Three More Linebackers To Consider

March 19th, 2012

There’s no denying the Bucs need a veteran linebacker not yet on the roster to pump decency and respect back into the Bucs’ linebacking corps. An ex-linebacker himself, Greg Schiano had to be as nauseous as Joe watching film of the Bucs’ middle three last season.

Reports have cash-hungry Curtis Lofton high on the Bucs’ radar, plus ex-Lions MLB Stephen Tulloch is still sniffing around. But NFL Draft guru and radio personality Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski, also is calling attention to three more possibilites for the linebacker-desperate Bucs, via

London Fletcher, 36, is still playing at a very high level and would remind Bucs fans of Hardy Nickerson.

David Hawthorne, 26, is another run-stuffing middle linebacker that might be much cheaper than either Lofton or Tulloch. The concern with Hawthorne is his durability and keeping him on the field.

Jameel McClain, 26, has been Ray Lewis’s backup in Baltimore the past few years, so it will be intriguing to see if he can take what he has learned from one of the all-time greatest middle linebackers to his next team.

Joe can’t say he watched much Redskins football last season, so Joe can’t really speak for Fletcher’s level of play. However, despite turning 37 in May, Fletcher never misses games, racks up tackles, is a leader, and has that shiny Super Bowl ring when the Rams squeaked out a win against the Titans long ago. The Bucs could do a lot worse, but Joe’s guessing rockstar general manager Mark Dominik wants to stay yungry and away from Chuckyesque veterans.

McClain, Joe suspects is a tougher guy to evaluate. He was undrafted and has started alongside Ray Lewis in the Ravens’ wacky 3-4 defense the past two years. Dominik called Schiano a “4-3 fundamentalist,” so how McLain would translate is unclear.

19 Responses to “Three More Linebackers To Consider”

  1. TPCMatt Says:

    I’m a Bucs fan 1st and foremost. However, I was born in Baltimore, so I follow the Ravens as well. McClain played extremely well when Lewis went down. He seemed comfortable calling the plays, and making adjustments. Guess he doesn’t really qualify as veteran leadership, but I believe he could come in and earn respect quickly. Low risk, potentially high reward.

  2. sunrisejeff Says:

    I would honestly take London Fletcher on a 2yr deal in a heart beat. let him groom Mason and provide the defense with some fire.

  3. Marques Says:

    London Fletcher WAS a warrior. London Fletcher IS finished

    I don’t know enough about the others

  4. GurS Says:

    London Fletcher is NOT finished. My Dad is a ‘Skins fan so watched pretty much every Washington game last year. There is no doubt in my mind London Fletcher can still play incredibly well as it stands right now. Yes, he’s getting older, but a two-year deal to mentor the young LBs would be perfect – and if Dominik is committed to Foster being the long-term MLB, that’s fine. Let Foster play outside for two years next to Fletcher, let him learn HOW to play Mike from Fletcher, and THEN move Foster back inside, after Fletcher’s two years are up.

    As for the Ravens guy, I do know that PFF repeatedly say that the Ravens actually spend a significant majority of their plays in 4-3, NOT 3-4, and have played mostly 4-3 since Ryan stopped being DC there; but because a majority of the personnel remain the same, people just label it the same – e.g. Suggs is still listed as a linebacker, despite the fact that he saw something ridiculous like 70% of defensive snaps lined up at end.

  5. Patrick Says:

    Fletcher is cheaper and much better than Lofton. I’ll take him.

  6. MTM Says:

    I’ll take Fletcher and Lofton hands down all day. This would help the younger guys as well.

  7. jvato24 Says:

    If Talib avoids jailtime, which many feel he will not be charged .. CB will be strong for Tampa Bay …

    LB was clearly the worst position on the team last year and one of the worst LB corps I have ever seen in my life .. It was Arena League quality … And we dont address LB ???

    Mays or Connor were they guys I figured we would land … They are gone .. We will draft a RB in the 1st 3 rounds .. probably a CB … and 1 LB

    Thats leaves us searching rounds 5, 6 and 7 for potential starters at LB and dont forget we need a backup swing OT

  8. bucbelevr Says:

    People, you’re “buying” Lofton, or Tulloch, or Hawthorne, and perhaps Erin Henderson (OLB) for 5-6 years to come, possible 8 yrs, on next contract too. 36 years of age, at one of the most physical positions on the football field, counter-productive, makes no sense if building a core group of players.

  9. jb Says:

    @Joe “but Joe’s guessing rockstar general manager Mark Dominik wants to stay yungry”

    Joe……PLEASE don’t use that ridiculous word or any variation thereof again when referring to anything that has to do with our team!


  10. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Dan Connor from Carolina is a young guy who has shown some promise at the MLB position. He filled in for Jon Beason last year after Beason went out for the season and did a very nice job….75 tackles and a forced fumble in 15 games. He’s only 26 years old, 6’2 and 231 lbs. Plus he’s a Penn St. guy which Coach Schiano should like.

  11. KWBUCFAN Says:

    @Jeagan1999 Connor is in Dallas now

  12. thibs5599 Says:

    Hawthorne is durable, only missed 3 games in 4 seasons, not sure what that gripe is about. He is the number 1 guy I think we should go after, cheaper than Tulloch and Lofton but just as good. My best friend is a Ravens fan, and he really wants McClain fan, and he really wants him back. He is a solid linebacker, however generally when Ravens leave they tend to be busts on their new teams, especially when they are defensive players. However i would be willing to take a chance on him.

  13. thibs5599 Says:

    just looked up Fletcher’s stats, bring him in. Guy had 166 tackles last year and has never missed a game in his career. Who cares if he is old, he would come cheap and we need to win now, we can look into getting long term starters in the draft, as well as next years draft.


    On what planet is the player who led the LEAGUE in tackles, finished?

    Hardy 2.0

  15. punahele Says:

    we need a MLB so send offers to Tulloch and Hawthorne…….and Fletcher cut quincy crap because hes garbage big for nothing……….we wasted money on wright…….we should have got a LB before a corner…… the team from inside out………not outside in……..barber will return so send him to safety along side Jackson……sean jones was a big let down………if corey lynch was smart hed use the off time and go get training with his cousing JOHN LYNCH to try and be play maker…………our front 4 dam good when healthy i see PRICE stating along McCoy……with bennet and clayborn at ends……draft claiborne out of LSU he could be a shutdown corner along with talib

  16. Marques Says:

    WAKE UP Fletcher fans…He’s finished.

    He played in a 3-4. His numbers are inflated.

    Skins had the 4th easiest schedule in the league and their defence still ranked 21st.

    He will be 37 in May.

    He is not the answer.

  17. Brandon Says:

    I live in DC, I hate the Redskins, but I know for a fact that Fletcher is better than Lofton. I say sign Fletcher to a 2 year deal and draft the Bucs MLB for the the next 10-15 years in BC’s Luke Kuechly. The guy just flat out makes tackles… he isn’t a crusher, but he gets folks on the ground where he hits them.

    In his true freshman year, all he did was set the NCAA all-time record for tackles by a freshman. As a sophmore, he led the nation in tackles with 183, then last season he led the nation in tackles again with 190 despite only having 12 games (BC no bowl). The next closest finisher to Kuechly was 30 tackles away… and had more games.

    Kuechly also threw in 7 INTs in his career, and then he went to the Combine and absolutely blew it up, running 4.58 electronically timed, jumped 38″, benched 27 reps, at 6’3 247. He is the next big thing at MLB. We need him to QB our defense for the next 10+ years.

  18. Kujolw84 Says:

    He’s good, But not what we need. I think Tulloch would be good. Should of kept Rudd and got rid of Q.Black lol.

  19. tajik_buc Says:

    Brandon Says is right. Lived in the DC area last year, man is far from finished. Don’t care if Jamie Duncan replaced him many years ago. Man can still play the run (and the pass). Sign him for 2 years, and draft a replacement. Let the man provide some professional leadership in the LB meeting room