2024 IDP Football Rookie Linebackers

by Alex Michael
2024 IDP Football Rookie Linebackers

The 2024 NFL Draft is done! With some crazy team strategies running amok, it led to yet another fantastic NFL Draft and it means that I need to give you all the low-down on the 2024 IDP Football Rookie Linebackers.

This 2024 Fantasy Football Rookie Linebackers class has been branded a bit thin on the ground in comparison to previous years but, I'm here to tell you that there is plenty of talent to be discovered in this class especially some of the selected drafted linebackers within this article. Focusing on ability, landing spots and how this affects your IDP rookie drafts, let's get this show on the road!

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Also, check out our other IDP articles on Defensive Linemen and Defensive Backs.

2024 IDP Football Rookie Linebackers

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2024 IDP Football Rookie Linebackers

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Junior Colson, Los Angeles Chargers

Taken by the Los Angeles Chargers with pick 5 of the 3rd round of the 2024 NFL Draft, CFB Champion Junior Colson will have a lot of expectations to live up to. The former Michigan man is a smart player, fierce in tackles and highly effective on the blitz.

In fantasy terms, this should mean solid production from Colson as he will likely accumulate a lot of tackles. With 256 tackles in three years in college, the production has always been there to see, it should just come down to how Colson fits in with the way that the Chargers want to play on defense.

With 3rd round pick in 2023, Daiyan Henley and free agent Denzel Perryman as Colson's main competition, this could mean that he has starting potential in Week 1, or that at least in the first few weeks, the three will work in rotation, similar to the way the Chiefs operated at the beginning of the 2023  season with Willie Gay, Nick Bolton and Drue Tranquill.

In terms of IDP drafts,  in most rookie mock drafts, Colson is one of the first linebackers off the board, if not the first. This doesn't necessarily mean that the consensus is always right but, if you want Colson, it is unlikely that he makes it past the first round of IDP only rookie drafts. I anticipate that he will make it to around the 1.07 or 1.08 pick, which is good value for Colson as a prospect.

Edgerrin Cooper, Green Bay Packers

With the 45th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, Edgerrin Cooper was (probably) rightfully the first linebacker selected in the draft. Cooper walks straight into the starting line up for Green Bay alongside Quay Walker.

The versatile cooper racked up 85 tackles in his senior year of college as a Texas A&M Aggie but, what is even more formidable is the 17 TFLs and 8 sacks. Cooper has been dubbed as the scariest person in the draft and that is a fair analysis for someone that hits hard and hits fast.

Cooper has in essence been playing at a professional quality level for the last year or so and this was glaringly obvious in the 2023 season as he was almost always the best player on both sides of the field every time he stepped onto the turf.

In terms of IDP drafts, Cooper could be the first player selected this year in rookie drafts, depending on team needs. In most mock drafts that I have participated in, Cooper doesn't make it out of the top five picks.

If you want to reach for someone in the draft, with relatively low risk attached to the pick, then Cooper is definitely the guy.

JD Bertrand, Atlanta Falcons

Drafted with pick 8 in round 5, Bertrand is one of the 2024 rookie linebackers that has gone under the radar in the draft process. Playing as the supporting act for Marist Liufau, Bertrand has been patient, done his job more than efficiently and could be a surprise for a lot of people this season.

With 267 tackles in his last three years at Notre Dame, Bertrand knows how to rack up tackles. His ability to  get around the field quickly is second to none and what is even more dangerous for opposition is that because he's fast, he allows himself to be that little bit more patient.

My current NFL player comparison for Bertrand funnily enough, is Troy Andersen, also of the Atlanta Falcons. The potential for two of them to be on the field would be menacing. The more I watch Bertrand, the more I see a lot of the style of play that made someone like Luke Kuechly so prolific. With that comparison in mind, Bertrand could be the type of pick that explodes. Even with a potential limited role this season, it would still make Bertrand the perfect stash.

In terms of IDP rookie drafts, JD Bertrand is being drafted at the top of the third round, which is the perfect time to reach for him. Bertrand is my number one value target in IDP rookie drafts this year.

Tommy Eichenberg, Las Vegas Raiders

Selected with the 13th pick of the fifth round, the former Ohio State Buckeye is somewhat of a coup for a the Las Vegas Raiders, who had a much needed depth for the linebacker room. Supported by the in-form pair of Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane, Eichenberg should put the pressure on those guys as the season goes on.

Tommy Eichenberg is another player who slipped down the rankings due to missing the last four games of the 2023 season with a dislocated elbow. The two-time captain made 202 tackles in his last two years as a college player, which included a 2022 Rose Bowl standout game, where he racked up 17 tackles, a Rose Bowl record.

In terms of fantasy production, the Raiders will likely play it safe at the start of the season and proceed with Spillane and Deablo and that should give Eichenberg the time he needs to showcase his abilities. By Week 8, I can envisage Eichenberg getting a lot more defensive snaps and slowly being worked in as a solid rotational piece. With a good camp, that opportunity could easily come a lot sooner.

Jaylan Ford, New Orleans Saints

The former Texas Longhorn joins the New Orleans Saints after they picked up Ford in the 5th round of the 2024 NFL Draft. A solid talent, Ford amassed over 100 tackles in each of his last two college years.

Ford joins a decent looking linebacker corps with Demario DavisPete Werner and Willie Gay which should mean that Ford gets a lot of special teams reps to begin with, before carving out a role for himself in rotation. A strong camp could put Ford level with Gay perhaps but, it would take a lot for Ford to push for a starting role by Week 1 without injuries to his teammates.

I'm a big fan of Ford and he plays a very similar style of football to Demario Davis, so in terms of landing spot, this might end up being the perfect taxi squad stash for fantasy football managers if Ford takes a year to learn from one of the best in the game.

In IDP only fantasy football drafts, Ford is unlikely to be picked in the first three rounds, so could be a good dart throw with a 4th round pick or later, with the hope that next year his position on the roster is a little clearer.

Cedric Gray, Tennessee Titans

Cedric Gray couldn't have asked for a nicer spot that Tennessee. Gray immediately becomes the third choice at inside linebacker and a good candidate for taking the "green-dot" role for the Titans.

With free agent Kenneth Murray joining the ranks and Jack Gibbens given the reins in a disappointing season, it puts all three linebackers on an even keel going into training camp meaning that Gray could easily become a starter in Week 1 with a strong showing at camp.

In terms of fantasy production that will only mean great things for Gray. Known as a tackling machine and as North Carolina's best defensive playmaker in his three years as a starter, if this transfers to the NFL, we could be looking at an elite grab in fantasy football.

Fantasy football managers are on the same page as me with this one, and in most IDP only rookie drafts, Gray is leaving the top of the second round undrafted. The 106th pick could easily have been a day two pick, so if you're in a need for a potential starting linebacker, Gray is one of your best shots!

Ty'Ron Hopper, Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers added another linebacker in Oregon playmaker Ty'Ron Hopper with the 28th pick in the 3rd round. Joining a linebacker room that added Edgerrin Cooper in the round prior, it won't be as straightforward for Hopper to carve out an immediate role but, he will likely prove to be a useful depth player this season, and suits work in a 4-3 defense.

Most comfortable as a middle linebacker, Hopper is fast. His quick bursts and solid ability playing in coverage means that Hopper knows how to stuff  a guy. A great asset for Hopper is that he doesn't give up on plays easy. This is something that will benefit a Packers defense that was 28th in stopping the run last season.

In terms of fantasy production this year, immediate thoughts are that Hopper will be in rotation this year but, with De'Vondre Campbell out of the mix and Quay Walker showing inconsistency, it could end up with Hopper and fellow rookie Cooper in starting positions midway through the 2024 season.

Currently, Hopper can be picked up at the end of the third round of IDP rookie drafts. At that price, I would add Hopper as a fantasy manager, even as a stash piece.

Tyrice Knight, Seattle Seahawks

Picked in the 4th round by the Seahawks, the UTEP product is certainly an under-the-radar prospect. Joining a heavily depleted linebacker room after two huge losses at inside linebacker in Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner, Knight could very easily craft himself a starting role by the end of camp.

A lot of people will analyse Knight and think that he perhaps doesn't have a "wow factor", but this is a guy that rarely puts a foot wrong, is a good defensive leader and would fit into what the new look Seattle Seahawks are trying to achieve. With 140 tackles in his last season at the University of Texas El-Paso, this is a guy that sniffs out danger.

In terms of a like-for-like replacement, Knight has a very similar style of play to Jordyn Brooks. The Seahawks defense is always a force to be reckoned with, so this could be a well-suited landing spot for Knight. With two new recruits at inside linebacker in free agency, the spots are pretty much up for grabs.

With quick vision, prolific and consistent in the short-run game as well as a good ability to read well in coverage, it is likely that he will rack up a lot of tackles in the NFL and this will lead to a lot of happy fantasy football managers. Mostly drafted mid-late second round, this is a great time to take Knight in IDP only rookie drafts.

Marist Liufau, Dallas Cowboys

The first of two Notre Dame linebackers to be drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft, Liufau landed with Dallas in round 3, with pick 24. The linebacker room in Dallas was so thin last year that they looked toward safety, Markquese Bell to step into a role. With Eric Kendricks signing in free agency, DeMarvion Overshown back from a season-ending injury and with Damone Clark on the roster, it will prove to be a more reassuring look for Cowboys fans.

Liufau is great play reader, patient and especially strong in the blitz, so there is always that potential for a sack upside. Liufau works best in a 3-4, which could mean that Liufau could see work off the edge, or as an outside linebacker, or could be stuck behind a lot of depth.

In IDP rookie drafts, Liufau is being drafted in the middle of the second round, which is arguably a little high given his situation. Nonetheless, Liufau could prove to be a key piece of an explosive rush defense. A nice stash.

Jordan Magee, Washington Commanders

A great draft by Washington continued with their fifth round pick when they picked up Jordan Magee. With a complete rebuild of the linebacker room and the additions of Bobby Wagner and Frankie Luvu at the linebacker position, Magee walks into a team with a lot of depth when you add Jamin Davis, Mykal Walker and Anthony Pittman to the mix.

The former Temple player is hyper-effective in open play and when stopping the run, and much like a few of the previous mentioned 2024 fantasy football rookie linebackers, Magee has a great eye for a tackle.

Magee is being drafted late in the third round of IDP rookie drafts, which is a fair price for someone who could be buried in deep competition. I'm confident that Magee has a strong showing in camp and this leads to some good opportunities in rotation. Again, a nice stash on the taxi squad for dynasty managers.

Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Philadelphia Eagles

The Trotter legacy continues in Philadelphia! With three stints in Philadelphia, Trotter Sr. is considered a cult figure and this is now cemented by Jeremiah Trotter Jr. joining the Eagles after a successful college career with Clemson. Eventually falling to the Eagles in pick 20 of round 5, to a landing spot that should make him feel at home.

Trotter is another linebacker in this class who likes to be a playmaker, but he has a definite extra edge to his game. He is extremely versatile and has a natural nose for the tackle and demonstrates a strong aptitude for understanding what the opposition is about to run. This unteachable trait of knowing what is about to happen and the physical traits to match is a rare feature and is reserved only for linebackers at the top of their game, so this should be a sign of things to come for Trotter.

In terms of fantasy production, Trotter could start Week 1 paired up with Devin White. Nakobe Dean has struggled to impress but provides the linebacker room with good depth, as does the off-season acquisition of Oren Burks from San Francisco. These are the two main threats to Trotter's time on the field once the season starts, so it will prove to be an interesting camp for all three players.

Trotter is likely to be drafted before the middle of the third round of IDP rookie drafts. It could be a risk play with high-upside if you pick Trotter Jr. up any sooner but, with the added bonus of being proficient in the blitz, he could accumulate fantasy points even in weeks he is limited on the number of defensive snaps. Definitely a favorite of mine in this class.

Trevin Wallace, Carolina Panthers

Trevin Wallace has been sneaking his way up IDP rookie draft boards in recent days and this is purely down to his landing spot in Carolina, where the linebacker room consists of offseason acquisition Josey Jewell and veteran Shaq Thompson who was on IR for the majority of last season. As the third linebacker selected in the 2024 NFL Draft, Wallace will have a lot of expectations to deliver on if he is indeed a starter in Week 1.

The former Kentucky product showed solid improvement in each of his three years in college, which led him to declaring in this year's draft. On the surface, this looks like a great pick for fantasy football managers but, Trevin Wallace is going as high as the 1.06 / 1.07 in IDP rookie drafts. There are really good finds in this IDP draft class, and Wallace just isn't good value for money at that price.

It seems like I'm a little low on Wallace and this is through no fault of his own. Thompson and Jewell are pure veterans and won't want to be ousted by a rookie linebacker. He is an outstanding talent and I do think that Wallace could be a starter in Week 1, or will at least have some production in a rotational role, either way.

I am however holding some reservation as to whether Wallace will feature as a lead in future years in Carolina, or whether his role will be capped at appearing as a backup this year before other reinforcements join. Training camp will be the best indicator of this, and if I'm doing drafts in July/August I'm positive this will see him climb in my rankings if he is able to demonstrate he is up to the first challenge.

Payton Wilson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Payton Wilson was a key playmaker last season for the North Carolina State Wolfpack which is no surprise that the Steelers nabbed Wilson with the 35th pick in Round 3.

It was a slight surprise that Wilson was not the first linebacker drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft and as direct result, this has had an effect on his draft capital in IDP rookie drafts. In Wilson's final college year, he stacked up an incredible 138 tackles in 12 games. To add to that tally, Wilson made 17.5 TFLs and sacked opposition QBs six times.

With starting positions up for grabs in Pittsburgh, Wilson could make the perfect counterpart for Patrick Queen, and maybe it's an early call but a strong camp showing by Wilson could lead to the cutting of either the solid veterans, Elandon Roberts or Cole Holcomb who will be fighting for the middle linebacker role alongside Patrick Queen.

Current IDP rookie drafts are placing Wilson as a late first-round pick, which is good value for someone with a good chance of upside. If Wilson can prove his worth alongside a linebacker room full of quality veterans, he will be worth more to fantasy rosters, than a 1.07 pick, for example.

Wilson is another guy that I'm trying to stock up on shares with, so if you think you're taking a risk on Wilson, at least know that I'll be in the same boat.

 

Happy drafting!


Thanks again for reading 2024 IDP Football Rookie Linebackers article! If you have any questions or comments, please reach me at @DynastyGuruNFL on Twitter.

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