The 2012 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and after three days of stars, surprises, and trades galore over 250 of college football’s best players have been welcomed into the National Football League, including many of the nation’s top defensive standouts.
Now that the action is over in New York City let’s continue to look back at the players featured in this season’s IDP Draft Preview Series here at IDP Manor and how their new homes impact their IDP value both in the upcoming season and beyond.
Melvin Ingram – DE/OLB, South Carolina (San Diego Chargers – Round One, Pick 18): Ingram was one of a number of so-called “tweener” types that went early in the draft, and while that likely means early playing time for Ingram on a San Diego defense that struggled to get after the passer last year it also means that Ingram will be chasing quarterbacks in the Chargers’ 3-4 front. That means that Ingram will likely be designated as a linebacker by many fantasy providers, which will make him all but undraftable in all but the deepest and sack-heaviest of dynasty formats. If, however, Ingram is labeled a defensive lineman by your IDP provider playing linebacker may actually mean better tackle opportunities than he would see at end, and Ingram would be an interesting upside IDP DL3 option were that the case.
Alfonzo Dennard – CB, Nebraska (New England Patriots – Round Seven, Pick 224): Dennard’s draft stock went on a plunge that could best be likened to Skylab re-entering the atmosphere, as a player once considered a potential first-round prospect nearly wasn’t drafted after a miserable Senior Bowl, poor workouts, and an April arrest for assaulting a police officer. However, Dennard’s draft-day free-fall may actually prove a boon to his IDP fortunes, as the Big Ten defensive back of the year in 2011 landed with a New England team that badly needs to improve a secondary that was torched on a weekly basis last year. Dennard is a solid tackler who could challenge for early playing time in the Patriots defensive backfield, and while he likely isn’t draftable in all but the deepest of CB-required leagues Dennard is at the very least an early-season waiver watch with the potential for some “rookie corner” rule fantasy production.
Zach Brown – OLB, North Carolina (Tennessee Titans – Round Two, Pick 52): As was expected the speedy Brown ran like a deer at the combine and North Carolina’s pro day, went fairly early in the draft, and should have a decent shot at playing time early. However, questions about Brown’s willingness to get dirty began to swirl as the draft approached, and when your fantasy production is based on tackles and such comments as “somewhat allergic to contact” are being thrown around that’s cause for concern. It’s possible that Brown could develop into a quality NFL starter and IDP asset over time, but as things stand now it’s hard to view Brown as more than a low-end IDP LB4 at best, with slightly higher value in dynasty formats.
Quinton Coples – DE/OLB, North Carolina (New York Jets – Round One, Pick 16): Thud and double thud. I’ll confess that Rex Ryan has probably forgotten more about defense than I know, but I think the pressure in New York may be getting to Ryan, because I don’t know what the hell he and the Jets were thinking in picking the 6’6″ 281-pound Coples to play in their 3-4 front. Granted the Jets need pass rush help, but given the questions about his work ethic and the freakshow that Gang Green is rapidly descending into I have next to no faith in Coples ability to make a quick transition to either defensive end or outside linebacker in the New York defense, and unless your IDP league is ridiculously deep Coples has gone from potentially being the first rookie defensive lineman taken in fantasy drafts to my ten foot pole list.
Mark Barron – SS, Alabama (Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Round One, Pick 7): Barron’s draft stock had been steadily rising in the weeks leading up to the NFL draft, and that rise culminated with the selection of Barron by the Buccaneers, who have apparently decided that it’s time to move on from Sean Jones at the position, at seventh overall. The team has confirmed that Barron will play strong safety, he will likely start from day one, and it’s probable that he’ll play every down. If that turns out to be the case Barron has a shot at IDP DB2 production as a rookie with top 20 upside, and he’ll be the first rookie defensive back off fantasy draft boards in all formats this summer.