The Rookie Defensive Linemen To Target in 2024 IDP Fantasy Football Leagues

May 10, 2024
The Rookie Defensive Linemen To Target in 2024 IDP Fantasy Leagues

NFL front offices and IDP gamers are aligned when it comes to the importance of EDGE rushers. Five EDGE rushers and one interior defensive lineman came off the board in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Six more EDGE rushers and nine interior linemen came off the board on Day 2. When you consider that no linebackers or safeties came off the board in Round 1, it's easy to understand why early IDP rookie drafts will likely have EDGE rushers coming off the board early and often.

More IDP Rookie Content: Linebackers | Defensive Backs

Now, overall draft capital matters and is the driving force behind the EDGE-heavy start to 2024 IDP rookie drafts, but landing spots are equally, if not more, important. It turns out it's hard to accumulate fantasy points when you can't earn snaps. As is the case with any league, your scoring format and positional requirements are crucial in determining how to prioritize these players, but for now, I'll take a high-level look at a few key players who have a path to playing time for the 2024 season.

2024 IDP - Rookie Defensive Linemen

Laiatu Latu, EDGE, Indianapolis Colts

After a run of 14 straight offensive players to start the draft, the Colts made Laiatu Latu the first defensive player selected in this year's class. His performance over the past two seasons at UCLA solidified him as the nation's most productive pass rusher. Latu comes out of UCLA as one of the highest-graded prospects at his position in the PFF era (since 2014). His 96.3 overall grade in 2023 is unmatched, and his 94.3 pass-rush grade from 2023 is the third-best mark, behind only Chase Young (2019) and Jacksonville's Josh Allen (2018).

Latu's story is one of perseverance. As you've likely heard by now, a neck injury forced him into a medical retirement early in his career at Washington. After transferring to UCLA, Latu defied expectations by racking up 34 tackles for loss and a staggering 23.5 sacks over his final two seasons. He's a physical marvel who posted a 9.37 Relative Athletic Score; possessing exceptional lateral agility for his size allows him to evade blockers. Latu overpowered college offensive linemen at the snap with an elite first step and flawless hand technique. He showcases a relentless motor that disrupts plays across the line of scrimmage.

Latu is my top defensive lineman in this year's class because he's playing alongside the best supporting cast. DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart are as good as any interior line duo in the league, and on the opposite end, Kwity Paye continues to improve year after year. Latu will likely rotate on early downs with Paye, Samson Ebukam, and Dayo Odeyingbo, but I'd expect him to push for 7-8 sacks and some other splash plays.

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