Welcome IDP nerds. The time has come that the 2023 NFL draft has placed all the prospects we have been breaking down and projecting for months. If you’re like me the pressure is on to rank these new rookies into tiers and get ready to draft them in your rookie drafts. We are going to take a quick look at some of the NFL teams who have drafted multiple players who can be effective this year for your IDP leagues. Let’s take a look at what the 2023 NFL draft has brought us for IDP fantasy football.
- B.J. Ojulari EDGE
- Garrett Williams DB
- Owen Pappoe LB
The Arizona Cardinals are in a rebuilding year with a very poor roster, so they needed to try to add as much talent as possible in this year’s draft. In the post-Kliff Kingsbury era, they chose to protect their franchise QB rather than take one of the top-tier difference makers at the EDGE position. The Cardinals were able to add players at all three levels of their defense who have very real possibilities to be day 1 starters in 2023.
Ojulari will look to help improve a defense that lost its leader in sacks (J.J. Watt) to retirement in the off-season. He will join a defense that did not have a player record of more than six sacks last season. Ojulari has a lot of potential, but he wasn’t selected in the first round for a reason. He has some developing to do to become the force the Cardinals will need to help improve their 31st-ranked defense last season.
Garrett Williams and Owen Pappoe were big team needs and could find themselves playing meaningful snaps early next season. I don’t see either being drafted in rookie drafts but could be waiver wire finds. Overall I like the landing spot for B.J. Ojulari but have to temper my expectations for him as I don’t see him stepping into a highly productive role right away.
- Zach Harrison DL
Harrison comes in as the only fantasy-relevant IDP the Falcons selected in the 2023 NFL draft. The Falcons have bolstered their young offense over the past two seasons while trying to put a tough defense on the field. The Falcons have finished in the bottom five in the NFL in sacks in each of the last two seasons.
Zach Harrison never reached his potential at Ohio State, but he has a high ceiling and can develop into a solid depth piece for IDP managers looking for depth. Harrison will need time to develop and likely starts as a rotation guy. His size and skill set are enough to make him a player to put on your radar in the late rounds of rookie drafts.
- Trenton Simpson LB
I can speak for most of the IDP community when I say we were hoping for a better draft capital and landing spot than Trenton Simpson to Baltimore. The Ravens traded for Roquan Smith last season before rewarding him with the biggest contract for any LB in the NFL. Simpson is at his best at weak-side LB, which is currently occupied by Patrick Queen. Queen had his fifth-year option denied by Baltimore.
I see Simpson being used as a chess piece early for Baltimore to help match up with dynamic running backs and tight ends. The Ravens’ defense ranked top five in multiple categories last season, so adding a playmaker like Simpson should be a boost. This landing spot could be solid for IDP managers to gain some value while they wait, likely a year before Simpson takes over as the starter alongside Smith.
- Dorian Williams LB
The Buffalo Bills seem to be making the transition into an offensive-centric team, with their top-ranked defenses being exposed in the playoffs over the past few seasons. The Bills lost the leader in the middle of their defense when Tremaine Edmunds left in free agency. The Buffalo defense has retained many veterans, including all-pro LB Matt Milano. Williams is a fast linebacker who is a bit smaller, but he can surely add weight to survive the wear and tear of an 18-game season.
Williams is another added LB who could be competing for snaps next to Milano this season for Buffalo. The Buffalo defense appears not to be looking to find another Edmunds but to use multiple players to replace his skill set. I’m not overly excited about this pick from an IDP perspective, but this could be a player who develops as the season moves along. The Bills had a few better opportunities to add LB to get us a little more excited. This one was a big letdown.
- D.J. Johnson EDGE
- Jammie Robinson DB
The Carolina Panthers wasted no time in their rebuild, grabbing their franchise QB in the 2023 NFL draft. The Panthers’ coaching staff is loaded with years of experience and has a strong chance to push for a division title. The Carolina front office aggressively moved up to pick first in the 2023 NFL draft while keeping together a fairly strong defense. Adding depth at EDGE and in the secondary were two of the biggest needs for Carolina, and they found a way to do that in the later rounds of the draft.
Johnson is a powerful pass rusher with great size. He can be a rotational player to help bolster the pass rush for the Panthers. Brian Burns needs an effective counterpart. Johnson likely dropped due to his age and not being as polished as a pass-rusher. Robinson helps add depth to a secondary that needs it. Unfortunately, Robinson will likely need an injury to see consistent snaps as a rookie, but he has all the tools to be a productive player in IDP formats.
- Gervon Dexter DL
- Tyrique Stevenson DB
- Noah Sewell LB
The Bears needed a big overhaul on defense heading into the 2023 season. The Bears did a great job in free agency, bringing in high-profile linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards. The Chicago defense will be much improved this year, but they are still hurting on the defensive front and need a lot of things to go right before they are considered an above-average unit.
Dexter is a good find for the Bears as he likely steps in as a Day 1 starter on the interior. Dexter is a force inside and should be a viable option in DT-required formats. Stevenson will be an interesting name to keep an eye on. He likely starts opposite Jaylon Johnson and could be targeted a ton as a rookie with his aggressive coverage style. I’m not advocating drafting him even in leagues where CB scoring is higher, but he’s a name to keep on your radar as the season starts and DB production is needed.
The Noah Sewell landing spot was a big letdown. He just couldn’t gain back the confidence he played with in 2021 and slipped in this draft, as most linebackers did. Sewell would need an injury or extremely poor play in front of him to see snaps as a rookie. I’d expect Sewell to be available in the sixth and seventh rounds of your rookie drafts. If you can afford to stash him, I’d recommend doing so because he has the skill set to be a productive LB.
- Myles Murphy DL
- Jordan Battle DB
If there’s one thing the Bengals have done well over the years, it’s continuing to invest in defense, as they have a high-powered offense led by Joe Burrow. The Bengals have one of the most consistent defenses that are seemingly built for the postseason year after year. The team lost both their safeties this off-season in free agency and is always looking to add to their pass rush. Cincinnati helped solve both those issues by using a day-one pick on Clemson’s Murphy and adding more secondary help in Alabama’s Battle.
Murphy is a huge addition to the rotation on the Bengals’ front four. He is more than capable of creating pressure on his own and developing into an every-down player. Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson will be a huge benefit to him in developing as an even more polished defender. I would be looking to target Murphy as one of my top options at DL in IDP rookie drafts.
Battle is an instinctive playmaker who should fit right in with the Bengals. While Battle doesn’t likely start Week 1, he has every chance to with second-year pro Dax Hill and veteran Nick Scott ahead of him. He’s a player that should be drafted late in rookie drafts in hopes he can earn some first year playing time.
- Mazi Smith DL
- DeMarvion Overshown LB
The Dallas Cowboys have been very good since Dan Quinn took over. A huge piece of that is the play of Micah Parsons and how he helps create pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Cowboys are looking to keep adding playmakers to both sides of the ball to hopefully get over the hump after back-to-back playoff losses to the San Francisco 49ers the last two seasons.
Smith will be a strong presence in the middle of the Dallas defense. He’s a true 1-technique defender who will eat up two blockers with regularity. This, unfortunately, adds zero value for IDP leagues. This pick will be way better for real football than it will be for fantasy football. Overshown is a rangy LB who could see rotational work at linebacker, while Mich Parsons spends most of his snaps creating pressures. Leighton Vander Esch is the only semi-trustable LB from an IDP perspective, so Overshown can be a sleeper pick late in your rookie drafts who could provide some value in Year 1.
- Drew Sanders LB
- J.L. Skinner DB
The amount of changes to the Broncos over the past two seasons has left uncertainty among the dynasty community. The Broncos have had new ownership, a new franchise QB, and two new head coaches over that span. Sean Payton takes over and brings his wealth of offensive knowledge. The Broncos know they will have to be much better on the defensive side of the ball if they are going to compete with the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.
I love the additions the Broncos made on the defensive side of the ball. The Broncos added Drew Sanders in the third round to pair with Jewell and Singleton. Sanders is more versatile than both of those players; he can rush the passer and matchup against pass-catching options much more effectively. I would expect Sanders to be a starting LB on this defense in the first week, and he holds very good long-term value in dynasty leagues.
Skinner is one of my favorite safeties in the 2023 class. His playing at Boise State and an injury in 2022 cost him some major draft capital. Skinner fits the mold of the current Broncos safeties as a big-bodied enforcer. He could be a major steal if he carves out a role in Vance Joseph’s defense as a rookie.
- Jack Campbell LB
- Brian Branch DB
Dan Campbell has helped change the losing culture of the Detroit Lions. He’s put together a group of players who have bought into a winning philosophy. The Lions have made waves in the NFC North for the first time in a long time and enter the 2023 season as a dark horse playoff team. The future is bright for the Lions.
Jack Campbell was regarded as the LB1 in this class as the pre-draft process went on. I think I speak for most, saying I did not expect him to be a top-20 overall pick like he was. This just solidifies the potential the Lions saw in him, and it should speak volumes to IDP managers. The Iowa LB will be the leader of the Detroit defense and should be the first LB off the board in rookie drafts.
Branch was also a great addition for the Lions with the struggles in health and play of Tracy Walker. Branch was also widely regarded as the DB1 in the 2023 class. He likely is working in the slot for the Detroit defense. He has a strong skill set, and his versatility allows him to play deep safety or in the slot. The two Detroit defenders should be the first off the board at their respective positions in the 2023 rookie drafts.
Green Bay Packers
- Lukas Van Ness DL
The Green Bay Packers were able to move up a few spots in the first round in the Aaron Rodgers trade. They wasted no time filling a need at EDGE when they drafted Van Ness. The Iowa EDGE defender has major potential to grow into another top pass-rushing option for Green Bay. He has shown the ability to use his long arms, strength, and agility to create havoc for opposing offenses.
Van Ness will likely be awarded DL designation as a rookie and should play early for the Packers’ defense. Rashan Gary is returning from injury, and veteran Preston Smith likely remains the starter on the outside. I do believe Van Ness will rotate with them as well as play some down lineman for Green Bay. I think Van Ness still has some development to do before he reaches his potential. IDP managers can be looking to add the EDGE rusher as early as the mid-fourth round of their rookie drafts.
- Will Anderson Jr DL
- Henry To’oTo’o LB
Anderson was always the top EDGE prospect in this class. While some smoke screens were trying to make IDP managers question that it was all but confirmed on Thursday night. Anderson has averaged double-digit sacks and just shy of 20 tackles for loss per season at Alabama. He wins with power and technique and has a non-stop motor. Anderson has been on the radar of IDP managers for two years, and it’s great to finally see him get a chance to prove himself at the NFL level.
Anderson should be the first DL off the board in your rookie drafts. He has a major upside as a rookie pass rusher who should be featured in DeMeco Ryan’s young, aggressive defense. The DL position is always a bit thin in IDP leagues, so I wouldn’t fault anyone for selecting Anderson as the top overall IDP in their rookie drafts, just as he was the top defensive player drafted in the NFL draft. Ryans is no stranger to getting the most out of an elite-level pass rusher as he has in his past few years with Nick Bosa. I would fully expect Anderson to be a consistent rookie IDP.
Henry To’oTo’o was a late addition to help bolster the LB group for the Texans. Ryans brings in an LB with the ability to play sideline-to-sideline who happens to be another Alabama player. I’d expect To’oTo’o to last late into the sixth round of rookie drafts but is another stash player with high potential going into next season.
- Antonio Johnson DB
The Jacksonville Jaguars put the NFL on notice last year and made it to the second round of the NFL Playoffs. They received a huge boost after spending top picks on defense with Travon Walker and Devin Lloyd a year ago. The Jaguars’ offense under Doug Pedersen is going to put up enough points to keep them competitive.
The Jaguars made a few picks on the defensive side of the ball, but mostly to developmental players that likely will take some time to develop. The one player they drafted I have the most hope in is Texas A&M safety Johnson. He is the prototypical ‘Big Nickel’ defender the Jaguars desperately needed. I love his playstyle paired with Rayshawn Jenkins and Andre Cisco. This landing spot could be one of my early favorites, and I expect Johnson to be a contributor as a rookie despite falling to the fifth round of the NFL draft.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Felix Anudike-Uzomah DL
Being a Kansas City Chiefs fan isn’t the worst. When you have #15 at QB, you can afford to take the best player available or just invest in your defense year after year. The Chiefs have spent high draft capital over the past few seasons to keep adding playmakers to their defense which has helped them make deep playoff runs year after year.
Andy Reid and the Chiefs’ front office used their first-round selection on Kansas State’s Felix Anudike-Uzomah. He’s led the Big 12 in sacks over the past two seasons with his relentless motor and dynamic skill set to rush the passer and stop the run with ease at times. The newly drafted Chiefs EDGE joins George Karlaftis to give the Super Bowl Champions a very young and productive sack tandem. In your rookie drafts, this could be an early fifth-round pick for DL-needy teams.
Las Vegas Raiders
- Tyree Wilson DL
- Christopher Smith DB
Wilson was selected a bit later than expected, falling out of the top five and landing with the Las Vegas Raiders at pick seven. The Raiders have one of the best EDGE defenders in the game in Maxx Crosby as well as veteran pass rusher Chandler Jones. Wilson had a setback in the pre-draft process with a lingering foot injury which caused him to miss multiple games last season. He did not participate in the NFL combine or Texas Tech’s pro day.
The landing spot could have been better for Wilson, as I anticipated him being taken by Arizona or Seattle, who had a greater need for the EDGE position. The Raiders are looking to pair Wilson with Crosby to create one of the best 1-2 pass-rushing combinations in the league. Wilson may struggle to find consistent snaps in year one with Jones still on the roster. The Raiders coaching staff understands playing in a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, the emphasis on creating pressure with their front four is imperative.
Barring injury, I think Wilson will be a big play-dependent rookie IDP who will need to be extremely productive on limited snaps in 2023. Smith was a late addition to the Las Vegas secondary. He brings versatility and championship pedigree from the University of Georgia. He is likely an afterthought in IDP leagues but might be a player to have on your radar should injuries in front of him happen.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Tuli Tuipulotu DL
- Daiyan Henley LB
The Los Angeles Chargers and analytics defensive-minded coach Brandon Staley really suffered through injuries in 2022. They struggled to keep a formidable defense on the field for most of the season due to injuries and poor play. The Chargers are no stranger to relying on their offense to win them games, but that is not the way Brandon Staley would prefer to play.
The Chargers brought in two really good players to help their defensive depth struggles from last season. USC’s Tuipuloto is a versatile defender who can line up at multiple positions along the Chargers’ front. He was selected in the second round and will benefit greatly from playing with Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.
Henley is a major addition from a depth perspective, as the Chargers have Eric Kendricks and former first-round pick Kenneth Murray at LB. Henley has the potential to be a starter and productive IDP for years to come. I’d expect both players to go in every rookie draft and potentially make a splash as early as Year 1.
New England Patriots
- Keion White DL
- Marte Mapu LB
The New England Patriots never seem to disappoint us when it comes to their draft strategy. It comes with the expectations of trading back multiple times and finding small school players who end up fitting their system perfectly. The plus of having a coach who is a proven winner is that you can draft to their system and get the most out of players.
White is a power rusher that adds another playmaker to the Patriots’ defense. The Georgia Tech defensive lineman can play outside or inside and create problems for opposing offensive lines. He is a name that has to be on IDP managers’ radars now that he has second-round draft capital behind him.
Mapu is a hybrid LB/DB from Sacramento State. This is a player that Bill Belichick targets in nearly every draft. He’s a rangy defender who can cover pass catchers from the slot or LB position. IDP managers understand the frustration with drafting Patriots and not getting consistent usage weekly. I wouldn’t expect that to change when you’re selecting New England players in fantasy football you accept that risk.
New Orleans Saints
- Bryan Bresee DL
- Isaiah Foskey DL
The New Orleans Saints’ defense has thrived with veteran leadership over the past five years. They are starting to shift towards adding more youth to that unit. They are building the right way, trying to bring in young players to learn from the veterans before they inevitably retire. The Saints offense is not what it once was, but they have hung their hat on the defensive side of the ball over the past few seasons.
Is it a coincidence the Saints drafted two players I did rookie profiles on in the first two rounds? Kidding, but seriously, they attacked two positions of need and did get two very strong players. Bresee is a powerful game-wrecking defender on the interior of the defensive line. He has had his ups and downs over his college career, but his health is the biggest challenge. On the field, he’s a true warrior and adds a much-needed presence.
Foskey is a dynamic pass rusher that the Saints desperately need. They have failed to find a respectable option outside of aging Cam Jordan and now hope they’ve addressed that issue. I fully expect both Bresee and Foskey to be fourth or fifth-round picks in rookie drafts. They both have a clear path to significant playing time as rookies.
New York Jets
- Will McDonald IV DL
The New York Jets spend another first-round pick on an EDGE rusher as they did a year ago when they selected Florida State’s Jermaine Johnson. The Jets’ defense is one of the best in the NFL, and they have loaded up the offense over the past two seasons to enter the 2023 season as one of the toughest teams to beat on paper.
McDonald is one of the most creative pass rushers in this draft, which is no surprise when you look at his sack production. His explosiveness and spin move is enough to keep IDP managers hopeful he can be as productive at the NFL level. The Iowa State product will likely see limited snaps as a rotational player. Both Carl Lawson and Johnson are ahead of him on the depth chart. The Jets’ defense is going to create pressure all year long if McDonald can make some splash plays, he could earn a majority of the snaps and be a contributor in Year 1.
- Jalen Carter DL
- Nolan Smith DL
- Sydney Brown DB
The Eagles’ front office might be the biggest Georgia Bulldog fans. The team has been all in on adding Georgia defenders over the past two drafts to help bolster their defense. The Eagles traded up to add Carter to their interior defensive line. He is a superstar on the field but dropped in the draft a bit due to some off-the-field and character issues. The Georgia DT is a top option in DT-required formats but does come with the risk of being rotated too much among a very talented Eagles defensive line.
The Eagles weren’t done drafting Georgia defenders as they added dynamic pass rusher Smith at the end of the first round. Smith is an undersized defender, but what he brings to the table is so good it’s easy to ignore the rest. Smith has 20 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks over his career. The Eagles will have even more weapons to rush the passer this season. Smith will likely find a spot in the DL rotation and give Haason Reddick a chance to mentor him into a high-level pass rusher.
The Eagles addressed their biggest weakness in the third round when they selected Illinois’ Brown. He is a former CB turned safety who has very good ball skills. Brown is a hard hitter who can make his name and carve out a role in the Philadelphia secondary as a rookie. Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds are ahead of him on the depth chart, but I wouldn’t expect that to last long.
- Nick Herbig DL
The Steelers have a rich tradition of finding pass rushers they can develop into high-level NFL players. The Pittsburgh defense always seems to have multiple players who can create havoc in the opposing team’s backfield. The Steelers have evolved into a team that is offensive-based but have not lost sight of the key to their defense that keeps them competitive year after year.
The Steelers did invest in a few positions on defense, but the one that stands out above the rest is Nick Herbig. He is very undersized when you are looking at a true EDGE defender, but he has a very polished skill set. The Wisconsin pass rusher accounted for 30 tackles for loss and 20 sacks over his past two seasons at Wisconsin. The Steelers spent a fourth-round pick on him, and he will be given time to learn under 2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, T.J. Watt. Herbig is an intriguing prospect in IDP leagues if given the DL designation, he is worth a flier in the late rounds of your rookie draft.
- Devon Witherspoon DB
- Derick Hall DL
The Seattle Seahawks are continuing to stockpile talent post-Russell Wilson trade. There was a small if any, rebuilding period for the Seahawks as they look poised to make noise in the NFC West division again. The Seattle front office is trying to follow the same blueprint that earned them multiple trips to the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks took Witherspoon fifth overall. Top CBs are rarely fantasy football relevant, but it’s worth noting that Witherspoon just might because of his talent level. The Seahawks’ newest DB has the coverage skills, instincts, and overall playmaking ability to be a top 36 DB as a rookie. Hall joins an overall underwhelming group of pass rushers in Seattle. Hall brings a great speed to power rush that has been very effective over his college career. Overall I wouldn’t be reaching for either player in your rookie drafts, but both have the potential to be fantasy relevant sooner than later.
San Francisco 49ers
- Ji’Ayir Brown DB
- Dee Winters DL
The 49ers’ defense has been instrumental to their success over the past few seasons. The team has been successful under multiple defensive coordinators who have both been promoted to head coaches in the NFL. This says a lot about the 49ers’ ability to draft and develop defensive players.
The 49ers used a third-round pick to upgrade their secondary by selecting Penn State safety, Brown. The instinctive safety brings versatility to the 49ers’ safety group, and he likely fits better at strong safety. He could also be pushing an aging Tashaun Gipson for snaps as a rookie. Brown was one of the top options at safety in the pre-draft process, so his landing spot confirms his talent level. I would be fine targeting Brown in the fifth round of rookie drafts or later if you need to upgrade the DB position. Winters is a smaller LB who may develop playing behind Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. I have a small glimmer of hope for Winters, but he’s likely just a rotational bye-week fill-in type of player.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Calijah Kancey DL
- YaYa Diaby DL
- SirVocea Dennis LB
The time has come for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to enter a youth movement after shifting their team focus to remain a contender with Tom Brady. Head coach Todd Bowles was not shy about adding defensive needs. The Buccaneers spent a first, third, and fifth-round pick on positions of need on the defense. The team made sure to address the defensive line first as they struggled to find any consistency at the position in 2022.
Kancey finds a perfect home with Todd Bowles and the Tampa Bay defense. He will play alongside Vita Vea and be able to use his explosiveness and speed to make splash plays. Kancey is coming off an FBS-leading 7.5 sacks from the DT position and should be an excellent addition to the Buccaneers’ front. I would expect him to play DE in Todd Bowles’s 3-4 alignment, but he will likely rotate along the front and be productive wherever he lines up. There’s a very high potential for him to be effective as a rookie, and his value in round five or later in rookie drafts is perfect.
Diaby and Dennis are more long-term plays for IDP managers. There is very little hope they get on the field and see enough snaps to justify a rookie draft selection this year. They are, however, names to keep an eye on as both Lavonte David and Devin White’s future with the team isn’t guaranteed beyond 2023. Diaby has speed and power that will translate well at the NFL level; it will just be a matter of him earning snaps before he becomes relevant in IDP leagues.
- Jartavius Martin DB
- K.J. Henry DL
The Washington Commanders continue to rely on their stud front four defensively. The team has been successful at trying to invest in the cover players to complement the strength of their defense up front. The Commanders would spend each of their first two picks in the NFL draft addressing their secondary before adding another high-upside pass rusher in the fifth round.
Martin is a five-year player at Illinois and brings a skill set that should translate perfectly into the slot nickel back position for the Commanders. In 2022 he had 11 pass breakups, three interceptions, one sack, and two forced fumbles. The Commanders looked their best with Darrick Forrest and Kam Curl at the safety position last season. Martin is versatile enough to play both safety and the slot. There’s not a ton of value in drafting Martin in your seven-round rookie drafts. It would be beneficial to keep an eye on training camp battles. This might offer you an opportunity to scoop him up before your league-mates notice him.
Henry is a depth addition as the team has declined Chase Young’s fifth-year option making him a free agent after this season. Henry will be a rotational player at best this season. He could be an option as a starter in 2024 if he fits the scheme well and can make enough plays. Henry is an interesting name to keep an eye on as both Montez Sweat and Young have struggled to stay on the field for the Commanders over their careers.
I hope you guys all enjoyed reading the IDP grades from each NFL team. It’s easier to break these down into winners and losers sometimes. More information and detailed breakdowns of landing spots can be just as beneficial. We find that deep in the rookie draft, where you typically target IDPs, we don’t pick based on value. Instead, we find ourselves taking players who were successful in college. The landing spot, depth chart, and defensive scheme are very important factors when deciding who can add value to your roster. As your rookie drafts draw closer, I can only hope that the tools and resources available to you in the dynasty community are helpful as you push to build championship-contending rosters.
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