There’s a lot of talk from the coaching staff coming from OTAs about feeling good about the OLB depth.
I don’t get it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the sky is falling. I don’t these guys can’t be good. It’s just that I can’t get excited about it right now.
Especially because, when CM3 and Nick Perry are you’re starting outside linebackers, you will need outside linebacker depth. Clay has started 16 games just twice in his 8 year career. Perry has been in the league 5 years and has suited up for 16 games exactly zero times.
Julius Peppers was a guy who suited up every game for his 3 years with the Packers and Datone only missed 1 game last year. The best ability is availability (Example: Biegel in already injured). Last year, their depth guys were there and they were steady – which was critical when you had starters who frequently got hurt.
Fackrell and Jayrone are young prospects with potential, but we don’t know if they can stand up to the rigors of full time play – neither of them even played a third as many snaps as Peppers or Datone last year.
It’s one thing to play, though, and it’s another thing to play well.
Pass rushers are hard to find (how hard? check this out). Third rounders and undrafted free agents have extremely low odds of ever becoming Pro Bowler pass rushers.
We’ve seen very little of Elliott or Fackrell in terms of actual production. Do they look like they have potential? Sure. Do I feel good about them?
Well, Jayrone gets preseason MVP talk every year, but doesn’t always produce when the games count (although that Seattle game a couple years ago was promising).
Fackrell could be in line for a year two jump, but he was an old rookie. I feel like when older guys come into the league (like Taysom Hill), they’re closer to their potential than younger guys. Logical, right? That’s not to say that going up against better competition won’t raise their game. Fackrell also added 10 pounds of muscle to his 6’5″ frame, which should help.
Still, though, this is all padless running around in shorts that has the coaches excited.
For now, I’m keeping my hopes from getting up. At least until I see someone blow up a left tackle in preseason.