NFL Draft: Top five linebackers
The NFL Draft will be a bit different this year without a combine, but the scouting must go on and evaluations are as important as ever with millions on the line. Here’s a look at my top five linebackers and a few sleepers to watch.
NFL DRAFT: Top five QBs heading into March | RBs | WRs | TEs | OLs | DTs | DEs
CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State
COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series
1. Micah Parson, Penn State
Despite opting out last season, Parsons is clearly the most athletic and best all-around linebacker in this draft. He has sideline-to-sideline ability and can rush the passer as a former end in high school.
Possible teams: Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, LA Chargers, Miami Dolphins
2. Zaven Collins, Tulsa
Collins is a massive linebacker who covers a lot of ground and can rush the passer. He’s an excellent blitzer and can handle bigger linemen with his 260-pound size.
Possible teams: Washington Football Team, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills
3. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame
Owusu is much smaller than Parsons and Collins, but he’s so good laterally he can cover slot receivers and play as a hybrid linebacker and safety.
Possible teams: Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Las Vegas Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Washington Football Team
4. Jabril Cox, LSU
Cox is a natural as a pass-coverage linebacker with great ball skills and instincts. He makes so many plays in the passing game that his work as a run stopper and tackler often gets overlooked.
Possible teams: L.A. Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, Cleveland Browns
5. Joseph Ossai, Texas
Ossai is a hybrid who can play with his hand in the dirt and rush the passer. His closing speed is exceptional.
Possible teams: New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Carolina Panthers
I don’t have Bolton as high on my list as some others, but he’s a very solid downhill linebacker. I worry about his coverage in space, but he’s a tackling machine someone will take by day two.
Possible teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs
I like Hilliard as a potential third-round steal with his length, ability to run plays down and leadership. Linebacker wasn’t the problem last year at all for Ohio State.
Possible teams: Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns.
Davis is one of the more aggressive linebackers out there. He is very smart at reading the play and finding the proper lane.
Possible teams: New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns