Who are some IDP rookies who could be values later on in drafts? Let’s dive in and take a look at three players who fit this bill and have notable potential if they land in ideal spots.
The NFL draft is quickly approaching as we are only about a month away. That means our coveted rookie drafts are almost here and what an exciting class this is on both sides of the ball. On the IDP side of things, this rookie class if full of talent all over each position. In this article, I wrote up some brief overviews on three players who are flying a little under the radar. All three are talented players at their respective position and could end up being nice values in IDP rookie drafts. Let’s dive in!
Garret Wallow – LB – TCU
2020 Stats (10 games): 90 tackles (50 solos), 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles
Garret Wallow has been fantastic for the TCU defense the past two seasons. However, he does get overlooked a bit in this talented linebacker class. In 2019, Wallow really put himself on the map with a breakout season. That year, he went on to lead the Big 12 in tackles with 125 (77 solos) and earned First-Team All Big 12 honors. Wallow backed that up with another solid output this year (see stat line above) and once again earned First-Team All Big 12 honors. Not only does Wallow impact the game as a tackler, but he also makes impact plays behind the line. Over the past two seasons, Wallow has compiled an impressive 27 tackles for loss and five and a half sacks.
As a converted safety, Wallow displays very good athleticism on tape. He shows plenty of play speed and maneuvers very fluidly. This speed and athleticism provide him good range and the ability to cover the field sideline to sideline. In coverage, Wallow displays good feel in both man and zone coverages. He’s also an effective blitzer as he can really get up field in a hurry when he goes. Wallow has the potential and skill set to develop into a three down linebacker with the right fit.
@TCUFootball LB Garret Wallow showing good read/react, fights through the block and makes the tackle. Converted LB from S is a guy to keep an eye on.#NFLTwitter #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/G2TOCLT1yn
— EJHolt215_NFL (@EJunkie215) November 11, 2020
While he does show solid instincts, there are times where he can get caught looking. He’ll hesitate for a second instead of just making the read and reacting. This is something I definitely see him improving as he gets coached up. Wallow could also improve shedding blocks and playing through traffic more consistently. There are times where he gets hung up or caught up in the mess.
Jordan Smith – Edge – UAB
2020 stats (8 games): 41 tackles (22 solos), 9 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 1 interception
Jordan Smith started out his college career at Florida, but ended up getting suspended for his involvement in a credit card scandal. After playing Junior College ball, he then landed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Smith has been excellent for the Blazers over the past two seasons as he has amassed 89 tackles (51 solos), 23.5 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks over that time. His standout play this season earned him First-Team All Conference honors and an invitation to the Senior Bowl. Smith has flashed some serious potential as a pass rusher and his best fit would likely be standing up as an edge in a 3-4 system.
Standing 6’6” and 255 pounds, Smith has that long, lanky, athletic build. To pair with his ideal length, Smith features a quick get-off out of his stance. If you don’t get your hands on him early he can really create pressure as he can get up field in a hurry. At times, he flashes the ability to attack the outside shoulder and dip underneath opposing tackles before they get into him. Smith also plays the game with a good motor and will make plays down the line in backside pursuit.
An intriguing prospect out of UAB, Jordan Smith (@Jshmoov1) measured 6'6 1/8" and 255. Was comfortable with his hand down or from a standup. Terrific off the edge. @UAB_FB #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/rwPIdQrmDa
— Scott Kennedy (@ScoutKennedy) February 18, 2021
While there’s a lot to like with Smith’s game, he’s also very raw. From a pass rush standpoint, he flashes potential with his rip or spin move, but doesn’t use them as often as you’d like. Developing his pass rush arsenal will be important at the next level. Smith is an aggressive player, and while I like his aggressiveness, he can over pursue at times. I’d also like to see him use his length more to his advantage to fend off blockers.
James Wiggins – Safety – Cincinnati
2020 stats (9 games): 32 tackles (25 solos), 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, 6 passes defended
As a Sophomore in 2018, Wiggins really made an impact for the Bearcat defense. He played in 13 games that year and produced 54 tackles (36 solos), two tackles for loss, four interceptions, and five passes defended. He also came up clutch in Cincinnati’s bowl game that year as he sealed the game with a late interception. Unfortunately, Wiggins tore his ACL right before the season in 2019 and missed the entire year. Wiggins worked his way back to have a solid 2020 campaign and was once again a key part to Cincinnati’s defense. There’s a lot to like with Wiggins’ versatility and athleticism making him one of the intriguing safeties in this year’s class.
Wiggins is an athletic, physical safety who is well built for the position. He shows excellent speed on tape with ability to close quickly when making a play on the ball. Wiggins is a versatile safety with the ability to play snaps in zone coverage, up in the box, and from the slot. He is more than willing to come up in run support and is also effective as a blitzer with his speed and aggressiveness. Wiggins has also produced some ball production with his four interceptions his Sophomore year and one interception and six passes defended this year.
JAMES WIGGINS WALKOFF
THE BEARCATS WIN IT IN DALLAS pic.twitter.com/sRNQkvdDpJ
— OhVarsity! (@OhVarsity) October 27, 2018
As I said earlier, Wiggins suffered a torn ACL and missed all of 2019. He also missed a few games at the end of this season due to an arm injury. So there is some injury concern with Wiggins missing considerable time over the past two seasons. Wiggins could also work on improving his tackling technique. There are reps where he could square up a little better and really drive through the ball carrier.
As I said previously, this incoming class is full of talent on both sides of the ball. With there being so much talent, there will certainly be value to be had in the later rounds of IDP rookie drafts. Try to keep an eye on the players mentioned in this article and follow where they land. They could end up being that IDP rookie you stash on your taxi squad and makes an impact down the road. Thanks for tuning in and bring on the draft!