Myles Garrett & 7 Other Rookie Defensive Lineman to Target in IDP Leages in 2017

Jun 26, 2017
Myles Garrett & 7 Other Rookie Defensive Lineman to Target in IDP Leages in 2017

As more and more NFL teams target pass rushers to disrupt the opposing offense's aerial attack and put consistent pressure on the QB, we have to more closely analyze each rookie defensive line class.

We'll start with the rushers to target for IDP success in re-draft, then go through a few potential mid-season and dynasty targets.

More IDP Breakouts: DL | LBs | DBs | Rookie DBs | Rookie LBs

Myles Garrett, DE, Browns (Re-Draft Target)

Garrett should be off the board as the first DL in rookie drafts, and I'm targeting him as a DL2 in re-draft leagues. He was the consensus top pick around the NFL and the Browns made it official. Luckily for future Garrett owners, the Browns hired Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator and changed their philosophy to a base 4-3, although they will run sub packages and different looks. It really doesn't matter; Garrett's job is simple: see QB, get QB.

Garrett failed to hit double-digit sacks in 2016, but still registered 10 QB hurries and was a focus for opposing offensive lines. Garrett compiled 32.5 sacks and 30 QB hurries in three seasons with the Aggies. He was also a menace around the line of scrimmage, racking up 48.5 tackles for loss, resulting in 252 total lost yards. Garrett should have no problems adjusting to the NFL thanks to his elite quickness and explosiveness off the ball. He also finishes tackles and sacks, not allowing the QB or ball carrier to break away from his grasp. In re-draft, I'm targeting him as my DL3.

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Takk McKinley, DE, Falcons (Re-Draft Target)

With the emergence of Vic Beasley and Adrian Clayborn's biceps injury, McKinley has a chance to make a big impact on the Falcons defensive line.

After producing seven sacks between 2014 and 2015, McKinley saw a big jump in production in 2016. In addition to 10 sacks, he recorded 50 solo tackles, including 18 tackles for loss. He also forced three fumbles and defended six passes, resulting in first-team All-Pac-12 honors.

McKinley is emotional, just look at his draft night interview. He's also relentless in pursuit of the ball, no matter who has it. Opposing offensive lines won't be able to catch a breath, as he goes full speed all of the time and doesn't take plays off. He's going to be a disrupter, not only from a pass rush standpoint, but at the line of scrimmage. If he removes the stiffness and gets more bendy, he and Beasley are going to be lethal.

McKinley is the second rookie DL behind Garrett that I am targeting him as a DL3, especially in leagues that require at least 2-3 DE/DL starters.

Taco Charlton, DE, Cowboys (Re-Draft Target)

The Cowboys' pass rush has been underwhelming of late, so Dallas nabbed Charlton 28th overall in hopes of injecting some life into their defense. He should see snaps immediately.

Charlton had a standout senior year at Michigan, notching 42 tackles (13.5 for loss) and 10 sacks. It was that type of strong play that elevated him on draft boards. He has the size to play the end position and has an advantage on others because of his length. He also has plus quickness to get off the ball, which is going to benefit him against the run.

Hopefully, Charlton will be able to answer the call at the NFL level, since it took him until his final season at Michigan to earn a starting spot. But in today's NFL, starter doesn't have the same meaning. He could start, but only be on the field in base packages. Early projections have him atop the depth chart, starting opposite Tyrone Crawford. The Cowboy pass rush has been anemic over the last several years, so I see Charlton getting as many snaps as he can handle. For re-draft leagues, he should provide bench depth as a DL4.

Solomon Thomas, DT, 49ers (Re-Draft Target)

Thomas is going to be a target in leagues requiring a defensive tackle, as early depth chart projections have him kicking inside. Thomas jumped out at me during his dominant performance against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl. It seemed as if every other play, announcers were calling Thomas's name as he made play after play.

In 13 games during his 2016 campaign, Thomas recorded eight sacks and 15 tackles for loss. He produced a sack, five QB hurries, seven tackles and two tackles for loss in that very Sun Bowl. He's well built for the interior and is quick off the snap. He loves contact and uses his upper body well to get through blocks. He also possesses above-average range and is relentless in pursuit.

I don't project Thomas as a double-digit sack producer, but he has a nice floor thanks to tackle upside -- very similar to someone like Calais Campbell. Thomas's sacks could come in bunches, but he can rack up tackles. In re-draft leagues where the DT position is required, I'd target him as a DT3.

Dalvin Tomlinson, DT, New York Giants (Mid-Season Target)

Tomlinson was a 2nd round pick and could be in the mix for starter snaps at the beginning of 2017. Jonathan Hankins left for Indianapolis in free agency, so playing alongside Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon is going to help.

His instincts for when double-teams generate is going to be helpful and maintains blocks and his responsibility until the play comes his way. His build allows him to shed blocks and he has laser focus on the ball carrier. He's active at the line and it wouldn't surprise me to see him leading the defensive line in defended passes.

As of now, he looks to be a mid-season target in DT-required leagues as soon as he's able to carve out his role. There's DT3 upside in New York's defense.

Derek Barnett, DE, Eagles (Mid-season Target)

Barnett was drafted by an Eagles defense that already boasts a deep line with guys like Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Chris Long and Fletcher Cox. However, Barnett is still a great addition -- his 2016 tape stands out.

I love how Barnett uses his hands. He's got a quick first move and his body and hands work in concert with each other, allowing him to get to the QB efficiently. He displays sound fundamentals in tackling and delivers hits with force. He's going to be solid in pass coverage as well since he doesn't fall for play-action and can keep up in space.

Barnett is going to fit right in to Philly's defense. In 2016 he recorded 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. Monitor his progress through camp and be ready to pounce on him as a waiver wire add around Week 3 or 4.

Charles Harris, DE, Dolphins (Mid-season Target)

Like Barnett, Harris has battles on the depth chart to win. I don't think Harris will overtake Cameron Wake, but Andre Branch and William Hayes better not rest on their laurels. Harris was a solid draft pick for a very talented Miami defensive line.

Harris has gained rave reviews in the team's offseason program after producing 16 sacks and 30.5 tackles for loss for the Missouri Tigers in 2015-16. He has great leverage and height, which allows him to bend. His go-to move will be a spin, which he can use in either direction. If he gains inside leverage on his opponent, it's lights out.

I look for Harris to be another mid-season target on IDP waiver wires. He has a tremendous ceiling and I love his long-term outlook.

Derek Rivers, DE, Patriots (Dynasty Target)

While Rivers may not hold re-draft value this season, he certainly has long-term upside. His strong character means he'll fit right in to the New England way of not taking plays off. He knows how to attack the gaps and is quick off the ball out of his stance. While he's making quite the jump in competition from Youngstown State to the NFL, he finds himself in the perfect system -- he will learn from and be groomed by vets like Rob Ninkovich and the newly acquired David Harris.

Malik McDowell, DT, Seahawks (Dynasty Target)

McDowell will be a dynasty target in DT-required leagues. He finds himself in a perfect situation for addressing the concerns surrounding his play on the field, which mainly involve his taking plays off and displaying a questionable work ethic. There's no doubt his build and size are going to help him go a long way in the NFL. His strength is also going to help, as it can overwhelm opposing offensive lineman. He'll need to improve his footwork, but he has a strong coaching staff and a bunch of veterans that can aid in his development. There's definite upside with McDowell in DT-required leagues.

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