IDP Sleepers (Page 2)

 
 
 
 
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IDP Sleepers

Defensive players who could surprise this year. Profiled players include Andre Branch, Akeem Dent, Erin Henderson, D.J. Smith, and Bobby Wagner.

Amukamara faced huge expectations last season and, unsurprisingly, failed to measure up as a foot injury kept him inactive for all but the final seven regular season games. The late start put him behind the eight ball and he never quite managed to catch up. His Week 15 benching marked a low point and stole any of the residual luster from his lofty preseason billing. Rookie struggles are nothing new in the NFL and Amukamara now has the chance to wipe the slate clean. After foot surgery in June he has a clean bill of health and will benefit from his first full NFL training camp in preparation for an increased role in 2012. In fact, he may find himself stepping right into a starting job this September as presumptive starter Terrell Thomas deals with a partial ACL tear. Thomas missed all of 2011 and is coming off ACL surgery. His latest setback jeopardizes not only his opening day availability but, potentially, his career as well. This is a huge opportunity for Amukamara who has the raw talent and just needs the chance to refine it at the next level.

A first-rounder out of Notre Dame, it's hard to call Harrison a true "sleeper." However, he joins a Minnesota secondary that was a wasteland for fantasy production last year and that very fact could help him fly under the radar. Harrison should inject some much needed excitement, uplifting a struggling unit with his sure tackling and a propensity for making big plays. He will have to unseat either Jamarca Sanford or Mistral Raymond to secure a starting role and the coaches seem to be willing to give him every opportunity to do so. At a preseason press conference coach Leslie Frazier told reporters, "he's done enough now where we feel confident that he can go out there in a starter's role and we want to see how he performs in that role."