OTHER POSITIONS: Linebackers | Defensive Linemen | Defensive Backs
These defensive backs were at or near the cream of the crop in this draft class and were drafted into favorable situations. They should be the first DBs off the board in rookie dynasty drafts and could be decent later picks in larger redraft leagues to boot. We’ll add the question mark here only because there may not be any DBs that have big-time, instant fantasy impact in 2011. In no particular order:
Patrick Peterson (ARI): Peterson very well could be the best defender in this draft, and perhaps could be the best player, period, in this draft. He’ll likely garner a starting spot for the Cards, and with safety being paper thin in this draft, the best DB is by far Peterson. In leagues that start CB (most dynasty leagues do), Peterson will be a top choice. Consider, also, that guys like Michael Adams and Greg Toler were beyond serviceable last year. Peterson could potentially be huge.
Rahim Moore (DEN): Like LB, DB was on the thin side in terms of talent and therefore fantasy value here in this draft class. Perhaps the best safety is Moore, who will see time behind the aging Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill. Moore has good overall skills, but isn’t a big-time talent. He’s obviously draftable in dynasty formats.
Jimmy Smith (BAL): Talk about landing in the right spot. Smith has some off-field issues, but if any program can whip a young guy into shape, it’s the Ravens. Smith is a hard-hitting corner that fits in the Ravens scheme perfectly. He’ll likely pencil in as a starter opposite Lardarius Webb and could actually be the second DB off the board in rookie drafts.
Jaiquawn Jarrett (PHI): Here’s one to watch, folks. The Brian Dawkins comparisons have already been made, and Quintin Mikell’s days therefore could be numbered. If Mikell’s gone, Jarrett is definitely a guy you want. If Mikell sticks around, bump Jarrett down a group here.
Perhaps this Year
These defensive backs were 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 very, very large leagues, but it’s really only the dynasty owner that needs to know these names right now.
Ahmad Black (TBB): Black is an undersized safety who ran poorly at the combine. He’ll have some latent value based on the scheme and relative lack of talent at the position in this draft class.
Prince Amukamara (NYG): Wasn’t necessarily a huge need for the G-men, but the Prince slipped and they jumped all over him. With the Giant corners being on the average side (sorry, Terrell Thomas), Prince will have a shot at competing at being the second-best cornerback that plays home games at the Meadowlands. Could easily jump into the group above if he’s an able NFL tackler.
Brandon Harris (HOU): The Texans filled a need with Harris, but would have been better suited to take Amukamara. Harris has some speed and is a good overall talent, but the Texans seem a bit torn on how to use their 2nd round pick. He’ll be an above-average nickel corner, but that doesn’t translate much into fantasy value. Still, with as bad as the Texans were in pass coverage, we wouldn’t be too shocked if Harris gained a starting spot.
Aaron Williams (BUF): Williams finds himself in a decent situation. He’ll back up an aging CB in Terrence McGee, who has had solid fantasy value in the past. Should Williams’ game translate better as a safety, he might actually have better value in the Bills’ scheme.
Eric Hagg (CLE): T.J. Ward was a breakout performer for this Brown defense last year. With limited talent in the Brown backfield, a guy like Hagg could work his way into having some fantasy worth.
Mark LeGree (SEA): Pay close attention to this one. He was a three-year starter and small school All-American. He has solid ball skills and instincts and could emerge as a playmaker for the Seattle defense if he can improve his coverage skill set.
Best of the Rest
These DBs are solid talents, but were either drafted into not-so-great situations, or were drafted as projects. They’re certainly worth looking at in dynasty formats.
Quinton Carter (DEN): Carter is more of a project than fellow safety draftee Rahim Moore. But his size and pedigree give us a little hope. Definitely look Carter’s way in the later rounds if you end up drafting Moore. Just in case, right?
Ras-I Dowling (NEP): Yeah, I’m not sure what’s up with his name, either. And he was drafted into a bit of a fantasy wasteland as a Patriot corner. Devin McCourty has done his best to squeeze fantasy value out of the position, so hoping Dowling will someday have value will depend on a McCourty injury.
Davon House (GBP): We’ll mention him only because Charles Woodson is old and while we absolutely love Tramon Williams, someone like House could be the next Tramon Williams.
Shareece Wright / Marcus Gilchrist (SDC): Not the greatest spot for a corner, fantasy-wise. They’ll be buried and will be at best, projects.
Curtis Brown (PIT): Doesn’t have quite the skill set of fellow ex-Longhorn Aaron Williams, plus the Steelers don’t really produce great fantasy corners. But Brown does have some skill and will compete for playing time from the get-go. Could be worse.
Robert Sands (CIN): On a team that may struggle, Sands could get some looks later in the season, or whenever they throw in the towel. He doesn’t have to beat out much talent.
Demarcus Van Dyke / Chimdi Chekwa (OAK): We’ll list them here only because Nnamdi Asomugha is as good as gone, and they have equally cool names.
And The Rest
These guys should only be looked at in the most deep of dynasty formats.
Johnny Patrick (NOS)
Brandon Burton (MIN)
Brandon Hogan (CAR)
Tyler Sash (NYG)
Curtis Marsh (PHI)
Josh Thomas (DAL)
Chris Culliver (SFO)
Rashad Carmichael (HOU)
Shiloh Keo (HOU)
Buster Skrine (CLE)
Christopher Conte (CHI)