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Is AJ a Top 10 LB?

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After the top 4-5 guys it can be hard to differentiate between a lot of really good and promising players but AJ was consistently very good and at times special last year so he’s definitely in that range. He doesn’t have the quickness to be really sticky in coverage when he’s forced to man up on elite athletes, but he is pretty explosive when he makes a read and he uses his size and length well to disrupt passing lanes, which is really an asset in Vic’s defense. And the tenacity he plays with is just fun if you love physical football. 100% effort with bad intentions and some serious power.  Especially relative to today’s LBs, AJ is HUGE and every hit looks crushing.

The Chargers game last year being his first game in the NFL on defense is pretty amazing. First game after not playing LB in years and he was the best player on the field that day. Overall I’m just really excited to see what the next step is with AJ under a LB guru in Fangio. 

Less important but noteworthy: On that SB50 defense we had Aqib Talib and TJ Ward as the loose cannons who took pride in putting fear into offenses and were willing to physically do anything to shut an offense down or send a message. I really think there’s something to that defensively and I feel like AJ has some of those qualities, he’s just a naturally nasty football player who likes to likes to kick guys’ ***** and remind them about it. He and Kareem Jackson are the guys I trust to come downhill and hit the crap out of someone and try to light a fire under this defense when they need a spark. With no live crowds it will be more important than ever for guys to bring some energy to the field. 

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I would say yes. I know it’s only one season but going into 2020 he is a top 10 ILB around the 9-10 range. 

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I think he's definitely got the potential to be, but would like to see another season at the same level of last season before I'm ready to go there.

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He was an All American in the SEC before the charges against him.  So, he is just getting back into football really.  I am not surprised by this.  

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On 9/1/2020 at 12:22 AM, BroncoBruin said:

After the top 4-5 guys it can be hard to differentiate between a lot of really good and promising players 

This is the key IMO.   At his salary and cost control he’s a great value.   Is he elite?  No, and there’s nothing wrong with that.   But in Fangio’s D having the elite Mike raises the Unit output exponentially compared to a Wade or other D scheme.   It’s why I’d expect we see this become a 2021 draft priority.   As the cheap Robin to a Batman ILB he’s a fantastic asset.   Don’t know that he can be the 3-Down leader but either way a tremendous value at his cost.  Whether he can progress further - we’ll find out soon enough, esp if Davis’ health issues linger.  

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27 minutes ago, Broncofan said:

This is the key IMO.   At his salary and cost control he’s a great value.   Is he elite?  No, and there’s nothing wrong with that.   But in Fangio’s D having the elite Mike raises the Unit output exponentially compared to a Wade or other D scheme.   It’s why I’d expect we see this become a 2021 draft priority.   As the cheap Robin to a Batman ILB he’s a fantastic asset.   Don’t know that he can be the 3-Down leader but either way a tremendous value at his cost.  Whether he can progress further - we’ll find out soon enough, esp if Davis’ health issues linger.  

The upcoming draft has a ton of talent at LB as well. 

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Thanks for the input. I only saw a few games last year but he stood out. Always seemed to be around the ball. PFF sure seems to like him and being old school I love an ILB that can really lay the lumber. At his size it only takes a few steps for him to bring some serious impact.

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4 hours ago, Cutler06 said:

Evidently the Broncos think he has the potential to be special. 

According to PFF he already is.

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I don't think he moves well enough in space to be anything better than good. Like others have said, there is nothing wrong with that with his current deal. But, when teams spread us out I am always scared to see him in space.

I thought Vic did a great job last year of him blitzing him when teams did this, with us usually bringing Kareem down to replace him around the box. You can only do that when you have a Safety that can match up in man coverage (we do, Kareem Jackson) and a Safety that can cover lots of ground as a single high Safety (we do, Justin Simmons).

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