Ratcliffe’s Post-Draft Top 30 IDP Rookies
Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down his post-Draft top 30 IDP rookies and gives his thoughts and insights into each player.
Ratcliffe’s Post-Draft Top 30 IDP Rookies
Yesterday, I ranked out my post-Draft top 50 rookies on the offensive side of the ball. Now let’s take a look at the IDPs.
Perhaps even more than the offensive players, IDP value is heavily contingent on landing spot. Some players are poised to step right into the starting lineup, where other potentially more talented players may be relegated to a backup role early in their career.
The following rankings take both long- and short-term value into account. Keep in mind that I advocate avoiding defensive backs in rookie drafts as there’s typically far too much season-to-season variance at the position.
|1||C.J. Mosley||LB||BLT||Won’t have a Luke Kuechly impact in his rookie season, but it’s going to be tough for the Ravens to keep him off the field.|
|2||Aaron Donald||DT||SL||A Geno Atkins-like 3-tech in one of the league’s most lethal pass rushing defensive lines. Giddy up.|
|3||Ryan Shazier||LB||PIT||He’ll be taking over for Lawrence Timmons at the “Mack” ILB. Could be this year’s Alec Ogletree.|
|4||Telvin Smith||LB||JAX||A three-down ‘backer in a shallow depth chart. Smith is blazing fast and should supplant Geno Hayes at WLB.|
|5||Khalil Mack||LB||OAK||No DE designation, but he’ll spend plenty of time with his hand on the ground. Has a similar fantasy profile to Von Miller.|
|6||Jadeveon Clowney||LB||HST||Would have been No. 2 had he landed in a 4-3. He’s now most desirable in big-play scoring systems.|
|7||Christian Kirksey||LB||CLV||One of the best landing spots for this year’s IDP crop. Kirskey should be an opening-day starter and projects to play all three downs.|
|8||Calvin Pryor||S||NYJ||The thumper should step right in to a starting job and see plenty of time in the box.|
|9||Dominique Easley||DT||NE||Two ACL injuries is all that separates Easley from Donald. If he regains his pre-injury form, he’ll be a rookie draft steal.|
|10||Anthony Barr||LB||MIN||Like Clowney and Mack, Barr gets the LB designation. He has more value in sack-heavy formats.|
|11||Chris Borland||LB||SF||Tough landing spot, but he will get the chance to start with NaVorro Bowman likely out until mid-season.|
|12||Demarcus Lawrence||DE||DAL||The pickings are slim at DE this year. Lawrence is the best bet on the shallow Cowboys defensive line.|
|13||Lamin Barrow||LB||DEN||Elway praised his sideline-to-sideline ability and called him three-down. Has a fast track to the starting gig.|
|14||Deone Bucannon||S||ARZ||Very versatile safety, but his fantasy ceiling is lower than Pryor. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Arizona defense.|
|15||Kyle Van Noy||LB||DET||Not quite sure he’ll get a three-down role. Has more of a Dan Connor fantasy profile.|
|16||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||S||GB||Not a great landing spot, as he’s likely to play center field. Has a Jairus Byrd fantasy profile.|
|17||Marcus Smith||LB||PHI||Loved his tape pre-draft. Will be Trent Cole’s replacement, but we may not see that until 2015.|
|18||Kyle Fuller||CB||CHI||Not crazy about drafting rookie corners, but if you’re going to take the plunge, Fuller is your guy.|
|19||Khairi Fortt||LB||NO||A decent 3-4 ILB. Solid enough in coverage to earn a three-down role. Just not in 2014.|
|20||Kevin Pierre-Louis||LB||SEA||Very speedy player who doesn’t project to see the field much this season, but could be a potential long-term three-down ‘backer.|
|21||Jeremiah Attaochu||LB||SD||Likely to be a situational pass rusher early in his career with the Chargers.|
|22||Brock Vereen||S||CHI||Tweener DB with sub-4.5 speed who steps into a shallow depth chart in Chicago.|
|23||Kony Ealy||DE||CAR||Not an edge rusher, but can play on the interior. Has a Michael Bennett fantasy profile.|
|24||Dee Ford||LB||KC||Won’t start in year one, but he’ll be groomed to be Tamba Hali’s long-term replacement.|
|25||Jason Verrett||CB||SD||Almost inked in as a starter, the aggressive Verrett has the potential to put up strong IDP production in his rookie season.|
|26||Avery Williamson||LB||TEN||Sneaky deeper pick in rookie drafts. He’s a speedy inside ‘backer with a very similar profile to Wesley Woodyard.|
|27||Scott Crichton||DE||MIN||Nothing special, but he’s a decent option in a good situation at a thin position.|
|28||Jimmie Ward||S||SF||Really liked him pre-Draft, but San Francisco hasn’t been fantasy-friendly to DBs.|
|29||Terrence Brooks||S||BLT||The speedy Brooks has the fast track to start along with Matt Elam in the Ravens’ secondary.|
|30||Christian Jones||LB||CHI||The wild card on my big board. Jones has the talent to be a three-down pro. Off-field concerns caused him to be a UDFA.|
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our new Mock and Companion Draft Tool. Utilizing our updated player projections, run a quick mock draft and see where this year’s crop of free agents are coming off the board in early fantasy football drafts.
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.