The 2020 NFL Draft is complete and we saw plenty of IDP surprises along the way. I like to look back at what I thought pre-draft, and figured I’d call myself out and post some of my bigger surprises post-draft. The 3 players below all made big jumps on our IDP rankings post draft and could provide you sleeper potential in your rookie drafts. Keep up with all our IDP Rookie rankings, as well as where we have them with the veterans here on RotoHeat!
2020 NFL Draft IDP Surprise #1: Logan Wilson – LB Cincinnati Bengals
I believe the Bengals had one of the better drafts this year, at least from a talent acquisition standpoint, filling needs on both sides of the ball. Wilson, from Wyoming, is a physical linebacker who makes you think of the old-school type of backers that put the fear into the opposing teams players, though he has a bit more trouble in coverage then I’d like to see. The Bengals took Wilson in the 3rd round, and I’d expect him to fight for the starting Mike linebacker spot sooner rather than later.
The Bengals have Germaine Pratt, Jordan Evans and Josh Bynes as veteran players ahead of Wilson, but not only draft pedigree, but also the toughness that Wilson brings should get him an early look if he can get up to speed with the playbook. In IDP, I see Wilson as a sleeper you can get later in drafts. Stash him and expect to see lots of tackles most likely in year two. My main concern and why I wouldn’t say starter year 1 is this pandemic is wreaking havoc on OTA’s, and I think rookies need as much time with the team as they can to pick up the playbook and get acclimated.
2020 NFL Draft IDP Surprise #2: Jacob Phillips – LB Cleveland Browns
In the off season, the “team up north” decided to let their veteran starters Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert leave, which also left a leadership vacuum in the linebacker room. Insert national champion Jacob Phillips. The LSU backer comes with his quarterback to Cleveland to inject some speed and explosiveness and should be a day 1 starter on the strong side next to Mack Wilson.
Phillips was a two-year starter and was a leader in tackles in the SEC last season. This player is very good running downhill and brings an explosiveness that should serve him well in the NFL. From an IDP perspective, I expect him to be a mid-late round rookie pick that could return immediate value for your team, especially if you have a need for linebacker. He will need time developing his NFL IQ, but that’s not a big knock on the player. I think he will serve you well for years to come if you take the chance on him!
2020 NFL Draft IDP Surprise #3: Jeremy Chinn – S Carolina Panthers
Pre-draft, Chinn was a player a lot of the rookie scouting people I follow talked up, and for good reason because this player is special. The concern going into the draft was being a small-school prospect at Southern Illinois means he will need some time to develop, but going to Carolina as early as he did means they believe in him, and he should be a day 1 starter. The Panthers are rebuilding with a new coaching staff, scheme change, and loss of key leader, Luke Keuchly. Chinn coming in with Derrick Brown and Yetur Gross-Matos should immediately add a much needed infusion of talent to Matt Rhule’s 3-4 scheme.
Chinn has little competition to seeing playing time, as they have Tre Boston and not much else in the safety room. Chinn is a bigger safety at 6’3″ 219 lbs., but is such a physical and athletic specimen that he could easily be a Kam Chancellor-lite with his willingness to enforce his will on opposing players. In your rookie drafts, I’d expect Chinn to be one of the top 10 IDP players taken (probably 3rd round if its a mixed offense/defense rookie draft), but he’s a guy I can easily see being a high-end safety two by year’s end.