Top Second-Year NFL Linebackers
Short and sweet, these are our top second-year NFL linebackers heading into the spring. They’ve crossed all playing time hurdles and showed in most cases they are the next man up. So whether it’s a dynasty or redraft league. Target these “off the ball” inside linebackers with the highest of confidence. And knowing they’re currently set up to produce nicely going forward.
IDP Dime Shortlist
This is likely just our first run at this after we get into spring camp. But at this time these are our pre-primed targets. So after the NFL holds free agency and drafts these top options shouldn’t be affected. We’ll just have a second run on any players that were on the verge in the first run at it. Keep in mind if you don’t see a linebacker on here that you’re expecting to see. They likely had some form of questions needing to be answered that we won’t know for sure until later on. We’ll also do any updating on these top options if something should arise. But for now, let’s get to where we need to be with a second-year NFL linebacker class that’s primed right now.
#1. Ernest Jones
The Super Bowl stand-out third-rounder enjoyed a mild, but hot late-season breakout. He proved his rookie season he is worthy of being Ram’s first selection after they slowly eased him in. It was a bit of an IDP roller coaster ride getting our read on him. But when he was healthy he had a couple of great stretches at producing. And brought it all together in the championship. We’re talking about a potential upper tier-one linebacker dynasty ceiling. And solid tier one redraft upside as soon as this season plays out.
#2. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
So what if his rookie season was underwhelming. But that happens more than anyone would like to admit when offseason rookie hype rules. Yet year two, that’s not the case after an impressive rookie season. The Browns drafted J.O.K to perform and he did when given a real opportunity as they eased him in with positive grades. So there’s no doubt he’s got tier-one dynasty production upside on top of upper-tier two redraft value in 2022.
#3. Nick Bolton
He might be the most “vanilla” call on this linebacker list. I mean what veteran IDP and NFL fan doesn’t know this name after his solid rookie season? Well, I didn’t say we weren’t covering the obvious, now did we? The Chiefs recently released the veteran Jordan Hicks. So the writing is now drying on the wall. So for anyone that didn’t know it. Bolton had a few big games in a terrible rotation padding his upper-tier two consistency. And assuming he gets the main bump in playing time, a bigger chunk of the IDP pie will be available. In dynasty or redraft leagues, it won’t matter. Only KC’s weird way of rotating linebackers would affect his solid tier one stability as one of the primed second-year NFL linebackers.
#4. Zaven Collins
Coming in at fourth is the biggest disappointment versus the entail rookie hype he had. The Cardinals 2021 first-rounder ranked top 5 among rookie linebackers. And we’ll just say it politely. Collins didn’t pan out anywhere near what most IDP analysts expect. And to be honest we don’t have a lot on film considering he didn’t play all that much. Although, he did grade out very well in his limited role. And the organization recently releasing veteran Jordan Hicks speaks volumes of Collin’s future. There’s no way but up for Collins right now. So his dynasty outlook deserves tier-one consideration. But his 2022 redraft value bordering tier two stability is in play. And lands as a pause point when selecting him over the other second-year linebackers listed.
#5. Pete Werner
Assuming Kwon Alexander isn’t resigned, Werner slides in fifth. And all signs do point to him being the guy up next to Demario Davis. And his likely successor too. Werner was one of the highest-graded rookie off-the-ball linebackers last year. And only came up short of breaking out because of limited playing time when Alexander was healthy. Point blank, Werner flashed high-end run-stopping that rivals any second-year NFL linebacker on this list. We just want to see it at a full-time capacity in 2022. So for now, he looks like a tier-one dynasty and tier-two redraft linebacker.
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