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Dynasty IDP Rankings | Top 10 by Position

By Matt Schauf 4:28pm EDT 4/19/23

 

Top 10 Rookie IDPs

Will Anderson or Tyree Wilson?

While everyone else focuses on the QB rumors, this is the big one on the defensive side.

And how it pans out is likely to affect dynasty IDP rankings.

But should it?

When the Jaguars chose Edge Travon Walker first overall last April, it didn’t sway me to rank Walker ahead of classmates Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux in last year’s IDP rookie rankings.

 

Top-Heavy Positions on Defense

We’ll get to more about Anderson and Wilson in a minute … along with the intriguing young player in my No. 3 spot among edge rookies.

But what about the other spots?

LB and safety both appear to show some gaps between the top prospects and the rest of the group.

DT sports some interesting targets ... though the first one to go in the NFL Draft won’t be the top DT in my rookie dynasty IDP rankings.

What about CB? If you’re an experienced IDP player, then you know that position barely matters -- especially in dynasty rookie drafts.

Let’s start this with the top 10 rookies in our IDP dynasty rankings, followed by the top 10 for each position group.

Draft capital figures to change these soon. But these players already look intriguing.

Want to see our top 2023 NFL Draft prospects by position on offense?

 

1. Will Anderson Jr., Alabama (Edge)

Junior
6’3, 253 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 8.79 (out of 10)

Immediate Producer Delivered Historic College Run

Tyree Wilson beats Anderson by 2 inches and nearly 20 pounds.

But you know where he doesn’t beat him? On the football field. At least so far.

Anderson was a five-star recruit who started right away – at Alabama. And he delivered. He tallied 10.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks en route to freshman All-America honors.

All he did the next two years was become the first ever back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Betting against this guy doesn’t seem wise.

 

Will Anderson Stats

Speed Score: 113.0
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 1.43
Career Sacks per game: 0.84
Final-year TFL per game: 1.31
Final-year Sacks per game: 0.77

Will Anderson takes down the Ole Miss QB. He leads the DraftSharks.com dynasty IDP rankings heading into the NFL Draft.  Some impressive Will Anderson stats: 58.5 career tackles for loss; 34.5 sacks.

   

2. Jack Campbell, Iowa (LB)

Senior
6’4.5, 249 pounds
Draft Sharks Model Score: 8.04 (out of 10)

Hawkeye Brings Size, Speed, Production

Campbell vs. Drew Sanders will be interesting to watch over the NFL Draft’s first two days.

Sanders commonly gets ranked and mocked ahead of Campbell. But Grinding the Mocks – which aggregates published mock drafts – has Sanders 35th overall vs. 42nd for Campbell.

If they go that close together, then I prefer the Hawkeye. Campbell’s two starting seasons found him earning second-team and then first-team All-America honors. He led FBS in tackles in 2021, as a first-time starter.

Campbell added 15 passes defensed over his final three campaigns and finished 2022 as Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus Award winner (nation’s top LB).

Then he delivered an 80th-percentile speed score and 94th-percentile agility score at the Scouting Combine, crushing basically all the drills.

The biggest mark in Campbell’s favor over Sanders, though, is probably that his game more easily translates to his NFL role.

 

Jack Campbell Stats

Speed Score: 106.5
Career Tackles per game: 8.79
Career Solos per game: 4.09
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.37
Career Passes Defensed: 10
Final-year Tackles per game: 9.62
Final-year Solos per game: 4.54
Final-year TFL per game: 0.42
Final-year PD: 1

This Mockdraftable spiderweb shows the impressive combo of size and athleticism driving the Jack Campbell NFL Draft upside.

   

3. Drew Sanders, Arkansas (LB)

Junior
6’4, 235 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 8.23 (out of 10)

Was 2022 Breakout Enough to Lead this LB Class?

Sanders comes off a terrific lone starting season. He opened 2021 in the Alabama lineup but lost three games to a hand injury and then didn’t get that job back.

After his transfer, Sanders racked up: 

  • 103 total tackles
  • 13.5 tackles for loss
  • 9.5 sacks
  • 6 passes defensed
  • 3 forced fumbles

And he earned unanimous All-America nods.

Though he ran primarily as an off-ball LB, Sanders did spend 13% of his snaps on the edge and rushed the passer on 24.8% of his career snaps.

It’s no knock that he can get after the QB. But it's unlikely to be such a big part of his NFL role.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic – while rating Sanders his No. 1 LB – says the Razorback “must become a more skilled tackle finisher and take-on player.”

I’ll have no problem betting on Sanders in rookie drafts. But unless he goes well ahead of Campbell in the NFL draft, I’ll bet on the Iowa LB first.

 

Drew Sanders Stats

Speed Score: 101.4* (Drew Sanders 40 time from pro day)
Career Tackles per game: 5.04
Career Solos per game: 2.07
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.59
Career Passes Defensed: 7
Final-year Tackles per game: 8.58
Final-year Solos per game: 3.33
Final-year TFL per game: 1.13
Final-year PD: 5

    

4. Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech (Edge)

Senior (fifth year)
6’5.5, 271 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 8.37 (out of 10)

Late Bloomer Battles Will Anderson for Edge Lead

You got the case for Will Anderson Jr. above. So what’s wrong with Wilson?

Well, he redshirted as a freshman at Texas A&M and then didn’t post meaningful production until his fourth college year.

Wilson posted a strong 27.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks over his final two seasons, despite missing the final three games of 2022 with a foot fracture that required doctors to insert a screw.

The production plus his size and athletic ability make him a top prospect. But I’ll take the guy who spent three years beating up the SEC over the tall guy who waited three to produce in the Big 12.

 

Tyree Wilson Stats

Speed Score: n/a (no 40 time because of injury)
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.91
Career Sacks per game: 0.49
Final-year TFL per game: 1.40
Final-year Sacks per game: 0.7

  

5. Lukas Van Ness, Iowa (Edge)

Redshirt Sophomore
6’5, 272 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.57 (out of 10)

Undefined Ceiling Makes Van Ness Exciting

If you’re intrigued by the idea that Tyree Wilson’s size and athleticism present untapped potential, then you should really like Van Ness.

The Hawkeye leaves behind two years of eligibility (he redshirted in 2020) and declared early despite never starting a game in college.

Don’t count that against him. Van Ness played starter-level snaps in the line rotation, logging edge and interior snaps. And he tallied 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks over those two seasons.

Van Ness earned freshman All-America honors in 2021 and led his team in sacks and tackles for loss last season.

But is our guy an inside-outside ‘tweener? 

Well, Van Ness rocked a 91st-percentile 40 time and 80th-percentile 3-cone drill among edge players at the Scouting Combine. So he can run and bend.

And the not quite 22-year-old is probably still getting used to his body. He weighed just 240 pounds when he arrived at Iowa.

 

Lukas Van Ness Stats

Speed Score: 123.6
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.73
Career Sacks per game: 0.5
Final-year TFL per game: 0.81
Final-year Sacks per game: 0.46

The Mockdraftable spider web shows the 40 time and 3-cone drill that combine with his size to make the Lukas Van Ness draft profile so enticing.

  

6. Trenton Simpson, Clemson (LB)

Junior
6’2, 235 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.73 (out of 10)

Three-Year Producer Has Work to Do in Coverage

Simpson doesn’t win on tackle production. He ranks just 16th among this year’s LB prospects in career solo tackles per game.

But his stats show versatility: 12.5 career sacks and 5 passes defensed over two starting seasons. He actually fared better as a pass rusher in 2021 despite drawing more rush opportunities in 2022.

Simpson then showed his athletic upside with a 4.43-second 40 time at the Scouting Combine, registering a 98th-percentile speed score for the position.

That speed plus the range he showed at Clemson should translate to tackle production if he gets the NFL playing time.

Simpson’s biggest challenge will be proving that he belongs in pass-coverage sub packages.

His best Pro Football Focus coverage grade (in 2021) found him ranked just 96th among FBS LBs who played at least 200 snaps.

 

Trenton Simpson Stats

Speed Score: 122.0
Career Tackles per game: 5.0
Career Solos per game: 3.03
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.70
Career Passes Defensed: 5
Final-year Tackles per game: 6.0
Final-year Solos per game: 3.42
Final-year TFL per game: 0.33
Final-year PD: 3

   

7. Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh

Redshirt Junior
6’1, 281 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 8.21 (out of 10)

He's Not Aaron Donald 2.0; But Kancey Brings Upside

Jalen Carter will probably precede Kancey in the NFL Draft by a lot. But don’t be surprised if Carter is much more valuable to his NFL team than his fantasy teams.

Carter averaged just 0.5 tackles for loss per game for his three-year Georgia career; 0.6 per game in his most productive season.

Kancey averaged 0.9 TFLs per game for his Pittsburgh career and 1.2 per game over the past 2 seasons. That included 14.5 sacks.

Kancey’s tiny for the position, but he brings elite speed

  • 99th percentile 40 time
  • 95th percentile 10-yard split

Don’t compare Kancey to fellow Pitt alum Aaron Donald. You’ll set yourself up for disappointment. Donald should be retired as a player comp.

But Kancey’s upside is worth chasing.

Move him down the dynasty IDP rankings, however, if you don’t play any DT-specific slots in your IDP league. 

 

Calijah Kancey Stats

Speed Score: 118.2
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.93
Career Sacks per game: 0.43
Final-year TFL per game: 1.32
Final-year Sacks per game: 0.68

Calijah Kancey is tiny but speedy for an NFL DT, as shown in this Mockdraftable spiderweb. That size could delay his selection in the NFL Draft.

   

8. Myles Murphy, Edge, Clemson

Junior
6’4.5, 268 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.76 (out of 10)

Is There a Limited Ceiling or Big Sack Upside?

Murphy led the team with 12 tackles for loss as a true freshman in 2020 and leaves as an early declare with good size.

My question is whether he’s the opposite of Lukas Van Ness. Is Murphy headed for just a solid career with limited ceiling?

He led Clemson in TFLs again (as well as sacks) in 2021 but dipped to just third on the team in pressures last season. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler projects Murphy as a “base” DE.

That’s the kind of player who tends to be more run-stopper than QB attacker.

But Murphy’s 95th-percentile speed score challenges that. His 7.21-second 3-cone drill was merely average for the position. But it matched former No. 1 overall pick DE Mario Williams.

 

Myles Murphy Stats

Speed Score: 121.8
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 1.03
Career Sacks per game: 0.53
Final-year TFL per game: 0.85
Final-year Sacks per game: 0.5

   

9. Nolan Smith, Edge, Georgia

Senior
6’2, 238 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 7.80 (out of 10)

Can Smith Overcome Size Limitations to Become Star?

I gotta say, I’m not sure what to make of an edge rusher this size.

Just look at his list of Mockdraftable comparisons, and you’ll find that five of the nine players came out over just the past two years. That’s because the NFL didn’t used to allow guys this small to stay at edge.

You might also notice that none of the historical matches have been very good. That’s because Smith combines minimal size with optimal athleticism.

There’s a chance he’s just an explosive part-timer in the pros. But Smith seems to be trending toward a top-12 spot in the NFL Draft.

If he gets there, he’s worth betting on in this range.

 

Nolan Smith Stats

Speed Score: 128.2
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.53
Career Sacks per game: 0.33
Final-year TFL per game: 0.875
Final-year Sacks per game: 0.375

Nolan Smith's lopsided Mockdraftable spiderweb shows his tiny size but top-shelf athleticism among edge players. He's a tricky player for IDP dynasty rankings.

   

10. Brian Branch, S, Alabama

Junior
5’11.5, 190 lbs.
Draft Sharks Model Score: 8.22 (out of 10)

If Branch Plays Safety, He'll Easily Lead Lackluster Class

Branch doesn’t look like a special prospect in the vein of safeties Derwin James and Minkah Fitzpatrick in 2018. But he’s clearly the lead safety in a weak class at the position … as long as his NFL team plays him there instead of CB.

Branch defensed 23 passes across three seasons for the Tide, with 7+ every year.

He capped his three-year run with 14 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in 2022 – along with 90 tackles and 2 INTs.

The versatile performer might be the only safety worth selecting in your dynasty rookie draft this year.

 

Brian Branch Stats

Speed Score: 86.4
Career Tackles per game: 4.91
Career Solos per game: 3.17
Career Tackles For Loss per game: 0.56
Career Passes Defensed per game: 0.66
Final-year Tackles per game: 6.92
Final-year Solos per game: 4.46
Final-year TFL per game: 1.08
Final-year PD per game: 0.54

Tip: Check out our updated offensive dynasty rookie rankings.

   

Top 10 By Position

Dynasty DL Rankings

  • Will Anderson Jr., Alabama (Edge)
  • Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech (Edge)
  • Lukas Van Ness, Iowa (Edge)
  • Myles Murphy, Clemson (Edge)
  • Nolan Smith, Georgia (Edge)
  • Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas State (Edge)
  • Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh (DT)
  • Will McDonald IV, Iowa State (Edge)
  • Keion White, Georgia Tech (Edge)
  • Jalen Carter, Georgia (DT)

 

Dynasty LB Rankings

  • Jack Campbell, Iowa
  • Drew Sanders, Arkansas
  • Trenton Simpson, Clemson
  • Daiyan Henley, Washington State
  • Henry To’oTo’o, Alabama
  • Nick Herbig, Wisconsin
  • Dorian Williams, Tulane
  • DeMarvion Overshown, Texas
  • Ivan Pace Jr., Cincinnati
  • Sirvocea Dennis, Pittsburgh

 

Dynasty DB Rankings

  • Brian Branch, Alabama (S)
  • Christian Gonzalez, Oregon (CB)
  • Devon Witherspoon, Illinois (CB)
  • Ji’Ayir Brown, Penn State (S)
  • Antonio Johnson, Texas A&M (S)
  • Jordan Battle, Alabama (S)
  • Joey Porter Jr., Penn State (CB)
  • JL Skinner, Boise State (S)
  • Deonte Banks, Maryland (CB)
  • Anthony Johnson Jr., Iowa State (S)

 

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