Getting Defensive – Top IDP LBs


By Jacob Bourgeois; Twitter: @JacobBourgieFFB

This is the first of a three part series on IDPs: LBs, DLs, and DBs. Linebackers as the top scoring and most consistent scoring group are first. When targeting an IDP in trade or in the draft its important to remember positional value / value over replacement. Because there are so many defensive players up for grabs, replacements can usually be sourced from the waiver wire, but will typically return at best an “IDP2” value, the IDP1s are those perennial contributors above replacement.

The lesson/advice: only invest capital in the names at the very top as value over replacement drops off quickly. Target the lower names on this list with no more than a rookie 3rd.

Not listed is incoming rookie Micah Parsons who will jump up this list following the NFL Draft.

Rather than write an in depth article on why I like who I like – I figured it would be better to give you the numbers. The ” – ” are reflective of data omitted due to substantial differences in prior role or being not yet in the league. Only three years are shown as this is a “what have you done for me lately landscape.”

Data was sourced from and

And below the same info in selectable table format:

PLAYER NAMEPOS2020 pts2019 pts2018 ptsAVGMaxAGERankPosNote
Darius Leonard (IND) LB16182118.320251WLBHe’s a force; curious how role morph’s sans Walker
Devin White (TB) LB171415.517232ILBYoung gun – 2020’s LB1
Roquan Smith (CHI) LB16131414.316243ILBThe third LB capable of making a case for #1 overall
Blake Martinez (NYG) LB15141414.315274MLBTackle monster made transition to NYG seemlessly
Zach Cunningham (HOU) LB15131213.315265WLBUber consistent and from the numbers/age on the rise
Joe Schobert (JAC) LB14151314.015276MLBAnother team-changer who kept production at a high level
Bobby Wagner (SEA) LB13151514.315307MLBThe LB1 of our hearts but for age.
T.J. Watt (PIT) LB14141313.714268OLBThe outlier OLB who used as an elite pass-rusher, and everything else
Deion Jones (ATL) LB12111713.317269MLBLightening career start slowed by multiple major injuries on the comeback?
Jaylon Smith (DAL) LB14141313.7142510MLBOnly the uncertainty with Keanu Neal knocks him down to 10
Lavonte David (TB) LB14131614.3163111ILBDefinitive ball-hawk who hasn’t been slowed yet by age
Devin Bush Jr. (PIT) LB81310.5132212ILBLost 2020 to injury and returns to a lot of strong players around him – but sky’s the limit
Fred Warner (SF) LB13141112.7142413MLBStrength in coverage pushes him down the list, but is one of this lists’ best football players
Eric Kendricks (MIN) LB15121112.7152914MLBComing off his best season, where Harrison Smith took on a lesser role “in-the-box”
Jayon Brown (TEN) LB14121212.7142615MLBUnder the radar outproducing Wesley Woodyard and Rashaan Evans over the last three years
Patrick Queen (BAL) LB1111.0112116MLBAn up and down rookie season, who should gain speed on the field as he masters the plays
Foyesade Oluokun (ATL) LB1414.0142517WLBMoved all over has shown tons in spots then broke out w/ starting WLB role in 2020 when Campbell moved to ARI
Jerome Baker (MIA) LB121212.0122418MLBHas lived up to potential/billing under Flores, look for it to continue even with McKinney addition
Eric Wilson (PHI) LB1313.0132619MLBCame on strong in 2020 filling in for Barr; now moves to a wide open PHI backer group
Kenneth Murray (LAC) LB99.092220MLBEvery down backer still learning, but will contend for tackles with Derwin James
Myles Jack (JAC) LB13911.0132521WLBStarting to find his legs again after a mysterious injury and sort-of retirement, now complementing Schobert
Tremaine Edmunds (BUF) LB11121412.3142222MLBGrading worse and worse every year, but 1st round pick retains starting role for at least this season.
Alexander Johnson (DEN) LB111211.5122923MLBEvery down backer on a terrible team.  Opportunity trumps.
Neville Hewitt (NYJ) LB131112.0132824MLBSee above – Hewitt has played well but is always subject to depth chart re-orgs.  (CJ Mosley (29) returns)
Micah Kiser (LAR) LB1111.0112625ILBRose to the top of an empty depth chart only to get injured, but could reclaim 3 down role
Dre Greenlaw (SF) LB1012 –11.0122326WLB2019 playoff star – was a just tackles guy in 2020 – more to come
Jordan Hicks (ARI) LB11161213.0162827MLBSubtraction by addition for Hicks who is surrounded by playmakers like Simmons who are asking for more work
Demario Davis (NO) LB12141313.0143228MLBAn absolute cool dude who is starting to show signs of age
Cory Littleton (LV) LB8151512.7152729ILBMove to Vegas from LA did not work for Littleton in year one.  May be a buy low bounce back candidate if healthy.
Jamie Collins Sr. (DET) LB12131312.7133130LBBeen passed around (3 teams in 3 years) and keeps making hay for opposing offenses.
Shaquil Barrett (TB) LB101512.5152831OLBI hate ranking OLBs in IDP but you can’t argue with the sack total upside, valuable spot across from JPP.