2011 IDP Position Battles

Untitled Document Written By: Eric Olinger

Here are five IDP position battles that need to be monitored for Week 1 and beyond. The winners of these battles could be key IDP adds on the waiver wire as soon as next week.

1. Tom Zbikowski vs Bernard Pollard - Baltimore SS
Both players have similar skill sets but one has experience in the defense and the other is a card carrying “Head Hunter” with a $2.5 million dollar contract and $1 million dollar signing bonus. As of now Zbikowski is listed as the starter, but Pollard’s aggressive, bone crushing hits seem to be the perfect compliment to Ed Reed’s freelancing, opportunistic free safety play. I suspect by Week 2 the depth chart will have changed.

2. Casey Matthews vs Jamar Chaney - Philadelphia MLB
Casey Matthews is listed as the unquestioned starting MLB in Philly…right now. But anyone who has seen this guy play in the preseason knows he’s got some growing pains ahead of him. At times he’s looked overwhelmed and a bit lost. Teams will try to run on Philly and stay away from their uber-talented DB’s, so there will be a good amount of tackle opportunities here for someone. The question here is whether or not he stays on the field on 3rd down and Nickel opportunities. Jamar Chaney could easily slide from the SLB to the MLB in these formations, giving him a boost and Matthews a hit in the stat sheet.

3. Greg Jones vs Himself - New York Giants MLB
Man, how snake bitten can one team be? They’re dropping like flies for the boys in blue. Most recently MLB Jonathon Goff tore up his knee. In steps rookie Greg Jones. Definitely not short on talent, this guy was the defensive centerpiece of Michigan State football for 4 strong years. He has an incredible opportunity here if he can just overcome nerves and seize what’s in front of him. As of right now the Giants have not brought in anyone to compete, although they’ve been linked to Kawika Mitchell and Keith Bulluck. If he can perform well enough this Sunday, he can prove to the G-Men that they should be looking for depth and not the next starter.

4. Kavell Conner vs Ernie Sims- Indianapolis WLB
They can’t all be winners folks.  This battle will likely lead to a decent amount of tackle and big play opportunities based more on circumstance than talent.  In the Tampa-2 defense everything is funneled towards the WLB. Ernie Sims in definitely the more talented player and better suited for the role, but an August 7th appendectomy has slowed his ability to absorb the Colts D. Whoever wins this battle will be on the field a lot, because without Peyton Manning on offense this Colts D will see a ton of action, most likely in clock killing mode…starting at halftime!

5. Aldon Smith vs Parys Haralson- San Francisco OLB
There is a battle in San Francisco on the outside between rookie Aldon Smith and veteran Parys Haralson. Smith was drafted 7th overall out of Missouri and compared favorably to DeMarcus Ware. Smith started the final preseason game and quickly announced his presence with authority, racking up 7 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 4 QB hurries. New D-Coordinator Vic Fangio says Smith may be ticketed for a pass rushing specialist role early in the season, but in big play leagues that’s fine. There’s no reason to think 8-10 sacks aren’t within reach playing a part time role. This defense has sneaky potential if the corners can hold up and nothing helps a questionable secondary like a great pass rush. Ask the Colts!

Thanks for reading! Comments, suggestions or questions are welcome below or by email at ericolinger@idpguru.com. You can also follow my active Twitter feed @Olinger3781.

Last Updated: September 8, 2011
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