Scouts Inc. takes a look at the linebacker position for the Panthers in the wake of losing Thomas Davis for the season to a knee injury. Despite the loss of Davis, Matt Williamson is high on Carolina's linebackers, and he examines who might start where as the team replaces Davis in the starting line-up. Williamson:
The acquisition of Jamar Williams was extremely timely and he will make the loss [of Davis] more bearable. Williams didn't play a ton of snaps for the Chicago Bears, as Lance Briggs is entrenched on the weak side in Chicago. When Williams did get on the field, he played exceptionally well. As much as I like Davis, the drop-off might not be massive.
The other option on the weak side is to move superstar MLB Jon Beason to that spot. Beason is one of the top middle linebackers in the game today and very adept at making all the defensive calls and adjustments. Surely he could handle those responsibilities from the weak side. With Williams now in the fold, I would be in favor of leaving Beason in the middle. Beason did begin his career on the weak side while Dan Morgan manned the middle for Carolina. But playing the vast majority of his time in the middle, Beason has accumulated a whopping 420 tackles in his three NFL seasons. He is an elite football player.
If Beason were to move outside, that would open up the middle for Dan Connor. An instinctive player, Connor is a good tackler and always around the ball. To me, this comes down to who is the better player: Connor or Williams? Give me Williams, but that doesn't mean that Connor has to stand on the sidelines holding his helmet all game, either.
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