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J Andersson

Rookie linebackers

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I have a hard time getting a solid read on how to rank the rookie linebackers.

As of now (and I'm aware training camps will be a main source for information) I have the obvious ones pegged as:

1. Luke Kuechly

2. Lavonte David

3. Mychal Kendricks

4. Bobby Wagner

5. Donta Hightower

Behind those it's getting hard

I like Zach Brown in Tennessee some and potentially James-Michael Johnson in Cleveland.

Feel free to voice your opinions and give me info on guys I haven't listed that you think might surprise.

TIA

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You forgot about Demario (?) Davis with the Jets. Am sure there is plenty of info on these forums about him

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discalimer - I am a Hawks homer

Im pushing Wagner higher and higher in these rankings. He is available in 3rd round of most rookie drafts and I am all over that.

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Is this dynasty or redraft? In a redraft I'd have Wagner at 2, Kendricks at 3 and JMJ at 4 and probably wouldn't draft any beyond the top 3. Dynasty would be different of course

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I like Keenan Robinson as a long term dyno stash. He's actually 6th on my rooke board with JMJ #5 and Hightower (and Davis) not ranked. I don't see the latter 2 having much value in fantasy unless they have a role change. Same top 4 but I have Kendricks and Wagner flipped.

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Here would be my top 15 rookie LBers (Note these are Dynasty Rankings). Redraft I would move Hightower down, and bump up Davis, and JMJ

01. Luke Kuechly

02. Mychal Kendricks

03. Lavonte David

04. Bobby Wagner

05. Dont'a Hightower

06. Demorio Davis

07. James-Michael Johnson

08. Melvin Ingram

09. Sean Spence

10. Zach Brown

11. Nick Perry

12. Whitney Mercilus

13. Keenan Robinson

14. Miles Burris

15. Nigel Bradham

I do my best at ranking the rookies over on my site if you are interested http://www.365fantasyfootball.com/p/rookie-rankings.html

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Is this dynasty or redraft? In a redraft I'd have Wagner at 2, Kendricks at 3 and JMJ at 4 and probably wouldn't draft any beyond the top 3. Dynasty would be different of course

It's a league where there is a salary cap and you pay for rookie contracts (according to a scale) but get to keep them for at max 4 years and thus don't need to protect them as keepers. You can keep three players on offense and defense respectively that are not under a rookie contract (the 4 years earlier explained).

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Is this dynasty or redraft? In a redraft I'd have Wagner at 2, Kendricks at 3 and JMJ at 4 and probably wouldn't draft any beyond the top 3. Dynasty would be different of course

It's a league where there is a salary cap and you pay for rookie contracts (according to a scale) but get to keep them for at max 4 years and thus don't need to protect them as keepers. You can keep three players on offense and defense respectively that are not under a rookie contract (the 4 years earlier explained).
Scoring systems definitely play a factor but at least in the tackle heavy format I play in I list them as follows:1 - Kuechly (hard to deny him the top spot no matter how you break it down)2 - Wagner (it's close between spots 2-4 but at least that's where I put my money down when I drafted him as the 2nd LB in a rookie draft)3 - David (not sold he can become an LB1 in the long run but safe bet to at least be an LB2/3 and do it immediately)4 - Kendricks (like him more than David for those that are patient enough to wait maybe 2-3 years but he still holds down the #4 spot even in redraft)5 - Hightower (I know many are not feeling him but I think he'll work his way into a full time role one way or another...I think he's a safer bet to at least be solid in comparison to guys like D Davis and co. that are more boom/bust)But that's all just me and my opinions

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David

Kueckly

Wagner

Micheals-johnson

Spence

Davis

Kendricks

Hightower

tackle heavy dynasty

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I personally do not see Kendricks beating out David this year if he remains the starting SLB for the Eagles. David is already starting at WLB for the Bucs and will probably be the #2 scoring rookie LB'er barring an injury that vaults someone else into a starting spot. I would definitely stash Davis as I think he is going to be a beast down the road, and may even get some PT this year if Scott sucks bad enough.

Melvin Ingram will surprise in big play, high scoring sack leagues he will get tons of chances and will probably play various positions on the D and he is a quick twitch jump guy, and he gets to play 3 QB's that can't move. I would not be surprised if he gets 4 - 5 sacks in his own division.

In mho, only the top 2 will be in the top 15-20 scoring this year, also keep in mind that Kuechly plays with 2 other VERY good lb'ers and that WILL diminish his returns. If Wagner does start in the middle, he will be up there as well. Sack leagues, I honestly believe Melvin will be a top 15-20 guy, this kid is quick and has a nice variety of moves. As a Packer fan I hope Perry has a good year, I think he has almost been given the starting role opposite Matthews, but I am not sure how good he will be. I do think Kendricks is good, I am just not sure he will get the chances at SLB to make him a top 20 guy. Zach Brown may sneak up near the top 20-30 or better if he beats out Witherspoon early and starts at WLB for the Titans.

Luke Kuechly

Lavonte David

Bobby Wagner

Melvin Ingram

Mychal Kendricks

Dont'a Hightower

Nick Perry

Zach Brown

Demorio Davis

James-Michael Johnson

Sean Spence

Whitney Mercilus

Keenan Robinson

Miles Burris

Nigel Bradham

Keep in mind, these are just my OPINIONS, I do not state anything as fact nor am I trying to take away from anyone else's opinions. I will say I have had very good success in the past with picking LB'ers that turn out to be studs.

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Desmond Bishop - Best analysis on rookie LBs I've seen. I like your style.

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Anybody have a strong opinion on Browns 4th round pick James-Michael Johnson? With Cocong's injury he now has a real opportunity for playing time. Any chance he's a 3 down backer or is he just a 2 down thumper, too raw, what?

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Anybody have a strong opinion on Browns 4th round pick James-Michael Johnson? With Cocong's injury he now has a real opportunity for playing time. Any chance he's a 3 down backer or is he just a 2 down thumper, too raw, what?

My personal feeling is that Kaluka Maiava is more of a fill in/role player type talent. I think if JMJ has a strong rest of camp he will probably be starting if not week 1, shortly there after. Keep in mind, they will have Fujita coming back after week 3 I think, that will definitely change things as well. But like Maiava, I personally do not think Fujita is a super talent, I think JMJ could still end up as the 2nd highest scoring LB'er on the team by the end of the year, if he starts all year, I would put him in that 30-45ish range with upside. Another thing to keep in mind, last year in my league (More tackle heavy) Cocong was the 2nd highest scoring LB on the Browns last year and he played every game, and scored a little less than half (231 to 112) of what DQ scored. Just my thoughts and a few things to keep in mind and even if JMJ is STARTING, keep those expectations down a little until he shows some steady scoring.

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Anybody have a strong opinion on Browns 4th round pick James-Michael Johnson? With Cocong's injury he now has a real opportunity for playing time. Any chance he's a 3 down backer or is he just a 2 down thumper, too raw, what?

JMJ is interesting.He struggled greatly in individual drills at the Senior Bowl, but looked better in team drills. Of the 2-3 cutups I reviewed, his game tape was inconsistent, too. He'll have plays where he diagnoses quickly and plays physically between the tackles and others where he really struggles to read plays and disengage. I thought he projected well in coverage at times, too. In short, he's a little raw, but closer to an every-down, flow-and-chase player than between-the-tackles thumper. I think he projects well as a Will despite being considered an ILB by many in the pre-draft evaluation period.Maiava is replacement level talent at best and, given the early promising reports from camp, I think JMJ starts and stays in the lineup. Whether they'll trust him with a nickel role is tougher to say, but there was a report that suggested he was seeing nickel snaps last week. I couldn't tell whether that was first or second team, however. He's a must watch over the first two preseason games.

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Anybody have a strong opinion on Browns 4th round pick James-Michael Johnson? With Cocong's injury he now has a real opportunity for playing time. Any chance he's a 3 down backer or is he just a 2 down thumper, too raw, what?

JMJ is interesting.

He struggled greatly in individual drills at the Senior Bowl, but looked better in team drills. Of the 2-3 cutups I reviewed, his game tape was inconsistent, too. He'll have plays where he diagnoses quickly and plays physically between the tackles and others where he really struggles to read plays and disengage. I thought he projected well in coverage at times, too. In short, he's a little raw, but closer to an every-down, flow-and-chase player than between-the-tackles thumper. I think he projects well as a Will despite being considered an ILB by many in the pre-draft evaluation period.

Maiava is replacement level talent at best and, given the early promising reports from camp, I think JMJ starts and stays in the lineup. Whether they'll trust him with a nickel role is tougher to say, but there was a report that suggested he was seeing nickel snaps last week. I couldn't tell whether that was first or second team, however. He's a must watch over the first two preseason games.

With Gocong out for the year and Scott Fujita suspended for the first three games both James Michael Johnson and Kaluka Maiava are looking to start for the first three games with Maiava on the weakside and very-likely JMH taking over for Fujita on the strong side.

When Fujita gets back after three games either Maiva or JMH will be the full-time starter on the weakside.

The only bit I've seen so-far is what will happen after the Gocong injury is this tidbit that only mentions Maiava being listed as the weakside starter on the depth chart.

My link

... With Chris Gocong out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, Kaluka Maiava is listed as the No. 1 weakside linebacker.

Their was some chatter that the Browns would seek out a veteran LB but I haven't heard any updates so right now it 'appears' they want to see JMH in action before making any moves. They will probably sign someone but if JMH plays well then he has a shot to develop quicker than he could have possibly done without this window of opportunity opening.

Nothing is settled at this time though.

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If anyone watched the Pack/Chargers game, you see what I mean about Ingram, I think that guy is going to be real good.

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what about Zach Brown, 2nd rd pick by Titans and pretty much no one is drafting him in my leagues; whats up

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How did everyone feel about Bobby Wagner's performance in his half of play Saturday night? I was trying to keep an eye on if he was in on 3rd Downs and I think he was. Any thoughts? Starting Mike three down LB week 1?

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How did everyone feel about Bobby Wagner's performance in his half of play Saturday night? I was trying to keep an eye on if he was in on 3rd Downs and I think he was. Any thoughts? Starting Mike three down LB week 1?

Didn't see Wagner in any subpackages in the first two series. Lots of base defense when Titans had a slot receiver on the field, but mostly dime subs with Wright. Rare nickel snaps were Wright/Hill.

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How did everyone feel about Bobby Wagner's performance in his half of play Saturday night? I was trying to keep an eye on if he was in on 3rd Downs and I think he was. Any thoughts? Starting Mike three down LB week 1?

Didn't see Wagner in any subpackages in the first two series. Lots of base defense when Titans had a slot receiver on the field, but mostly dime subs with Wright. Rare nickel snaps were Wright/Hill.
ReDraft = Wright ahead of Wagner, by a mile.Side note, who bet Leroy Hill would still be on the 'hawks after all these years? He outlasted Curry and Tatupu. Amazing.

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ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round, 2006 – 2011: 154

0% chance at drafting a starter (0 players)

5% chance of drafting a backup (8 players)

Yea, that says zero percent.

I'd much rather target another position than draft a LB selected after the 2nd rd unless it's a dynasty league.

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ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round, 2006 – 2011: 1540% chance at drafting a starter (0 players)5% chance of drafting a backup (8 players)Yea, that says zero percent.I'd much rather target another position than draft a LB selected after the 2nd rd unless it's a dynasty league.

Crazy...not much success with ANY rookie LBers, though. In my league's history since 2005, only Willis, Beason, Cushing, and Laurinitis finished their rookie seasons as a top-12 LB. And even other than them, only Mayo and David Harris snuck into the top-25 even.So a total of 6 Rookie Linebackers since 2005 finished in the top-25. Seems that in redraft pretty much all of them are worthless. :)EDIT: This is for tackle-heavy...obviously different results would occur with a big-play league, where I am sure just last season Von Miller, Aldon Smith, and Kerrigan all finished quite well.

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ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round, 2006 – 2011: 1540% chance at drafting a starter (0 players)5% chance of drafting a backup (8 players)Yea, that says zero percent.I'd much rather target another position than draft a LB selected after the 2nd rd unless it's a dynasty league.

Crazy...not much success with ANY rookie LBers, though. In my league's history since 2005, only Willis, Beason, Cushing, and Laurinitis finished their rookie seasons as a top-12 LB. And even other than them, only Mayo and David Harris snuck into the top-25 even.So a total of 6 Rookie Linebackers since 2005 finished in the top-25. Seems that in redraft pretty much all of them are worthless. :)EDIT: This is for tackle-heavy...obviously different results would occur with a big-play league, where I am sure just last season Von Miller, Aldon Smith, and Kerrigan all finished quite well.
Ranks average tackle favored and big play favored. Open excel doc on that page and you can see all the ranks.And it was done for a 16-team league, so it's even easier to get starter and backup ranks.

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ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round, 2006 – 2011: 1540% chance at drafting a starter (0 players)5% chance of drafting a backup (8 players)Yea, that says zero percent.I'd much rather target another position than draft a LB selected after the 2nd rd unless it's a dynasty league.

Crazy...not much success with ANY rookie LBers, though. In my league's history since 2005, only Willis, Beason, Cushing, and Laurinitis finished their rookie seasons as a top-12 LB. And even other than them, only Mayo and David Harris snuck into the top-25 even.So a total of 6 Rookie Linebackers since 2005 finished in the top-25. Seems that in redraft pretty much all of them are worthless. :)EDIT: This is for tackle-heavy...obviously different results would occur with a big-play league, where I am sure just last season Von Miller, Aldon Smith, and Kerrigan all finished quite well.
What about rookie Demeco Ryans in 2006? He was #2 in one league I checked.

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Go to the excel report and do the math yourself if you don't believe me.

Every year folks try a scramble up the logic. Math never lies.

Oh - DeMeco Ryans, Alabama, Houston Texans was a 2nd rd pick.

ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round

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Go to the excel report and do the math yourself if you don't believe me.

Every year folks try a scramble up the logic. Math never lies.

Oh - DeMeco Ryans, Alabama, Houston Texans was a 2nd rd pick.

ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round

Well, I was really replying to gandalas post saying that only 4 rookie linebackers finished top 12 and only 6 top 25 since 2005.

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Demorrio Davis and Sean Spence seem to have last legs type veterans ahead of them in bart scott and larry foote. both may be starting before long

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Demorrio Davis and Sean Spence seem to have last legs type veterans ahead of them in bart scott and larry foote. both may be starting before long

Both postions have given owners LB5 numbers. Even if they produce better, there is probably better offensive talent in the rookie draft then where you will need to grab these guys.

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ReDraft, Linebackers drafted after the second round, 2006 – 2011: 1540% chance at drafting a starter (0 players)5% chance of drafting a backup (8 players)Yea, that says zero percent.I'd much rather target another position than draft a LB selected after the 2nd rd unless it's a dynasty league.

Crazy...not much success with ANY rookie LBers, though. In my league's history since 2005, only Willis, Beason, Cushing, and Laurinitis finished their rookie seasons as a top-12 LB. And even other than them, only Mayo and David Harris snuck into the top-25 even.So a total of 6 Rookie Linebackers since 2005 finished in the top-25. Seems that in redraft pretty much all of them are worthless. :)EDIT: This is for tackle-heavy...obviously different results would occur with a big-play league, where I am sure just last season Von Miller, Aldon Smith, and Kerrigan all finished quite well.
What about rookie Demeco Ryans in 2006? He was #2 in one league I checked.
For some reason, MFL did not have the ® next to his name, so I missed him. Still, an average of 1 per year in the top 25? I have just been through the hype of Rolando McClain and his type of 'guarenteed' IDP studs that I am now a bit leery...

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Full season stats don't tell the whole story with rookie LBs. Many don't get full time work until week 4 or later. It's average points per start that make them potentially good. In redraft, though, that means they are better on the WW, especially on losing teams or where it's obvious that the veteran fill in is a weak link.

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Full season stats don't tell the whole story with rookie LBs. Many don't get full time work until week 4 or later. It's average points per start that make them potentially good. In redraft, though, that means they are better on the WW, especially on losing teams or where it's obvious that the veteran fill in is a weak link.

:goodposting:See McCarthy Colin last year

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what about Zach Brown, 2nd rd pick by Titans and pretty much no one is drafting him in my leagues; whats up

I bought him in my main contract/auction league the weekend before last for $5. We have a rookie draft in May and several of the rookie LB's went in that draft. IDP's must be paid $5 or more to be eligible for a 4th and 5th year under contract. Otherwise you are capped at 3 years.Here are prices for comparison: JMJ went for $10 (after the Gocong news broke) Keuckley went for $14.57 (in May)Perry went for $2Wagner went for $7 (in May)Burris went for $1Davis went for $2Spence went for $2Hightower went for $10 (in May)Upshaw went for $8.81 (in May)David went for $8 (in May)Mercilus went for $1Ingram went for $5Kendricks went for $6.89 (in May)I could have won him for $1 or $2, but went ahead and paid $5 to be able to sign him to a longer contract. I like his athleticism and speed. I overpaid in a sense, but I think there is long term potential given the age of Witherspoon and I think he'll see sub packages as he gains experience. For the price, he won't be hurting me even if he tops out as a LB2.

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Anyone think Burfict has a chance to contribute this season?

My gut is saying yes but my head says no. He has a feel for the game that I haven't seen in cincy since odell thurman, but he also has a bit of james harrison in him. If he can keep his head on straight, his potential is an elite mlb, but he is on a short leash with the bengals. For the Bengals, he is very low risk and very high reward. 15 yard personal fouls will get him cut, but the Bengals need a guy like this. IMO, There hasn't been a hitting force in cincy since Fulcher. If he can keep it under control, I could see him take over for maualuga(sp) as soon as week 9. I am onboard this train without a doubt.

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If anyone watched the Pack/Chargers game, you see what I mean about Ingram, I think that guy is going to be real good.

Yeah he did look good but look who was blocking him too.

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Here are prices for comparison:

JMJ went for $10 (after the Gocong news broke)

Keuckley went for $14.57 (in May)

Perry went for $2

Wagner went for $7 (in May)

Burris went for $1

Davis went for $2

Spence went for $2

Hightower went for $10 (in May)

Upshaw went for $8.81 (in May)

David went for $8 (in May)

Mercilus went for $1

Ingram went for $5

Kendricks went for $6.89 (in May)

Heads up to possibly a new development with the Browns backup linebackers that might threaten the assumption that James Michael Johnson is a lock to be the primary fill-in for Fujita's suspension or the suspicion that he is in line to gain more playing time with the Gocong injury.

It seems an undrafted free agent is emerging which could threaten some of the anticipated playing time for JMJ.

My link

... it's the preseason, but some of the young defenders are indeed athletic. I hope it's not fool's gold, but seventh-rounder Trevin Wade has shown some impressive coverage skills in the first two games. Undrafted linebackers L.J. Fort and Craig Robertson are very promising. Last week, I noted how Robertson had impressed coaches who wanted to see what he'd do in preseason games. Well, he showed up a lot in Green Bay.

3. With Chris Gocong (Achilles) out for the season and Scott Fujita expected to open the year with a 3-game suspension for the "Bountygate" scandal in New Orleans, the Browns will open with two new faces. Kaluka Maiava will start at one side of veteran middle linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, with fifth-round James-Michael Johnson at the other spot.

4. Pat Shurmur seems very excited about Johnson, Fort and Robertson. He loves young, quick linebackers because they also can help on coverage teams. The coach wants depth at the position, following three seasons that ended with Fujita on the injured list. Shurmur also praised second-year linebacker Ben Jacobs.

My link

Defensive MVP: Besides Wade, the other rookie defender who I really like is OLB Craig Robertson. I really like his instincts against the run and pass, his ability to tackle, his hands, and his aggressiveness on special teams. I know James-Michael Johnson isn't known to be a playmaking machine, but I think the coaches should seriously consider letting Robertson start for the first three games of the regular season, especially if he continues playing as well as he has been. Robertson had a pick six called back after DE Brian Sanford had lined up in the neutral zone.

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The question for Spence, is he better than Sylvester?

In coverage, no question.The real question for , in my mind, is whether or not you believe Keither Butler's/the Steelers' statements that "due to his size he's only a Mack linebacker in this scheme." If that is the case, then he isn't behind a last-legs veteran. He's behind Timmons. If you believe that they may just be talking to talk, and think he could potentially play the Buck, then the path for him get more meaningful snaps is only Larry Foote. I don't know that Sylvester is anyone the organization is really banking on developing into much. I think Spence was drafted to be a subs/coverage player. If he surprises and develops more than that(and he could. He's one of those guys who consistently makes plays regardless of his size) then who knows? Timmons shifts to Buck in another few years as he ages/slows down? Spence inserted at the Buck to start along side of him? Nothing would be a complete shock.

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The question for Spence, is he better than Sylvester?

In coverage, no question.The real question for , in my mind, is whether or not you believe Keither Butler's/the Steelers' statements that "due to his size he's only a Mack linebacker in this scheme." If that is the case, then he isn't behind a last-legs veteran. He's behind Timmons. If you believe that they may just be talking to talk, and think he could potentially play the Buck, then the path for him get more meaningful snaps is only Larry Foote. I don't know that Sylvester is anyone the organization is really banking on developing into much. I think Spence was drafted to be a subs/coverage player. If he surprises and develops more than that(and he could. He's one of those guys who consistently makes plays regardless of his size) then who knows? Timmons shifts to Buck in another few years as he ages/slows down? Spence inserted at the Buck to start along side of him? Nothing would be a complete shock.
Sylvester out up to 4 weeks with torn mcl

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