We’re one week past an NFL Draft that was a mixed bag for IDP enthusiasts. On the defensive line, it was loaded and then some—the deepest crop at that position in years. At linebacker it was another story—the top-two options at the position (LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush) have the look of immediate difference-makers, but the class at linebacker peters out pretty quickly after that.
The defensive backs fell somewhere in-between—it’s not the best class of safeties and corners I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly not the worst, either.
Of course, the talent of these defensive rookies is only part of the equation. Situation plays an equally significant role in determining IDP value. And with the draft in the rearview mirror, we now know where this year’s defensive rookies will begin their careers, from Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa in San Francisco to Oklahoma State defensive end Jordan Brailford in Washington.
Those landing spots were beneficial to some young prospects, while others weren’t so fortunate from a fantasy perspective. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the IDP winners and losers from the 2019 NFL Draft.
UP THE LADDER
Clelin Ferrell – DE, Oakland Raiders
Ferrell told Eddie Paskal of the Raiders’ website that he’s not feeling any added pressure after surprisingly being drafted No. 4 overall. “As far as the pressure, that’s the biggest thing – I feel like that’s what got me to this point, is just me being myself,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about any expectations, nobody’s expectations for me are higher than my own, so I don’t’ see stuff as challenges, or pressure points. I see them as opportunities, and I’m excited. I can’t wait to go out and prove myself to myself, because those are the only opinions that really matter for sure.”
Some eyebrows went up when Ferrell was drafted inside the top-five—he admittedly doesn’t have the athletic upside of guys like Josh Allen and Brian Burns. But Ferrell’s a talented, tough two-way defensive end who landed on a Raiders team that managed just 13 sacks total last year. He’s going to see a heavy snap count (and plenty of opportunities to produce) right off the bat.
Chase Winovich – DE, New England Patriots
As Jeff Howe reported for the Athletic, Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown believes that Winovich will play in New England just like he did at Ann Arbor—like his hair’s on fire. “You never have to worry about his effort,” Brown said. “You never have to worry about his energy. And you never have to worry if his heart is in the right place because you’re going to get all those things from this guy. He’s just a first-class individual from a great family — a hardworking, blue-collar guy who loves football.”
The moment that Winovich was drafted in the third round, a name popped into my head—Rob Ninkovich. In many respects the two are similar players—hard-nosed, high-motor guys who compensate for a lack of athleticism with maximum effort. Winovich is going to fit right in on a Patriots team that needs help on the edge, and it won’t be an upset to see his snap count (and production) grow quickly.
Germaine Pratt – LB, Cincinnati Bengals
Matt Minich of SB Nation called the 6’2″, 240-pound Pratt a “walking, talking tackling clinic.” “Pratt is exactly what the Bengals need at the linebacker position,” he said. “He is an excellent athlete and incredible tackler. He is good in coverage, but improving some of his movements will prevent receivers from getting open on cuts. The Bengals need to get Pratt on the field in their base and nickel personnel groups as soon as humanly possible.”
Pratt was only a one-year starter at the collegiate level, piling up 104 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks for the Wolfpack a year. Simply put, the Bengals linebacker corps was a dumpster fire last year—arguably the weakest in the NFL. Pratt’s going to have every opportunity to win a three-down role as a rookie for a defense that’s likely going to be spending quite a bit of time on the field in 2019.