idp linebackers

The Tooth’s Top 10 IDP Rookies For 2022

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With the draft still months away, here is an early look at Joey The Tooth’s top 10 IDP rookies for 2022.

As with previous years, the 2022 draft class is a deep pool for IDP players. In this article, I am going to break down my pre-combine top 10 IDP rookies. Unlike in 2021, this year’s class has quite a few rookies who have the potential to be IDP studs from the get-go.

Each position group has a potential upper echelon player looking to become one of the next big defenders in the NFL. Let’s take a look at how my rankings break down for my top 10 IDP rookies.

1. Nakobe Dean, LB, Georgia

This may surprise a lot of people that have neither Aidan Hutchinson nor Keyvon Thibodeaux as the top fantasy player in my ranks. For NFL purposes I do, but for fantasy football, I think Dean takes the cake. He is everything that defensive coordinators look for in a linebacker in today’s NFL.

Dean fills his running lanes, shoots gaps, hits with vicious intent, and is the top coverage linebacker in this year’s draft. He has given up an astounding 30.7 QB rating when targeted. The only knock on Dean is his size, but he will be the first linebacker off the board come draft time.

Whoever drafts him is likely to give him a starting role, which could lead to some great volume and sits at #1 in my top 10 IDP rookie.

2. Aidan Hutchinson, Edge, Michigan

When talking about the NFL draft, I actually have Thibodeaux ranked higher than Hutchinson due to his unbelievable ceiling. When I draft IDPs, I look for a guy with a higher floor than one with a higher ceiling. This ensures that I don’t swing and miss because drafting a guy that early and missing can be painful.

Hutchinson does everything well on the field. He fits into any scheme due to his ability to play inside and out on the line. Hutchinson’s swim move is to die for, he sets the edge with perfection, he routinely beats tackles off the edge with great technique, has great bend, and excellent hand usage. He has terrific chop, rip, and dip moves. Hutchinson could very well take the top spot in this list.

3. Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge, Oregon

Thibodeaux is an absolute monster off the edge. He is incredibly explosive and powerful with an incredibly flexible frame, especially for a  man 260 pounds. Thibodeaux has fantastic lateral agility and relentless pursuit on the back end of plays. The scheme does not matter with him much, as he can rush standing up as a 3-4 OLB or in the dirt as a 4-3 DE.

Like I said earlier, Thibodeaux is not higher because he does not have the floor the others have. They showed dominance at the collegiate level while he had more of a pedestrian season though flashing his elite tools. It is those tools plus Thibodeaux’s size and athleticism that make him so intriguing.

4. Christian Harris, LB, Alabama

Christian Harris is coming off of possibly the best game of his collegiate career in the 2021 National Championship game. He showcased so many traits and versatility that NFL scouts will drool over. After Dean, Harris may be the next best coverage linebacker in the class. Add in the fact that he is a fantastic pass rusher and blitzer, and you have a close to complete package.

Harris is very athletic, disciplined, and aggressive when needs to be. He is a plus-run defender and holds his lanes well while shooting gaps with reckless abandonment. Harris has the skill set to be an every-down football player. He is one of my favorites and could see some movement on my top 10 IDP rookies list.

5. Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah

Devin Lloyd is neck-and-neck with Harris for the number four spot in my rankings. It could easily flip-flop between now and draft day. He is a former safety with terrific size, length, and range to patrol the middle of the field. Lloyd even developed his skill as a pass rusher and had eight sacks during his final collegiate season.

What we are seeing with the new age of linebackers is unbelievable versatility. Guys who can pass rush, tackle, run defend, and cover. The top three in this class can do all of this. Lloyd is another linebacker who could easily wind up with a full-time role, even as a rookie.

6. Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame

If you listened to my appearance on the IDP Show recently, then you know how I feel about Kyle Hamilton. He is as close to a perfect safety prospect as you can get. Think along the lines of Derwin James and Jamal Adams. These are all guys who thrive both in coverage, run defense, and even blitzing. Kyle Hamilton is one of these guys.

Hamilton has elite size for the position at 6’4″ and 220 pounds. He has amazing instincts and does a great job reading quarterbacks’ eyes. Hamilton lined up as linebacker at times for Notre Dame during obvious run situations. He even lined up as an edge rusher at times…and was successful. Hamilton will have tremendous draft capital and should be an every-down player from the word go.

7. George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue

The Purdue Boilermaker is much closer to Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux than people think. Karlaftis is a complete package of size, strength, speed, and versatility. He has cinder blocks for hands and is an absolute bully when he gets his hands on offensive linemen, showing great rip, pull, chop, and bull rush moves.

Karlaftis plays with great leverage and good leg drive, making him an excellent people mover. He has the size to slide inside as well and does not falter when faced with bigger linemen. The ability to play in any defensive scheme will make Karlaftis a first-round pick in the upcoming draft. He has the potential to be one of the most productive of my top 10 IDP rookies.

8. Cameron Thomas, Edge, San Diego State

Thomas has made quite a name for himself during his collegiate career. He is another lineman that has great size and strength that can slide inside if needed. Thomas actually thrives with his interior pass rush, though I like him more off the edge. He is an instinctual, smart, and technical pass rusher with a plethora of moves to get into the backfield.

Thomas is a tremendous edge setter as well, with great length to wrap up runners at the line of scrimmage. He is less known than some of the other players in this class, but he should get good draft capital. Thomas’ is a name I am watching like a hawk with landing spot because he could have some day-one impact.

9. Chad Muma, LB, Wyoming

Chad Muma may have some of the most impressive instincts in this draft class for the linebacker position. He shows a high-level football IQ, running the defense and making great pre-snap reads. Muma is a textbook tackler with great technique and wrap-up ability. He shoots gaps in run defense making hits in the backfield often forcing a loss from the ball carrier.

Muma is a great coverage linebacker as well, mainly in zone coverage. Again, his IQ is on display in zone understanding depths and in man by jumping routes. His only limitation is that he is not as athletic as some of the other players on this list. His understanding of the game should still land him a role with a linebacker needy team.

10. David Ojabo, Edge, Michigan

David Ojabo is an athletic beast. Not many, if any, prospects in this class are at his level of athleticism. He has incredible burst, strength, and bend off the edge. Ojabo is an overwhelming pass rusher for offensive tackles to anchor and has relentless blindside pursuit of the quarterback. You would never know that he lacks experience, because of his large bag of pass-rushing moves.

That is part of the problem and why he is so far down on this list. Ojabo has only one year of starter repetitions. His run defense also needs some refinement, but the tools are apparent and good coaching could make this kid elite. Ojabo’s rookie role likely lands him as a situational pass rusher with room to grow. He could be one of the fastest rising of my top 10 IDP rookies after the combine.

Notable players who almost made this list:


The edge class is quite dominant in the 2021 draft class. There are three elite players at the top of the class with a large second-tier group of players on this list with more that could crack it. The linebacker group tails a bit after the top three guys in the class, though there are still some great mid-round options that could play themselves into a big role.

The safety class is the weakest I have seen in years with only two prospects I would consider drafting in your IDP leagues this year. This is a pre-combine top 10 IDP rookies list, so this list has a great chance to see some movement. It is a very deep IDP class, one that I am very excited about.

Thank you for checking out my early rookie top 10 rankings! Follow me on Twitter at @JoeyTheToothIDP, and check out all of my IDP, Devy, and Offensive work on my IDP Guys author page. Stay up to date with the latest breaking news in fantasy football with The IDPGuys!

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