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Top 10 IDP Rookie Linebackers For Redraft Leagues

Jersey Giveaway
Nakobe Dean Rookie Linebacker

With the Preseason Ending, Which Rookie Linebackers Should You Be Drafting in IDP Leagues?  Here is our Top 10 List.


In less than two weeks, the NFL season will kick off and many rookie linebackers will be given the chance to prove that they were a worthy selection in the draft. When you are identifying which rookie linebackers to pick in re-draft leagues, it is almost always about their playing time. If you can identify which rookies have the best chance at snap counts, you will most likely find the most productive rookie linebacker as well.

We have put this Top 10 list together to help you identify which rookie linebackers can be productive for your fantasy teams in 2022.


Tier 1 – Rookie Linebackers

1.) Devin Lloyd – Jacksonville Jaguars

 College: Utah  Drafted: Round 1, Pick 27

Devin Lloyd tops our list of rookie linebackers. The Jaguars are an ideal location for Lloyd to show off his sideline-to-sideline speed. Lloyd should immediately slot into an every-down linebacker role since he can defend both the run and the pass at a high level.  

Mike Caldwell is the new defensive coordinator for the Jaguars, and he may try to replicate the success he had with Devin White and Lavonte David in Tampa Bay, with his new Jacksonville pairing of Lloyd and Foyesade Oluokun. Also, Lloyd will have blitz opportunities, as Caldwell expects his linebackers to be able to blitz and cover at a high level.

Lloyd has missed most of training camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury, but started in the final preseason game on Saturday and looked impressive while accumulating five tackles. There is no reason he shouldn’t be ready for Week 1 and should have a starting spot next to Oluokun.

For additional information on Lloyd, check out my Rookie Spotlight article.

2.) Quay Walker – Green Bay Packers

College: Georgia Drafted: Round 1, Pick 22

Quay Walker was the first rookie linebacker drafted but is our second ranked rookie linebacker for fantasy football. Some draft analysts considered Walker to be a De’Vondre Campbell clone, which is quite the compliment, but Walker will be competing with Campbell for tackles on Sundays. 

In recent years, Green Bay has not utilized two every-down linebackers. So, unless the Packers change their defensive schemes, Walker will be replaced in certain packages. Krys Barnes will also be in the mix for linebacker snaps.

Walker is the second-best bet for a rookie three-down linebacker role. As a result, he should be very productive for fantasy purposes. For a complete list of three-down linebackers, check out our Every-Down Linebacker article.

3.) Nakobe Dean – Philadelphia Eagles

College: Georgia Drafted: Round 3, Pick 19

The Eagles got a steal in the third round when Nakobe Dean fell all the way to pick 19. Many draft experts projected him to be a first round pick. Some teams may have been scared off by his injury history and pectoral strain that he suffered while training for the draft. In addition, Dean did not run the 40-yard dash at the combine and is undersized at 5’11”.

Dean has the best speed in this linebacker group and has a nose for the ball. Dean can show off his sideline-to-sideline range but is also an elite blitzer. Dean received the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in 2021.

Dean would be higher on this list if he didn’t have such stiff competition from T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White. Edwards finished 2021 strong, has been having a great camp and will likely have the green dot. Kyzir White signed a one-year deal in the offseason and is currently projected to be the starting weakside linebacker. We project that Dean will have his snaps increased as the season progresses.

Check out what Kyle Bellefeuil had to say about Dean in his Post-Draft IDP Rookie Linebacker Rankings for 2022 article.


Tier 2 – Rookie Linebackers

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4.) Malcolm Rodriguez – Detroit Lions

College: Oklahoma State Drafted: Round 6, Pick 9

Malcolm “Rodrigo” Rodriguez has become a star of HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. Most sixth-round picks have a hard time making the NFL roster, but Rodriguez has already locked up his spot with an impressive preseason.

Rodriguez started out training camp with the second and third team, but as the weeks progressed, he has been spending more time with the first team defense. Rodriguez has a legitimate chance at a starting role, but will have to beat out Derrick Barnes. Barnes and Rodriguez started the second preseason game, while Alex Anzalone did not play.

Even if Rodriguez can’t win a starting role for Week 1, he could potentially steal playing time from Alex Anzalone, who has proven to be a liability with his history of missed tackles.

5.) Christian Harris – Houston Texans

College: Alabama Drafted: Round 3, Pick 11

Christian Harris has missed some time with a hamstring injury, which has limited his chances to earn first team practice reps. Harris is currently listed as backup to starters Christian Kirksey, Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Although he is most likely the fastest of the group, and could earn a starting role as the season progresses.

Update 9/2: Harris has been placed on the IR and will miss the first four games. This moves him down a couple spots.


Tier 3 – Rookie Linebackers

6.) Terrel Bernard – Buffalo Bills

College: Baylor Drafted: Round 3, Pick 25

Terrel Bernard will have to wait for his turn behind starting linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano, but he will eventually make an impact. While the starters rested in Week 2 of the preseason, Bernard donned the green dot helmet and called the defensive plays.

7.) Troy Andersen – Atlanta Falcons

College: Montana State Drafted: Round 2, Pick 26

Troy Andersen enters a crowded linebacker room with Deion Jones, Mykal Walker, and Rashaan Evans. Earlier in the off-season there was hope that Andersen could win a starting role, but with Jones’ return that seems unlikely. In addition, Andersen has not looked as impressive in his preseason action.

8.) Channing Tindall – Miami Dolphins

College: Georgia Drafted: Round 3, Pick 38

Channing Tindall was the third Georgia linebacker drafted but has the potential to be just as successful as Quay Walker and Nakobe Dean. Even though he has the athleticism, he will need some time to develop his football skills to compete at the NFL level. Tindall will serve as a backup and learn from Jerome Baker in his rookie campaign.

9.) Chad Muma – Jacksonville Jaguars

College: Wyoming Drafted: Round 3, Pick 6

Chad Muma’s linebacker ranking took the biggest fall after the NFL draft due to his landing spot. It is not ideal that he ended up with a team that just drafted a rookie linebacker in the first round and also spent big in free agency on Foyesade Oluokun.

Chad Muma’s best path to fantasy relevance is a setback for Devin Lloyd in his hamstring recovery. Although I find it hard to believe that the Jaguars would select Muma without a plan to get him on the field. Perhaps he will take on Mike Caldwell‘s “money backer” role, which is a linebacker/safety hybrid position.

10.) Leo Chenal – Kansas City Chiefs

College: Wisconsin Drafted: Round 3, Pick 39

Leo Chenal brings physicality back to the linebacker position and is a bit of a throwback with his bruising and blitzing ability. It may take Chenal some time to transition to the NFL game, but the team can afford to ease him in as he waits behind Nick Bolton and Willie Gay.

Click on this Link for a Complete List of our IDP Rankings.


Missed the Cut

Brian Asamoah is likely a year away from making a serious contribution to the Minnesota Vikings, as he watches and learns from starting linebackers Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks. The Vikings are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme with Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith on the outside. Asamoah will have to carve out a rotational role, just like most rookie linebackers.

Micah McFadden will have an opportunity to showcase his blitzing ability with New York Giant’s new defensive coordinator “Wink” Martindale. To read about all defensive coordinator changes for 2022, check out this article.

Brandon Smith (Carolina Panthers)


Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter at @MasterIDP. For my previous work, check out my Author Page. Please subscribe to IDPGuys.org for all your fantasy football needs.

Leo (@MasterIDP)

Leo joined IDP Guys as a writer and ranker on June 30, 2022. He is passionate about IDP and helping you win your fantasy leagues. Leo has been competing in IDP since 2013 in the Brooklyn Fantasy Football League (Ohio league established in 1991)
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