2021 IDP Rankings Breakdown: Defensive Line

May 13, 2021
2021 IDP Rankings Breakdown: Defensive Line

It’s that time of year - the dust has settled on the NFL Draft and the rookies' landing spots have been determined. Free agency is just about finished, with a few stragglers lurking. So, that means it's time for the initial IDP Rankings for 2021! Rankings for IDP can be a bit subjective with a few different scoring settings available, so that's why I also like to break down rankings into tiers and some of my favorite targets in each tier.


More 2021 IDP Rankings: Linebackers


The defensive line has a few elite options and double-digit sack guys. It's not as deep as linebacker, and depending on the scoring system, you might draft one of the elite DLs ahead of an LB. If you're in a shallow league where you're playing 2-3, you'll want to draft one of the DL1 early. The position can dry up quickly. If you can fill your DL spot with two double-digit sack guys, you should be set on a weekly basis and take some chances on high upside rookies and injury bounce-back candidates.

So, with that said, here is the breakdown of ranks into tiers and some of the favorite targets in each tier.

Tier 1

This is the elite at the position. These are the three guys who'll be going ahead of the others - possibly 2-3 rounds earlier than the others. Depending on your scoring format, you could be looking at spending a 7th-8th round pick. If you land one of these guys, you can wait until the other tiers to get your DL2.

Tier 1 Defensive Linemen
Rank Player Team
1 Myles Garrett Browns
2 Aaron Donald Rams
3 Chase Young Football Team

Myles Garrett was on his way to a DL1-type season until he got hit with COVID-19. For someone in the shape he’s in, COVID-19 hit him hard. He missed two games and he really wasn’t the same when he returned. Garrett seemed to be gassed more often. Up until his acquisition of the virus, he was on a 17-sack pace and was generating a 12.3% pressure rate. I’m all in on Garrett being the DL1 this season.

I'm not sure there is a more dominant defender in the NFL than Aaron Donald. Over the last three seasons, here’s how he’s finished in overall scoring: DL4, DL10, DL1. Donald finished with a 5.2% tackle rate and an astounding 17.2% pressure rate, resulting in 13.5 sacks. He also cut down on missed tackles from 12 total in both 2018 and 2019, to just two in 2020. The numbers he produces from the interior are remarkable considering he’s double-teamed on more occasions than any other defender. I don’t think you need many reasons to consider Donald elite.

Chase Young got off to a slow start in his rookie year, but what can you expect considering the situation all of the rookies were put through. In the first seven games, Young recorded just 2.5 sacks. Over his final nine games, he finished with five. Although his pressure rate ended up below 10%, I think he’s set for a breakout sophomore season. Another season opposite Montez Sweat and a stout defensive line, I like Young’s upside to generate a double-digit pressure rate and hit double-digit sacks in 2021.

Tier 2

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