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There’s an old saying that there’s no such thing as an offseason in the National Football League, and the same holds true in fantasy football. Individual Defensive Player (IDP) owners, especially those in dynasty formats, have already started scouting the incoming crop of players, whether it’s in preparation for upcoming rookie drafts or just to get an early edge on the competition.
Just as in the NFL, one of the tools in the IDP enthusiasts’ arsenal is the workouts at the recently completed 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Granted, it’s important not to read too much into one workout compared to years’ worth of game tape, but here’s a look at some defensive standouts whose stock is headed either up or down based on how they fared at the RCA Dome.
UP THE LADDER
Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
In a draft that’s loaded on the defensive front, it’s a little odd to see a player making a huge push up draft boards this late, but Floyd is making a strong case to be the first player at his position selected in April’s NFL draft.
The 6-foot-3 297-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in a blistering 4.92 seconds and excelled in the positional drills, leaving the NFL Network’s Warren Sapp offering a glowing review of his talents. Floyd now appears to be a virtual lock to be selected in the Top 10 overall, and, given his explosiveness and likely role as a “three technique” tackle in the NFL, Floyd’s all but certainly the cream of the crop in IDP leagues where beefeaters are concerned this year.
Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
As I said, the 2013 draft is stacked with talent on the defensive line, and, after tallying six sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss in 2012, Jones’ solid showing at the combine has him in position to potentially sneak into the draft’s first round.
Jones performed well in the bench press, showed his speed with a 4.8-second 40 time, and displayed athleticism in drills that belies his 283-pound frame. That frame could possibly land him on a 3-4 team as an end, which would hurt his IDP value a great deal, but the Seattle Seahawks are reportedly also interested in Jones, which would be just about a best-case scenario where his fantasy fortunes are concerned.
Sio Moore, LB, Connecticut
In a spring where the draft fortunes of many linebackers appear headed in reverse, it’s nice to see at least one player heading in the right direction, and Moore has seen his stock rise after strong outings in a number of drills at the combine.
Moore, who had 72 tackles and 7.5 sacks for the Huskies in 2012, not only showed up in Indianapolis at a beefed-up 245 pounds but also was able to allay concerns about his speed and athleticism with a quick 40 time and good showing in agility drills. That increases both the chances that an NFL team might view Moore as a potential inside linebacker and three-down player, and both those factors can only serve to bolster Moore’s IDP stock.
Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia
The NFL (and IDP) stock of Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree is all over the place right now. A DUI arrest just before the combine put a serious dent in that stock, with one NFL player personnel director calling the 6-foot-2, 242-pounder an “immature idiot” according to Clark Judge of CBS Sports.
However, when Ogletree took the field in Indianapolis, he flashed the agility and quickness that helped him rack up more than 110 tackles in 2012 and has him pegged as a potential first-round pick in many mock drafts. As IDP prospects go, Ogletree is likelier one of the riskier of this year’s linebackers, but his substantial fantasy upside could make him one of the more rewarding ones as well.
Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
There probably hasn’t been a college defensive back who has gained more positive momentum, both in NFL and IDP circles, since the 2012 season ended, than Cyprien.
Cyprien was the talk of the Senior Bowl at his position and carried that momentum right over into the combine. According to Russ Lande of the National Football Post, Cyprien “displayed the fluid movement skills, quickness and speed of a much smaller player” in workouts, and the 6-foot, 217-pound Sun Belt star is rapidly rising up draft boards in both the National Football League and fantasy leagues.
Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
Every year in fantasy football a rookie cornerback or three becomes a viable IDP asset as they fulfill the “rookie corner” rule, which states simply that in most cases NFL quarterbacks aren’t shy at all about mercilessly targeting newcomers at cornerback.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Taylor, who had 51 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and four interceptions in 2012, ran a blistering 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine. That time may help relieve concerns about his speed for NFL teams, but of even more interest to IDP owners is the willingness Taylor showed to get physical with receivers and get dirty in the run game while on the blue turf with the Broncos.
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