Top 10 linebackers in the 2024 NFL draft

Indiana's Tayven Jackson (2) fumbles the ball in the second half while being hit by Michigan's Michael Barrett (23) at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Indiana's Tayven Jackson (2) fumbles the ball in the second half while being hit by Michigan's Michael Barrett (23) at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/TNS)

Here are the top 10 linebacker prospects (with height, weight and projected round) for the NFL draft, which is set for April 25-27 in Detroit:


1. Junior Colson, Jr., Michigan (6-foot-2, 247 pounds, second): Led the national champs with 95 tackles. He had 101 tackles in 2022.

2. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Jr., Clemson (6-0, 230, second or third): He had 192 tackles for 29.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks over his career. His father played in the NFL from 1998-2009 and was a four-time Pro Bowler.

3. Cedric Gray, Sr., North Carolina (6-2, 232, third): He was named first-team All-ACC in 2022 and 2023. He led the Tar Heels with 121 tackles last season and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine.

4. Nathaniel Watson, Sr., Mississippi State (6-2, 244, third): He’s a good run-stuffer, but has struggled in coverage. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds and has a 31-inch vertical jump.

5. Tommy Eichenberg, Sr., Ohio State (6-2, 239, third or fourth): He made 268 tackles over his four-year career, including 21 tackles for losses. He plays with good physicality in the run game.


1. Dallas Turner, Jr., Alabama (6-4, 242, first): Turner had 8.5 sacks in 2021 and came back with 10 in 2023. Turner did most of his work for the scouts at the scouting combine. He did only the bench press during the Pro Day workouts, lifting 225 pounds 20 times.

2. Chris Braswell, Jr., Alabama (6-3, 257, first or second): He played in 14 games and made two starts last season. He had 10.5 tackles for losses and eight sacks in 2023. Was a reserve in 2021 and 2022.

3. Edgerrin Cooper, Jr., Texas A&M (6-4, 234, second or third): He was a first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC selection. He had 17 tackles for losses and eight sacks last season.

4. Payton Wilson, Sr., N.C. State (6-4, 234, second or third): He was the Dick Butkus award winner, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds and has a 34.5-inch vertical jump.

5. Trevin Wallace, Jr., Kentucky (6-1, 237, third): He played at Wayne County High and was a three-year letter winner for the Wildcats. He played in 36 games and made 19 starts. He finished with 166 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five quarterback hurries, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a pass breakup.

Best of rest: Best of the rest: ILB – Texas’ Jaylan Ford, Texas-El Paso’s Tyrice Knight, Washington’s Edefuan Ulofoshio, Notre Dame’s JD Bertrand and Michigan’s Michael Barrett. OLB – UCLA’s Gabriel Murphy, Troy’s Javon Solomon, Colorado State’s Mohamed Kamara, Notre Dame’s Marist Liufau and Penn State’s Curtis Jacobs.

Other local prospects

Michael Barrett, 6-0, 239, Michigan (Lowndes HS): He started all 15 games and contributed on special teams. Set a new Michigan record for games played during his career (64).

JD Bertrand, 6-1, 233, Notre Dame (Blessed Trinity): Led the Fighting Irish with 76 tackles last season.

Aaron Casey, 6-2, 235, Indiana (Alexander HS): Became the 12th linebacker in Indiana history to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Steele Chambers, 6-1, 232, Ohio State (Blessed Trinity): Chambers was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes and played a total of five seasons, including his first two seasons as a running back.

Kalen DeLoach, Florida State (Islands HS): He made 66 total tackles, including a career-high 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Khalid Duke, 6-4, 246, Kansas State (Riverside Military): He earned first-team all-state honors from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2018, the school’s first all-state honor since 2013. He served as a ball boy for the Falcons.

Ty’Ron Hopper, 6-2, 221, Missouri (Roswell HS): Hopper’s 55 tackles through 10 games led the Tigers, before he sustained an ankle injury that forced him to the sideline for the final two games of the regular season.

Jontrey Hunter, 6-2, 240, Georgia State: He was named to the 2023 All-Sun Belt Conference (third team) and was the defensive player of the game in the 2020 LendingTree Bowl.

Teams in need: Raiders, Bears, Lions, Rams and Seahawks.

Need area for Falcons: Yes. The Falcons are switching to a 3-4 and need outside linebackers and another inside linebacker to step forward behind Kaden Elliss, Nate Landman and Troy Andersen.

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