2021 LINEBACKER RANKINGS
As we wait for training camp to begin, it’s time for teams to audit their rosters based on these early impressions. We’re going to do the same. Over the next few weeks, we are going to review and rank the different position groups for the Giants, Jets, and Eagles followed by an ultimate power ranking going into training camp. This deep dive into the position groups is designed to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each team to help predict which prop bets may be smart picks for this upcoming season.
The second position group we will evaluate is the linebackers. There isn’t a ton of star power at this position in the Garden State, a reflection of the teams’ roster construction philosophies. However, most defensive signal callers are linebackers and they often have the most diverse set of responsibilities. Let’s take a look at how these teams stack up.
New York Giants (#1)
Key Players: Ryan Anderson, Blake Martinez, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines
The Giants invested in the linebacker position by bringing in Ryan Anderson in free agency. Anderson was in the mix in a crowded Washington defense and will now have the opportunity be a full-time starter. 2019 was his most productive season where he managed 4 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 44 tackles while playing only 49.3% of snaps. The Giants are betting on the upside of Anderson to improve a decent group who were reliable during a strong season by the Giants’ defense in 2020.
New York Jets (#2)
Key Players: C.J. Mosley, Jarrad Davis, Austin Blessuan, Jabari Zuniga, Corey Ballentine
The Jets have the biggest name in the state at the linebacker position in C.J. Mosley, who signed a 5-year $85 million contract in 2019 but has yet to accomplish much during his time in New York so far. Mosley’s 2019 season was underwhelming and hampered by injury. Mosley also opted out in 2020, so he will be looking to improve the narrative around him in New York as the new centerpiece of Robert Saleh’s defense. Davis, Blessuan, Zuniga, and Ballentine form a respectable supporting cast and if Mosley can return to his Baltimore form, they could finish the season as the best group in the state.
Philadelphia Eagles (#3)
Key Players: Eric Wilson, Alex Singleton, T.J. Edwards, Davion Taylor, JaCoby Stevens
The Eagles’ linebacker depth chart is Eric Wilson and then everybody else. Wilson could end up being the most impactful free agent acquisition in Philadelphia this season. The Eagles’ base defense is expected to only have two linebackers and Alex Singleton is the leading candidate for that second spot. Singleton led the team in tackles last season but has limitations in pass coverage. His biggest competition comes in the form of the run-stuffing T.J. Edwards, the raw and athletic 2020 3rd-round pick Davion Taylor, and converted rookie safety JaCoby Stevens who is possibly the best coverage player of the group. The Eagles are looking for someone to rise to the occasion and take control of the second starting linebacker spot.