Here are the top lineacker prospects in this year’s 2018 NFL draft.
1. Roquan Smith, University of Georgia
Roquan Smith is most expert’s top linebacker in this year’s draft. He the captain and best defensive player on Georgia last year, helping them get to the national championship. He has very high character and will fit in well with any NFL locker room. He can be the leader of a defense which is important for a linebacker. He also has great athleticism and instincts which make him an every down player. He showed in the two playoff games he can produce on the biggest stage. He combined to have 24 tackles in those two games. (ESPN) Roquan is going to be a force for any team’s defense.
2. Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Tremaine Edmunds is cherished by scouts because it is not very often that the NFL draft sees a 19-year-old coming out of college with this much talent. He is an extremely gifted athlete and is very powerful to go along with great speed. His ceiling is one of the highest of anyone in this year’s draft. Last year for Virginia Tech, he had 108 tackles. (Sports-reference) Edmunds could end up being one of the best players to come out of this draft.
3. Rashaan Evans, University of Alabama
Another very athletic linebacker, Rashaan Evans was a key player in Alabama’s championship run. He is extremely aggressive which sometimes can work against him. His athleticism and ability to make plays make him a border line first round pick. He will need the right situation and coaching to improve and be a long-time player. If this happens, he has all the physical tools to be a star player.
4. Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State University
Leighton Vander Esch was the Mountain West defensive player of the year. Vander Esch is a great cover linebacker against backs and tight ends. He has a great football IQ and is a very smart linebacker. Also, he is very good against the run. He may not have the athleticism that some linebackers have, but his instincts and IQ are going to make him a good player in the NFL.
5. Malik Jefferson, University of Texas
Malik Jefferson is another freakishly athletic player in this year’s draft. He is very quick and has great bursts to get to the quarterback or get through a hole to stop the run. He relies on his athleticism too much at times and scouts want to see better instincts on the field. He is going to need to improve in that area, but with the right coaching, Jefferson has the talent to be a dominant player.
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