IDP Report Card: Week Three

Mo Brewington

As the eternal search for the next IDP stud continues, it pays to truly understand the opportunity a player has before them. Particularly with young players who are road-blocked by veterans, each opportunity to take the field is a chance to prove they can execute the scheme and possibly replace those veterans down the road.

This week’s report card covers two linebackers looking to make their presence felt on new teams. One is a rookie with a big opportunity to shine in Week 4, the other is a veteran who’s quietly become a consistent producer at his position. With that in mind, here’s the IDP Report Card for Week 3.

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Kendell Beckwith, LB TB

The Buccaneers lost Kwon Alexander to a hamstring injury during Tampa’s week two opener.  This left Lavonte David without his running mate, breaking up one of the NFL’s best linebacking tandems.

Beckwith, a rookie out of LSU, took 91% of the snaps in relief of Alexander during that first game. He finished with five tackles in what looked like a short term gig. Unfortunately, Alexander’s injury was more severe than initially believed. Suddenly, Beckwith was in line for his first NFL start in week three against the Vikings.

Flanked by David, the rookie acquitted himself well, logging six solo tackles on the day. Beckwith isn’t gifted with Alexander’s explosiveness and ability to wreck shop sideline-to-sideline. There are, however, a few things he does better than the veteran inside the tackle box.

At 243 pounds, Beckwith has rare size for a modern linebacker – that size helps him match up well with guards and centers looking to clear running room in the second level. Anyone familiar with Alexander’s game knows his tendency to avoid blockers rather than go through them. Beckwith has no issue engaging interior lineman and disposing of them to get in on a tackle. That’s not to say Beckwith wins all these battles, but it’s a welcome sight to find a linebacker so willing to fight and be physical.

His instincts may also be better than Alexander’s in the long run. The veteran is prone to attack the first motion the offense presents – this becomes an issue when the initial action of the play is a misdirection, and often leaves Alexander (even with his tremendous ability to cover wide swaths of field) completely out of position while the play goes the opposite direction. Alexander’s speed allows him to recover on some of these plays. Still, it has to drive coaches crazy watching a third-year linebacker bite on so many play fakes.

Beckwith, being a rookie, took some missteps in his first start. Yet, he’ll generally see a play’s intention and do his best to get back into the fray. He sliced through the Vikings’ line on a few occasions to make tackles at the line of scrimmage. With more experience keying and diagnosing offenses, these plays could turn into tackles for loss in the future.

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When it comes to making a decision on whether or not to add Beckwith to your roster, the future is what we should be focused on. He has a big, albeit, short-term opportunity to make plays, as David has been ruled out for the next month with a knee injury. With Alexander’s hammy still healing — leaving him doubtful for Week 4 as of the time of this post — Beckwith stands to play 100% of the Bucs’ snaps at inside linebacker.

Tampa’s next five games (all of which David could miss) include dates with the Giants and Patriots at home, before hitting the road to face the Cardinals and Bills. Finally in Week 8, the Bucs will return home to play the division rival Panthers. Each of these teams have ceded some nice IDP scoring totals to linebackers this season. Beckwith should see over 90% of the snaps in each of these contest.

Beckwith’s long-term projection is a bit cloudier. Once David and Alexander return to action, the rookie is likely to only see spot-duty, making him a less-than worthy IDP start. David is under contract through 2021, while Alexander is inked up through 2019, so there may not be a place for Beckwith to make a consistent IDP impact in Tampa for some time. Unless you’re into handcuffing linebackers, Beckwith may just be a short-term play. However, he’s a solid one for owners in need at the position.

Week 3 Grade – B+ (Physical defender who will make his share of stops.)
2017 Outlook – B (Roster worthy as long as injuries continue to sideline Tampa’s veteran LBs.)
Dynasty Outlook – C+ (Victim of the sub-package — Think Mychal Kendricks:<(

John Simon, LB IND

Simon came over from the division rival Texans after two solid seasons as a reserve in Houston. Not much was made of his move to Indy. Yet, Simon has played more snaps than all but two Colts’ defenders this season.

Through three games, he’s sitting on the cusp of LB2 territory. Simon’s made four solos in every game this year and has two sacks over the last two weeks. His snap count was capped at 90.9% in Week 2, and bottomed out at 81.5% in Week 1. However, John Bostic is currently the only Colts’ linebacker seeing more field time than Simon.

The Colts defense hasn’t been a source of great IDP production since the days of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. While they’ve made strides to improve their secondary, Indy is still challenged along the defensive line — which makes life hard on the linebackers.

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Simon spends a good deal of his snaps as a pass rusher coming off the edge. He can get push and threaten the quarterback when blocked by a tight end or running back. He doesn’t fare nearly as well against tackles as he’s simply not built for those battles.

IDP owners looking for an LB2/3 could do much worse than adding Simon to their lineup. His greatest strength is his consistency as he will he break-off a 20-point game. He will, however, give you a consistent 10-15 points per week with modest tackling production, with a random sack sprinkled in every few games. And that beats the heck out of relying on a pure rush linebacker who bust more often than he booms.

Week 3 Grade – B (Solid tackling day with a sack on top for emphasis.)
2017 Outlook – B+ (Has the potential to quietly finish as a top-24 linebacker.)
Dynasty Outlook – B- (Will have a nice career, but teams will look to replace him with a younger, more athletic player.)


mo brewington
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