NFL

NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Linebacker Edition

1. Devin Bush, Michigan, Junior (5'11" 234lbs)

Devin Bush

  • Board Ranking: #15
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day One

Devin Bush is my only first round graded linebacker. Bush is lightning in a bottle on film, running fast, hitting hard, and making plays. Bush can play both inside and out, but would likely be better as off the ball linebacker that can run, chase, and cover. There are few holes in Bush's game, and the biggest question about him is regarding his size. Bush is the top tackling linebacker in this draft that can hit you hard, or wrap you up.

2. Devin White, LSU, Junior (6'0" 237lbs)

Devin-White-LSU

  • Board Ranking: #24
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day One

The NFL love's long, rangy linebackers that can make plays sideline-to-sideline, cover running backs and tight ends, and show effectiveness as blitzer. Devin White can do all of those things thanks to his athletic ability, measurables, and effort. White was LSU's leader on defense in 2018, and when he wasn't on the field the Tigers defense suffered. White will need to improve on trusting his instincts at the next level, and become a more sure tackler, but will find early success due to those elite traits.

3. Mack Wilson, Alabama, Junior (6'1" 240lbs)

NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Linebacker Edition 1

  • Board Ranking: #45
  • Round Grade: 2
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day Two

Mack Wilson is your prototype big, strong middle linebacker that makes most of his plays coming down hill and stuffing the run. Wilson is a downhill thumper that plays with great effort, gap-plugging abilities, and showed the ability to cover when given the opportunities. Wilson may not be the best athlete, but his competitive toughness, and run stuffing ability will make him a very valuable day two linebacker.

4. Blake Cashman, Minnesota, Senior (6'1" 237lbs)

Blake Cashman - LB

  • Board Ranking: #70
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Two

Minnesota's Blake Cashman is a more instinctive, but less athletic Devin White. Cashman should excel as an off the ball linebacker that showed the ability to make plays sideline-to-sideline, in the backfield, in coverage, and as a blitzer. Cashman has an extraordinary nose for the ball, is able to get skinny to knife through blockers, and is a tackling machine in the open field.

5. Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii, Senior (6'2" 250lbs)

Jahlani Tavai- LB

  • Board Ranking: #81
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Two

While lacking the ideal size and length at the position, Jahlani Tavai is an instinctive, high-effort player that lives around the football consistently. Tavai plays with impressive strength taking on blockers, but plays with solid speed laterally and burst when coming downhill. Tavai is a three-down linebacker that can lineup both inside and out in any scheme and consistently make plays on the football field.

6. David Long Jr, West Virginia, r-Junior (5'11" 227lbs)

David Long - LB

  • Board Ranking: #86
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Three

David Long Jr's., flashes are the reasons he's ranked rather high on my board. Long Jr., plays with incredible speed when coming down hill and shooting gaps as a blitzer. The former West Virginia linebacker is undersized, but knows how to use his lack of size to his advantage by getting skinny and being slippery when getting into the backfield. Long Jr., has a hot motor and plays through the echo of the whistle. While his size will limit his role in many defenses, playing him off the ball and using him as a blitzer in certain packages would be a great role for David Long Jr..

7. Bobby Okereke, Stanford, r-Senior (6'1" 239lbs)

Bobby-Okereke-Stanford

  • Board Ranking: #89
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Two

Similar to David Long Jr., Bobby Okereke is an undersized linebacker that has to rely on his motor, instincts, and technique in order to success in the NFL. At Stanford, Okereke showed great lateral quickness, above average power at the point of attack, and was able to get off blocks at a high rate. Okereke rarely gets caught taking bad angles, or overshooting ball carriers. While he'll likely never be a pro bowl player, Okereke will be a key special teamer, and a solid WILL linebacker in 4-3 schemes.

8. Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State, r-Senior (6'2" 240lbs)

NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Linebacker Edition 2

  • Board Ranking: #91
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Two

Germaine Pratt is my favorite day to middle linebacker. Similar to Alabama's Mack Wilson, Pratt plays with great downhill thumping ability, good coverage ability, and solid instincts as a linebacker. Pratt, a former free safety is still developing as a linebacker, but has free safety traits in his toolbelt as a 6'2" 240lb middle linebacker. A team on day two will take a chance on a guy with his traits, versatility, and cover ability.

9. Joe Giles-Harris, Duke, r-Junior (6'2" 234lbs)

Joe Giles Harris - LB

  • Board Ranking: #96
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day Three

Another one of my favorite day three inside linebackers is Duke's Joe Giles-Harris. Harris is an instinctive linebacker that excels when coming down hill and knifing into the backfield. Harris lives around the football, and is an above average finisher when he gets in range of ball carriers. Harris will need to improve on his physicality and strength when working to get off blocks, but his instincts and wrap-up ability will keep him on teams radar on day three.

10. Vosean Joseph, Florida, Junior (6'1" 230lbs)

Vosean Joseph - LB

  • Board Ranking: #100
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day Three

When evaluating Vosean Joseph, you almost feel as if you're watching a safety at the linebacker position. Joseph is a smaller, thinner linebacker that relies on his quickness, explosiveness, and sideline-to-sideline speed to make plays. Joseph lacks strength at the position, but could find himself in a Mark Barron role thanks to his cover skills, and speed at the linebacker position.

Series Navigation<< NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Cornerback Edition
Connor Livesay

Connor Livesay

ProFootball Free Lance Author at SportsTalkLine.com
I talk a lot about the NFL Draft and the Dallas Cowboys. I plan on talking a lot more.
Connor Livesay
Connor Livesay

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