Karl Joseph, SS, Oakland Raiders – We know what you are thinking “well duh” of course we are buying Joseph. To that we say, please remember everyone in your league is not on the same intelligence wave length because they do not read DFW. Trust your source and we appreciate the fact you might not tell your league mates about us. Joseph’s value is down due the injury that cost him much of the final quarter of games in 2016. No he is not Landon Collins (Yet!) but we have not even remotely seen his best. He has speed and he has power and in our minds those are the two most important traits that IDP DBs must have. Just think if Deion Sanders could actually tackle with strength and force rather than rely on his speed and agility alone, he could have been the best athlete of all-time. As for Joseph the game will slow down for him in 2017 and beyond, that is like chumming a contained area of ocean.
Vernon Hargeaves, CB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – We realize to the layman he may be the third best corner on his own team. But, Hargeaves became an instant starter in Tampa and that sent high priced Alterraun Verner to nickel duties and to the bench in base. Hargeaves literally tackled every challenge. Only Logan Ryan finished with more tackles at CB than Hargeaves’s 68. Sure he had only one INT but he also batted down 10 passes and forced a fumble so his ball skills are fine. More INTs will come with route jumping confidence. That tackle number of 68 is pretty staggering for a rookie corner. However we are not surprised Hargeaves has never shied away from contact or run support. It would be unrealistic to predict he can continuously produce better tackle number but matching them is certainly plausible. He might have the safest floor of any corner in the league.
Sean Davis, SS, Pittsburgh Steelers – Some may question the strong safety tag of Davis. That is just fine with us. If you do not want Davis we will take him! Davis was essentially the utility DB for the Steelers in this his rookie year. He only started eight games but he appeared in all 16. His 54 solo tackles was good for third among rookie DBs. His anticipation skills translate very well from his college tape. Playing safety rather than corner gets him more in the middle of the field. Thus his lateral talent is fully functional. He is already a sound player and he worth more than he was drafted for.
Marcus Peters, CB, Kansas City Chiefs – We want to be very clear when it comes to Peters. We do Not envision him becoming the next great “shutdown corner,” he is no Patrick Peterson. However, the idea have of owning Peters is mirage that only contender can see. Those “win now” protesters that continues suck on their own pipe dream will pay more to have Peters in their lineups every week. Plain and simple his value is high and you can likely find more consistency playing the wire.
T.J. Ward, SS, Denver Broncos – Being 30 years is enough of a reason to cash in your shares. Ward is still a high caliber player but that also means selling him could benefit your present and future. One possible scenario could be offering the Rodney McLeod owner Ward and a fourth round pick. McLeod finished right behind Ward in 2016 (in most scoring systems). He is also four years younger. That fourh round pick will not yield you a fifth year safety who is still peaking. Ward himself has peaked. So when his numbers declined this season next offseason his 31 year old value will be in the tank. Ward will also be a free agent in 2018. He is also playing under a new coaching staff who may think their future could benefit with Ward in a reduced role. The main selling point that should keep Ward’s value hovering this offseason is newly appointed DB coach Marcus Robertson. That is the same Marcus Robertson who built the elder Charles Woodson into an in-the-box freelancing savage.
Ronald Darby, CB, Buffalo Bills – To the naked eye Darby had a mediocre second season. Yet, his only real flaw was not recording an INT. His passes defensed also dropped from 21 in 2015 to 12 2016. That is normal/respectful rookie to sophomore regression. He matched his tackle numbers (back-to-back 60 tackle seasons) even though he played in one less game. With a new coaching staff coming and fellow corner Stephon Gilmore a free agent to be, Darby should assume more responsibility. Like locking up weekly with the WR1 type of responsibility. He is likely the strength of the Bills future secondary and they will build around him.
Bradley McDougald, FS, Tampa Bay – Back in August we declared McDougald’s “Steady Eddie” status and he did not disappoint. Eighty solo tackles, 3 TFLs, 10 passes defensed and a pair INTs (all career high numbers) later McDougald found himself a fringe top 10 IDP DB league wide. He will hit the free agent market if Tampa is unwise. Regardless we love him going forward. The value of a free safety in a 4-3 scheme usually translates to IDP goodness. This is evidence here by McDougald’s performance with guys Kwon Alexander (108 solos, 37 assists), Lavonte David (67 tackles, 20 assists) and another 100 combined tackles from Keith Tandy and Chris Conte at the strong safety position. McDougald is not your typical single-high free safety he is basically a shifting rover who can do strong safety things. Hitch your wagon and enjoy the ride.