With the ghost of Shawne Merriman no longer a factor, the Chargers were looking for a new way to generate pressure. Apparently their answer was blitzing Burnett more often. A middling, borderline starter through his first five NFL seasons, Burnett is getting his first shot as a fulltime player. He's delivering on the stat sheet through five games, collecting 27 solo tackles, 4.0 sacks (two apiece each of the last two weeks), 3 PDs, an interception and a forced fumble. It's an impressive feat for a guy who was battling the likes of Brandon Siler and rookie Donald Butler just to start, and Butler probably had the inside edge if he hadn't torn his Achilles at the beginning of camp. Owners in big-play scoring formats can go ahead and take a flier on Burnett as an LB2, as he's solidified his starting spot. But it's tough to picture him keeping up this kind of pace; he's just not that good.
Cedric Griffin is out with another season-ending ACL tear, opening the door for Cook. The second-round rookie will slide into the starting lineup once his knee is healthy, which could be as early as this weekend. He's essentially a safety in ... well, a safety's body at 6-foot-2, 204 lbs., but he should be fine in Minnesota's Cover-2 defense, which requires him to play a lot of zone and help in run support often. In his only appearance so far this year, Cook had four solo tackles and a PD as the nickel back against Detroit in Week 3. Opponents won't hesitate to pick on him, and Cook's ability in run support will play nicely in tackle-heavy scoring formats. He's a solid pickup if you're looking for some DB depth.
You just knew Steve Spagnuolo was going to turn someone on the Rams into a pass-rushing beast. The logical thinking was that someone would be Chris Long, but instead it looks like it will be Hall. Playing both inside and out, it's been an unlikely breakout year for the 33-year-old Hall. He once had a 11.5-sack season playing with the Lions, back in 2004. But since then he's been a very ordinary, and often part-time, player. He's on the field for the majority of St. Louis' snaps now, which means that even if the sacks dry up (he has 4.0 through five games, but also 9.5 QB knockdowns and hurries, so it's not a fluke) he still plays the run well enough to deliver three solo tackles a week. If you need DL depth -- and almost everybody does -- Hall is a solid DL2 with borderline DL1 upside.
It was a banner week for Idonije. First, the Bears parted ways with Mark Anderson, who had been splitting reps with Idonije across from Julius Peppers. Idonije responded to his new fulltime role by racking up 2.5 sacks, four solo tackles and a forced fumble in Carolina on Sunday. The converted defensive tackle will be asked to anchor against the run plenty while playing left end, and he's capable of solid tackle numbers. And while he's far from an elite pass rusher, playing across from Peppers he'll rarely have more than one man to beat in order to get to the quarterback in passing situations. Beating Geoff Schwartz to sack a confused Jimmy Clausen repeatedly does not a future Hall of Famer make. But Idonije is intriguing enough to warrant DL2 consideration.