2017 NFL Draft- Inside Linebackers

1. Reuben Foster (Alabama)– Jonathan Allen was by far the best defensive player for the Tide last season. Reuben Foster wasn’t too far off. With all due respect to Myles Garrett, Foster just maybe the most explosive defender in this draft class. He’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Patrick Willis and when you look at it, Reuben is almost built like Patrick is. His closing speed is what stands out especially when he’s running from sideline to sideline or the impact he generates from his collisions. He’s a missile with aggression and athleticism. In space, he attacks guys that would be blockers in the running game and jolts them with a punch that leaves blockers staggered. He’s a lights out hitter and makes the ballcarrier think twice before running in his direction. He plays the position truly with reckless abandon and launches himself into guys to make a tackle.

2. Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State)– He’s the prototypical size for the position. He’s a 6-2, 240-pound guy with a stout core and thick lower half that allows him to anchor against blockers. He’s a powerful tackler and can burst in and shut down ballcarriers right then and there in their tracks. He plays with an old school edge. He can read plays and knows where and when to make a play to help his defense. McMillan already shows NFL-caliber strength, taking on and shedding opponents efficiently with active, powerful hands, lateral agility and balance. He is a powerful tackler, often stopping ball carriers dead in their tracks.

3. Jarrad Davis (Florida)– Jim McElwain is now leading the Florida Gators, but the defensive mindset of Will Muschamp is still very visible with this team. Jarrad Davis is a highly instinctive, athletic and passionate linebacker that has a terrific intelligence of the game. He anticipates the snap well as a Blitzer and he times his rushes to split gaps. He plays the game with an “Energizer’s Bunny” motor. He’s a speedy guy that can get to the ballcarrier at a quick pace. When he sets his eyes on a target, Davis generates impressive closing speed which results in explosive collisions. He’s an instinctive and gritty defender that can do a variety of things.

4. Kendell Beckwith (LSU)– The one thing that immediately stood out to me about Kendall Beckwith is he’s an every down linebacker and he’s able to play in multiple defensive packages. Beckwith is extremely patient with a natural feel to sift through the trash, find the ball and make the stop. He is a fundamentally sound tackler with strong hands to hook, stay low and drop the ballcarrier, using leverage to wrap and finish. Beckwith has the power and physical mentality to take on linemen at the second level, acting as a hammer between the tackles vs. the run game.