29-Year-Old Linebacker – Oakland Raiders
2015 Fantasy Football Outlook
Cut by Atlanta this offseason, Lofton was quickly scooped up by the Raiders, who likely will make him the team's leading inside linebacker from Day 1. Lofton has not missed a game in his seven-year ca...
Curtis Lofton Contract Information:
Signed a 3-year, $18 million contract with the Raiders in March of 2015.
The Raiders have signed Lofton (shoulder), ESPN.com reports.
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Curtis Lofton: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
With five straight years with at least 118 tackles, Lofton has one of the highest floors among IDP linebackers. He heads into 2014 with back-to-back 120-tackle seasons in New Orleans, and he had a 147-tackle season in 2011, his final year in Atlanta. His reliability is further illustrated by the fact that he's yet to miss a game in his six NFL seasons. Lofton's play-count is perfectly safe in New Orleans, so he'll have a good chance to make a third straight year with at least 120 tackles. He's not likely to offer much as far as sack or interception production go, as he has just seven sacks and three interceptions in six years.
Lofton will play in a 3-4 alignment this year after playing primarily in 4-3 fronts in all of his previous seasons, but there's good reason to think he'll continue his tackling production apace. Playing in a 3-4 should actually leave Lofton responsible for wider lanes than the 4-3 did, meaning he could have easier access to ballcarriers. That said, he's not coming off the most efficient season in 2012 because his 123 tackles (82 solo) came on a whopping 1,122 snaps. Lofton should nonetheless remain a stable IDP option because Drew Brees' quick-strike offense should continue to limit the time the Saints defense spends on the sideline.
Lofton’s stock is down a bit from previous years because it’s not immediately clear what sort of production will be available to him in the New Orleans defense (previous starting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma only averaged 6.4 tackles per game over the last three seasons). But Lofton is generally a good bet to post at least 120 tackles after averaging 133 per season his last three years with Atlanta, including 147 in 2011. Considering he piled up those numbers despite competing with Sean Weatherspoon for tackles, the presence of the formidable David Hawthorne in New Orleans shouldn’t be much of a drain on Lofton’s numbers. Lofton usually isn’t much of a factor in coverage or as a blitzer (four sacks and three interceptions in four NFL seasons), but he’s conclusively established as one of the league’s better tackle sources.
Lofton is a thumper in the middle of Atlanta’s defense, generally serving as a run-stopping specialist, but he showed some new playmaking abilities in 2010. After totaling just one sack and three forced fumbles in his first two seasons, Lofton posted two sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles last season. He could turn himself into an elite IDP with a bit more productivity as a pass rusher and in coverage, but even as he is, Lofton is a plenty good IDP option at linebacker.
In his first two seasons, Lofton has started all but one game for the Falcons and led the team in tackles in 2009. He's become a solid IDP player who should continue to improve.
Lofton put together a very impressive rookie season in 2008, finishing the season in the rookie upper ranks with 94 tackles. Both of his counterparts from last season -- Keith Brooking and Michael Boley -- have gone to other teams, but veteran strong side linebacker Michael Peterson should give Lofton the presence he needs as he continues to mature. Expect Lofton to eclipse the century mark on tackles this season, and also get a little bit more in the action during blitzes.
Lofton is the favorite to take over the middle-linebacker position for the Falcons. Middle-linebackers usually generate tons of tackles and Lofton shouldn't be any different. Lofton racked up 157 tackles his senior year at Oklahoma, so expect big totals from the rookie.