Finding elite linebackers has always been a premium in the NFL, and teams often look to the draft to find one. The linebacker position is full of question marks in the draft this year, and is not as deep as some of the other positions. Teams will have to be willing to take a risk if they hope to find an elite-caliber player.
- Myles Jack: Jack does not have much film and he left UCLA earlier this year after a meniscus injury. Since then, he has been rehabbing and training for the combine to show teams what he can do. Jack has shown great speed and instincts while at UCLA. He is very good in coverage as well. Myles Jack is a great athlete which could be seen through his production on both offense and defense, and he has the talent to be a top-10 pick and Pro Bowl-caliber player.
- Jaylon Smith: Smith was the best linebacker in college football all year, then the Fiesta Bowl came. He tore his ACL and MCL in that game, and is now a huge question mark on draft boards. There is a good chance he plays very little, if at all, during his rookie season, and teams will not be able to see him in field drills before the draft. With that being said, Smith played great this season, showing the versatility to play both inside and outside linebacker. He has the ability to play both zone and man coverage, and is a very sound tackler that has a constant impact in the run game. When healthy, he is a three down player that could eventually lead an elite defense.
- Reggie Ragland: Ragland showed a lot of improvements this year that vaulted him to a first round grade for the upcoming draft. He played inside for the Tide this year and helped create the dominating defense they had. He has the versatility to rush the passer from the outside during passing situations, but he can also pick up receivers in zone coverage and play man coverage against tight ends. Ragland won’t wow anyone with athleticism, but his intelligence and instincts make him a great player. Ragland is a first round talent with little question marks and he could become a starter quickly for whatever team drafts him.
- Scooby Wright: Scooby Wright was one of the most productive players that college football had ever seen before this season. Wright spent most of this dealing with injuries, but he still showed flashes of what he does while healthy. He can play both outside and inside linebacker without any drop in production or success. He is great coming off the edge and rushing the passer as well as stuffing the run game and keeping plays behind the line of scrimmage. His athleticism and measurables are not on par with other players at the position, but his instincts are better than almost all of the draft-eligible players.
- Leonard Floyd: Floyd handled both outside and inside linebacker duties at Georgia this season. While he did not do bad at inside, he will be playing outside linebacker at the NFL level. He struggles dropping into coverage, but he excels at rushing the passer. He is quick off the ball and has a long body to create separation between him and lineman. The most surprising part of Floyd’s game is his strength. He has a slim build but has shown that he can overpower some of the SEC’s best tackles. If Floyd finds himself in the right scheme he could become a deadly pass rusher his rookie season. He projects to be drafted at the end of the first round and could become a disruptive situational player for a playoff team early in his rookies season.