As OTAs are in full swing it’s time to go ahead and finish off our look at rookie IDP prospects from the 2015 NFL Draft.
I have never lied to you folks and I will not start now (unless it involved money I owe you and then it’s a gray area).
It gets thin quick for IDP players that have a reasonable shot at contributing right out of the gate.
For the most part, we have mentioned when players have more dynasty than redraft value and which names to watch on the waiver wire.
Obviously, in rookie only drafts there will be players drafted that I have chosen not to mention here due to the depth of rosters.
What we have tried to do for the most part in this series is to highlight names that are the most likely to contribute sooner rather than later.
Without further ado…
Owa Odighizuwa, (UCLA), DE, NEW YORK GIANTS, (3rd round ): The Giants fill a position of need with the powerful Odighizuwa joining the defensive front. While “Owa” is already an edge rushing threat using sheer athleticism, his pass rushing technique can use a little work. The kid is strong as a horse in setting the edge and will more than hold his own against the run. Odighizuwa should challenge Robert Ayers (coming off of an injury), George Selvie and Damontre Moore for playing time earlier rather than later. He is an excellent early round dynasty draft pick that can be had later in redraft leagues bringing excellent upside potential as he carves out a role in the defense.
Eli Harold, (Virginia), OLB, SAN FRANCISCO 49ers, ( 3rd round ) : Harold may take a little time to develop into a fantasy force but the talent is there. The 49ers defense is in a rebuilding mode and Harold’s ability to play the run should help him garner playing time early as he gets coached up to be an NFL pass rushing threat. He has the potential to replace Ahmad Brooks down the line and is a quality mid-round dynasty draft selection.
Jordan Hicks, (Texas), ILB, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES, ( 3rd round ): Hicks had struggles with injuries in 2012 and 2013 for the Longhorns before having a very nice senior season. He isn’t a particularly hard-hitting player but does play well enough in all facets of the game that he could eventually secure a three-down role in the NFL. The Eagles have been shopping Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans will be 31 years old in July. It may take a little time for Hicks to bring fantasy relevance as he is mainly a dynasty stash right now with upside as things shake out in Philadelphia.
Danielle Hunter (LSU), DE, MINNESOTA VIKINGS, ( 3rd round ): Hunter will bring freakish athleticism to the defensive line and doesn’t take plays off. He will need to add some more pass rushing moves to fulfill on his promise but that can be coached up. It may take a little time for Hunter to earn consistent snaps and his value right now is higher in dynasty formats. With current starting DE Brian Robison never seeming to quite get over the hump, look for Hunter to eat into his playing time sooner rather than later.
Henry Anderson, (Stanford), DE, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, ( 3rd round ): Anderson has the opportunity to step in and see significant snaps right away, as there is not a lot of depth along the defensive line for the Colts. He’s a high motor kid that plays with excellent power and is an interior pass rushing presence. Anderson should challenge veteran Kendall Langford for a starting job by the end of training camp. Draft him late in IDP drafts as a bye week fill-in and perhaps a plug-and-play matchup option.
Paul Dawson, (TCU), CINCINNATI BENGALS, ( 3rd round ): A miserable performance at the combine and some tardiness problems while in college may have led to Dawson falling to the third round. He is a tackling machine that plays faster in the games than his measurable show in workouts. The Bengals have a history of taking a chance on players with ‘iffy’ character and may have a steal here. Dawson adds immediate insurance in case injuries continue to plague Vontaze Burfict (concussion and knee issues are piling up). At worst, Dawson is a nice dynasty stash with great upside and as a rookie should at least play in sub packages.
Trey Flowers, (Arkansas), DE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, ( 4th round ): This is a great fit for Flowers, as the Patriots will be able to rotate him in as a situational pass rushing option right away. Flowers is also solid in setting the edge against the run which could lead to some early-down action if necessary. He plays through the whistle and is a hard working kid that has flashed excellent power. Flowers is a solid late round DE selection as the position thins out quickly for IDP purposes.
James Sample, (Louisville), FS, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, (4th round ): Yes, I have even managed to find a defensive back to expound on. Sample looks to be the heir apparent to current Jacksonville FS Sergio Brown. The move to the younger player could come sooner rather than later as Sample plays with a seek and destroy mentality against the run and has flashed the ball skills to develop into a ball-hawking deep zone safety. Grab him in dynasty leagues for sure and keep an eye out for Sample on the waiver wire in redraft formats.
Jake Ryan, (Michigan), LB, GREEN BAY PACKERS, ( 4th round ): Green Bay has been searching for an answer at ILB since Desmond Bishop suffered a debilitating leg injury back in 2011. Ryan may just be the man to fit the bill and garner a starting role right out of the gate. While a bit undersized, he has the frame to bulk up and a nose for ball. Ryan also brings versatility to the defense as his cover skills are above average and he can also bring surprising pressure on the QB if called upon. Ryan can be selected as a #4 LB in redraft leagues and has the upside to put up #3 LB fantasy production if he secures a three-down role.
Michael Bennett, (Ohio State), DT, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS, ( 6th round ): Slated to be a pure “4-3 three-technique” Bennett will be able to bring consistent pressure in the interior. With Sen’Derrick Marks recovering from a torn ACL, Bennett should have the chance to play a lot of snaps right away. He obviously holds higher value in DT-required leagues and can be plucked off the waiver wire in standard formats if he gets on a roll.
That is it folks. For IDP purposes rounds 5-7 are pretty slim pickings as far as players we need to draft or keep an eye on.
Will some of the later round prospects bring fantasy value as rookies? Certainly.
Can we confidently advise owners as to who those players are likely to be with a level of confidence that costs a draft pick? Nah.
Let another owner try to be the smartest guy in the room and we’ll continue to select proven commodities.
Keep coming back to Fantasy Sharks as Senior IDP Staff Writer Gary Davenport and I bring you all the IDP information and advice to dominate your leagues.
Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin is also a weekly contributor at Fantasy Insights. Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine. Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurl