Being a rookie in the NFL is certainly a lot to shoulder from a skill position. You get your name in lights, media can’t stop gushing, and every position battle you win or lose, ESPN treats it like it’s the end all be all of your career. Defensive players have it slightly different. While the position battles are just as fierce, we simply don’t hear as much about them. Never fear fellow IDP players (individual defensive players), I’ve got the top 5 IMPACT rookies of the 2013 campaign.
This year’s class was full of raw talent, but NFL-ready talent, well that’s something that may be lacking. There are a few of linebackers who could significantly contribute to teams this season but when it comes to being viable fantasy football defensive players out the gate, this draft class leaves a bit to be desired.
Arthur Brown – LB – Baltimore Ravens
I fully expect Brown to become a fixture in the vaunted Ravens' defense as they begin life without Ray Lewis. Be wary of drafting Brown as an immediate starter for your fantasy teams, as we will be sure to see some growing pains. Draft in the understanding that he may be no better than a low-end number 2 linebacker with some potential to move into the top 20.
Alec Ogletree- LB – St. Louis Rams
Coming out of UGA, Ogletree wasn’t even the most heralded LB on his own team. Having to play in the shadow of teammate Jarvis Jones, he quietly put up unbelievable tackle numbers. While the casual fan may not have noticed, NFL teams took note. He would have gone ahead of Jarvis, but his numerous off the field issues may have held a few teams back. If he can stay out of trouble, there is a chance for a steal as a low-end number 2 linebacker option for your fantasy team.
Dion Jordan – DE – Miami
Dion is raw, simply put, but he will be starting on a young Miami defensive line from day one and should see single blockers with Cameron Wake on the opposite side. He should find himself as a high-end number 3 defensive lineman in his rookie season, with some spectacular games sprinkled in.
Matt Elam – S – Baltimore Ravens
Out goes Ed Reed, in steps Matt Elam. His leash seems to grow by the day, and the Ravens are giving him more and more room to roam in the defensive backfield. He is an absolutely punishing hitter, and his tackle numbers should be great. Elam did get in trouble throughout his college career with illegal hits. This is a minor tweak that NFL coaches should remedy, but keep this in mind when drafting. He should be a middle of the row number 2 defensive back with great upside if you play in a tackle heavy IDP league.
Kevin Minter – LB – Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Minter went from being the odd man out, to having the opportunity to seize a giant role. With Daryl Washington’s suspension being upheld (4 games), Arizona will rely heavily on Minter to fill his role. If he performs, and perform he may, the Cardinals will believe they struck gold. If you need immediate help in the Linebacker department, keep this man in mind. Minter should be able to produce at a LB2 level out of the gate, but it remains to be seen what happens when Washington returns from his 4-game suspension and how well Karlos Dansby plays on his new team.
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Robert - The IDP Expert
Robert comes from an extensive background in fantasy football. He has competed in competitive leagues for over 10 years, which he has won on numerous occasions. He should bring a fresh perspective to a side of fantasy football looked over by the bulk of fantasy informers. Individual defensive players are possibly the most important element to having a well-rounded fantasy football team, as most people look to the big names to carry their team. Robert comes from a back ground in sports, where he played D3 college basketball at Millsaps College. As an intense competitor he wants to share his knowledge to help you compete in this years fantasy football season.