Fantasy defenses up, down after the draft
Posted Apr. 28 at 12:25 AM
With most media types focusing on where the quarterbacks landed, and most fantasy owners doing the same for running backs, the impact on fantasy defenses sometimes gets overlooked. Not today, and not in this space. Here's the fallout from the draft weekend:
N.Y. Jets: The Jets are loaded defensively. They allowed a league-low 8 TD passes last year, then went out and added an opportunistic cornerback (Antonio Cromartie), a veteran pass rusher (Jason Taylor), and spent their first pick on one of the top three or four cornerbacks in the draft (Kyle Wilson). Running back Joe McKnight could be a factor in the return game. The Jets might be the top fantasy defense this year.
Titans: Tennessee badly needed a pass rusher. In top pick Derrick Morgan, they got one. There was also enough talk about a trade for Albert Haynesworth to make me think that one will happen before training camp; Washington doesn't want him in their new 3-4 defense. The Titans could bounce-back as a quality fantasy D.
Bears: Not to get too excited about a team that didn't pick until the third round, but the Bears had already upgraded their pass rush with Julius Peppers; by drafting Major Wright in the third and trading for Chris Harris from Carolina yesterday, they've upgraded their secondary; one or both of those guys should help. Don't underestimate the impact that getting Brian Urlacher back in the heart of that defense will have, either.
Falcons: Dunta Robinson was a good signing for the secondary, and Sean Weatherspoon was a good top pick for the linebacking corps. Third-round tackle Corey Peters should also help the team's interior defense.
N.Y. Giants: None of us know for certain if the Giants were hoping to add the draft's top linebacker, Rolando McClain, to the heart of their defense. What we do know is that they weren't able to when Oakland surprisingly took him a few picks earlier. Instead the Giants added arguably the draft's top pass rusher in Jason Pierre-Paul, which will definitely help their defense -- eventually. In 2010, however, they'll gain only another pass rusher, which they currently have a glut of, while likely starting a question mark at middle linebacker.
Broncos: The Broncos defense was lights-out early last year, then struggled late. When they were trading back and accumulating picks early on, I had hopes they'd address that defense with some picks. Instead they used three early picks to get Tim Tebow, and didn't draft a defensive player until the fifth round. That's kind of been lost in all the Tebow hype, I think.
Saints: It's looking more and more like New Orleans might move on from Darren Sharper. This reminds me a little of when the Packers dumped safety Eugene Robinson a year too early -- in order to start Sharper, ironically enough -- after a Super Bowl trip, then struggled to replace him the following season, losing in the playoffs on Steve Young to Terrell Owens, in front of Sharper. The Saints used their top pick on a cornerback, and may move a current corner to safety, but they'll probably be worse at that position -- and there's a hole at one linebacker spot, too. Their only other pick on that side of the ball was a fourth-round tackle.
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