Shaun Dion Hamilton – ILB, Washington Redskins
A second-year pro out of Alabama, Dion Hamilton played sparingly as a rookie. But after the release of veteran Mason Foster, the Redskins have a hole at inside linebacker. Per Mark Innabinnett of AL.com, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden thinks the youngster’s up to the task.
“When I look at the tape, Shaun Dion has showed up more so than any time I’ve seen Shaun Dion,” Gruden said. “He’s healthy. He’s running faster — way faster now than he was at this time last year. He looks fast. He looks instinctive. He’s what we thought we could get when we drafted him from Alabama, so he’s set.”
The other projected starter at inside linebacker for Washington is veteran journeyman Jon Bostic, who is on his sixth NFL team in seven seasons. There’s going to be plenty of tackle opportunities available in 2019 for a linebacker who is flying under the radar in a lot of IDP drafts.
Ronnie Harrison – S, Jacksonville Jaguars
Like Dion Hamilton, Harrison starred at the University of Alabama. And like Dion Hamilton, Harrison has made a positive impression on Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone in his second NFL camp, according to Debbi Taylor of Forbes.
“We feel that he has the ability to make plays,” Marrone said. “Sometimes you have guys back there, they can play the position, they can defend. They have the ability. And when I say make plays, I’m not talking about tipping a ball away or being able to cover someone. I’m talking about being able to go up, get a ball, create turnovers, be physical in tackling, create turnovers by tackling, create turnovers and actually getting the ball and probably scoring,” Marrone noted. “I think Ronnie possesses those type of skills, so I look at Ronnie as a guy that’s a playmaker back there.”
Harrison didn’t post big numbers as a rookie (32 tackles in 14 games and eight starts), but he’ll be the starting box safety for a Jaguars team that will be without top linebacker Telvin Smith in 2019. More tackle opps should be making it to the back end in Jacksonville this season.
Justin Reid – S, Houston Texans
Both the Houston Texans and many IDP owners have high expectations for Reid in 2019. As Coty Davis reported for Texans Wire, Reid has high expectations for himself as well—and he went to a familiar source in the offseason in order to prepare to meet (or even exceed) them.
“Personally,” Reid said, “I had a lot of conversations with my older brother, Eric Reid, and we just talked ball. He actually happens to be in the conference of the teams that we’re playing four other games with. So, I got to talk ball with him about the teams upcoming on our schedule, like New Orleans, Atlanta, Carolina themselves, and Tampa. We’ve really just been diving in on the mental side of the game more, handling myself physically. My big focus for the offseason was really my legs because I want to be even more explosive out of my breaks in order to cover that half yard. We all know football is a game of inches. Those inches make a difference, so I want to be able to put myself in the right position to make plays.”
Reid’s already shown flashes of being an elite fantasy option—in many fantasy scoring systems he was a top-10 defensive back during last year’s fantasy playoffs. If you’re looking for a defensive back who possesses elite upside but often comes without a price tag to match, Reid’s a player to target on draft day.