Dynasty League Football


2022 IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookies: Top Landing Spots for Defensive Linemen/Edge Rushers

We examine some ideal dynasty landing spots for the top defensive linemen in this draft.

Travon Walker

The countdown to the 2022 NFL Draft is hours away. Hopefully, you’ve done the research, read the profiles, watched some highlights and tape, and are now prepared to head into your rookie drafts.

For those who play in IDP leagues, landing spots for defensive players may be just as vital as offensive players. Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen rookie defenders get eased onto the field and see limited snaps from the outset.

Landing spots are a bit complex and there are a wide range of factors to look at when projecting teams. Looking at depth charts can be a bit overwhelming, but there are quite a few teams who need talent at all positions and I do think this draft class is loaded with players who have a clear path to snaps, as early as this season.

In these articles, I look at the ideal landing spots for the IDPs you should be targeting in your rookie drafts.

First up…

Defensive Line/EDGE

George Karlaftis, EDGE Purdue

Ideal Landing Spot: Atlanta Falcons

Karlaftis really stood out when I reviewed his 2021 season and is one of the top edge rushers coming out of the draft. Dare I say he is now one of the top three?

Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux are going to be the top-two pass rushers selected and I think the combination of tape and metrics has shot Karlaftis up draft boards.

The Atlanta Falcons could go a few directions in the draft, but their defense has been anemic, especially their pass rush. They ranked dead last in 2021 in sacks with 18. The Eagles ranked 31st, however, they at least had 29. The fact Atlanta can’t get any type of pressure on the quarterback allows opposing QBs to just pick apart the secondary. Dante Fowler led the team in sacks with a paltry 4.5.

Karlaftis was one of Purdue’s best defenders and generated a 16.1% pressure rate – resulting in five sacks, however, he produced 14 more QB hits. He has an elite bull rush and is multifaceted, meaning he’s able to line up anywhere (inside or out). Get him over the tackle or line him up inside next to Grady Jarrett. He has the proverbial “motor” and can play every down. He also has an impact at the line of scrimmage – recording 11.5 tackles for loss in 2021.

If Karlaftis is drafted by Atlanta, I project him to see a full-time role and be on the field for 70% of the snaps. I’d draft him as my third DL in rookie drafts.

Jermaine Johnson, EDGE Florida State

Ideal Landing Spot: Seattle Seahawks

Johnson’s jump in production and playing time from 2020 to 2021 was eye-popping and thrust him into the conversation as a first-round pick. In most mocks, he’s been projected as a top-ten pick. The NFL loves their edge rushers.

Seattle was near the bottom of the NFL in sacks with 34 – just two per game. The Seahawks addressed the position in free agency with Uchenna Nwosu. Darrell Taylor and Rasheem Green were a surprising source of sacks last year, each with 6.5. Green remains a free agent, so the ‘Hawks will need to fill 847 vacated snaps and 514 pass-rush snaps.

As mentioned, Johnson’s production spiked from 2020 to 2021. He recorded four sacks and five tackles for loss in 2020 and improved to 11.5 sacks and 17.5 TFLs. He also produced a 9.5% tackle rate – resulting in 70 tackles. Johnson generated an 11% pressure rate along with a 20% win rate (meaning he was beating his blockers in fewer than two seconds).

If there’s something Pete Carroll loves, it’s taking defenders with his first-round pick. However, they need the pass-rush help, as Nwosu isn’t going to be enough to keep up with the caliber of NFL QBs. Johnson’s 4.58-second 40 time will allow him to keep up with speedy QB and he had a sub-7-second three-cone which matches his agility on tape.

If Seattle draft Johnson, it will be a solid IDP spot, as he should see snap and pass rush volume out of the gate. Johnson is my DL4 among rookie edge rusher/defensive linemen.

Travon Walker, EDGE Georgia

Ideal Landing Spot: Houston Texans

Walker saw an increase in workload from 2020 to 2021 and the production followed. He showed up during the CFB playoff and opened the eyes of NFL scouts. His mock projections have been all over the place.

The Texans managed just 32 total sacks, with Jonathan Greenard leading the way with eight. The next person behind him? Jacob Martin with four. The pass rush was listless, especially with the loss of JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus was on pace to lead the team in sacks until a midseason trade sent him to Green Bay.

Walker was able to hold up to the rigors of the SEC schedule and appeared in 596 defensive snaps, after seeing just 200 in 2020. After recording just one sack over 200 pass-rush snaps, he notched six sacks and 7.5 TFLs over 596 defensive snaps. He produced an 8.2% pressure rate and 15 win rate. Walker has the ideal frame that can be an issue for opposing o-linemen. He produced an official 4.51-second 40 time (1.69 10-yard split) and 6.89 three-cone. He needs to develop a few more pass-rush moves and improve upon his swipe and pull. His force and frame are his top attributes.

Walker will bring a pass-rush presence to a Houston team in dire need. Just let him line up on the edge outside the tackle and let him take advantage of his burst. I could see Walker seeing pass rush snaps exclusively but developing into a full-time player. He’s a top-five edge rusher in this class and your IDP rookie drafts.

Boye Mafe, EDGE Minnesota

Ideal Landing Spot: Dallas Cowboys

Dallas need an edge rusher and were the NFL’s version of Adam Dunn in free agency – they swung and missed on all the free agents – even losing Randy Gregory when a deal was in place. They probably won’t have a chance at the top names, but Boye Mafe is a name that makes sense for them.

Dallas dealt with injuries on the edge all season. They were forced to use Micah Parsons, however. He didn’t disappoint, but it forced them to use Leighton Vander Esch and Keanu Neal as off-ball LBs. Dorance Armstrong and Tarell Basham contributed sacks, but they could use more depth at talent at the position.

When you think edge rushers, you don’t necessarily think of the Golden Gophers, but Mafe was their best defender in 2021. He showed an upward trajectory in production and development throughout his four-year career. He showed consistency in the pass-rush and generated a 16.3% pressure rate during his senior year – resulting in seven sacks and nine QB hits. He showed out during the Senior Bowl – recording a 36.4% pressure rate which resulted in two sacks.

He’s an explosive pass-rusher and has that twitch scouts love. He has a push-pull that takes away punches from opposing offensive linemen. They will have trouble with his burst off the snap. Give him some runway and it’s over for the blocker. He’ll need to show the same level of play against the run. He has LB speed and is slithery. I love Mafe’s swim move.

The Cowboys could get creative with Mafe on the edge. They could line him up opposite Demarcus Lawrence or bring him on the edge as an extra pass-rusher. The addition of Mafe would take the majority of pass-rush responsibility off Lawrence’s plate and allow Parsons to focus on being an off-ball LB.

David Ojabo, EDGE Michigan

Ideal Landing Spot: Arizona Cardinals

Ojabo suffered a devastating Achilles injury on his pro day. Before that injury, he was projected to be, at worst, a top-15 pick. Now? It’s murkier than the Dagobah System. The Arizona Cardinals are looking for a Chandler Jones replacement, and I think he’d be a great fit in the desert.

The Achilles injury isn’t scaring me off and it is expected to sideline Ojabo for around six months. JJ Watt is a shell of his former self and is set to be a FA after 2022, Jones went to Vegas, so the Cards going to need a competent edge rusher opposite Markus Golden. Ojabo will probably redshirt his rookie year, but the talent and upside are enough to consider him for 2023 and beyond.

Ojabo is a true pass-rusher who probably won’t scare opposing RBs. I recall seeing him on a handful of run snaps against Georgia. He has the length, bend, and explosiveness that makes scouts salivate. He’s not a WWE rusher – meaning his moves aren’t scripted. He’ll improvise and adjust. He should slot in as an outside rusher deployed outside the tackle. Ojabo generated a 14.9% pressure rate – resulting in 11 sacks.

2022 could be a red-shirt year Ojabo, no matter the landing spot. He should be ready for 2023 and is still worth drafting in rookie drafts as a top-seven edge rusher.

Jordan Davis, IDL Georgia

Ideal Landing Spot: Philadelphia Eagles

Once again, there is a UGA defender mentioned here. After appearing in just seven games in 2020, Davis appeared in 15 games in 2021 and saw 378 defensive snaps.

The Eagles need to think about the future on their interior line. Fletcher Cox is 32 and is on just a one-year deal. Javon Hargrave will be 30 next season. The Eagles have a shot at an elite athlete with one of their two first-round picks.

Davis’s Scouting Combine metrics were off the charts for a man his size. He ran a sub-4.8-second 40-yard dash. He’s a beefy specimen of a man with all of the size, power to clog up gaps and make offenses second-guess the running game. He welcomes double-teams, so he would open things up for the linebackers. Davis just tosses aside offensive linemen like Thanos shed the Avengers in Infinity War. He needs to improve upon his conditioning so he stays on the field. He’ll also need to use more than a bull rush, but it’s an elite move. He recorded an elite 8.5% tackle rate over his 378 snaps.

Davis would bring an intimidating presence to their interior. Once he gets a hold of a ball carrier, he won’t miss the tackle – he had zero missed tackles over the last two seasons. He’s my DT1 in DT-required leagues.

2022 IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookies: Top Landing Spots for Defensive Linemen/Edge Rushers
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3 months ago

As long as the Cards pass on off-ball LB I’ll be happy.

And whoever lands in ATL should be golden from an early career volume perspective!

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