1. Shaq Thompson LB Washington
Shaq Thompson came into the year looking like a mid second round pick who could be developed into a future WLB or a MLB. His versatility this year has pushed his stock up through the roof. Thompson can be used at any linebacker spot in a 4-3 and 3-4. His highest value would be playing the role MLB or ILB as the signal caller. Thompson’s experience at safety would give him the pass coverage skills to drop back against the pass but he also has the ability to stop the run. Thompson also plays running back for Washington at times; this means he has a different view of offense than most other linebackers. He currently looks like a top 15 pick.
2. Benardrick McKinney LB Mississippi St
McKinney is another versatile LB, the leader of the Mississippi State defense. McKinney is an athletic freak and could be groomed to play any linebacker spot. He currently plays the ILB spot for the Bulldogs, but he is extremely useful in other areas. He is capable of rushing the passer from the inside but also good at dropping into coverage. McKinney looks like he should be a mid-late first round pick but with a strong combine he could crack the top 20.
3. Denzel Perryman LB Miami
Perryman came into the year looking like he may be the best linebacker available in the 2015 draft. Perryman looks like a classic MLB who can do everything from stopping the run to falling into pass coverage. He may still be the best MLB in the draft, but with Thompson and McKinney improving their stock Perryman has fell. Perryman looks like a late first to mid second round pick.
4. Eric Kendricks LB ULCA
Kendricks is an ideal linebacker for a 3-4 defense. His athleticism and range would make him a perfect ILB for a 3-4. Kendircks has the ability to stop the run and fall in the pass coverage, but his speed would allow him to occasionally rush the passer from ILB position. Kendricks looks like an early second round pick right now.
5. Ramik Wilson, ILB UGA
This spot originally belonged to A.J. Johnson, but after having off the field issues last year, and now a suspension from the University of Tennessee football team, A.J. is looking like he will drop to the late rounds or even risk becoming an undrafted free agent. As Johnson fell, in steps Ramik Wilson. Wilson is an athletic inside linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 defense. Wilson could be seen as a project as an ILB but should be able to step in instantly as a special teams player. Look for Ramik to go in the third or fourth round as of now.
*Section Photo credit to Otto Greule Jr., Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports