The NFL scouting combine is just around the corner and for many players, it will be the last best chance to showcase who they are and what they are all about on and off the field before the NFL Draft. Leading into the combine these are my current top 5 NFL Draft prospects for IDP fantasy football. A couple of these guys are basically bulletproof prospects, Young and Simmons. The others should all be day one impact players at the NFL level, assuming good draft capital.
Chase Young, Ohio State – DL/EDGE
Chase Young has all the tangibles of a generational pass rusher. He has a plethora of pass rush moves and seems to live behind the line of scrimmage. In his senior year, Young had 32 combined tackles and 21 tackles for loss. That means 65% of his tackles produced a negative play. Along with those negative plays, Young also managed 16.5 sacks and 7 forced fumbles in 12 games. Honestly, if the Bengals didn’t have such a dire need for a quarterback, there’s a legitimate argument for Chase Young as the best overall prospect and worthy of the 1.01 in the 2020 NFL Draft. Young seems like a lock to go number 2 overall to the Washington Redskins, which would mean that defensive line would boast 4 first-round picks. In short, they could give the San Fransico 49ers defensive line a run for their money in 2020.
Isaiah Simmons, Clemson – LB
Even though Chase Young will go before Isaiah Simmons in the NFL draft, Simmons could easily be the first IDP rookie taken in IDP fantasy football rookie drafts. Simmons brings a level of versatility to the field that’s rare. His first 3 years at Clemson Simmons played safety, however, as a senior moved up to the middle of the field and thrived to the tune of 104 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss and 8 sacks. He spent time on the defensive line, safety, corner, at middle linebacker and outside linebacker. Simmons’s senior year accolades included being named 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and 2019 Dick Butkus Award. As far as player comparisons Simmons has a lot of traits similar to Tyrann Mathieu but is built more like a Darius Leonard or Shaq Thompson. In other words, strong, savvy, versatile and rangy.
Isaiah Simmons, LB/S, #Clemson:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 11, 2020
• Position-less prospect (++)
• Elite athleticism
• Do-it-all/Unicorn chess piece
• Run, hit, and cover prospect
• Effective blitzer from all levels
• Team fit will be key to his successpic.twitter.com/nb8hOTlsw3
Going to the Carolina Panthers at number 7 makes sense with Luke Kuechly recently announcing his retirement but if they pass on him look for the Jacksonville Jaguars or Las Vegas Raiders to snatch up this potentially franchise-altering player.
Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma University – LB
If Isaiah Simmons wasn’t such a versatile option, Kenneth Murray would almost assuredly be the top linebacker prospect. Murray is rangy and has an extremely high motor and his sideline – to – sideline speed is almost scary given his size. He played middle linebacker at OU, in large part because his leadership ability on the field dictated it, but could be moved to outside linebacker in the NFL. In 2018 Murray had 155 tackles in 12 games. He holds the OU single-game record for tackles with an eye-popping 28 tackle performance against Army in 2018. Murray had at least 4 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in each of his final two seasons at Oklahoma to go along with the tackles.
Although there have been some questions about his coverage ability, with his size, he should still be a candidate for the 3 down role as a QB spy or a blitz option. Above all, for IDP fantasy football his tackling proficiency should make him an almost certain top 3 IDP pick in rookie drafts. Potential landing spots could be the Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins or Baltimore Ravens.
Patrick Queen, LSU – LB
Patrick Queen didn’t become a full-time starter at LSU until his senior year but excelled in his role. Queen has good size displayed good instincts and was a sufficient tackler. Of his 85 tackles as a senior, 12 of them were for a loss. Along with his ability to stop the run and get behind the line of scrimmage, Queen showcased excellent coverage ability and closing speed. When it comes to sideline – to – sideline speed, Queen proved himself more than capable and his ability to diagnose the play before it happens improved almost weekly, which you definitely like to see from a young linebacker.
Former LSU teammate Rashard Lawrence told me that Patrick Queen “started off really quiet but as he learned the defense and took control of it, he started being more vocal.”— Cover 1 (@Cover_1_) February 17, 2020
Queen’s upbringing and maturation process has him ready for the #NFLhttps://t.co/cjzSPY2SK0 pic.twitter.com/zrmcENKVDm
He did struggle at times shedding blockers, lacking some of the physicality of his other rookie counterparts. Any team needing linebacker help that misses on Simmons and Murray will be looking hard at Queen and our next prospect. The Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the first round could be in play for Queen as there linebacker group is fairly mediocre. At the top of the second, the New York Giants and the Caroline Panther Panthers could also be looking hard at Queen if they pass on a linebacker in the first round.
Malik Harrison, Ohio State – LB
Rounding out the top 5 is another linebacker in Malik Harrison. Harrison is an imposing presence in the middle of the field at 6’3, 251lbs. Over his final two seasons at Ohio State University, Harrison posted 156 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 8 passes defended and 6 sacks. Although Harrison doesn’t possess the same level of lateral closing speed as some of the other prospects above, he does excel at shedding blockers and finishing his tackles. Overall, he’s very physical at the point of contact and uses his massive size and weight to his advantage.
Ohio State LB Malik Harrison – 6’3 251— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) February 15, 2020
Enormous LB that can glide/scrap – but he knows how to stack/shed blocks too! Watch a few examples of him taking on blockers and keeping himself clean!@nfldraftscout recently mocked Harrison to the #Packers in the 2nd round – 62 overall pic.twitter.com/O1qpWznHLt
While not the strongest prospect in this class, in the right situation has a high floor as a day one starter. Many draft pundits have him graded as a second-round prospect. Some potential landing spots could be the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philidelphia Eagles or the Chicago Bears.
The idea behind this list is to get some names out there for people to watch at the combine. It’s unlikely that Young or Simmons could really hurt their draft capital at the combine. But the players behind them could see some movement based on testing and medical reports. Going into the combine it’s very possible some dark horse prospects could make a move up draft boards. The Dynasty Nerds staff will be putting out more in-depth IDP player profiles over the offseason. So keep an eye out for those along with the amazing offensive profiles that seem to drop daily. If you’re looking for more IDP fantasy football content make sure to check out The IDP 411 podcast. And follow along on twitter @50shadesofdrunk. Defense matters.