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Jene Bramel

DB Tiers

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DB Tiers

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

I’m going to use this thread to update the defensive line tiers through the summer (they’ll 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’ll link the post to each version here to keep things (somewhat) organized.

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

Discussion is welcome and encouraged.

SPECIAL DB NOTES :P

My DB strategy (and tiers) is built around the following:

***Plan to hold only the very highest ceiling players on your roster.

***Keep a running list of situations and backup talents that may a high ceiling player.

***Don’t sweat the long, long list of DB2/DB3 guys. Cycle until/unless one of them emerges as a high ceiling player.

***Don’t hesitate to move on from a high ceiling player if there’s good evidence they’ve fallen out of the tier.

The top tier (elite) includes just a handful of players I feel are high ceiling, high floor potentials. I’ll then have a sizable list of guys I’m willing to cycle (DB2 rosterable), with another small handful broken out as the highest upside players of that group (DB1 upside). Finally, I have a list of talents/situations on the backburner (deep developmental only) and I’ll move on those players without waiting for a trend to emerge.

For the purposes of this thread, I’ll also put a longer list of DB2/DB3 guys that I consider just above replacement level, but I think of this group like an electron cloud. There’s an extremely large area that could hold a DB, but the exact number and slot for these DBs will look different whenever you decide to take a snapshot of their position. I’d be waiting for a trend to emerge or a perfect matchup before considering these guys roster holds.

The players in the first three tiers – elite, DB1 upside, every week DB2 upside – are loosely ranked within their tiers. The electron cloud and developmental prospects are not.

I’m also going to break this thread up into S and CB lists, but use the same tiers. Hopefully, that won’t get too confusing.

Post Coaching Changes / Pre Free Agency

Version 1.0 – SF (Post 2)

Post Draft / Pre Camp

Version 2.0 (Post 50)

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Version 1.0 – SAFETIES

ELITE

Tyvon Branch

George Wilson

Roman Harper

Eric Weddle

DB1 UPSIDE

Eric Berry

Kam Chancellor

Patrick Chung

Bernard Pollard

Yeremiah Bell

Troy Polamalu

LaRon Landry

EVERY WEEK DB2 UPSIDE

Antoine Bethea

Quintin Mikell

Darian Stewart

Morgan Burnett

TJ Ward

DeJon Gomes

Jaiquawn Jarrett

Earl Thomas

Quinton Carter

DB3 ELECTRON CLOUD

Jairus Byrd

Reggie Nelson

Danieal Manning

Dawan Landry

Chris Prosinski

James Ihedigbo

Eric Smith

Michael Huff

Ryan Clark

Michael Griffin

Adrian Wilson

Kerry Rhodes

William Moore

Charles Godfrey

Louis Delmas

Amari Spievey

Nick Collins

Malcolm Jenkins

Kenny Phillips

Antrel Rolle

Donte Whitner

Da'Shon Goldson

Tanard Jackson

Sean Jones

DEEP DEVELOPMENTAL ONLY

Da’Norris Searcy

Taylor Mays

Robert Sands

Jermale Hines

Darrell Stuckey

Chad Jones

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Mark Barron

Brandon Taylor

Antonio Smith

Harrison Smith

Markelle Martin

George Iloka

Tony Dye

Trenton Robinson

Christian Thompson

Aaron Henry

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Good stuff.

Thanks.

Wilson a bit of a surprise.

:tumbleweed:

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Is Gomes really that valuable? Didn't he start in place of Landry?

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I've always considered Roman Harper's DB1 status to be directly correlated to his role in Gregg Williams' defense. You must not think his production will suffer much (if any) with the addition of Spagnuolo?

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Is Gomes really that valuable? Didn't he start in place of Landry?

Agree, not sure I get the ranking either. Assuming the release Atogwe as well?

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Thanks Jene!

Here is my Dynasty Safety list I put together yesterday. http://dynastyfootballrankings.blogspot.com/

01. LaRon Landry

02. Eric Berry

03. Patrick Chung

04. Tyvon Branch

05. Eric Weddle

06. Roman Harper

07. Bernard Pollard

08. George Wilson

09. Yeremiah Bell

10. Dawan Landry

11. Morgan Burnett

12. Troy Polamalu

13. Kam Chancellor

14. Antoine Bethea

15. Quinton Carter

16. T.J. Ward

17. Kenny Phillips

18. Jaiquawn Jarrett

19. Dashon Goldson

20. Adrian Wilson

21. Nick Collins

22. Earl Thomas

23. Quintin Mikell

24. Antrel Rolle

25. Charles Godfrey

26. Ed Reed

27. Oshiomogho Atogwe

28. Louis Delmas

29. Jairus Byrd

30. Michael Griffin

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Thanks Jene!

Here is my Dynasty Safety list I put together yesterday. http://dynastyfootballrankings.blogspot.com/

01. LaRon Landry

02. Eric Berry

03. Patrick Chung

04. Tyvon Branch

05. Eric Weddle

06. Roman Harper

07. Bernard Pollard

08. George Wilson

09. Yeremiah Bell

10. Dawan Landry

11. Morgan Burnett

12. Troy Polamalu

13. Kam Chancellor

14. Antoine Bethea

15. Quinton Carter

16. T.J. Ward

17. Kenny Phillips

18. Jaiquawn Jarrett

19. Dashon Goldson

20. Adrian Wilson

21. Nick Collins

22. Earl Thomas

23. Quintin Mikell

24. Antrel Rolle

25. Charles Godfrey

26. Ed Reed

27. Oshiomogho Atogwe

28. Louis Delmas

29. Jairus Byrd

30. Michael Griffin

What are your thoughts on Michael Huff? I see he's not on this list. Do you think his value is better as a CB or as a Safety (are there any talks of him moving to safety? I heard there were when Jackson was still HC). I'd like to here your thoughts as well Jene.

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Is Gomes really that valuable? Didn't he start in place of Landry?

Shanahan never truly stuck with a single safety rotation -- due to injury, evaluation considerations, his own flight of ideas -- but Gomes seemed to force himself into the conversation often over the second half. In the two weeks he got the bulk of the rotational snaps, he was 6-8 and 4-1. He had another week in which he put up five solos despite playing part time. It's probably premature to say he belongs outside the electron cloud tier, but I like the way Haslett uses his safeties and there's upside there even if Fletcher re-signs alongside Riley.

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I've always considered Roman Harper's DB1 status to be directly correlated to his role in Gregg Williams' defense. You must not think his production will suffer much (if any) with the addition of Spagnuolo?

Williams had a lot to do with Harper's big play opportunity. That's why I'm hopeful for both Tyvon Branch (Dennis Allen influence) and have both STL safeties relatively high (one will jump a bit when the alignments work themselves out).But Harper was 75-15 with four sacks, three INTs and eight PDs in 2007 and 82-7 with nine PDs in 2008 before Gregg Williams arrived. He gets knocked regularly for his high profile coverage mistakes -- sometimes fairly, sometimes not -- but he's one of the better all-around safeties in the league. Spagnuolo gives his strong safety lots of in-the-box responsibility and big play opportunity as well. Brian Dawkins, Gibril Wilson, Quintin Mikell and others have been very productive in the Jim Johnson/Steve Spagnuolo run scheme. Darian Stewart and Quintin Mikell combined for four sacks last year and had three INTs and 16 PDs while facing the fifth fewest pass attempts in the league. It'll also help that Harper will continue to play behind a relatively weak LB group.

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Not sure I understand the Carter and Jarrett rankings as niether has proved anything yet and niether is gauranteed a starter role yet, I'd have them in the electron cloud catagory for now. I also view T. J. Ward as a bit better than "cloud" material.

Thanks for putting these up, Jene, we need things like this to carry us thru these cold, dark times.

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Both lists seem like reasonable well thought out lists.

Only thing that stands out to me on both is Bethea's ranking. Seems a little low for a guy who consistently accumulates a lot of tackles with a generous assisted tackle scorer at home and, despite last year's dearth, seems to hit on enough big plays to put him in the weekly DB1 category.

With the apparent 34/hybrid switch the Colts D is moving towards, I don't see a quality LB outside of Angerer to challenge him for tackle opps, nor do I see the DL that can keeps G/C off the LB that they do have. A highly injury prone Bulitt is the only real challenge for tackles in the secondary, which is to say not much. With the poor talent to fit the new scheme, I could easily foresee him having the highest tackle opps of any S in the league.

I'd certainly have him ahead of Chung, D. Landry and Polamalu and due to health reasons L. Landry and Berry and due to situational questions possibly even Branch (contract) and Wilson (Searcy).

I'd probably park him in the 6-8 range.

Who knows with DB's tho?

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Not sure I understand the Carter and Jarrett rankings as niether has proved anything yet and niether is gauranteed a starter role yet, I'd have them in the electron cloud catagory for now. I also view T. J. Ward as a bit better than "cloud" material.

Agree on Ward. He's outside the cloud tier and could be higher than that if the preseason goes well for him.The Carter and Jarrett slots are products of my bias toward a guy that I think has talent and could/should have opportunity over a guy that has already shown what he likely is. I'd rather take a shot on what I think is a higher ceiling player with a lower percentage of hitting than the lower ceiling, high percentage talent. I'm willing to be wrong on the former category because there are so many options in the second.

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Both lists seem like reasonable well thought out lists.Only thing that stands out to me on both is Bethea's ranking. Seems a little low for a guy who consistently accumulates a lot of tackles with a generous assisted tackle scorer at home and, despite last year's dearth, seems to hit on enough big plays to put him in the weekly DB1 category.With the apparent 34/hybrid switch the Colts D is moving towards, I don't see a quality LB outside of Angerer to challenge him for tackle opps, nor do I see the DL that can keeps G/C off the LB that they do have. A highly injury prone Bulitt is the only real challenge for tackles in the secondary, which is to say not much. With the poor talent to fit the new scheme, I could easily foresee him having the highest tackle opps of any S in the league.I'd certainly have him ahead of Chung, D. Landry and Polamalu and due to health reasons L. Landry and Berry and due to situational questions possibly even Branch (contract) and Wilson (Searcy).I'd probably park him in the 6-8 range.Who knows with DB's tho?

Bethea is a hedge of sorts. He's either a DB1 upside or outside of the every week DB2 tier depending on how he's used. It's probably not consistent to hedge him and take a stand on Gomes, Carter and Jarrett though. I'd err on the upside tier with Bethea, too.

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I think DB's are the toughest to rank out of any position during the off season. So many question marks for every team with respect to DB's.

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Cornerbacks?

Not sure I'll get to the corners before I do a full reboot of all tiers in early April after the first wave of free agency and before the draft. Then hoping for twice monthly updates until the site goes live in July.

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Tom Zbikowski has to get a bump in rankings after signing with the colts, no? That offense looks like its going to be bad at least for one year, so you have to figure plenty of chances for tackles.

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Where does Yeremiah Bell fit after release?

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Tom Zbikowski has to get a bump in rankings after signing with the colts, no? That offense looks like its going to be bad at least for one year, so you have to figure plenty of chances for tackles.

Not a big fan of Zbikowski. We'll see how they line up, but I think there'll be lots of competition for numbers despite the high tackle opportunity and the assist-happy home stat crew should temper the upside a bit, too.

Where does Yeremiah Bell fit after release?

Depends entirely on where he lands. Almost certainly drops a tier, though.

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Tom Zbikowski has to get a bump in rankings after signing with the colts, no? That offense looks like its going to be bad at least for one year, so you have to figure plenty of chances for tackles.

Not a big fan of Zbikowski. We'll see how they line up, but I think there'll be lots of competition for numbers despite the high tackle opportunity and the assist-happy home stat crew should temper the upside a bit, too.
Is it really a safe assumption to assume that they are going to be recording tackles the same way this upcoming season that they did last season?

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Tom Zbikowski has to get a bump in rankings after signing with the colts, no? That offense looks like its going to be bad at least for one year, so you have to figure plenty of chances for tackles.

Not a big fan of Zbikowski. We'll see how they line up, but I think there'll be lots of competition for numbers despite the high tackle opportunity and the assist-happy home stat crew should temper the upside a bit, too.
Is it really a safe assumption to assume that they are going to be recording tackles the same way this upcoming season that they did last season?
I don't have any information that the NFL is planning a change in the input system again this year. That information came in March last year. We'll see.

The only guarantees are that the league is unlikely to bring any uniformity to the stat crews on this issue and that we'll be tracking it early and extensively again.

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Thoughts on LaRon now that he's with the Jets? Same tier? Same upside?

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The only guarantees are that the league is unlikely to bring any uniformity to the stat crews on this issue and that we'll be tracking it early and extensively again.

Jene, just off the top of your head - what 3-5 teams seem to be the biggest "assist giver", and what 3-5 teams are normally stingiest in this regard?I mean Washington gave a TON to Fletcher, but not really anyone else. If I recall Indy, Baltimore and the Pats were all very generous while at least St. Louis hardly gave any. Any other teams out on the extremes?

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The only guarantees are that the league is unlikely to bring any uniformity to the stat crews on this issue and that we'll be tracking it early and extensively again.

Jene, just off the top of your head - what 3-5 teams seem to be the biggest "assist giver", and what 3-5 teams are normally stingiest in this regard?I mean Washington gave a TON to Fletcher, but not really anyone else. If I recall Indy, Baltimore and the Pats were all very generous while at least St. Louis hardly gave any. Any other teams out on the extremes?
In 2011, IND, NE, CIN, WAS were the most assist heavy stat crews. STL, SF and PHI the least heavy.

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Thoughts on LaRon now that he's with the Jets? Same tier? Same upside?

To add to this, how does it impact Washington? Do you see the backfield being the same this year as it was toward the end of last year? Maybe Gomes emerging since the staff seemed to favor him over doughty?

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I saw Rotoworld has Reed Doughty behind Brandon Merriweather at SS and DeJon Gomes behind Cedric Griffen at FS

"Meriweather agreed to a two-year, $6 million deal with Washington on Thursday. The Redskins are starting the task of replacing last year's safety tandem of LaRon Landry and Oshiomogho Atogwe. The 28-year-old Meriweather was a first-round draft pick by New England in 2007 and was a two-time Pro Bowl player with the Patriots before he was cut at the end of last year's training camp. He then signed with Chicago but was a disappointment with the Bears, losing his starting job early in the season. The Redskins need help after at safety after cutting the underperforming Atogwe on Monday. The team didn't re-sign Landry, who is recovering from an Achilles injury."

"Free agent cornerback Cedric Griffin agreed Friday to a one-year deal which could be worth as much as $2.5 million, according to The Washington Post.<p> Griffin was cut last week by Minnesota, where he played for six seasons. He came back after tearing the ACL in both knees in 2010 to play in all 16 games last year, but he wasn't able to regain his previous form, was benched late in the season and expressed dissatisfaction with his demotion."

I wouldn't put much stock in Rotoworlds depth chart here, but Merriweather could steal some snaps at SS.

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Jene, with all these LBs in New Orleans, how far would you drop Roman Harper on this list?

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Jene, with all these LBs in New Orleans, how far would you drop Roman Harper on this list?

This group is next on my tier-to-do list.I don't think it'll be a huge drop -- probably just outside the elite tier.

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Any word when you might get to CB's. I am in many cb starting leagues and need some help.

I know CB's are hard to rank.

Here are some of the CB's I have currently. Scoring 2pt tackle 1pt assist 6pt int 2pt pass defense 4pt fumble recovery 8pt sack

Any of these stand out? Rankings for these CB's? It's dynasty.

Browner, Brandon SEA CB

Grimes, Brent ATL CB

Sherman, Richard SEA CB

Winfield, Antoine MIN CB

Verner, Alterraun TEN CB

Fletcher, Bradley STL CB

Thanks in advance.

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Any word when you might get to CB's. I am in many cb starting leagues and need some help.

Me too, :lol: .I started looking at the DB group again this morning and I think it's I think I'm going to have to do a full set of projections for the DBs to help tease out the group between the potential elites and the stream from the waiver wire group. That's the most important group for focus on for me.I'd really, really like to get that done before I start producing draft content, but it's going to be tough. At worst, it'll be done very shortly after the draft to make our first deadline for rankings.

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Any indication on if Samuels will be traded? If he does where would that put Cromardie?

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What's the deal with Chung ?

He was really mediocre at the end of 2011 and he played all the snaps so I don't know if injuries are an alibi here

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Jene - who do you see getting the other Safety job in Cincy. I heard good things about Taylor Mays but does Iloka come in and start right away?

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Jene - who do you see getting the other Safety job in Cincy. I heard good things about Taylor Mays but does Iloka come in and start right away?

Not Jene obv, but I am assuming Mays is the starter right now. Whether he is just a place-holder, or he is actually the plan remains to be seen. He hasn't really shown anything in Cincy, but neither have Sands or the rookie Iloka. Honestly, in any of their cases you're looking at a pretty awful player and playing them purely on situation as the starter on a team with suspect tacklers at LB. Iloka may have potential to be more than that, but there is no way to know that now.There is also the chance that one of the CB's (Allen, Clements, whoever) gets moved to safety. We have potentially a glut of CB's and a hole at safety.In bigger leagues, Mays is probably worth a shot at his low price. There is probably a 50% chance or better he opens as the starter.

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Jene - who do you see getting the other Safety job in Cincy. I heard good things about Taylor Mays but does Iloka come in and start right away?

Not Jene obv, but I am assuming Mays is the starter right now. Whether he is just a place-holder, or he is actually the plan remains to be seen. He hasn't really shown anything in Cincy, but neither have Sands or the rookie Iloka. Honestly, in any of their cases you're looking at a pretty awful player and playing them purely on situation as the starter on a team with suspect tacklers at LB. Iloka may have potential to be more than that, but there is no way to know that now.There is also the chance that one of the CB's (Allen, Clements, whoever) gets moved to safety. We have potentially a glut of CB's and a hole at safety.In bigger leagues, Mays is probably worth a shot at his low price. There is probably a 50% chance or better he opens as the starter.
Is Reggie Nelson still there?

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Jene - who do you see getting the other Safety job in Cincy. I heard good things about Taylor Mays but does Iloka come in and start right away?

Not Jene obv, but I am assuming Mays is the starter right now. Whether he is just a place-holder, or he is actually the plan remains to be seen. He hasn't really shown anything in Cincy, but neither have Sands or the rookie Iloka. Honestly, in any of their cases you're looking at a pretty awful player and playing them purely on situation as the starter on a team with suspect tacklers at LB. Iloka may have potential to be more than that, but there is no way to know that now.There is also the chance that one of the CB's (Allen, Clements, whoever) gets moved to safety. We have potentially a glut of CB's and a hole at safety.In bigger leagues, Mays is probably worth a shot at his low price. There is probably a 50% chance or better he opens as the starter.
Doesn't DQ'well Jackson still play there :mellow:

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Jene - who do you see getting the other Safety job in Cincy. I heard good things about Taylor Mays but does Iloka come in and start right away?

Not Jene obv, but I am assuming Mays is the starter right now. Whether he is just a place-holder, or he is actually the plan remains to be seen. He hasn't really shown anything in Cincy, but neither have Sands or the rookie Iloka. Honestly, in any of their cases you're looking at a pretty awful player and playing them purely on situation as the starter on a team with suspect tacklers at LB. Iloka may have potential to be more than that, but there is no way to know that now.There is also the chance that one of the CB's (Allen, Clements, whoever) gets moved to safety. We have potentially a glut of CB's and a hole at safety.In bigger leagues, Mays is probably worth a shot at his low price. There is probably a 50% chance or better he opens as the starter.
Doesn't DQ'well Jackson still play there :mellow:
No, he would play for the OTHER ohio team. :) CIN has pretty crappy linebacking play, unless Mauluga turns it on finally.

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