2018 NFL Draft: Hokies 'puppy' Edmunds leads OLB prospects

2018 NFL Draft: Hokies 'puppy' Edmunds leads OLB prospects
By Reuters

15/04/2018 at 18:46Updated 15/04/2018 at 18:49

1.

Tremaine Edmunds*

Virginia Tech

6-4 1/2, 253, 40 time: 4.54

Projection: First Round

OVERVIEW

The youngest son of former Dolphins Pro Bowl tight end Ferrell Edmunds and
younger brother of Trey (2017 UDFA running back with Saints) and Terrell (2018
mid-round safety prospect), Tremaine was a four-star recruit.

He spent his true freshman year as a backup for the Hokies before starting all
27 games from 2016-17, racking up 215 tackles (32.5 for loss), 10 sacks and
six passes defensed in that span. He was named first team All-ACC along with
earning numerous All-American honors and elected to forgo his senior season to
enter the draft.

Edmunds posted the fifth-fastest 40 (4.54) among linebackers at the NFL
Scouting Combine despite carrying 15 pounds or more than virtually all of his
peers.

ANALYSIS

One of the most gifted athletes you'll see, few humans with Edmunds' size and
length (34 1/2-inch arms) can move the way he does. He bursts into the
backfield for TFLs and shows terrific range, erasing blocking angles on
perimeter runs with ease. He also shows tremendous fluidity in coverage,
transitioning easily and flashing ability to handle slot receivers. He even
threatens as a blitzer and edge rusher when given the chance.

Edmunds is far from a finished product, though. He has a poor habit of taking
false steps forward - even against dropbacks with no play-fake - and falls
asleep in coverage occasionally. He also shows poor eyes and discipline in the
run game, allowing big plays on cutbacks and misdirection, and misses some
tackles he should make.

The youngest player in the draft, Edmunds doesn't turn 20 until May, so he's
still just a puppy. Given time, he should develop into a star in any scheme,
but significant growth is needed.

2. Harold Landry

Boston College

6-2, 252, 40 time: 4.64

Projection: First Round

OVERVIEW

Landry committed to BC (his first offer) as a junior out of Pine Forest in
North Carolina, and late offers from larger programs like Ohio State and
Clemson didn't entice him away from Chestnut Hill. In 2016, Landry put himself
on the first-round radar with a FBS-best 16.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

He surprised many by electing to return to school due to unfinished business
at Boston College and the desire to improve his draft standing to help his
family. His senior season didn't go quite as expected due to a nagging right
ankle injury, but the tape shows one of the better pass rushers in this draft
class.

ANALYSIS

A slippery athlete off the edge, Landry has an outstanding blend of
flexibility and arc speed to burst off the snap and immediately threaten the
corner, keeping blockers on their toes. While his athleticism is his calling
card, he has also developed various pass rush moves to set up offensive
tackles, using his 33-inch arms to swipe away the jabs or extend into
blockers, putting them on skates.

Pass rush is what makes Landry appealing as a pro prospect. He does have flaws
in the run game with suspect game strength. He is late to shed blocks and make
plays in the hole. His lackluster senior season will weigh on the minds of
some evaluators, but as his combine performance showed, Landry is an explosive
pass rusher in the same mold as Von Miller.

3. Leighton Vander Esch*

Boise State

6-4, 256, 40 time: 4.66

Projection: First Round

OVERVIEW

Playing eight-man football in Idaho's smallest high school classification,
Vander Esch was the team MVP as the starting quarterback and recording 66
total touchdowns. He led Salmon River to back-to-back state titles in football
and basketball his junior and senior seasons, but not many college recruiters
make the trip to Riggins, Idaho for a player with less than a dozen students
in his graduating class.

Vander Esch walked on at Boise State, where he redshirted, developed his body
and waited his turn. In his fourth year in the program, he earned a starting
linebacker job and finished top-five in the FBS with 141 tackles. He added
four forced fumbles and three interceptions to become the first BSU player
named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.

ANALYSIS

A right-place, right-time defender, Vander Esch is quick to diagnose, find the
developing run lane and plant the running back in the hole. He moves extremely
well for a player his size, scraping down the line of scrimmage and using his
lateral quickness to mirror running backs across the formation. While tough
vs. the run, he is even better in pass coverage, dropping into zones with a
knack for finding the passing lane.

Aside from all the physical characteristics, Vander Esch pushes himself in the
weight room - he has gained 40-plus pounds since high school - and film room.
For a player with only one season of starting experience in college, his
blossoming football IQ is impressive, showing noticeable improvement with
every game in 2017. An ascending player, Vander Esch has yet to hit his
ceiling and should continue to improve with NFL coaching.

4. Rashaan Evans

Alabama

6-1 7/8, 232, 40 time: N/A

Projection: First-Second Round

OVERVIEW

The top linebacker recruit in the nation in 2014, Evans grew up in Auburn,
Ala. but surprised many by choosing the rival Crimson Tide over the Tigers.

He spent three seasons primarily as a backup and special teamer but still
managed 63 tackles (9.5 for loss) and 8.0 sacks from 2015-16. He became a
full-time starter as a senior and racked up 74 tackles (13 for loss) and 6.0
sacks, earning second-team All-SEC honors.

Evans declined his Senior Bowl invitation and participated on a limited basis
at the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day due to a nagging groin injury.

ANALYSIS

Next up in Alabama's NFL linebacker assembly line, Evans waited his turn and
thrived when it came. He's toolsy, with good size, a strong build and
excellent burst and fluidity. He diagnoses well and attacks downhill in the
run game with physicality and relentlessness, and shows smooth movement and
patience in coverage. He also thrives as an add-on blitzer and even earned
sub-package rushing opportunities.

With just one year starting for the Tide, Evans' instincts are not fully
developed, and he needs some refinement. He overruns plays at times, and
despite showing a willingness to take on blocks, his shedding technique needs
work. He also can play a bit out of control and miss some tackles, and there
is some concern about his history of groin issues.

Ultimately, Evans shows the traits and production to play all three downs from
Day 1, with his development in coverage likely to determine his ceiling. He
would fit best as an inside ‘backer in a blitz-heavy 3-4 defense.

5. Lorenzo Carter

Georgia

6-4 7/8, 250, 40 time: 4.50

Projection: Second Round

OVERVIEW

A four-star linebacker who was rated the fourth-best recruit in the state of
Georgia, Carter joined the Bulldogs and started five games at 3-4 outside
linebacker as a freshman, picking up 4.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss.

His production fell off in just two starts in 2015, but Carter went on to
start 19 of 28 games from 2016-17, collecting 105 tackles (13.5 for loss) and
9.5 sacks in that span.

He declined his Senior Bowl invitation but starred at the NFL Scouting
Combine, finishing first among edge defenders in the broad jump (130"), second
in the 40-yard dash (4.50 seconds) and tied for third in the vertical jump
(36").

ANALYSIS

A long and uber athletic talent reminiscent of former teammate Leonard Floyd
(No. 9 overall in 2016), Carter uses length (34 inches), huge hands (10 3/4
inches) and tremendous twitch, bend and flexibility to make explosive plays as
a rusher and edge setter. He played many roles at Georgia, perhaps stalling
his development on the edge, but gained versatility for it, as he's also
relatively comfortable in coverage.

Carter needs plenty of molding, however. Despite using his length and hands
well, he's not physically ready to hold up against NFL running games. He must
add significantly more weight - he has the room for it - to develop play
strength and add a power element to his game. He also could refine his
technique and use more of a pass-rush plan.

The traits are jaw-dropping, but it will take time before he's ready to wield
them as a full-time starter.

6. Uchenna Nwosu

Southern Cal

6-2 1/8, 251, 40 time: 4.65

Projection: Third Round

OVERVIEW

Nwosu quit football in middle school, focusing more on basketball, before
returning to the gridiron as linebacker in high school. Viewed as a safety
recruit due to a lack of size (185 pounds), he was mostly a special-teamer as
a freshman at Southern Cal.

After another year as a backup, he produced 3.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss
as a junior before collecting 9.5 sacks, 15 TFLs and a whopping 14 passes
defensed as a senior, earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2017.

He was a bit up-and-down at the Senior Bowl, harassing quarterbacks at times
but also going through quiet stretches.

ANALYSIS

A bit of a one-hit wonder, Nwosu blossomed into a star for the Trojans in
2017. He uses first-step quickness, natural leverage from his shorter stature
and 33 5/8-inch arms to threaten the edge. He also shows a knack for batting
passes when on quick-timing throws and displays surprisingly good instincts in
coverage. Coaches have lauded his growth and maturity over time.

However, Nwosu is a liability setting the edge in the run game. He doesn't
show the play strength to consistently hold up, isn't as speedy in pursuit as
his hustle suggests and is inconsistent as a tackler. He also collected many
of his sacks against lesser athletes and struggles to adapt when he can't win
with first-step quickness.

With a ‘tweener body type, Nwosu projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker as he
did at USC, but his coverage savvy could lead 4-3 teams to try him off the
ball. Either way, he should earn sub-package rushing opportunities.

7. Jerome Baker*

Ohio State

6-1 1/8, 229, 40 time: 4.53

Projection: Second-Third Round

OVERVIEW

Also dabbling at quarterback and running back in high school, Baker was a
four-star linebacker recruit considered the top player in Ohio. He verbally
committed to Florida before switching to Ohio State.

After seven games as a true freshman reserve, he seized a starting job as a
sophomore and tallied 155 tackles (17.5 for loss), 7.0 sacks, two
interceptions and five passes defensed from 2016-17. He decided to enter the
NFL draft early and shined at the Scouting Combine, finishing third among
linebackers in the broad jump, fourth in the 40-yard dash and sixth in the
vertical jump.

ANALYSIS

An undersized "Will" linebacker with tremendous athleticism, Baker will remind
plenty of fellow Buckeye Darron Lee (20th overall in 2016), but he's not quite
as developed. Yes, he shows great range in the run game and can scoot through
holes to make tackles behind the line. He also moves very well in coverage and
can even turn and run with some receivers.

But Baker has yet to harness his gifts, getting lost in zones and failing to
challenge certain routes in man-to-man. His grabby hands draw flags and he
will play passively at the catch point, despite decent ball skills. In the run
game, he lacks the instincts to anticipate plays and the physicality to take
on blockers, getting picked on with misdirection or simply traditional power
runs.

Just 21, Baker needs time to develop. He could add some weight and must become
more disciplined. How he progresses against the run will determine if he
becomes a full-time starter or just a passing-downs cover man down the line.

8. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo

Oklahoma

6-1 5/8, 253, 40 time: 4.77

Projection: Third Round

OVERVIEW

Born to Nigerian immigrants, Okoronkwo goes by "Obo" for short (full name
pronounced o-BO-ny-uh o-kor-RON-kwo). He was unfamiliar with football until
his sophomore year of high school but blossomed into a three-star recruit.

He redshirted in 2013 and was a reserve from 2014-15 before racking up 17
sacks and 29.5 tackles for loss across 26 starts over his final two years,
sharing Big 12 defensive player of the year honors with Texas' Malik Jefferson
in 2017.

He showed off quickness in pass-rush drills at the Senior Bowl before
impressing at the NFL Scouting Combine by finishing second among edge
defenders in the bench press (27 reps) and vertical jump (38") and tying for
sixth in the broad jump (121").

ANALYSIS

Okoronkwo isn't tall, but he has long arms (33 3/4-inches) for his height. He
uses his lower stature to his advantage for leverage, pairing it with great
burst, contact balance and some bendability to threaten the edge as a rusher.
He also flashes nuanced hesitation and counter moves, and with a muscular
frame he's stronger than his size suggests.

That said, Okoronkwo can be a liability in the run game, showing inconsistency
setting the edge and getting enveloped by powerful blockers. As a mover, he's
quicker than purely fast and derived a significant portion of his production
from hustle, which won't be as easy in the NFL.

A bit of a ‘tweener, Okoronkwo often played standing up in college and
projects best as a 3-4 though he could play early as a sub-package rusher in
any scheme.

9. Malik Jefferson*

Texas

6-2 1/4, 236, 40 time: 4.52

Projection: Third Round

OVERVIEW

A Butkus Award winner in high school as the nation's top Jefferson chose Texas
and started nine games as a true freshman for the Longhorns, picking up 61
tackles (seven for loss) and 2.5 sacks in 2015.

He started 21 games from 2016-17, adding 172 tackles (18.5 for loss) and 9.5
sacks in that span, and shared Big 12 defensive player of the year honors with
Oklahoma's Ogbannia Okoronkwo in 2017.

Jefferson shined at the combine, finishing top-five in the 40 (third), bench
press (tied second) and broad jump (fourth), as well as 10th in the vertical.

ANALYSIS

Few linebackers are more gifted athletically than Jefferson, who becomes a
frustrating evaluation because of the extreme positives and negatives. He has
good size and downright explosive movement skills, closing rapidly and with
violence when he reads a play properly. The same tools make him dangerous as a
blitzer and offer upside in coverage, though he's undeveloped in the latter
area.

Jefferson is much less comfortable moving backward than forward, undermining
his athleticism with poor coverage awareness. Such issues speak to a broader
lack of instincts, as he routinely takes false steps, bites on misdirection
and overpursues ballcarriers, opening cutback lanes. He also is inconsistent
as a tackler, hitting with power but failing to wrap up at times.

If it ever clicks for Jefferson, look out, but he's mostly a see-ball,
get-ball player right now. He must become more disciplined against the run and
use his gifts better in coverage, or he'll always be a better athlete than
player.

10. Darius Leonard

South Carolina State

6-2, 234, 40 time: 4.70

Projection: Third-Fourth Round

OVERVIEW

A no-star recruit who weighed 180 pounds out of high school, Leonard signed
with South Carolina State after he received only a preferred walk-on offer
from his favorite team, Clemson.

He became one of the nation's most productive players, starting all 43 games
in his collegiate career while racking up 394 tackles (54 for loss), 22 sacks,
eight forced fumbles, six interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He was named
the MEAC's defensive player of the year in 2016 and 2017.

He accepted a Senior Bowl invitation and stood out in Mobile with his fluid
movement, range and cover skills.

ANALYSIS

As his production suggests, Leonard was all over the field in college. With
above average athleticism, length (34 3/8-inch arms) and hustle, he shows
terrific range in pursuit and closes suddenly to ballcarriers. His movement
also stands out in coverage, where he drops and transitions smoothly and can
mirror against athletic backs and tight ends. He shined in his few games
against FBS teams, totaling 19 tackles and blocking a kick against Clemson in
2016.

Leonard needs significant refinement, however. While he shows good contact
balance, play strength could be an issue, and he doesn't have much room to add
more weight. He also relies more on motor than smarts at this point -- getting
fooled by misdirection at times -- and could stand to show more fieriness and
aggression.

The transition from FCS could take time, but Leonard showed well in Mobile. He
profiles as a high-upside three-down linebacker at the next level.

1 Jeff Holland*

Auburn

6-1 3/8, 249, 40 time: 4.79

Projection: Fourth Round

OVERVIEW

A four-star recruit out of high school, Holland played 26 games for the Tigers
as a reserve from 2015-16 behind 2017 fourth-round pick Carl Lawson, before
taking over as the hybrid "Buck" pass rusher as a junior in 2017.

He blossomed in his first year as a starter, collecting 10 sacks, 13 tackles
for loss and four forced fumbles in 14 games en route to first-team All-SEC
honors.

He earned the nickname "Sensei Mud" for his martial-arts training -- to
improve hand-fighting skills -- and use of a traditional bow as a celebration.

ANALYSIS

Holland isn't particularly big but packs a surprising punch with a violent
playing style and revved-up motor. He sets a strong edge and even anchors at
times in the run game, punishing ball carriers when he gets the chance. He
also frequently finds himself near the quarterback, showing relentlessness and
some edge-bending ability.

Despite his production, Holland isn't a great athlete for his size. He lacks
elite burst and shows significant lateral stiffness, especially when required
to redirect in space. That could improve some if he cuts some bad weight, but
his athletic upside is limited. He also shows poor eye discipline and needs to
develop more nuance as a rusher.

Likely too small to play defensive end and too stiff to play off the ball,
Holland profiles best as a 3-4 outside linebacker and sub-package rusher. He
should be disruptive against the run and pass and could start relatively
early.

12. Shaquem Griffin

Central Florida

6-0, 230, 40 time: 4.38

Projection: Third-Fourth round

OVERVIEW

One of the best examples of perseverance in sports, Griffin is on the cusp of
being drafted despite missing his left hand. Born with Amniotic Band Syndrome,
he had the deformed hand amputated at the age of four, but that never stopped
Griffin from doing everything his friends were doing, especially his older
twin brother (by one minute) Shaquill, who is now a cornerback with the
Seattle Seahawks. Shaquem competed in track and field, winning the state title
in the triple jump in 2013, and the brothers chose UCF over offers from
numerous FBS schools.

Griffin was a safety in high school before moving to outside linebacker at UCF
when new coach Scott Frost arrived. He collected 33.5 tackles for loss and
18.5 sacks the past two seasons and was named the AAC Defensive Player of the
Year in 2016 and first-team All-AAC each of the past two years.

ANALYSIS

Evidence by his 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Griffin can
fly. His play speed is outstanding and fueled by his always revving motor.
Fourth quarter? Late in drives? It doesn't matter, Griffin plays with the same
hyper speed any time he is on the field. It's that instant and sustained burst
that allows him to be so effective, blowing through gaps or attacking
defenders before they have a chance to reset.

Griffin was used as a do-everything linebacker in college, rushing off the
edge, blitzing from various angles or dropping into coverage. However,
linebackers have to be able and use their hands to take on blocks and tackle
and while he understands how to compensate, Griffin's lack of a left hand will
be a disadvantage against NFL-level players. Nonetheless, he has the skills to
contribute as a part-time player on defense and special teams ace.

13. Fred Warner

BYU

6-3 3/8, 236, 40 time: 4.64

Projection: Fourth-Fifth Round

OVERVIEW

A four-star recruit out of high school, Warner committed to BYU and was joined
by his brother, a defensive back, two years later.

Fred Warner earned four starts in 10 games as a true freshman before starting
38 of 39 games over his final three seasons in Provo. He stuffed the stat
sheet in a variety of ways, finishing his career with 264 tackles (32 for
loss), 6.5 sacks, seven interceptions and 20 passes defensed.

He was invited to the Senior Bowl and impressed with his movement in space. He
had a solid all-around showing at the combine, finishing top-10 among
linebackers in every drill but the 40 (4.64), where he finished 13th.

ANALYSIS

Built like a big safety, Warner displays excellent athleticism, particularly
in coverage. He moves smoothly with loose hips and good burst, using his tools
to undercut passing lanes and break on throws. He shows a nose for the ball
and can do something with it, scoring twice on interception returns in
college. He also attacks the run decisively and shows some tricks for shedding
blocks.

Warner could stand to bulk up, as offensive lineman will swallow him up, and
he's not refined sifting through trash in the box. He also shows inconsistency
as a tackler, taking poor angles on occasion and missing with arm tackles or
hitting high and bouncing off ball carriers.

Warner needs to improve in the run game but should bring value as a
sub-package defender who can contribute immediately on special teams.

14. Leon Jacobs

Wisconsin

6-1, 246, 40 time: 4.48

Projection: Fifth-Sixth Round

OVERVIEW

A native of Nigeria, Jacobs had dreams of playing in the NBA before he joined
the football team his senior season of high school and didn't look back. He
played primarily running back, but with so little tape, college offers didn't
materialize. Jacobs appeared headed to Fresno State until Wisconsin entered
the picture with a scholarship spot available, which he gladly took.

While seeing plenty of action on special teams, Jacobs bounced between inside
linebacker and fullback, missing the 2015 season due to injury. With T.J. Watt
off to the NFL, Jacobs moved to outside linebacker as a senior and drew the
eyes of NFL scouts, posting 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks to earn
honorable mention All-Big Ten honors and invites to the East-West Shrine Game
and the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine.

ANALYSIS

As a stand-up rush Jacobs converted his initial momentum off the snap to
power, attacking the chest of blockers and bullying his way through them. He
is a flexible athlete with the active movements that give blockers all they
can handle, but nuance is absent, lacking the technical pass rush skills to
set up and execute his moves. While clearly raw, Jacobs competes with the
physical edge and relentless motor that makes him tough to slow down for all
four quarters vs. both the pass and the run.

There are questions about whether he projects best outside in a 3-4 scheme or
as a "Sam" ‘backer in a 4-3. But for a patient NFL coaching staff, Jacobs
could prove to be a diamond in the rough.

15. Mike McCray

Inside Michigan

6-1 1/8, 243, 40 time: 4.76

Projection: Sixth Round

OVERVIEW

Son of former Ohio State linebacker Mike McCray Sr., McCray II didn't
immediately receive an offer from the Buckeyes and instead committed to the
hated Wolverines.

He redshirted in 2013 and was a reserve in 2014 before missing all of 2015
with a shoulder injury. He started all 26 games from 2016-17, collecting 160
tackles (29.5 for loss), 9.5 sacks, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed
in that span.

He was invited to the Senior Bowl and impressed in the run game but struggled
some in space against better athletes.

ANALYSIS

McCray is an animal against the run, using his size, length and physicality to
fend off blocks and hammer ball carriers. He utilizes great instincts and
vision to rack up tackles for loss, recognizing opponent tendencies and
diagnosing plays early. He also plays with great toughness and is a respected
leader.

McCray's athletic limitations make him a liability on the perimeter and
especially in coverage, where he struggles to mirror tight ends and backs.
He's stiff moving laterally in space and his speed is just average, while his
instincts are less developed in coverage than against the run. There is also a
medical history that needs sorting through.

McCray isn't doomed by his lack of athleticism, but it will likely limit him
to mostly running downs and special teams. He would ideally be paired with a
faster linebacker in the middle of a 3-4 defense, and he could play early in
that role.

16. Oren Burks

Vanderbilt

6-3 1/8, 233, 40 time: 4.59

Projection: Sixth Round

OVERVIEW

A linebacker in high school, Burks redshirted in 2013 and moved to free
safety, where he intercepted three passes and broke up 16 more from 2014-15.

He moved to a hybrid safety/linebacker role in 2016 before playing inside
linebacker as a senior, finishing his career with 237 tackles (15.5 for loss),
4.5 sacks, five interceptions and 26 passes defensed.

He impressed as a late addition at the Senior Bowl, making two tackles for
loss in the game, and then lit up combine, finishing top-three among
linebackers in the vertical (second) and broad (tied first) jumps, three-cone
(third) and 20-yard shuttle (second), along with eighth in the 40 (4.59).

ANALYSIS

Burks has terrific tools to work with, including size, length, versatility and
good-to-great athleticism. His speed and experience at safety make him very
comfortable in coverage, and his length and lateral agility are assets there
as well. He also displays a great motor, physicality and leadership, serving
as team captain in his final two years and earning recognition for
off-the-field community efforts.

However, Burks' inexperience at linebacker shows on tape, leading to plenty of
inconsistency. He struggles to read and anticipate plays at times, getting
caught in traffic and losing sight of the ball carrier. He also tends to stop
his feet and miss tackles, and his technique taking on and shedding blocks
needs work.

He needs time to develop, but Burks' traits will appeal to many teams, and he
should earn a role on special teams early.

17. Dorian O'Daniel

Clemson

6-0 5/8, 223, 40 time: 4.61

Projection: Sixth-Seventh Round

OVERVIEW

A running back and linebacker in high school, O'Daniel redshirted in 2013 and
spent two years as a reserve before earning a starting role in 2016.

He delivered by far his most productive season in 2017, collecting 103 tackles
(10.5 for loss), five sacks, five passes defensed and two interceptions. He
also finished his career with a whopping 48 special teams tackles.

He accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl and impressed through two
practices before a rib injury ended his week. He posted the fastest three-cone
and 20-yard shuttle of any linebacker at the combine.

ANALYSIS

Built like a big safety, O'Daniel relies heavily on speed and quickness. His
movement skills and effort make him a special teams demon, particularly on
kick coverage. He also can handle himself in space on defense, often lining up
over slot receivers and showing comfort and ball skills in coverage. Coaches
were impressed with his maturation as a senior, so there could be room for
more growth.

But as his size suggests, O'Daniel lacks ideal play strength and physicality,
frequently getting stuck on blocks and struggling to bring down bigger ball
carriers. Small slot players can block him adequately at times. He's also not
quite a top-end athlete for his size and can be exposed in man coverage.

O'Daniel has proven himself enough in the third phase to make a roster, and he
should eventually earn opportunities as a sub-package linebacker in passing
situations.

18. Keishawn Bierria

Washington

6-0 3/8, 230, 40 time: 4.79

Projection: Seventh Round

OVERVIEW

After redshirting his first year at Washington, Bierria went on to play in 54
games at inside linebacker over four seasons with the Huskies, including 43
starts over his final three seasons.

He racked up 242 tackles (19.5 for loss) and 7.5 sacks in his career, as well
as a whopping eight fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles from 2016-17.

He honors his father, who died from cancer when Keishawn was 8, with his work
ethic and leadership, twice earning the team's Guy Flaherty Award (most
inspirational teammate).

ANALYSIS

Bierra has excellent football character, playing with terrific effort while
earning the respect of his teammates as a leader. On a Huskies defense with
many top-level talents, coaches described him as the unit's "heart and soul."
He has decent athletic traits and shows good transitional movement, closing to
the ball quickly. He also plays with a physical edge that coaches love.

Bierria doesn't have the size or functional play strength to make his
physicality a weapon, as he struggles to regularly take on blocks. His
athleticism is average at best and he struggles in coverage, getting exposed
by better athletes in man and showing inconsistent instincts in zone. He's
also more of a reaction player than an attacker, despite his hustle.

Those limitations will likely leave Bierra competing for a backup role, but
his intangibles should earn him a roster spot and a role on special teams.

19. Davin Bellamy

Georgia

6-3 ¾, 255, 40 time: (N/A - hamstring)

Projection: Seventh Round

OVERVIEW

Growing up an hour from the Bulldogs' campus, Bellamy backed off a Florida
State commitment before picking Georgia.

After a redshirt year due to injury and two seasons primarily as a reserve, he
started full-time in 2016 and 2017, collecting 10.0 sacks and 16.5 tackles for
loss in that span as the "Jack" linebacker in Kirby Smart's 3-4 defense.

He received an invitation to the Senior Bowl but did not participate due to a
hamstring injury. The same injury kept him off the field at the combine and
from running the 40 at his pro day.

ANALYSIS

Bellamy brings a good combination of length, athleticism and bend to the edge,
allowing him to threaten the quarterback by winning early. He plays with great
energy and shows range as a tackler, using speed and length to reel in
ballcarriers. Coaches lauded his leadership in college and he often came up
with timely plays.

But with such a lanky build, Bellamy shows a debilitating lack of play
strength, as he gets bullied in the run game and has few options when he
doesn't win immediately as a rusher. He also struggles to play in control,
often showing too much wasted motion with limbs flying everywhere. Injuries
are also a concern.

Until he develops more strength, Bellamy will likely be competing for a backup
job, either at outside linebacker in a 3-4 or "Sam" linebacker in a 4-3.

20. Skai Moore

South Carolina

6-2 ¼, 226, 40 time: 4.73

Projection: Seventh Round

OVERVIEW

Moore was uber-productive from the get-go at South Carolina, racking up 56
tackles and four interceptions in 13 games (four starts) as a true freshman in
2013.

Despite taking a medical redshirt in 2016 after surgery to repair a herniated
disc, he became the 15th player in FBS history to lead his team in tackles
four times, finishing his career with 353 tackles (20.5 for loss), 13
interceptions and 20 passes defensed.

He accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl but pulled out with a turf toe
injury, though he took part in on-field work at the combine.

ANALYSIS

Few players in this class have been more productive than Moore, who plays
instinctively and energetically. He is disciplined in his reads, can mirror
ball carriers and has a nose for the ball, as evidenced by his tackle and
interception production. His instincts stand out in zone coverage and in the
way he sniffs out screens.

Moore is undersized and limited athletically, a very difficult combination to
overcome. His thin frame has little room for more weight, and his lack of play
strength will probably force him to play "Will" but he doesn't move as well as
a typical "Will." Despite straight-line speed, he's sluggish laterally and is
often a liability in man coverage.

Such limited tools might doom a lesser player, but Moore should at least carve
out a role as a backup and special teamer.

2 Peter Kalambayi

Stanford

6-3, 252, 40 time: 4.57

Projection: Seventh Round

OVERVIEW

The son of immigrants from the Congo and Trinidad and Tobago, Kalambayi
redshirted as a freshman at Stanford before grabbing a reserve role as a 3-4
outside linebacker in 2014, racking up 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in
13 games.

He started his final three seasons (41 games) but never topped 4.5 sacks or
7.0 TFLs in a season, finishing with a total of 12.0 sacks and 18.5 TFLs.

He excelled at the combine, finishing top-five among edge rushers in the 40
and three-cone, and top-10 in the vertical jump, broad jump and 20-yard
shuttle.

ANALYSIS

Kalambayi isn't big enough to play 4-3 defensive end, but he shows excellent
movement skills for a 3-4 outside linebacker. His get-off, lateral agility and
speed are all above average for the position, and he leveraged those tools
into production early in college. He's effective in pursuit and also sets a
strong edge in the run game, showing the physicality and agility to battle
blocks from tight ends.

Kalambayi is a better athlete than player. Despite his tools, he doesn't show
the proper technique or pass-rush plan needed to be a dynamic rusher. His
production leveled off after 2014 and many of his sacks were of the clean-up
or hustle variety. That said, he has starter traits if developed properly and
should contribute on special teams early.

--Field Level Media

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