Andy took the time to review the history of defensive tackles taken in the 1st round going back to 2000 and it was pathetic. Now let’s look at linebacker.
|Year||Player||Pick||Starts||Tackles||Sacks||Pro Bowls||Wonder’s Grade|
|2001||Dan Morgan||11||59||386||7||2||4 injury|
Note: 2005, 14th pick, Thomas Davis (4) left out, was drafted as defensive back, plays Linebacker.
*jury is still out
Let’s review the rating system we are using in the Draft Project (1=Star/Multiple Pro Bowls, 2= Pro Bowl player, 3=Solid starter, 4= starter who is replaceable, 5= second string, 6= fringe, 7= bust). An average of 3.2 for 1st round linebackers equates to an average of a solid starter! This compares with an average of a 4.1 for DT. That is a full grade lower.
Isn’t a solid starter (at least) what is expected of a first round pick? Out of the above rated first round pro bowlers the only other notable and multiple pro bowl linebackers not picked in the first round are: Demeco Ryans who was picked in 2006 as the first pick in the 2nd round, Lance Briggs who was picked in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft and Tatupu who was pick number 45 in 2005.
Compare Pro Bowls. LBers: 29 from 34 players. DTs: 19 from 31.
Let’s look at the last 2 years and those that have made immediate impacts. Matthews- the defensive rookie of the year and pro bowler, Cushing- who racked up 133 tackles in year one, and Jerrod Mayo- with 231 tackles with an injury plagued 2009. How many pro bowls can we expect from the numbers put up by these players, given their immediate impact?! Wonder graded Maualuga a 3 right now a guy many of us on this blog shouted for the Gmen to pick in the first round last year. The bottom line is historically taking a LBer in round 1 equates to a solid starter. Perhaps the higher success rate of drafting immediate impact LBers is due to the nature of the position, which requires athletic instincts that are more quickly applied on the field. DT needs physical and mental maturity which require more time than (rookie) pedigree.