Second Year IDP Studs

It is said by many that the biggest jump a player will make in terms of their ability to play the game, is in the offseason between their rookie season and their second year in the league. With the benefit of a year in their organization and a full offseason in an NFL strength and conditioning programme, many players blossom into who draftniks thought they would be in the big league.

As an IDP owner, whether it is in dynasty or redraft, if you have a good handle on which players are going to blossom in their second year in the league, you will be ahead of the curve and hold a large advantage over your competition.

This article isn’t going to concern itself with the rookie studs of last season who come with a high price tag – the five players that I’m going to write about are guys that were either underused as rookies or who in my opinion, still aren’t as valued as their production indicates they should be.

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1). Arthur Brown, ILB, Baltimore Ravens

Arthur Brown was the darling of the internet draft community heading into the 2013 NFL draft and many were surprised to see him fall to the late second round. When he was drafted by the Ravens, he was immediately anointed by many as the immediate successor of the legendary Ray Lewis. As well all know, this didn’t quite materialize.

After being slowed by injuries post-draft, Brown struggled to assert himself in Baltimore, with the Ravens preferring the free agent revelation Daryl Smith and a combination of Josh Bynes and Jameel McClain instead of Brown. Brown ended up playing 211 snaps as a rookie, a figure that looks certain to increase come 2014.

Brown is an athletic linebacker who flows very well to the football and is an excellent athlete. This is backed up by the fact that when the Ravens did use him, it was in their nickel package. The Ravens also seem to like Brown as a blitzer, letting him rush the passer on 46 of his 211 snaps.

As long as Brown can stay healthy in 2014, look for him to win one of the two starting ILB jobs in Baltimore. Daryl Smith is a free agent and even if he comes back, Brown has more than enough talent to beat out Bynes and McClain. He is the type of athlete who will thrive behind Baltimore’s strong defensive line that will give him the space to make plays on the football.

2). Paul Worrilow, MLB, Atlanta Falcons

One of the few bright spots on the beleaguered Falcons defence in 2013 was Paul Worrilow, an undrafted rookie out of Delaware. Unlike Arthur Brown, Worrilow actually put up statistics that we can talk about. After grabbing the starting MLB job in Week 7, Worrilow was very productive. He posted a final stat line of 78 solo tackles, 48 assists and 2 sacks. For an undrafted player from a 1AA level, this is incredible. From weeks 8 to 10, Worrilow produced like a true LB1, posting ridiculous tackle numbers and breaking several Falcons records in the process (9,10 & 13 solos, 10, 9 & 3 assists).

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People in the IDP community however still don’t to be fully on board with Worrilow despite there being no legitimate competition for his job in Atlanta. With the Falcons defensive line in flux, there will continue to be plenty of opportunities for tackles in 2014.

Make Worrilow a key target for your team in 2014 and you could get low end LB1 production for a more than reasonable price.

3). Devin Taylor, DE, Detroit Lions

Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Ezekiel Ansah… not a bad group of players to be playing alongside, I’m sure you will agree. This is the situation that Devin Taylor – a fourth round pick out of South Carolina – finds himself in.

As a mid round pick in the 2013 draft, Taylor found himself used as Detroit’s third pass rusher as a rookie, taking 308 snaps, with 177 of them rushing the passer. He finished the season with 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 3 tackles for a loss, impressive production for a rookie on that snap count.

One of the most exciting things about Taylor, is that he figures to have a prominent role in Detroit lined up for next season. Willie Young, the Lions current starting end opposite Ziggy Ansah, is scheduled to be a free agent. Young played 801 snaps last year, showing there is a lot of work that could potentially go Taylor’s way.

I like to bet on guys in good situations and the combination of playing on that elite Detroit line and Taylor’s talent has convinced me that he is a guy that is worth buying in to.

4). Damontre Moore, DE, New York Giants

This time last year, mock drafts everywhere had Damontre Moore as a potential top five pick, with some even tipping him to be the number one overall pick in the draft. A poor pre-draft process, littered with weight issues led to him slipping to the third round of last year’s draft.

Moore was used sporadically as a rookie, playing only 136 snaps. However in the final game of the season, Moore was used on over half the Giants defensive snaps and registered three quarterback hits. This is a minuscule sample size to draw anything from but the fact that the Giants coaching staff had gained confidence in him by seasons end is a very promising sign.

As the Giants figure to lose Justin Tuck to free agency and Jason Pierre-Paul a regular figure on the trainer’s table, there is an opportunity for Moore to carve out a starting role on a typically productive defence in New York. Moore obviously has the raw talent to be a productive player in the NFL, he registered 12.5 sacks his junior year in the SEC and possesses the physique of a stud lineman. With the coaching he is getting in New York, Moore is another sophomore who’s upside could be a huge asset to your fantasy team in 2014.

5). Josh Evans, S, Jacksonville Jaguars

The DB3 tier is the bane of many IDP players fantasy lives due to the vast number of players that fit within it who don’t offer consistent scoring. Having a solid third defensive back on the roster who can put up solid tackle numbers week in and week out is something that all IDP players crave.

Josh Evans has the potential to be that kind of player in a Jacksonville defence that is certainly on the upturn under coach Gus Bradley, one of the most impressive defensive minds in the league. Evans was exposed to a lot of playing time early on as the Jags suffered through injuries, he took his lumps but by seasons end he had turned into a solid tackler who wasn’t lost against either the run or the pass.

At Florida, Evans displayed a nose for the football that cannot be taught, as a defender you need this kind of mind set to thrive in the NFL. With the physical capabilities of Evans (6’1”, 208 pounds and a 4.5 forty yard dash) and the coaching of Gus Bradley, you may have heard of some of the DB’s he coached, Evans is the kind of player who can form a strong safety tandem in Jacksonville alongside fellow 2013 draftee, Jonathan Cyprien.

Evans could be an early season waiver wire addition who could become a permanent member of your fantasy roster.

These are my five of favourite sophomores who I think can make the leap to IDP stars in 2014, however there are many who just missed the cut, here is a short list of other potential breakout stars.

DL: Datone Jones, Tank Carradine, Margus Hunt, Corey Lemonier, Quanterus Smith, Mallaciah Goodman

LB: Sio Moore, Kevin Minter, Khasim Greene, Jelani Jenkins, Bjoern Werner

DB: Dee Milliner, Darius Slay, DJ Swearinger, Logan Ryan, TJ McDonald, Duron Harmon.

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Find Grant on Twitter @GrantHarrison91 or leave comments on the article below!

NB: All snap numbers are courtesy of Pro Football Focus and statistics are taken from Pro Football Reference and My Fantasy League.




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