This article is part of our IDP Analysis series.
Jatavis Brown, (3-4) ILB, SD
Brown's accomplishments don't seem proportionate to his level of recognition – he dominated but largely went under the radar during his career at Akron, after which he was denied an invitation to the NFL Combine and fell to the fifth round of the most recent draft. If the early results are any indication, Brown is poised once again to outdo what conventional wisdom expected of him. Following up a senior season at Akron where he totaled 116 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 13 games, Brown already has 42 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in six games despite beginning the year as a backup. Although he's undersized at 5-foot-11, 221, Brown has elite athleticism for the position, and a unique knack for rushing the passer.
Dont'a Hightower, MLB, NE
Injuries have posed difficulties for Hightower at various points in his NFL career, but when healthy he's established himself as one of the league's top linebackers. Still looking for his first season with triple-digit tackles, Hightower made good progress of that pursuit with 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a safety against Cincinnati on Sunday. Assuming he can stay on the field, Hightower should finish the year as one of the better IDP linebackers. Not unlike teammate and fellow linebacker Jamie Collins, Hightower has the ability to produce sacks at an uncommon rate for a linebacker – he posted six sacks in just 12 games in 2014.