Best Overall: Micah Parsons
Best in Coverage: Zaven Collins
Best Pass Rusher: Zaven Collins
Best Run Stopper: Micah Parsons
Most Versatile: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Biggest Sleeper: Jamin Davis
Micah Parsons | Penn State
Micah Parsons is one of the elite playmakers in the draft and has the talent alone to keep him inside the top 10. His 2019 tape was outstanding as a true sophomore and is more than enough to keep him in the elite category of the class, despite opting out of the 2020 season. At 6’3″, 245 lbs Parsons moves with fluidity like a running back and could even be in the 4.3-4.4 second 40 yard dash category. He plays with outstanding instincts as a linebacker and is a tackling machine that excels at busting through the line of scrimmage as well as beating opponents to the edge. He is a bit untested in coverage and rarely lined up 1 on 1, but he has the athleticism and frame to be coached into an elite all around linebacker. He likely will fit in as a mike linebacker, but is so efficient and dominant in the pass rush that he has the potential to line up all over the field. He has some of the best bend and pass rushing technique that I have ever seen for a player that has been categorized as a traditional inside linebacker. There have been rumors of character issues as he was involved in some trouble since being a recruit through his time at Penn State, but hopefully teams see it as a phase of immaturity that he has outgrown. There have been instances of recruiting violations, fighting with teammates as well as being roped into a hazing violation, but Parsons is young and his talent alone will at least give him a chance to prove that he has grown in his year off.
Zaven Collins | Tulsa
Zaven Collins is an enigma at linebacker. At 6’4 260 lbs you would think he is an edge rusher, but Collins spent his career playing the off ball linebacker position for the Tulsa Hurricanes. Collins is an amazing mover for his size and is one of the fastest linebackers in the entire class. He would be a big time mover after dominating the Combine with his freakish skillset, but will have to settle for showing off at his Pro Day. He is probably the best combo linebacker in terms of pass rush and pass coverage, which is extremely rare to find a guy that his so amazing at both. It almost leads to a bigger decision of what type of scheme and position that Collins would plug into, but he likely will fit best in an outside linebacker role for a heavy blitzing team. He is a solid tackler and has improved throughout his career, but still doesn’t rank at the very top of the class in that category. He has a very finesse skillset where you would like to see him become a bit more aggressive, being the monster of a player that he is.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah | Notre Dame
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is a true speed linebacker, however, is undersized as well. His combination of size (just 215 lbs) and speed leads me to believe that his stock is going to very schematically dependent, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Linebacker/Safety Hybrids are becoming much more popular and the elite prospects like Isaiah Simmons have been taken in the top 10. Owusu-Koramoah is fast as hell and flies into the backfield like a torpedo. Despite being listed as a Linebacker, he is probably faster than 90% of current NFL Safeties. I cannot reiterate how much his speed jumps off the tape, whether it is in coverage, rushing the passer or catching a running back from behind. He has a tendency to overshoot tackles due to moving too quick at times, so he isn’t an elite run stuffer at the next level. He played over 680 snaps in the slot over the course of his career, which reiterates his ability to play strong safety. JOK is a 1st Round lock, but his stock will be schematically dependent.
Nick Bolton | Missouri
Nick Bolton is a true inside linebacker, who despite not being the most athletic of this group, is still among the elite due to his superior processing abilities. His instincts are pure and give him a half step of leeway that most linebackers don’t get. He is the definition of a true run stuffing, tackling machine and plays as if he is magnetically attached to the ball. He is a bit short at 6′, but still very fast even though he may not be as athletic as the rest of the elite group. He moves very well and is an incredible pass rusher, however, will need to improve on his cover skills. His biggest knock is probably his height and length, but still hangs in there and makes plays in coverage. We have Bolton with a 1st Round grade and think he lands somewhere in the 20s.
Jabril Cox | LSU
Jabril Cox was a 2 time 1st Team All-American and won 3 National Championships at North Dakota State before transferring to LSU for his final season. He is extremely natural in coverage and has proven he can do it all after making the jump to the SEC. LSU’s defense translates well to the NFL and offers great tape of Cox doing it all. He isn’t the pure run stuffer that we see going on Day 1 and he isn’t a sideline to sideline guy, but he can cover anyone and also has the speed to fill a hybrid role. He only blitzed 36 times last year, which is a bit concerning if he is going to play in a traditional outside LB position. His biggest strength will be his his ability to mirror big bodies in the NFL.
Jamin Davis | Kentucky
Jamin Davis emerged as one of the best run stuffers in the SEC this year. He may just have one year of starting under his belt, but he displayed some of the best tape in the class. He is a superb athlete with quick hands that allows him to naturally shed blocks. He plays sideline to sideline with ease and seems to be in on almost every tackle of the game. He is lean and lanky at 6’4″, which will likely give him a leg up on most of the linebackers in this tier. He is very much a project and had under 1,000 career snaps and just 26 in man coverage last year, which is concerning if he is going to play outside. He has the tendency to misfire at times, but then uses his amazing make up speed to recover…this is something that won’t be the case in NFL. There is some work to be done, but his raw ability and frame are intriguing to say the least and keeps him at a Day 2 grade for us.
Chazz Surratt | UNC
Surratt is a pure athelte who started his career at QB before changing to Linebacker. The biggest concern right off the bat was his tackling ability, which improved significantly to the bookend of his college career. He is an extremely aggressive run stuffer who plays sideline to sideline and was frequently sent in blitz packages. He was slippery through the offensive line, but lacked the high end speed. He was rather untested in coverage and frequently found himself stuck on blocks both at the line of scrimmage in inside the box. He has had flashes of being elite, but is very unpolished (naturally so) and will be a bit of a project at the next level and is pegged as a Day 2 candidate. Fun fact, his brother (Sage Surrate | Wake Forest, WR) is likely pegged as a similar high ceiling project who could be drafted in a similar range.
K.J. Britt | Auburn
K.J. Britt is an old school style linebacker that we are higher on than most. He blows up the line of scrimmage and seems to be in on most plays, but can be a step too aggressive at times. If you are looking for a decent valued linebacker that can help fill the role of a run stuffer, Britt could be your guy. However, on the contrary, if you need a do-it-all guy who can also cover and pass rush you’re SOL. In all, he is a decent athlete who is a tackling machine with head for ball and is fast enough, but lacks the high end speed. He will fire and miss at times and bites on nearly every play action that is attempted. If he even thinks that the ball is handed off he is halfway there…which is a blessing and a curse. We think of Britt as a late 3rd Rounder, but he could fall far.
Pete Werner | Ohio State
Pete Werner is a very fast linebacker with great, A+ Closing Speed. He anticipates plays well and is a high IQ player and a solid run plugger. He has prototypical size, but has the speed to play all over the field. He is an early Day 3 project for us.
Monty Rice | Georgia
Monty Rice is a very athletic speed linebacker who played roughly all of his career snaps inside the box. That alone limits his versatility and he is not as good of a tackler that you would hope for from an inside linebacker. He was above average in coverage as well as a pass rusher, but lacks that elite flash to go any higher than Day 3. The biggest knack on Rice is his slow processing abilities that often leave him a step too late.
Charles Snowden | Virginia
Charles Snowden may be listed as an OLB, but he is as pure of an edge as there comes. His abilities will likely place him in a pure pass rushing role, but at 240 he also lacks the speed or strength to play a pure defensive end role. He is a true tweener who is a good pass rusher with good hands and bend, but doesn’t have the power to go any higher than the 5th or 6th round. Snowden is a true NFL project, but the sack production was there in college and could translate to the pros.
Baron Browning | Ohio State
Baron Browing has some of the best speed for a linebacker of NFL stature (6’3″, 240) and could double as a true edge prospect. He had under 100 tackles for his career, which is concerning as he had just 25 in his senior season (with 3 missed tackles). He showed great improvement over his career, but is a pure project that has a lot of room for growth in the play recognition bucket.
Cameron McGrone | Michigan
McGrone was a player that I was disappointed to see turn pro as I think another season at Michigan could have turned him into a top tier prospect. He declared after a weak junior season, however, he displayed his elite athletic abilities in his tape. He runs sideline to sideline with ease and cuts down the corner to contain running backs. However, he is the weakest linebacker in this entire class when it comes to coverage abilities and has a lot of room for improvement with his technique.
Dylan Moses | Alabama
Moses was amongst the top LB prospects a few years back, but hasn’t been the same since he tore his ACL in 2019. Despite being one of the most elite and high ceiling athletes, he is near to bottom of the barrel in terms of play recognition. The game just seems not to click for Moses, but you can see his raw abilities shine through his pass rush and coverage tape. Moses will take a while to acclimate to the NFL and is likely not an every down starter, but he certainly has the abilities to make a roster and compete on special teams.
Paddy Fisher | Northwestern
Paddy Fisher is solid. Absolutely solid. He was a cog for one of the most improved defenses in the nation and was a do it all linebacker. What is concerning is that Fisher never again reached the production and ability that he had in the early years of his spectacular career, which puts his ceiling into serious question.