Idk if there’s a Leonard like player in this draft, so I think going day 3 is fine. LB is like TE for me. I think it’s mostly a traits based position, so you draft and develop. Look at EJ Speed; sixth round pick from Tarleton who has played great.
And when you factor in the scheme variance you mentioned, LB isn’t worth drafting high. If I were Ballard I’d draft two day 3 LBs and add 1-2 FA vets.
Probably something close to what Gilmore signed with the Colts. I guess it'll depend on how high his market is and how long he has to sit and wait to sign somewhere. I'm assume he'll sign something close to 12-15 million per year.
This is a story I saw about 6 months ago and sat on it until now — draft season.
There was an interesting story in a Bucky Brooks column and it might be Colts related. He says he surveyed every team that runs a 4-3 defense and for half of them linebacker is now a deeply discounted position, the way RB is on offense. The story says that for those teams linebacker is now only a Day 3 draft pick. They will no longer spend a Day One or Day Two pick on LB.
The column did not break things down by team, so no way to know who thinks this way until the next draft when we see which 4-3 team spends only a Day 3 pick on LB.
Part of the thinking is this…. If a typical game has 65 snaps for the defense, a 4-3 team is only in their base defense roughly 12-15 snaps a game. Thats it. The rest of the time 4-3 teams are pulling LBers for more DBs. Teams are running a 4-2-5, or 4-1-6 or 4-0-7. So linebackers become much less important in a 4-3 defense.
If Ballard spends a day 2 pick in LB, then he’s trying to replace Leonard. But if not, if he spends only a Day 3 pick on LB, then CB has had a change of philosophy and has joined other teams in this new defensive thinking.
We’ll know in two months.