Finding Playmaking LB's For The Broncos With The Production Ratio

Welcome to the second part of Finding Playmakers Using the Production Ratio. This time we shall look at the Linebackers and where they fit in. I took the top 7 Inside Linebackers as listed by CBS Draft Rankings. It looks to be a very shallow draft for ILB's since the 7th player, Casey Matthews, is projected to go in the 5th round. But in order to get a realistic picture, a larger sample is usually better.

I took the liberty of listing the career Tackles, Tackles per game, Passes Defended and Interceptions along with the Sacks, Tackles For Loss and the Production Ratio. One thing though. You'll notice that some of these guys have more sacks and some have better coverage numbers. This would indicate that each player was asked to do something different in their respective systems.

There is one other thing I need to stress. I don't know where any of these players fit, 3-4 ILB or 4-3 MLB. That will be for you to decide. This is just an indicator to determine if the player can be a playmaker and leader as opposed to just another guy. The other thing is, an ILB needs to make a ton of Tackles no matter which scheme he's playing in.

As a reminder, I will list the formula being used. It is taken from Pat Kirwan's book, "Take Your Eye Off The Ball."


                                       (SACKS + TACKLES FOR LOSS) /NUMBER OF GAMES PLAYED  = PRODUCTION RATIO


OVR Player Pos School SKS TFL Games P. Ratio TKL TPG PD INT
32 Martez Wilson ILB Illinois 9 20 38 0.76 223 5.87 8 1
58 Greg Jones ILB Michigan St. 16.5 46.5 52 1.21 465 8.94 7 2
88 Quan Sturdivant ILB No. Carolina 7 27.5 46 0.75 309 6.72 8 4
105 Colin McCarthy ILB Miami (FL) 4 33 48 0.77 303 6.31 6 3
126 Kelvin Sheppard ILB LSU 5.5 26 53 0.59 311 5.87 7 2
143 Nate Irving ILB No Carolina St 9 40 35 1.4 214 6.11 11 4
163 Casey Matthews ILB Oregon 9 30.5 50 0.79 245 4.9 10 4

Unfortunately for the Broncos, the top two ILB's don't fall into the area where they are currently drafting. Greg Jones looks like a bargain in the late 2nd round. Martez Wilson has ideal size (6' 4", 250) for the MLB spot, but he will likely be gone by the time the Broncos are on the clock. And barring any trades of course. I have a couple of familiar names for comparison: James Laurenitis rated a .76 and Rolando McClain, a .94 Production Ratio score. Current Bronco D.J. Williams had a .70 for his career in Miami

Now we'll look at the Outside Linebackers. This group is a little deeper in talent and numbers, so like Nigel Tufnel's guitar, this goes to 11.

OVR Player Pos School SKS TFL Games P. Ratio TKL TPG PD INT
7 Von Miller OLB Texas A&M 33 50.5 47 1.78 182 3.87 11 1
11 Aldon Smith OLB Missouri 17 29 23 2 112 4.87 7 1
26 Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA 14 29.5 37 1.17 183 4.94 11 6
28 Justin Houston OLB Georgia 20 38 36 1.61 125 3.47 5 1
48 Bruce Carter OLB No. Carolina 8.5 24 49 0.66 215 4.39 9 3
68 Brooks Reed OLB Arizona 17 25 46 0.91 114 2.33 3 0
77 Mark Herzlich OLB Boston Coll. 5 31.5 55 0.66 314 5.71 18 7
82 Dontay Moch OLB Nevada 28.5 71 50 1.99 241 4.82 10 0
85 Jeremy Beal OLB Oklahoma 29 58.5 54 1.62 224 4.15 14 1
104 Lawrence Wilson OLB Connecticut 9 35.5 52 0.86 449 8.63 10 5
106 K.J. Wright OLB Mississippi St 8 22.5 47 0.65 258 5.49 14 0

Von Miller is the clear-cut dominant guy in this draft and is sure to go in the top ten. The Broncos can't afford to make a play for him though, in my opinion. Akeem Ayers has promising numbers. Jeremy Beal looks like an intriguing player too. I don't know if he has played the SAM position, but at 6' 2", 268 lbs, Beal has good size to handle a Tight End and he has cover experience. Some recent OLB's to compare these guys are; Clay Matthews - .41, Larry English - 1.78, Aaron Maybin - 1.56, Aaron Curry - 1.08 and Brian Cushing with a .81 score.

Again, Denver has the number 2, 36, 46. 66 and 3 more to be determined. Maybe one of these players will become Broncos in the near future. After the Combine numbers are released, I will introduce you to the second half of the equation. It's called The Explosion Number. Stay tuned and...

Go Broncos!

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