I haven’t forgotten about all you IDP (Individual Defensive Player) nuts. Fantasy Football is a mans game but IDP fantasy football really tests your knowledge. The thing about IDP Fantasy is that it is all about tackles. Tackles win the leagues; sacks, INT’s, and Fumbles are simply just icing on the cake. In these leagues my experience has shown me that LB’s are the money with DL trailing.
Without furthur adu… my top 10 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie Rankings:
1. Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers-
Keechs is a tackling machine… seriously. With Jon Beason remedying injury Keechs gets great opportunity to turn his college production into a Hall of Fame resume. Can’t miss prospect.
2. Melvin Ingram, LB, San Diego Chargers-
Ingram can be moved around all over the scheme which makes him dangerous. He’s fast and strong ala Ray Lewis and can be a deadly defender in both the pass rush and run game.
3. Shea McClellin, DE/LB, Chicago Bears-
McClellin is another high motor player that can do everything on the defensive side of the ball. I expect McClellin to be the face of the Bears defense for a long time. His ability makes his balance of sacks and tackles appealing to fantasy owners.
4. Don’t’a Hightower, LB, New England Patriots-
Has the size and ability to every LB position and might be the best LB to come out of this class. He is great at sniffing out the play and making tackles. Could become a steal for leagues with inflated defensive scoring.
5. Mychal Kendricks, LB, Philadelphia Eagles-
Another LB prospect who can really make an impact with his club immediately. The Eagles really missed having a solid linebacker to anchor their defense and I think they got one here. Kendricks is small but can make all the plays and is a great player.
6. Fletcher Cox, DT/DE, Philadelphia Eagles-
Opportunity will be a big selling point here. Cox is talented as a run stopper and pass rusher. In the NFC East who all feature athletic quarterbacks and quality run games, Cox could put up big numbers.
7. Mark Barron, S, Tampa Bay Bucs-
Elite qualities in this “rover” type safety. Similar to that of Darren Woodson or John Lynch, Barron will make plays in the air and in the box. Solid contributor from the always weak CB/S position.
8. Courtney Upshaw, LB, Baltimore Ravens-
I can’t believe I have to justify this. Sizzle is out all year and Lewis is looking for a successor as the leader of that LB corp. Upshaw is a talent who can develop into a stud, if nothing else he’s a solid tackler with elite pass rush ability.
9. Bobby Wagner, LB, Seattle-
Seattle needs a presence in the LB corp that has diminished a little as of late. Wagner is an explosive guy who projects as a very good all around linebacker. His ability to get to the ball carrier makes him an attractive look in deeper fantasy leagues.
10. Sean Spence, LB, PIT-
The Steelers have a great reputation for producing dominant defenders. Spence has all the tools to be successful in this scheme and the Steelers defense isn’t getting any younger. With some good coaching, which we know he’ll get, he could turn into a great LB for years to come.