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If you truly want to dominate your Individual Defensive Player (IDP) league, one of the first lessons that must be learned is that there is no offseason, especially in dynasty formats. Sure, the 2012 season has ended, but the 2013 season has already gotten underway, and it’s the IDP owners that begin preparing now who will have the edge when draft season rolls around this summer.
NFL teams have begun their draft preparation as well, as scouts from across the league have gathered in Mobile, Ala. to watch some of college football’s best and brightest showcase their talents in the 2013 Senior Bowl.
Here’s a look at some of the latest news and updates regarding the defensive standouts at this year’s Senior Bowl, as well as how that news might affect their fantasy stock for 2013 and beyond.
One of the most talked about players in attendance at the Senior Bowl entering this week was BYU defensive end defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, with the 6-foot-6, 270-pounder drawing comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants and some pundits predicting that Ansah could be a Top 5 pick in this year’s NFL draft.
However, Ansah has struggled to get off blocks in practices and has very much looked the part of a player who didn’t even take up the sport until arriving in Provo. Granted, Ansah’s incredible athleticism still gives him a fair bit of IDP upside as a “project” type in dynasty leagues, but at this point it’s getting harder to imagine Ansah seeing enough action as a rookie to make much of a fantasy dent in 2013.
Reports have been quite a bit more flattering in regards to UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, who was one of stars at his position this week in practices. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Jones, who had 62 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks for the Bruins in 2012, was one of the few players able to get past Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher in drills, and Bleacher Report NFL Draft lead writer Matt Miller said that Jones “showed a high motor, great intensity and the strength to bull rush and anchor off the edge.”
Jones’ size and versatility (he played all over the defensive front at UCLA) will no doubt appeal to a number of teams looking for a “hybrid” type capable of playing both inside and outside, and, while there’s still a long ways to go between now and April, Jones strong showing in Mobile has thrust him into first-round consideration and onto the IDP radar as one of this year’s top handful of newcomers on the defensive front.
Finally, IDP owners in defensive tackle-required dynasty leagues should keep an eye on second-team All-American Kawann Short of Purdue, who Miller stated “showed the burst and inside pass-rush moves to cement his status as a top 3-technique defensive tackle.” It’s that sort of defensive tackle that generally has the biggest IDP impact, and should Short land in a favorable spot such as with the Dallas Cowboys, it’s conceivable that he could be the top rookie among beefeaters in 2013.
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