Last Rankings Update: May 23, 2022
Rankings finally updated post-draft, with some explanations of how I’ve ranked.
I mostly weight towards draft capital. Pre-draft I used expected draft position from Grinding the Mocks. If you want to see my work on draft capital and what it means for IDP players, click here.
These ranks are intended to be true to “True Position” Settings where edge rushers are actually edge rushers. If you play in a league where positions are based on base packages that defenses only run 20% of the time, you will have to adjust these rankings for your league. In most cases that will mean moving the elite DE players to about tier 4 of the linebackers, and ignoring the rest of the affected edge rushers completely.
Otherwise my basis for ranking can be found at theundroppables.com here -> Defensive End, Linebacker, Safety
- Kayvon Thibodeaux – NYG
- Aidan Hutchinson – DET
Thibodeau checks all my boxes. Hutchinson is a little light on collegiate production (0.65 career TFL/g, my threshold is 0.8), but I’m mostly willing to look the other way on that. If you like Hutchinson as #1 I’m not going to argue with you.
- Travon Walker – JAC
Walker’s 0.36 TFL/game is the lowest of any first round pick in the last 12 years. His underlying metrics at PFF also seem to be bad. Alas, he is the #1 overall pick, and that cohort has an excellent hit rate. He simply can’t fall past Jermaine Johnson and George Karlaftis.
- Jermaine Johnson – NYJ
- George Karlaftis – KC
Johnson didn’t meet my threshold in the vertical, and didn’t do agility drills, so I’m not sure what to make of him. Karlaftis pretty much checks all by boxes (a little slow in the 40), but he’s now projected to be drafted around pick 20. The back half of the first round is a disaster for Defensive End hit rates.
- Arnold Ebiketie – ATL
- Nik Bonitto – DEN
- Drake Jackson – SF
- Sam Williams – DAL
- Cameron Thomas – ARI
This group is all 2nd and 3rd rounders who I consider to have good profiles.plus Ojabo. Ojabo, Mafe and Ebiketie are all projected at the end of round 1, early round 2, but there isn’t much of a difference in terms of success rate between round 2 and round 3 – or the end of round 1 for that matter – these guys are all pretty interchangeable to me.
- DeAngelo Malone – ATL
- Boye Mafe – SEA
- David Ojabo – BAL
- Myjai Sanders – ARI
- Alex Wright – CLE
- Josh Paschal – DET
The rest of the 2nd and 3rd round picks who have questions about their profile. In most of these guys cases, they weren’t productive in college, but unlike Walker and Hutchinson, aren’t top picks.
The 3 year hit rates for 2nd and 3rd round Defensive Ends reaching a top 24 finish is 18% and 15% respectively.
- Devin Lloyd – JAC
- Quay Walker – GB
Lloyd has a much cleaner path to playing time than Walker so you could split this tier if you wanted to. Still, 1st round Linebackers have excellent hit rates. This time last year we weren’t exactly sure what Micah Parsons role in Dallas would be, and we wouldn’t have guessed what it ended up being.
- Troy Andersen – ATL
There is a big drop off in hit rate after the 2nd round, so Troy Anderson has to be above everyone else despite being a project.
- Nakobe Dean – PHI
Nakobe Dean was projected to be a first rounder before falling due to injury concerns. In early drafts he is still being drafted like a 1st rounder. In drafts I’ve seen he is always drafted ahead of Troy Anderson and often ahead of Quay Walker. Doing that is assuming that he would have been a 1st rounder – which we don’t know for sure – and allowing no discount whatsoever for his injury concerns. His ADP is the riskiest of any rookie IDP this year.
- Channing Tindall – MIA
- Brian Asamoah – MIN
- Terrel Bernard – BUF
- Chad Muma – JAC
- Christian Harris – HOU
- Leo Chenal – KC
Take your pick of any of the remainder of the 3rd round guys. Some consider the 3rd round as good draft capital. The hit rate is 22% for a top 24 season and 33% for a top 36 season, so it’s not all that great.
After Tier Four
The top 24 hit rates in round 4 and 5 (15%, 12%) don’t fall off a cliff like other positions, so if you like the landing spots of Brandon Smith and Micah McFadden, feel free to take one or the other ahead of a tier four player you don’t like.
The hit rate for a top 36 season for a 6th round linebacker is 4% (Foyesade Oluokun, Danny Trevathan). Neither broke out as a rookie. If Detroit saw a year one starter in Rodriquez, they would have drafted him earlier than the 6th round.
I’ve seen rankings that have Malcolm Rodriguez in the top 5 rookie LBs and ahead of Troy Anderson. Drafting Rodriquez that high is a bet against historical hit rates that are wildly not in your favour.
- Kyle Hamilton – BAL
Hamilton missed being a rare safety to be a top 10 pick. Regardless, he’s very talented and deserving of a tier of his own.
Positional value and where he fits into an overall IDP ranking is a different debate. Personally, I think he fits in after the first 3 Defensive Ends and first 2 Linebackers, somewhere around the 4th to 6th overall IDP.
- Lewis Cine – MIN
- Daxton Hill – CIN
Both sunck into the first round and end up in a cohort with much better floor outcomes (top 12, top 24 hit rates) than the remainder of the class.
- Nick Cross – IND
- Jaquan Brisker – CHI
- Bryan Cook – KC
The 2nd and 3rd round have similar hit rates for safeties (37%, 31%), so I’m grouping by the profile elements I like. Those are early declare (Cross) and good NFL.com film grade (Cross, Brisker, Cook)
Jaquan Brisker is often drafted ahead of Hill and/or Cine. If you like him, you have to pick him earlier than what he’s ranked as here.
- Jalen Pitre – HOU
- Kerby Joseph – DET
- Cam Taylor Britt – CIN
- JT Woods – LAC
The remainder of the day 2 players who don’t have the profile elements I like. All are late declares with poorer film grades.
- Derek Stingley – HOU
- Ahmad Gardner – NYJ
- Trent McDuffie – KC
- Kaiir Elam – BUF
- Roger McCreary – TEN
- Kyler Gordon – CHI
- Andrew Booth Jr. – MIN
- Alontae Taylor – NO
- Marcus Jones – NE
I’m not advocating for the “rookie Cornerback rule”, because it’s a myth, I’m just saying that since 2011, only 1 out of 125 day three safeties have had a top 12 DB season within 3 years of being drafted. The 1st and 2nd round Cornerbacks are better bets. Not a very good bet mind you, but regardless, better. At this point I would make sure there isn’t anything you like in any of the other positions before drafting corners.
Marcus Jones is a 3rd rounder, but is an elite level return prospect. Worth keeping an eye on in return yard leagues.
You can find me on Twitter to complain about these rankings @djkelltown.