2016 NFL Draft Snapshot: EDGE and Linebackers

In an effort to get through all of the positions before the draft, I’ll be just shortly naming some of the prospects to watch in this draft class, as well as some potential sleepers and maybe busts. I wasn’t able to go as far in depth this year as I did last year, but enough to develop a feel for the class and compile my rankings.

This year’s EDGE and off ball linebacker class is interesting as usual. The EDGE class, some of which were included in the defensive line snapshot, is a bit underwhelming. It’s pretty top heavy, and a lot of projects and developmental pieces along the way. The off ball linebacker class offers a bit more talent, and also some more traditional thumpers as well.


Top EDGE Prospect:     Noah Spence          Eastern Kentucky          6’2″ 251

Spence, a former five star recruit out of HS, was a stud at Ohio State, until he was kicked off of the team and banned from the Big Ten for multiple positive tests for ecstasy. While extremely talented, his character concerns have pushed him down some team’s boards. Prior to the Senior Bowl, Spence was thought of as a 1st round pick. After Mobile, it was thought that he could be a top 10 pick. However, after the Combine, he seems to have fallen significantly. He didn’t test overly well, but in the words of Football Gameplan’s Emory Hunt: “You don’t get any better or worse at playing football while running in track cleats and compression shorts.”

Top Linebacker Prospect:     Myles Jack          UCLA           6’1″ 245

While admittedly I’m not as high on Myles Jack as some people are, he’s easily got the highest ceiling in this class. He’s an athletic freak, despite not running a 40 yard dash, his speed is evident. Oddly enough, while he’s a linebacker, he’s in coverage an awful lot. The San Diego Chargers worked him out as a Safety, but he should be a linebacker in the NFL. He’s a bit of a projection, as any spot he’s going to be asked to play in the NFL, he simply doesn’t have a ton of snaps at in college. He’s likely a Will linebacker in a 4-3 front, however he’ll be a Nickel linebacker extraordinaire.

Biggest Bust Potential:     Leonard Floyd          Georgia          6’5″ 244

Don’t get this twisted, I don’t think Floyd will bust, he’ll be a pretty solid NFL player. However, it’ll be dependent on scheme and where his future team decides to play him. Floyd played both on the EDGE and off ball at Georgia, however he’s a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. I think he can play a 3-4 OLB spot or a Mike or Sam in a 4-3. He’s very athletic, but is a bit hit and miss. If he can improve his strength and consistency, he’ll be a force for any defense.

Biggest Sleeper:     Tyrone Holmes          Montana          6’2″ 251

When Justis Mosqueda, give him a follow at @Jumosq, talks about an EDGE player, I listen. A week or so ago he wrote a really nice article on Bleacher Report about Holmes, and after watching him more, he’s got the potential to be a huge steal in the middle to late rounds. Under recruited coming out of HS, he’s done nothing but give quarterbacks nightmares, leading the FCS in sacks a year ago. He’ll be a stud as a 3-4 OLB and situational rusher.

De’Vondre Campbell          Minnesota          6’5″ 232

Campbell is a bit of an interesting prospect. He’s got the ideal physique and frame for the position. He even ran a 4.58 at the combine, so why is he being overlooked? For starters, he’s only played at the Division 1 level for two years. Secondly, he didn’t play all that well while he was at Minnesota, not necessarily known for being a football factory. Campbell has all the physical tools if an NFL coach decides that he wants to mold them.

Small School Stud:     Matt Judon          Grand Valley State          6’3″ 275

Not that Montana isn’t a small school, but we’re going D2 here. Judon, who ran a 4.73 at the Combine in Indianapolis, shouldn’t be overlooked in this year’s draft despite the small school label. He’s got the size to be a solid 4-3 defensive end, or he could be experimented with by a 3-4 team as a run down big OLB. Either way, if he hits the 4th round, someone will be getting a steal.


My EDGE rankings:

1. Noah Spence                             Eastern Kentucky                      1st Round

2. Joey Bosa                                  Ohio State                                   1st Round (Top 10 DE)

3. Shaq Lawson                            Clemson                                       1st Round

4. Leonard Floyd                         Georgia                                         1st-2nd Round

5. Shilique Calhoun                    Michigan State                            2nd Round

6. Emmanuel Ogbah                  Oklahoma State                           2nd Round

7. Kamalei Correa                      Boise State                                     2nd Round

8. Jordan Jenkins                       Georgia                                          2nd Round

9. Kyler Fackrell                         Utah State                                      2nd-3rd Round

10. Bronson Kaufusi                  BYU                                                 2nd-3rd Round


My Linebacker Rankings

1. Myles Jack                               UCLA                                                Top 10

2. Reggie Ragland                      Alabama                                           1st Round

3. Leonard Floyd                       Georgia                                              1st Round (1st-2nd EDGE)

4. Darron Lee                            Ohio State                                         1st Round

5. Josh Perry                             Ohio State                                          1st-2nd Round

6. Su’a Cravens                         USC                                                     2nd Round

7. Deion Jones                          LSU                                                     2nd Round

8. Jaylon Smith                       Notre Dame                                       3rd Round (No. 1 LB before injury)

9. Kentrell Brothers               Missouri                                              3rd Round

10. Travis Feeny                     Washington                                         3rd-4th Round



Written by 

Adams-Friendship Green Devil and Carroll University Pioneer for life. Aspiring to be great. @RieseDraft

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