The 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone, and after three days of stars, shockers, and 94 trades over 250 of college football’s top players have been welcomed into the National Football League, including many of the nation’s top defensive stars.
Now that the action is over in New York City let’s conclude our 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.
Tank Carder – LB, TCU (Buffalo Bills – Round Five, Pick 147): It’s hard not to like a linebacker named Tank, but it’s also hard to get too enthusiastic about Carder’s IDP prospects in Buffalo. The coaching staff for the Bills seems very confident in Kelvin Sheppard‘s ability to play middle linebacker in Buffalo’s new 4-3 defense, and unless Sheppard bombs Carder is likely headed for a reserve and special teams role and limited IDP value.
Andre Branch – DE, Clemson (Jacksonville Jaguars – Round Two, Pick 38): Branch was the most prominent of the so-called “tweener” players to land in a more fantasy-friendly (for them) 4-3 defensive front, and his landing spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars shot the former Clemson standout to the top of the fantasy heap among rookie defensive linemen. The 6’4″ 259-pound Branch will all but certainly start from the get-go opposite Jeremy Mincey on the Jacksonville defensive line, and it’s not at all hard to envision Branch posting high-end DL3 numbers or even cracking the Top 25 at his position as early as this year.
Dont’a Hightower – ILB, Alabama (New England Patriots – Round One, Pick 25): The New England Patriots traded up not once but twice in the first round of April’s draft, the second time to select the All-American thumper from Alabama. It’s hard for me to pinpoint Hightower’s IDP value right now, as I could see Bill Belichick using Hightower as anything from a strong-side pass rusher to a run stuffing MIKE, to a hybrid of the two with God knows what else thrown in. The biggest sticking point with Hightower’s fantasy value right now is whether he will see many snaps in nickel packages, and since I’m not overly confident that he will (at least early) his short term fantasy value is likely that of a middling IDP LB3 at best.
Fletcher Cox – DT, Mississippi State (Philadelphia Eagles – Round One, Pick 12): The Philadelphia Eagles were rumored to be “drooling” over Cox before the NFL draft, and those rumors seemed to have some merit, granted that the team moved up in the first round to select the Bulldogs standout. Cox will slot into a starting role opposite Cullen Jenkins at tackle, and the team is even trying him at end in a few formations. This would seem to indicate significant early playing time for the 298-pounder, and while Cox’s IDP value may still lie mainly in leagues that require defensive tackles it’s not crazy to think that Cox could approach Jenkins’ 2011 IDP DL4 production in Default IDP Manor Scoring in “standard” IDP leagues.
Mychal Kendricks – LB, Cal (Philadelphia Eagles – Round Two, Pick 46): The Eagles didn’t stop their defensive overhaul with the addition of Cox, as the team then spent their next pick on the reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Kendricks is originally expected to battle Jamar Chaney for the role of strong side linebacker in the Eagles 4-3 defense, but eventually I think that Kendricks will find himself slotted in as the weak side linebacker in Philadelphia, where a three-down role could mean ample tackle opportunities that would make Kendricks an upside LB3 option in 2012.