The Early Bird List: Linebackers

Here we are with the next part. The early bird list for linebackers. This class looks to have some solid depth, but lacks elite talent at the top. Again this list is alphabetical.

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Brian Asamoah – Oklahoma

Asamoah while not the biggest at 6’0 230 is well built. He is athletic and explosive. He also have experience rushing the passer. Has the athleticism and skills to be a sideline to sideline player. Asamoah has shown some decent coverage skills, Although they could be better. He can get overaggressive against the run at times. He needs to play with more patience. Still has the frame to add some more weight. With a big year he could really move up. He probably would be best off as a 4-3 weakside linebacker.

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Terrel Bernard – Baylor

Bernard is undersized at 6’1 222 ish. He plays a strong physical game for being undersized. Flies around the field and plays sideline to sideline. Plays well in coverage. His frame doesn’t look like it can hold much more weight. He might max out at 230ish. Bernard plays hard and hits with force. He also shows good tackling form on film. Really productive and always seems to make the right reads. He does have trouble at the point of attack due to his average length and size. Also he does have an injury history that must be checked into. Similar to Asamoah where he will probably have to play on the weakside.

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Jack Campbell – Iowa

Campbell is big (6’5 245) and athletic. 2020 was a kind of breakout season for him but he missed time with injuries. He started five games and had 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, an interception and 4 passes defensed in those games. Major upside. He has all the talent to be a top linebacker in the league. If he can stay healthy and have a big year he could be the first linebacker taken. Or he could end up staying for his senior year. Its hard to say at this point.

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Amari Gainer – Florida State

Another explosive run and chase linebacker in this class. He is similar in size to the others at 6’3 232. Gainer brings speed and athleticism to the field. Gainer has great length. He has even covered some receivers. He does not look like his frame can hold much more weight. Already he is a solid all around player, but still needs to take it to the next level. Lots of upside still there. He is another run and chase linebacker in this class. Another guy probably best fit for the weakside in a 4-3.

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Micah McFadden – Indiana

McFadden is another slightly undersized (6’1 232) but athletic linebacker in this class. He is probably not to the level athlete some of the other undersized guys are though. The Indiana Hoosier is a solid all around player. He also has shown he has pass rush potential. McFadden is very instinctual. A solid run defender. He shows good acceleration and moves fluidly. Super competitive player, you do not have to worry about him ever taking a down off. He has experience at both weakside and inside linebacker. Also plays a physical brand of football. Coverage skills are ok, but they could be improved.

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Ventrell Miller – Florida

Miller is 6’1 226 but looks bigger. He is another in a long line of athletic undersized linebackers in this class. Miller plays sideline to sideline. He has experience playing both weakside and inside linebacker. A big hitter with good tackling form. Once he gets his hands on a player they go down. He shows some hip stiffness in coverage, which might give him problems in the NFL. Miller shows potential as a blitzer. A lot of his weight is in his upper half and that makes him a little top heavy. His length is underwhelming. His short arms cause him trouble in getting off blocks. Another guy who is probably better off on the weakside. His motor can run hot and cold. To really move up in the draft he will have to fix that.

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Mike Rose – Iowa State

Rose is big at 6’4 250. He has big hands and long arms that help him defeat blockers and take down ball carriers. Big, strong, and physical run defender. He does well attacking gaps. Does well stacking and shedding blockers. His motor runs at 100%. Athletically he is just average. His coverage skills also need a lot of work. Anything you ask him to do he will do it. While he is a solid tackler he could improve, especially because of his long arms he can be a real good tackler. A high floor low ceiling type player.

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Jack Sanborn – Wisconsin

Sanborn is another in the long line of Wisconsin Badger linebackers. He has average size at 6’1 235 with average athleticism. He plays physical and hits with power. Sanborn shows excellent instincts on film. He also shows a good ability to defeat blocks from offensive linemen. He really improved his tackling in 2020. His hips are a bit tight and that shows up in his deficiencies in coverage. He shows some potential as a blitzer. There are questions if he will be able to play all three downs in the NFL. He is going to have to impress at the combine.

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