With the first day of the draft shortened to the first two rounds, the “second day sleeper” pool will get a little deeper. Let’s take a look at some IDPs that were drafted on the second day (rounds 3-7). Most of these guys will probably occupy your dynasty team’s developmental taxi squad, but a few may be able to break through as starters or even meriting consideration in redraft leagues.
Dan Conner (LB – Penn State, drafted by CAR #74 overall): Conner was projected by many as a first rounder but slipped all the way to the third and was wisely selected by the Panthers. Carolina already has a young Jon Beason anchoring the linebacking corps and now Conner arrives to give them a tremendous 1-2 punch for the future. Should Conner beef up a bit, Beason could shift outside to allow Connor to patrol the middle. Conner should be one of the first LBs taken in rookie drafts and savvy owners in large redraft leagues could grab Conner late as a deep sleeper.
Tavares Gooden (LB – Miami, drafted by BAL #71 overall): Gooden isn’t going to be a game-changer, but this guy could be a solid #2 or #3 fantasy linebacker in a few years. He’s got a great “motor” and solid speed from sideline to sideline. Although he mostly played outside, he can play all three LB spots, so look for fellow ‘Cane alum Ray Lewis to mentor Gooden. Draft and stash him on your DTS as he probably won’t see regular playing time until Ray Ray retires.
Jonathan Goff (LB – Vanderbilt, drafted by NYG #165 overall): He probably does not project as a three-down linebacker at the NFL level but has the talent to work on his skills and be a productive starter. Antonio Pierce will continue to man the middle for the foreseeable future, but Goff could easily displace Chase Blackburn as the primary backup at the Mike spot.
Geno Hayes (LB – Florida St., drafted by Tampa Bay #175): Mel Kiper called it on ESPN just as I was thinking it: this guy has Derrick Brooks written all over him. A great selection by the Bucs in the 6th round, as Brooks is most certainly getting up there in age. Hayes is a playmaker extraordinaire and has terrific speed. Brooks owners (or heck, any savvy owner) should definitely look at drafting Hayes in the mid-to-late portions of their rookie drafts.
Dre Moore (DT – Maryland, drafted by Tampa Bay #115 overall): He’s not going to be a superior pass-rusher right away, but he’s got the speed (4.86 40-yard dash) and quickness to work on that aspect of the game. Putting him on a line with Gaines Adams could mean good things for the Buc defensive line in the near future.
Chris Harrington (DE – Texas A&M, drafted by Arizona #185 overall): With a logjam of rather average players fighting for playing time opposite Bert Berry in Arizona, Harrington could figure into the mix in a year or two. A bit of a deeper sleeper, but with the talent at DE somewhat thin in this class, you’re going to have to stab at a sleeper or two. Harrington is a solid athlete with a high motor. Grab him late and stash him in hopes that he breaks into the rotation.
Charles Godfrey (CB – Iowa, drafted by CAR #67 overall): Godfrey has great size and measurable stats. He’s got tremendous upside. Ken Lucas is getting up there in age and Godfrey could challenge Richard Marshall for that second CB spot in a year or two if he works on his footwork. Lucas, Marshall and even Chris Gamble owners may want to grab Godfrey later in rookie drafts as insurance.
Justin King (CB – Penn St., drafted by STL #101 overall): King will need to become more physical to cover the bigger WRs, but this guy has tremendous speed, cover skills and can return kicks/punts. He has a ton of upside so if you’re looking at fortifying your DTS with a solid athlete, King is your man.
Craig Steltz (S – LSU, drafted by CHI #120 overall): The ex-Tiger is the kind of guy you simply want on your side. Has terrific instincts and is a hard worker. He’ll work behind Adam Archuleta, and if he improves his coverage skills, could become a solid backup DB or spot starter in a year or two.
Corey Lynch (S – Appalachian State, drafted by CIN #177 overall): Lynch, much like the future Hall of Famer of the same name, is a tough and physical safety that can make the big hit. Appalachian State has been one of the better small schools over the past few seasons and Lynch was certainly one of the defensive leaders. The Bengals don’t really have any big-time names in their lot of safeties, so give Lynch a year or two and he could easily be a starter.