The 2013 NFL Draft has now come and gone, and the latest crop of defensive talent to enter the National Football League now knows where they will begin their professional careers.
In Individual Defensive Player (IDP) leagues, situation has a huge impact on fantasy value, so here’s a look at some of the winners and losers of the 2013 draft from an IDP perspective, from rookies who landed in ideal spots to veterans who just got landed on.
UP THE LADDER
Arthur Brown, ILB, Baltimore:
Of all the rookie individual defensive players, none came out of the draft with a better 1-2 combination of talent and situation than Kansas State’s Arthur Brown. The 6-foot, 241-pounder, who had 100 tackles for the Wildcats in 2012, was drafted by the Ravens in the second round as the heir apparent to Ray Lewis at WILB in Baltimore, and, with a clear path to an every down role, Brown is the clear-cut top rookie IDP and a viable LB2 for the upcoming season.
Matt Elam, SS, Baltimore:
Brown wasn’t the only defensive player drafted by the Ravens who appears to have a bright IDP future. The Super Bowl champions spent their first-round pick on Elam, who tallied 76 tackles and four interceptions for the Gators a year ago, to replace Bernard Pollard, who was released earlier in the offseason. Much like Brown, Elam is a talented young player with an early path to considerable playing time, leaving the 5-foot-10, 208-pounder an IDP DB3 with potential Top 20 upside.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit:
Brigham Young defensive end Ezekiel Ansah was the second defensive player drafted, going fifth overall to a Detroit team that badly needed an upgrade at defensive end. With Dion Jordan’s positional classification still up in the air with the Miami Dolphins, Ansah is likely the top rookie defensive lineman for IDP purposes. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Ansah’s still a very raw prospect who may play in a limited role as a rookie a la Bruce Irvin with the Seattle Seahawks in 2012, so expectations should be tempered.
Alec Ogletree, OLB, St. Louis:
The Georgia star didn’t get a coveted inside linebacker spot, as there’s no chance that James Laurinaitis is going anywhere. With that said, though, things may have actually worked out for the best. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound converted safety, who the Rams chose 30th overall, may actually project best as a 4-3 weak side linebacker, where his speed and athleticism can be best utilized. Jo-Lonn Dunbar turned that spot into Top 20 fantasy production in Fantasy Sharks Default IDP Scoring in 2012.
Jonathan Cyprien, SS, Jacksonville:
One of my favorite players heading into the 2013 NFL draft, the small-school star couldn’t have landed in a better spot from an IDP perspective. The Jaguars are a hot mess at the safety position, and their defense is going to be on the field a ton in 2013. Minnesota’s Harrison Smith put up Top 5 IDP numbers as a rookie a year ago, and while I’m not saying that Cyprien is going to repeat that feat, if there’s a rookie who is going to crack the Top 10 among defensive backs my money is on the 6-foot, 217-pounder.
Quanterus Smith, DE, Denver:
From a purely situational standpoint where rookie defensive linemen are concerned, Western Kentucky defensive end Quanterus Smith hit the IDP jackpot when he was selected by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round. Smith, who had 12.5 sacks in 10 games last year before an ACL tear cut his season short, will reportedly be ready for training camp, and if that’s the case he could see significant playing time as a rookie on a Denver defensive front that lost Elvis Dumervil to the Baltimore Ravens after a contract snafu.