The IDP side of rookie prospects is pretty deep for 2021. Because of this, some solid talent is falling out of rookie drafts, and here is who you should grab off waivers.
The offensive side of the football was stacked in the 2021 draft class, because of this, some of the IDP rookie prospects are being overlooked and undrafted. There are plenty of players who have very good draft capital that should translate to a volume snap share that you can scrounge off of the waiver wire.
All of this proves that you can wait to make some IDP picks because of the value. I am not saying to wait completely, but you do not have to reach. When going into a rookie draft, plan for selecting the best player available. Here are a list of IDP rookie prospect flyers that you can grab once the draft is over.
Derrick Barnes, LB, Detroit Lions
Selected: Fourth round, 113th overall
IDPGUYS Rank – 22nd (LB9)
Collegiate Stats: 39 games, 226 tackles (159 solos), 25 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.
Derrick Barnes comes into his rookie year with great opportunity. He has a new coaching staff, a barren wasteland of a depth chart at his position, and decent trade capital. To boot, the Lions traded back into the fourth round to ensure they acquired Barnes.
On the depth chart, Barnes has Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Jahlani Tavai, and Alex Anzalone to beat out for a job. Reeves-Maybin was a fourth-round selection in 2017. He has battled injuries throughout his career and has not been able to crack the starting lineup. Tavai was a second-round pick in 2019, though he was definitely a reach. He has not lived up to his draft capital at all.
Anzalone has played well in spurts as a part-time player but has never been able to land a full-time role. Barnes offers a unique skill set that allows him to both play on the edge and as an off-ball linebacker. He has great burst and timing in his blitzes, has strong hands and does a great job at shedding blocks, and also has shown an ability to drop when lined up on the edge, all of which you see here:
Purdue LB/DE hybrid Derrick Barnes has #Patriots written all over him. 3-year starter as a standup EDGE, hand-in-the-dirt DE, off-ball linebacker, and core special-teamer.
Very good play strength, frame for work in the trenches, open-field tackling, mirroring from 2nd level. pic.twitter.com/6RJcbqbccm
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) April 19, 2021
Barnes could play all over the defense for the Lions. They have needs all over, but it sounds like they are moving to a “base” 3-4 defense. This would likely land Barnes as an outside linebacker, but one they could use peeling off in coverage, allowing an inside linebacker to blitz. As an IDP rookie prospect, Barnes may have a better role than most.
Elijah Molden, CB/S, Tennessee Titans
Selected: Third round, 100th overall
IDPGUYS Rank – 25th (CB1/S5) (My favorite IDP rookie prospect to go undrafted)
Collegiate Stats: 36 games, 153 tackles (100 solos), 7 tackles for a loss, 19 passes defended, 5 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries.
Elijah Molden has the opportunity to be one of the most productive IDP rookie prospect defensive backs coming out of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Titans drafted him in the third round and are banking on him coming in to play the nickel (or slot) cornerback position. Last year, the Titans did not have a very good slot presence and ran extra safeties instead of a true cover corner.
Look back to 2019, and it shows how productive the Titans’ slot corners can be. Logan Ryan manned the slot in 2019 and put up 113 tackles, 4 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, 18 passes defended, 4 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. Molden may not be the most athletically gifted defensive back coming out of the 2021 class, but he has possibly the best instincts and ball skills of the bunch.
2020 was a strange season, so his lack of playmaking is given a pass. His 2019 season was what you should be watching. Molden understands routes and plays them perfectly. Watch him undercut the route here to come up with the interception:
Elijah Molden is a stud nickel. Stays patient and undercuts the slant to come away with the pick. pic.twitter.com/80xJAgLGPU
— Lorenz (@ScoutingLenz) February 20, 2021
Molden is almost always going undrafted in rookie drafts, especially in SuperFlex drafts. With the dynamic of the nickel corner position with the Titans, matched with Molden’s abilities, he could be in for an impressive rookie season.
Buddy Johnson, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Selected: Fourth round, 140th overall
IDPGUYS Rank – 27th (LB11)
Collegiate Stats: 41 games, 209 tackles (101 solos), 23.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, 1 interception, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown.
Buddy Johnson seemed like a bit of a surprise pick by the Steelers because he was rarely talked about. Landing fourth-round draft capital as a linebacker is pretty good, though. The landing spot in Pittsburgh should provide ample opportunity. The Steelers currently roster Devin Bush, Avery Williamson, Vince Williams, and Robert Spillane.
Bush is recovering from a torn ACL, Williamson is on the final year of his contract, Spillane was less than stellar, and Vince Williams signed a one-year extension. Buddy Johnson can come in and play special teams to start, though in just one year could see a vastly expanded role. He plays with great play strength, even at 230lbs. Watch this clip here where he tosses an 300lb offensive lineman to the ground with ease:
— Lorenz (@ScoutingLenz) March 23, 2021
Johnson is incredible playing downhill in run defense and has very good athleticism. He offers much more upside than anybody ahead of him. Spillane was tough in his spot starts last season, Williamson was a shell of his former self, and Vince Williams is just a decent, low-upside starter.
Johnson is much better in coverage and zone drops than the rest of the group. This alone could see him on the field sooner than expected, making him a nice IDP rookie prospect.
Chris Rumph II, Edge, Los Angeles Chargers
Selected: Fourth round, 118th overall
IDPGUYS Rank – 27th (Edge10)
Collegiate Stats: 35 games, 124 tackles (57 solos), 33 tackles for a loss, 17.5 sacks, 5 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries.
Chris Rumph II is another under-the-radar target in this draft as an IDP rookie who landed in a great spot. The coaching staff of the Chargers seems to have some ideas in regards to Rumph as well. Rumph showed great agility at his pro day, running an 8.38-second 3-cone drill, and was incredibly productive at Duke.
There have been rumblings that the Chargers are interested in lining Rumph up as an off-ball linebacker, which would bode well for Rumph’s tackle numbers. Even if he lines up on the edge, it is a true position of need for the Chargers. Melvin Ingram, the long-time defender alongside Joey Bosa, is an unrestricted free agent. What is left is unimpressive Uchenna Nwosu and rushing specialist Kyler Fackrell.
Rumph is a speed rusher through and through. He is incredibly quick off the edge, as you can see on numerous occasions here:
Duke's Chris Rumph has speed in bunches off the edge pic.twitter.com/mgjB1oasY6
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) April 8, 2021
Needing to account for the speed of Rumph and the technique of Bosa could cause fits for opposing offensive lines. All Rumph needs to do is beat out a couple of unimpressive, one-dimensional players. He has an easier path than most to land volume snaps on defense.
Even if he does not start right away, the fact he was selected in the fourth round shows that the Chargers have plans for him, at least in some sense, and to grab him free off of waivers would be a smart idea. Bosa always makes the player opposite of him better. This makes Rumph and solid IDP rookie prospect flyer.
This draft class is pretty loaded on both sides of the ball. With so much talent on the offensive side, there are IDP rookie prospects who are sliding undrafted who would normally be late-round selections. This is a list of my top four commonly undrafted IDP rookies who could have some semblance of a role in year one.
All could see a boost or full-time role in year two, though. Grab these players off of the waiver wire quickly after drafts so you do not have to spend a pick on them.