8 Rookie Defensive Linemen to Target in 2018 IDP Leagues
As more and more NFL teams target pass-rushers to disrupt the opposing offense's aerial attack and put consistent pressure on the quarterback, we have to more closely analyze each rookie defensive line class. Below you will find a look at the 2018 class and who to target this season in IDP leagues.
If you're in a dynasty league or you're looking for more information on the rookies discussed below, you should definitely check out all the content from our friends at Dynasty League Football.
Marcus Davenport, DE, New Orleans Saints
The Saints gave up a truckload for a player who doesn't play the quarterback position—Marcus Davenport—lands in a favorable spot for production in 2018.
Davenport's combine jumped out, especially his 4.58 40-yard time. He had two highly productive seasons in 2016 and 2017. His 2017 tape really impressed, especially re-visiting it after his combine performance. He recorded 17 tackles for loss, where his average yardage loss was 5.5. He also increased his sacks from 6.5 to 8.5 in 2017 and produced an additional eight QB hurries.
Davenport packed on the weight and fits the mold of that 4-3 edge rusher. He has the ability to shut down running lanes and excels at setting the edge. He has tremendous upside, especially if he improves his hand work. He just needs to loosen up and avoid some contact.
Davenport looks like a defensive end who will be able to produce all-around numbers in (tackles and sacks). Between 2016-2017, Davenport compiled 123 tackles and 27 tackles for loss. He should slide in as a starter opposite Cameron Jordan and see plenty of single-coverage while offenses focus on Jordan. He could be in a rotation with Alex Okafor, but should still see plenty of snaps. I think he's one of the top rookie defensive linemen off the board and I'd target him as my DE3 in redraft formats.
Bradley Chubb, DE/OLB, Denver Broncos
Chubb is an elite edge rusher. There's no doubt about that. His IDP value will rest on his position eligibility in your league.
As soon as Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold went second and third overall, respectively, I was ready to pencil in Chubb to the Browns and make him my top DE rookie. But then he went to Denver with the fifth pick, harpooning his IDP value. As of now, MFL has him as a DE, but that is subject to change since it appears he'll play standing up as an OLB opposite Von Miller.
No matter where he plays, he's going to be a force if he's not double-teamed. Between 2015-2017, he produced at an elite level. Whether he was chasing quarterbacks or putting ball-carriers on their backs, his presence stood out. In those three seasons, he compiled 25.5 sacks and an additional 24 QB hurries. Opposing ball-carriers struggled to get out of the backfield, as he produced 58.5 tackles for loss for a total of 231 yards lost—he also notched 199 total tackles.
I think anyone who's watched him can see how he jumps out on tape and forces you to take notice. He has tremendous strength which allows him to get under gaps and has plus abilities setting the edge. Don't be surprised to see him make downfield tackles with his 4.6 speed—he won't give up on plays. Once he wraps the defender, he has active hands and is looking to force turnovers. And he can play with his hand in the dirt and standing up.
If he has DE eligibility in your league, he should be the first DE/DL taken. In redraft leagues, he carries DE2 upside in 2018 with the chance to be a top-20 scorer. If he gets the LB tag, I'd target him as an LB3 in big-play scoring formats as he profiles similar to Khalil Mack. Chubb should be able to compile enough tackles to warrant drafting him in tackle/balanced formats.
Rasheem Green, DE, Seattle Seahawks
Green lands in Seattle with some flux around their defensive line. With Michael Bennett in Philadelphia and Cliff Avril not expected back, Green has an opportunity for immediate snaps.
Green fits the mold of what Seattle looks for in a 4-3 defensive end. He had solid production for the Trojans in 2016 and 2017, however, he really took a leap in his 2017 season, recording 43 tackles (12.5 for a loss), and 10 sacks. Green also added six QB hits and 27 total hurries.
If Green can add some muscle, he's going to be a solid NFL starter who can play in sub-packages. He has a tremendous burst, allowing him to get off the ball quickly and get to the quarterback or running back. He's really good with his hands and doesn't allow opposing linemen to gain an advantage, while also using a bull-rush type move. Even if stood up, he will track the quarterback to bat passes down.
As of now, I do see Green slotted for base downs, but if he adds some mass over the next few months and listens to his coaches, he could get some sub-package work. The lack of edge defenders definitely helps his case. He'll be worth tracking throughout the off-season and could be a waiver wire addition in the early weeks of the season.