With the more presence of 3-4 defenses in the league, LBs have become more and more important to defenses. More and more now you see that the main pass rusher on defense is the OLBs, but they also have to be able to be solid in pass coverage. The ILB has become a lost position in some places, but if you have a good one, they can easily turn into the defense’s QB. This year has a true stud linebacker and a lot of others that could turn into solid pros.
Rueben Foster of Alabama is considered, not only the top ILB, but the top linebacker in the draft. Unfortunately, due to an incident with a medical examiner, Foster was sent home from the combine and will not get a chance to display his ability or be interviewed by as much teams as he would have liked. There still is a good chance he hears his named called within the 1st 10 picks. However, it’s never a good thing when you are sent home from the combine. This is just another thing that he will have to explain when he does meet with teams.
Jabrill Peppers of Michigan is working out with both the LBs and the DBs. He’s truly a player with no position. I think he will be too small to play LB, so most likely, he gets drafted as a S. He’s not a big hitter and he’s not a true centerfielder in coverage. For someone who had a good year, his stock has drastically dropped and he may fall out of the 1st round altogether. His best case scenario is probably trying to follow the steps of Landon Collins and work on improving his pass coverage.
Some of the other top LBs in this year’s draft include: Ryan Anderson of Alabama, TJ Watt of Wisconsin (JJ Watt’s brother), Ben Boulware of Clemson, Zach Cunningham of Vanderbilt, Jarrad Davis of Florida, Raekwon McMillan of Ohio State, and Jalen Reeves-Maybin of Tennessee. All of these players could find their names call by the end of round 3. Keep in mind that a lot of the defensive linemen will likely be drafted as OLBs or “Edge Rushers”.
With that said, below are the Linebacker measurements from the 2017 NFL Combine.
|Beckwith, Kendell||Louisiana St||6-2||243||9.5||33|
|Bullough, Riley||Michigan St||6-2||226||9.875||31.25|
|Davis, Kevin||Colorado St||6-2||235||10.25||32.375|
|Gedeon, Ben||Michigan||6-2||244||10||32 5/8|
|Harris, Connor||Lindenwood||5-11||242||9.375||30 1/8|
|Kelsey, Keith||Louisville||6-0||233||10.125||31 3/8|
|Lee, Marquel||Wake Forest||6-3||240||9.5||32 1/2|
|McMillan, Raekwon||Ohio St||6-2||240||9.75||33|
|Milano, Matt||Boston College||6-0||223||9 3/8||32|
|Peppers, Jabrill||Michigan||5-11||213||9.625||30 3/4|
|Reeves-Maybin, Jalen||Tennessee||6-0||230||9 5/8||32 1/4|
|Riley, Duke||Louisiana St||6-0||232||9.25||35 1/2|
|Vallejo, Tanner||Boise St||6-1||228||9.625||30 1/2|
|Walker, Anthony||Northwestern||6-1||238||9 1/2||30 3/8|
|Watt, TJ||Wisconsin||6-4||252||11||33 1/8|