We continue with the ranking of AFC South units with the linebackers today, here is a look back at the defensive lines:
Continuing on this club’s pitiful front seven, their linebackers leave something to be desired. Erik Walden is just a guy, and Trent Cole is past his prime. So is Robert Mathis, who is old and has battled injuries for the last couple of seasons.
On the inside, D’Qwell Jackson is okay, a guy who makes a ton of tackles but really isn’t an impact player. He’s led the team in tackles each of the last two years, but will not have Jerrell Freeman next to him anymore. Nate Irving is beside him after playing four years in Denver and joining the Colts prior to last season—in which he racked up 14 tackles in eight games.
Mathis has certainly seen better days, but last year he tied Kendall Langford for the team lead with seven sacks. That super quick first step just isn’t quite there anymore. Their depth is still suspect, and they let go of the failed experiment that was Bjoern Werner at OLB after he was a 4-3 end at Florida State.
They drafted two linebackers this season in Trevor Bates from Maine and Antonio Morrison from Florida. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one or both of them ended up getting significant playing time this season.