Sep 8, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) dives into third base against the Boston Red Sox during the tenth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Troy Tulowitzki will captain the defense at inside linebacker, using his defensive prowess, size and unrivalled range to cover sideline-to-sideline against anything sent his way. Tulo becomes the Blue Jays’ version of Ray Lewis or Luke Kuechly: reliable, trustworthy and efficient. Tulowitzki’s offensive production from shortstop over his career should also show itself in some above-average sack and interception totals at inside linebacker.
Josh Donaldson will start alongside Tulowitzki at linebacker, just as they do in Toronto’s infield. I see Donaldson playing on the right side, rushing the blind side behind Brett Cecil to form a terrifying pass-rush combo. Think of Donaldson as the Terrell Suggs to Tulo’s Ray Lewis. The Clay Matthews, perhaps, changing games with blonde hair flowing in the— wait, I’m getting sidetracked here. Donaldson will be the king of the strip-sack-recovery, and is a favorite for NFL Defensive MVP.
In a surprise move, starter Drew Hutchison will start at left outside linebacker across from Donaldson. The NFL is absolutely loaded with young outside linebackers who have all the tools, but just haven’t put it together. Hutchison has the pieces on the mound, but as 2015 has shown us, there’s still a long way to go. The preseason hype around Hutchison as a stud pass-rusher will force the coaches to keep him in there on base defenses, but don’t expect him to have a long leash.
Next: Legion of Boom 2.0 in Toronto's secondary?