No. 7: Frankie Luvu - Carolina Panthers LB
No player outside of Brian Burns made more money last season than linebacker Frankie Luvu.
After being nothing more than a rotational piece in the New York Jets linebacker corps, Luvu signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2021 with the hopes of having an expanded role. That is exactly what he got, breaking out in a big way last season.
The former Washington State player became one of the key pieces of a talented Panthers defense last season, tailing 111 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, and seven sacks. Luvu made it known that he is a force around the line of scrimmage and showed his value by dropping into hook/curls coverages and the middle of the field.
Luvu is a terrific athlete with a great range to attack and track down ball carriers to the sideline. He offers the versatility to disguise as a mugger in the A-gap, play stack linebacker from time to time, and even in man coverage against opposing tight ends. His explosiveness causes opposing linemen to overset, allowing him to pursue quarterbacks at will.
The biggest flaw in his game is taking on blockers head-on and playing strength against the run. There were times when Luvu was easily washed out, especially against teams running zone and stretch plays.
Overall, Luvu will be a critical part of Ejiro Evero's defense this season. With another strong performance, the sixth-year pro will be in for a big payday next offseason.