Friday, July 12, 2024

Commanders Have 2 Top-20 Linebackers According to CBS Sports Rankings

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The Washington Commanders have rebuilt from top to bottom and one of the areas of the franchise that desperately needed an overhaul and facelift was the defense – one that ranked near the bottom of the league in 2023 in almost every statistical category. The offense in 2023, which has also been flipped as we hurdle ahead to 2024, was a mixed bag, but with the defense not holding their own, it became difficult for the Commanders to find any sort of consistency throughout the season.

With both sides of the ball improved on paper, the heart and soul of a defense starts with the linebackers and the Commanders did a fantastic job acquiring two of the league’s best here in free agency, and according to CBS Sports, those two LBs, Frankie Luvu and Bobby Wagner are a pair of the top-20 at their position heading into the 2024 NFL season.

Frankie Luvu, the former UDFA by the Jets, has come into his own over the past couple of seasons with the Carolina Panthers totaling over 100 tackles and five sacks in each, making him a clear improvement for the Commanders and checking in as CBS Sports’ 17th best linebacker in the game.

Frankie Luvu

Dec 24, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu (49) tackles Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

“The former Jet had a career year with the Carolina Panthers in 2023, recording 125 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 11 QB hits, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles,” CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani wrote in his rankings column. “Luvu turned that performance into a three-year contract worth up to $36 million with Washington, and will get to play alongside Bobby Wagner under Dan Quinn. Luvu makes this list because of his play style, which is centered around attacking ballcarriers and quarterbacks, and appears to be a great fit for the scheme Washington will employ.”

The other addition to head coach Dan Quinn’s defense in 2024 is future Hall of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner has yet to slow down entering his 13th season in the NFL and is coming off a huge season with the Seahawks even at age 33. It doesn’t appear like Wagner will be slowing down anytime soon and that is good enough for CBS Sports to place him as one of their top-10 linebackers, slotting in at ninth.

Bobby Wagner

Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (54) jogs on the field before the start of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

“Wagner was long seen as the best linebacker in the NFL, and still deserves a spot in the top 10 at 34 years old,” Dajani wrote. “After all, he did lead the league in tackles last year with 183! Wagner will be a Hall of Famer one day, as he is a 10-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowler. He has gone 12 straight seasons having recorded 100 tackles (which is his whole career), and is still a dominant run defender.”

The pairing of Wagner and Luvu is likely a nightmare for defenses as they both play well sideline to sideline and proven tacklers. The duo should be able to feed off one another and keep the defense as a whole on the same page with their leadership abilities.

READ MORE: Washington Among Teams Brandon Aiyuk Could Be Traded To

Stick with CommanderGameday and the Locked On Commanders podcast for more coverage of the Washington Commanders throughout the 2024 season.

Follow Caleb on Twitter.

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