7 Breakout Defensive Linemen to Target in IDP Leagues
We have embarked on an offseason for the ages. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our sports, and even though the NFL is on track to play, who the hell knows what's going to happen during training camps. Reporting will be limited, and in addition to that, there won't be any preseason games. So it'll be even more difficult to pinpoint those late-round targets.
We'll know more about which players will be available for 2020 as opt-out announcements continue this week.
As we head into draft season, these are the defensive linemen who I think will be in position to produce for your IDP squads and will be able to get later on in your drafts. These guys find themselves in a new location or have potentially taken on more responsibility.
Chase Winovich, DL, New England Patriots
Well, the Patriots defense has been decimated from free agency and now COVID19. This offseason, they’ve lost Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins to other squads, and D'onta Hightower has announced he’s opting out of the season. Chase Winovich should see an increase in volume out of necessity.
As a rook, Winovich was one of NE’s better defenders on the line and took advantage of his playing time. He’s entering his second year with the potential of more volume as more than 1,000 snaps on the edge have opened up. In 2019, Chase saw just 291 defensive snaps and was used as a pass-rush specialist - receiving 232 pass-rush snaps. He held his own in run defense, but only saw 53 snaps against the run.
If Chase can get on the field for more snaps in run situations, he’s going to be an IDP asset in balanced and tackle-heavy leagues. He recorded an 8.9% tackle rate and produced a near 2:1 solo-to-assist tackle ratio, so he was frequently getting to the carrier ahead of his teammates. Winovich was efficient with his pass-rush snaps - recording a 10% pressure rate and converting 5.5 of his pressures into sacks. I think both Winovich and John Simon see the majority of the snaps in the line rotation - with Winovich hitting the 600 mark.
He’s being drafted outside of the top-40, so target him in the later rounds of your draft and you have a potential DL3 for your weekly starter.
Montez Sweat, DL, Washington Football Team
Sweat is one of my favorite breakout candidates this year - especially with Washington converting to a 4-3 defense.
Sweat is another second-year player who really excelled in his rookie year, but IDP owners couldn’t take full advantage due to his LB designation. With platforms converting to EDGE designations, plus, the conversion to DL on platforms that don’t, he should be on your radar this season.
The Washington defensive line is poised to be a top-three unit and I believe Sweat is going to be a reason why - even with the addition of Chase Young and guys like Ryan Kerrigan still hanging around.
His traits, while effective in a 3-4, are better suited for a 4-3. His frame and quickness of the snap are perfect for an edge rusher. I don’t think he’ll be asked to drop into coverage as much. Chase Young will also relieve him of potential receiving extra attention in pass blocking. Last season, Montez sweated out a 10.1% pressure rate - converting seven of his total pressures into sacks. Why do I think he’s on the cusp of double-digits? I think his coverage snaps get slashed, so those are additional pass-rush snaps - more volume and opportunities.
Sweat’s being drafted among the top-30 DL, so he’s getting noticed, but I feel confident in his production as a weekly DL2 starter.
Ifeadi Odenigbu, DL, Minnesota Vikings
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