The NFL draft is almost here! Let’s dive into some more IDP rookie sleepers to watch as we anxiously wait for the big day to arrive.
With the NFL draft only a few short weeks away, the anticipation is through the roof. As I said in my previous IDP rookie sleepers article, this defensive class looks to be a really nice group. I thought I’d highlight a few more of these talented IDP rookie prospects who could end up being contributors down the road. Without further ado, let’s talk some IDP rookies!
Tony Fields – LB – West Virginia
2020 Stats (9 games): 88 tackles (34 solos), 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception, 1 pass defended
Tony Fields started his career off at Arizona where he was a constant producer during his first three seasons. From 2017-2019 in Arizona, Fields compiled an impressive 287 tackles (181 solos), 17 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks. As a Senior, Fields transferred to West Virginia and the production didn’t stop. Fields led West Virginia in tackles with 88 (34 solos) and was a key leader on the Mountaineer defense. Everywhere Fields has played he’s been successful and he will get a chance to continue this trend in the NFL with his new team.
Fields is a fast, athletic linebacker who can cover some ground with his sideline to sideline range. After he makes his read, Fields shows good explosiveness getting downhill closing in a hurry. A player with plenty of experience under his belt, Fields is a high IQ player with solid instincts. With his ability to play in coverage and as a blitzer, Fields is a player who can be utilized on all three downs. Fields also displayed some craftiness working through traffic on tape. He does a nice job using his smaller size and agility to navigate the mess and track down ball carriers.
Not doing his evaluation, but as I said earlier Tony Fields II is constantly making plays. Nice job following the QB’s eyes and making the INT on this play. pic.twitter.com/vDzkFBTVfc
— Hollywood Dante (@DanteCollinelli) March 5, 2021
One of the knocks on Fields is his size. At 6’ tall and 222 pounds, Fields is on the smaller side for a linebacker. This may limit him to playing only on the weak-side as he might be a bit small to hold up in the middle. Although, the weak-side is his best fit as a run and chase style linebacker. Due to his smaller stature, Fields can struggle to disengage from blockers. When bigger offensive lineman get their hands on him he can struggle to get free and gets driven back out of the play.
Jamar Johnson – S – Indiana
2020 Stats (8 games): 42 tackles (32 solos), 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 4 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
Johnson had a quiet Freshman season at Indiana as he saw limited playing time. However, he did snag an interception and contribute on special teams. As a Sophomore, Johnson was more involved as he saw action in every game. He went on to tally 25 tackles (18 solos), four and a half tackles for loss, three sacks, and two interceptions that year. This year, as a Junior, Johnson really made some noise. He made impact plays as a tackler and against the pass producing four interceptions on the year. His fine play got some notice as he earned First Team All-Big 10 honors. Johnson has a knack for making big plays and could be a nice IDP option with the right fit.
At 6’2’’ and 205 pounds, Johnson has good size for the safety position. He displays good athleticism on tape and is a fluid mover with the ability to turn his hips and go. As far as coverage goes, Johnson is solid in both deep zone and man coverages. He shows good instincts/anticipation and has the skills to hold up in one and one situations. Johnson is also more than willing to come up and mix it up against the run game and can also be utilized a blitzer.
Scouting Indiana safety Jamar Johnson is so much fun! pic.twitter.com/ex52CjJYdN
— Jack Brentnall (@Jack_Brentnall) March 28, 2021
While Johnson is a willing tackler and eager to come up in run support, he can be over aggressive. There are plays where he comes flying up wildly and dives at the ball carrier which leads to missed tackles. I like to see him square up better and work on his technique in the open field.
Jay Tufele – IDL – USC
2019 Stats (opted out of 2020): 41 tackles (21 solos), 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks
It’s time to show some love to the big fellas and highlight a player who goes to work battling in the trenches. After taking a redshirt season in year one, Tufele entered the mix up front for USC as a Redshirt Freshman playing in every game and making five starts. His next season, as a Sophomore, is where he really made his presence felt. Tufele had his best statistical output that year (see stat line above) and earned a spot on the All-PAC 12 First Team. While Tufele opted out of the 2020 season, he certainly left his mark after a solid campaign in 2019 and had a good showing at USC’s pro day. If you play in defensive tackle required or premium IDP leagues, Tufele is a name to keep on your watch list.
Jay Tufele has the size (6’2’’ 305 pounds) and athleticism you look for on the interior. Tufele features a quick get-off out of his stance and displays good agility maneuvering inside. Not only is he athletic for a big man, but he also has a powerful set of mits in his arsenal. He uses his power to drive opposing lineman back and also has an effective swim move in his bag of tricks. Tufele also offers some nice versatility as he can be moved along the defensive front within different schemes.
Jay Tufele is a pretty good pass rusher guys pic.twitter.com/Xu0yPqttxU
— Zach (All-22 Addict) Gartin (@All22_Addict) December 18, 2020
One thing Tufele could work on is keeping his pad level more consistent. There are times he comes out of his stance a bit too high and can get stood up. This is more evident when he gets double teamed as he is a player who commands the offensive line’s attention. Tufele could also add some more pass rushing moves to his arsenal to pair with his swim move. This would only make him more of a problem for opponents to handle as he wreaks havoc from the interior.
Thanks again for tuning in for some IDP rookie talk and if you missed the first IDP rookie sleeper article you can view it here. The players featured in these articles are some names to keep in your pocket for draft day as we see where they land. Drafting those late round IDP rookie stashes is always fun and rewarding. Hopefully a few of these rookies hit that mark.