Rankings and what to watch for out of all the inside linebacker prospects invited to the 2020 NFL Combine.
2020 NFL Combine: Inside Linebackers
Date: Saturday, February 29: DL, LB
Live Stream: fuboTV (click to watch for free)
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Network: NFL Network
From the college perspective. here are rankings and quick looks at all of the inside linebackers invited to the 2020 NFL Combine.
Before getting into the top five breakdown, here’s a ranking of the best of the rest and what to look for.
2020 Pre-NFL Combine Inside Linebacker Best of the Rest Rankings
Number in parentheses is the projected round drafted before the NFL Combine.
23. Clay Johnston, Baylor 6-1, 232 (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: A try-hard tackler who turned into more of an all-around playmaker last season, he doesn’t have NFL tools. However, he has to be just athletic enough to look like a special teamer who can potentially fill a role as an emergency option on the inside.
22. Chapelle Russell, Temple 6-1, 230 (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: A very good, very tough, very steady producer over the last three seasons, he was a good college football player with decent potential as a late flier, but medical evaluations on a banged up knee after two ACL tears will be an issue.
21. Michael Divinity, LSU 6-2, 241 (OLB) (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: He can play a variety of positions, and he’s got a decent combination of size and pass rushing skills, but he was just okay for the Tigers and missed most of last season. The interview process will be big, but he has to show off enough tools to be worth a draft pick.
20. Daniel Bituli, Tennessee 6-3, 252 (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: A great hitter who’ll be a tough guy’s tough guy in practices, but he’s got to show some semblance of NFL athleticism. He’s got the size, and someone will love to take a chance, but he has to be able to move.
19. Scoota Harris, Arkansas 6-0, 245 (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: Moving through the short drills will be his key. There’s no questioning his thump, an he’ll beat everyone up when he gets a chance, but he can’t be brutally slow.
18. Shaun Bradley, Temple 6-1, 230 (OLB) (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: Does he have a set spot, and does he have the NFL tools to find a job anywhere on a defense? He’s not quick enough for the outside, and he’s not enough of a thumper for the inside. He’ll make a squad on special teams, though.
17. Willie Gay, Mississippi State 6-2, 240 (OLB) (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: He’s big and can run, but he didn’t do a whole lot in the Miss State linebacking corps with 99 tackles in three years. However, he has all the tools. The interview will be the big part of the weekend after missing half of last year suspended.
16. Joe Bachie, Michigan State 6-2, 231 (6)
NFL Combine What Matters: Just how much are teams going to care about him getting nailed for PEDs? He’s a great player who’ll hit everything, but he has to workout well enough – he’s hardly a blazer – to overcome the concerns.
15. David Woodward, Utah State 6-2, 235 (7)
NFL Combine What Matters: Here’s the problem – his injury concerns might be too much to overcome. He was ultra-productive, he’s just big enough to be fine, and he was a terrific all-around volume tackler for the Aggies. However, the medical evaluation is going to be a big, big concern after missing half of last year.
14. Francis Bernard, Utah 6-1, 230 (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: A great all-around playmaker for a fantastic defensive front, he’s great at getting to the ball and he never quits on a play. Can he move, though? He needs to be smooth through the short drills – and quick, too.
13. Mykal Walker, Fresno State 6-3, 230 (OLB) (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: He’ll never be a big-time athlete who’ll fly all over the field, but he’s a good-sized tackler who’ll make a roster as a special teamer and will offer the versatility to play any linebacker position.
12. Cale Garrett, Missouri 6-3, 230 (Free Agent)
NFL Combine What Matters: It really, really stinks that he got knocked out for the year with a pectoral injury. A hitting machine, he needs the medical evaluation to check out fine. He might not be the most athletic of NFL prospects, but he’s the type who finds his way on a team and turns into a sneaky-good starter.
11. Jordan Mack, Virginia 6-2, 230 (6)
NFL Combine What Matters: Everyone will want him on their team as a possible coach on the field. He’s one of the best and smartest leaders in the entire draft at any position, but he won’t do a thing in pass coverage and he’s missing the raw thump against the run. Someone will want him, and on the field in the workout, he needs to provide a reason why.
10. Markus Bailey, Purdue 6-1, 240 (5)
NFL Combine What Matters: A great leader and a thumper, he’ll deliver against the run and he’s always moving – he never quits. However, he’s had major knee issues – the medical evaluation will mean everything.
9. Dante Olson, Montana 6-3, 240 (6)
NFL Combine What Matters: He’ll bring the right frame and size, and he’ll bring the resumé with a whole lot of tackles and great tape. Can he run at all, though? He’s a one-gear guy – he’ll stop everything against the run, but that’s it – and it’s just fine.
8. Davion Taylor, Colorado 6-1, 225 (OLB) (5)
NFL Combine What Matters: He’s way too small, but he can really, really move. There will be others who’ll come up with more impressive workouts, but he’s going to fly around the drills. He needs a workout to be worth the mid-round flier.
7. Jacob Phillips, LSU 6-4, 233 (5)
NFL Combine What Matters: A great volume tackler, he might not offer a whole lot of splash at the next level, but he’ll get on the field and work his way into a rotation. If he can show any flash, he’ll quickly move up.
6. Shaquille Quarterman, Miami 6-1, 241 (6)
NFL Combine What Matters: So what that he’s not all that fast and is only a run stopper – get him on your defense and just see if he doesn’t take it over. Just a little bit of movement will be enough to make someone want him – he’s the guy everyone would love to have, leadership-wise.