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Dynasty Rookie Draft 2012: Top-5 Defensive Prospects for Projected NFL Sack Counts

Air Date:
May 15, 2012


For those Dynasty GMs with IDPs in a more sack intensive/dependent scoring system, here are the top rated defensive rookies for sack accumulations in the NFL based upon the team/situation they landed with...


1) Bruce Irvin, Seattle

If you want to strike Fantasy Football gold in the form of sacks in 2012+, then you have to do what Pete Carroll did…and roll-the-dice with Bruce Irvin.

According to our computer scouting models, Irvin is by far the most talented pass-rusher in this class…and a potential elite-level pass-rusher. Our computer also recognizes the inconsistency and off-field issues with Irvin. Irvin is so superior a pass-rushing prospect in this class; that you have to look past everything else and take your chances.

Irvin has a Demarcus Ware and Von Miller physical profile, without the college performance consistency. Irvin was a very good college performer, just not elite like Ware and Miller (according to our metrics).

The 2012 schedule may not be conducive for Irvin to “hit the ground running” right away. Five of Seattle’s first 8 games are on the road with mostly solid QBs, who don’t take a ton of sacks. The Seattle home/crowd noise advantage is minimized early on with Romo, Rodgers, Brady as the first three home games. After Week-8, things look up on the schedule of opposing QBs.

Given Irvin’s high talent-level ceiling, and the “12th man” in Seattle to help aid the defense/cripple the offensive communications…it could be a sensational marriage that produces huge sack totals in late 2012 and beyond.

*We also love his new rookie teammate Korey Toomer, and that scares us that his clone is on the same team. If you see Toomer getting a lot of love early in the preseason, it could mean trouble for Irvin for superior/instant stat productivity.



2) Jake Bequette, New England

Andre Carter and Mark Anderson (now of Buffalo) both hit double-digit sacks last season, and it could be Jake Bequette hitting that mark in 2012. For our computer, Bequette measures as the physically bigger/longer DE with similar speed/agility and with a higher graded performance in college than Melvin Ingram. The computer also sees Bequette as slightly faster and more agile than Chandler Jones.

Given Bequette’s profile and talent measurements, plus playing on a defense that can gamble more often, Bequette may turn Fantasy Football sack output pretty quickly.



3) Shea McClellin, Chicago

Defensive Tackles had a sack field day in 2011, with 18 sacks between the six Bears D-Lineman listed as DTs. The non-Julius Peppers listed Defensive Ends for the Bears had zero sacks in 2011. Bears Linebackers also had a goose egg in sack totals in the 2011 season. “Opportunity” is available for a solid bookend pass-rusher with the Bears.

We are lukewarm on Shea McClellin as a future elite-level DE/OLB, but running opposite Julius Peppers, he suddenly looks very good for stat production in 2012. As for the future, it depends upon how long Peppers is still playing. Our computer does not endorse McClellin as a DE-prospect that can carry a team's pass-rush on his own talents, but more needs an offset help.



4) Whitney Mercilus, Houston

Whitney Mercilus should be at least #2 on this list based on talent. However, the Texans situation may not be a great one for quick impact or longer-term gaudy sack totals. The Texans are loaded with young front-7 talent, and the sacks could come from anywhere -- Brooks ReedConnor Barwin, etc. Reed and Barwin did as good/better thanMario Williams. Mercilus has a bit of a roster/depth chart pressure with the Texans that some of the other rookies pass-rushers do not face.

If you want a pass-rush prospect with more overall upside than any 2012 rookie besides Bruce Irvin, take Mercilus. The better play may be to skip Mercilus and let him get out to a slow start and acquire somewhere down the road.



5) Nick Perry, Green Bay

There is some data we look at that suggests Nick Perry could arguably be the best 3-4 system pass-rushing DE available from this draft. We also see a couple of red-flag items that causes concern for our computer models a bit for both physical profile and college performance.

The Green Bay Packers are a perfect Fantasy Football landing spot for Perry given the overall defensive talent in place currently, and the likelihood that the Packers will jump on opponents offensively and thus be able to gamble for turnovers and cut their pass-rush loose quite often. We like Perry to be a part of the "sack party" as a member of the D-Line, but we are little more nervous about it if he is pushed towards playing as an OLB.



**Defensive Tackles do not often get high-enough sack totals to get excited about, but if there is one DT that could break through that wall a bit -- it is Derek Wolfe, Denver. Wolfe is by far the best overall measured pass-rusher and performer among DTs in our system analysis. If you have to fill a DT slot, Wolfe is what you want.


DEEP SLEEPERS = Korey Toomer, Seattle, Tim Fugger, Indianapolis, and Adrian Hamilton, Dallas


MOST LIKELY TO DISAPPOINT = Courtney Upshaw, Baltimore, Jared Crick, Houston, Melvin Ingram, San Diego



About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>