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

Air Date:
May 16, 2012


For those Dynasty GMs with IDPs in a more total-tackle intensive/dependent scoring system (with an emphasis on solo tackles as more valuable), here are the top rated defensive rookies for total-tackle (with a solo lean) accumulations in the NFL based upon the team/situation they landed with...


1) Luke Kuechly, Carolina

After Luck/Griffin and (maybe) Trent RichardsonLuke Kuechly is the best Fantasy Football long-term rookie for those with IDP/total-tackle concerns. The last time that our defensive formulas saw a LB with the on-field performance and the physical measurable profile of Kuechly, it was Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis. Kuechly is the best Fantasy Football defensive player in this draft (all scoring systems being equal).

Team, scheme, system, depth chart isn’t going to matter according to our computer – we project that Kuechly can step in immediately and start producing at an 8-10 total-tackle per game level.



2) Mychal Kendricks, Philadelphia

Mychal Kendricks is listed as a starter according to the early Philly depth charts we’ve seen. Kendricks is the most physically gifted ILB in the 2012 NFL Draft and had great college performance output to go along with it. In most years Kendricks would arguably be the top LB prospect in a given draft, but Luke Kuechly is so special/rare that it almost makes Kendricks a “second-class citizen” in discussions.

Given the CB talent that the Eagles possess, there should be a ton of opportunity for Kendricks to rack up tackles in the run game with the bonus of some extra Fantasy Football juice on being able to quickly get into the backfield for sacks or tackles-for-loss.



3) Lavonte David, Tampa Bay

Luke Kuechly and Mychal Kendricks are our #1-2 LBs based on talent and tackle-outlook. David is not our #3 ranked talent, but he is a very solid talent mixed with falling into a nice situation with Tampa Bay. David is a listed as a starter on most Tampa Bay depth charts we’ve seen early on.

Mason Foster led Tampa Bay LBs in total-tackles last year with 84 (5.3 per game), but that did not crack the top-40 for NFL LBs in total-tackles. Geno Hayes was 2nd in total-tackles among Tampa Bay LBs, but has now moved over to Chicago. We do not feel that Mark Barron is a major total-tackle threat either (Barron is solid, but not spectacular as a tackle compiler). There is plenty of tackle-opportunity available on Tampa Bay right now, and David has the performance history from college to capitalize on it.



4) Harrison Smith, Minnesota

Harrison Smith was our top-rated safety in the 2012 class and had our second best tackle-ratings of any Safety in this rookie class. Smith is a great size at nearly 6'2" tall and 210-pounds, with very good speed and excellent agility. Our computer thinks Smith will surprise a lot of people with his quickness.

Smith goes to a Vikings team where he is listed as the early starter on the depth chart, and could have an instant Fantasy impact as a 16-game starter with 60-80 tackles right away, and possibly pushing toward 100 per season long-term if he stays healthy.



5) Dont'a Hightower, New England

Our computer grades are not as high on Dont'a Hightower as the rest of the free world is. We foresee Hightower as solid, but not spectacular. Talent argument aside, Hightower lands into a great situation with New England, one where he is already listed as a starter at LB.

Hightower is likely to play right away, and could become a fixture...possibly earning a chance at the coveted middle-linebacker position in the 4-3 defense. There is a risk that Hightower is a little NFL-slow to excel at LB, but a window is open for Hightower to get in a prove himself right for that reason he has more Fantasy Football value than what our computer scouting models on his talent alone would show. 



DEEP SLEEPERS = Matt Daniels, St. Louis, Zach Brown, Tennessee, Bobby Wagner, Seattle


MOST LIKELY TO DISAPPOINT = Sean Spence, Pittsburgh



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 >>