Sean Weatherspoon to be Elite?

| May 28, 2012

Sean Weatherspoon’s improvement from 2010 to 2011 was easily among the most drastic in the league.  In his second season he solidified himself as a consistent force against the run, as well as viable pass rusher.  Consequently, Weatherspoon’s breakout 2011 season has him as poised for elite status, and should be drafted highly in all IDP formats. Currently his IDP ADP is the 12th linebacker taken, so he’s already being selected as if he will be a LB1.

After more than doubling his playing time from 2010, Weatherspoon responded with an explosion of productivity in the 2011 season.  By recording 88 solo tackles, four sacks and six passes defended, Weatherspoon exceeded expectations in his first season as a full-time starter.  Additionally, Weatherspoon graded out as PFF’s fifth best 4-3 outside linebacker with an overall grade of +18.3.  Due to his improvement in essentially every statistical category, there’s no reason to believe he will not continue to improve, or at the very least, maintain his level of production from 2011.  The following table illustrates Weatherspoon’s vast improvement in efficiency:

Weatherspoon’s  Efficiency
Tackle Freq. MT Freq. QBI Freq. PDI Freq.
2010 9.0% 17.8% 17.4% 2.9%
2011 10.9% 12.7% 19.3% 6.9%
MT = missed tackle
QBI = QB interruptions (sacks + hits + pressures)
PDI = passes defended + intercepted

In particular, his tackle and QBI frequency give Weatherspoon a strong chance at recording considerable numbers of tackles and sacks – resulting in great IDP value.  However, his improvement was equally, if not more impressive, regarding how he graded out here at PFF:

Weatherspoon’s Grades
Overall Run Pass Rush Coverage
2010 -8.6 -0.9 2.0 -9.2
2011 18.3 16.2 4.7 -1.1

Fantasy Spin:

In addition to his incredible improvement from 2010 to 2011, there’s another major factor that contributes to Weatherspoon’s high fantasy value – the departure of Curtis Lofton.  Lofton recorded the fourth most solo tackles in the entire league last year, and while Weatherspoon still managed very respectable numbers, there’s no doubt that Lofton limited Weatherspoon’s access to ball carriers.  With Lofton out of the picture, Weatherspoon will be the main man among Atlanta’s linebackers and could very well see yet another increase in production as a result. He currently projects as the LB12 in the PFF IDP Projections.

Comments are closed.