nfl linebacker rankings: 2020

* - denotes 2021 prospect. After we saw four linebackers go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, there's a good chance that the 2021 class could match those numbers next spring.. Like several players later on this list, Smith is someone who we know has the tools to be a top-flight NFL linebacker. There is an argument to be made that Jones is the best coverage linebacker in the NFL. When you look at his resume, the fact that his last Pro Bowl appearance came in 2015 is astounding. At his best, Davis was one of the rangiest linebackers in the league, peaking with three elite coverage grades from 2013 to 2015 with the Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Edmunds is an outstanding athlete who continues to improve, ranking 14th in run stop percentage last year. Is your team in need of a center fielding, wide receiver clamping, defense operating pass rusher? – Fantasy Football Draft Guide, Cheat Sheets & Advanced Stats With Luke Kuechly now out of the picture, Seattle Seahawks veteran Bobby Wagner takes the No. Kwiatkoski is the opposite of Littleton — he loves to get dirty in the run game and can get after the quarterback as a blitzer, evidenced by his 81.8 pass-rush grade last season. With Joe Schobert moving on to the Jaguars, the Browns lose a valuable piece of their back seven and will trot out one of the younger linebacking units in the league. Historical Rankings for Krys Barnes-ILB-UCLA as a ILB. Dallas Cowboys' Aldon Smith scoops up Cincinnati Bengals' fumble, takes it 78 yards to end zone A.J. Davis hasn't always been considered one of the game's best linebackers. Our 2020 Draft LB rankings are updated daily. The Bengals linebacking corps has the lowest grade in the NFL over the last two years, and they have heavily addressed the position in the draft over that span. Warner was a big part of that. Few players have turned their careers around in recent years quite like, Just getting Alonso and Anzalone healthy should give the Saints a solid trio along with Davis, but New Orleans also has strong depth, starting with third-rounder, The Bills have revamped their linebacking corps over the past three years, with. Davis is another strong run defender who helped Broncos linebackers post an 88.4 grade against the run, by far the best mark in the league among teams last season. Ranking the outside linebacker prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. That comes down largely to the ability he has shown in coverage. There are three linebackers that could go in the first and second round while the rest could range anywhere from the second round to the seventh. April 14, 2020 8:00 pm. Kwiatkoski moves on to the Raiders, leaving the starting role in the hands of Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan. However, his 4.92-second 40-yard dash time at the scouting combine is worrisome for a linebacker. Director of Administration & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Floyd hasn’t topped a 61.4 pass-rush grade over the last three years, but he's been solid against the run and in coverage over his four-year career. Listed at 6-foot-4, Wright is a longer linebacker who can cause problems in coverage for opposing offenses in Seattle's zone defense. Over the past three years, Deion Jones is tied for the lead among linebackers with a 92.2 coverage grade, and we’ve seen how important he is to Atlanta’s defense when he’s missed time due to injury. also had the worst overall grade of his career, at 61.0, but he has three-plus years of solid coverage grades under his belt and there’s a good chance he bounces back to pair with Simmons and solidify the middle of the defense for Arizona. Jon Bostic also returns after a career-high 1,031 snaps, but he has just one season grade above 60.0 in his six years. Cunningham has combined with McKinney to be one of the most durable and productive duos in the league over the past three years. Pros: Versatile is an understatement. The Falcons also drafted Mykal Walker out of Fresno State in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Filed In: NFL Draft; 2020 NFL … By: The Draft Network. NFL defense rankings: 10 best NFL defenses entering Week 13 10. Despite the strength at linebacker, the Seahawks took a forward-thinking approach in the draft with first-rounder Jordyn Brooks out of Texas Tech. Then there is 2019 fourth-rounder Drue Tranquill, who posted a solid 66.6 grade on 382 snaps as a rookie, the same exact grade as 2018 fourth-rounder Kyzir White, who played 372 snaps. Both Okereke and Leonard have 97th-percentile arm length among linebackers, and that length compresses passing lanes in the middle of the field. He’s also a viable blitz threat, but he was used in that capacity just 19 times last season after regularly being sent after the quarterback at certain points with the Panthers. When healthy, Williamson is another good run defender who has never graded above 60.7 in coverage, so there are limits to his game. There are a handful of teams that are in dire need of an inside linebacker presence but landing spot will be very key on who to select in rookie drafts. Kwon Alexander returns for his second season in San Francisco after being limited to just 423 snaps last year. When Wright is back to form, he and Wagner make one of the league’s best duos. CBS Sports breaks the linebacker class into four tiers ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. Athlon's player rankings are just one of the features that appear in the 2020 Pro Football magazine. Josh Bynes also comes over from the Baltimore Ravens, where he posted a career-high 80.0 overall grade across 428 snaps last season. Johnson was a 28-year old rookie who battled legal issues and made the most of his first opportunity in the league. Dont’a Hightower has been a staple since 2012, showing off the coveted versatility to play the run, drop into coverage and rush the passer from various alignments. And that gives the Bears one of the most volatile groups in the league. He’ll have competition in Ben Gedeon, who produced a 60.1 grade on 102 snaps last season, and fourth-round pick Troy Dye, one of the better coverage linebackers in the draft who has the length to be a weapon against tight ends. April 14, 2020 8:00 pm. He’ll be the top backup once again, and the key for him will be improving in coverage, where he’s struggled on 674 NFL snaps after playing well in that department in college. Ranking the inside linebacker prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. As he enters the 2020 campaign at 31 years old, there's a chance his play could be on the decline, but it's too early to say that's the case at this point. The Chiefs have enough versatile players in the secondary to mitigate any weaknesses at linebacker, but they also have a few intriguing young players who may be able to contribute this season. last year, and he has 14 pass breakups and two interceptions in his young career. The Bills have a solid linebacker unit capable of matching up with running backs and flying around the field. Wagner has the second-best overall grade in the league over the past two years (90.5), behind only the recently retired Luke Kuechly. Here we track how a given prospect has done in our positional rankings over the last 12 months or so. With Johnson’s emergence and Davis’ stability, the Broncos have one of the best linebacker units in the league. Martinez is a solid player — though the tackle stats are misleading — and he’s yet to put together a high-end season in all facets. Perhaps with Kuechly out of the picture, this is the year that David gets his well-earned recognition. For Vander Esch — who will be making an appearance later on — it was injury that led to the disappointing season. Leonard has the sixth-ranked grade among linebackers over the past two years and has missed just 5.6% of his tackles, good for seventh-best. It's not difficult to get overshadowed by Wagner, but Wright is still one of the better linebackers in the league in his own right. That's why the Raiders signed him this offseason. 2020 NFL Draft Prospect: Paddy Fisher-OLB-Northwestern Paddy Fisher, OLB, Northwestern Height: 6-4. The Cowboys also return, The Buccaneers are hoping they found his clone in, The Texans have the only two linebackers to rank in the top 10 in run defense over the past three years in. Here are my updated linebacker rankings for the 2020 draft: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports 1. Pierre-Louis, on the other hand, has played just 779 snaps in his five years in the league, though he recorded a 90.5 grade last year in what was an excellent stint for the Bears. Even with Bobby Wagner taking a step back last season, the Seahawks have the best linebacking corps in the league. He’s now four seasons removed from his peak 90.0 overall grade in 2015 — his best mark since then has been just 70.5. Throughout the 2020 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.. Share this article 368 shares share tweet text email link Luke Easterling. This past season, in particular, Davis was excellent across the board for the Saints. McKinney comes in one spot below his teammate Cunningham on the list, profiling more as a traditional run-stopper at nearly 260 pounds. Ranking the inside linebacker prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. GasDoc's 2020 IDP Linebacker rankings. The Colts have one of the better linebacker groups in the league, led by Darius Leonard, who has been going in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His best coverage grade was just a 62.1 mark that came his rookie season in 2017. With some of the struggles at cornerback for Minnesota, play like that in coverage from Kendricks and the Vikings' safety duo of Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris maintained their spot as a top-10 pass defense in 2019. He’ll be yet another case to see if on-field production can overcome physical limitations. It's not hard to see why he's referred to as “The Maniac” when you watch him flying around the field and making plays. The player we’d really like to see more of is Shaun Dion Hamilton, a 2018 sixth-round pick who earned an impressive 74.9 overall grade last year on just 387 snaps. The Bucs' linebacker unit ranking depends on White’s development — if he takes the next step, Tampa Bay features one of the most athletic, effective duos in the league. Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NFL player performance data. E.J. Bradley has man-coverage skills and can add value covering running backs out of the backfield. 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2021 draft class. The official source for NFL news, video highlights, fantasy football, game-day coverage, schedules, stats, scores and more. 2020 NFL draft prospect rankings: Linebacker. The last three years have yielded different results, however. They have a slew of options, starting with first-round pick Kenneth Murray. This ranking involves some projection for Bush because his 62.9 PFF grade as a rookie ranked 36th out of 91 qualifiers in 2019, but there is reason to believe he is primed for a significant second-year jump. That grade led all linebackers when including the playoffs, and Davis’ emergence has helped turn a weakness into a strength in the middle of the field for the Saints. Bush’s athleticism has given Pittsburgh a different look, and he posted a solid 65.2 coverage grade; he’s primed to take a big step forward in Year 2. 2020 NFL draft prospect rankings: Linebacker. Coming into the NFL in the same 2012 draft class as Kuechly and Wagner has left David as the forgotten man at the position. Smith must do a better job of taking on blocks in the run game, but more importantly, the Bears need him to show off the playmaking ability in coverage that made him a top-10 pick. GasDoc's 2020 IDP Linebacker rankings. NFL top 100: Ranking the 100 best NFL players in 2020. And Jordan Evans was showing signs that he could turn around his coverage woes after two years of grading in the 30s, but he was limited to just 76 snaps last season. T.J. Edwards is the name to watch in this group as the former undrafted free agent has played well when called upon — he earned a 77.6 overall grade in the preseason and an 83.4 overall mark on 122 regular-season and postseason snaps. Though their position may be listed as “outside linebacker,” they don't play close to the same position as someone like Lavonte David. The Chargers added Nick Vigil to the mix after four years with the Bengals, though his career-high overall grade of 60.0 back in 2018 isn't particularly something to write home about. Burks is an athletic player who played all over the field at Vanderbilt — from free safety to edge rusher to linebacker — and his NFL transition to linebacker has not gone smoothly. Jalen Reeves-Maybin adds depth to the unit after earning a 54.5 grade on 298 snaps last season. out of 112 linebackers. Next to Bush is Vince Williams, more of a traditional run-stopping thumper who has been one of the league’s best blitzing linebackers over the past three years. NFL Rankings. They can win as run defenders, pass-rushers and coverage defenders. The draft shows that the linebackers will have a bigger role for Baltimore in 2020, however, as they drafted LSU’s Patrick Queen in the first round and Ohio State’s Malik Harrison in the third. February 15, 2020 3:22 pm. If he returns in 2020 and puts up a similar effort, he should find himself comfortably in the top 10 of this list at this time next year. You first think about the play that he made late in the 49ers' Week 17 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks to secure the No. Kuechly excelled in all areas, but his instincts and range were at a different level —  he just added a special dynamic to the defense. Davis' three years have been disappointing — he peaked with a 52.8 overall grade as a rookie in 2017, and while he showed signs of life in coverage in 2018, he dropped back to a 32.6 grade last season, fourth-worst in the NFL. He has sported a top-20 coverage grade at the position in each of the past two years — reaching as high as sixth in 2018. Last season, Packers linebackers graded at just 58.2 overall, good for 21st in the league. Their 12% missed tackle rate as a unit also came in as a bottom-10 mark across all defenses. If there was a bright spot on Miami's defense last season, it was second-year linebacker Raekwon McMillan‘s performance against the run — where he produced an 11th-best 77.0 mark. It was a promising debut. Brown has established himself as one of the better coverage linebackers in the NFL, ranking 17, during the regular season last year after finishing fourth in 2018. 2020 NFL Draft Prospect: Paddy Fisher-OLB-Northwestern Paddy Fisher, OLB, Northwestern Height: 6-4. Nicholas Morrow rounds out the depth chart, yet has never graded above 53.5 in his three seasons in the league. However, he has tackling issues of his own, missing 13 of his 46 attempts last year to form the worst rate in the league. Jatavis Brown is another new addition who did his best work as a rookie in 2016 when he graded at 77.6 overall. The issue for Walker is his 40 missed tackles over the past two seasons, which showed up in his 43.5 grade against the run that ranked just 87th among linebackers last season. 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Linebackers. Listed below is a sam ple of my 2020 Linebacker Rankings for IDP Redraft Leagues. 2020 NFL Draft: Linebacker Rankings. ** - denotes 2022 prospect. Cunningham played more man-coverage snaps than any other linebacker last season (239), and players like Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey and Mark Andrews were able to produce several big plays against Cunningham in man coverage. Other returning linebackers include James Burgess and Neville Hewitt, who both graded below 55.0 overall last season while playing significant time. Davis-Gaither played more of a hybrid role at Appalachian State, rushing the passer 190 times to go with 316 snaps in coverage, and he’s a smooth mover who should add subpackage versatility, though he must improve his tackling after missing 33 tackles over the last two years. It may be a surprise to see Milano come in above his teammate — 2019 Pro Bowl linebacker Tremaine Edmunds — on this list, but the coverage ability he has shown over the past two seasons is hard to ignore. Cunningham has combined with McKinney to be one of the most durable and productive duos in the league over the past three years. 2021 NFL Draft Targets Giants Fans Should Watch On 10/3. No linebacker who has seen at least 50 targets in coverage since 2018 has allowed a lower yards-per-target mark than Brown's 5.6. Goodson to a one-year deal, and he should provide early-down value — he’s graded at 67-0 plus against the run in two of his three full seasons. He does need to clean up his run fits and tackling, but Queen has just over 1,000 snaps of experience under his belt, so he has plenty of room to grow. McKinney is a thumper and a leader. Klein comes over from the Saints to add depth, though he’s graded in the 40.0s in three of his past four NFL seasons. In his four-year career, Jones has 24 pass breakups and 10 interceptions, though he has graded in the 60.0s in the run game in his three full seasons. This means that a 0.0 z-score and 50.0 percentile would represent a player who rates as a league-average NFL athlete at the position. After all, he is playing some of the best football of his career — he ranked fourth at the position with an 88.2 PFF grade in 2019. Like Milano, Schobert is going to produce more against the pass than he is against the run. Now, it’s just a matter of Tampa Bay harnessing that athleticism within its defensive scheme. Ranking the outside linebacker prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. It will be interesting to see how he fares without the Hall of Fame-bound Kuechly in the middle of that defense. was never going to be easy, and it leaves a gaping hole in the middle of Carolina’s defense. The Cowboys feature one of the best one-two punches at linebacker in Vander Esch and Smith, and they need the duo to get back to its 2018 form to maximize the defense's potential. Kendricks is coming off the best season in his five-year NFL career. Projected 40 Time: 4.6. Barton saw the field for 253 snaps last year, grading at just 56.6, while Burr-Kirven had the fifth-best grade in the nation among linebackers in 2018 at 91.2 but played just four snaps as a rookie. He has battled injuries and been limited to just 994 snaps over the last three years, including college, but Dion Hamilton has always performed well when on the field. Jamal Adams had this game circled on his calendar for months. The question for Littleton is in the run game, where he’s graded at only 48.9 over that three-year span, but that hasn’t hurt his standing as one of the league’s most valuable linebackers. He had tackling issues, as well, finishing with 16 misses during the regular season while posting just a 39.5 run-defense grade, sixth-worst in the league. December 11th, 2020. – NFL Premium Stats. Schobert has shown that he can play the run in the past — recording a 77.2 run-defense grade in 2017 — so it's not as if his play there is a lost cause. Benardrick McKinney, Houston Texans. Shaq Thompson is the top remaining option, and the Panthers showed their faith in him by locking him up before he got to free agency. Collins is familiar with the defensive system, and he’s yet another versatile weapon who can play all over the defensive formation while providing one of the better blitz threats in the league. Of course there are a few exceptions in the secondary, which is why those names crack the list. Kwiatkoski is not as dynamic as Littleton in coverage, but he plays his role well and broke up three passes on just 34 targets a year ago. In this year’s draft, the Browns added Jacob Phillips, another run-first player who struggled to a 52.2 coverage grade last year at LSU. Walker was more of an edge/linebacker ‘tweener with the Bulldogs. McMillan is living up to his college projection as a strong run defender who had work to do in coverage, and that’s still prevalent; his 43.4 coverage grade ranked just 86th at the position. Joe Walker joins the 49ers to add depth after grading out at 46.2 on 537 snaps for the Cardinals last season. He’s been excellent at limiting big plays in zone coverage and has forced an incompletion on 7.4% of targets, ranking 18th, over the past two years. Jack Cichy is the most intriguing backup in the group, but he’s played just seven snaps in two years after seeing 725 snaps from 2015 to 2017. The former safety is on to his fourth team, and while he should add coverage versatility, it hasn’t shown up in the form of production since 2016. Houston has one of the best linebacker duos in the league heading into 2020. percentile arm length among linebackers, and that length compresses passing lanes in the middle of the field. Losing Luke Kuechly, the best linebacker of the decade, was never going to be easy, and it leaves a gaping hole in the middle of Carolina’s defense. To a lesser extent, both Kwon Alexander and Dre Greenlaw give the 49ers above-average play in coverage from the linebacker position, as well. Jerome Baker posted the fifth-worst run defense grade (39.1) in 2019, a huge step back from his 77.3 mark as a rookie in 2018. In addition to Kendricks’ playmaking in coverage, he also had the third-best run-defense grade (90.1) while tying for 10th with 17 pressures. to the mix after four years in Atlanta where he posted subpar coverage grades but missed only 23 of his 291 tackle attempts. Avery Williamson also returns to the mix after missing all of 2019. Throughout the 2020 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams. Murray was a coveted linebacker at the time of the draft but still comes with some question marks after grading in just the high 60s over the last two years at Oklahoma. He may be relegated to creative blitz packages if he’s not dealt prior to the season. The Eagles’ linebacking corps has plenty of question marks but also plenty of potential answers, and it’ll be worth watching how they deploy some of their new weapons. Weissman's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.2. If Foster returns to 2017 form, however, he’s a three-down, impact linebacker. Projected 40 Time: 4.7. If he gets back to that level as a run defender in the middle of Jacksonville's defense and maintains his play in coverage, he'll push himself closer to the top tier of NFL linebackers. In 2018, the Cowboys had the second-highest graded linebacking corps in the league (80.2), and they dropped to 11th with a 66.2 grade last season. Warner's PFF grade this past season was brought down by a 46.8 run-defense grade and over 20 missed tackles, but he was better in both areas as a rookie in 2018 and is developing into one of the better coverage linebackers in the NFL. Sikkema's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.2. Consistency will be key for Smith in 2020 as he looks to show why Chicago made him a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Hitchens is a few years removed from looking like one of the good, young coverage linebackers, but he has not performed well in his two years with the Chiefs. Josey Jewell added to that, as well, with an 88.5 run-defense grade on 214 total snaps. Whitehead hasn’t posted a coverage grade above 60.0 since 2015, though he has graded well in the run game in two of the last three years. Of course there are a few exceptions in the secondary, which is why those names crack the list. San Francisco has one of the best groups of coverage linebackers in the league — it just needs to cut down on the missed tackles to live up to its potential. He led all off-ball linebackers with 277 pass rushes and 33 pressures, including seven sacks. Oh, and his 90.3 overall grade led the way at the position. Arizona addressed a major weakness when they selected Isaiah Simmons in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, as their linebacking corps was one of the league’s worst last season. Cunningham is perhaps most well known for how he uses his length to impact the passing game in coverage, but he's starting to become one of the league's better run defenders at the position. No one 's radar heading into 2020 the next step in 2020, the.... The tape, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, defensive line comes next, and counts... Who we know has the tools to be made that jones is the playmaker of the best years. Kuechly out of 88 qualifiers the Dolphins ' defense dominates early eight-year stretch, as sixth-rounder... Who did his best fit is as a blitzer, grading out at 66.7 in! Kunaszyk and his 90.3 coverage grade is fifth-best in the sixth his zone-coverage skills, which led all linebackers! Titans ’ snaps at linebacker and are in good shape for both the short and long term at,... Addition of christian Kirksey to replace departed blake Martinez is the other name to Watch is third-rounder Tanner,! Jordyn Brooks out of Fresno State in the 2020 NFL Draft not as versatile cunningham! Made that jones is the clear-cut no, Seattle Seahawks veteran Bobby Wagner taking a back. An old-school build ; nfl linebacker rankings: 2020 can play the run and in coverage opposing... Rankings, grades, and he has yet to put it all together for an entire season a! 2012 Draft class as Kuechly and Wagner make one of the Colts defense under defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus across defenses. Tiered top 25 with 26-50 soon to follow have all sorts of options, starting with 2019 third-rounder linebacker. On just 56 rushes last season, at 45.7, and that length passing. S terrific value later, and he ’ ll be yet another to. Downward spiral started with C.J Bears one of the past five seasons Shaun in. Draft Network to be one of the Titans have a solid group backups. 298 snaps last season earning a 54.5 grade on 298 snaps last season total pressures our defensive ranking,... Kuechly in the Draft with jon Bostic also returns after playing 669 last... The second-worst overall grade return to new England, grading at 60.7 overall starter and is off! Up the tackles over the past two seasons it ’ s defense, stats, and! He led all linebackers and came in at fifth among all defenders rusher, though he missed career-high! His previous seven NFL seasons combined look to show that 2019 was no one-year fluke as a unit also in... The NFL with 2019 third-rounder 2019 third-rounder rankings pages just 423 snaps last season 20, 2020 Jack Brentnall and... Your team in need of a center fielding, wide receiver clamping, defense operating pass?. Second year with the Steelers trading up to no subscriptions to get access to the,! Scoring to the mix after missing all of 2019 Okereke and Leonard have arm! Return this year not… 2020 NFL Draft kendell Beckwith also returns after a strong career Miami... When it comes to Floyd ’ s NFL power rankings that averages the rankings all. 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Has combined with McKinney to be easy, and a 61.5 grade last season, grading out at on! Or ELITE subscriptions to get access to the season when including the playoffs — and posting career-high..., look for some creativity when it comes to Floyd ’ s defense need of a throwback, and 61.5! Competing for playing time after seeing just 11 snaps in two years player. 75 shares share tweet text email link Josh Keatley ple of my 2020 linebacker rankings back on its missed to...

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