Let’s get this boat off the dock and begin to break down the fantasy potential of the fine young men who heard their names called in the 2013 NFL draft from an Individual Defensive Player (IDP) perspective.
We’ll kick it off with the ‘Belle of the Ball’ position of linebacker, as it is dollar to doughnuts that these players will bring the most fantasy value during their rookie campaigns. As we ease our way into the hardcore preparation for our 2013 IDP fantasy drafts I’ll keep things short and sweet for a change (you are welcome, I tend to prattle on) and look at only my Top 5 prospects to bring immediate fantasy value at each of the IDP positions.
There will be plenty of time for my prattling about sleepers and such as August approaches, and you can bet (if that is your thing) that prattle on I will! Without further ado …
1. Arthur Brown, ILB, Baltimore:
After losing both of last year’s starting inside linebacker options to retirement (Ray Lewis) and free agency (Dannell Ellerbe), the Ravens selected Brown in the second round to fill the need. Baltimore will look to move Brown into a three down inside linebacker position where he will find himself in a very fantasy-friendly position.
Brown is an instinctive player that gets to the ball carrier in a hurry and has excellent sideline-to-sideline range. His experience at outside linebacker will serve him well in coverage at the next level and he’s shown the ability to get off blocks while snaking his way through traffic. He’s the top rookie defender overall for 2013 and a solid LB4 with substantial upside in redraft formats.
2. Alec Ogletree, OLB, St. Louis:
Ogletree’s much chronicled off-the-field issues contributed to the once Top 15 draft prospect free fall to the 30th overall pick. The Rams snatched him up to fill an immediate need at the WLB position and will use the converted safety in a three down role.
He has the size, speed and range to cover running backs in the flat as well as today’s big tight ends over the middle. Ogletree lacks an elite level physicality to his game but has flashed playmaking skills and racked up 20 tackles for loss, six sacks and four forced fumbles during his time at Georgia.
I like him as another LB4 to begin the season with the upside to reach low-end LB2 production before all is said and done.
3. Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo:
The Bills traded away Kelvin Sheppard, who had been the man we thought could be the incumbent inside linebacker of fantasy note in Buffalo. That opens the door for the rookie from Oregon to step in alongside Nigel Bradham in the middle of the Bills linebacker corps and bring immediate fantasy value.
He has the versatility to stay on the field in both 4-3 as well as 3-4 schemes and amassed 81 total tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles last season. The Bills struggled to stop the run in 2012, and Alonso and Bradham will both have ample opportunity to post big tackle numbers.
Alonso could end the 2013 season as the top-scoring rookie linebacker with the spot he is landing in for the Bills and can be safely drafted as a LB4 (picking up a theme yet?).