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2024 IDP Rookie Profile: Junior Colson, LB

@Glosser13 brings you the breakdown of Michigan LB Junior Colson and what his value can be.

The Player

  • Junior Colson
  • College: Michigan
  • Height: 6’2”
  • Weight: 238 lbs.
  • Age: 21 (December 6, 2002)
  • Arm: 32 ½”
  • Hand: 9 ⅜”

High School

Junior Colson was born in Mirebalais, Haiti, where he experienced significant trauma as a young child. His father passed away while he was a young boy. His father’s dying wish was for his son to be placed in an orphanage. After an earthquake hit Haiti, Colson was introduced to a family from Tennessee that would begin a two-year adoption process that would change his life forever. 

Colson attended Ravenwood High School, where he helped the team finish as class 6A State Champion runner-ups. He collected 234 tackles, 37.5 tackles for loss, and 17.5 sacks over his last two seasons. 247sports rated Colson as a four-star recruit and the number three player from Tennessee in the 2021 class.


Junior Colson played 14 games as a freshman, including seven starts at linebacker. In his first season at Michigan, he collected 60 tackles with just five missed tackles.

The Michigan LB improved over his next two seasons, racking up 196 total tackles. Colson was named second-team All-Big Ten in each of those seasons. According to Pro Football Focus, he increased his overall grade from 48.5 to 81.7 from his freshman to junior seasons. The Michigan LB was named the 2023 Lott Impact Trophy award. He leaves Michigan as a National Champion after defeating the Washington Huskies in the 2024 College Football Playoffs. 


Working Through Traffic

As an NFL linebacker, it takes a special talent to keep your eyes on the ball and allow yourself a chance to make a play. A player who can remain poised and focused through all the chaos is rare.

Colson has done well at Michigan by finding a way to maneuver himself through traffic. He excels at locating the ball carrier and bringing him down. It’s not common to see a starting LB of his caliber finish with more assisted tackles than solo tackles over a career. However, I think it speaks volumes of how well he plays in the defensive scheme and makes sure he trusts his teammates.  

Colson always made crucial stops for the Michigan defense, and plays like this make you feel good about him at the next level. One of the best attributes of the Michigan LB is his presnap awareness and strong communication skills. There’s very little doubt that when he sees it, he has no hesitation committing and being at the spot when the ball is snapped.

That’s precisely what he does here. He reads the offensive formation and knows exactly where the play is going. He can get by an attempted down block by the TE and runs right by the tackle, trying to get to the second level. Colson blows up the play and stops the RB within two yards of him receiving the handoff. IDP managers would love to see more plays like this from Junior Colson. 

Reliable Tackler

Colson is a very consistent tackler in terms of numbers and tape. You rarely see him miss a big tackle and consistently rallying to the football with his teammates to make a stop. According to Pro Football Focus, Colson only missed 17 tackles over three years while racking up 256 stops. He also ranks as the second-highest-graded run-defending LB in this class, with an 83.9 grade on 550+ snaps. The Michigan LB is at his best when he can use his straight-line speed to attack ball carriers. IDP managers can’t sleep on a player who has averaged nearly seven tackles per game over his last 29 games. 

Development Opportunities 

Instincts as a Run Defender

This is more of a visual aspect of Colson’s game. I can see an improvement needed. As I’ve already shared, he is a superb run defender, and the numbers back that up. However, sometimes, his instincts get the best of him, and he guesses wrongly. At times, I feel Colson is too much of a student of the game. He trusts his teammates and the defensive system more than needed. If he will be a top fantasy-scoring LB for your leagues, he will need to know when he can get in there and make a play.

This was a hard-fought defensive game between Michigan and Penn State this season. The play above was the only touchdown for the Nittany Lions on a designed run for QB Drew Allar. This play alone sums up all my concerns for Colson at the next level. He begins this play on his heels and backpedaling for whatever reason, and it dooms him from the jump. The play develops, and the RB, who is Colson’s assignment along with the center, heads to the next level as a lead blocker for the QB. Colson allows himself to be blocked right out of the play by a smaller RB. This enables Drew Allar to cross the goal line for a touchdown easily. This is just too easy and a play that will have him sitting on the sidelines in the NFL.

Landing Spot 

In a best-case scenario, Colson will likely start his career as a rotational player. He likely ends up a day-two pick. That should benefit him when finding a team where he best fits the scheme. If the Michigan LB can have a chance to learn under a veteran player at the back end of his career, that would be beneficial for him. I’ve identified three teams needing a linebacker that would be solid landing spots for Colson. The Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, and Washington Commanders all make sense for him. All of these teams will be looking to bolster their linebackers, and Colson could be an excellent addition to any of them.

Fantasy Outlook 

IDP managers shouldn’t be surprised if he’s likely a taxi squad player or deep roster stash for the first year. You can always hold out hope, with how often linebackers are injured, that he will see some playing time by the end of the season. I believe in the potential of the Michigan LB, and his production, combined with his year-to-year improvement, is encouraging. As the old saying goes, “draft capital will be everything.” The belief an NFL team shows in him during the draft process will tell us all we need to know about his short and long-term value. 

The Wrap-up 

This IDP linebacker class is not loaded with star power but has a very underrated amount of talent. When we approach years like this as IDP analysts, it makes it more fun when there’s no consensus on LB1. Colson is one of many in this class which can be the top LB off the board in the NFL draft. Luckily for you, that’s why the IDP team at Dynasty Nerds is here to give you all the information you need on each LB so you can make that decision for yourself. 

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