Top IDP Fantasy Football Linebackers Of The 2019 Draft

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The past few weeks we have been looking at some of the best IDP prospects for the 2019 draft. This week we will be looking at the Linebacker position. There are some great prospects here.


Josh Allen

Kentucky- 6’5 260 Lbs.   Pro Comparison- Tremaine Edmunds

Career Statistics: 38 Games played, 191 tackles (101 solo), 35 tackles for a loss, 8 pass deflections, 24.5 sacks, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries.

Josh Allen is an amazing talent. He plays both inside and outside linebacker positions and excels at both. First you have to know that Allen is an edge rushing machine. In 38 games he has produced 35 tackles for a loss and an amazing 24.5 sacks.

This is not like it is in some low level conference, this is the SEC! He is unblockable and has an amazing motor and at his size he still runs about a 4.60 40 yard dash.  Allen has graded out as the top edge defender in the NCAA this year per Pro Football Focus:

Don’t think that Allen is a one trick pony though. Even though he holds the highest edge rushing grade, he has also dropped back a whopping 101 times this year. He is obviously the best player on the defense shifting all over and often even though he is in the SEC he looks like the best player on the field altogether. The only thing he could work on going into the NFL is maybe his strength, but there is plenty of room to work with his 260 Lb. frame. Watch his amazing athleticism on display covering the TE on this route:

Where Will He End Up?

#13 Overall to the Tennessee Titans

Tennessee drafted a great edge rusher last year in Harold Landry. To pair with him as the strongside linebacker they should draft Josh Allen. Brian Orakpo is an unrestricted free agent next season and is also well past his prime. Allen could come in and start right away and most likely be an upgrade over Orakpo.

A rushing trio of Landry, Allen, and Jurrell Casey could be polarizing. Throw in good pass rushing young middle linebacker Jayon Brown and rookie Rashaan Evans and this defense is stout. Welsey Woodyard is a free agent in 2020 and will most likely lose his starting position to Brown next year but would provide depth. The youth on this defense is loaded with talent and could be one of the defensive sleepers next year.

Devin White

LSU- 6’1 240 Lbs.   Pro Comparison- Navarro Bowman

Career Statistics: 30 Games, 247 tackles (88 solo), 23.5 tackles for a loss, 7 pass deflections, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries.

Devin White might be one of the most athletic players in the 2019 draft. He is 6’1 240 Lbs. and runs a 4.50 second 40 yard dash. White was not only a standout linebacker coming out of high school but he was also the 5th ranked running back. That just shows the versatility that White possesses. White was said to have great battles with Leonard Fournette while he was at LSU. Watch White’s strength here in this run stuff against Auburn:

White excels in every part of being a linebacker. That’s why I gave him the comparison of Navarro Bowman, mean run stopper and also great in coverage. He showed a great ability to blitz in 2017 coming up with 4.5 sacks. White followed that up this year with 4 pass deflections in 9 games. He plays all over the field and anybody who needs a linebacker should jump on him.

Where Will He End Up?

#10 Overall to the Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders are absolutely terrible on defense. They just gave up 34 points to an at the time one win 49ers team starting their 3rd string quarterback. They have a pretty good inside linebacker in Tahir Whitehead but he needs help. Whitehead would benefit from the addition of Devin White forming a nice 1-2 punch in the middle of that defense.

The Raiders have holes all over the defense but hold three 1st round picks due to Gruden’s fire sale of all their top young talent. They could go any direction but one of those three picks should be spent on a linebacker.

Cameron Smith

USC- 6’2 250 Lbs.   Pro Comparison- Eric Kendricks

Career Statistics: 43 Games played, 325 tackles (190 solo), 24 tackles for a loss, 14 pass deflections, 3.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 Touchdown.

Cameron Smith is a very instinctive linebacker. Anytime a run play develops he somehow finds an open lane to the runner. He also has the athleticism to make plays all over the field. Due to this he averages about 7.5 tackles a game. That same athleticism helps him in getting to the quarterback.  Smith has excellent snap awareness and burst when blitzing. Here is a game recap from Pro Football Focus that shows you the type of all around impact Smith  can make:

Pass coverage also is not a problem for Smith. He has 4 interceptions and 14 pass deflections in his college career so far. As a Freshman he came up with 3 interceptions to take down a then #3 Utah team. Watch here a highlight reel of Smith from 2017:

Where Will He End Up?

#57 Overall (2nd Round) to the Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers lost Ryan Shazier last year to a horrible neck injury. That left a gaping hole in the center of their defense. Vince Williams has filled in nicely but is best fit in more of a pass rusher role. Cameron Smith would be an automatic upgrade to this defense. Smith can fill the void left by Shazier with his cover skills and tackling ability.

T.J. Edwards

Wisconsin- 6’1 242 Lbs.   Pro Comparison- Blake Martinez

Career Statistics: 49 Games played, 315 tackles(177 solo), 34.5 tackles for a loss, 15 pass deflections, 8 sacks, 9 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 2 Touchdowns.

If you go by a pure numbers standpoint, take a look at T.J. Edwards. The man can do it all, forces turnovers, tackles like a champ, is a menace behind the line of scrimmage, anything. Edwards shows great gap awareness in run defense. He uses his hands well in shedding offensive lineman at the point of attack, helping him get to his 34.5 tackles for a loss. Watch here Edwards amazing ability to read the screen and tackle the running back in the flat:

T.J. Edwards is athletic but not real quick. He does not possess the speed to plan man coverage on running backs or wideouts. On the other hand though he has great ball skills so anytime team that employs zone coverage could benefit from this. Edwards has 9 interceptions for his career including this great pick:

Where Will He End Up?

#56 Overall (2nd round) to the Carolina Panthers

The Panthers right now have a great trio of linebackers in Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, and Shaq Thompson. Thomas Davis is going into his final NFL season for 2019. The Panthers defense primarily runs in zone at 72.5% of the time which fits Edwards well. Edwards can play special teams for a year and learn from the veterans, then take Thomas Davis’ job when he retires to keep the great linebacker trio going.

Mack Wilson

Alabama- 6’2 239Lbs.   Pro Comparison- Bobby Wagner

Career Statistics: 28 Games played, 86 tackles (44 solo), 6 tackles for a loss, 5 pass deflections, 1 sack, 6 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 1 Touchdown.

The NFL has become a pass happy league. Every team can use a good cover linebacker. Mack Wilson may be one of the better if not the best cover linebackers in the 2019 Draft. Wilson runs about a 4.55 second 40 yard dash which is plenty quick enough to keep up with most tight ends and running backs.

Wilson played 8 games as a Freshman but was a part time player. Since he became a starter his Sophomore year he has played 20 games. In those 20 starts he has 5 pass deflections and 6 interceptions. He has great coverage and ball skills as shown in this clip here against LSU:

Wilson can play as a run stopper as well. He has spectacular lateral agility. This allows him to shed off blockers when a runner thinks he’s free to run by. With a full head of steam running downhill it is hard to stop him, he shoots the gaps incredibly well as you see here:

Where Will He End Up?

#35 Overall (2nd Round) to the Arizona Cardinals

If there is a team that is desperate for linebacker help it is the Arizona Cardinals. They have tried using former 1st Round pick Hassan Reddick as an inside linebacker but he is better suited to play the outside. Josh Bynes has played well in his first season with the Cardinals but he is mostly a stopgap going into his year 30  season for 2019. There is a chance Wilson stays in school only being a Junior but if he does declare than the Cardinals would be stupid not to take him.

These are just my predictions for the upcoming draft. Much can change, especially draft position but the needs of these teams do not. I’m excited for the upcoming draft to see if any of my predictions came true.

 

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @josephhaggan and @IDPGuys for updates. Also watch the weekly podcast on IDPGuys.org for great insight on the Fantasy Football season.

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I have played IDP 6 YRS, fantasy for 10. Writing for the greater good of IDP, if it's not IDP it's not fantasy football.