The 6 Rookie Linebackers To Target in 2024 IDP Fantasy Football Leagues

May 07, 2024
The 6 Rookie Linebackers To Target in 2024 IDP Fantasy Leagues

Like running backs on the offensive side of the ball, NFL organizations have devalued linebackers. They're important pieces to a team's success, but the argument is that replacement-level performance is easier to find, so early-round investments are few and far between these days.

The role of the linebacker position has also changed over the years. As passing rates continue to surge, a strong coverage linebacker is no longer a luxury but a prerequisite for anyone looking for a significant snap share, especially in Year 1. The number of every-down linebackers and early-down thumpers is fewer and fewer each season, with more nickel and dime sets a necessity in today's games.

More IDP Rookie Content: Defensive Linemen | Defensive Backs

With that in mind, we need to shift our mindset when evaluating the new linebackers entering the league each year. This was considered a weak linebacker class overall, and very few of these 'backers should be expected to play 750-800+ snaps this season. That doesn't mean there's no talent in this year's class and that a few members of it can't make a splash and earn an impactful role.

2024 IDP - Rookie Linebackers

Junior Colson, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

What a perfect landing spot for Michigan's Junior Colson. The Los Angeles Chargers entered the draft with a clear need at linebacker, and Colson's physicality, athleticism, and versatility while at Michigan showcase his ability to adapt to different schemes, and his proven productivity makes him a valuable addition. His selection, spearheaded by coach Jim Harbaugh, underscores their belief in his potential and likely shortens Colson's rookie year learning curve.

Colson, selected early in the third round at pick No. 69, was a leader on Harbaugh's 2023 National Championship squad and played meaningful snaps as a freshman, which shows how much the coach believes in him. Throughout his college tenure, Colson consistently racked up tackles, compiling 95 in 2023, which builds upon his impressive 2022 season, where he amassed 101 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks.

Reliability is another key strength for Colson. In 2023, he impressively committed zero penalties and steadily improved his missed tackle rate. His 4.7% rate in his senior year ranked among the nation's best linebackers. Colson's coverage ability is equally impressive. His 2023 PFF coverage grade of 83.4 is a career-high, showcasing his consistent performance in this area. While interceptions weren't a major highlight in college, his ability to limit negative plays in coverage is a crucial skill in today's NFL.

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