Top 5 Linebackers in the 2021 NFL Draft

The linebacker position is in line to be one of the best classes in many years. Several linebackers are day one starters for teams and have earned that right with their collegiate capabilities. This class has depth and some top-tier talent that could be amongst the top picks in the entire draft. In this article, we’ll break down the top 5 linebackers in this year’s loaded draft class. 

#1: Micah Parsons – Penn State

A prospect like Parsons only comes around once in a long time. Parsons practically has it all and is still touted as the top overall linebacker even with missing a full year of play in the 2020 season after opting out. Parsons is great in any scheme he plays in and is a tremendous athlete who has high explosiveness in his jump. He can cover a lot of area in run and pass making it very hard for teams to come up with a cohesive playbook to run against Parsons as he will run right through their plans. Parsons is the early favorite for defensive rookie of the year and for good reason. 

#2: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – Notre Dame

JOK is another linebacker who should be drafted in the 1st round of this year’s draft. Koramoah was arguably the best linebacker in 2020 to play as Parsons opted out. Koramoah, similar to Parsons, is an explosive player who can cover a lot of area on the field. Koramoah has a key trait that many teams look for in a player and that is overall awareness of where he is on the field in relation to the ball and the ability for him to make a play even if he is on the opposite side of the field. This will set Koramoah apart as one of the more elite players from this draft and he has potential to be an all-pro in the NFL. 

#3: Nick Bolton – Missouri

The recurring theme with this linebacker class is the explosiveness that these young guys have and Nick Bolton from Missouri fits that description well. Bolton has had over 200 tackles combined in the last two seasons and has been one of the most dominant defensive players in the SEC. With his quick feet, Bolton can get to the ball carrier with ease beating out blockers no problem. He will make a great inside linebacker for a team needing another body and should be a day one starter.  

#4: Zaven Collins – Tulsa

Collins one several awards in the 2020 season for good reason. In most games this season, one could make the argument that Collins was the best player on the field. His quick instincts allow him to get to the ball carrier quicker than most and get past the blocker. However, what Collins does to get to the ball carrier is avoid the blockers and often struggles when up head to head with an offensive tackle. This is the only thing holding Collins back from being higher on this list. Collins is an exceptional playmaker and can make all the difference when he is on the field and with better blocking, Collins could take his game to the next level as he already is a quick mover, he just needs a couple minor tweaks to be elite. 

#5: Jabril Cox – LSU

The former Missouri Valley Conference Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year transferred over to the SEC in hopes of improving his draft stock after multiple terrific seasons playing in the FCS for North Dakota State. Cox brought an explosive energy with him to his new team in LSU and proved he can adapt to any system making him a great pick up. Cox is arguably the best linebacker in coverage in this class and space is not an issue for Cox to be able to chase down someone to make a play. His coverage ability is a unique talent that not every linebacker has nowadays and makes him a wild card pick rounding out the top 5 in this list.

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