The Ball Hawk – IDP
Welcome back to the final part of our IDP series looking at specific positions and players that should be on your radar. This week we look at the Ball Hawks, who are essential pieces to building a strong IDP roster.
Richard Sherman, Charles Woodson, Darrelle Revis, Ty Law, and Rodney Harrison, are all legendary names who have all got something in common – they all struck fear in both QB’s and WR’s alike! Lockdown Corners and the top Safeties are key additions to any IDP roster. With tackles, picks and sacks all part of their armoury, big points can be gained by selecting the right players in your draft or trades.
As with every IDP position, some Safeties and Corners stand head and shoulders above the pack, These guys can score big.
Steelers Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has been dominating the backfield since leaving the Dolphins in 2019. His ability to read the QB’s eyes has given him 15 INTs since 2018. Of those, he has returned 4 to the house for TDs. In Week 1, most IDP formats would have earned him about 30 points. Mostly due to a Pick 6 in the first 5 minutes of the game. At 25, he looks to be the guy for years to come that the Steelers will build their backfield round. And with this season’s offence, he might see quite a lot of time on the field!
Budda Baker of the Cardinals, whilst not as prolific with INTs, is a tackling machine in both the pass and running game. With 7.5 sacks he is used to rushing the QB regularly and his athleticism can also help on the outside with the CB’s
At CB you will be hard pushed to find a player as influential as Jalen Ramsey. Part of the all-star Defence of the Rams, you will find him covering the opposition’s best WR’s. Most weeks, he seems to be the guy coming up with the game-sealing plays. In 93 games he has 16 INTs and 76 pass deflections, making you see why the Rams paid a first-round pick to the Jaguars for him. Furthermore, they rewarded him with a 5-year, $104 million extension in 2020.
CAN YOU DIGG IT?
Trevon Diggs, maybe Stefon’s younger brother but he has cast his own shining light since entering the league in 2020, and this Ball hawk already racking up 14 Int’s in 30 games, Trevon has already elevated himself to the top tier of DB’s. in this Cowboys Defence, he has become a leader and loves matching up against the top WR in the league.
Jamal Adams belongs in this elite section, but a turn quad puts him out for the rest of the 2022 season. This will be a long-term investment, but a guy worth stashing in your IR room. He is just 26 and loves rushing the passer with 21.5 sacks in 71 games.
Marcus Williams moved to the Ravens this offseason and has hit the ground running. Already a leader in the backfield, his Week 2 ‘double-interception’ performance against the high-flying Dolphins shows how his positioning and timing help him pick off the pass.
Kevin Byard is a Ball Hawk – and a tackling machine in the backfield of the Titans. In 99 games he has 369 tackles and 23 INTs. Entering his 7th season in the league, his experience also leads to top-tier performances most weeks.
As a rookie, JC Jackson was an integral member of the Patriots backfield and won Superbowl LIII. There, they held the high-powered Rams to just 3 points. This offseason, he moved to the up-and-coming Chargers. During his 4 years in New England, he plundered 25 INTs. Now in a star-studded LA Defence, this Ball Hawk looks to improve that record further.
Some would argue some of the names in this section are also elite and with such talent across both CB and S, I can understand why. This group include Superbowl winners, Pro Bowlers and just complete ballers. Some might be there next year, all have the talent to turn good into great.
The Honeybadger is one who delivers whichever franchise he is playing for. Tyraann Mathieu is not just a ball hawk but a leader of men. He got his ring at the Chiefs in Superbowl LIV…and came close to making it 2 in Superbowl LV. Recently signing for the Saints on a 3 year deal, he is dependable and will have some big games.
Secondly, Antoine Winfield Jr enters his 3rd season in the star-studded Buccaneers secondary. His tackle count is one of the best, and with Todd Bowles love of blitzing, he will often be seen getting into the backfield to pressure QB’s. His role may grow and one to try to get when you can.
There is real depth at this position, with the likes of Tre’Davious White, Marshon Lattimore, Derwin James, Jeremy Chinn, Xavien Howard, Jaire Alexander, Harrison Smith to name but a few. Take time to review their history, and look at their matchups. This group will be steady scorers and hit the jackpot in some weeks with picks and sacks and TD’s.
The 2022 NFL draft was a gold mine for IDP. Yes, all eyes were on the WR’s and a perceived lack of QB talent, but the first round was littered with IDP nuggets. 6 Defensive backs got taken in the first round alone. The Texans snapped up Derek Stingley Jr at 3 and the Jets took Sauce Gardener at 4. Sauce was lockdown corner in College, is in the up-and-coming Jets, and is finding his feet. Stingley Jr, another athletic Cornerback, has opened his first two games with 11 tackles and 3 PD’s. They’re players who are likely to grow. In addition, the Bears surprised many by ignoring their issues on the O-Line to take safety Jaquan Brisker. He has found his way into the starting line up and is scoring steadily so far. Others to look for Kyle Hamilton, a talented safety drafted by the Ravens. Finally, there’s Lewis Cine at the Vikings – one of 5 former Georgia Bulldogs taken in this year’s first round.
As with every IDP position, doing a little homework can unlock some gems, Injuries albeit unfortunate for those involve open opportunities for the next man up. Some take the starting job and never look back. Ball Hawks can win you games but a well-structured IDP roster can win you championships.
Mike – @bigrando99