Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at each position group and giving our way-too-early depth chart projections. Today, we move on to the will linebackers.
Starter - Shaq Thompson
According to defensive coordinator Phil Snow, Shaq Thompson put on some weight this offseason to try and bulk up ahead of the new season. It'll be interesting to see if he can play with the same speed or if he has any trouble carrying the added weight. With Luke Kuechly now retired, Thompson was expected to make a huge jump in 2020 but unfortunately, that was not the case. He had what most would consider a good season but for Thompson, it was just average. He played over 1,000 snaps last season and I'm sure Phil Snow would like to cut that down just a little bit. Keeping Thompson fresh will play a big role in whether or not he'll have a bounce-back year.
Backup - Frankie Luvu
Luvu spent the first three years of his career with the Jets where he had a limited role on defense and spent the majority of his time on the special teams unit. Statistically, his best year was as a rookie when he finished with 22 tackles, 11 QB hits, five tackles for loss, and three sacks. In year two, he saw his playing time diminish only appearing in 69 defensive plays (6% of all defensive snaps), but bounced back this past season appearing in 23% of all defensive snaps and also made three starts. I'd expect him to backup Thompson but don't be surprised to see him move around. He impressed the coaching staff during OTAs and minicamp and if that continues, they will find a way to get him on the field.
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