2018 NFL Draft: Eric’s Top 5 OLB Rankings
The most important position in a pass-happy league, the one that rushes the passer the most and gets sacks. Here we have the outside linebacker rankings for the 2018 NFL Draft.
1) Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
Edmunds totaled 108 tackles with 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles for a loss, 2 passes defended and 3 forced fumbles in 2017. Not only is Edmunds a very productive linebacker. He has unique size with long limbs and a rangy frame and seems like he can add more weight to his already impressive frame. Excellent lateral quickness, Edmunds is truly a sideline to sideline player with his impressive speed and aggressiveness. The electric playmaker rarely misses a tackle and is disruptive in all phases. He shows tremendous talent not only rushing the passer but also in man coverage, which will make him a hot commodity. More athletic than instinctive. His potential is off the charts, he just needs to correct some mental mistakes.
2) Harold Landry, Boston College
Although Landry played most of his snaps at DE, he projects better as an OLB in the NFL Draft not only because of his height (6’3) but because he would thrive as an outside linebacker (he does have experience dropping back and playing in space). Landry had an ankle injury during the 2017 season, so his stats can be misleading, but just look at his 2016 numbers, when he was healthy (50 tackles, 22 for loss, 16.5 sacks, 7(!) forced fumbles, 1 INT and 4 passes defended). Landry is very athletic, has a great first step and he bends quite well, has a knack for stripping the ball from offensive players. He lacks a diverse set of pass rushing moves, more a finesse player than a power player at the point of attack and he could need more work with his hand usage.
3) Lorenzo Carter, Georgia
Carter is very long (at 6’6) and rangy, his frame can easily carry 10-15 more pounds at 244. He is a very smart player with some serious technique that can be effective against both the run and the pass. In 2017 he had 62 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries in a stellar defense that often forced 3 and outs and turnovers therefore, limiting his snaps. His frame not only can carry more weight, it needs to carry more weight to be effective in the pros. His stats won’t wow anybody, but when you watch tape see two guys who are always near the ball, him and Roquan Smith.
4) Dorance Armstrong Jr, Kansas State
Playing for a talent ridden Kansas State, teams only needed to plan for Armstrong which led to far too often double teams and plays going away from him. He has an amazing skillset but his stats this year don’t back that up, mainly because of the talent issue at Kansas State and because he was asked to stop the run more than he was asked to rush the passer in a new defensive scheme that wasn’t a good fit for him. Armstrong is a fluid and explosive athlete with outstanding acceleration and plays with consistency. He doesn’t pop on tape as much as you would want and will need to learn to play in space which isn’t an easy transition.
5) Jeff Holland, Auburn
Holland is an old school physical player, who is strong and always finds a way to hit the quarterback. Has a good motor and is patient enough to know when to engage/disengage a lineman. Holland is as violent as they come always trying to hit as hard as he can. He has a very high football IQ and takes good angles Concerns over his physique not being muscled enough and athletic enough. He might not test well at the combine, but he is what we call a damn good football player.
6) Jerome Baker, Ohio State
7) Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
8) Uchenna Nwosu, USC
9) Davin Bellamy, Georgia
10) Skai Moore, South Carolina
Honorable mention: Shaquem Griffin, UCF
For more 2018 NFL Draft rankings check: https://www.couchriderreport.net/2018-nfl-draft-quarterback-rankings-scouting-reports-top-prospects/