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2020 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

Will the NFL Draft go off without a hitch?  It’s hard to tell.  Teams only have a couple of days left before the picks begin on Thursday, and there are some known technological neophytes who will be taking their first stab at things like video conferencing and emails.  Provided they can get used to the tech gear, there’s still the issue of whether or not the equipment itself is up for the challenge.

The sports world will find out this week, and a number of NFL hopeful linebackers are counting on things going smoothly.

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LSU Athletes Are Ruling The Draft

There’s a reason LSU took the NCAA National Championship this year.  Joe Burrow was under center for the team and he is certainly going to the big leagues, joined by several offensive and defensive players.  Linebacker Patrick Queen is one of them, and he could be making the jump before completing his senior year at the school.  With a 4.5 40 at the NFL combine and a 35” vertical leap, he’s turned a number of heads this year, and is expected to be one of the first picks when the draft begins.

LSU also has K’Lavon Chaisson.  He is a highly versatile player, able to take up a position as either a linebacker or defensive end.  He will be among the top choices during the draft because of his flexibility, despite not always being consistent.  Chaisson needs to mature on the field some more, but will most likely find a new home as one of the top 15 chosen during the draft.

Surprisingly enough, though, Queen isn’t the one getting the best odds to go in the first round.  According to BetMGM, he’s looking at +4000; however, a Clemson player is the heavy favorite.  At -2500, Isaiah Simmons is all packed up and ready to head to the NFL.  Some believe that he could go as early as the top five and, should that fail, a top-ten pick is all but guaranteed.

There’s talk about him possibly ending up with the Detroit Lions or the New York Giants, and, given the option, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out which he would prefer.  Able to work as either a linebacker or a safety, he’s going to be swooped up quickly.

NFL Draft – Injuries Hurt Some Players’ Chances

One of the reasons Queen is so far off from Simmons is because he suffered a hamstring injury during the combine.  That will give teams reason to pause, but only for a few seconds, given his capabilities.

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Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma also suffered an injury during the combine, and his chances of an early pick are in line with what Queen is getting.  However, he will most likely drop down because of his injury and because, as strong as he was all over the field for Oklahoma, he still needs to be refined to be an NFL starter.

Round Two To See More Linebackers Finding Support

Josh Uche out of Michigan is another versatile player who, just like Chaisson can cover either as a linebacker or a defensive end.  He has tremendous speed as a power rusher and was on top of his game during Senior Bowl week, which garnered him some extra points from the NFL scouts.  More than likely, he’ll be picked up early in the second round of the draft or, if not at the beginning, no later than the middle.

That is similar fate that awaits Curtis Weaver.  The Boise State star excels at edge-rushing and has an eye that, when on the line as a defensive end, lets him quickly read the offense.  He’s the type of defensive player that offenses design plays specifically to deter, but his overall performance puts him more in the second-round category.  Still, the goal is to get to the NFL and, ultimately, the Super Bowl, and Weaver is more than ready for both.

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Erik is a writer and a sports nut who has had the good fortune to be able to experience a wide variety of world sports action up close and personal. He enjoys staying on top of the changing world of athletics and capitalizing on his writing skills to offer a unique take on what's going on in the ever-changing athletics ecosystem.

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