2010 Pre-Combine Players to Watch

2010 Pre-Combine

Players to watch

The top two defensive players in the draft this year are both Defensive Tackles. Remember that Defensive Tackles are the tight ends of the defense. If you don’t have one of the 2-3 best, the rest are all the same.

Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska – Depending on the pending trade working out between the Rams and the Buccaneers, Suh ends up as the young cornerstone in an aging line in Tamp or as the latest in a youth movement up front in Saint Louis. Either way Suh has no real value as a fantasy player. His presence will however make the second and third level players up the middle more valuable as he sees double and triple teams to account for his playmaking ability. His arrival in either city upgrades the stock of two of the top young linebackers in the league in Ruud and Laurinaitis.

Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma – McCoy actually carries a little more fantasy value than Suh, but keep in mind that’s Defensive Tackle fantasy value. The consensus is that McCoy will end up playing for the Lions in 2010. His ability to penetrate and disrupt will benefit the Lions’ defensive ends and outside linebackers more than the second level up the middle. Draft him mid to late especially in leagues that have more specialized DL scoring for hurries, hits and tackles for loss.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Florida – Paul is a raw talent that will need a lot of refining to become an every down defensive end. Early on in his career he   will probably see action only on passing downs, which will allow him to take advantage of the talent, pin his ears back and just go. His fantasy value is low early but with an extremely high ceiling. He would be a sleeper if he were not coming out of Florida. Someone in your fantasy draft will overpay for him.

Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech – Morgan is the opposite of Paul in many ways. Morgan is a technically sound pass rusher, but lacks the freakish talent and measurables that Paul will display in the combine. He will end up as a solid contributor to whatever team he lands with. The bottom end of his value is much higher than Paul, but he also has a much lower ceiling for how much of a fantasy contributor he can be. If you need young talent that will contribute now, Morgan is your guy

Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama – McClain is the cream of the crop at linebacker this year. It looks like he will go no later than to the Dolphins at #12. He has the speed, knowledge and tools to be a contributor immediately. Unlike last year when there were multiple impact linebackers coming out in the draft. McClain may be the only one worth having in the short run.

Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas – Kindle’s opportunity to go in the first round looks to be only to a team that has the patience and the depth to use him in passing situations early on in his career. At 6’4”, 255, Kindle will need to bulk up to become an every down player in the NFL. He could fall in fantasy circles because of the lack of immediate gratification. If he is taken earlier than mid-second round in rookie only drafts it will be a reach.

Eric Berry, S, Tennessee – Berry is easily the most talented and fantasy worthy defensive back in the 2010 draft class. His tools and ability have drawn favorable comparisons to Polamalu and Ed Reed as difference makers on the field. His ability to defend his deep half, and support the run make him an ideal fit for many teams in need of help at that position, namely Tampa, if they stay at #3, Cleveland at #7 and as a huge steal if he falls out of the top 10. Put Berry on your must have list, he looks to be a significant fantasy contributor immediately and for years to come.

Joe Haden, CB, Florida – Haden looks to go to Cleveland at #7 if Berry is gone, but could fall to San Francisco if Berry lands in Cleveland.  Haden has all the skills to be a top corner in the league. This is problematic for fantasy owners. Haden will put up solid fantasy numbers throughout his first year in the league regardless of where he goes, as teams will challenge him until he proves his worth. The problem is that once offensive co-ordinators figure out that he is as advertised they would start throwing away from him; see Revis, Bailey and Finnegan. So buyer beware. Get him early trade him earlier.

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