2017 Positional Rankings: Top Ten LBs
In the world of the Linebackers, “Times, they are a changin’ “. Many young faces have rose over the past two years to displace some longterm top 10 mainstays of the position so pay attention as we first review the players who just missed our top 10.
Once he was back from injury last year Vontaze Burfect totaled over 100 tackles, and with the departure of Karlos Dansby he will likely clear that mark again. Levonte David didn’t do anything wrong last season, he just has a teammate that produces more than David does, and then eats up the leftovers. Zach Brown moved to Washington and is immediately slated as a starting inside linebacker in a group of backers who collected plenty of tackles last year. Navarro Bowman spent last year injured, and with threats of San Francisco cutting him, his ranking has dropped off for us Gurus. Eric Kendricks is the lynchpin of the Minnesota defense that will continue to be a formidable force in their division.
Now for the good stuff:
10. Christian Kirksey & 9. Jamie Collins – Even after Jamie Collins joined the Browns last season, Christian Kirksey continued to collect tackles game after game, though he has a history of not getting any other stats besides tackles, which is how Jamie Collins fits in! Kirksey should total more tackles while Collins will get Sacks, Interceptions, Fumbles, and still get a decent number of tackles. Collins ability to still collect a significant number of tackles is why we put him above Kirksey in our ranks.
8. Sean Lee – Out only one game last season, perennially injured Lee matched his most games played in a season (2011), proving again that when healthy he is one of the best Linebackers in the league. The question of if he can stay healthy does not directly impact his rank from going much higher, but even when healthy Lee is still just below a higher tier of linebackers.
7. Deion Jones – It is no slight on Jones that we have him this low on our list, it is just that we like the rest of the list that much more, but we expect Jones to continue to climb these rankings for years to come. He stepped in and lead the Atlanta defense right out of the gate in 2016, and of all the players on this Jones may have the best chance to exceed our rankings this season.
6. Telvin Smith – It has finally happened! The long awaited takeover of Smith as the top backer in Jacksonville is upon us. His former contemporary, Paul Posluszny, may not even end up being the second best linebacker for the Jaguars this year (Myles Jack just got moved into the middle linebacker, Pauly P. is lining up as the right side backer). My personal feeling is that Smith will not be in my personal top 10 this time next year, but he will be the best linebacker to own this year in Jacksonville.
5. C.J. Mosely – With the retirement of Zachary Orr (or now looking like his weird way of becoming a free agent), Mosely immediately was shot into the tackle monster role in Baltimore. In the next year or two we will see one of the many talented young linebackers on the Ravens rise to be an equal to him, but for the next year or two Mosely will be the guy to have on your team on this squad.
4. Bobby Wagner – With 28 more tackles than his previous best total (2012, as a rookie) Wagner proved to be able to step up when the rest of the Seattle Defense stepped down last year. Wagner will continue as the most important player on the Seahawks’s Defense, especially after all the Sherman trade talks this offseason. In a run heavy division, Wagner should see his value stay relatively close to what was a career year.
3. Alec Ogletree – Simply put, the ONLY year Ogletree didn’t put up a minimum of 111 total tackles was 2015, where he played only 4 games (and still totaled 42 tackles). Mark Barron is not getting any younger, so there is no reason why Ogletree won’t be maintaining his normal tackle numbers, the man produces plain and simple.
2. Kwon Alexander – With only 2 games under 7 total tackles in 2016, Alexander proved in the second game of the season that he can step up when his team needs (21 total tackles in one game). The biggest thing keeping him from our top rank is his lack of a history to prove he can repeat last year, but his single season has us very excited to see what he’ll produce this year.
1. Luke Kuechly – No one can predict injuries (see Sean Lee) which for the past two season has resulted in rough outings for Kuechly. When healthy Mr. Luke has not produced fewer than 153 total tackles, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE!!, which is on a different level from the aforementioned Lee, proving that he is a IDP force to be reckoned with every time that he plays.
And there it is! The counting down the top ten LB’s of 2017. Send us your feedback and let us know what you think by sending us an email: TrophyTime@TFFGurus.com. Remember to check out the Trophy Time Podcast which can be found on all the major podcast networks and follow and chat with us on Twitter – @TheFantasyBoys, @TFFGurus, @DaFantasyFather, and @DecoyLife.