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2019 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

LSU v Florida Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Dolphins will enter the season with a respectable linebacking corp. Raekwon McMillan is looking fully healthy coming off a torn ACL that stole his rookie season away, Kiko Alonso is a seasoned vet that certainly is one of our leaders on defense and Jerome Baker is an undersized but athletic linebacker that brings a lot to the table. I am actually pretty excited about the future with Baker and McMillan.

However, even with some promising young guys, I still think we need to keep addressing the LB position. For years, the Dolphins LB corps has been a liability. I like where we are now, but God forbid, injuries happen and depth is always needed; that’s why I view the LB position as an area of need still.

All that said, I think there are some real stars in this potential LB class and it all starts with Devin White; his tape is simply fun to watch....

Devin White, LSU, (Jr)

Man, Devin White is the real deal. He is certainly the best linebacker I have watched film on so far in the early stages of the 2019 NFL Draft. He is an insanely quick, violent tackler, does a great job of fighting through traffic and plays with tremendous awareness. He’s got a very aggressive style of play that sometimes gets him into trouble; but I see a natural leader on the field that brings passion, intensity and game changing ability. He’s a sideline to sideline LB that can read and react without skipping a beat. I don’t love his size, he often struggles to disengage, struggles against bigger linemen, but he’s a alpha dog that has elite talent. I truly am excited to watch him this up coming college football season.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Notre Dame vs Louisiana State Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin, (Sr)

Edwards is a talented linebacker. At first, he didn’t wow me, but as I dug more and more into his tape I really started to see what kind if player he is. He’s a stout guy that plays with good technique and discipline. He’s got great play recognition and is comfortable in coverage. He’s a sure tackler and can be violent at times. Again, he’s not going to blow you away with athleticism but Edwards can play. His Michigan tape from last season is really good...Edwards is definitely a guy we need to keep an eye on.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Allen, Kentucky, (Sr)

Josh Allen is a big, athletic, and quick linebacker who plays hard on every down. He’s more of a pass rusher than anything else, but I think he can play multiple LB positions. Last year I thought he was a little raw and needed to add strength, so the decision he made to stay at Kentucky was (in my mind) the correct one. He’s got the opportunity this season to really establish himself as one of the top LBs in the country.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Te’Von Coney, Notre Dame, (Sr)

Coney’s tape impressed me. He’s an aggressive linebacker; he’s got good hand use, does a great job of fighting through traffic, can be a violent tackler, and he’s got quick feet. He looks the part too, he’s got great size. I am not sure about his overall speed but I thought he did pretty well in coverage. He certainly needs to be a little more aware and get stronger but I like Coney and am looking forward to watching him this season.

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Notre Dame Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Anfernee Jennings, Alabama (Jr)

Jennings is a big, solid linebacker that plays really hard. He’s got a good motor, is a great tackler, very stout and hard to move. I think he flies to the ball and seems to always be in on the play. He’s not an elite athlete but Jennings has potential to really set himself up as one of the top linebackers in the country.

AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Cameron Smith, USC, (Sr)

Cameron Smith is an instinctive and smart linebacker that isn’t the most athletic guy but is always around the ball and is a tackling machine. I like Smith’s style; he’s always got an eye on the ball, has great play recognition, and looks like a leader on the field. Like I said though, I think he’s limited athletically, his change of direction speed is just ok, and his quickness/acceleration does not impress me. With all that said though, where he lacks athletically, he makes up for with instincts, intelligence and discipline. Cameron Smith will not blow you away but he’s a talented and tough LB that is tough to beat.

UCLA v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Germaine Pratt, N.C. St. (Sr)

I’ve only watched a couple games of Pratt so my analysis here will be limited, but from what I’ve seen, he’s a pretty athletic LB. I think he does a good job of locating the football and making the tackle. I think he moves pretty well and can get through traffic quickly. I’d like to see him shed blockers better and be more consistent; but Pratt is another talented LB that could have a big season.

North Carolina State v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Tre Lamar, Clemson, (Jr)

Lamar is a tough, stout and sure-tackler. He can locate the ball quickly and fights off blockers well. I was not super impressed with his athleticism; I think his change of direction speed isn’t great and his hips look tight. However, Lamar is just a junior and may not even be in this draft; he’s young and could improve dramatically over this season and potentially next season as well.

Playstation Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Clemson Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Other LB prospects:

Jamal Davis, Akron (Sr)
Andrew Van Ginkel Wisconsin, (Sr)
D’Andre Walker Georgia (Sr)
Terrill Hanks, New Mexico St. (Sr)
Nate Hall Northwestern, (Sr)
Ryan Connelly Wisconsin (Sr)
Charles Wright, Vanderbilt (Sr)
Mack Wilson, Alabama (Jr)
Jordan Jones, Kentucky (Sr)
Joe Bachie, Michigan St. (Sr)
Kendall Joseph, Clemson (Sr)
Terrell Lewis, Alabama (Jr)