It’s draft season, and whether it’s that early-round stud or that late-round gem, everyone is searching for the next star!
Duke Blue Devils (2017-2020)
- Games Played: 49, Games Started: 49, Tackles: 166, Solos: 7, TFLs: 36, Sacks: 21½, Interceptions: 1, PBUs: 4, Forced Fumbles: 5, Fumble Recoveries: 3
- 2017 first-team freshman All-America selection by ESPN.com, 2019 second-team All-ACC selection, 2020 Honorable mention All-ACC selection, 2020 Academic All-ACC selection, 2020 semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, 2020 NFL Combine Invitee, Four-year starter (all 49 games) and played 2,779 career snaps, ranks second all-time in Duke history in sacks, ranks eighth all-time in Duke history in TFLs.
Victor Dimukeje was born November 18, 1999, in Baltimore, Maryland. He played at Boys’ Latin School, where he was a consensus three-star prospect. In his junior campaign, Dimukeje registered 42 tackles, eight and a half TFL, seven sacks, and two fumble recoveries, and earned All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference honors.
Then, as a senior, he recorded 72 tackles, 21 TFL, 10.5 sacks, and two caused fumbles to earn the USA Today American Family Insurance All-USA Maryland Football second-team honors and Baltimore Sun All-Metro first-team accolades.
As a true freshman, Dimukeje played and started all 13 games for the Blue Devils. He produced 40 tackles, seven and a half TFL, two sacks, one INT, one fumble recovery, one PBU, and four QB pressures, earning first-team Freshman All-America honors.
As a sophomore, he again would play and start in all 13 games and would total 41 tackles, seven and a half TFL, three and a half sacks, two caused fumbles, one fumble recovery, and nine QB pressures. He led the Blue Devils in both TFL and sacks and received the Mike McGee Award as the team’s top defensive lineman. As a junior, Dimukeje continued his start streak, by starting all 12 games on the season.
To finish his career, Dimukeje would again start every game (11) and register 44 tackles, 11.5 TFL, seven and a half sacks, two caused fumbles, one fumble recovery, and five QB pressures. Dimukeje would finish his career as one of the best defenders in Duke Blue Devil history.
Dimukeje is one of the most consistent defenders in this draft class. While he isn’t dominant, he has gotten better each and every year. He’s a strong, physical player, and he compliments that with very good technique, urgency, and athleticism.
Dimukeje has a low center of gravity and excellent leverage, which he understands how and when to use it. He has a quick first step, with good closing burst and acceleration. Dimukeje displays good explosion and moves very well in space. He plays with a high motor, work ethic, and competitiveness that most don’t have.
Despite his size, Dimukeje does a good job of stacking and shedding blockers and setting himself up to rush the passer, with his good hand usage and quickness. Dimukeje’s instincts and speed off the edge make him a very intriguing prospect. He displays very good tackling form and rarely misses on those tackle opportunities.
Dimukeje’s below-average height (6’1”) and length (80⅛” wingspan) will be a concern at the next level. Big offensive tackles will give him problems when they lock on and he’s not as dominant versus the run as you would like. Dimukeje is more of a traditional defensive end, so he won’t offer a lot in coverage, which could take him off the field on money downs.
His change of direction movements can seem a bit stiff or labored, especially when playing in space, which checks a negative box for him. Dimukeje needs to develop his pass rush toolbox when it comes to counters and second moves. He also needs to shed or disengage from blockers better and not get caught in the trenches.
Experience as a four-year starter shows NFL teams that he can learn quickly and perform at an elite level. With his lack of coverage skills, Dimukeje is likely destined for an early-down or situational pass-rush role. He has a lot of tools and potential that NFL teams will desire and feel they can develop.
With an expanded pass rush toolbox and improved coverage skills, he can be an explosive and impact player and his ability to routinely apply pressure off the edge will translate well to the next level. Dimukeje is best suited for a 4-3 scheme where he can pin his ears back, attack the backfield, and not have to worry about coverage duties.
Dimukeje is one of my favorite sleepers of this draft class. He’s a pass rush specialist who has room to develop into a promising player. As a fantasy manager, you will be counting on his sack totals, with everything else being a plus. His game is more pro-ready than he’s given credit for, it just needs polishing to be an impact player at the next level.
Dimukeje is a great taxi squad stash that could see a prominent role, due to his pass-rushing skills. His game translates, at the very least, to a situational pass rusher who can provide fantasy managers with a solid point producer. Dimukeje is definitely a player that I am targeting in the later rounds of rookie drafts.
NFL Draft Projection: 4th to 6th round
Fantasy Draft Projection: 5th round or later
Fantasy Scoring Projection: DE3, LB5
Thanks for reading my article and if you enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America). You can also follow me on social media, on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub I’m user KingTitan1 and you can tune in each week and listen to the podcasts, IDP Nation & Devy IDP Grind, that I co-host, on a number of different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers. #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy