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The Rookie Report: Special IDP Edition

Welcome everyone to the ninth regular season installment to the Rookie Report. In case you missed the report during the first eight weeks of the season, the report will cover topics, trends and a game by game analysis of notable performances by the NFL’s 2007 Rookie Class to assist in your pursuit of dynasty championship gold.

During the first eight weeks, the Rookie Report has focused on trends for offensive rookie players.

Over the next two weeks, we will profile some of the rookie individual defensive players who could make an impact for your fantasy teams. This edition will contain defensive ends, defensive tackles and linebackers, with next week focusing on the secondary.

So sit back, but don’t get too comfortable because here we go with our ninth regular season week’s installment of this report on defensive ends, defensive tackles and linebackers.…

Defensive Ends

There haven’t been any breakout years by rookie defensive ends thus far in 2007; however, there are two guys you want to keep an eye on moving forward in the 2nd half of 2007 and beyond. I would also mention Jarvis Moss’ name here as someone to keep an eye on in 2008 as he had a couple of decent games to start the year; however, he is currently out for the remainder of the 2007 season with an injury.

Gaines Adams – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gaines Adams was taken fourth overall in the 2007 draft with high expectations to replace the aged Simeon Rice. Adams has great athleticism and is an excellent pass rusher off the edge. Thus far in 2007, Adams has been relatively quiet; however, turned in a couple solid performances in Weeks 5 and 6. Through Week 8 of the season, Adams has registered 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Adams is currently the starting end for the Bucs. Despite a slow start, Gaines Adams is a player fantasy owners need to keep an eye on in the 2nd half of 2007 to assess his value moving forward.

Jamaal Anderson – Atlanta Falcons

Jamaal Anderson was another defensive end drafted in the top 10. Anderson is a physically athletic freak who has a great combination of size, quickness and agility. Coming out of Arkansas, Anderson was regarded as more of a development project due to him still developing good technique as Anderson converted from a wide receiver to defensive end in college. Through the first 8 weeks of 2007, Anderson has also been fairly quiet despite starting only registering 16 tackles and 1 forced fumble. Anderson is another guy to watch in the 2nd half of 2007 to determine his value moving forward.

Defensive Tackles

Amobi Okoye – Houston Texans

The Houston Texans needed to find a defensive tackle who could help them put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and based on what has transpired in the first 8 games of 2007, they have found their guy. Despite being the youngest player in the NFL, Okoye has been solid both against the run as well as putting collapsing the pocket on passing situations. Okoye is a quick defensive tackle whose strength, speed, and agility help him work over offensive lines. Through the first 8 games, Okoye has registered 17 tackles, 4 sacks, and a forced fumble. Okoye is a must-own player in leagues that require starting a defensive tackle, and he will continue to produce in 2007 and beyond.

Clifton

Ryan – St. Louis Rams

Selected in the 5th round out of Michigan State, Clifton Ryan has been a pleasant surprise for the Rams as he has turned in solid contributions in the first 8 weeks of 2007. Ryan is an explosive hard working defensive lineman who is adept at collapsing the opposing offense’s pocket. Through 8 weeks in 2007, Ryan has 22 tackles, 2 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Those figures have him ranked in the top 10 at the defensive tackle position; and similar to Okoye, Ryan should be owned in all leagues that require starting a defensive tackle in 2007 and in dynasty formats.

Linebackers

Patrick Willis – San Francisco 49ers

If you looked in the dictionary for the definition of “stud”, Patrick Willis’ name should be there as an example. In the first half of 2007, Willis has been the best rookie defensive player in the NFL. He started the season as the SAM, but was quickly transitioned to the WILL position. Willis is a complete playmaking linebacker with an excellent nose for the ball. Couple his instincts with the size and athleticism, and Willis should be a stud linebacker in the NFL for many years to come. Through the first half of 2007, Patrick Willis has put up Top 10 fantasy numbers with his 73 tackles, forced fumble and 2 passes defended.Expect this same production for the remainder of 2007 and future barring injury.

Jonathan Beason – Carolina Panthers

Jonathan Beason has rewarded the Carolina Panthers for drafting him out of Miami with a solid first half of the season in 2007. Beason started the year at the WILL position and moved into the MIKE role when Dan Morgan was injured.Since Week 4, Beason has been racking up solid tackle numbers. Beason has great feet and athleticism that allow him to change direction on the fly and react to plays. In the first half of 2007, Beason has amassed 50 tackles and 3 passes defended. Going forward, Beason should continue to be a beast and please fantasy owners for the remainder of 2007 and following.

David Harris – New York Jets

David Harris was used as a situational and reserve player by the Jets until Vilma went down with a knee injury. In Harris’ first game as a 3 down linebacker, Harris recorded 17 tackles and a sack against the Bills. Vilma was put on injured reserve and is expected to be moved in the offseason giving Harris the potential to start for the remainder of 2007 as well as the future.Harris is definitely someone to keep an eye on for the rest of the year as he has the potential to be a stud for the rest of the year in 2007 and beyond for fantasy owners who were lucky enough to snag him.

Paul Posluszny – Buffalo Bills

Paul Posluszny started the first three games as the middle linebacker of the Buffalo Bills before being placed on the Injured Reserve list with a broken forearm. In the first three games, Posluszny was a tackling machine registering 26 tackles in roughly 2.5 games. All indications are that he will be healthy for the 2008 season, and he should be owned in all keeper and dynasty formats due to his long-term potential.

The following section of the rookie report will recap performances by rookies each week for each game.

Atlanta

Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers

Falcons WR Laurent Robinson caught 1 pass for 10 yards.

Cincinnati

Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills

Bills RB Marshawn Lynch had a breakout game with 153 rushing yards, 1 catch for 7 yards and a touchdown. RB Dewayne Wright had 1 carry for 2 yards.

Detroit

Lions vs. Denver Broncos

Broncos RB Selvin Young had 6 rushes for 12 yards and 2 catches for 15 yards.

Lions WR Calvin Johnson caught 3 passes for 47 yards.

Green Bay

Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Packers RB Brandon Jackson rushed 5 times for 18 yards. WR James Jones had 3 catches for 32 yards. PK Mason Crosby went 4 for 5 on field goals and was perfect on extra point attempts.

Minnesota

Vikings vs. San Diego Chargers

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has a recording breaking day. Peterson continues to be the most impressive rookie in the league this year, and probably the best running back in the NFL. Peterson rushed 30 times for 296 yards, caught 1 pass for 19 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. WR Sidney Rice had a solid day as well catching 4 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Chargers WR Legedu Naanee caught 2 passes for 39 yards.

New Orleans

Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Jags WR John Broussard caught 2 passes for 71 yards.

Washington

Redskins vs. New York Jets

There were no notable rookie performances in this game.

Tennessee

Titans vs. Carolina Panthers

Panthers QB Matt Moore went 2 for 5 for 36 yards and an interception.

Titans RB Chris Henry came back to earth this week with his pending steroid suspension with 3 rushes for negative 3 yards and caught 1 pass for 18 yards.

Arizona

Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There were no notable rookie performances in this game.

Houston

Texans vs. Oakland Raiders

Raiders TE Zach Miller caught 1 pass for 3 yards. WR Johnnie Lee Higgins rushed 1 time for 8 yards.

Seattle

Seahawks vs. Cleveland Browns

There were no notable rookie performances in this game.

Indianapolis

Colts vs. New England Patriots

Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez caught 1 pass for 13 yards.

Dallas

Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles TE Brent Celek had one catch for 6 yards.

Cowboys PK Nick Folk went 1 for 1 on field goal attempts and connected on all 5 extra points.

Due to the timing of this report, a recap of Monday night games will not be included in the Rookie Report.

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