Not every fantasy owner has embraced Individual Defensive Position (IDP) leagues, but as someone who plays in a few, I can tell you how much fun they are. It really helps you learn about the defensive schemes that each team uses.
For those of you who play in IDP leagues, here are five rookies who I think could make an immediate impact in your league this upcoming season.
DE Chase Young, Washington
Young comes to the league from Ohio State, a program which has produced some of the best defensive talent in the NFL. Young can make an immediate impact similar to Von Miller, where he comes off the edge to create havoc on opposing quarterbacks. He uses his exceptional speed to keep blockers off-balance, and he is quick enough to get to running backs before they reach the line of scrimmage. If your league places a lot of importance on sacks, Young is your man for sure. He could lead the league in sacks within a year or two.
DT Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers
Very rarely do we hear the words "generational talent" bandied about when it comes to rookies, but I have heard some experts use those words about Brown. Brown still has to work on his pass rush, and I expect that he will see a lot of double teams due to the Panthers' weak defensive line, but he is a beast against the run. Defensive tackle usually is a challenging position to fill in IDP leagues. After Aaron Donald and DeForest Buckner, there is a significant drop-off. Brown could fill that gap nicely.
LB Isaiah Simmons, Arizona Cardinals
As of right now, some experts expect Simmons to be a linebacker, while others think he might be better off as a safety. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is excited about Simmons and is going to start him at linebacker. He knows that he is an impact player who needs to be accounted for no matter where he plays. The beauty of Simmons is that he can be used in multiple ways: he had eight sacks last season for Clemson, but he also can play in coverage and is a sure tackler. Simmons is exactly the type of player I love to own in IDP leagues as he can do a bit of everything.
EDGE K'Lavon Chaisson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chaisson is the type of pass rusher who can make an immediate impact in the NFL due to his incredible speed and first step, which regularly beats most offensive linemen. Chaisson is still improving as a run defender, and I expect that he will make great strides there in the coming years. The real reason he makes this list is that the Jaguars need almost everything on defense, so he should see plenty of snaps as a rookie.
LB Kenneth Murray, Los Angeles Chargers
In today's NFL, it is tough to find running backs who can play all three downs. It is also increasingly hard to find linebackers who play three downs as well. Some linebackers are better against the run, while others excel against the pass. What I like so much about Murray is that he can do it all. In college, he displayed a terrific football IQ and was a demon going from sideline-to-sideline to make tackles. His intensity should be an excellent fit for the Chargers who have lacked that type of player since Junior Seau.
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