We’re going to keep adding names to this IDP report over the final month of the season. We’ll start with adding candidates in the order we’re perceiving them and then eventually assigning numerical values when the list gets up to 15-20+ names.
LB Dylan Cole, Houston (2018: Age 24, Restricted FA 2020)
The most physically gifted defensive player I’ve seen from this 2017 rookie class on tape in the preseason. I liked some of his work from his college tape and then loved his measurables – 4.54 40-time, 32 bench reps, 39.0” vertical, 6.82 three-cone…but it was his preseason tape that changed everything.
Cole looked like an athletic OLB that I wasn’t sure if he’d be a safety or an OLB. He bulked up to move to ILB and I couldn’t believe my eyes watching him in the preseason. I’m not sure I’ve seen any rookie linebacker move that fast and be that aggressive at ILB.
Cole forced his way onto the Texans’ roster and then into playing time in the regular-season and all he does is make plays – in limited time this season he has 2 INTs, a TD return, and a couple of 5 tackle games…playing part-time. He’s been banged up so he’s off the radar. I’m telling you – this is as good as it gets. You are talking about a Jatavis Brown-esque superstar out of nowhere coming here. A guy who can get to tackles quickly, but is also a menace getting into the backfield and in coverage.
I suspect he’ll be a starter in 2018 for Houston…and that will start with more work late 2017.
DB Obi Melifonwu, Oakland
Due to an early injury, we haven’t got to see Obi play much. A little preseason work and then just back in Week 9 with limited playing time. The is strictly a bet on Melifonwu as a total freak of a defensive player, on paper…and was a high-end producer in college.
What you crave: 4.40 40-time, 1.15 10-yard time, 44.0” vertical, 11’08” broad jump…some major numbers from him as an athlete…like ‘freakish’ athleticism. Combine that with the fact that he’s physical, he’s a hitter…and that he stands 6’4”/220. He’s a radical safety prospect, but could play corner…and could be an OLB.
‘On paper’, Melifonwu would be #1 on the stash list here…but I’ve seen Dylan Cole many times this year – if Melifonwu is better than that I’ll be stunned. On tape, Cole is #1 with a bullet.
LB Elandon Roberts, New England
We thought he was arguably the best LB prospect from the 2016 NFL Draft…an overlooked 6th-round pick out of Houston. He hits like a ton of bricks. His anticipation is terrific in the run game. Roberts was getting solid work as a rookie and has bounced in and out of the lineup due to injuries above him on the depth chart the past two seasons. He’s a talent + 2018 will mark his third year in the Belichick system…giving him a huge advantage over many other young LBs in the league.
CB Jamal Agnew, Detroit
Agnew has hit the NFL with a flurry – a top kick and punt returner in the NFL…likely a Pro Bowl’er as a return man. He’s probably been the best runner of the ball for Detroit, seriously, on offense…2 carries for 9 yards, 1 rec. for 12 yards. He’s electric every time he touches the ball.
The thing is…Agnew hasn’t been given much chance to play corner…and he’s a good, possibly great cover man. A 4.34 40-time with 6.92 three-cone at 5’9”+/186…either a small corner or neat slot cover guy.
Some guys are just football talents…better on the field than measurables, etc., and Agnew is one of those guys. If your league favors IDPs with return skills…here you go.
DT Larry Ogunjobi, Cleveland
There were times this preseason where I thought Ogunjobi flashed some Aaron Donald skills this preseason…so fast, powerful a burst off the snap. It’s been a mixed bag in the regular-season – a nice start then put into a rotation where he didn’t play much, then hurt and getting back starting Week 11.
Ogunjobi was one of our highest rated DT prospects from the 2017 NFL Draft… a top 30-40 overall prospect. He was a stud in college. He impressed in the Senior Bowl drills during the week. I see flashes of a top DT for the future here enough to want to stash him.