Filling your taxi squad with promising young talent in IDP dynasty leagues is a very important part of the game. Let’s take a look at three rookie safety stashes I think have upside and could be future producers for your squads.
With rookie drafts well underway and others yet to come, there’s plenty of buzz going around about this rookie IDP class. The top-tier prospects get most of the attention, but there are plenty of later-round prospects that deserve to be talked about as well. Filling your taxi squad with these late-round upside players can pay big dividends down the road if you’re patient. Below are three rookie safety stashes that you want to get to know in your IDP leagues:
Ashtyn Davis– New York Jets (6’1” 202lbs)
2019 Stats: 11 games, 55 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
The New York Jets selected Ashtyn Davis in the third round (68th overall) of this year’s draft. The first thing that sticks out when you watch Davis’ college film at Cal is his athleticism. Davis literally has sprinter speed as he was recruited to run track at Cal and was even the 2017 Pac 12 110-meter hurdles champion. In addition to his speed, Davis also has superb quickness and agility which aid him in coverage and blitzing when called upon.
Davis lined up all over the formation during his time at Cal. He played snaps deep, in the slot, and up in the box. While he is a versatile player, he does have some inconsistency with his instincts. This is mostly due to his inexperience and will improve when he gets on-field and mental reps with the Jets’ staff. Davis’ physicality as a tackler is another aspect of his game that’s notable. While he can be a bit reckless at times, he isn’t afraid to get downhill and bring the heat as a tackler. Had Davis been fully healthy for the NFL Combine, I truly believe he would have heard his name called earlier on day two of the draft.
Currently, the Jets currently have starters at both their safety positions, but that could be changing. Jamal Adams has been openly unhappy with the Jets organization and wants out. Also, Marcus Maye is in the final year of his rookie deal. If one or both move on, Davis will surely be called upon to help out. His ball skills and physicality give the Jets flexibility to use Davis in different spots within their scheme. Ashtyn Davis makes for a perfect rookie safety stash for your taxi squad in IDP leagues.
Brandon Jones– Miami Dolphins (5’11” 198lbs)
2019 Stats: 12 games, 86 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 4 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
Looking for help for their safety unit, Miami selected Texas safety Brandon Jones in the third round (70th overall) of this year’s draft. Jones had a career year in 2019 collecting a career-high 86 tackles and compiled a team-high 64 solo tackles. Jones is a physical, tough player with a motor that doesn’t stop. As a player that loves to come up and mix it up, Jones’ tackling ability and toughness aid him in being fantastic in run support.
As far as coverage goes, Jones does his best work in zone coverage where he can be free to flow and make plays. He will need to improve his man coverage ability at the next level, and I believe he has the ability to do so. Jones didn’t get to participate in the combine or Texas’ pro day due to surgery for a torn labrum. He recently said that he has used this time as an opportunity to hit the books and study all the different NFL teams and schemes.
Miami’s current starters at safety are Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain. They also brought in free agents Kayvon Frazier, Clayton Fejedelem as well as resigned veteran Adrian Colbert. Jones looks to start the year as a backup and much-needed safety depth. Looking at this Dolphins’ safety group, it certainly doesn’t have any big-time names. If the veterans struggle, Miami could look to see what they have in their rookie safety. Jones’ tenacity and stoutness in run support could bring some juice to the Miami defense. This potential opportunity makes Jones a rookie safety stash with plenty of upsides for your taxi squad.
Terrell Burgess– Los Angeles Rams (5’11” 202lbs)
2019 Stats: 14 games, 81 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 5 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries
The Rams selected Utah safety Terrell Burgess late in the third round (104th overall) in this year’s draft. After not seeing the field much in his first three seasons, Burgess showed up big time as a Senior for the Utah defense. Burgess is a high IQ player who has experience at both corner and safety. At the combine, Burgess showed off his speed running a solid 4.46 40-yard dash. Not only does he have good speed, but Burgess is very fluid in his lower half.
Burgess displays adequate ability in both man and zone coverage. While he’s solid in coverage, his ball skills are a little questionable as he doesn’t have much production in that area. Against the run game Burgess shows very good capability and willingness to come up and mix things up. His high motor is another trait that sticks out as he shows good effort chasing plays down downfield.
The Rams have already said they really like Burgess’ versatility he brings to the table. They have stated they envision Burgess playing both slot corner and safety. Versatility is important in the Rams scheme, their safeties are asked to be able to play all over the formations as we have seen with both John Johnson and Taylor Rapp. Burgess fits this mold as he is more than capable to play multiple roles and could find his way onto the field as a third safety in their nickel formation. Another thing to consider is John Jonson is in the last year of his rookie deal. Should the Rams decide to let him go in free agency Burgess could find himself a starting role in 2021. Burgess makes for an excellent rookie safety stash with a possible role in his future.
After the top tier safety group (McKinney, Chinn, Winfield, Delpit, Dugger), there is still value to be had in this year’s rookie safety class. All three of the safeties above are players I’m targeting once those top tier guys are gone. While their situations might not look as promising for the 2020 season, there is a path for future opportunities. When you combine their talent and potential future roles, it makes these guys rookie safeties you want on your taxi squad.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article, I hope you enjoyed and found it helpful. You can find my work here at idpguys.org and follow me on Twitter @KBellf54. I’m always available for any questions or feedback you may have and my DMs are always open.