Jon Somerset (@OrangeMan3142) goes through each of his ranked defensive ends for the 2018 NFL season, and who are the best for IDP.
Everybody has rankings, and most rankings are just the same list of players in slightly different positions based on the bias of the author. In an effort to help you, the reader, get an idea where we we’re coming from and our thought process on why these players are listed and in what order they are listed in I figured, let’s go over some of the more “hot” takes on our preseason rankings.
We’ll move through each position and by the end hopefully you’ll have a better idea why some players are where they are and some players are missing entirely.
Defensive End Rankings
Bosa is most IDP analysts overall #1 defensive line player for a reason. In his rookie season he started only 11 games and played parts of one other. In those limited snaps he produced 41 combined tackles and 10.5 sacks. Last season he started and played in all 16 games and ended up with 70 combined tackles and 12.5 sacks.
Bosa is only going into his third season as the Chargers defensive end opposite Melvin Ingram. For me that means he hasn’t learned and perfected all the techniques veteran defensive ends use to get to the quarterback, he’s more or less putting up these stats with just his talent and athleticism. In the next few seasons his defensive knowledge level will improve and his stats should increase from the already impressive level they’re at right now.
Also with Ingram on the other end of the D line opposing teams will not be able to double team Bosa as much as they would like to. All these factors convince me that he will be the #1 defensive end for IDP purposes for some time to come.
Mack is entering his fifth season with the Raiders and in most league formats has returned to his natural position of defensive end. His rookie year was far from impressive, but since then he has had no season where he has not posted at least double digit sack numbers.
Averaging 76 combined tackles per year the last three seasons with many of those being tackles for loss, a stat that has become more common in IDP scoring lately, Mack is an IDP point machine. His only disadvantage and why he isn’t my #1 overall defensive end, is the lack of other pass rushing talent on the Raiders. Teams are able to double team Mack more often due to this and it does sap some of his production.
With only four seasons under his belt Mack will be a household name in the defensive end IDP rankings for years to come.
Campbell is entering his 11th season in the NFL and has flourished with his new team the “Sacksonville” Jaguars. Coming off of his best ever season last year, 67 combined tackles and 14.5 sacks, Campbell will look to keep that momentum going into this year.
Being a pass rusher on a team with so many other talented pass rushers helps Campbell avoid double teams and concentrate on beating his man and getting to the quarterback. While not the best player for dynasty, having so many seasons under his belt already, he should be a monster in redraft this season.
Jones finished up last season with 58 combined tackles and a league leading 17 sacks. His move from OLB to defensive end in the offseason adds another great pass rusher to the pool of IDP talent for this year. He has averaged double digit sack number the last three seasons and also had an average of 50 combined tackles as well.
The lack of other skilled pass rushers may lead to some double teams but Jones was able to rack up 17 sacks last season without Calais Campbell around to soak up double teams, like he had in previous years. Defensive snap count should be increased with Sam Bradford or rookie Josh Rosen taking the helm this year, so I see Jones production as being similar to last season’s.
Also your league-mates who haven’t been paying attention this offseason may not know about Jones switch to DE in most formats, and this makes him a sleeper somewhat that you may be able to grab later on in drafts.
Cam Jordan is coming off a career season as defensive end of the Saints where he had 62 combined tackles and 13 sacks. He has had double digit sacks three of the last five years and has averaged 52 combined tackles per season in that span.
This will be Jordans eighth NFL season so while he may not be the greatest pick for a dynasty team he should be solid in redraft. The addition of Marcus Davenport through the draft adds another talented pass rusher making it a harder decision for opposing teams to double team Jordan this year. While the defensive snap count isn’t great due to New Orleans very efficient Drew Brees led offense, there should be plenty of production available for Jordan in 2018.
Lawrence enters his fifth year as a defensive end on the Dallas Cowboys and comes off of a 2017 campaign that was his career best. He had 58 combined tackles and 14.5 sacks for the year and has had at least eight sacks in every season where he starts at least 13 games. The Cowboys offense certainly looks to be more run-oriented this season so defensive snap counts may fall somewhat but I see plenty of production for Lawrence this season.
Donald looks to move to defensive end this season with the Rams switching to a 3-4 defense. He gets some help with the signing of N’Damakong Suh and opposing defenses will have to worry about the surprising Micheal Brockers this year as well. With all that talent on the defensive line it looks like double teams won’t be as much of a factor this season.
Donald averaged just under 10 sacks a season as a defensive tackle and had 41 combined tackles and 11 sacks in his 2017 campaign. The move to defensive end may increase his sack numbers slightly but with the Rams acquiring Brandin Cooks in the offseason, adding to an already ridiculous offense, the defense may see some reduction in overall snap count.
All of these factors even out I think and Donald ends up with similar stats to last season.
JPP enters his ninth season with a new team, the Tampa Bay Bucs, and will take his place on a very talented defensive line. With Vinny Curry and Gerald McCoy for opposing offenses to contend with as well as Pierre-Paul, it will be a “pick your poison” type scenario and I don’t see many double teams in his future.
He finished last season with 68 combined tackles and 8.5 sacks on a Giants squad that was offensively challenged. Tampa Bay will probably see Pierre-Paul reducing his overall defensive snap count but I believe the talent around him will allow him to succeed this season and produce quite a few IDP points.
Griffen enters his ninth season on the Vikings and comes off of a career best 13 sacks last season. He also chipped in 45 combined tackles. Griffen has had double digit sack numbers three out of the last four years and has averaged 48 combined tackles per season over that same span.
Griffen is reliable and with Danelle Hunter on the other side of the defensive line, opposing defenses have trouble focusing on stopping one or the other. Everson should be solid in redraft this season but is a bit long in the tooth for dynasty startup drafts. Minnesota’s offense looks to improve quite a bit this season with the signing of Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook coming back from injury, so defensive snap counts may shrink somewhat.
However, I still think Griffen will produce a good amount of IDP points this season.
Ingram moved from OLB to DE last season and had a marvelous first season as a defensive end for the Chargers. He produced 56 combined tackles and 10.5 sacks and has had double digit sack numbers two out of the last three years. The last three seasons he has also averaged 60 combined tackles a season during that same span.
With Joey Bosa on the other end of the defensive line raising all kinds of hell Ingram should avoid double teams and have plenty of opportunity to get to the opposing quarterback.
***Offseason depth charts were taken from Ourlads.com and may not be up to date or accurate as of this date of reading. Until close to the end of preseason some of these positions on their teams depth charts are up in the air. These rankings will be re-visited and revised for the beginning of the regular season.