Top 4-3 linebackers and defensive tackles in draft with profiles, overall rank, and comparisons

I just finished my top 100 draft rankings and profiles. I thought I would throw it up here and see what other people thought. I watched at least 3 full games of film for each prospect and the top ones many more. Positional rankings are followed by overall rankings in parenthesis.

WR rankings here

Edge rankings here

RB rankings here

4-3 Linebackers

LB1 (4) Reuben Foster- Alabama 6’0" 229. Lost 20 pounds for his senior year and it shows on film. Won the Butkus Award for best LB in the nation. Doesn’t make the fastest decisions but when he does he makes it 100% full speed. Huge hitter that wants to hurt everyone every play. Great feel for the game that seems to control the defensive attitude of the team. Elite special teams contributor. Amazing blitzer that can time the snap count very well. Slow first step and diagnosing of play but better than any I have seen once he makes up his mind. Good in pass coverage because of anticipation and film preparation. Recent news came back that he diluted his urine analysis at the combine which will drop his draft stock.

NFL comparison- Deion Jones mixed with Mike Tyson

LB2 (40) Jarrad Davis- Florida 6’1" 238. High character guy with great leadership traits. Runs well in coverage. Doesn’t have the best speed but uses good angles and instincts to always be around the ball. Great special teams player early in his career. Big time thumper in the middle but seems to have 3 different play speeds. I wish he played faster when he is trying to diagnose the play. NFL ready body but due to health issues we have no tests on speed. Sometimes lets blockers get to him with ease while diagnosing the play. Good pursuit angels and a textbook form tackler. Could play any 4-3 LB spot wish he was a little faster.

NFL comparison- Emmanuel Acho

LB3 Edge8 (41) Haason Reddick- Temple 6’1" 237 -4.52. Freaky explosive athlete. Played everywhere on defense (DE, stand up outside rusher, middle linebacker, and outside backer). Runs himself out of position at times. Great in pursuit and looks the part of a linebacker much more than an edge guy. When rushing off the edge he lets the blocker lock on with his arms. He can hold the edge very well in run support. Takes him awhile to react at the snap of the ball, would love for him to just play more but that seems to be the defensive scheme he was put in. Does not make very many plays. Best suited at 4-3 OLB or ILB.

NFL comparison- Eli Harold

LB4 (42) TJ Watt- Wisconsin 6’4" 252 -4.69. 2 time season ending knee injuries. Can play a lot of spots on the field. Was a TE for 2 years at Wisconsin, could be outside LB in a 3-4 or a 4-3, could be a DE in a 4-3. His body has the frame to adapt and change to fit a certain scheme. Definition of versatile but only has 1 season of production due to injury. Exceptional athlete at everything except bench and 40 time. Great at forcing the edge in the run game. Played on the edge mostly and seems his best football is ahead of him. At his best when he stunts which makes me think he would be better as a blitzing backer in a 4-3.

NFL comparison- Trent Murphy

LB5 (47) Zach Cunningham- Vanderbilt 6’3" 234 -4.67. Always around the ball but arm tackles way too much. At his best when fighting through blockers. Tackles way too high and with arms which causes a lot of miss tackles. Great special teams contribution. Great at blitzing the gap. Great at cutting through traffic. Never gets big hits but is always around the ball.

NFL comparison- Derek Johnson

LB6 (76) Raekwon McMillan- Ohio ST 6’2" 240 -4.61. Always coming down hill at the snap of the ball. Can fill between the B gaps well but has a slow play speed outside of that. Shows up on film much more against run first teams. Will not be a perimeter player, inside would be best fit and maybe some SAM on 1st and 2nd downs. Decent blitzing backer through the A gaps, he loses all effectiveness if he has to change direction. Not a play-maker but holds his assignment very well. Plays smart not fast

NFL comparison- Alec Ogletree

LB7 (82) Ryan Anderson- Alabama 6’2" 253 -4.78. Slippery off the edge as a rusher, but is very slow and is best suited as a 4-3 Sam backer. Not a flashy player at all but seems to always keep his assignment. Very sure tackler but never gives the knockout hit. Good in zone coverage and anticipates routes well. Played on the edge mostly but takes a false step too often at the snap of the ball.

NFL comparison- Stephone Anthony but more fluid

LB8 (89) Duke Riley- LSU 6’0" 232 -4.58. 1 year starter and is not a play-maker, but a role guy that keeps his assignments in check. Good first step and is always moving in the right direction, no false movements. Not a punishing tackler but gets the job done. Lets Olineman get a hold of him too often. Limited to the will spot for 4-3 or inside in a 3-4. Plays best with inside to outside pursuit so I hope he goes to a 3-4 team which would be his strength. Very good pursuit angels and understands team D concepts.

NFL comparison- Perry Riley

LB9 (90) Elijiah Lee- Kansas State 6’3" 228. Tall athletic long armed LB. Not a great sense of urgency much more of a reacting LB. Very athletic frame and could add weight to play SAM in 4-3. Best suited for the WILL spot in a 4-3 right now. Probably a 2 down LB and special teams stud to start off.

NFL comparison- raw Alec Ogletree

Defensive Tackles

Edge2 or DT1 (7) Solomon Thomas- Stanford 6’3" 273 -4.69. Played all over the Dline and is somewhat of tweener. Not long enough to be a prototypical edge and not big enough to be a powerhouse interior guy. Is always in the opponent’s backfield and is a crazy motor guy. Gets sidestepped by QBs often because he is out of control when rushing. Elite 1st step and is always first one off the ball. Plays smart and diagnoses plays well (screens, draws, trick plays, etc…). Probably leads the nation in disruptions in the backfield but doesn’t always finish the play. Splits the double team as well as I have ever seen. Has no problem being a gap stuffing dlineman but is at his best when turned lose to wreck havoc. Relentless he does not give up on plays.

NFL comparison- Smaller and faster Ndamkun Suh

DT2 (20) Jonathan Allen- Alabama 6’3" 286 -5.00. Won the nation’s top defender award in 2016. Great leader and plays beyond aggressive on every play. But he is too small to the ideal inside guy and way too slow to be an edge guy. Plays inside and outside well. Some medical issues with his shoulders. Great first step despite his lack of speed and he maximizes his talent with effort. Definition of team defense and always controls his gap. Heavy hands than can control the olineman with ease. Much better on the inside hopefully he goes to a 3-4 team. If he gets a head of steam he is a killer.

NFL comparison- Smaller and slower Fletcher Cox

DT3 (36) Malik McDowell- Michigan St 6’6" 295 -4.85. Hands and hips are very active on every play. Crazy explosive but not a power gap stuffing DT. Looks like a giant running back with crazy agility and athleticism. He either shoots the gap with a finesse move or gets blown out of his gap. Gets pancaked on a lot of plays. Does not maintain gap integrity. Argued with coaches consistently because he wanted to do his own thing. Takes plays off. Will start as an interior pass rusher on passing downs day 1 but will take time getting into every down work.

NFL comparison- Robert Nkemdiche without the power

DT4 (57) Montavius Adams- Auburn 6’4" 304 -4.87. Faster than strong. Plays inside and outside. Penetrating DT that disrupts the backfield. Uses shoulder pads too often instead of extending his arms. At his best in goal-line and short yardage situations. Great at blocking kicks pushing the pocket from the middle. Not the best against the double team. Stops his feet if he goes head-on with an olineman.

NFL comparison- Timmy Jernigan without the explosion

DT5 (83) Larry Ogunjobi- North Carolina Charlotte 6’3" 305 -4.97. Great hip movement and seems to slide off of blockers. Good motor that seems to overachieve. Not a great first step. Wish he was bigger but not sure he will be able to add more weight very well.

NFL comparison-Sheldon Rankins but less effective

DT6 (84) Caleb Brantley- Florida 6’3" 307 -5.14. Strong anchor dline type. Plays with arms extended well and never gets blown off the ball. Not a penetrating presence. Gets a fair amount of pressures on the QB but never seems to bring him down. His style of play is similar to a 3-4 NT but he is way too small to play that role in the NFL. Will need to get faster or bigger not sure either one is a good option for his frame. Stands up to read the play when he is engaged with olineman.

NFL comparison- Ricky Jean Francois but without penetration

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.