With the 2016 NFL Draft right around the corner, dynasty fantasy IDP owners need to separate the wheat from the chaff. A big topic of discussion is former Eastern Kentucky/Ohio State defender, Noah Spence. He has a lot of athleticism, but has a serious substance abuse problem. I reviewed his 2015 Eastern Kentucky games against Valparaiso, Kentucky, and NC State, along with his 2013 Ohio State games versus Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and California to get a better feel what skills and attributes this young man brings to the next level. These are my thoughts:
Tag Archives: defensive ends
The 2016 NFL Draft is closing in and there are so many tremendous defensive players yet to discuss. One of the best defenders is former Clemson Shaq Lawson who certainly turned heads during this year’s national championship game against Alabama with two sacks and four total tackles. I reviewed that game along with his 2015 games against Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida State, NC State, and Miami to get a better feel of the skills and attributes that this disruptive, potential superstar bring to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
The 2016 NFL Draft is less than a month away and one of the top defensive prospects is former Ohio State defensive end, Joey Bosa. He has good defensive blood lines as both his father, John Bosa, and uncle, Eric Kumerow, got drafted by an NFL team in the first round. They were both selected at the 16th slot (1987 and 1988, respectively), but were out of the league within four years. While this is a different generation, does this impact Joey Bosa’s usefulness to fantasy owners? I reviewed five of his 2015 games against Notre Dame, Rutgers, Michigan, Michigan State, and Indiana to get a better feel of what skills and attributes this young man will bring to the next level. These are my thoughts:
The NFL Combine gives dynasty fantasy football fans their first glimpse on whether a player can translate college production into relevant fantasy points. There weren’t any major spoilers revealed, but some players impressed (stock up) while many stayed the same or failed to make a good impression (stock down). Please remember the NFL Combine has already committed to tweaking their events to better translate to the game of football, instead of being about the highly measured 40 yard runs and 225 lb. bench presses. Here are my initial thoughts:
Now onto discussing the 2015 Draft defensive linemen that usually provide the constant pass rush and get to occupy blockers to keep their linebacker corps clean. As a general rule, it is better to grab defensive linemen that play in 4-3 schemes (JJ Watt is the exception). The reason is that in a 4-3 defense, the d-line will face less double teams and get the opportunity to stunt more (change gaps to cause confusion on the offensive line) giving them more shots at the quarterback and ball carriers. Here are my thoughts on these rookie defenders:
1) Vic Beasley, Atlanta
Right now he is a defensive end, tomorrow he could be a linebacker. Beasley creates pressure well as a pass rusher, but needs some work against the run. The defender is full of energy/talent and should raise the entire Falcons defense a notch.
This is the year of the pass rusher and one of the most talked about players in that regard is Kentucky’s OLB/DE Alvin “Bud” Dupree. Many scouts and draftniks have different thoughts about his skill level and how the defender ranks versus the rest of his draft class. I reviewed six of his games against Missouri, South Carolina, Louisville, Mississippi State, Florida, and Vanderbilt to get a better grasp of the talents and skills he brings to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
OLB/DE Alvin Dupree, Kentucky 6’ 4” 269 lbs.
Cons: The first thing I noticed is that the defender lets the blocker, usually the offensive tackle, into his body when running his direction. This makes it harder for him to anchor his spot and force the play back inside. Dupree doesn’t often initiate contact on runs and needs to close the gap in order knock his blocker off-balance. Although the defender is not overly powerful, he relies on his strength over technique. He needs to get his hands up to strike with force more often and shed to the ball.
In the 2014 NFL Draft, there are many kinds of pass rushers. One of the best defensive ends in this year’s class is Oregon’s Arik Armstead. He leapt off the screen during the first round of the college football championship series, so I decided to review a few of his games against Ohio State, Florida State, and Texas. After watching those three contests, I am excited to see him use those talents at the next level.
DE Arik Armstead, Oregon 6’ 7” 292 lbs.
Cons: The defender is not a fluid athlete and can get knocked off-balance when he leans too far forward. That is the issue with being 6’ 7”. Armstead comes out like a cyclone, but seems to fade in the fourth quarter; perhaps he will need to start his NFL career as a situational pass rusher. The defensive lineman also needs to do a better job keeping his hips underneath him, so he can keep protect his body better from blocks against offensive linemen that are trying to tangle him up.
For those fantasy leagues that use defensive linemen as a part of an IDP package, the 2015 NFL Draft will be an exciting time. The only significant defender that will be a defensive lineman no matter what is the ultra-talented, Leonard Williams. The former USC playmaker can line up at defensive end or defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme or anchor either defensive end spot in a 3-4 formation. After hearing about what an amazing talent he was, I watched seven of his games against Fresno State, California, Nebraska, Arizona State, Utah, Notre Dame, and Arizona to decide for myself. Here is what I found:
DE/DT Leonard Williams, USC 6’ 5” 302 lbs.
Cons: Despite being a fantastic, athletic man, Williams is still raw and needs to improve his technique, especially getting too high out of his stance while chasing down whoever has the pigskin. He really needs to get better at the psychology of setting up moves in the first quarter that will free him up to make plays in the fourth. There were a few times that emotions ran high with him and he got penalized on back to back plays. The defender needs to keep in mind the phrase “the game is chess, not checkers.” Once he gets the long game down, Williams will be downright scary.
One of the more interesting defensive ends in this year’s class is the hard to pronounce Owamagbe Odighizuwa. The former UCLA Bruin seems to be rocketing up some people’s draft boards, so I decided to take a closer look. After reviewing five of his games against Virginia, USC, Utah, Texas, and Arizona State, it was clear the skill set he brings to the NFL could greatly improve the team that drafts him. Here are my thoughts:
DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA 6’ 3” 267 lbs.
Cons: Although the aftermath did not show on the game tape I viewed, the former Bruin had hip surgeries in 2013, which caused him to miss that entire year. This injury could affect his performance a few years down the road and sap his fluidity. Once Odighizuwa comes out of his stance in pass rushing situations, he can get tunnel vision on the quarterback and tends to over pursue while getting too high in his stance.
Welcome to Day Three in Indianapolis. This is usually my favorite day of the combine with huge men looking more athletic than they should. The defensive linemen as a whole impressed, while the linebackers were not as crisp as they had been in years past. Here are some thoughts on players that stood out today:
DT/DE Arik Armstead, Oregon
He was a big, muscular monster. The defender showed good balance and some quickness, but definitely belongs on the defensive line.
DE/LB Vic Beasley, Clemson
If the combine needed to have a winner for the day, it would be Beasley. This muscular, quick twitched athlete ran an impressive 4.53 forty yard dash. He was explosive with no wasted motion changing directions effortlessly (an impressive three cone drill time of 6.91), while showing off quick, powerful striking hands. Beasley also looked nature dropping back into coverage.
In Mobile, the question every year is who can convert from a defensive end into an outside linebacker. While Utah’s Nate Orchard is a very athletic defensive weapon, I struggle to believe he will be able to make the transition to linebacker if he gets forced to drop back into coverage. I reviewed his games against UCLA and Oregon State along with his outstanding Senior Bowl practices and game. Here is what I saw:
DE/OLB Nate Orchard, Utah 6’ 4” 255 lbs.
Cons: At his size, Orchard has the build and athleticism for an outside linebacker and does not have the backside or power to play defensive end at the next level, especially as an anchor DE in a 3-4. When the defender dropped back into coverage on game tape or in practice, he seemed slow-footed and very mechanical. Any tight end or running back would separate from him after two steps in coverage.