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Post-Draft Winners and Losers for IDP
Which defensive players were helped and hurt by their team's moves?
The NFL Draft signals the end of the league’s “lying season.” With their money in free agency and their draft capital, each team’s decision-makers have clearly shown us what they think of their roster heading into 2023 (both the good and the bad).
Those moves have a ripple effect on our beloved IDPs: some have lost value in the weeks since the draft and some have gained value. We discussed these players with Scott Bogman on a recent episode of our podcast (you can hear Scott’s picks here). That’s not to say these players will have top-12 seasons or be total busts for IDP.
This is simply a check on the IDP stock market to see how things have changed. Let’s kick things off with the winners, and to get us started, we head to Los Angeles.
Ernest Jones, LB, Rams
Bobby Wagner is gone and took with him his team-leading 1,079 snaps (99%), 140 tackles, and 6 sacks. This Los Angeles defense is depleted: apart from Aaron Donald and Jones, the majority of guys who started last year are gone and McVay/Snead did next to nothing to replace them. Jones now finds himself as a veteran presence in the middle of the field, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he’s rocking the green dot for 2023, which in that LA defense means at least a 95% snap share.
Brian Asamoah, LB, Vikings
Asamoah was used sparingly in his rookie season, seeing just 119 total snaps. He didn’t see 20+ snaps until Week 15, but in that limited opportunity, he was great. Eric Kendricks and his 1,094 snaps (94%) have left for the Chargers, taking with him 137 total tackles and 8 TFLs. Yes, Jordan Hicks is still there, but he was benched in favor of Asamoah late in the season. What did the Vikings do in the draft to address Kendricks’ departure? Nothing. They picked up veteran Troy Reeder and rookie Ivan Pace Jr. as a UDFA, but if he makes the team, he’ll be playing special teams.
David Ojabo, EDGE, Ravens
Fantasy football requires an element of projection and that’s what we’re doing with 2nd-year pro, David Ojabo. In his final year with the Michigan Wolverines, Ojabo had an 87.9 pass rush grade, with 43 pressures, 11 sacks, and 7 QB hits. Ojabo only properly played in 1 game in 2022 in Week 18 vs. the Bengals, and he recorded 1 sack on 1 pressure on 16 pass-rush snaps. Remember, this is what the Ravens do: they draft for need a year ahead of time. Given the draft capital (45th overall), strong profile, and lack of competition, Ojabo projects well in 2023.
James Houston, EDGE, Lions
Once Houston got on the field in Week 12, he was a revelation for a lackluster Detroit defense. The 6th-round pick out of Jackson State had 8 sacks in 7 games, while only playing 30+ snaps in just his last 2 games (Weeks 17-18). Is he a prime regression candidate? Absolutely. But he’s also in line for a larger workload given that all of Detroit’s additions were at positions besides the defensive line: CJ Gardner-Johnson, Emmanuel Mosley, Cameron Sutton, Jack Campbell, Brian Branch, and Tracy Walker, who’s returning from injury. This bodes well for whoever is opposite Aidan Hutchinson. Even if he comes back to Earth, Houston is a winner post-draft.
BONUS: Seattle’s Defense
The Seahawks added Devon Witherspoon, Julian Love, Dre’Mont Jones, Derick Hall, Jarran Reed, and Bobby Wagner. Boye Mafe is in Year 2 and the team expects to have Jamal Adams at some point this season, if not for Week 1. Jordyn Brooks is probably out for most of the season (at least until Halloween we’re estimating) but they at least tried to address that with Devin Bush rather than leaving the LB2 slot vacant.
Patrick Queen, LB, Ravens
This is all about what’s happened since Queen had his best season to date in 2022, finishing as LB10 and earning career-best PFF grades. First, Baltimore invested $100 million into Roquan Smith after trading for him, so it’s likely Queen isn’t getting paid there. Then they drafted Trenton Simpson, and right afterward, declined Queen’s 5th-year option. For 2023, Queen should be fine. The Simpson move is with an eye toward 2024 when Queen hits free agency. Queen should land on his feet when that happens, but these moves have introduced some uncertainty into the mix.
Trey Hendrickson, EDGE, Bengals
Hendrickson saw a huge dip in production in the 2022 season, and while there are several factors that go into each draft pick, we’d be silly to ignore the fact that Cincinnati drafted Myles Murphy in the 1st round right after that dip. Especially when Hendrickson’s dead cap hit drops from $8 million this year to $2.5 million next year, creating $15 million in savings in a year where they’re going to need that money for Burrow and Higgins’ extensions. Much like Queen, uncertainty is not a good thing for Hendrickson’s dynasty outlook, especially at age 29 in 2024. What happens in 2023 will largely impact what Hendrickson’s future looks like beyond Cincy, but if we had to bet, we’d say his best days for IDP are behind him at this point.
Kerby Joseph, S, Lions
For as much as Detroit’s offseason additions (or lack thereof) helped James Houston, it hurt Kerby Joseph. The secondary, which was a major weakness in 2022, has been completely overhauled. Could Joseph win out against newcomers Gardner-Johnson and Branch, not to mention Walker, the incumbent starter who’s returning from injury? Sure, it’s entirely possible. But it’s a mess to figure out and the team is clearly trying to tell us something about the existing DB options. We’d be wise to listen.
Milton Williams, DT, Eagles
With the departures of Linval Joseph, Ndamukong Suh, and Javon Hargrave, the door was open for Williams to make a splash beside the aging Fletcher Cox and space eater Jordan Davis. That optimism lasted right up until the team traded up to take all-world talent, Jalen Carter, at 9th overall. If Carter can keep his nose clean in the NFL, Williams likely resumes a rotational role in 2023. He could be a spot starter during bye weeks but the beautiful dream we had for him is sadly dead.
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As the offseason goes along, other players will gain and lose value as injuries, trades, and cuts happen. We’ll keep you posted as news breaks and we get reports out of training camp and the preseason. Who do you think lost value post-draft?
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