2022 NFL Draft prospects: the top five linebackers
Ahead of the Draft in Las Vegas, AS’ Uriel Parrilla takes a look at the linebackers most catching the eye of NFL teams.
Compared with the 2020 and 2021 NFL Drafts, the class of 2022 can be considered a little low on quality when it comes to linebackers: no more than two are expected to be picked in the first round. Georgia is the chief production line of talent at LB this year, as two of its former players are among the most sought-after.
Here are the five most exciting prospects in the 2022 Draft, which is to be held in Las Vegas from 28 to 30 April.
The Utah product is one of the linebackers with the talent to be selected in the first round, according to multiple Draft projections. The 6′3″ defender, who weighs in at 237lbs, is a Swiss army knife of a player. As well as pulling off blocks and pressuring the passer, he can cover tight ends.
The former Georgia player is also seen as a prospect with the potential to be selected in the first round. Measuring 6′0″ and weighing 225lb, he’s the shortest, lightest linebacker in his class, so it’s believed he may bring a lot of athleticism to whichever team takes him. He did not take part in the NFL scouting combine drills, however, so that remains unproven.
The 23-year-old linebacker brings uncommon expertise to his defensive duties. He played as a quarterback as a youngster, and in his first years at Montana State, split his time between LB and running back. Andersen, who is 6′4″ and 243lbs, is outstanding against rushing offences, but his reduced defensive game time is one of the reasons why he’s not a first-round prospect.
A Wyoming product, the 22-year-old LB is seen as an effective defender against carries and, although he can cover the passing game, there are question marks over how he defends the passing routes. According to the NFL’s scouting report, Muma - who is 6′3″ and 239lbs - needs to develop his abilities is he is to be a starter. Sports Illustrated expects him to be picked in the second round.
Walker is the other linebacker coming out of Georgia who is earmarked as one of the best prospects in his position. Compared to Dean, the 6′4″ and 241lbs Walker is viewed as a raw talent. He is considered to be particularly strong at defending against rushing offences and pressuring the opposition quarterback.