Fantasy Reaction: Kevin Burnett Signs With Oakland
The Raiders continued to revamp their linebacking group after losing Philip Wheeler by signing former Dolphins linebacker Kevin Burnett. Burnett has been a solid veteran and will provide leadership for Oakland, but what does this move mean for his production in IDP leagues?
Burnett was a second-round pick out of Tennessee by the Cowboys, where he appeared in 61 games for Dallas. From an IDP standpoint, he was far from a standout, as he compiled just 148 tackles and four sacks in those four seasons.
Burnett left as a free agent and signed with the Chargers in 2009. He was a good fit in San Diego’s 3-4 and played most of his snaps as RILB. He appeared in 11 games, accumulating 524 defensive snaps. Burnett was a consistent producer with nine games of five or more tackles, and he finished the season with 66 tackles (12.5 percent tackle frequency). He was average against the run, but excelled that year in the pass rush, grading at a +5.2 as he produced nine total QBP (three sacks) in just 54 pass rush snaps.
His 2010 season with San Diego would be one of his best, as he appeared in 986 defensive snaps, notching 95 tackles and six sacks. His 9.6 percent tackle efficiency was below his best, but that can be blamed on his missed tackle frequency as he missed a tackle on every nine attempts. He improved his run defense (increasing his 2009 run stop percentage from six to eight), but continued to excel in his pass rush efficiency. He produced six sacks and 14 total QBP in 59 pass rush snaps, getting to the QB on nearly 24 percent of his pass rush snaps.
Burnett’s 2011 season would find him in a new uniform, as he signed with Miami once the lockout ended. After coming off a solid season in 2010, his IDP prospects were high playing alongside Karlos Dansby. His first season would see him grade out negatively at -10.7 but would see his IDP production increase, as he was good enough to produce 105 tackles. Burnett put up similar numbers in 2012 with 109 tackles. He did enjoy solid production in the run game, as he ranked fourth among 4-3 OLBs with a 9.9 run stop percentage (where a run stop resulted in an offensive failure). He graded fourth overall among 4-3 OLBs (+11.9) and sixth in run defense (+6.5).
I have always liked Kevin Burnett and have felt that he’s a more underrated IDP. The Raiders have brought in Nick Roach and Kaluka Maiava this offseason, but Burnett is a superior linebacker. He offers more upside as a pass rusher, considering he’s racked up 16 sacks since 2008 and has produced 56 total QBP in 382 pass rush snaps. He’s also racked up 95-plus tackles in three straight seasons, compiling a tackle frequency slightly under 10 percent. As he enters his 30s, his production has been on the upswing over the last three seasons. Burnett’s ideal spot would be as weak-side linebacker to attack the ball and the quarterback. As long as he’s a starter, you should be able to target him as an LB5 later in drafts and use him as a strong match-up LB3 play.
Mike Woellert is a Senior Writer for Pro Football Focus Fantasy. Follow Mike on Twitter @PFF_MWoellert