2019 Draft: Final Positional Rankings, Linebacker

The end of the road, my pals. We’ve made it. Another year, another group of prospects, and another panic-stricken couple weeks leading up the draft just hoping that this front office has it all together and can hit in the early-rounds. Briefly, before we proceed, some housekeeping items. I’ve often commented on how the draft is a “process”. Thoughts, opinions, and players’ grades change as we move closer to the finish line. Below, you can reference where my head was at for the initial unveiling of my positional rankings, followed by my pre-Combine thoughts, to where I ultimately ended up. It’s useful when contextualizing a players value, I think. If they stayed highly-touted throughout the months, chances are, we have a good player on our hands.

Early top-10 positional rankings are here. Pre-Combine rankings (thread) can be found here.


Devin Bush (Round 1) and Devin White (Round 1) are the consensus top options in this year’s class. I have them clearly ranked 1 and 2, but many see them as 1a and 1b, essentially, or the grades flip-flopped. White is an obvious athlete when looking at the #tape. The former running back recruit flies around and complied a gang of tackles during his time at school (133 and 123 total the last two seasons, respectively). While the production wasn’t quite the same, I leaned heavily toward Bush’s film. An easy mover, evidence by his position-best test results, he just processes the game a lot more quickly and efficiently at this point compared to the “other Devin”, which isn’t necessarily a knock on White (I suggest reading this piece if you’re not sold on Bush as LB1). Germaine Pratt (Round 3-4) is where we see the obvious tier drop outside the consensus players. He’s also probably higher than most have him post-Combine. Not the best athlete, but standing at 6-2, 240 with enough speed and former-safety skills in coverage, I like his transition to the next level despite only one-year as a starting linebacker. Jahlani Tavai (Round 3-4) had some off-field stuff and an injury/surgery he’s returning from, but presents a complete profile for today’s game. Blake Cashman (Round 3-4) was one of the Combine’s big winners, vaulting himself from relative obscurity to one of the better and perhaps “safer” options in the position group.


David Long (Round 4) is undersized, but has all the production accolades, finishing his collegiate career with 39.5 tackles for loss and notching another 12.5 sacks. He can start at WILL. His ceiling remains lower (as does his grade) due to the missed tackles and some overall sloppier play, despite the box score popping. He looks for the home run play often, but can be left standing at the plate after a whiff. Mack Wilson (Round 4) was one of the more curious studies this year. The Alabama pedigree will obviously carry him far enough, keeping his floor relatively sound, but the more I watched, the more I came away unimpressed. He didn’t necessarily make a leap.


Drue Tranquill (Round 4-5) is an above-average athlete at the position, and a safety-to-linebacker convert himself. The two-time captain was the “heart and soul” of the Notre Dame defense, one the features a couple early-round studs. Questions surround his current build (is he “maxed out”), coupled with an ACL history (both knees). Terrill Hanks (Round 5-6) is another fun watch, but the early-process hype likening his ability and transition to rookie stud Darius Leonard got a little out of hand. I believe he’s certainly in that mold, and you want to zero in on those “twitched-up” players in the later-rounds versus the underwhelming athletes, but not necessarily a prospect you’re going to go out of your way for.

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