2012 fantasy football profiles and projections (DBs 13-24)

Statistical projections are provided by EA Sports

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It's almost always a risk to take a rookie in IDP drafts, but Barron is a talented athlete and in a great position to succeed. Virtually guaranteed to start for the Buccaneers, the Alabama product will see more than his share of chances to produce as opposing offenses look to test what was a dreadful Tampa pass defense in 2011. When you also consider how weak the team's front seven was last season, Barron could make hay in the tackles category. Take a look at Barron as a No. 2 defensive back with the upside to become one of the top options in fantasy land.

Landry has always had potential in IDP leagues, but he still hasn't made a major impact from a fantasy perspective. That's been especially true over the last two years, as he's missed a total of 15 games with injuries and is by no means a lock to suddenly become durable with the Jets. In fact, offseason pictures of a muscle-bound Landry might even scare some fantasy leaguers from drafting him for fear of further injury issues. Overall, the new Jets safety has late-round value as a risk-reward No. 2 defensive back. Just be sure to temper your overall expectations.

Few defensive backs were thrown at as often as Hall was last season. The positive for fantasy owners is that their teams weren't hurt by him being burned (unlike the Redskins). In fact, it led to more tackles for the veteran out of Virginia Tech. Even more of a positive is that he has a knack for getting his hands on the football, pulling in a combined nine interceptions with 32 passes defensed over the last two seasons. Consistency has been the name of the game for Hall overall, and that shouldn't change in 2012. Take a chance on him late in your draft.

Landry finished a respectable 24th in fantasy points among defensive backs last season. Still, it was a disappointment from a fantasy perspective when you consider he ranked 14th at the spot in what was his final season in Baltimore. Still, the veteran out of Georgia Tech will once again be in a good position to find at least moderate fantasy success in what figures to be a better Jaguars defense. Owners shouldn't mistake him for an elite option among defensive backs, but Landry is worth a late-round look as a No. 2 option in the majority of IDP drafts.

Mikell and fellow defensive back Darian Stewart combined to form a nice duo for IDP leaguers in 2011. Both players scored more than 100 fantasy points, with Mikell leading the duo with 106 on the strength of his 91 total tackles, five passes defensed and five forced fumbles. His second season in St. Louis should be equally productive under the tutelage of new coach Jeff Fisher, so Mikell will no doubt be in the neighborhood of 90 to 100 tackles while also seeing a slight increase in pass defensed. Consider him in the late rounds as a No. 2 defensive back in fantasy drafts.

Woodson may be getting up there in but he can still get it done on the field. The veteran tied for the league lead in interceptions last season with seven, one of which was returned for a touchdown. That marked the sixth straight season that Woodson has scored on a pick return. As part of the league's worst pass defense in 2011, Woodson will see plenty of action against the rival Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears as well as in rematches with the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. In all, the Michigan product should be considered a solid No. 2 fantasy option at his position in 2012.

Despite his status as one of the top defenders in the NFL, Polamalu has been an inconsistent IDP selection during his pro career. In 2010, the former USC star had seven interceptions and a touchdown return, but it came at the expense of his number of tackles. Last season, the tackles were up as Polamalu was a key to the Steelers' run defense, but he logged just two picks in all. That's something to remember, as Polamalu has more name value than actually value at this point in his career. Look to draft him in the middle rounds as a No. 2 defensive back in 2012.

Byrd is emerging as one of the better defensive backs in the league. He's seen his tackle totals increase in each of his first three seasons, culminating in a 2011 campaign that saw him put up 98 total tackles and eight passes defensed - those numbers helped him finish in the top five at his position based on fantasy points. While we clearly expect at least a slight decline in his overall numbers based on his 2012 ranking, Byrd is no doubt worth a late-round selection as a No. 2 defensive back with the tools to become a nice draft bargain.

Thomas is coming off a solid second season in the pros, recording career bests in total tackles with seven passes defensed and two interceptions. Those numbers helped him earn a Pro Bowl nod and ranked him in the top 25 in fantasy points among defensive backs in 2011. If he can continue to produce alongside fellow IDP option Kam Chancellor in what has become a much improved defensive backfield, Thomas should serve fantasy owners well as a No. 2 option at the position. He'll come off the board in the late rounds in the majority of IDP formats.

Arrington and his seven interceptions were the highlights of an otherwise dreary 2011 year for the Patriots' defensive backfield. He was also the team's second-leading tackler, just ahead of fellow DB Devin McCourty, and recorded a solid 15 passes defensed. Those totals helped the Hofstra product finish in the top 15 in fantasy points at his position. While a repeat of his high interception total can't be expected - Arrington had one in his previous three NFL seasons - he's still someone to target in the late rounds as a No. 2 fantasy defensive back in 2012.

One of the league's best up-and-coming young cornerbacks, Webb posted career bests in total tackles, passes defensed and five interceptions (eight including the playoffs) last season. The Nicholls State product also didn't allow a single touchdown pass in 2011, while also finishing in the top 20 in fantasy points among defensive backs. At 26 and just now entering the prime of his career, Webb's statistical success both on the gridiron and in fantasy land should continue. Fantasy owners in IDP leagues should consider the Ravens defender in the late rounds as a No. 2 option with obvious upside.

Thomas was the top-scoring defensive back in fantasy land in 2010, recording 101 total tackles with 21 passes defensed and five interceptions. Unfortunately, he missed all of last season with a torn right ACL and was a non-factor as a result. The Giants inked him to a four-year deal in the offseason, however, and he'll be back in the starting lineup in Week 1 - barring setbacks in his return from his second reconstructive knee procedure. Based on his success two years ago, Thomas will be worth a late-round look as a No. 2 defensive back. Just temper expectations.

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