1. Inside Linebacker
Just because it is the biggest position of need does not mean that it is the first position that needs to be addressed. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tennessee Titans used both first round picks on different positions.
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The positional value of an inside linebacker just isn’t close to what the value of an edge player or a cornerback is.
In case you need a reference point on what I mean, look at what linebacker has made on the open market compared to other positions. Luke Kuechly is the highest paid ILB in the NFL at $12.4 million per year.
That contract would rank 8th among cornerbacks and 10th among pass rushers. So it isn’t hard to see how these players would be evaluated in front offices.
Having said that, you can argue the tight end coverage on this team cost this team two games in 2017. You could also say that the San Diego game was lost due to the inability to stop Melvin Gordon or make an impact play.
I think you need playmakers at every level of a defense to really earn the reputation of a top-5 unit in the NFL, which should be what every team strives for.
Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan may be “OLBs” but they play at the line of scrimmage. Are Wesley Woodyard and Avery Williamson solid players? Sure. Are they playmakers? I don’t think so at this point.