News & Analysis

Draft-day IDP bargains: Linebacker

By Ross Miles
Jun 28, 2018

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GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Blake Martinez #50 of the Green Bay Packers in action during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers won 17-9. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

While the art of a successful draft is in part grabbing the best players, there is a larger element of drafting in selecting the best value at the most opportune moments. It’s one thing to draft a Luke Kuechly or a Joey Bosa, but it’s another to be able to grab C.J. Mosley and Calais Campbell five rounds later. While both drafters have added elite players to their roster, one has profited significantly value-wise by picking their targets much later in the process, which leads us to the eternal search for the sweet spot in your draft when scoring ability and value combine for the optimum selection.

Having cast a look over the current prevailing opinions and ADPs, here are my thoughts on some of the best value linebackers heading into the first week of July.

Blake Martinez, Green Bay Packers

In his second year in the NFL, the former Stanford Cardinal racked up a highly impressive 144 total tackles, which tied for the league lead, earning himself a place as a LB1 last year and pushing into the top-five in more tackle-focused scoring systems. Although he was a 16-game starter for the Packers, he didn’t earn an every-down role until Week 5 of the season, playing 72.8 percent of snaps of the first four games, suggesting there is still a little more in the tank over a full season.

Despite his impressive scoring last season which included eight games with double-digit tackles, and only a single game with fewer than eight tackles once he became an every-down starter, he is only being drafted as a fringe LB1 at best. Martinez has a much more dependable scoring profile than that and appeals to me strongly as a rock-solid LB1 who should be selected in the same raft of picks as the likes of Bobby Wagner and Deion Jones, but will likely go rounds later.

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