Growing up in the Midwest, we were programmed to love the sport of football and one kitchen appliance — the crock pot. Nothing is better than a big bowl of stew on those cold Ohio nights during the season in my opinion. So, what I am going to give you in this three-part series is a good hearty helping of the thing that keeps us in the Midwest going, some Individual Defensive Player (IDP) Meat and Potatoes! These six players will keep your stew cooking for hopefully, years to come.
“The Meat” – Current NFL Players in IDP who will be on the radar this coming year
Vince Williams, Pittsburgh: I have been carrying the torch high for this young man and last week he was confidently picked to take over the starting inside linebacker job after Lawrence Timmons signed with Miami. If you don’t know who he is and he is on your waiver wire, then go and grab him … now!
Kamalei Correa, Baltimore: After the unexpected retirement of stud IDP linebacker Zach Orr, there is now an opening at the other inside linebacker spot on the Baltimore defense. Correa played a good amount on special teams and only 48 defensive snaps last year but coach John Harbaugh feels confident that he can play on the inside, or, worst case IDP scenario, he will be set up on the outside.
A.J. Klein, New Orleans: This man has been chomping at the bit for four years backing up the best middle linebacker in the league, Luke Kuechly. Now, he will get his shot to man the middle of one of the worst defensive front sevens in the league. At 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds, he has the prototypical size to become a run stuffing, IDP tackle machine in a division with tremendous offenses. So the opportunity will be there.
“The Potatoes” – 2017 Incoming rookie linebackers to target
Connor Harris, Lindenwood
I had the huge honor of talking to Harris and I have to admit I am a fan before we talked (and a bigger one now!). This young man is the all-time NCAA leader in tackles at 633. He had 184 tackles in one season at Lindenwood. Yeah, yeah I hear you out there – “Well it’s a small school with easier competition.” I don’t care who or even what this machine has to tackle, he will tackle it. He is our generation’s Zach Thomas. So go and get him this year and stash him … unless you are in a league with me!
Calvin Munson, San Diego State
OK, if you know me then you know I dig deep in my research. I dug so deep into the fantasy IDP basement on this one that I am finding Christmas presents from 1976. From the film and games I have been lucky enough to see on Munson, I have always noticed his hand violence and his high motor style of play. He can get to the right place he needs to be to make the tackle because of his nonstop hand and arm movement. I also really admire his aggression when squaring up to the line to make the play. Last year he showed this, leading San Diego State with 116 tackles, 11 for a loss, and 4½ sacks.
Richie Brown, Mississippi State
This is a name you can set on the back-burner in your start-up drafts or a waiver wire add after your rookie drafts. Brown was maybe a hated nickname in one of my all-time favorite movies, Reservoir Dogs, but in this year’s rookie class he is a player with darn good covering skills and pretty solid tackling skills also. The last two years at Mississippi State he led the team in tackles. In his career there he had 14 pass break ups and five interceptions. This kid can read plays better than most and he is a smart and gritty late addition to your IDP squads.