|Defensive Linemen | Linebackers | Defensive Backs
These defensive linemen were at or near the cream of the crop in this draft class and were drafted into solid situations. They should be the first DLs off the board in rookie dynasty drafts and could be solid picks in redraft leagues to boot.
Gerald McCoy (TBB): McCoy fits the Tampa scheme to a tee and will be a solid DL option in leagues that start DT. He’ll instantly improve the Buc defense’s ability tob stop the run and McCoy should be one of the Buc’s best pass rushers.
Ndamukong Suh (DET): With the second overall pick, one of the most dominant college defenders ever was selected by the Detroit Lions. Suh is a game-changing talent that will force fumbles and has the nose for the football to recover them as well. Suh is a must-have in leagues that start DT and could even be considered an option in redraft leagues that lump DT in with DL.
Derrick Morgan (TEN): Another great fit worked its way out in Tennessee, where the talented Morgan lands in a great position. Morgan will have the inside edge at one of the starting DE spots for the Titans, who will need his pass rushing skills.
Brandon Graham (PHI): The Eagles are sold on Graham’s talents, and although he was listed as a LB in college, he’ll likely be listed as a DL in fantasy football management sites. Should he be designated as a LB, his value may slip a tad, and would be in the “Perhaps this Year” category.
Perhaps this Year
These linemen were likely ranked pretty high pre-draft and were drafted into decent situations and could emerge at some point this season, especially if a key starter goes down with injury. Redrafters may snag them very, very late in large leagues, but it’s really only the dynasty owner that needs to know these names right now.
Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG): Pierre-Paul was thought to be a one-year wonder by some, but he’ll be given every opportunity at playing time with the Giants and Osi Umenyiora having “issues”. If Umenyiora is able to exercise his demons, Pierre-Paul could be a year or two away from mattering.
Sergio Kindle (BAL): Kindle, like Graham, was listed as a LB in college but will probably have DL designation in fantasy leagues. The Raven defense is perfect for his skill set and he should learn alongside the likes of Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs and could be an impact player at some point this season.
Jerry Hughes (IND): Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are high-motor guys that are getting up there in age and are a tad injury-prone. Enter Hughes, who was perhaps a bit under-rated coming into the draft. Kind of a steal for the Colts, if you ask me. Hughes is another high-motor guy that will learn under two very solid NFL DEs.
Everson Griffen (MIN): Like Hughes, Griffen is a high-motor guy that will have the distinct opportunity to learn under one of the NFL’s best in Jared Allen. Ray Edwards is a talented player opposite Allen, but Griffen will be given spot duty and could prove effective.
Corey Wooton (CHI): Move Wooton up your rookie draft board, folks. Word out of the Windy City is that Wooton will be in competition for a starting spot opposite Julius Peppers. The somewhat undersized Mark Anderson will be the main competition, but Wooton (who was dubbed a huge value by NFL draft guru Mike Mayock) could easily start for the Bears.
Best of the Rest
These DLs are solid talents, but were drafted into not-so-great situations, or were drafted as projects. They’re certainly worth drafting in dynasty leagues.
Dan Williams (ARI): The Cards were elated to grab Williams near the end of the first round, as they had him as the twelfth-best player overall. Fantasy-wise, he will have trouble putting points up, as the position he’ll fill typically doesn’t net much fantasy worth. In leagues that start DT, though, he’s worth a shot.
Jared Odrick (MIA): Odrick’s stock raised a bit entering the draft, and could potentially move up a tier if he indeed sees more time on the edge of the Dolphin line rather than plugging up the middle.
Tyson Alualu (JAC): Despite his high pick location, Alualu is a project at best. The Jags have a pair of good pass rushers who Alualu will likely have to learn under for at least a season.
Terrence Cody (BAL): The Ravens reloaded with Sergio Kindle and Terrence Cody, who is a space eater who will gobble up tackles. Don’t expect him to beat out Haloti Ngata or Kelly Gregg this season, though.
Lamarr Houston (OAK): Houston has a quick first step (former RB) and was underrated coming into the draft. Oakland had a need at DT, with only Tommy Kelly penciled into a starting spot, and Houston could be a big surprise this year.
Koa Misi (MIA): Misi is getting some ink in Miami outlets, as the Fin brass love his motor and ability to make plays in space. Unfortunately, he’ll likely be listed as LB in league management sites. He’ll likely remain a “Best of the Rest” prospect in dynasty formats.
Carlos Dunlap (CIN): Antwan Odom was a breakout star last season and Robert Geathers has always been a serviceable DE in the NFL, but neither has the upside of Dunlap. Due to his perceived immaturity, though, it may be a year or more until Dunlap reaches his peak. Dynasty owners should jump on him though.
Thaddeus Gibson and Jason Worilds (PIT): Like Misi, Gibson and Worilds will likely end up designated as a LB in league management sites. Consider him a good talent, but will be buried on the depth chart behind young studs-to-be like Lamarr Woodley.
These guys should only be looked at in deep dynasty formats.
Ricky Sapp (PHI),
Brian Price (TBB),
Linval Joseph (NYG),
Alex Carrington (BUF)