2017 NFL Draft – Top Inside Linebackers

Offense: QB | WR | RB | FB | TE | OT | OG | C

Defense: DT | DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S

Note: These are ordered in regards to general overall rating.  This is not necessarily a reflection of predictive draft order as other variables such as scheme, coaching, etc. will alter each team’s rating of each prospect.

  1. Reuben Foster, Alabama – Reuban Foster is a prototypical Nick Saban inside linebacker, that works from sideline to sideline perhaps better than any linebacker in college football.  His tackling ability is destructive, but disciplined, utilizing excellent fundamentals that are getting more and more rare in the NFL. Reuban Foster wraps up well, which combines with the ability to take direct angles to ballcarriers. Perhaps a bit over aggressive, he can get manipulated by a savvy quarterback, a problem he will need to correct in the NFL.
  2. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State – A highly effective, run-stuffing middle linebacker that works well in crowds with exceptional speed.  While not strong in coverage to perhaps stay on the field on third down, McMillan is actually quite rangy from sideline to sideline, and is a tackling machine for the Buckeyes.  The question moving forward will be both his ability to drop into coverage, and his ability to read changes in creative run schemes.
  3. Kendell Beckwith, LSU – A monster of a linebacker, he is impossible to move and has elite take on skills. Can stuff the holes in the middle of a defense, and is an exceptional tackler. Has some ability to drop into coverage, so shouldn’t become a one dimensional inside linebacker. Will need to work on recognition skills, but shows patience and awareness for the most part. If he finds the right suitor could move into day two.
  4. Anthony Walker, Northwestern – A highly touted gap filling run defender that stops runners in their tracks.  An exceptional athlete, he excels in coverage, providing a versatile defensive presence.
  5. Connor Harris, Lindenwood – One of the most productive linebackers in college history, Harris has had to prove to scouts that he is not a product of playing against lower level competition.  During Senior Bowl week he started that process and has been all over the field making plays.  He has a knack for finding the ball and making tackles, and the draft process will continue to help him prove his stock value.

Comments: Missing out of this group is Jarrad Davis from Florida, but not sure where he will line up, so in a different position group at the moment. Reuben Foster and Raekwon McMillan are the clear and away stars of this group and could play in any scheme.  A lot of attention will be given to Connor Harris, as their isn’t a lot of tape on him against top competition, but he has done well so far in the draft process.