Serritella: 2019 NFL Draft Primer – LBs
NFL Draft Scout analyst Ric Serritella has been covering the draft for nearly two decades, gaining a reputation around the league as one of the most dependable resources for insider information. He provides a positional preview of his top five players at each position, along with a small school prospect worth keeping an eye on come draft weekend!
Top 5 Linebackers
Devin White, LSU – On and off the field, White looks like a future franchise pillar and a rare inside linebacker worthy of top 10 consideration. He wins with an ideal blend of sideline to sideline speed, toughness to take on and discard would-be blockers quickly and excellent diagnosis skills.
Devin Bush, Michigan – An excitable talent, Bush owns a combination of speed and physicality that every NFL team is looking for. His gambling style can lead to big plays and he’s a bit shorter than preferred but Bush shows tremendous intensity, plus high leadership qualities.
Mack Wilson, Alabama – While not as technically refined as some of the past star linebackers Alabama has sent on to the NFL in recent years, Wilson boast raw athleticism that few others have had. He'll make an immediate impact on special teams with the upside to develop into a standout starter capable of playing all four downs.
Voesean Joseph, Florida – A coordinated athlete with the instincts and agility, he showcases the speed to beat backs to the sideline and has improved his instincts in coverage. Joseph is a young mustang who needs to be reined in a bit but the team that gambles on his athletic upside could be handsomely rewarded.
Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii – A four-year starter with legitimate NFL size, athleticism and production, Tavai is quick to read and react, showing good key and diagnosis skills to step up and take on hard-charging blockers in the hole. He’s expected to become the first Rainbow Warriors defender to be drafted since the then-St. Louis Rams took a seventh round flyer on Aaron Brown in 2012.
Small School Sleeper
Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois – A pint-sized pass rusher who recorded a staggering 29 sacks and 56.5 tackles over the past two seasons at NIU, Smith will likely have to earn a living on the inside if he is to make it at the next level. His lack of length is evident but a high motor, excellent strength, natural instincts and relentless pursuit will be appealing to NFL teams.
*For expansive player rankings in even more in-depth scouting reports, be sure to download Ric Serritella’s 2019 NFL Draft Bible, available here!