• IDP Strategy Anatomy of an IDP: Anatomy of a Top-12 LB

    Embed from Getty Images

    Welcome to the "Anatomy of an IDP" series. We'll start by diving into the anatomy of a top-12 LB to see what makes an elite IDP LB. Let's dive in now!


    Firstly, credit where credit is due. This idea is not mine, only taken from Jax Falcone (@DynoGameTheory), who writes for @theundroppables. Go check out his series on Twitter, well worth the read. Here's my anatomy of a top-12 LB, the first in the series of IDP anatomies.

    The player list

    Let's start by talking about players. This list is taken from the consensus IDP rankings posted here. Since the link is by subscription only, I'll give the 12 players in alphabetical order. The players I'll look at for the anatomy of a top-12 LB are Nick BoltonJordyn BrooksJack CampbellTremaine EdmundsZaire FranklinBobby OkerekeFoyesade OluokunRoquan SmithQuay WalkerFred WarnerDevin White, and Logan Wilson.

    Draft Capital

    The first question is, does draft capital matter? In short, yes. Half of the top-12 were selected in the first round. Another in round two, three in round three, and one each in rounds six and seven. What to make of this? LBs going in the first are much more likely to hit top-12 status. Additionally, only two fell outside of the first two days of the draft, so targeting Day 1 and 2 LBs is a better bet than late-round LBs.

    Additionally, similar to a position like QB, LBs are more likely to be top-12 if they play for 4 years. Eight of the twelve played four or more years in college. This might or might not be due to the delay in getting on the field and being productive, so it may not be anything, but it is notable.

    Size

    Do height and weight matter? Let's start with height. All twelve are at least 6 feet tall, ranging from 6' to 6'5". Seven of them are on the lesser end of that, 6'1" or shorter. Ideally, you're looking for an LB 6' or 6'1", but 6' seems like a minimum, and shorter than that might be players to avoid.

    With regards to weight, nine of the twelve fall between 232 and 241. The two 6'5" LBs are heavier, 249 and 253. The outlier is Foyesade Oluokun, who tipped the scales at just 215 pounds at the 2018 combine. The target player to look for appears to be in the 232 to 241 pounds though heavier if they're a taller player.

    College Production

    What does college production mean for LBs? That answer is a bit ambiguous. Eight of the twelve players crossed the 100-tackle threshold at least once at the collegiate level. It deserves the caveat that one was playing safety (Oluokun). Like the NFL, it appears college tackles are tied to playing time and role over true talent level.

    One trait nearly all LBs twelve do have is the ability to diagnose and get in the backfield quickly. All but Jack Campbell posted an 8% or higher TFL rate (TFLs as a percentage of total tackles). Campbell's ranking is based on draft capital and landing spot, so this will be interesting to see if he can buck the trend. For what it's worth, his overall rate was just over 4%, and at just 2.5% in his best total tackle season.

    Athleticism

    Most high-end dynasty LBs are, in fact, superb athletes. Ten of the twelve hit at least 8.50 RAS (relative athletic score). The two who didn't were Nick Bolton and Jordyn Brooks. Brooks didn't do more than run and Bolton had poor agility numbers. It ultimately didn't matter for either though. Why?

    Both Bolton and Brooks ran in the 4.5 to 4.6 in the 40-yard dash, so if they process quickly they can get downhill in a hurry. All 12 LBs were between 4.42 (White) and 4.65 (Campbell). Not surprisingly, LBs need to be athletic to be great, especially for the 40-yard dash.

    Conclusion

    So to review, elite LBs tend to be top 3 round selections with four-plus years in college. They are over six feet tall, roughly 232-241 pounds, and hit 100 tackles in their most productive season, and at least 8% of those were for a loss. Finally, they hit an 8.5 relative athletic score and ran 40 times in 4.65 seconds or less.

    Some names I'm watching as young ascending guys. Pete Werner hits all but the 100-tackle season. Nakobe Dean is smaller than both size thresholds, never had 100 tackles, and has unknown athleticism. Devin Lloyd checks every box except running a 4.66 40-yard dash. Rookies Drew Sanders and Trenton Simpson each miss 2 categories, both were early declares, Sanders ran a 4.66, and Simpson never hit 100 tackles in a year.

    Thanks for checking out my anatomy of a top-12 LB. Hope this helps you identify future LB1s for your squad as well as know when players might be overvalued. Feel free to contact me on Twitter to tell me what you love or yell at me that I’m an idiot!


    Thank you for reading my anatomy of a top-12 LB article! Please follow me for more content via Twitter @FFFBallers and @IDPGuys, and check out my IDP Guys author page and the IDP Guys website.

  • Back to top