The draft ended Saturday and rookie drafts are firing off this week- I went over the landing spots and combined with what I have read and seen, this is my initial rookie rankings for IDP. Several really good players that I charted high before the draft went to spots where they might not be as optimal or they may take time to break into fantasy relevant roles.
I typically take my first defensive rookie in a combined offense/defense draft around the middle of the second round and I target linebackers first, like the first tier, and then the few top defensive ends and safeties going into the early third round.
Marcus Davenport, DE, New Orleans Saints
New Orleans gave up a lot to get the raw and talented Davenport, he will get opportunity to prove the Saints brass right. Davenport showed amazingly in college versus smaller schools, the ability is there and the Saints will rotate him in and cultivate him to be a great pass rusher.
Bradley Chubb, DE, Denver Broncos
(Chubb may end up designated as OLB- if so, he drops down immensely) Chubb has projected to be the top defensive lineman all along and his drafting spot doesn’t hurt. He should have ample opportunities with offensive lineman worrying about Von Miller and Shane Ray. Chubb will also help out in the run game and will factor into DL1 conversation all year.
Vita Vea, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I love Vea as a three down starter and not many defensive tackles creep into DL1 conversation but Vea could here. He’s a run stopper, can put pressure on the QB, and lands in a spot where he can complement some other quality defensive lineman. I love the spot and think Vea will have an immediate impact.
Dorance Armstrong, DE, Dallas Cowboys
If Armstrong can carve out some snaps he will be a productive run stopper and possibly some pass rushing - his strength will lie in his run stopping. Armstrong uses his length as leverage on pass rushing and never stops fighting to get to ball carriers. Solid addition for the Cowboys.
Sam Hubbard, DE, Cincinnati Bengals
Hubbard lands in a spot where they have had issues rushing the passers but have a few talented lineman that should free up Hubbard to make an impact. He will get some tackle opportunities and make a difference in pass rush with above average agility and quickness for his size.
Tyquan Lewis, DE, Indianapolis Colts
Lewis wasn’t high on my radar initially- he landed in a great spot that spent the draft capitol and he will get playing time for a defense that sorely needs playmakers. Lewis figures in the run stopping game and will get a chance to prove he can rush the quarterback.
Maurice Hurst, DT, Oakland Raiders
An asterisk accompanies this pick- his medical status is in the air a little- if cleared, Hurst will prove the Raiders correct to take a chance. Hurst was an absolute force in Ann Arbor and he will soak up blocks, rush the passer, and get some tackles versus the ground game.
Harrison Phillips, DT, Buffalo Bills
Another run stopper with a great opportunity- Phillips is smart, strong, and led the Stanford team in tackles from the nose tackle position, almost unheard of. He should play all three downs and anchor the Bills defensive line for years.
Rotational Starters DL3/DL4
Arden Key, DE, Oakland Raiders
Arden will be primarily a pass rusher, a true disruptive force with a tremendous motor. High sack potential.
Duke Ejifor, DE, Houston Texans
Duke can really get after quarterback and joins a strong defensive line rotation- especially if Watt plays.
Breeland Speaks, DE, Kansas City Chiefs
Fiery and passionate- can get after the passer and should see a lot of snaps early, joins a D-Line in need of pressures.
Chad Thomas, DE, Cleveland Browns
Versatile lineman that has the tools but lacked production- flashed potential and will join a talented Cleveland line.
Da’Ron Payne, DT, Washington Redskins
Solid run defender and ‘space-eater’ up front that will make entire D-line better, a force to be reckoned with.
Taven Bryan, DT, Jacksonville Jaguars
Joins a talented unit- brings relentless pass rush attack and will rotate in with a scary unit, combine freak.
Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Buffalo Bills
Basically 1a and 1b- Edmunds gets the nod at 1a for me due to sheer opportunity and a friendly stat crew in Buffalo. Edmunds is a complete linebacker, relentless tackler with good cover skills, a rookie season of over 100 tackles is likely and he will lead the Bills linebacker unit for years.
Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago Bears
Hardly a consolation prize- my favorite LB- Smith will immediately man the middle where the Bears have been seeking someone for years. Roquan is complete and does all asked of him very well, played against top competition at Georgia as well. Chicago has found a new Monster of the Midway.
Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts
Leonard creeps up near LB1 territory- a sound tackler that landed in a spot that desperately needs a middle linebacker. Leonard is smart and efficient, doesn’t play with a violent streak but just makes plays. Will see loads of playing time and see many tackle opportunities.
Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Another that could see the stud tier in time- Leighton was impressive in his sole season starting and joins a linebacking crew that needs help alongside long time stalwart Sean Lee. Leighton should improve his all-around play learning from the legend and also make an impact from Day 1.
Rashaan Evans, LB, Tennessee Titans
And another that could be LB1- Evans played all over the linebacking corps at Alabama, has really strong coverage ability due to his speed. He can tackle, read plays well, and disrupt as a pass rusher. Will learn from Wesley Woodyard and take over the reins as a leader in Titans defense.
Malik Jefferson, LB, Cincinnati Bengals
Jefferson in an athletic freak that never seemed to find his niche for the Longhorns but will get the opportunity in time to be ‘the man’ in the Queen City defense. Jefferson possesses sideline to sideline ability and will get to learn from Vontaze Burfict and Preston Brown- will likely start early.
Rotational Starters LB3/LB4
Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Warner may get the chance early depending on Rueben Foster, should play and factor in regardless but outlook is rosier depending on Foster outcome. Flexible LB and great athlete.
Josey Jewell, LB, Denver Broncos
Will play early and contribute as a run stopping two-down linebacker, high football IQ. Immense producer at Iowa.
Jerome Baker, LB, Miami Dolphins
Good coverage skills will get him the chance to be on field three downs- generates turnovers and can develop into a complete LB.
Micah Kiser, LB, Los Angeles Rams
Thumping and tenacious middle linebacker, tackles well and likely a two-down linebacker, throw back to old school MLBs.
Harold Landry, LB, Tennessee Titans
Titans will line him up all over to maximize pass rushing potential, could play more as NFL game comes to him- massive potential.
Derwin James, S, San Diego Chargers
Derwin is the cream of the crop and slipped to the Chargers- giving them the most formidable secondary in the NFL when healthy. Derwin does it all and could take a job from a vet year 1 or be a rotational and versatile tool- either way he will see the field and he will be productive- get him early.
Ronnie Harrison, S, Jacksonville Jaguars
Year 1 will likely be Harrison seeing part-time duty, but grab him and wait- he will be a massively productive safety in Sacksonville. Can play both safety positions but not as strong in the cover game- Ronnie is a big hitter and has the attitude that permeates through the Jaguar defense.
Justin Reid, S, Houston Texans
Reid will likely split playing time in his first year but his versatility should earn him playing time. Reid lined up all over for Stanford, he’s a big hitter with fluid movements and ball skills, also covers fairly well and will develop into a solid secondary asset for the Texans.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB/S, Miami Dolphins
Minkah will be a much stronger NFL player than IDP asset but his versatility coupled with the needs of the Dolphins will get him playing time right away. Minkah will line up versus slot receivers and play safety, his speed and cover skills along with range and pass rushing chops will keep in on the field.
Marcus Allen, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Marcus will likely be an in-the-box strong safety due to strong tackling skills and limitations in pass coverage ability. He takes good angles and is a sure tackler- he could fill a hybrid role and help with the loss of Ryan Shazier along with fellow draftee Terrell Edmunds.
Josh Jackson, CB, Green Bay Packers
Jackson should be tested more as the ‘least’ talented of the Packers new cornerbacks and will see more tackle chances- but also notch a few turnovers. Jackson had the best ball skills of the cornerbacks in the class and will likely be a factor in the NFL early.
Rotational Starters DB3/DB4
Tracy Walker, S, Detroit Lions
Playmaking safety that will play early and solid tackler deep, could push out a vet in Motor City.
Jessie Bates, S, Cincinnati Bengals
Hard hitter with a nose for the ball, will need some time to develop- will be a starter Year 2-3 and could be a special.
Mike Hughes, CB, Minnesota Vikings
Flashy corner picked on as ‘weakest’ Viking CB- leading to tackle and big-play opportunities, plays with swagger.
Isaiah Oliver, CB, Atlanta Falcons
Press coverage ‘bigger’ corner, should see attention when playing and tackle chances- draft stock slipped but talent is there.
- Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo, LB1
- Roquan Smith, Chicago, LB2
- Darius Leonard, Indianapolis, LB3
- Bradley Chubb, Denver, DE1 *IF designated as OLB, list shifts up and Chubb falls down to 18
- Leighton Vander Esch, Dallas, LB4
- Rashaan Evans, Tennessee, LB5
- Derwin James, San Diego, S1
- Ronnie Harrison, Jacksonville, S2
- Vita Vea, Tampa Bay, DT1
- Malik Jefferson, Cincinnati, LB6
- Fred Warner, San Francisco, LB7
- Josey Jewell, Denver, LB8
- Jerome Baker, Miami, LB9
- Justin Reid, Houston, S3
- Marcus Davenport, New Orleans, DE2
- Dorance Armstrong, Dallas, DE3
- Micah Kiser, Los Angeles Rams, LB10
- Minkah Fitzpatrick, Miami, CB1
- Maurice Hurst, Oakland, DT2
- Harold Landry, Tennessee, LB11
- Harrison Phillips, Buffalo, DT3
- Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati, DE4
- Josh Jackson, Green Bay, CB2
- Marcus Allen, Pittsburgh, S4
- Jessie Bates, Cincinnati, S5
- Da’Ron Payne, Washington, DT4
- Tyquan Lewis, Indianapolis, DE5
- Duke Ejifor, Houston, DE6
- Mike Hughes, Minnesota, CB3
- Isaiah Oliver, Atlanta, CB4
Good luck and if you have any questions- @ me on Twitter at @DHHPeeblesChamp. Follow @DynastyHHPod and listen to the Dynasty Happy Hour podcast for some of the best dynasty football content!