Nick Sitro’s 2020 NFL Draft Linebacker Rankings

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Linebacker isn’t a particularly deep class this year. Obviously Isaiah Simmons is one of the best prospects in this draft, but behind him, it gets tricky. Here are my top 10 linebacker rankings for the 2020 NFL Draft.

1. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

Isaiah Simmons is one of the best linebacker prospects in recent memory. He has the versatility to play multiple positions, including safety and nickle. He is incredibly explosive, and stout in both the run and pass. He is as close to a sure thing as you can get on defense.

2. Patrick Queen, LSU

Patrick Queen isn’t the strongest, but he possesses quick instincts and sideline to sideline speed. He should translate well to middle linebacker in the NFL, but can be prone to being abused by bigger offensive lineman.

3. Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma

Another potential middle linebacker, Kenneth Murray has incredible potential. He has great length, explosiveness, and range, but can sometimes misread runs up the middle. He kind of reminds me of a Kwon Alexander, with great fluidity, but has tendency to hit the wrong gap.

4. Malik Harrison, Ohio State

Malik Harrison is an intriguing early down defender who, with time, can develop into a full time starter. He is incredibly stout in the run game, with good length and explosiveness. He doesn’t have the speed to stay with some wide receivers, but in time, he may turn into a solid defender in zone schemes.

5. Evan Weaver, California

Another early down player, Evan Weaver needs to improve his coverage skills to carve out a three down role. He is stout in the run game, with the ability to tackle in space and anticipate runs, but his value is limited in obvious passing situations

6. Troy Dye, Oregon

Troy Dye is a fairly raw prospect at this point in his career. He is incredibly athletic, but gets lost in space quite often. He needs to increase his processing speed if he wants to become a starter in the NFL, but he can start as a MIKE linebacker in the NFL.

7. David Woodward, Utah State

Yet another MIKE linebacker, David Woodward can be a solid two down player. He is a smart player, but struggles to get off blocks. I have my doubts about his ability to carve out a full time role given his skill set.

8. Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State

Are you starting to see a theme here? Akeem Davis-Gaither can be an average MIKE linebacker. He, like David Woodward, need to be more flexible getting off blocks, but his short area quickness is solid.

9. Logan Wilson, Wyoming

Logan Wilson has great football IQ and tackling skills, but needs more flexibility to bend around blockers in the second level. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but his floor is safe enough to take in the later rounds.

10. Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech

A unique linebacker in this class, Jordyn Brooks excels in the blitz and playing in space. He is very athletic, and could be used in unique situations to spy quarterbacks with duel threat ability. His role is limited in this regard, and needs to improve his anticipation and coverage skills.

 

 

 

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