Top-10 Linebackers, Pre-Combine

There’s no time to waste. The NFL Scouting Combine is around the corner and it’s critical that we plant our flags and allow these takes, hot or otherwise, to fly. For reference, my initial top-32 big board can be found here. More importantly, here were all my early positional rankings and thoughts. Let’s see what has changed between now and then, and where my head is at walking into Indianapolis.

LB1 Devin White, Louisiana State — Elite athlete and former four-star running back recruit. He isn’t as polished or as cerebral as some other top ‘backers who have recently been selected on Day 1, but his raw athleticism keeps the floor very high.

LB2 Devin Bush, Michigan — On the smaller side, but allows him to play quicker than a majority of other players on the field often times. Not worried about his strength. His ability to read and react is obvious. Leader.

LB3 Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State — Not the same athlete as White, but play speed on the field and their abilities to consistently be around the ball and affect the play are similar. Builds are comparable, too. I like Pratt more so in coverage.

LB4 Adrian “Mack” Wilson, Alabama — One-time five-star recruit who only got a chance to get a season under his belt as a starter with Coach Saban in Tuscaloosa. The lack of experience shows, but he’s still an above-average athlete who has shown the ability to operate in space and in coverage. Those players get drafted high (the Alabama co-sign doesn’t hurt either).

LB5 Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii — Really checks all the boxes you want in a linebacker. He’s strong and fast; hits like a throwback player but, even with his size, glides around and has noticeable lateral quicks about him. Reminds me of K.J. Wright a little bit.

LB6 David Long Jr., West Virginia — 15 and 19 tackles for loss in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Also added another 7 sacks in 2018. 5-11, 230 with noticeable quickness, while also packing a punch on the ground against the run. Just let him attack; not as comfortable in coverage. Enjoyed this quote about Long. Football guy stuff.

LB7 Vosean Joseph, Florida — Built like a safety and flies around like one, too. Has the speed for today’s game. Can bring the lumber, and doesn’t have any issue working down hill and getting dirty. Size, overall play strength, and the occasional mental lapses will need to be rectified before he’s able to make a long-term impact.

LB8 Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State — 100-plus tackles in this last three seasons at school. Plus-athlete who will garner Darius Leonard and/or Fred Warner comparisons off of build and play-style. He’ll continue to work his way up boards as testing numbers come in.

LB9 Bobby Okereke, Stanford — Obvious length and with twitched-up reaction and play-speed. I think I’ve moved him around these rankings the most; he’ll have a handful of spectacular reps, and then the next series or two is filled with some duds. Consistency questions, coupled with general strength concerns. Checks the intangible boxes, however (team captain, Eagle Scout, all that).

LB10 Te’von Coney, Notre Dame –While he isn’t as twitched up some of the names that precede him, clearly takes pride in what he does and constantly motors around. Strong hands that are able to quickly and effectively get off blocks.

Who do you want the Raiders to come away with and why? If someone missed the cut, tell me who and also don’t forget to tell me how wrong I am.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive


1 thought on “Top-10 Linebackers, Pre-Combine

  1. I say take white at 4. Instinctive at point of attack knows where the gaps are and plays sideline to sideline very well. Will make impact day one on defense. And will quickly become a field general.

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