IDP Dime Drop: Jordan Whitehead

IDP Dime Drop: Jordan Whitehead

by | Apr 6, 2022

Jordan Whitehead

Including all the rotational reps in 2021. The Jets had very little stability out of the nine total defensive backs that played last season. The young group really didn’t even afford us a player that stood out heading into 2022. All of them were average, at best, and looked overwhelmed in a lot of contests. So the team needed to address a huge issue in that secondary, among many other things. Enter Jordan Whitehead, a guy that’ll help build a better culture in the locker room. And more importantly, on the field where the team needs it most.

IDP Dime

Jordan Whitehead was drafted by Tampa Bay in the mid-fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft. He spent the first four years with the Buccaneers as a starter as a key part of their defense. Originally known as a true free safety, he showed growth with the ability to make impact plays. And although in deeper formats he did have some notable stability at times. He’s only broken out to a capped free safety fantasy football ceiling. At least as a traditional free safety type play.

In our Gridiron Rating IDP flagship league, the IDP Initiative. Which has our balanced scoring format. Whitehead landed 36th overall in 2019, 27th in 2020, and 34th in 2021 among defensive backs. That’s just outside the realm of being a solid weekly play in most standard leagues. But in those deeper league formats, he landed in the range of a strong DB3 to borderline solid DB2. Offering at the least solid match-up strength stability for injury or bye-week DB play as a depth piece.

The Jets Defense

If we’re grading the 2021 Jets Defense, can we say it was a D? Or is this being too friendly? They had a couple of playmakers but overall not enough to support each other. They haven’t had a healthy pass rush in some time. And the secondary was a huge rotation with just serviceable play. The inside linebacker position leaked all year. So we’ll just sum that up as lackluster. As our mothers always said. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Do we blame the current front office and coaching staff? No, not at all. They just got there and had a lot of things to figure out last season. Not to mention they were handed what they had, which wasn’t much to work with.

Why Whitehead?

If you ask this guy, the Jets got one heck of a deal signing Jordan Whitehead for 2 years and 14 million. Especially when Marcus Williams, who graded slightly better. Signed with the Ravens for 14 million per season right before Whitehead signed. The Jets also got an outstanding tackler in Whitehead too. And they know it in New York. So much so that they are speculating he would be the starting strong safety if the season started today.

Starting at the SS would mean a huge opportunity to produce in the box. And on paper, right now. It’s got tier one written all over it in terms of a defensive back total tackle ceiling. Add in the fact that Whitehead has vastly improved in coverage over the years. So we’re also talking about opportunities to make impact plays. And padding our weekly box scores. In that immediate area, his competition for production looks to be minimal in the front seven. So unless they add another free agent safety, or draft someone like Kyle Hamilton. Whiteheads going to get to display his upper graded skillset in the box a lot. And on a defense with a nice average production allowed upfront in recent years.

So, they decided to draft high or maybe sign a serviceable veteran to play in the box. Or even go as far as to start the season with poorly graded Ashtyn Davis, a 2020 third-round pick in the box. There is still room for a higher production ceiling than a run-of-the-mill starting free safety here. In this scheme, they’ll utilize Whitehead everywhere on the field. His above overall coverage, great tackling ability, and veteran presence won’t go to waste. Not as long as this team is rebuilding and they’ve chosen Whitehead to bring the secondary out of the ashes. He’s aggressive and focused, and he’ll have his hands full helping lead this team into the next couple of seasons.


First, let’s not assume anything based on the Jet’s recent history. If we were to bring up Jamal Adams or Marcus Maye. It just doesn’t have any relevance here with the new coaching staff. And to be quite honest. If we were to rank Whitehead to either Adams or Maye in talent, we’d lean Adams, Whitehead, then Maye. If not just for the fact that Whitehead’s been healthier. But Whitehead’s biggest advantage is he’s grown into becoming a great player. Whereas Maye has seemingly struggled to maintain stability on the field. At least when put directly into the fire. And now he has a lot to prove after signing with the Saints recently. As we’ve mentioned. Whitehead may have not been on most IDP managers’ radars over the last few years. But that was capped based on his production in the position at free safety offered in Tampa Bay. Not Whitehead’s capacity to stay on the field. Or receive more opportunities afforded by the Buccaneer’s scheme.


If Whitehead enters 2022 as the starting strong safety, we’re talking about the opportunity to hit upper tier-one amongst the defensive backs. The Jet’s front seven has some talent, but it’s currently not enough and full of assumptions they’ll improve. Whitehead could easily be considered a top 3 talent on this defense. So if he starts in the box the combined tackles will be there. And those are the main thing we need for stability and the only real way to hit tier one. Sure, he’ll also continue to showcase his playmaking abilities being in the bigger mix. But it’s those potential triple-digit total tackles that’ll be the real box score prize.


The Jets drafting, signing, or starting Davis in the box is still on the table. So if Jordan Whitehead lands the deeper free safety spot it’ll likely hamper his ability to be around the action all the time. Unless the Jets haven’t revealed their full intentions in this scheme yet. This leaves Whitehead with more of an upper-tier two type defensive back leaving the triple-digit tackle mark just a pipe dream. And relying more on his impact plays like interceptions and such to keep the box score padded. Which certainly isn’t out of the question but is less stable than the tackle floor we’d want. Although, the returning Jets defensive players, let’s just say they were terrible at finishing tackles. And we’re talking about everyone on this defense. This fact likely isn’t going to take a huge turn in 2022. Leaving what looks like on paper, opportunities to clean up everyone’s missed tackles from the last line of defense on the field.

The No Brainer

So although Whiteheads has been around and solid enough in the past, he’s about to break up into an upper realm of NFL production in deeper formats. He’ll at the least establish himself as a more viable option in standard-sized leagues. The Jets got a deal bringing in Whitehead and his skill set and it’s basically a production by default opportunity. One that the player happens to be really good at what he does and fits the bill the team needs. So if we are setting values on his outlook this season, and likely for the next couple of years. There isn’t any reason to not treat him as a serviceable tier one defensive back that likely can be had for a DB2 price tight now. And if you’d ask me, I think Whitehead will accomplish what Marcus Maye IDP fans expected to get.

Current Projected Depth Charts

FS – Lamarcus Joyner / Will Parks

SS –  Jordan Whitehead / Ashtyn Davis


FS – Jordan Whitehead / Lamarcus Joyner

SS – Ashtyn Davis / Jordan Whitehead

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About Gary Van Dyke