New Raiders Role Players: Curtis Lofton

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Oct 13, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton (50) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports


While Lofton’s bad angles as a tackler lead to extra yards for the offense, they are a symptom of an overall positive trait – his eagerness to make tackles and his ability to decipher plays and get where he needs to be. Lofton is a tackling machine. He runs around the play like Bobby Boucher loaded up on his psychological tackling fuel. This same intensity and eagerness that causes him to over-pursue and occasionally miss also allows him to stack up numbers in the tackling stat box.

In 2014 Curtis Lofton was 4th overall in combined tackles in the NFL (145), 3rd overall in solo tackles (100). It wasn’t a fluke season, either. He’s totaled over 100 combined tackles every year but one (his rookie year), and over 120 for five of his seven NFL seasons. There’s no doubt that Lofton plays super physical, loves to get in the mix, and will constantly be a physical force for opponents to contend with.

Speaking of seven seasons… Curtis Lofton hasn’t missed a single game in his entire NFL career, including playoffs. That kind of durability is unheard of in the NFL, especially for players at such physical positions. The possibility of being able to rely that firmly on your main defensive signal caller is huge for a young defense looking to gel and develop a rhythm around a central leader.

Experience is not to be undervalued. Lofton has enough experience at middle linebacker that he won’t be phased by anything. Some contend that Lofton will have a rough transition from Rob Ryan’s 3-4 defense. Considering the emphasis that Ryan puts on defensive versatility, there’s a good chance the transition to a 4-3 will be easier than anticipated. Lofton gained experience in a wide variety of defensive formations under Ryan, each with different and specialized sets of responsibilities. At the end of the day, this versatility should be a strength in learning Del Rio/Norton, Jr’s scheme and helping teach it to the group around him.

Next: Conclusions