General Admission - Week 16
by Dave Baker
December 19th, 2012

A look at week 15...

Many of you are now knee deep into the playoffs, and this makes it an appropriate time to review how the rookie IDPs have been doing since earlier this season. Let's revisit the rookie defensive tackles and cornerbacks...

DT Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles started off strong in the first two games and then tapered off for the next four games. After six games, Cox had 10-1 tackles and a sack. Fox was also ejected from a game for throwing a punch. Then came the bye week. Since then, Cox has not only been playing better, but he is now one of the highest scoring defensive tackles in IDP leagues...

In his last 10 games, Cox has 22-4 tackles (including seven tackles for a loss), 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. When defensive line coach Jim Washburn was fired a few weeks ago, some believed the change would hurt Cox. After all, it was a scheme seemingly tailor-made for Cox. The last two games are solid evidence that Cox can fit into any scheme...

The real issue with Cox will be if and/or when the team fires Andy Reid. Will they move to a 3-4 defensive scheme? If so, Cox would likely move to end. While he may play end exceedingly well, IDP owners will feel the pinch, as high scoring DEs in a 3-4 are uncommon. If Cox remains a DT in the future, consider him as a DT1. If not, stay tuned...

The Rams selected DT Michael Brockers with their 14th overall pick, but a high ankle sprain kept him out of the team's first three games. Even after his return, Brockers only had 0-2 tackles in the next three games. Once he was fully healed, though, Brockers has more than proven his draft status. In his last eight games, Brockers has 20-6 tackles (nine tackles for a loss), four sacks and a forced fumble. More importantly, he's providing the inside push that compliments the speed of their edge rushers...

While DT Dontari Poe, selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 11th overall pick, is playing nose tackle and thus less likely to be a high-performing IDP DT, he still has 23-9 tackles. Also, he seems to be playing his role better than some cynics expected. He's drawing double teams consistently, he generally dominates the opposing center and his technique seems improved. His stats have been better in the second half and he should be a starter for a long time. His IDP value as a DT? That remains minimal, but he should be rostered in all deep leagues and is a more than credible backup...

Mike Martin, drafted by the Tennessee Titans with their third round pick, had a solid start statistically despite coming off the bench. After seven games, he had 12-13 tackles and two sacks. Since then, however, Martin only has 6-2 tackles and zero sacks. With Jurrell Casey, Karl Klug and Sen'Derrick Marks in front of him, Martin has seen his playing time minimized...

Similar to Mike Martin, John Hughes is part of a crowded DT position for the Cleveland Browns. With Phil Taylor, Ahtyba Rubin and Billy Wynn in front of him, Hughes scrambles for playing time. He still has enough, though, to compile 17-15 tackles and three sacks for the season...

CB Janoris Jenkins remains the best rookie IDP corner, and indeed one of the best overall, with 57-9 tackles, three interceptions and 13 deflected passes. Two of his interceptions were returned for a touchdown, in the same game no less. And he returned one recovered fumble for a touchdown too. Apparent character issues allowed Jenkins to drop to the second round, but few doubted his abilities...

The other contender for the best rookie cornerback is Casey Hayward of the Green Bay Packers. His big play abilities were apparent from the start, as he had four interceptions and seven deflected passes in his first seven games. With Charles Woodson injured, Hayward's role has expanded and in the seven games since he has added 22-7 tackles along with two more interceptions and 12 more deflected passes...

The Buffalo Bills drafted Stephon Gilmore with the tenth overall pick in the draft. While his numbers have looked good all season long, as he currently has 46-9 tackles, three forced fumbles, 16 deflected passes and an interception, his start was marred by far too many mistakes. However, he has improved greatly, having not allowed a touchdown since the fifth week, and he has not given up more than 50 yards receiving for eight straight games, despite mostly covering the opposing team's best receiver...

With 51-21 tackles, fifth round draft choice Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers should not be ignored, although he was recently demoted to the second string. Josh Robinson of the Minnesota Vikings is another rookie with good stats, as he has 52-3 tackles and two interceptions and is currently starting. Other rookie CBs that have performed reasonably well include New England's Alfonzo Dennard (34 solo tackles and three interceptions in just ten games), Jacksonville's Mike Harris (43 solo tackles in a supporting role) and Tampa Bay's Leonard Johnson (28-5 tackles and three interceptions)...

The first CB drafted was Morris Claiborne, selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the sixth overall pick. While his play remains solid, and indeed many believe he is a future star in the NFL, his numbers are not what IDP owners look for, as he only has 30-10 tackles and one interception despite starting all year long. Another highly drafted CB, Dre Kirkpatrick of the Bengals, has not put up big numbers. An injury to his left knee kept him out for the first seven games and a concussions has kept him out the last two...

Until next week...

Please e-mail me with any comments or suggestions at baker@footballguys.com.

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