2017 NFL draft rankings: Linebackers
Those dynamic tight ends this class appears to offer? A lot of times, these are the players responsible for them in coverage. Linebackers—at least quality, three-down linebackers—have to be able to take on 300-pound blockers, chase running backs sideline to sideline and drop in coverage. This year’s class has several prospects who have done that throughout their college careers, as well as a handful of sleepers.
|1||Reuben Foster||Alabama||6' 1", 240 lbs.|
|2||Zach Cunningham||Vanderbilt||6' 4", 230 lbs.|
|3||Raekwon McMillan||Ohio State||6' 2", 243 lbs.|
|4||Jarrad Davis||Florida||6' 2", 238 lbs.|
|5||Kendell Beckwith||LSU||6' 3", 247 lbs.|
|6||Anthony Walker||Northwestern||6' 1", 235 lbs.|
|7||Jalen Reeves-Maybin||Tennessee||6' 0", 230 lbs.|
|8||Vince Biegel||Wisconsin||6' 4", 245 lbs.|
|9||Hardy Nickerson||Illinois||6' 0", 230 lbs.|
|10||Micah Kiser||Virginia||6' 2", 240 lbs.|
If we’re playing the Alabama prospect comparison game again, Foster could go 20 (or more) picks higher than former teammate Reggie Ragland as a 2016 second-rounder. Cunningham may emerge as the best of the bunch once they all reach the NFL—he has 119 tackles for Vanderbilt this season. McMillan flies to the ball and punishes people, but he also does have that coverage ability in his back pocket. Davis and Walker are excellent in space, critical for NFL linebackers, while Beckwith is a bit more of the thumper type. Biegel’s my sleeper (much like ex-Badger and current Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert was last year). He can bring pressure on the outside or slide inside and cover ground there.