Where did some of the pre-draft IDP rookie sleepers land and what kind of situation are they in? Let’s dive in and take a look!
With rookie drafts ramping up, I thought I’d revisit the IDP rookie sleepers I talked about in my pre-draft articles. Like any draft year, we saw players rise, fall, and end up in good and bad situations. In this article, I take a look at the nine players I previously covered and what their post-draft situation looks like.
Third Round Pick, 92nd Overall, Tennessee Titans
Of all the players in the IDP rookie sleepers articles, Rice was the only one to get day two draft capital. On the surface, it may look a little crowded in Tennessee with starters Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans in town. However, Brown was brought back on a one-year deal and Evans just had his fifth-year option declined. Meaning, one or both could be gone next year opening the door for Rice to earn a bigger role. Rice should fit in nicely in Tennessee and will compete with David Long in a reserve role this year. If the Titans like what they see in Rice, they could choose to let one of the pending free agents walk and give Rice a shot in year two. Rice is a player I’m targeting in the late fourth or fifth round of rookie drafts as a great stash with a chance at a nice return in year two.
Fifth Round Pick, 153rd Overall, Cleveland Browns
Unfortunately, the landing spot for Fields isn’t very ideal. The Browns got a steal in round two landing the very talented Jerimiah Owusu-Koramoah at 52nd overall. They also brought in veteran Anthony Walker in free agency and have promising second year-man Jacob Phillips on the roster. Fields will have to make his mark on special teams as he isn’t going to see the field much with Cleveland’s current linebacker situation. Given his situation, Fields isn’t a player I’m looking to draft.
Fifth Round Pick, 170th Overall, Houston Texans
The Houston Texans needed lots of help on defense. They have a good young linebacker in Zach Cunningham, but traded away his running mate Bernardrick McKinney this off-season. Since then, they have signed a bunch of veterans to one-year deals with the likes of Christian Kirksey, Neville Hewitt, and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Getting Wallow in the fifth round was a solid pick for Houston. Wallow immediately brings some athleticism and coverage ability to the position.
Let’s be honest, Houston is going to be bad this year. This means if Wallow shows he’s ready, Houston might want to see what they have in the rookie and give him some snaps later in the year. He could also earn some sub-package snaps as a linebacker who can cover. Wallow is a solid late round flier with some upside and potential future opportunity.
Sixth Round Pick, 220th Overall, Green Bay Packers
Although they needed some help at linebacker, Green Bay decided to play the waiting game at the position. However, I really like the McDuffie selection in the sixth round. McDuffie is a high effort player who will come in and contribute on special teams right away. Second year players Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin are the top two linebackers of the group. After that, it’s a bit meh to say the least with Ty Summers and Oren Burks. McDuffie brings some nice depth to the unit as Barnes and Martin both got banged up in their rookie seasons. In deeper leagues, McDuffie is worth a look as a taxi squad stash with his solid all around game and Green Bay’s weak depth chart.
Fourth Round Pick, 106th Overall, Jacksonville Jaguars
Adding Tufele in the fourth round was a great addition to Jacksonville’s interior defensive line. With his versatility and pass rushing ability from inside, I can see Tufele mixing in the interior rotation as a rookie. The Jaguars interior unit isn’t exactly stacked with Davon Hamilton, Malcolm Brown and Taven Bryan. I’m a big fan of Tufele as a player and the landing spot is solid. In defensive tackle required or premium leagues, I’m looking to either add Tufele at the end of deeper drafts or off the wire post-draft.
Fourth Round Pick, 121st Overall, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars liked Smith enough to trade up in the fourth round to get him. Smith is a raw prospect who will need some time to develop. I’m not expecting much of a role early on for Smith, but he could come in as a situational pass rusher down the road. After Josh Allen, the Jaguars are hoping K’Lavon Chaisson can step up his game in year two. If he fails to do so, they may choose to spread the snaps out a bit. Smith is a wait and see developmental player who will likely have to wait for his opportunity down the road.
Fifth Round Pick, 164th Overall, Denver Broncos
I thought there was a good chance Johnson would go day two of the draft. That being said, I think Denver got a steal getting Johnson in the fifth round. While Justin Simmons is a star at the position, next to him at safety is the solid, but aging Kareem Jackson who will be a free agent next year. Johnson will be able to learn from a solid veteran as he gets comfortable with Vic Fangio’s scheme. It is notable that the Broncos also drafted safety Caden Sterns in the fifth round as well. I think Johnson is the more talented of the two and is the guy I’m looking to draft. If I miss out on the top few safeties (Grant, Moehrig, Holland), Johnson is a guy I’m taking late in drafts as he has a chance to earn a role in year two.
Fifth Round Pick, 180th Overall, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco getting Hufanga in the fifth round is yet another value pick at the safety position. Hufanga had an excellent 2020 season and plays the game with a physical edge. As a rookie, Hufanga will likely see most of his time on special teams. It is notable that Jaquiski Tartt and Marcell Harris are both set to be free agents next year. If Hufanga can impress as a rookie, there is a chance they look his way next year at strong safety. A sound tackler with a good feel for the game, Hufanga is the kind of safety you want for IDP. Like Jamar Johnson, I’m grabbing Hufanga late in drafts as an upside stash with a possible year two role.
7th Round Pick, 243rd Overall, Arizona Cardinals
I think the injury concerns caused Wiggins to slip a bit during the draft. That fall led to Arizona getting an excellent value pick in the seventh round. When healthy, Wiggins is an athletic safety with good wheels and the willingness to come up in run support. Wiggins should definitely make the team and will get to learn from one of the best in the game in Budda Baker. I’m not drafting Wiggins right now, but I’ll be putting him on the watchlist and monitoring the situation. Plus, it’s not like that safety spot next to Baker is loaded with talent right now.
Thanks for tuning in to the IDP rookie sleeper post-draft review. A few of these players landed in some nice spots with a chance at future roles. Hopefully, there is a few diamonds in the rough with this group who pay off down the road. I want to wish everyone good luck in their IDP rookie drafts and remember to enjoy this exciting time of year.