IDP Dynasty Watch is a weekly article that looks at players values for the future (2-4 years). Also, a player doesn’t have to be a rookie or second year guy to be included but as often as possible I will be focusing on younger players. However, with that said there are plenty of 30+ year old players that are productive into mid thirties and would be viable dynasty watch candidates under the correct circumstances.
Thomas Williams – Jacksonville Jaguars
Drafted: 2008 5th round (155th overall)
Thomas Williams played his college ball at USC. Unfortunately, for Williams, he played behind starters Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing. Just because he wasn’t a starter in the college ranks doesn’t mean that he couldn’t eventually be a starter for the Jaguars. Various scouting sources cite his nonstop motor and the fact that he has exhibited excellent instincts. On top of that, some scouts feel he can play all three linebacker positions. For each of the past couple of years there have been rumors swirling around that Mike Peterson’s MLB spot was in jeopardy so Williams might have landed in an excellent situation. Sure, there is Justin Durant who some think could move over to play MLB if Peterson isn’t re-signed for next year and then there is also Daryl Smith who took over the MLB role in the past when Peterson was out due to injury. Make no mistake about it that Williams is a deep sleeper to keep an eye on but there have been other smaller high motor guys (Zach Thomas & London Fletcher to name a couple) that have made their mark in the NFL.
JoLonn Dunbar – New Orleans Saints
Drafted: Undrafted Free Agent Signee
Dunbar played MLB for the Boston College Eagles but projected as an OLB in the NFL. Due to an injury to starting WLB Scott Shanle, Dunbar has started 2 of his first four games as a pro. Dunbar doesn’t have the measurables that top LB prospects have (hence why he went undrafted) but what he does have are good instincts and a big heart. He also knows he has to earn his way in the NFL. Prior to the NFL Combine, this is what Dunbar had to say, “My number one goal is to make the playoffs. If special teams is how I can contribute, than that’s what I’ll do. In the NFL you have to earn your right to play.” In a day and age when many athletes seem to take their profession for granted, Dunbar is a breath of fresh air. His strengths are said to be his leadership and team-first attitude with his weaknesses being lower body strength and his hands. However, with the front four that the Saints have that weakness could very well be masked. Dunbar is probably a long shot to ever be anything more than a serviceable linebacker but with his attitude and heart anything is possible and in deep leagues you should stash him if you can.
Freddy Keiaho – Indianapolis Colts
Drafted: 2006 3rd round (94th overall)
You may be asking yourself why Keiaho is being included in this article. Simply put it’s because he seems to be severely undervalued by people. Yes, the Colts did draft Clint Session (2007 4th round) and Phillip Wheeler (2008 3rd round) and people look at them as possible replacements for Keiaho and/or Gary Brackett. However, as long as Keiaho is healthy and under contract I think he remains their starting WLB. The Colts have turned out some extremely productive WLBs (Mike Peterson, David Thornton, & Cato June) during Tony Dungy’s time in Indianapolis. If Penn State can be known as “Linebacker U”
then Indianapolis should be known for their Masters Program at WLB. Last year, many had high expectations of Keiaho due to the past performance of Colts WLBs but he struggled with injuries and only played in 11 games. Still in those 11 games he averaged 14.29 points per game (PPG). This year all he is doing is averaging 17.33 PPG which is 2nd to only DeMeco Ryans (18.167 PPG) at LB. With the look of the Colts defensive line Keihao will see an above average number of tackle opportunities this year and he should have no problem remaining in the top 5 LBs for the year. Of course he will need to remain healthy but that is something that you have to worry about with all players. The one thing to keep an eye on with the Colts WLB is that they have shown that they won’t pay them and are willing to plug and play with the next guy in line. So if you own Keiaho or plan on trading for him you can rest easy knowing he is under contract with the Colts for the next two years (2008: $445,000, 2009: $530,00). When it comes to acquiring players whether thru trade or a draft we always want to maximize our value and Keiaho is a top 5 LB that you should be able to get good value for if you are trading for him. He will put up numbers like or better than DeMeco Ryans, Patrick Willis & Jon Beason but should come at a much, much, much cheaper price. The fact that he is coming off of a bye week could also make him an easier guy to acquire so stop reading and get to dealing.
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