Outside Linebackers on the 2017 Roster:
$0.540m cap hit / 24 years old / Deon King
$0.540m cap hit / 24 years old / Curt Maggitt
$0.525m cap hit / 24 years old / Deiontrez Mount
$0.465m cap hit / 26 years old / Alex Bazzie
Trent Cole, Erik Walden, Akeem Ayers and Chris Carter are all UFA.
Well, this is not going to take long.
Deon King OLB[EDGE]
UDFA in 2016 who started with the Dallas Cowboys in Training Camp, was cut and then picked up by the LA Chargers and played 2 games with them. Was let go and was then signed by the Colts and on the active roster for the last 4 games of the season.
Led the NCAA in tackles in 2015 with 163 tackles from Norfolk State. This from a draft profile:
[quote] King has had to prove himself at every stage of competition in order to get where he is today. He recalls his high school coach telling him he wasn't "cut out" to play football. Deon graduated high school in Reston a two-star recruit, going to Fork Union Military Academy for a year to prove himself to any college team willing to take a chance on him. His only scholarship offer came from Norfolk State which King accepted. King steadily progressed in production and leadership each year in college, becoming a starter as a sophomore, an all-Conference player as a junior, and an all-FCS player his final year. King is extremely passionate about the game of football and understands the importance of studying film and tendencies as well as continuing to constantly improve oneself. His role models include Michael Jordan and Colts' linebacker Robert Mathis. When asked why he should be signed to an NFL roster, King responded "you are getting a guy that will give everything that he has every day ... [I will] do everything possible to make this organization number one."[/quote]
He is undersized (6’1”, 230 pounds), rand a slow 40 time (4.79) and faces a massive competition level jump. About the only thing I found that I like about him is this quote from an interview last spring:
[quote] If you could compare your play to one player in the NFL who would it be and why?
I would compare myself to Robert Mathis. We are basically the same size, both came from HBCU and a lot of people doubted him just like they doubt me.[/quote]
I like that answer. I don’t think it is enough to overcome other limitations and I will surprised if he pans out to anything better than JAG (Just Another Guy) but he is interesting enough to keep going into Training Camp (especially when the cupboard is so bare.)
Curt Maggitt OLB[RUSH]
UDFA in 2016.
His NFL.com Draft Profile:
Coach on the field and unquestioned leader of the defense. Sky¬-high football character. Loves the game. Pre¬-2015 hip injury, flashed twitch and suddenness of movement. Has ground-gaining strides up the field as rusher and converts advantage into edge attack for sacks. Above average skill ¬set as rusher and works his plan. Able to sink, shift and redirect into shifty ball carriers. Gets jarring arm extension into target and is quick to disengage. Works to stay clean. Undeterred passion and knows how to play the game.
Plagued by injuries that limits his sample size. Thin hips and lean lower body. Limited play range and burst. Struggles to unlock hips and sprint to the sideline. Consistent contain could become an issue. Below average cover ability in man. His game could use more patience and instincts.
Rounds 6 or 7
One of the most passionate players in this draft. Maggitt plays the game with reckless abandon which can work for and against him. The team who takes him will get a player whose motor never turns off and who will give you all he's got, but his range is below average for an outside linebacker and he may be too mechanical to post consistent production as a pass rusher. All of these points are moot if his combine medicals don’t come up roses.[/quote]
JAG until proven otherwise.
Deiontrez Mount OLB[EDGE]
6th round draft pick by TEN in 2015. Played in 4 games for them recording 0 tackles, 0 sacks and 1 INT with an 8 yard return. Torn his ACL in Week 4 of 2015 and did not play at all in 2016.
His 2015 NFL.com draft profile notes:
Solid play strength. Holds point of attack with good technique on stretch plays and can disengage to attack. Good defensive awareness. Sees the ball and throws himself at runners trying to burst through crease. Natural change-of-direction ability. Honest effort as pass rusher. Hand usage is acceptable. Plays with hand in ground on goal line and doesn't get pushed around. Effort in pursuit. Took snaps at outside linebacker, inside linebacker, defensive tackle and defensive end.
Limited NFL position options. Lacks mass to play left defensive end and doesn't have the pass-rush talent to play weakside outside linebacker in 3-4. Stiff when asked to drop into space. Can be severely mismatched if asked to cover in space. Average athlete with below-average quickness as stand-up linebacker.
Round 6 or 7
Competes and plays with toughness and above-average play strength for his size, but needs more bulk to play defensive end. Will likely be slotted as a 3-4 SAM outside linebacker but lacks the twitch to be a full-time player.[/quote]
Again, limited athleticism and now trying to overcome an ACL tear. I don’t have much hope for Mount to be more than JAG.
Alex Bazzie OLB[RUSH]
Played college at Marshall, 3 years in CFL with BC Lions. In 50 games, amassed 83 tackles, 29 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 8 special teams tackles. He was tied for 4th in the CFL for sacks with 11.0 in 2016.
He is undersized (6’2”, 228 pounds) and trying to overcome a large competition level jump but if he can follow in the footsteps of Jerrell Freeman….but not the footsteps of Henoc Muamba.
His CFL coach (who also coached and sent Cameron Wake off to MIA) says good things about him, his awareness in space, his desire to succeed, blah, blah blah. JAG until proven otherwise.
So, we have 4 kids whom have virtually zero NFL experience; two OLB[RUSH] and two OLB[EDGE] guys.
The cupboard is so bare that there is virtually nothing we could do that would worsen our situation (exception: sign Bjoern Werner back). Each of the four guys on the roster have something about them that is interesting or points to the potential of doing something in the NFL but none of them are folks whom you give more than an opportunity to. None are starters in the NFL at this point.
I am unsure if we want to sign any of our UFA OLBs back.
Walden will probably end up being way expensive since he is now a double digit “sack master” and those guys, even if everyone pretty much knows that it will never happen again, command big money.
Ayers is a LONG way away from that 2nd round draft choice TEN selected in 2011. For his career (91 games in 6 seasons) he is averaging over 3 tackles a game (319 total) but 229 of those came in the first 3 years and only 90 in the past three years. Of his 15.5 career sacks, 9.0 came in the first 3 years and only 6.5 in the last three. Of 23 PDs, 15 in first three years and 8 in last three years. His trend line is heading down and I would not want to overpay for him.
Chris Carter has 37 tackles in 6 seasons in the NFL. JAG.
We need top end talent at OLB; not just more bodies. Any of the four kids on the roster could end up being perfectly fine depth to choose from but we need SURE FIRE, NO KIDDING TALENT as starters and none of those guys are on the roster or are probably guys that we should be re-signing.
I am unsure if there is much that will get to free agency to be excited about. Nick Parry (GB) is a more talented Erik Walden and if GB lets him go, I would be okay with signing. Melvin Ingram (LAC) is a fine pass rusher but will not get to free agency. Chandler Jones (ARI) has already been told he will be tagged if he does not sign a long term contract. Datone Jones (GB), John Simon (HOU), Courtney Upshaw (ATL), and Sam Acho (CHI) are all guys to look at but none are probably better than “NFL Good.” Even with a ton of cap space, there are not a ton of high quality 3-4 OLB that are going to hit the market.
Honestly, my choice would be to use two of our top three draft choices on OLB this year. Go for the pass rusher in the 1st round and go for the Edge guy in either the 2nd or 3rd round with probably a D-Lineman or ILB to round out our top three picks (there are more D-Linemen or ILB in free agency to look at than OLB, IMO). Our front seven HAS to get more talented and you cannot sign productive pass rushers for less than an arm and a leg. We don’t need more bodies at OLB, we need BETTER bodies.
Next Up, Inside Linebacker.