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The 2023 NFL Draft was quite a spectacle—over 300,000 people attended the event live in Kansas City, and over 50 million people watched the draft on television.
Eat your heart out, NBA playoffs.
Much of the hype leading up to April 27 centered on the top quarterback prospects, but there was no shortage of firepower on the defensive side of the ball as well. However, this year's crop of linebackers wasn't considered either especially deep or talented. Only one off-ball linebacker (Iowa's Jack Campbell) was drafted in Round 1, and only six were drafted during the draft's first two days.
Still, given the importance of the linebacker position in IDP leagues, these newcomers will still have a significant impact on the IDP landscape, both in 2023 and beyond. In an effort to gauge that impact and help fantasy managers best take advantage of the new talent available to them, the IDP staff here at Footballguys has gathered for a series of IDP Roundtables.
This time, it's Campbell and the linebackers who take center stage.
The Detroit Lions raised plenty of eyebrows on Thursday when they drafted Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell with the 18th overall pick, but Day 2 was when the off-ball linebackers started coming off the board in earnest. Outside Campbell, which off-ball linebacker prospect do you feel has the clearest path to a three-down role early in his career?
Kyle Bellefeuil: After Jack Campbell, this linebacker class is going to require some patience in year one. However, Daiyan Henley has a nice path to snaps as a rookie and a potential prominent three-down role in 2024 if he develops as we all hope. The Chargers signed Eric Kendricks to a two-year deal this offseason, but they have a potential out after this year. As expected, they also just declined the fifth-year option on Kenneth Murray, making him a free agent after this season. Henley has a chance to pass Murray up for snaps in 2023 but could be looking at an even bigger role in 2024 if Los Angeles chooses to move on from Kendricks.
Tripp Brebner: The Ravens declined to exercise Patrick Queen's fifth-year option and plan to move on from Queen next winter. Trenton Simpson should play full-time next to Roquan Smith in 2024 and beyond in a defense that wants full-time players in the back seven to reduce the need to rotate and neutralize no-huddle offenses.
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