Bleacher Report just cam out with their ranking of their top 1000 and I checked it out to see what they thought of Timmons. I thought he would easily crack the top 15, but certainly not check in at #50. I know Bleacher Report is not a website to take all that seriously, but when you rank a player like Lawrence Timmons as the 50th best inside linebacker, you clearly have zero knowledge of football.
Not only did Bleacher Report have him ranked 50th of 60 but they had recently signed reserve LB Arthur Moats and Vince Williams rated higher than him as well. I am confused as to how they came up with that one. Timmons did have somewhat of a letdown season compared to his 2012 campaign which was one of the best seasons he has had as a pro, but to say there were 50 other linebackers who would have been better options than Timmons is completely ridiculous. Here is their assessment of his play.
"For the first time in his career, Lawrence Timmons (6'1", 234 lbs, seven seasons) played behind a defensive line that didn’t have a space-eating nose tackle. That meant he spent more time battling guards and centers away from the line of scrimmage. Too often Timmons struggled to get off those blocks. His speed in space is valuable, but he needs to use his hands and leverage to be more effective in tight."
This is the area of his game that could use the most improvement. He did some un-characteristic things this year like over pursue running lanes and missed a few tackles here most notably week 1 against Tennessee on 4th and 1 where he should have decked Battle for a -2 yard loss ,but he still made some great plays against the run for as many bad ones. His worst mistake came week 8 against Oakland where he was so worried about stopping a 5 yard run by McFadden, he let his responsibility on that play, Terrelle Pryor run right by him 93 yards for a touchdown. All in all I would give him a 19/30 for run defense. Not bad, but plenty of room for improvement
"The veteran linebacker is powerful and difficult to stop when he has space to accelerate into blockers. However, he doesn’t adjust well when his bull-rush attempts fail."
As for Timmons not rushing the passer well, it is kind of hard to do that when you drop him off in coverage as often as the Steelers did this year. I can't find a percentage for how many times he was dropped off into coverage, but it was more than he has been in his career due to the loss of Foote. Timmons is fine at rushing the passer, he has great quickness and acceleration and if he doesn't get a sack, he at least gets pressure when they bring him on the blitz. I would give Timmons a 6 or 7/10 for this aspect of his game
"A much better straight-line, downhill runner than an agile or instinctive player in space, Timmons has the athleticism to run with backs into the flat or battle tight ends over the middle. But he won’t shut them down throughout four quarters."
This is one of the strengths of his game. He has the speed to run with any TE on the field and cover running backs coming out of the backfield. Out of the 27 inside linebackers who played over 800 snaps, Timmons was 8th in terms of completion % of passes thrown his way at 73.3 % which was a lower percentage than Luke Kuechly, Sean Lee, Paul Posluszny, Patrick Willis and Kiko Alonso. The passer rating of QBs throwing his way was 88.8 which was 11th lowest out of the 27 inside linebackers who played over 800 snaps and was a lower rating than Bobby Wagner, Patrick Willis and Stephen Tulloch. He only allowed 2 TD receptions all season which was the same amount given up by Luke Kuechly and Navorro Bowman and allowed 9.1 yds/ catch which was 9th out of the 27 linebackers who played over 800 snaps. I'd say his coverage skills were a 17/20
"Timmons is a violent, powerful hitter who can knock runners backward and jar the ball loose from receivers. He missed a few tackles in 2013, but he also played a huge number of snaps, so his ratio wasn’t that bad."
He is a very good tackler and is as physical as any LB is in the NFL, the picture that headlines this article will vouch for that. I actually agree with this assesment, he did miss more tackles than he usually does, however to miss 12 tackles out of 1093 snaps is not a bad ratio. According to PFF he finished with the 6th most tackles out of any ILB. I'd say 35/40
As for the players that are listed ahead of him I don't even know half of these people were in the league such as guys like Kelvin Shepperd, Audie Cole, Colin McCarthy, Daryl Sharpton, Nick Roach, Jamari Lattimore, Jasper Brinkley, Reggie Walker, Josh Bynes, Nigel Bradham. Who are these people? They even had rookies rated higher than him, one of them being our own Vince Williams checking in at 34, Paul Worrilow, Manti Te'o (really, the cat fish?) and Arthur Brown. I'm not claiming the Lawrence Timmons is the best ILB in the NFL, but to rank him anywhere outside of the top 15 is preposterous. He belongs at least in the top 10 in my homer opinion. Some of the guys in the top 10 included Sean Lee and Brian Cushing, who are great players, but if you want to be in the top 10, you gotta actually be on the field, not on the sideline. To have Brandon Spikes in the top 10 is a little high too. He is good against the run, but if you can't stay on the field on 3rd downs, than you can't be considered amongst the best. Do you people think that Timmons is at least one of the 10 best LBs in the NFL today? If not who would you say is and where does Timmons stand? Check out this clip of some of the plays he's made over the years https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAdekfFYDMo