The were twenty-one LBs selected in the 2021 draft, as follows:
Round 1 - 3
Round 2 - 3
Round 3 - 4
Round 4 - 3
Round 5 - 4
Round 6 - 2
Round 7 - 2
The 2021 LB draft was deep with some high caliber players, some even falling into Day 3. With ten guys selected in Rounds 1-3, you could argue that it was one of the more respectable drafts we've seen at the position.
The 2022 LB draft does not have as much top-tier talent as 2021 had, but I think its water runs deeper. There a quite a few guys on the list below that may fall to Day 3, but will be able to compete right away and end up making the squad.
1) Nakobe Dean | 6'0 | 225 | LB | Georgia
9/4 - Clemson - Dean had a great game. He amassed 5 tackles, 2 sacks. While his success was partly due to a great defensive scheme and the great talent around him, it was easy to recognize his value. He played with very good speed, was excellent knifing through the LOS to create pressure. When in a true off ball capacity, he sniffed out run plays well and was able to close in on the ball carrier.
10/30 - Florida - Dean flashed as a middle blitzer while showing impressive speed and overall range in space.
12/5 - Alabama - Dean flashed, showed off his ability to read and quickly react to the run. He also looked very adept blitzzing up the middle, as per usual.
12/31 - Michigan - Dean showed why he won the Butkus award. He read plays very well and wasted no time shooting gaps and closing in on the ball. While not real big, he was a wrecking crew out there and had little issues working through the fray of blockers. He posted 7 tackles, 2 TFLs, 1 sack.
2) Devin Lloyd | 6'3 | 232 | LB | Utah
9/11 - BYU - Lloyd had a very good game. While the stat line of 13 tackles is impressive, the way he played really stood out. He read plays very well and wasted no time shooting play gaps. He looked very athletic, sporting speed and range as a whole.
3) Christian Harris | 6'2 | 232 | LB | Alabama
9/4 - Miami - Harris had a very good game. He recorded 5 tackles, 2 TFLs. He diagnosed plays very well, looked very adept scraping the LOS and breaking on the ball carrier. He looked good on stunts and comfortable dropping in space to cover. He looked like a complete LB.
9/18 - Florida - Harris had a down game. Stat lines aside, he made some bad reads and was bodied at times by releasing O-linemen. He didn't stand out as a striker, and often looked stodgy in pursuit. He simply didn't look like the Round-1 prospect most tout him to be.
11/20 - Arkansas - Harris was solid today, chipped in with 5 tackles. Outside of a couple plays, he really didn't stand out however.
12/5 - Georgia - Harris chipped in with 5 tackles, really looked the part on a couple of them, showing god scrape and close abilities. He did get hemmed up at times, but never looked bad.
4) Brandon Smith | 6'3 | 241 | LB | Penn State
9/4 Wisconsin - Smith had a solid, but not great game. he showed off good athleticism and generally solid when dropping into space for coverage. In his 8 tackles, 6 of which were solo stops, he read plays well and was quick to close. He didn't strike me as being real physical however, and there were other plays where he just looked like another body out there. The ability looks to be there, but he's raw.
10/30 - Ohio State - Smith was a bit up and down in this one. He did pace his team with 8 tackles, showed some good read and react skills at times. However, he got hemmed up on others, allowed some chunk runs.
11/13 - Michigan - Smith had a decent game. He had 10 tackles and was around the ball often. While he lacked aggressiveness at times, he read plays well and did his part. Overall, he did give up some yards as he was unable to sift through the fray.
5) Channing Tindall | 6'2 | 230 | LB | Georgia
6) Chad Muma | 6'2 | 236 | LB | Wyoming
12/21 - Ken State - Muma had a very solid game, really flashed versatility. He was used often as an off-ball LB, shot gaps from both inside and outside. While he was off on a few reads, he was generally very sound. He showed good speed laterally and in straight line pursuit. He finished the game with 13 tackles.
7) Quay Walker | 6'4 | 240 | LB | Georgia
9/4 Clemson - Walker got lost in the shuffle amid some great defensive performances, but he carried out his assignments well in spot duty fashion.
10/30 - Florida - Walker had a very good game. He paced his squad with 13 tackles, showed off good play recognition and range. He was seldom away from the ball in this one.
8) Zakoby McClain | 6'0 | 220 | LB | Auburn
10/30 - Ole Miss - McClain had a fantastic game. While the stat sheet is gaudy with 14 tackles and 2 sacks, his play matched every bit of it. He played with great instincts, range, and wasted zero time closing in on the ball.
11/13 - Mississippi State - McClain had a very good game, highlighted by his 1st half play. He read plays very well and closed in on the ball with speed and tenacity. He had 13 tackles, 10 of which are solo stops.
9) Leo Chenal | 6'2 | 260 | LB | Wisconsin
10/30 - Iowa - Chenal had an impressive game. He paced his squad with 9 tackles, 2 TFLs. While he wasn't fantastic playing in coverage, he was adequate on routes within 7 yards of the LOS. When operating in said proximity, the guy was a beast. He was very stout in taking on blocks from O-linemen, and was a menace was firing into the backfield. While testing may/will determine if he can be a 3-down player where coverage is required, he looked like a great in the box type.
10) Brian Asamoah | 6'1 | 228 | LB | Oklahoma
10/30 - Texas Tech - Asamoah posted just 4 tackles, but he played assignment football and provided swarming coverage as applicable.
11/13 - Baylor - Asamoah had a decent game overall. On the down side, he bit on run fakes and misdirection plays, which rendered him out of position at times. On the flip side, when he guessed correctly, he was a heat-seeking missile that closed in on ball carriers very quickly. He had 10 tackles, 1.5 TFLs.
11) Damone Clark | 6'3 | 240 | LB | LSU
9/4 - UCLA - Clark was very active in this contest, pacing his team with 14 tackles, 10 solo stops. On the plus side, he tracked plays well and was around the ball often. On the down side, he was off on a few reads and was suspect in pass coverage. UCLA gutted LSU's defense on the ground, and Clark did little to stop that from occurring.
12) Josh Ross | 6'2 | 230 | LB | Michigan
9/4 Western Michigan - Ross had a solid game. He was off on a few reads, but diagnosed plays well for the most part. What stood out the most in his 6-tackle performance was his range. He looked fast in pursuit, was able to cover a lot of ground.
9/11 - Washington - Ross played at a frenetic pace and really stood out. He excelled as a blitzer, shot gaps well and was very fast getting to the ball. He showed very good sideline to sideline range, and was around the ball all night. He paced his squad with 11 tackles, also had 3 QBH's.
9/25 - Rutgers - Ross had a very good game. He was credited with 6 stops, 4 of which were solo tackles, also chipped in 2 TFLs. He excelled as a blitzer and diagnosed plays quite well overall. He flashed solid speed in space.
10/30 - Michigan State - Ross had another solid game. Yes, Walker ran like a person possessed, but you simply can't point the finger at Ross on these. The heady LB did a good job keeping gap integrity. While he did in fact get hemmed up a few times, he read both run and pass plays well and responded admirably.
11/13 - Penn State - Ross had a great night. He swarmed the ball all night, was rarely out of the action. He read plays well and wasted no time closing in on the ball. He had 11 tackles, 2 TFLs.
13) Terrell Bernard | 6'1 | 222 | LB | Baylor
11/13 - Oklahoma - Bernard had a very solid game. While he looked solid in off-ball duties, he was most effective when utilized as a blitzer. He was quick to gash through cracks in the line and create pressure against the run and pass. He had 9 tackles, 2 sacks. He was around the ball often in this one.
14) Micah McFadden | 6'2 | 232 | LB | Indiana
9/18 - Cincinnati - McFadden was having a great game, was then ejected for a bogus targeting penalty. What was most impressive, in a bad way, was how his team responded after said departure. They really slumped, which evidenced his value to the squad.
10/16 - Michigan State - McFadden had a very good game. He notched 9 tackles, 1.5 sacks. Whether blitzing or operating in and off-ball capacity in space, he looked the part. He read and diagnosed plays well, was fluid in space and dropped the hammer as a tackler.
15) Jojo Domann | 6'3 | 235 | LB | Nebraska
8/28 Illinois - Domann had a very meh game, only recording 1 tackle on the day. While he showed some ability to play/cover in space, there was nothing that stood out in his game. His teammate Caleb Tannor looked better by comparison.
16) Edefuan Ulofoshio | 6'1 | 240 | LB | Washington
9/11 - Michigan - Ulofoshio had a good game. Michigan ran at will against Washington, but the majority of these runs can't be blamed on this LB. He read plays well and was quick to meet the ball carrier before an O-lineman could cleanly secure a block. He was in on 13 tackles, around the ball often.
17) Ellis Brooks | 6'1 | 240 | LB | Penn State
9/4 Wisconsin - Brooks was a pleasant surprise in this one. He paced his team with 11 stops, 8 of which were solo, also got a sack. His game wasn't perfect, as I counted three plays where he didn't diagnose the play and gave up extra yards. One of those was pretty egregious. That said, he flowed well to the ball and was active getting in on the paly to make the tackle. There were a number of snaps where he looked better than his more highly touted teammate Brandon Smith.
10/30 - Ohio State - Brooks had 7 tackles, showed off some good play recognition. On the flip side, he was a step slow a few times and got caught up in the fray.
11/13 - Michigan - Brooks paced his squad with 16 tackles. He read his D-linemen well, operated behind them in solid fashion. That said, he did give up plus yards on a few runs, lacked the strength to beat blocks.
18) Jack Sanborn | 6'1 | 232 | LB | Wisconsin
9/4 Penn State - Sanborn had himself a fine day. Aside from one run of 34 yards by Noah Cain, Penn State couldn't move the ball on the ground, and Sanborn was one reason why. He diagnosed plays well, flowed to the ball well and stuck his nose into the action. He also looked very adept and effective when executing blitzes, stunts. He had 5 tackles, 1 sack.
10/30 - Iowa - Sanborn had a very solid game, posting 7 tackles and 1.5 TFLs. He proved to be a ruddy LB, a guy that can take on blocks from releasing O-linemen. He worked well in the fray and was a hammer against the run. He also looked adept in blitz packages.
19) Mike Rose | 6'4 | 245 | LB | Iowa State
9/11 - Iowa - This wasn't a great game for Rose. While he was in on 7 tackles, he had just 1 solo stop. He was out flanked on perimeter runs too often, showing his athletic limitations as it relates to range.
20) Kana'i Mauga | 6'0 | 220 | LB | USC
9/11 - Stanford - Mauga had an up and down game. While he looked the part of a 2-down run stuffer, he got burnt by the RB on a pass out of the backfield, also struggled at times holding down the perimeter on wide runs.
11/5- Arizona State - Mauga's stat sheet looks great, has he complied 11 tackles, 10 solo stops. While he looked like a heady, tough LB at times, he had some slow reads and allowed chunk yards a few times.
11/20 - UCLA - Mauga had an up and down game. While he was in on 14 stops, he was too flat-footed at times and really got tied up at the second level. He did take on blocks well and assert himself overall, he just wasn't a factor.
21) Troy Anderson | 6'3 | 235 | LB | Montana State
22) Aaron Hansford | 6'3 | 240 | LB | Texas A&M
9/4 Kent State - Hansford somewhat quietly had a solid game. While he had a couple wrong reads and didn't always take the perfect angle, he generally carried out his duties adequately. He paced his team with 8 tackles.
9/11 - Colorado - Hansford was solid today, showed off some good range vs. the run and in coverage. He was a sure tackler, had 3 solo stops.
23) Olakunle Fatukasi | 6'1 | 232 | LB | Rutgers
24) Merlin Robertson | 6'2 | 235 | ILB | Arizona State
9/11 - UNLV - Robertson had a decent game, chipping in on 4 tackles. While he showed solid movement skills and looked to be carrying out his assignments, I didn't see the splashes that so many have raved about.
10/30 - Washington State - Robertson had 4 tackles, and while he looked the part on a couple plays, he was merely average to solid overall.
11/5- USC - Robertson had a couple solid plays, but he was average overall. While he was adequate against the run, he didn't look great when dropping into coverage.
25) Mike Jones | 6'2 | 234 | LB | LSU
9/4 UCLA - DNP
26) Jeremiah Gimmel | 6'1 | 222 | LB | North Carolina
27) D'Marco Jackson | 6'0 | 230 | LB | Appalachian State
28) Chance Campbell | 6'2 | 240 | LB | Ole Miss
9/4 Louisville - Campbell jumped off the screen in this one. He was often commissioned to play the spy role on opposing QB Malik Cunningham, and he did so very well. Whether Campbell was blitzing, playing off-ball or giving chase, he really looked adept at doing each. He had 7 tackles, 1.5 TFLs.
11/6 - Liberty - I like this heady LB, but this wasn't a great game from him. While he read plays well and stuck to his assignments, he got hemmed up too often, couldn't get off blocks fast enough to prevent many runs from plus yardage.
11/25 - Mississippi State - Campbell had a nice game. While the 12 tackle-count pops out, it was him constantly swarming the ball that really deserves praise. He read plays well al night, wasted no time taking on blocks at the point of attack.
29) Nate Landman | 6'2 | 230 | ILB | Colorado
9/11 - Texas A&M - Landman had himself a fine game. While he didn't look overly fast, he played assignment football and was rarely away from the ball. he had 10 solo tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 QBH's. He looked the part operating both as an off-ball LB and blitzing.
30) James Skalski | 6'0 | 245 | LB | Clemson
9/4 Georgia - Skalski had a very good game. The stat line pops with 14 tackles, 8 of which were solo stops, leading his team in both regards. That said, he had to work for many of these. He read plays very well and wasted no time tracking the ball. On one play in particular, he showed very good functional speed as he traced down a speedster out of the backfield. His communication and overall leadership was very apparent.
31) Isaac Slade-Matautia | 6'1 | 235 | LB | SMU
9/18 - LA Tech - ISL operated in a back-up, reserve capacity. He chipped in with 4 tackles, showing adequate ability.
999) Keena Pili | 6'3 | 233 | LB | BYU
9/4 - Arizona - Pili had a very good night. He easily paced his team with tackles, amassing 17 in total, 10 solo stops. He did a very good job reading plays, wasted no time converging on the ball. He also played stout ball at the second level, was quick to take on releasing O-linemen.
9/11 - UTAH - Pili had a solid game, paced his team with 7 tackles. He read the run well and was good working through traffic to make plays on the ball.
999) Jake Hansen | 6'1 | 235 | LB | Illinois
8/28 Nebraska - Hansen started out the game on fire, but his play leveled out as the game went on. Overall, he read run plays well and showed some good ability to blitz effectively. He generally kept himself free of blocks and was able to make plays on the ball, showing good hustle and mobility.
9/17 - Maryland - Hansen was solid overall, paced his team with 11 solo tackles and had a sack. He was off an a couple reads and allowed some underneath passes, but held down his assignments for the most part.
999) Caleb Johnson | 6'1 | 230 | LB | UCLA
8/28 Hawaii - Johnson had just 2 tackles, but he looked the part a number of times. While he did have the benefit of UCLA playing with a loaded box, he looked very adept blitzing from multiple spots.
9/4 - LSU - Johnson had a solid game. While active with just 1 tackle, his INT for a 34-yard return late in the game was significant.
11/20 - USC - Johnson had a very meh game. USC ran at will against UCLA, and Johnson was hemmed up often with just 1 solo stop.
999) Henry To'oto'o | 6'2 | 225 | LB | Alabama
9/4 Miami - To'oto'o had a good game, really seemed to have a knack for sniffing out plays and closing in on the ball. While he didn't look filled out, he had enough sand in his pants to assert himself as a tackler. He chipped in with 7 stops on the day.
9/18 - Florida - To'oto'o had a decent, but not great game. Big runs often weren't to his assignment, but he didn't stand out much either. He looked good in run and chase, but wasn't the striker 'Bama could've used in this one.
11/20 - Arkansas - To'oto'o had a good game. He was constantly around the ball or in the play. He posted 13 tackles, 3 TFLs. He looked like a complete LB in this one.
12/5 - Georgia - To'oto'o had 7 tackles, 6 solo stops. He read plays well and flowed well in space to make plays on the ball. While he wasn't real aggressive taking on blocks, he wasn't light either.
999) DeMarvion Overshown | 6'3 | 217 | LB | Texas
9/4 Louisiana - This was a very telling game for Overshown, showcasing what he is and is not. On the plus side, he really flashed as a run and chase LB. He displayed very good mobility, range overall. This is the main reason he paced his squad with 13 tackles. On the flip side, only 4 of the said 13 tackles were solo stops. Overshown is effective when can maneuver through blockers, or not have to deal with them at all. When he does have to ward off blocks, he can struggle. He simply doesn't appear to have the strength or girth to handle them. He reminds me of Isaiah Simmons on the AZ Cardinals.
9/11 - Arkansas - Overshown did pace his team with 8 tackles, but I think this was a poor outing for him. When in a capacity where he didn't have to contend with a blocker at the second level, he was very good closing on the ball. However, he got bodied several times by blockers and gave up some huge yards. Arkansas rushed for 333 yards...
999) Owen Pappoe | 6'1 | 226 | LB | Auburn
10/30 - Ole Miss - Pappoe had a solid game, chipped in with 5 tackles. Whether playing in the middle or off the edge, he played with speed and range.
999) Amari Gainer | 6'2 | 225 | LB | Florida State
9/4 Notre Dame - Gainer had a somewhat forgettable night. He was in on 6 stops, only 2 of which were solo. He generally carried out his assignments, but his play looks to have fallen off based on what I saw last year.
11/6 - NC State - Gainer had a very solid if not good game. He posted 7 tackles, all of which were solo stops. His ability to quickly diagnoze plays and close in on the ball was noticeable.
999) SirVocea Dennis | 6'1 | 220 | LB | Pittsburgh
10/23 - Clemson - Dennis had a good game. While credited with just 2 tackles, his presence stood out, as did his INT. He read plays well and was an effective blitzer up the middle.
11/11 - North Carolina - Dennis had a good game, paced his team with 9 tackles, 3 TFLs. he was great when blitzing, also swarmed the ball well when in an off-ball capacity.
999) Payton Wilson | 6'4 | 240 | LB | NC State
9/2 South Florida - Wilson saw limited snaps down the stretch, but he impressed while he was in. His versatility really stood out, as he played in both off-ball and and the LOS. He was very adept at blitzing from all spots, and he maneuvered well in sniffing out the run.
9/11 - Mississippi State - Wilson was having a solid game (3 tackles, 1 sack) until he got knocked out with a shoulder injury. This should be of concern, as he had surgery on both shoulders this offseason. A history of said problems could certainly impact his draft stock.
999) Ventrell Miller | 6'0 | 222 | LB | Florida