My ranking of the 2018 Draft Class of Linebackers (for fantasy purposes)

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My ranking of the 2018 Draft Class of Linebackers (for fantasy purposes)

Postby lukkynumber13 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:54 pm

1. Roquan Smith, Georgia (6’1/236) - Classic example of “undersized” (except not really in the modern era) WILL ‘backer who wants to clean up tackles all over the field. (Probable top-15 pick)
Roquan reminds me of Deion Jones in more than 1 way

2. Rashaan Evans, Alabama (6’3/234) – For a guy who’s almost a 1st-round lock, Evans is NOT a freak athlete like some of his peers. What he is is a really smart and strong-handed linebacker who should be able to line up in multiple spots, in multiple schemes. It’s been a couple years since we’ve seen raging success from a Saban linebacker, but don’t let that sway you. This kid should be one of the 1st IDPs drafted in every league. (Probable late 1st)
I see Jarrad Davis when I watch Evans


3. Tremaine Edmunds, V Tech (6’5/253) – Has a legit chance to be the 1st linebacker drafted in April, and probably should be. Why is he 3rd on my list? Because he’s not yet ready to be a 3-down guy, so I would hesitate to rely on him as a fantasy starter right away; we saw this last year with another long-armed, athletic LB: Zach Cunningham. (Probable top-15 pick)
Edmunds carries elements of Cunningham in his game, albeit with much more physical upside

4. Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State (6’4/256) – Big ol’ fast white boy. This dude is a FREAK athlete, and has some serious defensive chops to go with it. Again, he’s a little raw, but has some great IDP seasons ahead of him. (Probable late 1st)
Reminds me a lot of Benardrick McKinney – very similar size, and both are skilled pass rushers in addition to playing off the ball

5. Jerome Baker, Ohio State (6’1/229) – Man, I hate writing this but I just don’t see the cause for so much hype with Baker. Yes, he’s super fast. Yes, he comes from “Linebacker U”. But is he instinctive? Is he gritty? Will he get crushed between bodies that are as fast as him but weigh 40 lbs more? I just don’t know… But, he will be off the board by the end of Round 2, which means he WILL get every chance to prove himself in this league. (2nd round)
The best comparison is not the most encouraging one: Darron Lee


6. Darius Leonard, SC State (6’2/213) – Very slight frame, looks awkward adjusting to angles at times, but is also explosive and chases the ball with very real speed (his combine was marred by injury) & decisiveness. (2nd or 3rd round)
Telvin Smith is a good aspirational comp

7. Malik Jefferson, Texas (6’3/236) – His highlight videos are the stuff of legend. He can look like a lovechild spawned from the tape of Kuechly, Bobby Wagner, and CJ Mosley… And yet scouts also kinda can’t stand him, as he seems to lack some basic elements of the game, and there are also attitude and commitment-to-the-game concerns. His ceiling is literally as high as anyone, but just beware of his floor. (2nd or 3rd round)
When he’s “ON”, he’s a rangier version of KJ Wright

8. Josey Jewell, Iowa (6’1/235) – Insert stereotypical white athlete clichés here, because they all apply to Jewell. Slow, a bit undersized, tough, very cerebral, etc. One encouraging aspect is that other than his 40 time, which was rough, he tested out pretty darn well! Much better than Rashaan Evans, for instance. (Rounds 2-4)
All sentimentality aside, I see a lot of the late Edwin Jackson here

9. Fred Warner, BYU (6’3/227) – Kind of the prototypical “good but not great” in everything linebacker. Tested well overall, and looks good on tape. Didn’t usually play the highest-level of athletes, but I think he’ll carve out a solid role in the NFL. (Rounds 2-4)
He plays a bit like Deone Bucannon, although Warner is a tad bigger

10. Christian Sam, ASU (6’2/237) – One of my pre-draft crushes so far, Sam appears to be everything you’d want in an off-ball LB. Good size, good-enough athleticism, and lots of aggression. People who are much smarter than me and do this for a living seem to think he’s a day-3 guy, which is the only reason he’s this low. (Rounds 3-5)
Jerrell Freeman is his ceiling, but Jon Bostic might be a more realistic goal for his future?

11. Shaquiem Griffin, UCF (6’1/227) – Set aside all the feel-good stuff (which I’m not trying to disrespectfully minimize, as he is incredibly impressive and truly inspirational, but I’m here for football) – This dude is a FREAK. He looks like Reuben Foster out there chasing ball-carriers. The funny thing is, he wasn’t an off-ball LB at Central Florida. He was strictly a pass-rusher. So I guess that makes him Hassan Reddick 2.0? How’d that work out? GULP. He will have a guaranteed role for years as a special-teamer, but I think he has a real shot to be a legit player at WLB if he can master the position change. (Rounds 2-4)
Kemal Ishmael is who comes to mind

12. Oren Burks, Vanderbilt (6’3/233) – Incredible freak of an athlete, one of the more impressive guys from the combine. His tape was surprisingly good too, from what I could see! Again though, the NFL brass is projecting him towards the end of the draft so there must be some major inconsistencies that I wasn’t able to see? (Rounds 3-5)
Kiko Alonso, when Burks is at his best

13. Mike McCray, Michigan (6’4/248) – Not a freak athlete, but much better than I expected given his monstrous size. I assume scouts aren’t in love with the Wolverine’s cover skills, or else I’d imagine he’d be a day-2 guy. I’m very interested to watch his transition into the pros. (Rounds 3-6)
He’s almost a mix of both Texans' ILBs, Cunningham & McKinney

14. Genard Avery, Memphis (6’1/255) – This dude is weird. Short but big-bodied, ELITE speed (similar 40-time to Baker, 4.59 vs 4.53 from Baker), really raw on tape. I don’t know what to think when watching him. He is seriously so awkward and overruns the play constantly, yet his speed is evident on film. (Day 3)
Nick Vigil is the closest comp I can think of when watching him, and that is NOT a compliment

15. Jack Cichy, Wisconsin (6’2/234) – Stud at knowing the game of football. Looks like a limited athlete, and no fresh tape on him since he missed 2017 with injury. He’ll definitely be useful somewhere, however, as he’s a very instinctual and efficient defender. (Day 3)
A better version of Riley Bullough (who was one of my darlings in last year’s crop)

16. Tegray Scales, Indiana (6’0/230) – Similar to Jewell in almost every way. Knows how to be, but small and not athletic. (5th round - UDFA)
Maybe a Todd Davis type?


17. Chris Worley, Ohio State (6’2/230) – Ok, this is my official baby of the 2018 draft class for LBs. I love Worley’s tape, and think he should be gone by the end of round 4. Most will disagree with that assessment, and label him a future UDFA. He tested very poorly, but numbers ain’t everything! (5th round - UDFA)
He plays a lot like Anthony Hitchens, for better or for worse

18. Andre Smith, UNC (6’0/237) – Almost impossible to find tape on him, but he’s fun to watch. Strong, physical, doesn’t lack explosion. Bad in coverage, and coming off of injury. (5th round - UDFA)
Antonio Morrison, perhaps

19. Micah Kiser, Virginia (6’2/240) – Kendell Beckwith, but not as sturdy. NEXT! (5th round - UDFA)

20. Matthew Thomas, FSU (6’3/232) – Malik Jefferson, but suckier in 2017. Seriously. This dude just about broke the combine (if it wasn’t for his teammate, fellow underperformer Josh Sweat, I think MT would’ve gotten some more press) and I love his flashes on the field, but he just seems to lack a football brain. (4th round - UDFA)
RIVERS, Jimmy G, J Allen, Dalton
GURLEY/MIXON/GORDON, Jacobs, McCoy, Gio, Martin, Ware, Gallman, Ollison, B Anderson, Barnes
NUK/EVANS/K ALLEN/DIGGS/GOLLADAY, DJ Moore, Sammy, Pettis, Edelman, McLaurin, Crabtree, Dez, D Slayton, Sherfield, Terry G
KITTLE, Herndon, Knox, Eifert, Witten
DL: J BOSA/BUCKNER/C JORDAN/DUNLAP/GRIFFEN, N Bosa, Quinnen, Burns, Houston, B Graham
LB: MCKINNEY/VAN NOY/TAVAI, Okereke, KJW, Barron, Jewell
DB: JOHNSON III/TJ-MAC/ABRAM, Tartt, M Blair, Geathers, Burnett, W Harris, A Phillips, Q Diggs

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Re: My ranking of the 2018 Draft Class of Linebackers (for fantasy purposes)

Postby dlf_jaronf » Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:28 am

Great list and info!

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