2023 NFL Draft – Linebacker Rankings

2023 NFL Draft – Linebacker Rankings
Noah Sewell 2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Outside Linebacker Rankings includes a prospect ranking, a breakdown of scouting for the position, key questions about the position, and a link to learn more – outside linebackers, learn more – inside linebackers.

2023 NFL Mock Draft

Linebacker Rankings:

  1. Will Anderson, Georgia
  2. Noah Sewell, Oregon
  3. Andre Carter II, Army
  4. Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame
  5. BJ Ojulari, LSU

2023 NFL Draft Outside Linebacker Rankings

  • First trick is determining the position in the NFL- if possibly a defensive end. Most 4-3 DE’s are fairly long and built, but some 4-3 DE’s in certain systems are “designated pass rushers” or “pass rush specialists”, that might come in on 3rd down or any obvious passing down. That is generally a smaller, speedier defensive end that could be a liability against the run.
  • Primary skills to evaluate:
    • Ability to drop into coverage (including covering matchup nightmares like speedy tight ends and running backs that move into the slot to receive).
    • Run stopping ability.
    • Blitzing ability (or general pass rush ability).
    • “Sideline to sideline” agility and range.
    • Can “break down”, which is a tackling technique of stopping before you tackle someone so you don’t get beat by last second moves.
    • Number of sacks / INT’s, TFL’s
    • Most of the OLB’s in the scouting reports are either middle linebackers in 4-3’s or OLB’s in 3-4… the skillset is often pretty close. Guys that are destined to play strongside or weakside in a 4-3 are generally a tier below and skew strongly to either better against the run, or better in coverage.

2023 NFL Draft Inside Linebacker Rankings

  • Maybe the toughest scouting reports to make, because a lot of confusion:
    • Inside linebackers in 3-4 aren’t generally premium players in the draft, but there is always a couple that have exceptionally well rounded skillsets that sneak into early rounds.
    • The two inside linebacker positions in a 3-4 often have fairly varied responsibilities, one being the move-forward, run stopping, gap-filling player that needs to be a strong, reliable tackler, and the other being the playmaker that has more freedom to roam.
    • The inside linebackers in the draft that more often get drafted high are really going to be Middle Linebackers in a 4-3.
  • If a linebacker in college is a tackling machine, is big and strong, a violent tackler that wraps up well, and they seem to be much better moving forward than back, they are probably going to be an ILB in a 3-4 at the next level.
  • The star Inside Linebackers are most often playing OLB in college, and need certain skills:
    • Ability to diagnose plays quickly.
    • Able to call defenses, so smarts and experience.
    • Chase down running backs and wide receivers.
    • Move forward to defend the run.
    • Drop into coverage.
    • Blitzing ability.
    • Able to tackle.
    • Relentless.
    • Loves football…this is mentioned for this position more than any other (referring to linebackers in general).
    • Do they “wrap up” tacklers.
    • Often referred to as “off-ball” linebackers, just another term for a guy suited for ILB in 3-4 or middle linebacker
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