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2019 NFL Draft: BTD’s Favorites - Linebackers

We pick our favorites at the linebacker spot, which include players from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 NFL Draft sitting just over a week away, we decided to take a look at some of our favorite prospects in the upcoming selection process from each different position group. Starting with defensive backs and ending with quarterbacks on next Wednesday (the day before the NFL Draft begins), we’ll highlight some new players each day that we think you should keep an eye on.

The_Coach: Joe Giles-Harris (Duke)

Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris won’t “wow” anyone with his physical traits, as the 6’ 2”, 235-pound prospect looks mostly pedestrian even when he standing on a college football field. However, the New York native’s production over the course of his career at Duke has alerted the attention of NFL scouts and push Giles-Harris into a role as a potential draft sleeper. In his time for the Blue Devils, Giles-Harris appeared in 34 games and tallied 312 total tackles, 9.5 sacks and 2 interceptions, as one of the top defensive talents in the ACC.

NCAA Football: Duke at Notre Dame
Duke’s Joe Giles-Harris is rated out as the 19th best LB in the draft class by CBS Sports.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Russell: Blake Cashman (Minnesota)

The former walk-on exploded onto the scene at the combine with impressive numbers. Standing 6-feet tall and weight 237-pounds, Cashman posted the 4th-best time among linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.50 seconds) and 3rd-best broad jump. As a senior he recorded 104 tackles (15 for loss) and projections have him going anywhere between the 2nd and 6th round. With a last name of Cashman, I expect him to be a high draft pick and get paid.

NFL: Combine
Cashman is looking to get paid on draft-day
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Ross Parker: Bobby Okereke (Stanford)

Okereke is a sleeper pick that will be taken in the third round or later, but could become a high upside starter in the right defense. Okereke fits the type of what teams are starting to look towards in a linebacker. Though he is undersized, Okereke is a rangy LB that quickly recognizes and diagnoses plays. He is a physical specimen, which gives him some flexibility to drop into coverage, though I wouldn’t completely trust him without safety help. With a rather thin linebacker draft, Okereke is a sleeper pick that could develop into a solid LB starter for a team while instantly contributing on special teams.

NCAA Football: Stanford at California D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

John Severs: Mack Wilson (Alabama)

First off, you have to love any football player named Mack, regardless of quality. Fortunately, Wilson has impressed in his time at Alabama, though at times he still looks like an unfinished project. Wilson has all the physical talent needed to succeed at his position; he’s fast enough to perform well in coverage, and he’s strong enough to bring down runners. The knock against Wilson has been that he hasn’t developed the creativity and game sense to be an elite play maker. Nick Saban and the Alabama coaching staff wanted him to stay around for another year, but if they couldn’t get Wilson to the next gear in his time in Tuscaloosa, it’s probably a good time for an NFL coaching staff to get a chance to develop him.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2019 NFL Draft Preview Content

  • Wednesday (4/17) - Defensive Backs
  • Thursday (4/18) - Linebackers
  • Friday (4/19) - Defensive Linemen
  • Saturday (4/20) - Offensive Linemen
  • Sunday (4/21) - Tight Ends
  • Monday (4/22) - Wide Receivers
  • Tuesday (4/23) - Running Backs
  • Wednesday (4/24) - Quarterbacks