Position Rank among other positions:
- Top-End Talent – 5th (of 11)
- Depth – 3rd
- 1st Round Caliber Players – 4 (7th)
- Overall – 4th
A Linebacker class like this is rare. While the players at the top aren’t on par with legendary Linebacker prospects like Micah Parsons or Devin White, they are great in their own right, they just come with a few questions. Dean has his height, Walker has his production, Lloyd has his age and “unpolishedness”, Chenal has his role questions, etc.
Still, there is plenty to be excited about with each prospect.
Top 7 Ranking
- Nakobe Dean UGA – Full Scouting Report
- Quay Walker UGA – Full Scouting Report
- Devin Lloyd UTAH – Full Scouting Report
- Leo Chenal WISC – Full Scouting Report
- Christian Harris ALA – Full Scouting Report
- Channing Tindall UGA – Full Scouting Report
- Chad Muma WYO – Full Scouting Report
My top tier in this class includes the Top 2 Georgia Linebackers, followed by the next three, and then the last two. Many would have Lloyd in Tier 1, and most don’t have Harris anywhere near Tier 2, but there are many disagreements in the scouting world regarding these Linebackers.
This ranking has also gone through the least change of all positions, and aside from Walker leapfrogging Lloyd, my ranking has stayed stagnant throughout the pre-draft process.
- Damone Clark LSU – Aside from his elite field vision, there is little Clark does exceptionally well. He is average to below-average at everything. Not to mention, he was pulled from the Combine and had to undergo spinal fusion surgery for a herniated disk, putting his rookie season in jeopardy. Even without the injury, though, he wouldn’t even be one of my Top 10 Linebackers.
- Chad Muma WYO – Muma is a great player, and don’t mistake this for slander, BUT, he wasn’t special at anything. While he checks many boxes, I would personally rather take the shot on someone with special traits that could elevate him to stardom at the next level, rather than shoot for a player with a high floor but low ceiling. This is especially true in such an unimportant position from a positional value perspective.
- Quay Walker UGA – Walker isn’t much worse than Dean attribute-wise, but he possesses much better physical traits.
- Christian Harris ALA – Such a polished and cerebral player, he is a student of the game and has few flaws in his play.
- Channing Tindall UGA – Playing behind Walker and Dean has kept him away from the spotlight and limited his growth, but he has unteachable traits, and he is unshaped clay waiting to be molded into a fine football player.
- Troy Andersen MSU – One of the most raw athletes in this entire draft. Andersen played every position on the football field throughout his life, as he was consistently the best player on the field at all times. In college, he was chosen to play linebacker, and he played very well. The competition level and lack of experience have him low, but he has one of the highest ceilings in this entire draft.
- Brandon Smith PSU – Unreal frame for a Linebacker. Smith is exceptionally long with terrific size and physicality. There is room for improvement on his play, but he has a ton of potential.
- Micah McFadden IU – One of the mainstays of the Indiana defense for many years, McFadden is experienced and reliable. He doesn’t have many traits to get excited about, but in the right system he can be an above-average starter.
Both players were viewed as extremely limited, and they still are. However, after a stellar Combine performance from both, their athletic traits are too exciting to pass up.
- Damone Clark LSU – Being pulled from the Combine for surgery and possibly missing his entire rookie season could drop him out of the draft completely.
- Josh Ross MICH – A terrible Combine performance. Although he wasn’t previously regarded as an early pick, he had some intrigue, but he’s now firmly a UDFA.
Best Relative Athlete
The players at the top of this class are elite, and despite the lack of hype, should be seen as such. Unfortunately, that won’t show on draft night, as they will all drop. The depth of this position is unlike anything in recent history, and even the players at the top aren’t locked-in blue-chip talents or difference makers. This will drop their final draft selection spot by a lot.
Dean and Lloyd are probably still 1st rounders, but only late-1st and even that isn’t a guarantee anymore.
I assumed there will be a heavy run on Day 2 of Linebackers, but as mentioned, teams may prefer to take a player from a position with dwindling talent and hold off on Linebacker until the 3rd.
See the Linebackers’ overall ranking among other players on my Big Board.