5. Jabril Cox, LSU, 6-3, 232 pounds (second round): A graduate transfer from North Dakota State, Cox became an immediate starter and team captain. He totaled 58 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, a sack and three interceptions. Although he got a year of SEC experience, he’s still considered a raw prospect, albeit with a lot of potential.
6. Nick Bolton, Missouri, 5-11, 237 pounds (second/third round): Bolton has good instincts that allow him to excel in coverage. He was named a second-team All-American and a first-team All-SEC selection after the 2020 season. Bolton led the Tigers with 95 tackles and was named a team captain.
7. Chazz Surratt, North Carolina, 6-2, 229 pounds (third round): Surratt has one of the better stories of anyone in the NFL draft. He arrived to North Carolina as a quarterback but told head coach Mack Brown that he wanted to switch to linebacker in the interest of his NFL future. In total, Surratt recorded 207 tackles, 12.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and eight pass breakups over the past two seasons. Given the fact he spent his first couple of years at quarterback, Surratt still has a lot of growing to do at linebacker, although he has the athleticism and smarts to be successful at the next level.
8. Pete Werner, Ohio State, 6-2, 238 pounds (fourth round): Werner was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior, leading the Buckeyes in tackles with 54. A fundamental linebacker, Werner showed a tendency to quickly find and pursue the football. He’s also a willing special teams contributor, playing this unit during his three years as a starter.
Georgia inside linebacker Monty Rice (32) watches for the snap against Missouri Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Columbia, Mo. (Cassie Florido/Missouri Athletics)
Credit: Cassie Florido
Credit: Cassie Florido
9. Monty Rice, Georgia, 6-0, 233 pounds (fourth round): A team captain during his senior season, Rice recorded 49 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack in 2020. He also had a fumble return for a touchdown. A fast and instinctive linebacker, Rice plays the game at a breakneck speed.
10. Baron Browning, Ohio State, 6-2, 245 pounds (fourth round): A former five-star prospect, Browning earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2020. He recorded 30 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups this past season. Given his standing as a recruit, Browning didn’t live up to the expectations he entered the program with. However, he still possesses NFL potential due to his size and athleticism.
Teams in need: Broncos, Patriots, Raiders, Saints, Washington.
Need area for Falcons: No. Deion Jones and Mykal Walker are under contract past 2021, although Foye Oluokun will be someone the Falcons should look to re-sign.
Top 5 LBs for 2022 draft: Auburn’s Owen Pappoe, Alabama’s Christian Harris, LSU’s Mike Jones, Wisconsin’s Jack Sanborn, Colorado’s Nate Landman.
AJC’S POSITION-BY-POSITION SERIES
QUARTERBACKS: How far will Justin Fields drop in draft? | Top 10 QBs
RUNNING BACKS: Plenty of prospects to pick from | Top 10 RBs
WIDE RECEIVERS: Draft deep with talent | Top 10 WRs
TIGHT ENDS: Ability to create mismatches is key | Top 10 TEs
OFFENSIVE TACKLES: A ‘nasty’ bunch | Top 10 OTs
OFFENSIVE GUARDS/CENTERS: The men in the middle | Top 10 C/OGs
END RUSHERS: Pass on this draft stock | Top 10 DEs
DEFENSIVE TACKLES: One star among lackluster block | Top 10 DTs
LINEBACKERS: Deep class for position | Top 10 LBs