2019 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft Preview -- THEIR Top Three Linebacker Prospects
Looking ahead to the 2019 NFL Draft/Dynasty Rookie Draft, etc., prospects. We’re going position by position (except OL) and looking at the top 3-5 expert consensus prospects (not my top 5). I’m doing an abbreviated study of a couple game tapes and review the performance numbers through 2017 and giving my initial impressions on these prospects.
Scouting with just eyes is dangerous. I’d like to have my computer scouting models helping me, but we cannot use that tool until the pre-draft measurables, etc., are recorded. I’m a pretty decent talent evaluator of just tape after all the years, but not without flaw.
So, with that – here’s my first impressions of spending a little time with each prospect. I’m going to rank them from worst-to-best of the group and assign a school letter scouting grade as well.
Not really excited by the (supposed) top linebackers presented to me to review for 2019. Really disappointed. This is the first position I’ve reviewed where I haven’t found one guy to really get excited about.
ILB T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin (Early Prospect Grade: D)
High effort, good instincts but very unathletic. Painfully slow in pursuit side-to-side. He’s a true middle linebacker (6’0”/240) and is good for college but I think a no-go for the NFL.
OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky (Early Prospect Grade: C-)
He has a little bit of ‘the look’ (6’4”/230) but his tape, for me, was empty. He has athleticism, but he looked lost on the field…a low/no impact guy. He just blitzes from an OLB position, and usually is stopped and then just watches what’s happening. He drops into coverage a bunch too. He’s like constantly on the move, but none of those moves are making plays or standing out on the field.
I guess he’s trainable, raw clay to work with, but I just wasn’t impressed by his numbers against better competition – you look at the stat sheet and it’s like he wasn’t even playing.
ILB Devin White, LSU (Early Prospect Grade: B)
Look at last season’s tackle totals, and you’re going to laugh – 133 tackles…37 solo tackles and 96 assisted tackles. That’s right, 72% of his tackles were assisted tackles…which is usually a statistician trying to bulk up his numbers (because some just look at total tackles), or White’s just not creating havoc, only piling on plays in progress. The numbers make me think White is a joke.
I watch him on tape, and I can see the issue – poor instincts and typically out of position/reading the play wrong. I don’t see a brilliant ILB on tape.
However, he moves like rare few linebackers I’ve ever seen. His feet are crazy. He is so smooth and fluid, he floats when he moves. He’s fast and strong.
If White had Luke Kuechly instincts, White might be the single greatest linebacker in the history of football – but he doesn’t. He’s an ‘A’ athlete with a ‘C-D’ instinct for the position at this stage. Definitely worth watching to see if he improves but it’s eye-opening how great an athlete and how poor a player (for a top guy) he is.