Rookie IDP Targets In The Later Rounds: Phillips
Welcome to the Late Round Dynasty Rookie IDP Targets article presented by Gridiron Ratings. Where we’ll hit on a few late-round rookie NFL defensive players for possible breakouts in 2020 redrafts. And although they’re likely just great stashes for dynasty leagues, we need to make sure we know who these players are. We’re going with a simple media approach for help in our assessments and following it up with some thoughts on the player’s situation. And whatever we do, we need to keep an eye on these rookie IDP targets, because there’s a lot of future IDP potential here.
With the 97th overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select...— PFF (@PFF) April 25, 2020
Jacob Phillips, LB, LSU pic.twitter.com/3nQD9A2dna
Highest graded tacklers in the 2020 NFL Draft class:— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 8, 2020
1. Jordan Glasgow, Michigan - 90.4
2. Jacob Phillips, LSU - 88.8
3. Sage Lewis, FIU - 88.2 pic.twitter.com/fqYF8tfnwb
Why Jacob Phillips?
Besides all the appealing media information, why should we have Phillips on our Rookie IDP Targets radar for the later rounds? First off, his value right now as a linebacker in IDP leagues is fairly cheap to obtain. And according to the research across a few fantasy football sites, his ADP is relatively low. So the odds are petty good he is sitting on some waiver wires out there, potentially offering owners real IDP value.
The Browns History At Linebacker
The second reason to consider Phillips is that the Browns traditionally offer a couple of options at LB each season. And although it’s not clear at the moment which linebacker Phillips will play, he has a great chance of landing one of the productive positions. And if he can outplay last year’s fifth-rounder Mack Wilson for the MLB gig, there will be a virtual IDP gold mine here.
As for the other relevant linebacker position, names like Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins hit LB1 status as well alongside the MLB/MILB. Granted, recapping history is a bit skewed because the Browns switched to the 4-3 from the 3-4 defensive scheme in 2018. And Collins played the strongside while Kirksey was weakside, but traditionally there is a second relevant linebacker in either defensive scheme. And remember this next fact, the only “second” linebacker that played an every-down role and didn’t approach the triple-digit mark was Mack Wilson last season.
The Rookie IDP Targets Situational
We’re going to start this one by mentioning that it is a little surprising that Phillips isn’t getting the rookie love that a couple of other higher-profile players are. And can likely be explained away by those players’ first-round draft status versus Phillips third-round. Because when it boils down to it, it’s this IDP writer’s opinion that Phillips has just as good as situation as first-rounders Patrick Queen (Ravens) and Keneth Murry (Chargers). And just because a defensive player was taken in the third round doesn’t mean the potential for success isn’t there, want proof?
- In 2016, Both Joe Schobert (Browns) and Blake Martinez (Packers) were taken in the fourth round of the draft. And both have been considered LB1 plays since their sophomore seasons.
- Matt Milano (Bills) and Jayon Brown (Titans) were both taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. And both just came off triple-digit tackle campaigns in their third season.
- The 49ers selected Fred Warner in the third round of the 2018 draft. And he is now considered an LB1 option after recording two triple-digit campaigns.
- And the 49ers hit again in 2019 when they selected Dre Greenlaw in the fifth. He went on to record 92 combined takes in just eleven starts as a rookie. And now is in contention to do it again in 2020 after proving he deserves the shot to be a starter.
And what do all these players have in common? Their situations afforded them the opportunity in one form or another to outperform the other hyped linebackers that were selected before them in the NFL draft.
The Rookie IDP Targets Competition
The Browns linebacker depth chart is just as comparably weak as the Ravens (Queen) and the Chargers (Murry). And being a third-round selection or not, on paper, Phillips metrics we have in the media and verified in film from college gives him the same advantage as those two first-rounders. Because under contract right now, this is his lackluster competition for playing time in Cleveland.
The Average Veteran
- The Brown’s brought in once hyped Giant prodigy, B.J. Goodson. And he spent last season with the Packers and barely made an impact on a team that needed a linebacker to step up next to Blake Martinez. Not to mention Goodson never really did come close to approaching his hyped talent status as a Giant. And ended up being traded for nothing more than a seventh-round pick swap with the Packers. This, after reportedly he was going to be waived by the Giants before the Packers stepped in. Would you like to see more on Goodson to back up this “take” as a Brown? We covered his signing with the Browns before this year’s draft HERE if you do.
- Sione Takitaki is also a third-round selection by the Browns from the 2019 draft. The odd thing is that Takitaki played just 105 snaps last season despite being drafted two full rounds over Mack Wilson. But considering the situation, we’re not going to discount the fact his name is being thrown around. What we do have on him is a PFF grade of 75.1 against the run, which is pretty darn good. But when we dug deeper, before being drafted, things like he only has straight forward motor skills and is extremely raw is all over the place. And more notably, he was graded around a “possible” sixth-round pick by more than just a couple NFL scouts before the draft.
- Mack Wilson is the second-year player that everyone seems to be excited about the most. And there are reasons that IDP owners should be excited. But overall, on paper, he just might not be the player that owners want him to be. In 940 snaps last season he earned a poor PFF grade of 41.7 that ranked eighth-worst in the NFL. And don’t get this IDP writer wrong, because IDP production by default does matter in fantasy football. But considering the Browns defense was ranked 22nd overall when it came to efficiency, shouldn’t Wilson have shined a bit more statistically? He played 90% of the snaps available, but yet that only translated into 82 combined tackles. And he only averaged one playmaking type plays a game like interceptions, passes defended, and sacks. So was he one of the reasons the squad was ranked 22nd overall? Or was his PFF grade the result of it of the rank of the unit? I’m not sure, but if I was a Wilson IDP owner in a dynasty league, I’d have more concerns over being excited about his future right now.
More On Wilson And Phillips
As I research and do what I do when it comes to writing IDP articles, I sometimes come across information I like to pass on. And this just happens to be one of those times. Because I highly suggest Wilson and potential Phillips owners check this article out with more than just a grain of salt. This comparative analysis of Mack Wilson vs. Jacob Phillips and what we’ve mentioned here in this article just might help both players owners make a decision going forward.
And now I have nothing else to add at this point, other than I plan on getting a few shares of Jacob Phillips. Because if he did master the playbook on his own this offseason, he has the potential to lead the Browns in total tackles this season. And there is still a lot of “upside” even if he doesn’t in dynasty leagues, at least knowing what’s at stake. So this is why we should have him listed as one of our rookie IDP targets for 2020.
One last thought for all IDP owners, keep in mind that any rookie becoming relevant this year is a big gamble. The COVID has a strong grip on their off-season development. And the odds of making an early impact will be tough for them. So for fantasy football owners, any “take” on any rookie is far from a sure thing, whatever position they play.
Thank you for joining us at Gridiron Ratings.
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