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Early Fantasy Rankings for IDP Rookies
Darin Tietgen
April 28, 2010
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Here are some preliminary rankings for rookies. This will obviously change as we see more of these rookies on their new teams and the pre-season player rankings in their entirety typically take a full month before they are ready. Until then, here are the early rankings on the rookies. Barring the knowledge of what they look like wearing NFL uniforms, this is in large part about the situation that the rookies have been drafted into.  Offensive Rookie Rankings »

Linebackers

Rnk  Player Team Notes
TIER ONE
1 Rolando McClain OAK Can't ask for a better situation:  one of the best (if not THE best) LBs in the draft class and should start in the middle from day one.
TIER TWO
2 Brandon Spikes NEP His production slipped in his final seasons at Florida, but he's a playmaker that will be given opportunities for the Pat D.
3 Daryl Washington ARI TCU has churned out some solid linebacker talent, and with Karlos Dansby gone, Washington could see playing time early on.
4 Sean Weatherspoon ATL Not a great situation, but is an impressive, well-rounded football player that will find a way onto the field.
TIER THREE
5 Sean Lee DAL Bothered by injuries in his final season, but he's yet another solid ex-Nittany Lion LB who will study under Keith Brooking.
6 Donald Butler SDC Potential sleeper in the middle of the Bolt linebacking corps.  
7 Pat Angerer IND Potentially Gary Brackett's successor for the Colt MLB.
8 Navorro Bowman SFO Had some better production than fellow Nittany Lion Sean Lee, but doesn't land in the best of spots.
9 Roddrick Muckelroy CIN Flew under the radar a bit in college.  Will have to fight through some young talent to see immediate playing time.
10 Josh Hull STL Bit of a no-name to the average fan, but could be the primary MLB backup.
11 Darryl Sharpton HOU Sort of crowded in terms of LB talent in Houston, but he's worth a shot in dynasty formats.
12 Perry Riley WAS Could spell the aging London Fletcher at one of the Skin MLB spots.
13 Dekoda Watson TBB Fits the Tampa-2 scheme well and could shoot up into Tier 2 if given immediate playing time.
14 Travis Goethel OAK With Kirk Morrison gone and McClain manning the middle, Goethel becomes a potential backup MLB.
TIER FOUR
15 Eric Norwood CAR Worth a shot in dynasty formats, as with all LBs in Tier 4.
16 Rennie Curran TEN Has some talent, and there are some aging stars here.
17 Stevenson Sylvester PIT Will have to fight off a bevy of talent.
18 Kavell Conner IND Worthy of a late-round flier.
19 Jamar Chanay PHI Chanay and Clayton will compete for playing time in a somewhat crowded LB corps.  
20 Keenan Clayton PHI See above.
21 Nathan Tripplett MIN Will play on special teams and likely has little fantasy value.
22 Cody Grimm TBB Could be a Tier 3 talent if he shows he can play the Cover-2.
23 Austin Spitler MIA Limited fantasy upside.
24 Ryan D'Imperio MIN Very limited fantasy upside.
25 A.J. Edds MIA See above.

Defensive Linemen

Rnk  Player Team Notes
TIER ONE
1 Derrick Morgan TEN Should see immediate, impactful playing time.  Wouldn't be shocked if he leads rookie class in sacks.
2 Brandon Graham PHI The Eagles moved up to get this guy and he'll see time opposite Trent Cole, but will have to fight off new acquisition Darryl Tapp.
3 Jason Pierre-Paul NYG Bit of a project, but he could turn out to be a stud, especially if the Giants let Osi Umenyiora walk.
TIER TWO
4 Sergio Kindle (LB?) BAL Listed as a DL, but could be designated as a LB.  Has more value as a DL.  Good pass rusher that will see plenty of playing time.
5 Jerry Hughes IND Highly talented and will get playing time behind Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.  May not rack up many tackles, though.
6 Ndamukong Suh (DT) DET Game-changing talent.  Will be one of the best fantasy defensive tackles.  League owners that must start DT should make him a priority.  
7 Gerald McCoy (DT) TBB Fits the three-technique spot to a tee.  He'll excel in Tampa and could be a decent fantasy option in deeper leagues or dynasty formats.
8 Jared Odrick MIA A beast-like heavy hitter that will see time at rush end for the Dolphins.
9 Tyson Alualu JAX The Jags curiously took the big ex Cal defensive lineman in the first round.  Will see playing time from the outset, but will he produce?
TIER THREE
10 Everson Griffen MIN Bit of a sleeper here.  Will be competing for playing time behind Jared Allen and the underrated Ray Edwards.
11 Ricky Sapp PHI Crowded set of defensive ends now in Philly.  There will have to be an injury or two for Sapp to matter this year.
12 Corey Wooton CHI Another sleeper.  With Alex Brown gone, Wooton could compete for regular playing time.
13 Carlos Dunlap CIN Slipped in the draft, and is a big-time talent.  Not much competition in Cincy, so he could surprise early on.
14 Thaddeus Gibson (LB?) PIT Gibson was a DL in college but could be slotted as a LB for the Steelers.  Figure he'd be a mid-Tier 3 LB if that's where he's designated.
15 Jason Worilds (LB?) PIT Ditto with Worilds.  Not as much talent as Gibson but could be a backup at a highly productive position.
16 Alex Carrington BUF Decent talent in a decent situation.  Let him stew on your DTS.
TIER FOUR
17 Terrence Cody (DT) BAL After the "Big Two" DTs, there is a grouping of decent DTs that should be drafted in dynasty formats.
18 Dan Williams (DT) ARI Williams slipped to the Cards, and boy were they happy.  Will he have a fantasy impact?  Not right away, no.
19 Lamarr Houston (DT) OAK Underrated and will see a good amount of playing time.  
20 Brian Price (DT) TBB Can play in the middle or on the edge of the Buc front three.
20 Koa Misi (LB?) MIA May be designated as a LB for the Fins.  If so, he's still a Tier 4 talent.
21 Jer. Carrington (LB?) NEP Ditto.
23 Linval Joseph (DT) NYG Not much fantasy potential here.
25 Art Jones (DT) BAL Ditto, although he will back up Haloti Ngata.

Defensive Backs

Rnk  Player Team Notes
TIER ONE
1 Eric Berry KCC Polished and ready to start making plays.  Should be a top fantasy DB, maybe this season.
2 Earl Thomas SEA Shot up the draft board and should start for the Seahawks.  Good fantasy production ahead.
TIER TWO
3 Joe Haden (CB) CLE He'll be tested early on, and can make plays.
4 Major Wright CHI A "Major" sleeper.  Will fight for playing time in a defensive backfield that needs help.
5 Nate Allen PHI Has a serious chance at starting at FS for the Eagles.
6 Taylor Mays  SFO Big time hitter, but can he cover?  Might be a Roy Williams type of player that should probably play LB.
7 Larry Asante CLE Asante and Ward (below) will compete for time at the safety spots for the Browns.
8 T.J. Ward CLE See above.
9 Kyle Wilson (CB) NYJ Has two of the better CBs ahead of him, but should see time at the nickel spot and could start if an injury occurs.
10 Morgan Burnett GBP Will only need to beat out Atari Bigby for playing time.  
11 Myron Rolle TEN Incredibly intelligent and the Titans will figure out a way to get him on the field.
12 Darrell Stuckey SDC Another DB sleeper.  Could see spot duty or may start if he impresses in camp.
TIER THREE
13 Kareem Jackson (CB) HOU Dunta Robinson is gone, so he'll have a chance at starting.  Not an incredibly productive position though.
14 Chad Jones NYG Loads of safety talent for the G-men, but Jones will be a deep sleeper in dynasty formats.
15 Jerome Murphy (CB) STL Deeper sleeper for the weak Ram defense that will yield a ton of yards.
16 Patrick Robinson (CB) NOS Bit of a crowd in the Saint defensive back corps, but Robinson has some talent.
17 Devin McCourty (CB) NEP Not a great fantasy option in terms of position, but he fits the system and could provide backup help on your dynasty squad.
18 Reshad Jones MIA With Gibril Wilson gone, there's a glimmer of hope.
19 Chris Cook (CB) MIN Will need to see another Antoine Winfield injury for Cook to have any impact.
TIER FOUR
20 Kam Chancellor SEA Seahawk defense is looking revamped but Chancellor is a project at best.
21 Kurt Coleman PHI Another project.
22 Kendrick Lewis KCC Lots of talent but not much production for the Chief DBs.  Lewis will be a backup at best.
23 Shann Schillenger ATL Project, plain and simple.
24 Dominique Franks (CB) ATL Another project in a position that doesn't really produce.
25 Kevin Thomas (CB) IND Could be a decent sleeper if the other younger Colt CBs don't pan out.

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