In this installment of the IDP scouting report, I’m going to go over second year defensive ends. When it comes to the defensive line in dynasty leagues, in your smaller leagues, especially ones that have the DL (defensive line) designation, defensive ends are what you want to target. For the most part, both defensive ends and defensive tackles don’t get a lot of tackles, so it’s sacks that you’re looking for. There is a small top tier of defensive tackles that can get you good sack numbers, but it’s a big drop off after those few elite players.
A quick side note; Seahawks first round pick L.J. Collier out of TCU did not make this list. The Seahawks had a need at pass rusher and had to go out and rent Jadeveon Clowney mid-season to make up for the fact that Collier couldn’t get on the field. Third year player, defensive end Rasheem Green of the Hawks, similarly, in his rookie year didn’t play much, but played well last season. Collier will be 25 in September, Green will be 23. I’m not saying there isn’t a chance that he develops into a first round-type talent, I’m just saying that I didn’t see enough to suggest that.
THE BLUE CHIPPERS
These are the players drafted last year that lived up to and even exceeded expectations. You will be in good shape at the position if you own any shares of these players.
Nick Bosa (1.02 SFO)
Bosa was a stud last year as expected, and is already a top 5 defensive end in dynasty.
Josh Allen (1.07 JAC)
Allen surprisingly fell to 1.07 last year where the Jaguars couldn’t not take him. He showed the league that he’s the stud that the experts predicted that he would be. He netted 10.5 sacks, 44 combined tackles, and 2 forced fumbles and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate in his rookie season.
Maxx Crosby (4.04 LVR)
The Raiders shocked the world when they passed up on Josh Allen with the fourth overall pick to take Clemson pass rusher Clelin Ferrell. Ferrell played well, but not at the level of Bosa or Allen. Luckily for them, Crosby, their fourth round pick recorded 10 sacks and might have been the steal of the draft.
First round picks Clelin Ferrell (1.04 LVR) out of Clemson and Brian Burns (1.16 CAR) out of Florida State are right outside the top tier of second year defensive ends. They’re right below the blue chippers, but too good to be considered breakout candidates. If they are on your team, be happy and hold strong. This next group of players have a shot to significantly improve their stock in their second season compared to their rookie seasons.
Chase Winovich (3.13 NEP)
The Patriots seemed to draft Chase Winovich out of Michigan last year in the third round as a best player available type deal over a true specific need. Winovich is a high motor player with really good pursuit, but is a little light as a defensive end linebacker hybrid and can get seemingly lifted out of plays when not pushing forward. The Patriots do a great job scheming with the players they have, and with the subtractions of Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins, and another year under his belt, Winovich should be in line for a nice uptick in playing time and production in 2020.
Oshane Ximines (3.31 NYG)
Late in the third round, the Giants decided to address their pass rush need with small school defensive end slash outside linebacker Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion. The Giants had a rough season last year and with the fourth pick in this year’s draft they’re still in the Chase Young sweepstakes. Currently, their top pass rusher, Markus Golden is a free agent seeking the type of deal he probably will not get. Ximines looked good last year posting 4.5 sacks, 25 combined tackles, and 5 tackles for loss while getting less than 50% of the defensive snaps. He was also very efficient against the run. If the Giants decide to turn Ximines loose this year, and give him a chance to develop on the field, it could be the start of a solid career for the young prospect in the Big Apple.
Ben Banogu (2.17 IND)
The Colts of late have done a great job drafting on the defensive side of the ball. Of course, most notably drafting linebacker Darius Leonard in 2018 in the second round. Last year, they drafted linebacker Bobby Okereke, safety Khari Willis, and defensive end Ben Banogu out of TCU. Young pass rusher Kemoko Turay, another 2018 second round pick, really emerged last season and partnered on the outside with Justin Houston, resulting in Banogu only getting 26% of the defensive snaps. Banogu most likely will be the third defensive end with a chance to play his way into a heavier workload in 2020. There are a lot of mouths to feed on that Indianapolis defensive line, but Banogu has a chance to shine in year two.
PROS OR CONS
This section of listed players are defensive ends that played decently last year, but the jury is still out on them. I’m going to give some pros and cons and let you decide whether they are worth a spot on your roster.
Zach Allen (3.01 ARZ)
Allen was close to being on the breakout list, but the sample size was too small. After being drafted with the first pick in the third round out of Boston College, injuries and off the field issues of players on the defensive line put rookie defensive end Zach Allen in a starting role right out of the gate. Allen had only 8 tackles through 144 snaps before suffering a season-ending neck injury in week four. If the season started today, most likely Zach Allen would be starting on the 3-man front with the always dependable Corey Peters and newly acquired Jordan Phillips, who just had a breakout season of his own for the Buffalo Bills. The two biggest needs for the Cardinals right now is offensive and defensive line. It remains to be seen how they will address these position in the draft, but they still believe in Allen and he should get plenty of opportunity in 2020 to prove himself.
Charles Omenihu (5.23 HOU)
Omenihu is perfect for this list because the jury is still out on whether he will develop into a stat stuffer or if he is a JAG (just a guy). Omenihu was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year after his dominant senior season for the Texas Longhorns in 2018. He had 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He improved as a player each year and has good measurable for the position. Omenihu played 448 snaps last season, which was good for the 13th amount of snaps on Houston’s defense. He recorded 13 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Depending on what moves the Texans make going forward, it looks like at this point Omenihu will be the third defensive end on the team behind J.J. Watt and Angelo Blackson. Couple that with his playing experience from last season and he will be in a good spot to get another shot at prolonged playing time in 2020.
Kyle Phillips (undrafted NYJ)
The Jets decided to keep undrafted rookie former Tennessee Volunteer Kyle Phillips on the roster after a strong preseason and after third round developmental pick Jachai Polite turned out to be a bust. For rookie defensive ends, Phillips was decently productive, mostly against the run. Phillips is not a natural pass rusher, only recording 1.5 sacks, but he had 39 tackles, and did get to the quarterback more times than he got credit for. If you’re looking for a buy low player that will develop into a rock star pass rusher, Kyle Phillips may not be your guy, but if you’re in the market for a young player that could develop into a reliable starter for deeper leagues there is a chance that Phillips can fill that need.
UNDER THE RADAR
These players are for those very deep leagues. They can be considered deep stashes or watch list guys if you prefer. My favorite leagues are 32 team, NFL style leagues with very deep rosters. If you are in one of these leagues, then these players might already be owned, but maybe not appreciated.
Darryl Johnson (7.11 BUF)
The Bills defense was second in the league in yards against, but finished twenty sixth in sacks with only 36 as a team. Adding insult to injury, their top two sack leaders, Jordan Phillips (9.5) and Shaq Lawson (6.5) both left in free agency. They added Mario Addison to Jerry Hughes and Trent Murphy at the position, which means they still have talent there, but a little long in the tooth. Johnson had a great final season at North Carolina A&T, with 10.5 sacks, and 50 tackles, earning himself conference Defensive Player of the Year. As a seventh round pick, drafted into a deep position, he was a long shot to make it through final cuts. He had some strong showings in the preseason, ended up making the team as a core special teamer, and got about 20% of the snaps on defense. He ended up with 10 tackles and 1 sack. Johnson still has a lot of developing to do especially against the run. He is a raw talent as a pass rusher with upside.
John Cominsky (4.33 ATL)
Cominsky was drafted in the fourth round by the Falcons out of division II school, University of Charlston in West Virginia. He had 67 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles his senior year, earning him Mountain East Player of the Year honors. Cominsky stands at 6’5, 285 pounds, and ran a 4.69 40-yard dash. He made a big splash in the Hall of Fame Game with a tackle for loss, a sack, and a recovered fumble on special teams. He’s an aggressive player with athletic ability, but he didn’t really get the playing time last year that dynasty shareholders were hoping for. Cominsky will start the 2020 season as a rotational defensive end in the 4-3. Hopefully, if given the chance, he will develop into the pass rusher we were hoping to see last year.
Jonathan Ledbetter (undrafted MIA)
The Dolphins brought in undrafted rookie Jonathan Ledbetter last April. Known for being more of a run-stuffing defensive end out of Georgia, Ledbetter recorded a sack and 4 tackles in the season opener before being injured and placed on IR. Miami went nuts in free agency, signing Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson at defensive end along with a couple pass rushing linebackers. Those moves put Ledbetter in a less than ideal situation for playing time in 2020. If he makes the team, he will most likely be regulated to a low end rotational backup. I really like what I saw from him in the offseason last year. Keep an eye out on him because if he lands on another team he could move up the pecking order like he did for the Dolphins to begin 2019.
Carl Granderson (undrafted NOS)
Granderson, coming out of Wyoming, was projected as a third round pick in the draft. That was before he was charged with third-degree sexual assault and sexual battery. With these alleged charges, many teams took Granderson off their draft board and others just didn’t want to take the chance of drafting him due to the upcoming possibility of a long-term prison sentence. He eventually was sentenced to six months, but only spent 43 days in jail after a judge found improper handling from the sentencing judge. Off the field matters aside, Granderson is now behind one of the best defensive end tandems in the NFL in Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. Granderson was a disruptive pass rusher in college. He is fourth or fifth on the depth chart right now at the position, but he has good upside. He is a very low risk, high reward developmental prospect if you are in the type of deep league that has roster space for those types of players.
IDP Scouting Report:
Part 2: Second Year Defensive Ends