Well, the 2016 NFL draft has come and gone. Over 250 young players now know where their NFL careers will begin — hundreds more if you count those who signed as undrafted free agents in the days since the action wound down in Chicago.
It didn’t take long for the first surprise of the 2016 draft on the defensive side of the ball. With the No. 3 overall pick, the San Diego Chargers (who run a 3-4 defense) selected Ohio State’s Joey Bosa, despite the presumption that the 6’5”, 269-pounder fit best at end in the 4-3.
However, not only did San Diego GM Telesco shoot down that notion while speaking with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, but he also stated that Bosa will not be making the change to outside linebacker.
“Just watch him play in college,” Telesco said “You talk about his strength, his power his leverage, his technique … Joey plays big … He’s stout, strong, powerful, great hands, technique. He’s got a great feel for it.”
Was it an ideal IDP landing spot? Maybe not. But the news Bosa would be sticking at end (and maintaining DL eligibility) was music to IDP owners’ ears.
It’s with Bosa and the defensive linemen where we’ll kick off our fantasy rankings of this year’s newcomers for Dynasty IDP leagues.
- Joey Bosa – DE, San Diego Chargers: The Bolts spent about 70 percent of their snaps in the nickel last year, so Bosa should see plenty of work. His stoutness in run defense won’t hurt matters either. Bosa may not be a weekly starter in 2016, but it isn’t going to take long before he is.
- DeForest Buckner – DE, San Francisco 49ers: For the second year in a row the Niners took an Oregon DE in Round 1. Buckner may never post 15 sacks in a season, but the numerous comparisons between him and Calais Campbell of the Arizona Cardinals aren’t far off.
- Sheldon Rankins – DT, New Orleans Saints: It wouldn’t be any sort of huge surprise if it’s Rankins who actually makes the biggest IDP dent as a rookie, as tackles often acclimate to the NFL more rapidly than ends.
- Noah Spence – DE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Despite his checkered past, Tampa GM Jason Licht told Pro Football Talk Spence will fit in fine with the Buccaneers. “We have a very strong locker room,” Licht said. “Especially on defense with Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, some of those guys.”
- Shaq Lawson – DE, Buffalo Bills: The $64 question with Lawson isn’t talent – it’s positional classification. My Fantasy League already has him listed as an OLB, which will hammer his fantasy value if it sticks.
- Robert Nkemdiche – DE, Arizona Cardinals: Nkemdiche’s production at Ole Miss never lived up to his potential, but the Arizona Cardinals have had success with rolling the dice on defense in recent years. Learning the position from Campbell doesn’t hurt his odds a bit either.
- Emmanuel Ogbah – DE, Cleveland Browns: Much as with Lawson, Ogbah’s IDP value will be hindered in a big way if the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is classified as an OLB. However, if your provider leaves him as a DL, the snaps are going to be there in 2016.
- Kevin Dodd – DE, Tennessee Titans: Dodd’s an interesting case, in that at 280 pounds he has the size to play 3-4 end and the Titans are relatively set at OLB. He could easily wind up a nice rookie bargain – or a wasted pick.
- Chris Jones – DT, Kansas City Chiefs: With Dontari Poe heading into the final year of his rookie deal, the Chiefs drafted his potential replacement in Jones. However, the 310-pounder is raw and likely won’t make any IDP waves until at least 2017.
- Jonathan Bullard – DE, Chicago Bears: The NFL Network’s Mike Mayock feels Bullard has a bright future – sort of. “Bullard is quick and explosive,” Mayock said, “and will be an interior sub-package defensive lineman. He’ll make a heck of a living in those sub-packages.”