Everyone is well aware of Isaiah Simmons, Patrick Queen, Jeremy Chinn and Chase Young. It is when you get deeper into the depths of your draft, or even post-draft, that you’ll need to make decisions about all those taxi squad slots. Who are you going to stash? Let’s take a look at my deep taxi squad rookie stashes for 2020, focusing this week on the defensive backs.
Late Round Taxi Squad Targets: Safeties
Ashtyn Davis, S, New York Jets: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 34.67
So, after the Jamal Adams trade, this may no longer qualify for being a taxi squad dumpster dive. Davis still has Bradley McDougald and Marcus Maye in front of him on the depth chart, but neither is Jamal Adams. The Jets can take 2020 patiently with Davis and let him learn from two veterans.
I will warn you, Ashtyn Davis is not Jamal Adams either. Does Davis have a good opportunity in front of him? Yes. Does that mean we can just plug Adams stats in for Davis? No. The Jets have done their best to make sure they never run out of linebackers again, like they did last season. However, they do not have much depth at safety, so if an injury occurs to Maye or McDougald, Davis should get his number called to action. As of July 28th, Davis is going around pick 80 in rookie drafts, but I would expect that number to climb in the coming weeks.
Brandon Jones, S, Miami Dolphins: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 42.33
Brandon Jones is probably my favorite player to grab late in drafts. He has two former cornerbacks ahead of him on the depth chart in Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain, and the only other threats to fill in are Adrian Colbert (who played for two different teams last season before coming to Miami) and Clayton Fejedelem.
I feel like I’m collecting a lot of Dolphins in these dumpster dives. However, Jones has a lot of the qualities I like in a safety – He projects to be an in-the-box safety, he’s a sure tackler and has good speed. He is currently being drafted around pick 82.7 in rookie drafts.
Texas safety Brandon Jones may have the highest ceiling of any defensive player in the Big 12
Currently, his best trait is easily his downhill pursuit and open-field tackling pic.twitter.com/OsQk4Rgh6k
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) August 22, 2018
Terrell Burgess, S, Los Angeles Rams: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 84.33
I don’t want to force John Johnson out of Los Angeles too quickly, but the Rams have a ton of money tied up into 2022. That’s the year that Johnson becomes a free agent. The Rams may not find safety to be a pressing need with the emergence of Taylor Rapp and having a replacement lined up and in the system for two years in Terrell Burgess. The Rams may have grabbed Burgess because of the injury to Johnson last season as a depth piece that they liked.
Burgess was drafted on day 2, but the only other depth pieces at safety on the Rams are all from later in the draft or were UFAs. He could get a chance in 2020 to play, but the long play is what we should be looking at for our taxi squads. Burgess is being drafted around pick 87.5 in rookie drafts.
K’Von Wallace, S, Philadelphia Eagles: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 38.67
Jalen Mills, Rodney McLeod, and Will Parks are what’s in front of K’Von Wallace getting on the field for Philadelphia. That said K’Von Wallace has been mentored by two Eagle secondary legends, Troy Vincent and Brian Dawkins. He interned with Troy Vincent at the NFL league offices and roomed with Brian Dawkins’ son at Clemson.
New Eagles safety K’Von Wallace said Troy Vincent and Brian Dawkins are mentors
Troy on K’Von
“Winner. He understands what is expected of him both on and off the field. Kvon embodies what a teammate is, he's unselfish and coachable. You WIN with character and dependable men” pic.twitter.com/z5yuCrJUXw
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) April 25, 2020
I’m not saying that knowing people is going to get you playing time, but Wallace could be a starter as soon as 2021 as Parks and Mills are free agents after this season. Wallace is currently being drafted, if at all, around pick 87.7.
— Kevin Boilard (@KevinBoilard) September 9, 2018
Antione Brooks, S, Pittsburgh Steelers: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 96.33
I was not the biggest proponent of Antione Brooks as a safety coming out of Maryland. I’m still not overly thrilled with his landing spot because Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. However, I am intrigued by the idea of Brooks playing a little in the box in nickel or dime situations.
As far as the depth chart goes he will compete with Marcus Allen for a probable roster spot and playing time behind the starters. Brooks is being drafted around pick 99 in rookie drafts if he is being selected at all.
Jaylinn Hawkins, S, Atlanta Falcons: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 82
This has more to do with Keanu Neal than Jaylinn Hawkins to be honest. Neal has lost the majority of his season two straight years. They did not do much besides drafting Hawkins to prepare for an injury situation again. Ricardo Allen and Damontae Kazee are still in town, but Kazee plays some cornerback as well.
Also, Neal and Kazee are free agents after this season and with the Falcons looking to cut back on spending this past season, I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t bring them back. They let De’Vondre Campbell and Vic Beasley go, and cut Desmond Trufant. Hawkins is currently not being drafted, but when he is it’s around pick 104.
Geno Stone, S, Baltimore Ravens: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 85
This one is the longshot out of the group. He has quite a bit of competition in front of him. He has another player in the system with higher draft capital, DeShon Elliott. Stone is a talented safety that is good in coverage. The Ravens don’t mind handing the keys over to unproven young players as Chuck Clark got the job last season and ran with it. If he were to get injured Stone could be the guy to take over. Stone isn’t being drafted much but is around pick 120 when he is drafted.
Late Round Taxi Squad Targets: Cornerbacks
A.J. Terrell, CB, Atlanta Falcons: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 58.67
Terrell is starting opposite Isaiah Oliver for the Falcons. He may not spend much time on your taxi squad. In fact, he’s a perfect target for my strategy for cornerbacks. He’s a starter, he’s untested, and Falcons tend to get themselves involved in shootouts often. He’s being drafted around pick 81.8 in drafts where he is selected.
I’ll never forget the AJ Terrell pick 6 …. pic.twitter.com/8k8rJ9yVIj
— ClemsonEditz (@ClemsonEditz_) March 17, 2019
Jaylon Johnson, CB, Chicago Bears: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 78.33
Johnson was a second-round pick and is not getting nearly the love in drafts that some other corners, like Trevon Diggs, are getting. Diggs has a similar role to Johnson as well, with established veterans in front of him on the depth chart and high draft capital. Johnson is barely being drafted but is around 94.5 when he is. Diggs is going around pick 76.5. Johnson is a value pick up.
Kristian Fulton, CB, Tennessee Titans: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 73
Fulton is one of my only corner targets in drafts this season. I can see Tennessee playing him right away either on the outside or in the departed Logan Ryan role. If he does take over Ryan’s role on the secondary it means tons of point opportunities. Fulton is a physical corner that doesn’t mind making contact, which I like in a corner. Fulton is another value pick going at around pick 98 if he’s selected at all.
Taxi Squad Conclusion:
Taxi squads are supposed to be used as a pipeline for your main roster. That being said, if it looks like a player is going nowhere, cut bait and try again next season to find some potential studs. If your taxi squad allows for 2-3 years, then you can afford to be patient with players. Here are the links to my other Taxi Squad Dumpster Dive articles in case you missed them.
A special “Thank You” to Darrell Winstead, “Hollywood,” for his rookie draft database that was used for the ADP rookie data.