Here is my initial list of the top linebackers for the 2022 NFL Draft.
The number in parentheses represents the ranking for the top overall players in the draft.
Click here to check out that list…ORDER 66
Click here to check out our QB list…QUARTERBACKS
Click here to check out our RB list…RUNNINGBACKS
Click here to check out our WR list…WIDERECEIVERS
Click here to check out our TE list…TIGHTENDS
Click here to check out our OL list…OFFENSIVELINEMEN
Click here to check out our DL list…DEFENSIVELINE
This list will be updated following all-star week performances from the East/West Shrine Bowl (1/28 – 2/3) and the Senior Bowl (2/1 – 2/5) as well as individual player pro days and the NFL Combine (3/1 – 3/7).
1 (9) Nakobe Dean, UGA (Jr.) Not very big at 6-0, 225; makes up for his size with elite athleticism and instincts; 2021 1st-team SEC and 2021 1st-team All-American; 2021 Butkus Award winner (nation’s top linebacker); led team in tackles in 2020 and then really took off in 2021 while at the top of all key stats for the best defense in the country with 72 tackles, 10 ½ TFL, six sacks and two forced-fumbles; is an elite talent as both a pass rusher and in coverage.
2 (11) Devin Lloyd, Utah (Jr.) 6-3, 235; 2x Butkus Finalist; 1st-team Pac 12 in 2020 and 2021; 2021 1st-team All-American and 2021 Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year; led team in tackles for three straight seasons (249 tackles) and broke out in 2021 with 22 TFL (2nd nationally) and 10 PDs with an elite pass rush grade; good blitzer and cover skills; very smart, instinctual player; always prepared to do anything you ask; had his third career pick-6 in the 2021 Pac 12 title game, earning game MVP; 43 career TFL and 16 ½ sacks.
3 (28) Leo Chenal, Wisconsin (Jr.) Good size at 6-2, 261; 2021 2nd-Team All American and 2021 Big 10 LB POY as he led one of the best defenses in the country in tackles (115) and TFL (18 ½), while tied with 2 FFs and second with 8 sacks; explosive elite run defender and pass rusher; will not offer much in coverage.
4 (36) Damone Clark, LSU (Sr.) 6-3, 245; 2021 1st-team SEC; broke out last season to lead LSU with 137 tackles (4th nationally) and 15 ½ TFL; finished his career at home with 2 ½ sacks against Texas A&M including a key sack to force a punt late in their comeback win; good speed to find the ball carrier; leader; improved his coverage and tackling this past season; career numbers = 250 tackles, 23 ½ TFL and 10 sacks.
5 (59) Chad Muma, Wyoming (Jr.) 6-3, 242; 1st-team MWC in 2020 and 2021; 2021 3rd-Team All American; middle linebacker prospect; led team in tackles (223) and TFL (16) the past two seasons; a true complete playmaker who plays hard and is fast; elite run defender and good in coverage too with three interceptions and two he returned for scores in 2021; one of the top tacklers for his position in this class; excellent size/speed ratio; team captain; diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 13.
6 (66) D’Marco Jackson, Appalachian State (Sr.) 6-1, 230; 1st-team SBC in 2020 and 2021 SBC DPOY; led team in tackles (119) & TFL (19) in 2021 while adding six sacks; excellent run defender; plays specials which will be key for him in the NFL; team captain; versatile player helped him become the second FBS defender since 2000 with at least 110 tackles, 18 TFL, 6 sacks and 18 PDs.
1 (43) Nick Bonitto, Oklahoma (RS Jr.) 6-3, 240; 2021 3rd-Team All American; had eight sacks as a 2nd-team AA in 2020; improved even more in 2021 while playing defensive end, but mostly appears to be a hybrid edge-rusher in the NFL who can use his speed to cover; was used a ‘spy’ against the athletic quarterback Adrian Martinez; might even be used a pass rush specialist in the NFL; great instincts; nose for the ball; speed to burn;
will not help much though in the run game but has improved some in that area; 25 ½ TFL and 15 sacks the past two seasons combined.
By Greg DePalma
The Draft Apprentice and Executive Producer of the Ourlads’ Football Network at Ourlads.com.