2018 NFL Draft Prospects: Inside Linebackers



By Charlie Campbell.
Send Charlie an e-mail here: draftcampbell@gmail.com
Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell for updates.

The top 2018 Inside Linebacker prospects available for the 2018 NFL Draft. * - denotes 2019 prospect. ** - denotes 2020 prospect.

This page was last updated Nov. 18, 2017. Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.
2017 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2018 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2019 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P


  1. Josh Allen, ILB/OLB, Kentucky
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
    Projected Round (2018): 1-2.

    11/18/17: Allen has played really well during the 2017 season and has impressed NFL scouts. The junior has been an impressive edge rusher with seven sacks. He also has 51 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and three passes broken up. Allen produced well as a sophomore in 2016 with 62 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and four forced fumbles.

    One national scout compared Allen to Leonard Floyd coming out of Georgia with Allen's ability to rush off the edge. That scout said Allen isn't as freaky of an athlete as Floyd was, and Allen is not a top-10 pick, but he did grade Allen as a first-rounder.

    Another director of college scouting said he gave Allen a high second-round grade, but thought Allen could definitely end up going in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. That director said Allen was an interesting player because he also can play inside linebacker, whereas Floyd was just an outside edge defender. That college director said as an inside linebacker, Allen has similarities to current Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham in terms of his height, speed, length, and athleticism in the middle.


  2. Roquon Smith*, ILB/OLB, Georgia
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
    Projected Round (2018): 1-2.

    11/18/17: Scouting sources have been raving about Smith this year, and he has been tremendous for Georgia. Smith had a great game against Notre Dame in Week 2 and has been all over the field for the Bulldogs. The fast and instinctive Smith flies around the field making tackles while also showing the ability to play in pass coverage. He has drawn comparisons to the Buccaneers' Lavonte David and the Falcons' Deion Jones.

    Smith has 82 tackles with 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two passes batted this season. In 2016, he totaled 95 tackles with five tackles for a loss, one pass breakup and two forced fumbles.






  3. Malik Jefferson*, ILB, Texas
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 238.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.68.
    Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

    11/18/17: Jefferson has 93 tackles with 10 tackles for a loss and four sacks in 2017. He has played hard for Texas and is having his best season. Jefferson isn't great in pass coverage or at taking on blocks in the run game. He is at his best being a pursuit linebacker when running free.

    Sources have said that teams are hearing that Jefferson doesn't have a deep love for football. That is illustrated in him not producing up to his great skill set early on in his collegiate career and in offseason training according to league contacts. Jefferson supposedly was unhappy with his role in the former staff's scheme, but that makes team sources question if Jefferson's work ethic will change when he has coaches going and coming as a pro.

    9/1/17: In 2016, Jefferson recorded 59 tackles with 5.5 sacks and three passes broken up. The numbers don't illustrate how good of a linebacker he was. Jefferson was highly recruited and showed why as a freshman contributor for the Longhorns. He totaled 61 tackle with seven for a loss, 2.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one forced fumble in 2015. Jefferson had a bigger presence than the numbers illustrate.

    The junior has a nice combination of size and speed. He has a ton of upside, and it wouldn't be surprising if he is in store for some massive seasons for Texas.


  4. Matthew Thomas, ILB, Florida State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 227.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
    Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

    11/18/17: Thomas has 67 tackles with six tackles for a loss, two sacks and two passes broken up in 2017.

    9/1/17: Team sources say that Thomas has a first-round skill set and a lot of upside to develop. In 2016, he totaled 77 tackles with 11 tackles for loss, two passes batted and one forced fumble.


  5. Oren Burks, ILB, Vanderbilt
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
    Projected Round (2018): 2-3.

    11/18/17: Sources from multiple teams have told me that Burks has impressed them this season. They like his combination of size, quickness and instincts.

    Burks has 74 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, one interception and three passes broken up this season. In 2016, he formed a potent linebacking tandem with Zach Cunningham. That season, Burks had 59 tackles with 3.5 sacks and six passes broken up. He has shown some coverage and ball skills as he had six more breakups as a sophomore and seven as a freshman.




  6. Darius Leonard, ILB, South Carolina State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-4.

    11/18/17: Scouting sources have told me that Leonard has really impressed them this fall. He has been flying around the field, producing a lot for his defense. Leonard has 103 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, one pass batted, two interceptions and one forced fumble on the season. He has a knack for making plays behind the line of scrimmage as he totaled 42 tackles for a loss with 13.5 sacks combined over his freshman, sophomore and junior years. Leonard has NFL size and has dominated his level of competition.


  7. Josey Jewell, ILB/OLB, Iowa
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-4.

    11/18/17: Jewell has 104 tackles with 2.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, one interception and five passes batted thus far in 2017. He's missed some time with injuries as well.

    9/1/17: Jewell recorded 124 tackles with six tackles for a loss, nine passes broken up and one forced fumble in 2016. He is a good run defender who will need to get stronger for the NFL and show more pass-coverage skills as senior. The NFL draft advisory board told Jewell he should return for his senior year rather than enter the 2017 NFL Draft.

    In 2015, Jewell was a tough defender for Iowa as he racked up 126 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, six passes broken up, one forced fumble and four interceptions. It was an impressive season from the Hawkeyes defender. If he stays consistent to his play-making production as a senior, his stock could really rise.


  8. Kendall Joseph*, ILB/OLB, Clemson
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-5.

    11/18/17: Joseph has 74 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss, .5 sacks and a pass broken up thus far this season.

    9/1/17: Ben Boulware got a lot of attention, but Joseph was the best linebacker on Clemson's National Championship team. Joseph totaled 108 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, 3.5 sacks and one interception on the year. He is a quick, solid and instinctive defender. Scouting sources say that they saw Joseph as the same as Jerome Baker. Both run around blocks more than they take on. They are good players, although not complete or exceptional. Jospeh is a good, solid player with instincts and could play in the NFL in the right system. He is seen as more of a second-day to early third-day prospect.


  9. Tegray Scales, ILB/OLB, Indiana
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-5.

    11/18/17: In 2017, Scales has 80 tackles with five sacks, two interceptions and 10.5 tackles for a loss. He has been a solid defender for Indiana.

    9/1/17: Scales was a contributing defender for the Hoosiers with 46 tackles as a freshman and 64 as a sophomore before a massive jump as a junior when he notched 126 tackles on the season. He also had 23.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two passes batted, one interception, and one forced fumble in 2016. Sources have said that Scales is a solid defender who is unspectacular for the NFL, similar to Clemson's Kendall Joseph or Ohio State's Jerome Baker.




  10. Cameron Smith*, ILB, USC
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.80.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-4.

    11/18/17: So far this year, Smith has 87 tackles with eight tackles for a loss and one interception.

    9/1/17: As a sophomore, Smith totaled 83 tackles with seven for a loss, one sack, four passes broken up and one forced fumble. He started as a freshman in 2015 while totaling 78 tackles, three interceptions and three passes broken up.


  11. Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 231.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-4.

    11/18/17: In 2017, Evans has 45 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks, one forced fumble and a pass broken up.

    9/1/17: Evans was a backup in 2014 and 2015 before rotating onto the field during the 2016 season. As a junior, he totaled 53 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, two passes broken up and one forced fumble. Evans has athletic upside to grow.


  12. Shaun Dion Hamilton, ILB, Alabama
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-4.

    11/18/17: Hamilton has 40 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this season.

    9/1/17: In 2016, Hamilton started the majority of games next to Reuben Foster. Hamilton totaled 64 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble and one pass broken up on the year before tearing an ACL in the SEC Championship Game against Florida. Alabama held him out of spring practice, but Nick Saban has stated the Crimson Tide believe Hamilton will not be restricted from practicing in fall camp.




  13. Micah Kiser, ILB, Virginia
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 240.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-5.

    11/18/17: Kiser has 106 tackles on the season and has been dangerous as a blitzer, notching five sacks thus far. He also has four passes batted and eight tackles for a loss.

    9/1/17: Over the past two seasons, Kiser has been a tackling machine for Virginia. He had a breakout 2015 season as a sophomore where he totaled 117 tackles with 7.5 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and two passes broken up. In 2016, he managed to increase his tackle production with 134 stops, 10 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, seven passes broken up, five forced fumbles and an interception.

    Kiser is a tough run defender who is strong, intelligent, instinctive, and physical in the tackle box. He is not a fast linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed, however. He also isn't a great athlete and will need a lot of development in pass coverage to be a three-down defender in the NFL. At the next level, Kiser would fit best as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense with a fast run-and-chase linebacker next to him. He could be limited to being more of a run-stuffing linebacker for the pro game.


  14. T.J. Edwards*, ILB, Wisconsin
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 244.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2018): 3-5.

    11/18/17: So far in 2017, Edwards has 49 tackles with one sack, five passes broken up and four interceptions. He's played well for Wisconsin.

    9/1/17: Wisconsin had difference-makers at linebackers in 2016 led by T.J. Watt and Jack Cichy. However, Edwards also was a tough defender for the Badgers as he totaled 89 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two passes broken up. In 2015 as a redshirt freshman, he had 84 tackles with 6.5 for a loss and four passes broken up.


  15. Azeem Victor, ILB, Washington
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
    Projected Round (2018): 4-6.

    11/18/17: Victor has 30 tackles with three passes batted in 2017. He was suspended one game this season. Sources have been disappointed in Victor's play this year. They say he has gotten too heavy and has lost some of the special speed he had in the past.

    9/1/17: Last year, Victor went down with a broken leg that required surgery and ended his season early. He recorded 67 tackles, three for a loss, one forced fumble and a pass batted through 10 games. As a redshirt sophomore, Victor totaled 95 tackles with nine for a loss, 1.5 sacks, six passes broken up and an interception.


  16. Jack Cichy, ILB/OLB, Wisconsin
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 233.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.77.
    Projected Round (2018): 4-6.

    11/18/17: During fall camp, Cichy went out for the season with a torn ACL. The senior could take a medical redshirt for the 2017 season and return to Wisconsin for 2018, or he could enter the 2018 NFL Draft. Cichy was a tough defender for the Badgers in 2016. He was good versus the run and a leader on the defense. In 2016, the junior recorded 60 tackles with seven for a loss, 1.5 sacks, two passes broken up and two forced fumbles across seven games. As a sophomore in 2015, he had 60 tackles with eight for a loss, five sacks and four passes broken up.


  17. Chad Whitener, ILB, Oklahoma State
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 248.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
    Projected Round (2018): 4-6.

    11/18/17: Whitener has 55 tackles with one pass broken up this season.

    9/1/17: Whitener has been a solid linebacker for Oklahoma State the past couple of seasons. Last year, he recorded 71 tackles with 7.5 for a loss and four passes broken up. Whitener had 93 tackles with 7.5 for a loss, one forced fumble and two interceptions in 2015.




  18. Nyles Morgan, ILB, Notre Dame
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2018): 5-7.

    11/18/17: Morgan has played well in 2017, recording 71 tackles with one sack and a forced fumble so far.

    9/1/17: The Notre Dame defense really struggled in 2016, but Morgan was one of the few defenders who was pretty steady for the Fighting Irish. He totaled 93 tackles with six for a loss, four sacks and three passes broken up.


  19. Keishawn Bierria, ILB, Washington
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 223.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
    Projected Round (2018): 5-7.

    11/18/17: In 2017, Bierria has totaled 39 tackles with one sack, three tackles for a loss, a forced fumble and two passes batted. He recorded 70 tackles as a junior and 77 in his sophomore season.


  20. Taylor Young, ILB, Baylor
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
    Projected Round (2018): 6-FA.

    11/18/17: Young has 60 tackles with eight for a loss, three sacks and one pass batted thus far in 2017.

    9/1/17: Young totaled 93 tackles with nine for a loss, 4.5 sacks and one pass broken up on the year. He has been a solid defender for the Bears over the last three seasons. In 2014 as a redshirt freshman, Young had 92 tackles with four sacks, three passes batted, two forced fumbles and an interception. He recorded 80 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and one pass broken up as a sophomore. Young lacks height and length for the NFL, so he may be limited to a backup role.


  21. Reggie Carter, ILB/OLB, Georgia
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 229.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
    Projected Round (2018): 7-FA.

    11/18/17: Carter has 24 tackles with a pass batted thus far this season.

    9/1/17: Carter recorded 45 tackles last year after making only two tackles in 2015 before a shoulder injury ended his season. He had 28 tackles in 2014 as the backup to Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera. Carter has potential, but he must stay on the field and produce.


2017 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2018 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2019 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P




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