Once you get to the depths of your draft or even post-draft you have all these taxi squad spots (at least you should have taxi squads if you’re playing dynasty). Who are you going to stash? Let’s take a look at my deep taxi squad rookie stashes for 2020. This week we’ll look at the defensive line.
Late Round Taxi Squad Targets: Defensive Ends
Bradley Anae, DE, Dallas Cowboys: Current IDP Guys Consensus Rookie Rank: 37
Anae was drafted a lot later than I thought he would go. I think this is the case of the Cowboys letting the draft come to them and getting great value as they did throughout the draft. Anae impressed at the Senior Bowl, which led a lot of draft IDP guys to believe he would be a day two pick. He had 13 sacks in his senior season and 29.5 over his college career.
Dallas lacks depth behind Demarcus Lawrence as Tyrone Crawford is the incumbent starter with Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson, Aldon Smith, and Randy Gregory (if reinstated) supplying the majority of the competition there. Two of these guys haven’t seen an NFL field in a while due to off the field issues, and the other two are unproven day three picks. Anae has been a target of mine in the 5th-7th rounds and is going right around pick 80 in IDP rookie drafts.
Curtis Weaver, DE, Miami Dolphins: Current IDP Guys Rookie Rank: 48.67
The Miami Dolphins have done a good job of overhauling their defensive group this offseason. Bringing in some players from New England has helped build Brian Flores’ vision for the future in Miami. Curtis Weaver went a few picks before Anae, but drafters seem to be a little unsure of Weaver. One reason is a possible OLB tag on sites that don’t use EDGE or multiple position designations.
Additionally, the Dolphins brought in Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah to take over the starting jobs at defensive end. Weaver had two double-digit sack seasons in college and his sophomore campaign he barely missed with 9.5 sacks. He is a good stash for when the Dolphins figure out that Lawson and Ogbah aren’t DE1 caliber players. Weaver is currency going around pick 89 in IDP rookie drafts.
Kenny Willekes, DE, Minnesota Vikings: Current IDP Guys Rookie Rank: 62.33
Willekes at one point was considered a 1st round prospect. His athletic profile hurt him in the draft process, but check out the video below for his response to that.
"Not athletic, below-average athleticism for edge rusher"
"Physical tools don't jump off the page"
"Isn't a good athlete"
"Has pedestrian physical gifts”
Shhhh Just watch… pic.twitter.com/LpvLpzBu9C
— Kendrick (@kennyw97) March 26, 2020
As you can see his profile numbers don’t necessarily mean everything. He will have an opportunity to get meaningful snaps as Minnesota doesn’t have much depth at defensive end. Danielle Hunter, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Anthony Zettel, Eddie Yarborough, and fellow rookie D.J. Wonnum are his competitors for snaps this season. The only thing that could hamper his bid for playing time is if the Vikings decide to bring back Everson Griffen, who is currently a free agent. Willekes in college had 23.5 sacks in the three seasons he saw meaningful playing time. He is currently going at pick 108.5 in IDP rookie drafts.
Jason Strowbridge, DE, Miami Dolphins: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 50
Strowbridge, like Weaver, could benefit from getting opportunities to overtake the veterans that were brought in this season. Strowbridge may play a little more on the interior line than Weaver. Like Weaver, Strowbridge was drafted in the 5th round and there are roadblocks in the way to meaningful playing time, but year one probably isn’t what this article is about anyway so he’s worth the stash. I expect Strowbridge to be more of a run stopper than pass rusher as he only had 10.5 sacks over his college career. If he gets moved to a defensive tackle spot he may be more worth the stash. He’s my least likely to hit out of these five players but worth the shot. He’s being drafted around pick 81 in rookie drafts.
Derrek Tuszka, DE, Denver Broncos: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 99
Tuszka was a 7th round pick from the FBS powerhouse North Dakota State. He had 15 sacks in his redshirt senior season and was among the leaders in pressure rate based on the number of pass-rush attempts. He will more than likely play an interior line role with the Broncos but could see some snaps as an outside pass rusher. The path to snaps is unclear as on the outside there are two big roadblocks in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
Additionally, on the interior line, newly acquired Jurrell Casey along with Shelby Harris, Dre’Mont Jones, and DeMarcus Walker will all need to find a piece of the snap pie. So, 2020 may not be Tuszka’s year to make an impact, but as a taxi squad stash, you could do worse. He is currently not being drafted in rookie drafts except as a 7th rounder in a few that I’ve seen and would be a good stash.
Late Round Taxi Squad Targets: Defensive Tackles
Justin Madubuike, DT, Baltimore Ravens: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 71.33
Madubuike was a fast riser up boards around the draft due to his performance at the combine. He lands on a very good Baltimore defensive line that brought in Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe. Their prime motivation was stopping Derrick Henry who almost single-handedly defeated the Ravens in the playoffs with the Tennessee rushing attack.
Madubuike was taken in the third round. He could rotate in along the front line with Campbell, Wolfe, Brandon Williams, and a couple of recent draft picks Daylon Mack and 2020 fellow pick Broderick Washington Jr. Veterans Jihad Ward and Justin Ellis may not make the team, but could also compete for snaps if they are active. Madubuike is being drafted around 82.8 in recent rookie drafts.
Raekwon Davis, DT, Miami Dolphins: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 73
I know, another Dolphin? Well, this shows how well the Dolphins stocked their defensive cupboard this offseason. Davis checks a lot of my boxes. High draft capital, decent sack numbers in his career (sophomore season), and played at Alabama. While playing at Alabama isn’t a guarantee that Davis is going to be good. I think with the talent on that line of Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins, Davis could make an impact in the next few seasons. Davis is currently being drafted around pick 91.3 in rookie drafts.
Neville Gallimore, DT, Dallas Cowboys: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 72.33
Dallas tried again at the defensive tackle well when they drafted Gallimore in the 3rd round. Last year’s 2nd round pick Trysten Hill didn’t quite live up to expectations right away for the Cowboys but should get an opportunity along with Gallimore. Both are athletic defensive tackles that have high draft capital and two aging veterans in front of them. Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe are currently the starters but will offer good mentorship for the two youngsters. However, they probably can’t play the type of snaps they played when they were younger. McCoy at his peak was well above 900 snaps a year. Last season he still played quite a bit for the Buccaneers, but about 200 less. Poe at his peak reached 1,000 snaps but only played around 400 for the Panthers last season. You can expect Gallimore to be drafted around pick 99.7 in rookie drafts.
Jordan Elliott, DT, Cleveland Browns: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 104.33
Elliott has been overlooked in rookie drafts, but he was a third-round pick by the Browns. Yes, they have Larry Ogunjobi and Sheldon Richardson. Elliott should be in the mix for rotation snaps with Andrew Billings. Although Elliott didn’t have a ton of college sacks he collected tackles and tackles for loss. He has only been drafted in a few rookie drafts and is at an average of 86.7 in the few he has been taken in.
Bravvion Roy, DT, Carolina Panthers: Current IDP Guys Rookie Ranking: 125
Roy is a player that his coach knows very well as Matt Rhule was his coach at Baylor. Rhule drafted zero offensive players this past draft. Also, if he didn’t believe Roy could play he may have gone a different direction. The Panthers obviously believe in Derrick Brown taking him at pick 7 overall. Also, Kawann Short is still there in Carolina and they will be the starters.
Ideally, Roy could be one of the backups at the position. He may not see any immediate snaps. When Short moves on, Roy could be a guy who steps up and provides meaningful snaps. He had 6 sacks and 30 hurries last college season and will look to bring some of that to the pros. Roy isn’t currently being drafted in rookie drafts. He can be added as a waiver add if your league allows post-draft waiver adds to go onto your taxi squad.
A special “Thank You” to Darrell Winstead, “Hollywood,” for his rookie draft database that was used for the ADP rookie data.