IDP Corner: 2017 Post Combine

After the fever dream that is the combine we have much to take in. Luckily for defense we do not see the “oh, I’m not doing things until my school’s pro-day” dance as much as the offensive side of the ball, so we have a pretty decent idea of who is who after this past weekend (and Monday). Both this and the pre-combine article I wrote are not about ranking players, but to show you who I had my eyes on, and who has perked my attention.

First let’s take a look at who I was watching:

Jayon Brown: Linebacker, UCLA
In short, Brown didn’t do anything wrong in the combine, he just didn’t anything enough to spark more interest than what he already has. He is what he is a coverage LB that is undersized to play aggressive against the run. As a LB I’ve downgraded Brown to a late 4th round or no draft for me in a dynasty league rookie draft. I’ll keep my eye on where he lands, and he could be a target in free fantasy free agency, but the reality is that in the NFL Brown will be trying to earn his way out of special teams most likely. There is a chance a team could move him to Safety which could make Brown more interesting, but only time will tell for that.

Zach Cunningham: Linebacker, Vanderbilt
A good 40 time and strong finishes for the vert and broad jump in the combine Cunningham has likely moved himself from a late 1st/2nd round pick in the NFL Draft to a mid to late 1st round pick. He’ll be best fitted on a team looking for a weak side OLB that will chase the ball. If Cunningham can land on a team like that, I’d expect to see someone overpay mid first round of a rookie dynasty draft, I’d prefer to take him in the late 1st if placement is perfect, conversely I’d drop him down is someone tries to start him as a coverage MLB.

Jalen “Teez” Tabor: Defensive Back, Florida
Well, for me Tabor underperformed for what I was expecting, combined with plenty of red personality flags, I expect his already shaky stock position to drop in the NFL Draft. As for dynasty rookie drafts, I’ll probably avoid him on the whole, short of some team over drafting him in real life, he’ll likely play as a 3rd or 4th CB for the team that drafts him, which just won’t justify his ownership in fantasy at this time.

Cordrea Tankersley: Defensive Back, Clemson
In pre-combine analysis I expected Tankersley to go in the first couple of rounds in the NFL Draft, after his combine work I feel like he’ll go in the 2nd round. As for a dynasty rookie draft, I’d potentially take him in the 4th round, and hope for some late season growth in play time.

Myles Garrett: Defensive Lineman, Texas A&M
After a solid combine, Garrett did not hurt his standing at all, he did what we all expected he would do. He has cemented his #1 overall pick status. It appears Cleveland will keep the #1 pick in the NFL draft, and go with the most talented player in the draft. There is still a chance the trade back, but Cleveland could have a solid front 8 going into the season (as it sounds like they will pursue a linebacker or two in free agency) with Garrett as an addition. Which will be both a good and a bad thing, he will have other players to make up for any rookie learning curve, and it is Cleveland so there should be plenty of defensive plays, but if Cleveland does end up with full solid 4-4 staff, he may struggle for total numbers. In a dynasty draft, I have a hard time taking IDP players in the first round in a rookie draft, especially a DL player, so I’m targeting him for early second round, in leagues that start DL, in non-DL position leagues, he may not be worth drafting, just because the nature of the beast. This stance will likely lead to someone else grabbing him before me, as I am relatively conservative in this specific valuation, but I’m not going to overpay for what his likely output is at this time.

Derek Barnett: Defensive Lineman, Tennessee
Another expectation meet-er, Barnett did not wow anyone with his combine, nor did he disappoint with it, he did what most people thought he would do, which is actually impressive because he was fighting some type of illness this weekend. The good news about all of this is that Barnett’s production far outweighs his combine numbers. In real life this will land Barnett in the late 1st round most likely. I’ve seen a couple projections putting him in the hands of Cincinnati, which I think would be a huge benefit for him. As far as a dynasty league drafts, in a non-DL starting league, depending where he lands it will be hard to draft him, in leagues that do start the DL position, you’ll be able to draft Barnett one half to a full round behind Garrett, and potentially get similar production. Over time both Barnett and Garrett will be names for years to come, but Garrett has the higher upside over time.

And next who also perked up my attention during the combine:

Solomon Thomas, Defensive Lineman, Stanford
Along with Garrett and Barnett, Thomas will make an impact out of the gate, and will likely get drafted soon after Garrett in the NFL Draft. On dynasty rookie drafts that have starting DL, go for him 3rd – 4th round. In non-DL leagues, wait to see if he has enough impact to compete with the scoring of low end LBs.

Haason Reddick, Defensive Lineman, Temple
It will be likely that Reddick will end up playing LB or DE, depending on the team that takes him. Pre NFL Draft in a dynasty rookie draft, I might take him late. Once we know where he lands, I could see him going as high as early 3rd round, if he finds the right fit.

Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama
Well, if they weren’t there before, there are now character concerns after his hospital confrontation this weekend. A first round talent in the NFL draft, Foster will be the risk/reward play of dynasty drafts and the NFL draft. Talent wise he is a 2nd round dynasty rookie draft pick.

Duke Riley, Linebacker, LSU
Great 40 time, and a rather decent showing through the rest of the combine. He may have broken into the 3rd round of the NFL Draft. When my post draft dynasty rookie draft comes up in June, I’ll be looking to grab him the 4th round. This is a risk, and he might be worth waiting to see how pre-season goes and grab him as a free agent.

Blair Brown, Linebacker, Ohio
I have a deep love of retired NFL great London Fletcher, Brown shows many signs he could develop into a similar talent. He doesn’t have the largest sample size to go off of, but it has been a good sample size and his combine numbers show some great explosiveness. Similar to Riley he will not go super high in the draft, and I’ll be targeting him similarly to Riley as far as dynasty rookie drafts.

Jabrill Peppers, Linebacker/Defensive Back, Michigan
Arguably the most interesting defensive player coming into this draft not named Garrett. He will be a talent wherever he plays. In the NFL Draft he could end up going just outside of the top 10 picks. As far as a dynasty rookie draft, he will likely go in the 2nd round, I value DBs a little lower than LBs so my eye has him in the late 2nd round. If he is drafted by a team that knows how to use him, that could push him to an early 2nd round selection for me.

Obi Melifonwu, Defensive Back, Connecticut
Jumped out of the building at the combine. While his numbers were impressive, he still needs to grow into his body, but in 2 or 3 years he should be a force. Look for those who don’t pay attention to sleep on him and potentially see him in the 3rd round of dynasty rookie drafts.

Be on the look out next month for NFL Draft analysis. In the mean time good luck in all your fantasy endeavors.

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