I've done some studying for us and have rethought some advice I've given early on. to some readers. After Patrick Chung was brought back to my attention, I see a real gold mine here at safety.
Pick up Now
SS Patrick Chung (NE) - It does not need to be officially declared. Patrick Chung has become the starting strong safety in NE this year. He is playing the role of Rodney Harrison and will be in position to rack up a ton of tackles in this defense. Consider him a DB2 with upside.
SS TJ Ward (CLE) - He's the starting SS for a team that will have a ton of 3 and outs on offense. He has a nose for the football and loves to tackle.
Think of Chung as last years T. Branch (only Chung already has 1 year of NFL experience). And think of TJ Ward as last years L. Delmas. I think Branch finished as a top 5 DB and Delmas finished in the top 10 or very close to it in tackle heavy IDP leagues. You don't want to reach for these guys in your draft, but you won't want to finish your draft without one of them as your upside guy on your bench. I feel real good about starting Chung right away as DB2.
LB D’Qwell Jackson (CLE) It feels weird to have to suggest picking up such an elite LB, but his injury rumors have varied enough that I think it has scared a lot of owners off. The latest report is his rehab is on schedule. He’s been cleared to lift weights and hopes to return as early as the regular season opener. He added that there’s “no chance” he will be placed on IR.
So smoke em if you got em!
Dan Connor (CAR) Yes, Connor is the starting middle linebacker for the Panthers, but he'll only be a 2 down back,. He's fine for an LB5, but I apologize for getting too excited about this guy too early. If you did pick him up based on my advice, I recommend an oldie, but goody from my "you heard it hear first" calls from last year. And that would be the one and only. David Hawthorne.
LB David Hawthorne (SEA) - For the value where you are going to get Hawthorne in your draft, I would target him over Tatupu. How much evidence do we need? The guys a beast and Leroy Hill will not be a Seahawk long with his off the field issues. So Hawthorne is starting at ILB right next to Tatupu. An easy way to think of this is similar to the NYG LB situation. Sure, Keith Bulluck is the starting MLB there, but the guy you really want on that team for IDP is Michael Boley (NYG). It's the same with Hawthorne. He's an LB3 with the potential to be a top 5 IDP LB at the end of the year. Now that's value.
SS Sean Jones (TB) - Sean Jones has won the starting strong safety job over Sabbi Piscatelli. Although this battle could go on later in the year, Jones has definitively secured the number one job on yet another crappy offensive team. He will rack up the tackles because he's known as a hitter so he's a guy to watch in the box scores.
Watching from a Distance
DE Kroy Biermann (ATL) - He's topping all the camp visitors lists this year as the "stand-out" guy. He's had a terrific pre-season and he's shown a real knack for getting to the QB. He's someone to keep on your radar iat a very thin position.
LB Andra Davis (BUF) - Remember how he was always on the cusp of "do I or don't I pick him up and plug him in" last year? He lined up next to DJ Williams and was fairly solid all year. This year he lines up next to Poz as a starter. And that Bills defense will be on the field for a lot more plays than that Broncos D was last year. More plays, more opportunities and all this guy needs is a slight nudge to move him up to LB5 material with LB4 or 2 upside.