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#1 Jene Bramel

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:46 PM

These tiers will obviously change significantly between now and August. But it痴 never too early to take a stand and start sorting players into tiers.

I知 going to use this thread to update the defensive line tiers through the summer (they値l also be translated into my rankings starting in early May after the NFL Draft). Each update will have its own post in the thread, with later posts including a notation for changes from the previous version. I値l link the post to each version here to keep things (somewhat) organized.

For the purposes of the defensive line tiers, assume a league with 30-40 DL rostered, 20+ starting DL, a balanced scoring system (about 4:1 sack to tackle) and a relatively strong upside bias.

Discussion is welcome and encouraged.

Post Coaching Changes / Pre Free Agency
Version 1.0 (Post 2)

Post FA Wave 1 / Pre Draft
Version 2.0 (Post 40)

Post Draft / Pre Camp
Version 3.0 (Post 69)
Version 3.1 (Post 85)



#2 Jene Bramel

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:47 PM

Version 1.0

ELITE
Jason Pierre-Paul
Jared Allen
Trent Cole
Terrell Suggs
Justin Tuck
Julius Peppers

ELITE WITH RISK
Chris Long
Jason Babin
Osi Umenyiora
Cliff Avril
Elvis Dumervil
Charles Johnson
Jabaal Sheard

(UNSETTLED ELITES)
Cameron Wake
Mario Williams
Robert Mathis

DL2 / HIGH FLOOR
Calais Campbell
Adrian Clayborn
JJ Watt
Justin Smith
Chris Clemons
Will Smith
Andre Carter

DL2 / TOP 20 UPSIDE
Da’Quan Bowers
Robert Quinn
Carlos Dunlap
John Abraham
Jeremy Mincey
Derrick Morgan
Michael Johnson
Greg Hardy
Lamarr Houston
Ndamukong Suh (DT)
Brian Robison

DL3 / DEPTH WORTH ROSTERING
Ahtyba Rubin (DT)
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Israel Idonije
Haloti Ngata (DT)
Darnett Dockett (DT)
Ray Edwards

DL3 / UPSIDE WORTH ROSTERING
Lawrence Jackson
Brandon Graham
Cameron Jordan
Matt Shaughnessy
Marcell Dareus (DT)
Kroy Biermann

ROOKIES ON THE RADAR
Quinton Coples
Nick Perry
Courtney Upshaw
Melvin Ingram
Whitney Mercilus
Andre Branch
Vinny Curry
Cam Johnson
Chandler Jones
Malik Jackson
Billy Winn
Jared Crick
Shea McClellin
Jack Crawford
Jake Bequette
Tyrone Crawford
Trevor Guyton

Devon Still
Jerel Worthy
Brandon Thompson
Kendall Reyes
Michael Brockers
Josh Chapman
Fletcher Cox
Mike Martin
Dontari Poe
Alameda Ta’amu

#3 bucksoh

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:50 PM

Dwight Freeney not listed.

#4 5-ish Finkle

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 07:44 PM

No Geno Atkins? (I'm all for discussing DTs "parallel-esque", etc.)
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#5 Time Kibitzer

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:03 PM

Excellent stuff :thumbup:

#6 malteg

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 03:26 AM

The Ravens depth chart lists Suggs as OLB. Do we have to be afraid because of that?

#7 Jene Bramel

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 05:33 AM

Dwight Freeney not listed.

Freeney isn't in my top 50. His non-sack solo tackle numbers have always been among the worst in the league, the current offensive situation isn't likely to provide him many sack opportunities, his rush metrics have trended downward in recent seasons and the Colts are likely to install a hybrid defense that may not fit him well (or make him a situational player). He's got a big contract number for 2012 (FA in 2013) and there's a chance he could be released and catch on in a more favorable situation. For now, 25-14 is his ceiling (matchup DL2), with 20-8 a much more reasonable expectation (marginal matchup bye week depth).

#8 Jene Bramel

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 05:37 AM

No Geno Atkins? (I'm all for discussing DTs "parallel-esque", etc.)

Atkins is in a big group of players just outside the top 40-50 for me. His tackle numbers are limited by rotational usage and Cincinnati's assist-leaning stat crew. 6+ sacks is a tough plateau to hit every year. I love Atkins and he'd be a more likely hold in dynasty leagues with deeper rosters, but I'd rather have the flyer on a potential 40-8 defensive end in shallower leagues or as my redraft DL3. Other DTs that fit into that category: Kyle Williams, Phil Taylor, Jared Odrick, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Antonio Garay, Jurrell Casey, Corey Peters

#9 Jene Bramel

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 05:39 AM

The Ravens depth chart lists Suggs as OLB. Do we have to be afraid because of that?

The Baltimore defense isn't likely to change from what it's been in recent years. Unless your league software is prone to waffling in the offseason -- or Rotoworld changes its depth chart decisions -- I don't think Suggs' positional designation will change for 2012.

#10 Shane Falco

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 06:32 AM

Thanks Jene :thumbup:
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#11 Bronx Bomber

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 07:24 AM

Thanks Jene :thumbup:

Yes. Thank you for this. Is there any chance you will be separating DEs and DTs for those of us that have to specific DE and DT starting requirements? Same would be awesome for S and CB if you are planning on putting out a list for them.

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#12 tonato

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 03:51 PM

Everybody seeing Will Smith that high ?

#13 Penguin Bites

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 06:43 AM

So would you value the "Unsettled Elites" more than the DL2 (w/top 20 upside)? Assuming that's how to read that.... Thanks! Reason I ask is I have Mario Williams and trying to figure out whether or not to deal him for Quinn.

#14 cr8f

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 09:39 AM

Nice job but where do you have Phil Taylor?

#15 5-ish Finkle

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:23 AM

Nice job but where do you have Phil Taylor?

Jene answered that in post #8.
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#16 RushHour

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:13 AM

Is there anything more fun than owning JPP in dynasty? Dude is incredible.

#17 Tick

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:29 AM

Will Kampman play again?

#18 RavenLunatic

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:05 PM

I think unsettled Elites is just that... very unsettled. If Mario Williams ends us back as a LB then he wouldnt even be a DL2/Top 20 upside but a LB3 with LB2 upside. This is probably one of the screwiest parts of IDP. Great players get marginalized by the base set they play fron and how they get recognized by position. Top DBs are nearly worthless because no one throws at them, while horrible DBs on bad teams can rack up points because they consistently give up a reception and then tackle the receiver. Is this something that will ever get resolved? If so, any creative solutions to recognize the real value of top defenders?

#19 Jene Bramel

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:30 AM

So would you value the "Unsettled Elites" more than the DL2 (w/top 20 upside)? Assuming that's how to read that....

Not necessarily. It's possible that none of the three will be classified at DL in 2012. My guess is that all three will be, with Wake the most likely, but it's certainly possible that Houston brings Williams back and Robert Mathis gets classified as a LB despite playing the same role that Terrell Suggs has. If confirmed DL in a good role (Wake MIA 4-3 DE, Williams 4-3 DE, Mathis DE in Pagano true hybrid), they're more likely to land in the DL1 with risk than the DL2 with upside tier.

Will Kampman play again?

I think so. But I strongly doubt we'll see more than 500-600 snaps out of him and his days as an elite pass rusher are likely over.

#20 Jene Bramel

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:37 AM

I think unsettled Elites is just that... very unsettled. If Mario Williams ends us back as a LB then he wouldnt even be a DL2/Top 20 upside but a LB3 with LB2 upside.

This is probably one of the screwiest parts of IDP.

Great players get marginalized by the base set they play fron and how they get recognized by position. Top DBs are nearly worthless because no one throws at them, while horrible DBs on bad teams can rack up points because they consistently give up a reception and then tackle the receiver.

Is this something that will ever get resolved? If so, any creative solutions to recognize the real value of top defenders?

There are ways to tweak a scoring system to give almost any defensive player value. I'm not sure there's a statistical way to value a CB that doesn't get thrown at often enough to run up PD/INT numbers, however. Even the most diehard fantasy player willing to use advanced metrics would have trouble with targets against, yards allowed per attempt, success rate, etc.

#21 houndirish

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:23 AM

Great stuff Jene ... for us dynasty leaguers that have to make roster decisions in February for the 2012 season, this is a great reference. Any chance Aldon Smith gets classified as a D-Lineman?
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#22 Jene Bramel

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Any chance Aldon Smith gets classified as a D-Lineman?

No chance.

#23 Mr. Peterson

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 05:31 PM

Do you think D. Morgan gets healthy and produces? And do you think Dunlop bounces back? Will he be a 3 down starter?

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#24 Jene Bramel

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:00 AM

Do you think D. Morgan gets healthy and produces? And do you think Dunlop bounces back? Will he be a 3 down starter?

I'm biased toward all-around 4-3 end prospects. Morgan projected to play the run and rush the passer well and he's flashed when healthy. But the rotation the Titans like to use limits his upside and I think the off-and-on knee issues last year after he recovered from the ACL limited him, too. If he looks healthy in the preseason and looks likely to get a larger rotational role, then I think he can be a 40-8 player. Dunlap, pre-hamstring injury, was fine last year. He had the highest per snap pressure metrics in the league. That's skewed a bit because he played the vast majority of snaps in passing situations, but still notable. His issues are durability and the lack of snaps he's sees against the run. The coaching staff will have a full offseason to work with him this year, though, and hopefully both issues fade over the next two seasons. But it's hard to project him into the upper tiers without clear evidence that he can get 650-700+ snaps.

#25 HPD

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 07:49 AM

I love your IDP Tiers Jene, they've helped me tremendously while drafting! :thumbup: Do you think Edwards and Biermann get a bump if Abraham does indeed walk (which seems likely, right?)

#26 Jene Bramel

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 08:35 AM

Do you think Edwards and Biermann get a bump if Abraham does indeed walk (which seems likely, right?)

Biermann is a free agent, too, but I'd give him a bump if he re-signed with the expectation that he'll get more snaps. I still think Edwards has some upside, but he looked bigger last year and the knee problems are a big concern. A free agent from outside the current roster or the draft might bring a better IDP prospect. Still three weeks from the start of free agency. Looking forward to seeing how many of these issues shake out.

#27 eaglezzz

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 01:51 PM

I am interested in seeing how Carlos Dunlap response to last years tough year. I still rank him higher then most.

#28 netnalp

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:01 PM

SI_JimTrotter (Beat Writer / Columnist) "if rumors are true that the Giants have interest in vet pass rusher John Abraham, one word: SCARY. two words: EXTREMELY SCARY."

#29 Phorts

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 07:08 PM

Thanks Jene once again. One question I have is, Tucks value seems to be dropping... Injury and JPPs emergence. Are there simply not enough stats to go around for that D line and what if they add another like Abraham? I have Tuck and Peppers and need to cut one. Thanks!

#30 Jene Bramel

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:30 AM

Thanks Jene once again. One question I have is, Tucks value seems to be dropping... Injury and JPPs emergence. Are there simply not enough stats to go around for that D line and what if they add another like Abraham? I have Tuck and Peppers and need to cut one. Thanks!

I think there's reason for concern with Tuck. I don't like leg muscle strains in defensive ends as they make me (right or wrong) concerned about conditioning, wear-and-tear, etc. And the neck problem should worry us, too. But I'm not yet so worried that I think Tuck should be red flagged out of the elite tier altogether. If Tuck is healthy and gets a reasonable snap count, his numbers should be fine. There's always room for multiple pass rushers to run up stats on a solid offensive team and Tuck has never been a one-dimensional player. A healthy Tuck will be a big tackle producer, too.

#31 Penguin Bites

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:08 PM

If Mario Williams signs with Buffalo does he instantly become one of the top couple DE's? Thanks!

#32 Jene Bramel

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:42 AM

If Mario Williams signs with Buffalo does he instantly become one of the top couple DE's? Thanks!

I'd have him in the elite group, I think. Somewhere in the Tuck/Peppers range.

#33 Duke1948

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

If Mario Williams signs with Buffalo does he instantly become one of the top couple DE's? Thanks!

I'd have him in the elite group, I think. Somewhere in the Tuck/Peppers range.

I would think he'll be moved back to DE in that they will play a 4-3....not counting the injury last year was just a waste with him at LB.

#34 pretender

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 01:14 PM

Thoughts on Mark Anderson as Mario's bookend? Also if you could have Jeremy Mincey or Mark Anderson....which would you rather have? Or would you draft a DE out of this class....?? TIA
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#35 BigSteelThrill

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 04:16 AM

If Mario Williams signs with Buffalo does he instantly become one of the top couple DE's? Thanks!

I'd have him in the elite group, I think. Somewhere in the Tuck/Peppers range.

I would think he'll be moved back to DE in that they will play a 4-3....not counting the injury last year was just a waste with him at LB.

He still managed 5 sacks in just under 5 games played.

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#36 Jene Bramel

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:46 PM

Thoughts on Mark Anderson as Mario's bookend? Also if you could have Jeremy Mincey or Mark Anderson....which would you rather have? Or would you draft a DE out of this class....?? TIA

Chan Gailey strongly suggested that Anderson could be more than a subpackage player last week. I'm not sure I buy it. We've seen how Anderson performed in a similar role in Chicago some years ago and it didn't go well. It's possible we're seeing yet another late bloomer, but I'd be wary of projecting Anderson's part time stats to an 800-900 snap season. A new set of tiers is on its way soon, but I'm guessing I'll slot Anderson as a high upside, high variance DL2. A Chris Clemons type if things go well.

#37 Packerz

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 05:09 PM

What are your thoughts on Jason Jones in Sea?

#38 Mr. Peterson

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:32 PM

Wondering about Kamerion Wimbley. Do you think the Titans play him exclusively at DE? Where would you project him if he gets the MFL DE designation?

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#39 Jene Bramel

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 06:44 PM

What are your thoughts on Jason Jones in Sea?

Until he proves more durable and consistent, he's a marginal DT2 with upside.

Wondering about Kamerion Wimbley. Do you think the Titans play him exclusively at DE? Where would you project him if he gets the MFL DE designation?

Wimbley will be a full time DE and his positional designation is almost certain to change on MFL. He'll be in the swing upside group between the elite DE and the safe DE2 group I think.

#40 Jene Bramel

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 09:17 AM

Version 2.0

ELITE
Jason Pierre-Paul
Jared Allen
Trent Cole
Terrell Suggs
Mario Williams ++
Julius Peppers
Justin Tuck

NEAR ELITE
Chris Long
Jason Babin
Osi Umenyiora
Elvis Dumervil
Charles Johnson
Jabaal Sheard
Cameron Wake +

ELITE DL2 / TOP 12 UPSIDE
Cliff Avril -
Kamerion Wimbley +
Chris Clemons
Calais Campbell
JJ Watt
Mark Anderson +++
Justin Smith

DL3 W/ TOP 20 UPSIDE
Jeremy Mincey
Robert Quinn
Carlos Dunlap
Adrian Clayborn
Derrick Morgan
John Abraham
Haloti Ngata (DT)
Da'Quan Bowers
Ndamukong Suh
(Andre Carter) -
Matt Shaughnessy
Michael Johnson
Greg Hardy
Marcell Dareus (DT)
Ahtyba Rubin (DT)

DL3 PREFERRED DEPTH
Darnell Dockett
Will Smith -
Frostee Rucker ++
Lamarr Houston
Israel Idonije

DL4 TO CONSIDER
Brian Robison -
Cory Redding +
Geno Atkins (DT)
Kyle Williams (DT)
Lawrence Jackson
Brandon Graham
Kyle Vanden Bosch -
Ray Edwards -
Phil Taylor (DT)
Sione Pouha (DT)
Ray McDonald
Cameron Jordan
Richard Seymour (DT)
Gerald McCoy (DT)
Jonathan Fanene +
Vince Wilfork (DT)

DEEP DL4 / INJURY SPEED DIAL
Kroy Biermann --
Willie Young
Corey Wootton
John Chick/Austen Lane

ROOKIES ON THE RADAR
Quinton Coples
Melvin Ingram
Nick Perry
Courtney Upshaw
Whitney Mercilus
Andre Branch
Vinny Curry
Cam Johnson
Chandler Jones
Malik Jackson
Billy Winn
Jared Crick
Shea McClellin
Jack Crawford
Jake Bequette
Tyrone Crawford
Trevor Guyton

Fletcher Cox
Devon Still
Jerel Worthy
Kendall Reyes
Michael Brockers
Dontari Poe
Brandon Thompson
Mike Martin
Josh Chapman
Alameda Ta’amu

#41 tones

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 12:52 PM

Are those rookies in an pre-draft order at this point? Or somewhat at the top and then scattered?

#42 Tick

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 05:26 PM

Where does Robert Mathis fall on your list, Jene?

#43 JAM

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 05:53 PM

Where does Robert Mathis fall on your list, Jene?

Tick, I'm no Jene Bramel, but the current plan is for Mathis to play strong-side OLB, so if he maintains DL eligibility he could be a gem, however if your league's positional designation is tied to Rotoworld he will probably listed as LB.

Edited by JAM, 27 March 2012 - 05:54 PM.


#44 Tick

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:54 PM

Where does Robert Mathis fall on your list, Jene?

Tick, I'm no Jene Bramel, but the current plan is for Mathis to play strong-side OLB, so if he maintains DL eligibility he could be a gem, however if your league's positional designation is tied to Rotoworld he will probably listed as LB.

Oof, I hadn't caught that. If they're running a multiple-front, will he be a DE when they go 4-3? Where does Jerry Hughes fit in?

#45 Goyal the Goodfella

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 08:05 PM

I was hoping that Mathis would play the role of T. Suggs in Pagano's defense. I have a hard time believing that they would sign him to a fairly lucrative new deal if they were planning to move him to OLB, when there is no evidence that he can successfully make that transition.

#46 buck56

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 04:29 AM

I was hoping that Mathis would play the role of T. Suggs in Pagano's defense. I have a hard time believing that they would sign him to a fairly lucrative new deal if they were planning to move him to OLB, when there is no evidence that he can successfully make that transition.

That is the plan, and everything ive read says that his position will be changed to LB. It shouldnt be so hard to believe? Things like this happen every year. Would you have ever guessed that Super Mario would be switched to LB last year? If it can happen to a top tier DE, it can happen to anyone.

#47 Goyal the Goodfella

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:39 AM

Yes, new players switch b/w DE to OLB in new schemes all the time (Kampmann, Williams). The difference here is that they resigned Mathis after the new regime was in place, to a pretty substantial contract. I don't recall this happening before,

#48 Jene Bramel

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

Are those rookies in an pre-draft order at this point? Or somewhat at the top and then scattered?

They're loosely grouped. I'll be posting pre-draft rankings and comparisons in mid-April.

Where does Robert Mathis fall on your list, Jene?

Mathis has said that Pagano wants him to play a Jarret Johnson type role in Indy. I was hoping to consider him a Suggs-like DE, but with Freeney still a Colt that seems very unlikely. Mathis would probably be at the bottom in the near elite tier if you believe your league management software might keep him at LB. I doubt that happens with MFL, which is my default for these tiers.

#49 Jene Bramel

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 08:00 AM

I have a hard time believing that they would sign him to a fairly lucrative new deal if they were planning to move him to OLB, when there is no evidence that he can successfully make that transition.

Both sides knew exactly what role Mathis was to play in the new defense before agreeing to the deal. Mathis, though undersized for most 4-3 defensive end responsibilities, has been better than you might expect on the strong side. I think he'll hold up well enough defending the run, especially if the Colts get good play from their LDE. Mathis is athletic enough to drop into coverage, but was hardly ever asked to do so in Indy's previous scheme. If he's not effective in that role, Pagano will have to scheme ways to compensate on early downs.

#50 matttyl

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:44 AM

My league allows you to keep a player at their original position after they change positions. As such, I still have Kiwi as a DL even though he's playing SLB. He was a top 10 "DL" last year, do you expect that to continue, and do you think Mathis could be a similar "loophole" player?




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