Atlanta Firebirds

LB Dakota Allen – 7aa

LB Joplo Bartu – 9

LB B.J. Blunt – 6a

OLB Larry Dean – 7

LB Nate Holley – 7a

LB Sam Hurl – 7

OLB Cory Littleton – 10

LB Chase Middleton – 6a

MLB Donald Payne – 8aa

OLB Alex Scearce – 7a

The Firebirds continually seem to be looking for the right mix at linebacker. Sometimes the guys they bring in work out, sometimes they don’t, but they keep trying as they should. But one player who has been a staple is Joplo Bartu. He’s not an elite player, but it’s hard to imagine the Firebirds defense without him. He’s the leader on the defense, but Cory Littleton is definitely the star addition. Littleton might be the best linebacker in all the league and one of the very best in all of football. Donald Payne and Dakota Allen have both had very good training camps and look like they can push their way into the starting roster. Payne was barely used last year but continued to work, the Firebirds continued to stick with him and he’s looking like a long-time starting veteran out on the practice field. Larry Dean and Sam Hurl are just mediocre backups. Alex Scearce is an explosive pass rusher, though the rest of is game is very raw. Nate Holley figures to be put in somewhere somehow.

Birmingham Predators

OLB De’Vondre Campbell – 10

LB Leon Jacobs – 8aa

LB Jordan Jones – 6a

OLB Tim Williams – 8aa

They aren’t deep at linebacker but the Predators have some really good ones. De’Vondre Campbell is a huge addition from Washington, clearly one of the best linebackers around and is excellent against the run and coverage all around. Tim Williams stepped up huge last year, racking up 13 sacks. He really needs to develop the rest of his game, but as a pass rusher he has shown what he can do. Leon Jacobs has had a great camp. He was fairly unknown last year, got some work in, developed and now he’s looking like he can be a legitimate starter in the middle of that defense. Jordan Jones is all they have for depth and he’s just another body out there not standing out in anyway.

Boston Dragons

OLB Zach Allen – 7aa

ILB Jake Doughty – 7a

ILB Samuel Eguavoen – 8aa

OLB Tristan Koronkiewicz – 6aa

ILB Joel Lanning – 6

OLB Matt Longacre – 7a

OLB Frankie Luvu – 6aa

LB Tyler Matakevich – 8aa

OLB Cardell Rawlings – 6a

ILB Troy Reeder – 7aa

ILB Danny Robinson – 6a

OLB Craig Roh – 8a

The unexpected retirement of Kyle Emmanuel was a very tough one to swallow for the Dragons. They thought they had their star locked up for a while but the mounting injuries led him to hanging up the cleats after only a few years. Now, the Dragons are looking for someone new to lead the group. Samuel Eguavoen seemingly has stepped up in that role so far. He’s performed well. Craig Roh has been solid, as an edge defender, but he’s fairly limited in his athleticism. The Dragons are hoping Tyler Matakevich will finally step up and be the heart of the linebacker corp they had hoped he’d become. He’s improving every day. They just have to keep giving him opportunities. Troy Reeder has stepped up big though. He might push Matakevich for reps and if he does he’s earned it because he’s worked very hard to get better. The group, though, needs pass rushers to step up, especially being a 3-4 defense. Zack Allen is definitely the most talented pass rusher on the team. He’s dangerous, just raw right now. Joey Porter has made it a point to work with him a lot to get him ready to make an immediate impact. Frankie Luvu could be a good pass rusher as well. Those two guys have talent, just need more experience. Tristain Koronkiewicz is a decent run stopper.

Buffalo Gunners

OLB Samson Ebukam – 9aa

OLB Dennis Gardeck – 6aa

OLB Jimmie Gilbert – 6a

OLB Cory Greenwood – 7.d

ILB Josey Jewell – 7aa

MLB Marquel Lee – 8aa

LB Ben Niemann – 7aa

OLB Kenneth Olugbode – 7aa

OLB Ejuan Price – 6a

OLB Duke Riley – 8ac

Samson Ebukam stepped up huge last year and racked up 15 sacks. He’s getting even better working with Matt Entz. They are putting him in position to succeed. Marquel Lee is very excited coming into this season. He’s got the middle of the defense locked down, but he also seed Ben Niemann working very hard chomping at the bit to get that starting job. Regardless, both guys should see significant work. Josey Jewell is playing well too and is looking for an opportunity. Niemann is a bit more versatile and can play any linebacker spot. Duke Riley actually could be vulnerable to Niemann, but he brings very good and confident coverage skills that are very needed. He matches up the best against athletic tight ends. Dennis Gardeck is showing some nice potential. Cory Greenwood has had a nice long career but he’s really slowing down.

Carolina Generals

OLB Chase Allen – 7aa

OLB Thurston Armbrister – 8a

OLB Cayson Collins – 6aa

ILB Cole Holcomb – 8aa

ILB Nicholas Morrow – 9aa

ILB Andre Smith – 7aa

Cole Holcomb coming in as a rookie looks like a star in the making. He’s impressed everybody and might even already be the best linebacker the Generals have. And that isn’t to say other linebackers are not keeping up. Nicholas Morrow is playing great football too and could become one of the upper echelon guys in the league himself. Head coach Mike Singletary and defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher are already looking for creative ways to utilize both guys on the field at the same time. Thurston Armbrister was on the brink of becoming an elite linebacker early in his career but he’s dropped off quite a bit. But he’s looking excited this year and has had a solid camp. He’ll have to hold on an up-and-coming Chase Allen. He’s still a bit ahead of him but Allen is improving each day and has done very well in camp. Cayson Collins and Andre Smith just add to the depth of talent the Generals have at linebacker. Both could push for reps.

Columbus Explorers

ILB Riley Bullough – 6

ILB Armond Dellovade – 6a

OLB Avery Elliss – 7a

ILB Cody Heiman – 6aa

OLB Harry Henschler – 6aa

OLB Sam Hubbard – 9aa

OLB Christian Kuntz – 6a

OLB Carl Lawson – 9aa

ILB Khalid McGee – 6a

ILB Quentin Poling – 7aa

ILB Job Reinhardt – 6aa

ILB Alex Singleton – 8aa

OLB Jimmy Thomas – 6a

Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson are looking like a deadly pass rushing duo for the Explorers. Those two are going to make things very difficult for opposing teams and Alex Singleton is really looking comfortable patrolling the middle of the field. He’s got pretty good speed and can get from sideline to sideline to stop both the run and keep up with receivers and tight ends over the middle. He could be headed for a big year. Quentin Poling has also had a very good camp and likely has solidified himself a starting job. But Job Reinhardt is coming in after a strong D-League campaign. Harry Henschler and Cody Heiman both have shown potential to contribute as well. Avery Ellis is a capable veteran who should figure to find a job for himself as well.

Dallas Six-Shooters

OLB Houston Bates – 7

OLB Beniquez Brown – 7a

MLB Will Compton – 9a

ILB T.J. Edwards – 6aa

LB Darius Harris – 6a

OLB Steven Johnson – 7a

OLB Curt Maggitt – 7

Will Compton is one of the best linebackers around, but he’ll have a heavy load carrying this group. Beniquez Brown is looking for a new opportunity in a new town and he’s played pretty well. Houston Bates, Steven Johnson and Curt Maggitt have all been pretty equal in terms of their training camp performance. Johnson has had the best moments of the trio. TJ Edwards is showing some decent potential but the Shooters need to be patient with him.

Indianapolis Speed

LB Tyrel Dodson – 6aa

LB Davante Downs – 7aa

LB Mason Foster – 8.d

MLB Ben Heeney – 7

LB Jordan Kunaszyk – 7aa

OLB Sio Moore – 8.d

OLB Avery Moss – 7aa

LB Nate Orchard – 7aa

OLB Stephen Weatherly – 8aa

LB Mack Wilson – 8aa

Rookie Mack Wilson has looked incredible and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has been working with him a little extra after it’s become clear he can become an immediate star on this defense. He’s not necessarily a pass rusher, but he’s been great at playing sideline to sideline, catching up to running backs and he’s been most exceptional in coverage. Stephen Weatherly and Avery Moss are the top top pass rushing threats and both have looked very good in camp. Nate Orchard is a solid edge defender and has been good against the run. Jordan Kunaszyk has been playing all over the place and has had very good moments. Sio Moore and Mason Foster both provide very important veteran leadership and knowhow but both are starting to slow down just a bit. Davante Downs has had some very good moments, but he’s been very inconsistent.

Jacksonville Stingrays

OLB Khalil Bass – 7a

LB Vontaze Burfict – 10

ILB Te’Von Coney – 6aa

OLB Sharif Finch – 6aa

ILB Kevin Minter – 9a

OLB Jachai Polite – 6aa

OLB Joe Schobert – 8aa

It has to be a great feeling to be an expansion team and to immediately have one of the best defensive players in the game still in his prime to build around. Vontaze Burfict has his controversial moments, but there is no denying his all-around elite talent. He’s the best in the league. But Jacksonville actually has a lot of talent at this position more than just him they can be comfortable with. Kevin Minter had a great yeat for Mississippi last year and while he’s in a new city with a new team, he’s excited to carry that success into this year and he’s looking good in camp. Joe Schobert has also had a very good training camp. He’s right in his prime and he’s becoming a fairly complete linebacker with very good coverage skills, but he’s best as an edge-setter. Khalil Bass might be the most ready to lead the bench but they have some good young players to be excited about in the future.

Los Angeles Avengers

MLB Chris Board – 6aa

MLB Ukeme Eligwe – 7aa

LB Solomon Elmimian – 9

OLB Dre Greenlaw – 8aa

OLB Porter Gustin – 7aa

LB Tre Lamar – 6a

OLB Matt Milano – 9aa

ILB Cameron Smith – 6aa

Faced with major cap trouble, the Los Angeles Avengers lost a lot of talent on their defense, but they still have a lot to work with. Solomon Elmimian has had a long career, but even at 33-years-old he’s at the top of his game. He’s come into camp ready and looking good. Matt Milano is coming off a strong 2019 season and looks even better and more confident coming into this season. He could prove to be the team’s signal-caller too. Making up for a lot of the losses for the Avengers is the welcome addition of rookie Dre Greenlaw. He’s been great in camp and looks like a real star in the making. Ukeme Eligwe leads the bench while Cameron Smith and Chris Board are all showing potential to contribute as backups. Porter Gustin has followed up a great D-League season with a very strong camp and could be a big threat right away.

Louisville Cougars

ILB Emmanuel Ellerbee – 6aa

OLB Darius Fleming – 7

ILB L.J. Fort – 8a

LB Joel Iyiegbuniwe – 7aa

OLB Alvin Ray Jackson – 7.d

OLB Antwoine Williams – 7a

Alvin Ray Jackson was the leader of this group last year but he’s showing his age this camp. Approaching 40, he can still contribute, but he’s nowhere near what he used to be. But making that easier to swallow is the rise of L.J. Fort. It took him awhile to figure some things out but he’s come into camp confident and is looking like a strong run defender. Joel Iyiegbuniwe is showing very nice potential. Antwoine Williams might be the third starter but Emmanuel Ellerbee is showing nice potential. He might just need a bit more time to develop. Darius Fleming can be a strong option off the bench.

Miami Mustangs

ILB Emmanuel Acho – 7

OLB Azeez Al-Shaair – 6aa

OLB Malik Carney – 6aa

ILB Dannell Ellerbe – 8.d

OLB Junior Galette – 8.d

MLB Joe Giles-Harris – 6aa

ILB Maleki Harris – 7a

LB Bo Lokombo – 7

OLB Perry Riley – 8.d

The Mustangs have some over-the-hill guys they are still relying on, but the good part is they can still rely on them. Dannell Ellerbe is slowing down, but he’s always been exceptionally fast covering sideline to sideline. Junior Galette is the edge rusher still with a little left in the tank while Riley is the coverage guy. Emmanuel Acho and Bo Lokombo are also older veterans that can still compete. Maleki Harris has had a very good camp and is fighting to contribute in some way. But while the Mustangs have plenty of experience, they need some of their young athletes to step up for the future. Azeez Al-Shaair, Malik Carney and Joe Giles-Harris need some time to develop, but the question is, what can they develop into?

Michigan Stags

MLB Ja’Whaun Bentley – 6aa

LB Jatavis Brown – 9aa

OLB Kamu Grugier-Hill – 7aa

OLB Justin Hollins – 7aa

OLB Simoni Lawrence – 8

ILB Elandon Roberts – 9aa

Michigan always has great defensive players, sometimes even guys who overachieve. This year is no different. They are loaded with talent at linebacker. Jatavis Brown has headed the pack for a while but Elandon Roberts is a great addition showing a ton of skill. Simoni Lawrence might look the best right now at outside linebacker, but don’t be shocked if they Stags groom their youth and give either Kamu Grugier-Hill or Justin Hollins a bigger role this year. Regardless, all of them should be in the mix. Ja’Whaun Bentley has shown good potential as well.

Milwaukee Warriors

ILB Vince Biegel – 9aa

LB Jack Cichy – 6aa

OLB Nick DeLuca – 6aa

ILB Terence Garvin – 7a

OLB Ahmad Gooden – 6aa

LB Foye Oluokun – 8aa

LB Shakeel Rashad – 6aa

LB Noah Robinson – 6a

OLB Eric Wilson – 7aa

The Warriors have a lot of potential at linebacker. While Vince Biegel is the top guy right now Foye Oluokun and Eric Wilson are ready to become top guys in their own right. That trio can be the unit for the Warriors for quite some time. Wilson especially has come in and had a strong camp and could really develop into something special. He has the most room to grow. Jack Cicky, Nick DeLuca, Ahmad Gooden and Shakeel Rashad make for a lot of depth on this team at linebacker.

Mississippi Gators

LB Devante Bond – 7aa

OLB Carl Bradford – 7

ILB Gerald Hodges – 8.d

MLB Kelvin Sheppard – 8.d

OLB Sutton Smith – 6aa

LB Ramik Wilson – 7c

The Gators have to be slightly disappointed with their group of linebackers coming into the season. Gerald Hodges and Kelvin Sheppard are still able to perform, but both have slowed down quite a bit and look a bit uninspired in camp. Ramik Wilson was brought in to be a good edge-settle and he’s been decent but not a big boost. Devante Bond is the guy the Gators can be excited about. He just needs to play more to get better, and he can get a lot better. Carl Bradford can contribute but he is what he is. Sutton Smith could develop but is very raw right now.

Nashville Renegades

OLB Sam Acho – 8.d

LB Genard Avery – 7aa

MLB Demarquis Gates – 7a

ILB Mke Hull – 8aa

OLB Natrez Patrick – 6aa

LB Justin Phillips – 6a

LB Chris Worley – 6a

Nashville definitely had higher expectations for their linebackers coming into the year. After making a big trade to acquire Sam Acho they were expecting to have a dangerous pass rusher, but his years as a top edge threat in San Antonio are behind him and he’s starting to show his age and slow down. Genard Avery came into last season looking like a future stud. It’s too early and he’s too talented to give up on him, but he has not developed like they had hoped. Mike Hull performed very well last year. He’s good in coverage, but he does have some holes in his game. The Renegades need Natrez Patrick to contribute before he is probably ready to have a guy able to be relied on off the bench.

New Orleans Nightmare

ILB Cody Barton – 7aa

MLB Kendell Beckwith – 8aa

LB Ben Burr-Kirven – 6aa

ILB Joe Goosby – 7.d

OLB Cameron Judge – 7a

LB Terence Moore – 6a

OLB Shane Ray – 7c

LB Sean Spence – 7cd

OLB D’Andre Walker – 6a

The Nightmare’s group of linebackers has changed quite a bit but Kendell Beckwith is ready to take over as the signal-caller in the middle. He’s played well, but he’ll need some more guys to step up. Cody Barton has flashed a lot of potential, as has Ben Burr-Kirven. They could both find ways to contribute. Veteran Joe Goosby is starting to show his age, so is Sean Spence, an addition who had a nice NFL career. Shane Ray is looking to kick start the career he never got going. He’s been very disappointing in the NFL, never becoming the pass rusher he was once thought to become as a first round NFL pick. Cameron Judge has played pretty well in camp.

New York Marauders

LB Alex Aukerman – 6aa

LB Brock Coyle – Injury Retirement

LB Christophe Mulumba-Tshimanga – 6a

ILB Calvin Munson – 7aa

OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin – 7aa

ILB Shayne Skov – 7

OLB Corey Vereen – 6a

ILB Anthony Walker – 9aa

Upon taking his physical heading into training camp it was discovered Brock Coyle had a broken bone in his spine that would force his retirement. That is a huge blow for the Marauders, which are already trying to move on after the offseason retirement of All-Everything NaVorro Bowman. But at least Anthony Walker has stepped up in a huge way and looks like one tremendous in camp. He’s looking like a star already and should step in, maybe not seamlessly for Bowman, but he’ll fit into his shoes at least. He’s got tremendous potential to be one of the best in the league. But after him there is some concern. The trade acquisition of former All-Rookie team linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin is even more important with the loss of Coyle. He was struggling to get opportunities for a loaded Stags squad, but in New York where he can be a clear starter he had the chance to shine now. Calvin Munson also proves to be a pretty big signing as well. He’s had some success in the league but hasn’t developed like once thought. Still, he can contribute. After those guys, though, the Marauders are in a tough way. Their depth is very limited. Shayne Skov has been around for quite some time and can hold his own. Alex Aukerman was on his way to being cut before he lit it up in the D-League. He’s naturally in great shape coming from the Army. He is able to get sideline to sideline, but he’s also pretty small. He might not be able to hold up to the impact at this level.

Omaha Express

LB Otaro Alaka – 6aa

ILB Adam Bighill – 8

OLB Otha Foster – 8

OLB Nate Gerry – 8aa

ILB Henoc Muamba – 8

OLB Erik Walden – 7.d

LB Kyzir White – 7aa

If you can’t beat them join them? The Express added two former Orlando Rockets stalwarts in Adam Bighill and Henoc Muamba, and that might really pay off for them. Both have looked good in camp and could bring the discipline and toughness and winning attitude to the Express. They have rubbed off on Nate Gerry too. He’s looked very impressive in training camp. Otha Foster is a solid veteran who should be heavily involved in some way as well. Now, the addition of Erik Walden hasn’t paid off as much as Bighill and Muamba. He’s really slowed down. Kyzir White is showing nice potential. Otara Alaka is an athletic rookie who has had flashes but is very raw.

Orlando Rockets

MLB Dylan Cole – 7aa

LB Vontae Diggs – 7a

OLB Zaire Franklin – 6aa

OLB Shaquem Griffin – 8aa

LB Shaun Dion Hamilton – 7aa

LB Skai Moore – 6aa

LB Avery Williams – 9c

The nature of the Orlando Rockets is that they are so good at acquiring talent, good players don’t always get opportunities right away. Dylan Cole and Shaun Dion Hamilton fell into that category last year. Cole and Hamilton could have proven to be top guys last year if they got on the field as much as they probably would have for other teams, but the Rockets were so stacked at the position they had to wait a year. Now should be their time and both are hungry and chomping at the bit for their opportunity. Shaquem Griffin did get his opportunity least year. He had a great rookie year and showed his speed and was able to make plays all over the field. Avery Williams is a fantastic addition. The long-time productive player moved to the NFL for a bit, but he’s in Orlando now looking for a chance at a title. Skai Moore and Zaire Franklin are interesting prospects. Vontae Diggs is the kind of guy the Rockets love. He’s a solid veteran who can contribute.

Philadelphia Bulldogs

ILB Jason Cabinda – 6aa

OLB James Crawford – 7aa

OLB EJ Speed – 6aa

ILB Jameer Thurman – 7a

The Bulldogs historically have had a lot of talent at linebacker, but this year it’s definitely a weak spot. They have a lot of youth, but it is also questionable as to what their youth could develop into. James Crawford is the best of the bunch but that isn’t saying too much. They have almost no depth either with only four players.

Pittsburgh Forge

OLB Andrew Ankrah – 7aa

LB Jerod Fernandez – 6aa

ILB Ulysees Gilbert III – 6a

OLB Obum Gwacham – 7

LB Nick Kwaitkoski – 8aa

LB Elijah Lee – 7aa

ILB Antonio Morrison – 8a

OLB Jonathan Newsome – 8a

OLB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo – 7aa

OLB Folarin Orimolade – 6a

The patience to let Nick Kwaitkoski develop has finally paid off. He’s turning some heads in camp and might even be ready to take over a key role this year. He’ll have a lot of help too. Historically, the Forge have struggled with their defense, but now they have some nice depth at linebacker. Antonio Morrison and Jonathan Newsome are good veterans who can really work. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Andrew Ankrah are interesting pass rushing threats. Jerod Fernandez could be a Kwaitkoski type of guy who has a lot of potential, but might need a while to develop into what he can be. Elijah Lee has followed up a good 2019 season with a good camp and looks to be getting better each day.

Sacramento Bandits

OLB Luke Gifford – 6aa

LB Malik Jefferson – 7aa

OLB LaTroy Lewis – 6a

ILB Robert Okereke – 7aa

OLB Malik Reed – 7aa

ILB Manti Te’o – 8c

Manti Te’o is a nice veteran brought in to lead this group of talented young players, but mostly, the Bandits understand they need to be patient with the guys they have and give them time to develop. Robert Okereke looks like he could eventually become the signal caller of the defense in the middle and learning from Te’o might actually be beneficial. Malik Jefferson is an athletic player with skills at multiple linebacker spots. Malik Reed has flashed some nice potential too. Luke Gifford is a bit behind those guys but has a nice upside as well. It will be interesting to see where these guys are a year from now.

San Antonio Marshalls

OLB Victor Butler – 8.d

ILB Curtis Bolton – 6aa

ILB Alvin Jones – 7a

LB David Mayo – 9af

OLB Kyran Mitchell – 6a

OLB Taylor Reed – 8

ILB Ty Summers – 6aa

OLB Brian Womac – 7a

David Mayo looks to put together another strong season in the middle of the defense. He’s been pretty great the last few years and he hasn’t lost a step in camp either. Taylor Reed is also a solid veteran who can get the job done well on the outside. But after those two there are a few questions. Victor Butler is still a quality player, but he’s showing his age and is slowing down. It wouldn’t be shocking if this were his last run.. Alvin Jones and Brian Womac are decent but limited reserves. The biggest thing about the unit is they probably don’t have much room to grow or improve throughout the season. That isn’t exactly a bad thing because they start out well, but we also know what the group is right now and for the long haul. Curtis Bolston and Ty Summers have the most potential for growth, but both are pretty raw right now so seeing the field won’t be easy.

San Diego Diablos

LB Jermaine Carter, Jr. – 7aa

ILB Jordan Evans – 7aa

OLB Terrill Hanks – 6aa

OLB Jarvis Jones – 8c

OLB Paul Magloire, Jr. – 6a

OLB Andy Mulumba – 8.d

ILB Kenny Young – 7aa

Jordan Evans and Kenny Young both have potential, but both suffered setbacks this year in camp. They aren’t as far along as the team had hoped. Jermaine Carter, Jr., though, is trending up in a nice way. He could end up as the team’s leading tackler with the way he is playing. Jaris Jones and Andy Mulumba both figure to be involved and provide a lot of veteran leadership, but both might be slowing down. Terrill Hanks has some potential but is very raw.

Seattle Orcas

OLB Travis Feeney – 6a

ILB James Gordon – 6

OLB Sean Harrington – 6a

MLB Jordan Herdman – 7a

OLB Olawaseun Idowu – 6a

ILB Javicz Jones – 9aa

LB Jeff Knox, Jr. – 10

OLB Aaron Lynch – 10

ILB Azeem Victor – 6a

While last year was a struggle, Seattle is still loaded with talent on the defensive side of the field. Jeff Knox, Jr. is regularly one of the most productive linebackers in the league and looks ready to dominate again. Aaron Lynch has finally reached his full potential too. He’s always been one of the top rising stars of the league on defense but now he’s there. He’s been great in camp. Javicz Jones is the third star stalwart on the defense back and like the others, having a great camp. While depth might be a concern, the Orcas always go this route, finding a lot of forgotten prospects. They generally land one one or two of them each year. Last year it was Jordan Herdman and he looks ready to contribute this year. The read of the group, somebody will end up standing out in the preseason.

St. Louis Stallions

OLB Audie Cole – 7

LB Kaden Elliss – 6aa

LB Jermaine Grace – 7aa

LB Brandon Harris – 6a

LB Micah Kiser – 7aa

OLB Carroll Phillip – 6

MLB Nyeem Wartman-White – 7a

The Stallions are being patient with their young players and they are seeing improvement. Jermaine Grace and Micah Kiser are looking good and are showing even more potential. Nyeem Wartman-White has had a good camp, but his physical limitations do put on a lower ceiling tha Grace and Kiser. Still, that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of making an impact and having a key role this year. Audie Cole does provide some nice leadership for the Stallions group, but he understands he’s not going to be the top guy. He is fitting in well in the role he needs to fit in. Keep an eye on Brandon Harris. He’s not very athletic, but he’s playing very well. Kaden Elliss might ultimately end up better, but Harris is a very tough and determined player whose effort is helping him come up big in camp.

Utah Raptors

ILB Blair Brown – 6a

OLB Jayon Brown – 9aa

LB Chase Hansen – 6aa

OLB Tre’Von Johnson – 6a

LB Adam Konar – 7

LB Cameron Lynch – 7

OLB Greer Martini – 6aa

ILB Hardy Nickerson, Jr. – 7aa

OLB Hayes Pullard – 8a

OLB Pita Taumoepenu – 6aa

ILB Fred Warner – 10

MLB Scooby Wright – 7

As soon as the Raptors drafted Fred Warner they knew they had a start on their hands. He had a great rookie year and is looking like an absolute force in camp this year. He might just be one of the best linebackers around. It’s saying something he might even be better than Jayon Brown, who for the past few years has been one of the top linebackers in the league as well and is playing great in camp as well. Last season, the Raptors started out as a 4-3 defense but because of all the talent they had at linebacker they needed to switch to a 3-4 defense just to get guys on the field. That is another good problem they face this year. Hardy Nickerson, Jr. was the guy they had to find a spot for last season and he played well. He’s showing good potential to improve even more this year. The Marauders made a strong move in the offseason to acquire veteran Hayes Pullard. He was one of the best defensive players in Oakland a season ago and looks good again. Scooby Wright is excited to be back with the franchise. After a nice start to his career his physical limitations started to show last year as a starter in Philadelphia, but he’s excited to be back in Utah creating himself a role off the bench. Cameron Lynch was acquired during last season. He didn’t completely live up to the expectations but he too can be a decent contributor. Adam Konar is very undersized and it’s hurting him, but he’s got solid speed. The Raptors have a lot of prospects. Blair Brown was on the chopping block until he had a strong D-League season. He hasn’t continued that success into camp, though. Pita Taumoepenu was cut, but brought back at a cheaper salary. He has potential as a pass rusher but not so much as an edge-setter. Greer Martini is taking advantage of his new opportunity with a solid camp. Rookie Chase Hansen has has some setbacks with injuries so it’s hard to know what the team has with him.

Virginia Admirals

LB Matthew Adams – 7aa

ILB Ben Boulware – 6a

ILB Blake Cashman – 7aa

LB Garret Dooley – 7a

ILB Mark Herzlich – 8.d

LB Jeff Holland – 6aa

LB Danny Mason – 6a

LB Edmond Robinson – 6a

LB Terry Scales – 6aa

ILB Drue Tanquill – 7aa

The Admirals have a lot to like about the future of the linebacker position for them. While Mark Herzlich is there providing incredible valuable veteran leadership, rookie Drue Tanquill looks like he could end up being the best linebacker on the team and maybe even the Defensive Rookie of the Year. He’s that talented. Blake Cashman and Matthew Adams have both had very strong camps and are showing great potential as well. Jeff Holland still needs some work, but the talent and potential are definitely there. Garret Dooley played quite well last year. He’s looking solid in camp, though others have definitely shines brighter.

Washington Wave

OLB Jesse Aniebonam – 6a

ILB Ryan Connelly – 6aa

OLB Jay Elliott – 7

OLB Ben Gedeon – 8aa

MLB Justin Herdman – 7a

OLB Cory James – 8

ILB Blake Martinez – 10

OLB D.J. Palmore – 6a

OLB Fraser Sopik – 6aa

ILB Micah Teitz – 6a

LB Tre Watson – 6aa

‘Mad Man’ Blake Martinez has built a reputation as one of the most feared linebackers in the entire league. He’s out to take people out with his massive hits. He would contend for Defensive Player of the Year this year. They love him in DC and the Wave love having him in the middle of their defense feeding his energy to the rest of the team. Cory James has had a very strong training camp as well and should be a solid contributor again. Ben Gedeon has had a nice training camp and is showing nice potential to get even better as well. Second year linebacker Justin Herdman is pushing veteran Jay Elliott for time on the field. Herdman is also trending up while Elliott basically just is who he is. Keep an eye on Tre Watson. He was incredibly productive at Maryland and then in the d-league. He has physical limitations but he always figures out a way to be productive.

SFL Top 5 LBs

1. Vontaze Burfict (Jacksonville Stingrays)
2. Cory Littleton (Atlanta Firebirds
3. Blake Martinez (Washington Wave)
4. Fred Warner (Utah Raptors)
5. De’Vondre Campbell (Birmingham Predators)

By the Numbers:
Total LBs: 244
10 Rating: 7 (2.9%)
9 Rating: 17 (7.0%)
8 Rating: 45 (18.4%)
7 Rating: 86 (35.2%)
6 Rating: 89 (36.5%)