavily by trailing opposition. He’s the #36 corner in my system.
Key stats: 998 snaps, 38 solo tackles, nine assists, 13 passes defended, four INTs.
Robert Alford, CB
Assuming Trufant is fully healthy, I expect Alford to be the number two corner. This means he will likely be even more heavily targeted. I have him as my #41 corner.
Key stats: 731 snaps, 40 solo tackles, seven assists, 15 passes defended, two INTs.
He is the starting Will at least for now, but I’m not totally convinced he’ll stay there. Campbell is a good roster stash, but he’s unlikely to be a clear starter and is down at #81 for me at the moment.
Key stats: 690 snaps, 42 solo tackles, 22 assists, two sacks, five passes defended.
Vic Beasley, LB
Last year he was spectacular and led the league in sacks, but was amazingly efficient and I don’t think he can manage that again. If you can trade Beasley, he’s at peak value now.
Key stats: 555 snaps, 46 solo tackles, 22 assists, four sacks, two passes defended.
Takk McKinley, DE
I know everyone has rookie fever and I like him too, but let’s be realistic. Rookie ends are just unlikely to be instant stars. McKinley is a good longer-term buy, but I do not think he’ll be an instant hit.
Key stats: 637 snaps, 22 solo tackles, 13 assists, six sacks, one pass defended.
The Falcons are coming off a season that was very nearly perfect, where several rookies were instantly effective. I hope it continues, but there is obviously the worry given a Super Bowl hangover and a new defensive coordinator. I think there may well be a bit too much hype surrounding them right now.
These 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.