E.J. Kendricks was credited with 14 forced incompletions, which led all linebackers and came in at fifth among all defenders. 2020 NFL Draft: Final linebacker rankings. He'll look to show that 2019 was no one-year fluke as a key part of the Broncos defense in 2020. The 49ers have revamped their linebacking corps over the past three years and now boast a solid unit that fits their defensive scheme. It will be interesting to see how he fares without the Hall of Fame-bound Kuechly in the middle of that defense. Now make your pick. The Texans have one of the best linebacker duos in the league, though their depth is untested. Jack's 2019 season was not what Jaguars' fans were expecting, and you can say that for a lot of Jacksonville's defense. 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. Davis has done his best work as a blitzer, grading in the 70s in all three years and amassing 58 total pressures. 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 brings athleticism, speed and playmaking ability to the linebacker position that Pittsburgh has missed since Ryan Shazier's injury. 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. 1. 1 linebacker prospect in this year's draft class Instead, we’ve seen a solid rookie season followed by a poor 52.4 overall grade last season that ranked just 76. among linebackers. CBS Sports breaks the linebacker class into four tiers ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft. Jefferson is another player who is better in the run game and could contribute on early downs. April 14, 2020 8:00 pm. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season. 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. He’s done his best work against the run, grading at 70.0 or better in all but one year of his eight-year career. 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. 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. Wright brings a long presence to the Seahawks’ zone-heavy scheme and like Wagner, he can play the run and blitz at a level among the league’s best. Well look no further than the multi-purpose tool by the name of Isaiah Simmons! Anthony Barr returns for his seventh year with the Vikings after finishing with a 60.6 overall grade that tied for 51st last season. Joe Thomas adds veteran depth and posted a career-high 64.4 grade last season on 246 snaps. News & Analysis PFF Rankings: The NFL’s top 25 linebackers ahead of the 2020 NFL season Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. We're in the heart of rankings season here at PFF. Kendell Beckwith also returns after missing each of the past two seasons. He wasn't exactly a playmaker in coverage, with just one combined interception and pass breakup, but he was far from a liability. E.J. Dominate your IDP draft. The Steelers will be counting on him to play a big role in 2020 because the depth behind Bush and Vince Williams at linebacker is unproven at best. Tahir Whitehead takes the first crack at replacing Kuechly after two years in Oakland in which he graded in the 50s. He led all off-ball linebackers with 277 pass rushes and 33 pressures, including seven sacks. NFL Free Agents : Linebackers: Updated: 7/27/2020 : Pos: QB | RB | WR | TE | K | DL | LB | DB Note: QB, RB, WR, TE, & K rankings based on potential fantasy value for 2020. – Fantasy Football Draft Guide, Cheat Sheets & Advanced Stats The official source for NFL news, video highlights, fantasy football, game-day coverage, schedules, stats, scores and more. No other Packers linebacker has any NFL experience, as 2019 seventh-rounder Ty Summers and 2019 undrafted free agent Curtis Bolton round out the depth chart. While he made a plethora of tackles, Edmunds also missed 17 of his attempts during the regular season, sixth-most in the league, and posted a 52.2 coverage grade. Projected 40 Time: 4.7. 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. Struggles in coverage and penalties can both be pointed to as contributing factors, but neither area proved problematic for Jack in prior years. 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. Sikkema's 2021 NFL Mock Draft 3.2. 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. Look at the numbers the Rams are posting defensively. He’ll be yet another case to see if on-field production can overcome physical limitations. Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Linebacker Rankings 2020 By Athlon Sports , 7/23/20, 11:45 AM EDT Darius Leonard's ability to do it all makes him one of the top fantasy linebackers Oluokun is another undersized, athletic linebacker who ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash and wipes out underneath routes in zone coverage. So, look for some creativity when it comes to Floyd’s role with the team. He missed only four tackles all year and allowed fewer than seven yards per reception on passes that were deemed to be into his coverage. 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. He’s done his best work in the run game throughout his career, though last season’s 46.5 grade is the worst of his career. Despite the strength at linebacker, the Seahawks took a forward-thinking approach in the draft with first-rounder Jordyn Brooks out of Texas Tech. Jones was incredible in 2017, finishing with a 91.7 coverage grade while consistently making plays on the ball in crunch time. There’s no sugarcoating the Jaguars’ performance last season — their linebackers had by far the worst overall grade in the league (30.1). Seattle has a solid group of backups, as well, starting with 2019 draft picks Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. The losses of veterans Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis in recent seasons mean that Thompson is going to be relied on to lead what projects to be one of the NFL's youngest defenses. Ranking the inside linebacker prospects for the 2020 NFL Draft. April 17th, 2020. Visit ESPN to view the 2020 NFL Standings. Johnson was on precisely no one's radar heading into last season. Baltimore looks better in the long term at linebacker, and they may take a big step forward this season, as well. The pass game reigns king in today's NFL, so that kind of skill set is the most valuable to a defense. Covering receivers who are that talented one-on-one is a tough ask for any linebacker. Vander Esch was limited to just 510 snaps last season and took a step back with a 58.5 grade after a 2018 campaign in which he posted an 84.4 mark that ranked fifth in the league. 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. 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. Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was the head coach of the Browns during that time, and the hope is that he can get the best out of Kirksey, who has played just 586 snaps over the last two seasons. Houston has one of the best linebacker duos in the league heading into 2020. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates. Edwards is below average athletically, and there may be some coverage limitations, but he’s been a productive player since his freshman year at Wisconsin. Pratt and Evans will compete with third-round pick Logan Wilson and fourth-rounder Akeem Davis-Gaither. – Fantasy Football Mock Draft Tool (DraftMaster) Unfortunately for IDP enthusiasts, the linebacker class in 2020 is pretty thin. When Wright is back to form, he and Wagner make one of the league’s best duos. Littleton should help correct both those areas. Photo: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports. Cunningham uses his great length to slice through blockers to get to the ball in the run game, but he has similar coverage limitations that make him exploitable against quick running backs. 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 Jets should see a bump in production from their linebackers this season if they stay healthy. 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. By: Jaime Eisner. The Patriots also signed Brandon Copeland from the Jets, who is more of the pass-rush conversion type that New England has had success with in the past. He's earned this top spot with strong, well-rounded play throughout his career. 2021 NFL Draft Targets Giants Fans Should Watch On 10/3. But he is also pretty much a throwback player at this position in that he is much better vs. the run (mostly between the tackles) than the pass and is primarily a downhill player. Baun adds versatility to sub packages, given his ability to rush the passer or cover running backs out of the backfield. Cunningham is the playmaker of the group, leading the league in run-stop percentage last season (14.2%). It’s a pivotal year for Smith, a 2018 first-rounder who looked like the prototype for the modern-day linebacker coming out of Georgia. is coming off the worst year of his career, as he struggled mightily in zone coverage on his way to a 29.2 coverage grade while providing little else in the run game or as a pass-rusher. Oft-injured Alex Anzalone was also limited to just 46 snaps last season, but he had a strong 2018 that included a 67.8 coverage grade and 16 pressures on just 72 rushes. Our Big Board is updated regularly leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. Seattle Seahawks (Unranked) Dec 13, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks strong safety Jamal Adams (33) talks with New York Jets players and staff following a 40-3 Seattle victory at Lumen Field. 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. He has his limitations when left in single coverage, but McKinney handles short-zone responsibility well enough and has posted 70.0-plus coverage grades in three out of his five NFL seasons. Member of the FWAA. They have a slew of options, starting with first-round pick Kenneth Murray. The former college edge rusher has taken to the position switch and become an excellent zone defender, though he’s struggled against the run with a 46.8 grade over the past two years. Like Milano, Schobert is going to produce more against the pass than he is against the run. Miami desperately needs him to progress in that area, as he’s supposed to be the chase-and-run athlete of the linebacking corps. The Texans have the only two linebackers to rank in the top 10 in run defense over the past three years in Benardrick McKinney and Zach Cunningham. Many of the top ones fall into the edge rusher category, and the ones on this list are mostly tweener types who don’t necessarily fit a set role. He also missed just six tackles compared to 117 total tackles made, his 28 pressures ranked third among linebackers and his 32 run stops were tied for sixth at the position. Kansas City had four players play at least 300 snaps, with, Kansas City has been searching for a good coverage linebacker for a few seasons, and they may have found one in second-round pick. Dominate your IDP draft. Instead, we’ve seen a solid rookie season followed by a poor 52.4 overall grade last season that ranked just 76th among linebackers. Fred Warner has emerged as one of the better coverage linebackers in the league in his two seasons but needs to cut down on his 37 missed tackles, the sixth-highest total during that time. On Thursday, we rank the best linebacker corps in the NFL. The wild cards are Reuben Foster and Kevin Pierre-Louis. Kuechly excelled in all areas, but his instincts and range were at a different level — he just added a special dynamic to the defense. If we were ranking how good players could become, Edmunds would comfortably be in the top five. The Titans have a solid unit, and a smoother year in coverage from Evans could vault them into the top 10. Listed at 6-foot-4, Wright is a longer linebacker who can cause problems in coverage for opposing offenses in Seattle's zone defense. Barr has coverage limitations but has been reasonable in the run game and has rushed the passer over 100 times in each of his six seasons. These power rankings are adjusted based on coach, quarterback and the market each season. Annually one of the NFL's lowest-graded linebacker units, the Giants were no different last year and graded at 54.5, good for 23rd in the NFL. 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. It’s still not the most exciting linebacking corps in the league, but the Bengals have intriguing youth combined with veteran role players who should make this unit better. On paper, this should be one of the better linebacker units in the league, but that’s dependent on Jack bouncing back and Schobert improving his game against the run. Top 25 linebackers in the NFL heading into the 2020 season 25. His previous two efforts were the best of his career, as he posted a 73.5 grade in 2018 and an 80.2 grade in 2017. To a lesser extent, both Kwon Alexander and Dre Greenlaw give the 49ers above-average play in coverage from the linebacker position, as well. There are numerous options for Washington at linebacker this season, starting with the addition of veteran Thomas Davis Sr. Once one of the best all-around linebackers in the game, Davis has slowed down in recent years, posting grades in the 60s in three of his last four years. Our Big Board is updated regularly leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. With Cory Littleton moving on in free agency, the Rams have a big hole to fill in the back seven. NFL Stat Leaders 2020 ... Miami linebacker Jerome Baker's sack of Mahomes sets up a punt as the Dolphins' defense dominates early. You must be logged in and create a league profile to apply custom fantasy scoring to the … 2020 NFL Draft Inside Linebacker Rankings. Oh, and his 90.3 overall grade led the way at the position. NFL 2021 Draft: Top 10 prospects who opted out of 2020 due to Covid-19 . 1) Isaiah Simmons, Clemson; Ht: 6-4 Wt: 230. Blitzing linebackers are a New England staple, and the team must replace Jamie Collins’ production after he ranked second behind Hightower with 32 pressures. Johnson is a bigger linebacker by today's NFL standards at nearly 250 pounds, and he used that size to his advantage in the run game where he posted a 91.4 run-defense grade for the season. In addition, 2019 third-rounder Quincy Williams struggled to a 33.1 overall grade on 494 snaps while other players who are no longer on the team added to the poor performances from Jacksonville linebackers. The Jaguars signed Joe Schobert, who produced the eighth-best coverage grade among linebackers over the past two years (83.6). Oren Burks is the other projected starter, and he has just 195 career snaps with two years of grading in the 40s. 2020 NFL Schedule: Team ... 10 officially in the rankings and six honorable mentions. He’s flanked by K. J. Wright, who is coming off the lowest grade of his career (59.9) but put up marks of at least 65.0 or better in each of the other eight years. Now, it’s just a matter of Tampa Bay harnessing that athleticism within its defensive scheme. Even with Bobby Wagner taking a step back last season, the Seahawks have the best linebacking corps in the league. He’s slowly regressed since then, bottoming out with a 29.4 grade on just 94 snaps last season, but he’s an explosive blitzer who is worth a second look as a sub-package player. McKinney is a thumper and a leader. Find out where your favorite Linebackers stacks up against the 2021 class and view expert mock drafts. David has been one of the few consistent pieces in the Buccaneers' defense since entering the league in 2012 and is capable of making plays all over the field. Speed, a 2019 fifth-rounder, adds depth as an athletic backup, and Matthew Adams also returns after back-to-back years grading in the 50.0s on 332 total snaps. June 10, 2020 9:30 am Luke Kuechly was the best linebacker of his generation. 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. One of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season was the emergence of. Edmunds has performed well in stretches, but he has yet to put it all together for an entire season. Alonso has struggled in his past two full seasons with grades in the 40.0s, but he was off to a good start with a 69.5 overall grade last year. The 49ers have revamped their linebacking corps over the past three years and now boast a solid unit that fits their defensive scheme. Our 2020 Draft LB rankings are updated daily. Zack Lambert 5 months ago 5 min read. Taylor is still developing as a player, but he has 4.39 speed and played a challenging role in Colorado’s defense. 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. Maybe the toughest scouting reports to make, because a lot of confusion: Inside linebackers in 3-4 aren’t generally premium players in the draft, but there is always a couple that have exceptionally well rounded skillsets that sneak into early rounds. Weight: 241. It’s an entirely new look for the Raiders at linebacker, as free agents Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski are slated to see most of the snaps this season. He starts with his tiered top 25 with 26-50 soon to follow. 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. Collins will be one of several former Patriots defenders looking for success in his first season in Detroit. There’s terrific value later, and a few great ones at the top, but not a whole bunch in the middle. For that reason, we're only looking at off-ball linebackers here, whether that be outside or inside. 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. 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Linebackers. The Cowboys also return Sean Lee, who has become more of a role player at this point in his career but still brings experience and leadership to keep the unit together. A healthy Mosley will give the unit a boost, though it will always be challenging for him to live up to that contract, especially given that he’s graded in the 70s in four of his five full seasons. It's what slots him into the top 20 on this list. The Cardinals also add De’Vondre Campbell to the mix after four years in Atlanta where he posted subpar coverage grades but missed only 23 of his 291 tackle attempts. 2020 NFL Draft Prospect: Paddy Fisher-OLB-Northwestern Paddy Fisher, OLB, Northwestern Height: 6-4. The Panthers have put a lot of coverage responsibility on Thompson, and he's held up reasonably well through 546 coverage snaps in the slot since 2015 (nearly 100 more than the next closest linebacker). As PFF's Sam Monson pointed out in a piece highlighting players entering prove-it years in 2020, Smith came out of Georgia as a player who profiled to be a strong point in coverage with the athleticism, instincts and feel needed to be a difference-maker. The Raiders invested heavily at linebacker this offseason, propelling them from one of the worst to one of the best units in the league. 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. There’s little experience beyond those two, as 2019 sixth-rounder David Long played just 155 snaps as a rookie and Nick Dzubnar, who spent his first five seasons with the Chargers, has 71 career snaps. 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 Zack Baun. Johnson was a 28-year old rookie who battled legal issues and made the most of his first opportunity in the league. Cunningham uses his great length to slice through blockers to get to the ball in the run game, but he has similar coverage limitations that make him exploitable against quick running backs. Director of Administration. 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. The Browns had one of the NFL's worst linebacking units a year ago, and they enter 2020 with plenty of question marks among their young players. While he played on the edge in his time in Chicago, The rest of the unit is wide open, starting with a pair of 2018 draft picks in, Fantasy Football Draft Guide, Cheat Sheets & Advanced Stats, Fantasy Football Mock Draft Tool (DraftMaster), Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule Matrix. Expect Vander Esch to return closer to his 2018 form, as he missed 14.5% of his tackles last season compared to just 8.9% in 2018. 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. 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. Kendricks is coming off the best season in his five-year NFL career. When you look at his resume, the fact that his last Pro Bowl appearance came in 2015 is astounding. 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. Only Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner have graded better than Lavonte David’s 91.0 overall over the past three years, and that trio features the only linebackers to grade in the top 10 in both coverage and run defense over that span. October 2nd, 2020. You first think about the play that he made late in the 49ers' Week 17 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks to secure the No. The Buccaneers are hoping they found his clone in Devin White, a 2019 first-rounder who got off to a slow start with a 50.6 overall grade last 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. In the run game, Thompson uses his quickness to be effective despite being on the smaller end for a linebacker. NFL defense rankings: 10 best NFL defenses entering Week 13 10. By: Kyle Crabbs. 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. 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. It was a promising debut. Last season, Lions linebackers produced the second-worst overall grade (40.7) among the 32 units. But again remember, know how your league scores. – All Premium Article Content PFFELO Ratings are PFF’s NFL power rankings based on weekly player grades in each facet of play. Jones’ ability to patrol the middle of the field is one of the catalysts for the Falcons’ defense. Williams had 19 pressures on just 56 rushes last season en route to a career-high 76.2 overall grade. Jatavis Brown is another new addition who did his best work as a rookie in 2016 when he graded at 77.6 overall. View consensus Linebacker prospect rankings from the top NFL Draft analysts. Like several players later on this list, Smith is someone who we know has the tools to be a top-flight NFL linebacker. He broke up eight passes after breaking up just 12 in his previous seven NFL seasons combined. Visit ESPN to view the 2020 NFL Standings. Trevathan was once one of the league’s best coverage linebackers, and it’s not crazy to expect him to get back to those heights as he enters his age-30 season. I will update th ese samp le rankings periodically during the off-season to reflect changes in free agency, defensive schemes, playing time, draft selections, etc. Jalen Reeves-Maybin adds depth to the unit after earning a 54.5 grade on 298 snaps last season. Last season, Packers linebackers graded at just 58.2 overall, good for 21st in the league. Leonard has posted grades of 75.0 or higher as a run defender, pass-rusher and coverage defender since 2018 — joining Wagner and the next guy on this list (Demario Davis) as the only two linebackers to do so. Many analysts tried to figure out where Simmons' best fit at the next level, but the Cardinals have him at linebacker, where they had the third-worst coverage grade in the league last season (32.0). The Bills have a solid linebacker unit capable of matching up with running backs and flying around the field. last year, and he has 14 pass breakups and two interceptions in his young career. Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown took most of the Titans’ snaps at linebacker last season, and they both return this year. in the league last year. Athlon's player rankings are just one of the features that appear in the 2020 Pro Football magazine. Average ranking: 12.6 (12th) The Colts have one of the better linebacker groups in the league, led by, Indianapolis added more length with 2019 third-rounder. Share this article 75 shares share tweet text email link Josh Keatley. The only other linebacker on the roster with any experience is, Annually one of the NFL's lowest-graded linebacker units, the Giants were no different last year and graded at 54.5, good for 23, The Giants added a pair of linebackers in the seventh round in, There are numerous options for Washington at linebacker this season, starting with the addition of veteran, The player we’d really like to see more of is, Only three linebacking units had a lower grade than the Chiefs last season. percentile arm length among linebackers, and that length compresses passing lanes in the middle of the field. White is in line for more snaps given that he’s a former safety who performs well in the underneath zone concepts the Chargers employ. The official source for NFL news, video highlights, fantasy football, game-day coverage, schedules, stats, scores and more. The big move this offseason is the addition of Christian Kirksey to replace departed Blake Martinez. Mock Drafts you're on the clock. The Indianapolis Colts signed linebacker Chris Covington to the practice squad, the team announced Tuesday. Takitaki played just 105 snaps, showing well against the run with a 75.1 grade. Start a mock draft all mock draft posts. 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. And six honorable mentions value later, and then defensive backs ; he can play the game. Corps is very dependent on Smith ’ s best duos make a in... Him into the top NFL Draft Targets Giants Fans Should Watch on 10/3 end for a linebacker Hitchens the! League over the past three years Ryan Connelly also returns after playing 669 snaps last season when graded... 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