2017 NFL draft rankings: Linebackers

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Those dynamic tight ends this class appears to offer? A lot of times, these are the players responsible for them in coverage. Linebackers—at least quality, three-down linebackers—have to be able to take on 300-pound blockers, chase running backs sideline to sideline and drop in coverage. This year’s class has several prospects who have done that throughout their college careers, as well as a handful of sleepers.

Rank Player School Measurables
1 Reuben Foster Alabama 6' 1″, 240 lbs.
2 Raekwon McMillan Ohio State 6' 2″, 243 lbs.
3 Zach Cunningham Vanderbilt 6' 4″, 230 lbs.
4 Jarrad Davis Florida 6' 2″, 238 lbs.
5 Kendell Beckwith LSU 6' 3″, 247 lbs.
6 Anthony Walker Northwestern 6' 1″, 235 lbs.
7 Jalen Reeves-Maybin Tennessee 6' 0″, 230 lbs.
8 Vince Biegel Wisconsin 6' 4″, 245 lbs.
9 Micah Kiser Virginia 6' 2″, 240 lbs.
10 Hardy Nickerson Illinois 6' 0″, 230 lbs.

If we’re playing the Alabama prospect comparison game again, Foster could go 20 (or more) picks higher than former teammate Reggie Ragland as a 2016 second-rounder. McMillan flies to the ball and punishes people, but he also does have that coverage ability in his back pocket. Cunningham may emerge as the best of the bunch once they all reach the NFL—he has 104 tackles for Vanderbilt this season. Davis and Walker are excellent in space, critical for NFL linebackers, while Beckwith is a bit more of the thumper type. Biegel’s my sleeper (much like ex-Badger and current Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert was last year). He can bring pressure on the outside or slide inside and cover ground there.​

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