Top 10 linebackers in the 2020 NFL draft

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is tackled by Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray during their game in 2017.
caption arrowCaption
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is tackled by Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray during their game in 2017.

Here are the top 10 linebacker prospects for the NFL draft (with their draft round projections):

1. Isaiah Simmons, Clemson, 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, (first round): The ball-hawking hybrid linebacker also can play safety. Clemson played him near the line of scrimmage and, as a former safety, he has coverage skills.

» MORE: Versatility will help Isaiah Simmons at next level

2. Patrick Queen, LSU, 6-0, 229 (first round): He started 16 of 41 games played at LSU. He had to wait his turn behind Devin White. He played inside linebacker in LSU's 3-4 and finished last season with 85 tackles.

3. Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma, 6-2, 241 (first round): Started 42 games over three seasons for the Sooners and amassed 335 tackles, including 37.5 for losses and 9.5 sacks. He had 28 tackles in a game against Army as a sophomore and was named second-team All-American in 2019.

4. Zack Baun, Wisconsin, 6-2, 238 (second round): He started 27 of 39 games for the Badgers and amassed 154 tackles, including 30 for losses and 15 sacks. He was a consensus first-team All-American last season.

5. Akeem Davis-Gaither, Appalachian State, 6-2, 224 (second round): He started 30 of 50 games. He finished with 258 tackles, 28 for losses and eight sacks. He was the Sun Belt conference defensive player of the year.

6. Malik Harrison, Ohio State, 6-3, 247 (second round): He made 28 starts and played in 55 games for the Buckeyes. Had recorded 205 tackles, 29 for losses and 10 sacks over his career. Last season he led the Buckeyes in tackles, with 75, and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

7. Willie Gay, Mississippi State, 6-1, 243 (second round): He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the scouting combine. He had a rocky career in Starkville, which included getting suspended for eight games because of an NCAA violation involving an academic tutor and allegedly a fight with a teammate.

8. Jordyn Brooks, Texas Tech, 6-0, 240 (second/third): He was highly productive over four seasons, as he started 45 of 47 games played and amassed 367 tackles. He was named second-team All-American last season.

9. Logan Wilson, Wyoming, 6-2, 241 (third round): The four-year starter showed great instincts for the position. He was a first-team All-Mountain West selection and a second-team Associated Press All-American after making 105 tackles, 8.5 for losses and one sack last season.

10. Justin Strnad, Wake Forest, 6-3, 238 (fourth round): He was named honorable mention All-ACC, but missed the final six games because of injury. He had surgery to repair a torn right biceps in October.

Best of the rest: Colorado's Davion Taylor, Purdue's Markus Bailey, Utah's Francis Bernard, Oregon's Troy Dye, LSU's Jacob Phillips, Michigan State's Joe Bachie, Clemson's Tanner Muse, Baylor's Clay Johnston, Miami's Shaquille Quarterman and Minnesota's Kamal Martin.

» Here's a look back at the top linebacker prospects in 2016.

Teams in need. Arizona, Philadelphia, New York Giants, Carolina and New Orleans.

Need area for Falcons. Yes, but a secondary need. The Falcons believe Foye Oluokun can replace De'Vondre Campbell in the starting lineup.

Top 5 seniors for 2021 draft. Alabama's Dylan Moses, Penn State's Micah Parsons, South Carolina's Ernest Jones, North Carolina's Chazz Surratt and Florida's Brenton Cox.

AJC’s 2020 POSITION BY POSITION DRAFT SERIES

Quarterbacks: Joe Burrow leads classTop 10
Running backs: Cam Akers' life lessonTop 10
Tight ends:  Harrison Bryant top prospect Top 10 
Guards/Centers:  Solomon Kindley a late-rounderTop 10 
Offensive tackles:  Austin Jackson's life lesson | Top 10 
Wide receivers: Jeudy or Lamb  | Top 10
Defensive tackles: Brown, Kinlaw stand outTop 10
Defensive ends: A 'generational' talentTop 10
Linebackers: Versatility is a mustTop 10
Part 10: Safeties
Part 11: Special Teams
Part 12: Cornerbacks

--

The Bow Tie Chronicles Podcasts:

Can be found on Google, iTunes and TuneIn

For more content about the Atlanta Falcons:

Follow me on Twitter @DorlandoAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

Atlanta Falcons coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Have a question? Email me at dledbetter@ajc.com

About the Author

Editors' Picks