This has been one of the busiest off-seasons, from a mock-drafting standpoint, that I’ve ever been through and I love every second of it. I typically participate in 2-3 mocks just to dip my drafting toes into the water, but thanks to Jeff Ratcliffe and his Mocking One Out series, we’ve been able to compile some concrete ADP data. I’ve done at least 15+ of his mocks and have noticed trends in my drafting, and more importantly, trends in the drafting of others when it comes to individual defensive player positions. I’ve had tremendous value fall into my lap, noticed reaches by others (as well as myself) and picks that really left me scratching my head. With another round of mock drafts having just started, I’ll be looking at some data that I’ve analyzed from 25 mocks in the Mocking series. With this first piece, I’ll look at the defensive linemen that are being undervalued and overvalued and how you can take advantage of those picks.
Under-Valued Defensive Linemen
Jeremy Mincey, DE, JAC – Mincey is fresh off signing a four-year contract worth a shade over $27 million, but I’m not projecting him to sit on his laurels after signing this contract. After not seeing much help on the defensive line in 2011, Mincey graded out as a top 15 4-3 DE with a +21.3 and finished with 8 sacks, 11 hits and 38 QB hurries (more than doubling his 2010 output). Since taking over as starter in 2010, he’s notched 13 sacks and is on the verge of a break-out, double-digit sack campaign in 2012. I’d like to see his QB Total Pressure frequency reach 8-10% in 2012, so that he can reach that 2nd tier of DLs. Mincey’s ADP has been around 215 (the 23rd DE off the board). With this low of an ADP, this gives you a tremendous opportunity at value, as he Mincey finished as a top 11 DL in 2011 in most scoring formats. Take advantage of this value as you’re paying for one of the best DE2′s at a high-end DE3 price.
Kamerion Wimbley, DE, TEN – Wimbley is making the transition from 4-3 OLB to 4-3 DE in 2012, but as a pass rush specialist, I see that as a good thing, as, he’ll have much more appeal and value in most IDP formats. Wimbley finished with 6 sacks in 2011, but, 4 of those came in one game against the Chargers in week 10. However, he finished with 62 total QB pressures, including 40 total QB hurries, so in my estimation; he was just missing the QB. It doesn’t change the fact that he was inconsistent when it came to producing sacks, but he was a force when it came to knocking the QB down and interrupting the play, as Wimbley graded out at a +24.5 (3rd overall among 4-3 OLBs) and a +16.4 in pass rushing (2nd overall among 4-3 OLBs). During the offseason, Raiders and Wimbley couldn’t get a deal done so he signed with Tennessee to play defensive line. Now, he’s been more of an outside rush ‘backer, as opposed to D-line throughout his career, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does with the transition to hand in the dirt DE. His objective will be the same, however, and that’s to rush the QB and with 24 sacks in the last 3 seasons, I’m expecting him to produce similar digits at a very reasonable price. His current ADP among DLs is around 250 (the 25th DL off the board).
Ahtyba Rubin, DT, CLE – Defensive tackles are a bit hard to project, mostly because they aren’t known for producing high IDP digits. As with most positions and theories about the position, there are exceptions and Rubin is one of those. Rubin finished the 2011 season with 6 sacks and produced a tackle on 7.4% of his snaps, leading to 70 total tackles on 945 defensive snaps. Rubin has averaged 76 tackles the past two seasons and he improved his grading from -19.4 in 2010 to a +8.9. He had some help on the interior with the addition of Phil Taylor, so his availability for the 2012 season is up in the air so as of now it’s looking like rookie John Hughes could see a lot of playing time. Rubin is someone that’s going to produce good tackle numbers and healthy number of splash plays, he’s a defensive tackle that produces as a defensive end because his run-stopping abilities and skills at penetrating the backfield. Rubin is being drafted, on average, around 2235(4th DT off the board).
Matt Shaughnessy, DE, OAK – Shaughnessy’s season ended abruptly in week 3 after suffering a shoulder injury that knocked him out for the year. In 145 defensive snaps, he graded out at a +3.7 and produced 6 total pressures in that time, including a sack in week 1. There were questions on whether or not he’d be ready for training camp, but he’s practicing and is 100%, going full go. Richard Seymour loves his run-stopping abilities, so this could be a break-out season for the soon to be 26 year old. After notching 8 sacks in 2010, there was a lot of excitement for him in 2011, but you can’t predict injuries. After producing 46 tackles and grading out at a +14.3 in run defense, there’s a lot to like about Shaughnessy heading into 2012. He’s being drafted around 269 (around the 29th DE taken) and he could provide great value for the price that he’s being drafted at.
Others being under-valued
Adrian Clayborn, DE, TBB - 211, 21st DE
Derrick Morgan, DE, TEN – 324, 35th DE
Over-Valued Defensive Linemen
Terrell Suggs, DE/OLB, BAL – How can the reigning defensive player of the year be over-valued? Last time I checked, his availability for the 2012 season is in question. Reports out of Baltimore camp is that he’s no longer on crutches, but his rehab is in the beginning stages. An Achilles’ tear is a tough injury for anyone to come back from. I wouldn’t doubt if he played at some point in 2012, but the PUP list is a real possibility at this point. In looking at ADP data, he’s being drafted around 112 (10th DE off the board). That’s way too high for someone that may not play in 2012 and I’d let someone else take that chance. I’m not saying he’s undraftable, but I’m not touching him at his current ADP.
Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, NYG – I know what you’re asking me. Did you see Pierre-Paul play? You don’t think he’s a beast? Yes, I saw him play and, yes, the kid is beyond his years and will be a stud for years to come. Paul turned in an other-worldly year, finishing with 16 sacks and 56 total hurries. He also chipped in, a very respectable, 59 tackles to go along with his huge total pressure numbers. Why am I so hesitant on him in 2012? I’d love to have Jason Pierre-Paul as my DE1, no doubt about it and he’s my #1 DE heading into the year. With Justin Tuck coming back 100% healthy and Osi Umenyiora returning after signing a new deal and the defensive end position being such a volatile position to begin with, his current ADP of 40 is just way too rich for my liking. I’ll let someone take the chance on a repeat of 2011, but I’ll take Justin Tuck 36 picks later for double digit sacks and solid tackle numbers.
JJ Watt, DE, HOU – I think Watt will be the one that suffers the most with the loss of Mario Williams. Watt had a very surprising rookie year and finished with a +26.3 grade (5th among 3-4 DE) and finished with 7 sacks and 48 tackles. Williams received a lot of attention on the outside, and Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed were also strong pass-rushers in the Texans’ defense. Watt is going to be a target of offensive lines and opposing teams are going to gameplan for his presence on the field. His current ADP of 104 makes him an 8th round in 12-team mixed leagues and there some DLs I’d rather target than Watt at his current draft position (9th overall DE).
Da’Quan Bowers, DE, TBB – Like Terrell Suggs, there’s a chance Bowers doesn’t play in 2012 because of a similar injury (torn Achilles’). The Bucs aren’t counting on him and it’s already a foregone conclusion that he’ll be placed on the PUP, so he’ll miss the first 6 weeks of the season. Bowers showed some promise in his rookie year, notching 2 sacks and 24 total pressures in 487 snaps and a +2.9 grade in pass-rushing. Sure, there’s a chance that he recovers and rehabs quick, but he’s not a guy I’m drafting among the top 30 DE and is someone I’d rather have for bench depth or monitor on the wire when he does come back.
Others being over-valued
Mark Anderson, DE, BUF – 255, 27th DE
Osi Umenyiora, DE, NYG – 185, 20th DE
Take a look at Jeff’s IDP ADP data and look at those linemen that you can draft for value in your league, based on your scoring format.