The 2013 NFL Draft is in the books and that means it’s time to look at our draft boards and make those adjustments before our own drafts kickoff. For some people, their draft boards might not change very much. In dynasty leagues, we should all be looking for the most talent and the most upside when we draft a player.
But for some others, situation and opportunity is a factor in our decisions. And I’ve always thought that in the IDP world, you have to at least consider how that player fits into the system of the team that drafted him in addition to their opportunity to be a starter in a near future. Some people play in really deep leagues (40-50+ roster spots) where you can draft the guy you really like and watch him develop. If you aren’t playing in deep leagues then you’re probably focusing on the guys who have a chance to start right away or at least give you some depth.
With that said, I’m going to go through each of the positions and share some thoughts with the rookies that have a good chance of being drafted in our rookie drafts this year. It’s still early and I’m still putting my thoughts together but the guys at the top of each list probably won’t move very much because they were already there before the NFL Draft started.
1. Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions – Definitely the #1 defensive lineman on my draft board. Thankfully he ended up on a 4-3 team and even better, he’s got Suh and Fairley to take on the inside blocks. With Detroit’s high octane offense, he should have plenty of opportunity to go after the QB. I’ll keep this short but I can see him going in the 2nd round in a few leagues. For more information, here’s my Ziggy breakdown from March.
2. Dion Jordan, DE, Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins moved up to get him and after his combine performance, it’s easy to see why. He’ll get to play opposite Cameron Wake which definitely isn’t a bad thing. The comparions to Jason Taylor have been thrown around a lot and it makes sense. Here’s my take on Dion for a few weeks ago: http://dynastyfootballwarehouse.com/idp-rookie-spotlight-series-dion-jordan-deolb-oregon/
3. Margus Hunt, DE, Cincinnati Bengals – This was a pleasant surprise for me personally since it looked like he would end up on a 3-4 team like the Niners or Packers. But in a 4-3, obviously he’ll have a shot to rush the QB. I have to think Cincy DC Mike Zimmer is hoping Margus has some J.J. Watt in him. Someone who can rush from the inside and read the QB and get his hands up. He’s another freak in this class that has the potential to be very disruptive on the defensive line.
4. Datone Jones, DE, Green Bay Packers – I’m struggling a bit with my decision at this point. I suspect the top 3 to be the main targets in our drafts. Unfortunately, a lot of this years pass rushers were also candidates for 3-4 teams so the amount of lineman available isn’t very deep. I’m flip flopping between Jones and Damontre Moore. Jones is a huge man that could have a Justin Smith type of impact as someone who can be more than just a run stuffer. He’s got the ability to shoot through a gap and get into backfield.
5. Damontre Moore, DE, New York Giants – He slid in the draft but this is where the good teams cash in. He definitely has some issues but he could be replacing Justin Tuck at some point if he gets his head together. Might be worth a late round flier.
Other sleepers/notables: Malliciah Goodman – Falcons, Devin Taylor – Lions, William Gholston – Bucs, Sheldon Richardson – Jets, Sharrif Floyd – Vikings
1. Manti Te’o, ILB, San Diego Chargers – Well, he wasn’t the first linebacker to go in the NFL Draft but I think he definitely has to be in contention for us in fantasy leagues. He’ll be playing in his natural 3-4 scheme. He’s got a few reasons to play with a chip on his shoulder. The whole scandal, the terrible performance against Alabama, sliding out of the 1st round in the draft… I’m betting on him to be very motivated. I like guys who will likely have a chip on their shoulder. Here’s a link to my first breakdown in the Rookie Spotlight series back in January: http://dynastyfootballwarehouse.com/idp-rookie-spotlight-series/
2. Arthur Brown, ILB/MLB, Baltimore Ravens – You had to think the Ravens were going to go after one of the top LB’s in this draft, and they did. The more I see of him, the more I like him. The knock on him was that he was a little small at 6’0″ and 240 lbs, but I don’t think that matters now. He was a favorite of many and if Ozzie Newsome likes him, you should too.
3. Kevin Minter, ILB, Arizona Cardinals – I’d put Manti and Arthur in the top tier of this class but I think Minter will have to be at the top of the 2nd tier. He’ll be playing alongside Daryl Washington (once he gets back from suspension of course) so it might be hard for him to rack up as many tackles as we’d like. Although, Bowman and Willis are both pretty productive in SF so I still like him at #3 off the board. Here’s a link to my breakdown from a few weeks ago: http://dynastyfootballwarehouse.com/idp-rookie-spotlight-series-kevin-minter/
4. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers – He was one of the top pass rushing prospects in this draft and now he’s a Blitzburgh Steeler. He should be a starter right away opposite LaMarr Woodley in Dick Lebeau’s defense. If you are in a big play league, he might even be the 3rd LB off the board.
5. Alec Ogletree, OLB, St. Louis Rams – I’ve always had a preference for MLBs so I might have to start a new tier at this point but I like Ogletree’s potential in this defense. He’ll probably play the strong-side LB role where he can use his range to chase the tight ends. Had a few red flags but Jeff Fisher has a pretty good track record with these guys. If you prefer edge rushing LBs, you can move him down and go after the next couple of guys in the list.
6. Bjoern Werner, OLB, Indianapolis Colts – One of my favorite rushers in this class, I’m tempted to put him behind Jarvis Jones at #5. He has the body type to be a true DE but I think Chuck Pagano can help bring him a long to be a big time threat as an OLB in his defense. Here’s a link to my take on him from a couple of months ago: http://dynastyfootballwarehouse.com/idp-rookie-spotlight-series-bjoern-werner/
7. Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Cleveland Browns – If this is the 3rd tier of LBs, an argument can be made for him being at the top of it. He wasn’t drafted in the top 10 by accident. There’s no question that he has the talent to succeed and Ray Horton will find a way to use him. With Kruger in town, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with Sheard and Mingo. With that uncertainty, I still like Werner more.
8. Kiko Alonso, ILB/OLB, Buffalo Bills – I posted some rankings late Friday in the DFW IDP forum but I’ve had a change of heart. As some of you may know, I’m a long time Bills fan so I didn’t want to get too carried away with this pick. But the more I think about it and after some more youtubing, I really like the upside that Kiko has. I’m not gonna worry about his red flags, this guy can play. He might need a little time but as we all know, in Buffalo, there will be tackle opportunities.
9. Sio Moore, OLB, Oakland Raiders – Another explosive rusher in this draft who had a nice performance at the combine, he’ll likely replace Kevin Burnett at WLB at some point if I had to guess where they can use his size and speed to get after the QB. We might not see a lot of him this year but Burnett is only on a 2 year deal so he’ll have a shot to compete.
10. Jon Bostic, MLB, Chicago Bears – This is more about opportunity then anything else. If DJ Williams faulters, he’ll probably be the next man up. His ceiling isn’t as high as some of the others in my opinion but he’ll crack my top 10 in Chicago’s defense from this class.
Other sleepers/notables: Jamie Collins – Patriots, Nico Johnson – Chiefs, Zaviar Gooden – Titans, Khaseem Greene – Bears
1. Kenny Vaccaro, SS, New Orleans Saints – One of the leagues worst secondaries adds the top safety in this class. I realize that Roman Harper has been a consistent fantasy scorer over the years but he’s been getting sloppy. And Kenny can do everything that he does but might even be better already. I broke down Kenny and the next guy in my rankings here: http://dynastyfootballwarehouse.com/idp-rookie-spotlight-series-kenny-vaccaro-vs-eric-reid/
2. Eric Reid, FS, San Francisco 49ers – This might not be a popular pick across the dynasty community but I’m sticking with my guns on this one. I like the fact that the Niners traded up to get him. I like the fact that he can also play SS and might end up there to replace Donte Whitner at some point. People will say that in SF, his tackle opportunities won’t be great but I think he can be better playmaker in coverage than Whitner and can still lay the lumber.
3. Matt Elam, FS, Baltimore Ravens – After blowing up the Superbowl winning defense, you have to give the Ravens credit. Things aren’t looking quite as grimm as it was a few weeks ago. They let Pollard and Ed Reed go and drafted Matt Elam to try and fill Ed’s shoes. I can’t say that Elam will burst onto the scene the way Reed did, but Elam is arguably the #2 safety in this class. In a lot of ways, he’ll bring a similar skill-set that Ed Reed was known for. He can hit, he can blitz and he’s very good with the ball in the air. He might even out-produce Vaccaro early on so feel free to grab him in the 3rd or especially 4th round.
4. John Cyprien, FS/SS, Jacksonville Jaguars – His stock blew up after the Senior Bowl and it really hasn’t stopped. Since the Jags aren’t projected to be that impressive on the offensive side of the ball, Cyprien will be on the field a lot. He’s got a knack for being around the ball and is a big time hitter/tackler so I think this is a good spot for him at #4 in the DB ranks. Especially if they use him at strong safety.
5. T.J. McDonald, FS, St. Louis Rams – I think the Rams are still hopeful that Darian Stewart can be their guy as SS so T.J. fills a void in the secondary for them. He’s a nasty hitter who is known for laying some lumber but isn’t the ball hawk/coverage guy that you’d expect at FS. If he moves to SS then he retains this ranking. If not, then he could easily slide down a few spots.
6. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Minnesota Vikings – Big, tall and physical. He should be the #1 CB in Minnesota right away and once the safeties go off the board, his name should pop up in your draft list.
7. Tyrann Mathieu, CB/FS, Arizona Cardinals – One of my personal favorite cornerbacks in the class, the “Honey Badger” is teaming up with Patrick Peterson in Arizona. Some people will be down on him after being suspended but I’m going with my gut here and I think he could the best CB asset in this class for fantasy purposes. Offenses will try to test him often (as will the Cards for drug tests) while they try to avoid Peterson. But Tyrann is a playmaker and teams will have to pick their poison when throwing against the Cardinal defense. I’m tempted to move him up a bit higher but there is some risk with him so I’ll leave him at #7. I like the Cortland Finnegan comparion, don’t sleep on him.
Edit: Bruce Arians has said that they’ll give Tyrann a shot at FS. That might be even better for him early on. Now I’m even more comfortable with him at this spot.
8. Shawn Williams, SS, Cincinnati Bengals – The Taylor Mays experiment is likely done is Cincy with Shawn Williams coming to town. Actually, it was probably done before it ever started. Williams has the right size and speed to be effective as a DB in the NFL. If he improves as a tackler, he could provide solid depth for us in fantasy leagues. His ceiling isn’t very high but he could be more consistent than the CBs a few spots above him.
9. D.J. Swearinger, SS/FS, Houston Texans – Another big time hitter, almost to a fault. According to Mike Mayock, he appears to be the next man up when Ed Reed retires. However, based on his strengths, he seems to be more of a strong safety than a FS. Either way, in Houston’s defense he has some appeal for us dynasty leaguers.
10. Desmond Trufant, CB, Atlanta Falcons – The next up in a long line of Trufant’s, Desmond has an opportunity to start opposite Asante Samuel and will probably see a few balls his way as a result. He’s not the most physical CB but has the ability to play press coverage.
Other sleepers/notables: J.J. Wilcox – Cowboys, Phillip Thomas – Redskins, Dee Milliner – Jets, Shamarco Thomas – Steelers, Bacarri Rambo – Redskins, Johnthan Banks – Bucs, Blidi Wreh-Wilson – Titans, Duke Williams – Bills