Every year there are Individual Defensive Players (IDPs) whose situations have changed and are in line to better their statistics. Keep in mind that stats are not a great indicator of whether the players are actually good at football, as even bad defenders can rack up tackles or sacks in the right environment. Let's look at five linemen, five linebackers, and five defensive backs that are positioned for statistical leaps.
1. Bucs RE Gaines Adams
New Bucs defensive boss Jim Bates' reputation has dwindled from widely-accepted genius to journeyman coach, but if there's something he's always done right it's get high sack counts from his weak-side end. RE Trace Armstrong posted a career-high 16.5 sacks during Bates' first season as Miami's coordinator in 2000, Jason Taylor rang up 18.5 for the Fins two years later, and Denver RE Elvis Dumervil's sack total moved from 9 to 12 in Bates' last stop. Adams' final 2008 stat line wasn't spectacular, but he dominated in spurts and is on Taylor's level in terms of athleticism. As Bates' latest pet project, Adams appears poised for a sizable third-year leap.
2008 Stats: 38 tackles (27 solo), 6.5 sacks, 2 INTs, 0 FRs, 0 FFs, 6 PBUs
2009 Projection: 48 tackles (33 solo), 11 sacks, INT, FR, FF, 5 PBUs