I know. I’m borderline obsessive at this point. Apologies, but I keep finding compelling reasons not to franchise tag Anthony Spencer, a notion that, again, makes absolutely zero sense to me. The latest argument I’m hearing a lot of is that a rookie can’t (won’t) step in and play as good as or better than Spencer. While I certainly believe that a rookie might not play as well as Spencer has for the Cowboys, they most certainly can, and if you use the 2011 draft as a testing ground, they did indeed play better than Spencer last season.
In the first 4 rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, there were 5 rookies that were drafted with the intent of playing OLB in a 3-4. Here’s that list:
Amazingly, Aldon Smith did his damage in just 616 snaps. Sam Acho did his in just 575, and Justin Houston in 775. The only two players on this list with comparable snaps count numbers to Spencer were Ryan Kerrigan (1056) and Brooks Reed (930). Spencer saw 939 snaps.
Spencer’s numbers here. Are his shoes really so hard to fill that you want to pay him $8.8 million in 2012?
*Note from the editor: Just to be clear, the above rookies from the 2011 draft were not “cherry-picked.” Those were ALL the rookies taken in the first 4 rounds with the intent of playing OLB in a 3-4.