jsharlan wrote:For a Dynasty team, who do you think has more upside at LB long term, Jared Mayo or Curtis Lofton?
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To me, it's really too close to call. Mayo had the better rookie season, but Lofton didn't play full time last year. Lofton is taking over the playcalling duties in the huddle this season. Brooking & Boley both left Atlanta, so Lofton could have a big sophomore year. I looked at 5 sites that rank IDP's for dynasty. Mayo was ranked 8, 8, 12, 12, 12. Lofton was ranked 10, 7, 4, 15, 11. Here's what FBG has about them:
The Patriots broke from their recent history and drafted Mayo with the 10th overall pick of the 2008 draft. He added some much-needed youth and athleticism to the Patriots LB group, becoming a full-time player from day one. Mayo finished 2008 with 100 solo tackles and established himself as one of the best young fantasy linebackers in the league. He should again finish among the league's leading tacklers and has top-5 potential if he can improve on his big-play numbers.
There were concerns a year ago about Mayo going to a 3-4 defense, but he clearly demonstrated that the scheme will not limit his tackle opportunities. Like most young linebackers, however, his big-play production was outpaced by his exceptional tackle numbers. If his tackle numbers fall back to a normal range without some improvement in big plays, he'll likely wind up as a LB3 in most leagues.
Mayo didn't have the same type of fantasy impact that DeMeco Ryans and Patrick Willis had in their rookie seasons, but he was still a reliable LB1 in most scoring systems. There's a good chance that he'll be more comfortable now that he's had a full season of experience and that could lead to some additional opportunities as a playmaker. If he can stay healthy and build on the potential he showed last year, a top-10 season seems very possible.
Lofton is expected to take over playcalling duties in the huddle this season and stay on the field in all nickel packages. He showed great promise in run support last season with 67 solo tackles in limited time. With the turnover at OLB (both Keith Brooking and Michael Boley signed elsewhere during free agency) and the increased tackle opportunity in an every-down role, Lofton could approach 95-100 solo tackles and finish among the top linebackers this season.
Lofton has yet to prove himself a capable all-around linebacker. It's unlikely, but possible that he may struggle in coverage and be unable to take advantage of his increased tackle opportunity as an every-down player. His adjustment period may also keep him from reacting quickly enough to produce big plays. Though his part time tackle numbers were impressive last season, there's no guarantee that his added playing time will result in elite numbers in 2009.
Lofton was widely regarded as the best pure ILB prospect in the 2008 draft class. IDP owners were disappointed last season, but Lofton's play met the high expectations in the base defense. Project his 67 solos in only 60% of his team's defensive snaps to an every-down role and top five numbers might be in his reach this year. His worst case scenario should be a high LB3 finish in all but the most big play heavy scoring systems with considerably higher upside. Don't wait too long to grab him as your LB2/3.
I'd probably take Lofton, but I couldn't really argue against Mayo. I think you can't go wrong either way here. Good luck!