The IDP Roundtable Series
This summer, the Footballguys staff will discuss various topics to help you in your IDP leagues.
The IDP Rookies Series
Nakobe Dean, Devin Lloyd, and Quay Walker are the consensus top three rookie linebackers. Are you shying away from any of these three? And after those guys, is there a rookie linebacker you think will have an immediate impact?
I think it's worth it to consider shying away from all of these rookies. Nakobe Dean looks to have the best opportunity, but Devin Lloyd's versatility should keep him on the field on all three downs most of the year. The Packers have notably preferred to live in sub-packages, and with the re-signing of De'Vondre Campbell, I worry about Quay's production for fantasy. My favorite potential immediate-impact rookie linebacker is Channing Tindall. His college production profile was lesser than his teammates at Georgia, but he certainly possessed the most range and burst of the group. He looks to be competing for starter snaps already in minicamp and his path is not a difficult one. I think he could stack up the tackles and be a really nice value pick.
They are my top three as well. For redraft, I am shying away from Nakobe Dean, as he has T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White ahead of him, matched with a possible lingering pectoral injury. The Packers have mentioned playing more two linebacker sets which leads the way to a potential high-volume role for Walker, though he is still a better dynasty asset than redraft. Lloyd is a stud, and I honestly would not be surprised to see him at the least match Oluokun in Jacksonville. Lloyd is a smash in both redraft and dynasty in my opinion.
Channing Tindall is a rookie that I think will make an instant impact. He was drafted in the third round which is solid draft capital for a linebacker. His competition is thin as well. Jerome Baker is the top option in Miami, and even still, he has lost snaps in the starting lineup, falling out of favor during the middle of the 2020 season, though has reclaimed a 3-down role. Elandon Roberts is the starter next to Baker though he is a complete liability in coverage. He only averaged 55% of the team's defensive snaps per game. Outside of Roberts, the team has Duke Riley and Sam Eguavoen, both of whom could never hold onto a starting role.
Tindall offers true sideline-to-sideline athleticism. He graded a 9.69 Relative Athletic Score out of a possible 10. He had a 4.47 second 40 time, 42-inch vertical, and a 10-foot and 9-inch broad jump. He is easily the most explosive athlete of the group and should compete with Roberts right away for a starting shot.
For me, it's Devin Lloyd over Quay Walker with Troy Anderson third and then maybe Nakobe Dean fourth. I don't dislike Walker, in fact, I like him a lot in Green Bay. He was hand-picked to be the perfect complement to Devondre Campbell. His coverage skills will keep him on the field and likely will result in him being a three-down linebacker. What's not to love? My first rookie backer is Devin Lloyd. He is a multiple-tool backer who can roam the field, rush the passer well when needed, and be a mainstay for the defense. There's a lot to like about Lloyd and he's in a perfect spot where he'll likely wear the green dot for the Jaguars from the beginning. At 5-foot-11 and 229 pounds, Nakobe Dean is on the smaller side which is generally a small yellow flag. He also has a shoulder injury that could be problematic. Combine that with Philadelphia's historically poor LB production numbers - it gives me pause.
As is the case with Travon Walker, the fantasy community is too greatly discounting the results of the 2022 NFL draft. The narrative surrounding Dean's slide into the third round was a bum shoulder. Dean is nevertheless practicing at camp without limitations. His opportunity to play is also overstated. The Eagles entered into contracts with presumptive starters TJ Edwards and Kyzir White within the past 9 months. While neither is a star, Dean has work to do to overtake them. Three other linebackers drafted in the third round ahead of Dean - Minnesota's Brian Asamoah, Jacksonville's Chad Muma, and Houston's Christian Harris - face varying levels of competition for snaps and are likely only an injury away from one of two full-time roles on their respective teams.
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