• Home
  • NFL
  • 2024 FFSN NFL Draft Big Board: Inside Linebacker Rankings

Share & Comment:

2024 FFSN NFL Draft Big Board: Inside Linebacker Rankings

The 2024 NFL Draft is getting closer by the day, and Fans First Sports Network is here to give you the best draft analysis anywhere! Between now and the NFL Draft, we will reveal our NFL Draft big board, one position at a time. Today, we will continue with the inside linebackers.

Those of you who know us from Behind the Steel Curtain may remember our BTSC Big Board we did the past three years, and we are excited to have a good portion of the crew back to do it here at FFSN. The board will be my comprised of my personal rankings, player stats, and scouting reports for all early-round prospects. Stats are compiled by community member SNW, and scouting reports come from a collaborative effort of myself, Jeremy Betz, Shannon White, Adam Curry, Noah_E., Nolan Keck, skyfire322, and Necksnation.

For each position, we will give a positional ranking, my overall round ranking, previous season stats, and an in-depth scouting report for each early and mid-round round prospect. We hope this will be a helpful resource for you as you become familiarized with draft prospects that your team may be looking at.

In case you have missed any of our previous positional big board rankings, you can check them out by clicking on the links below.

2024 FFSN NFL Draft Big Board: QB Rankings and Analysis


2024 FFSN NFL Draft Big Board: Interior Offensive Line Rankings

FFSN 2024 NFL Draft Big Board: Tight End Rankings and Analysis

2024 FFSN NFL Draft Big Board: EDGE Rankings and Scouting Reports

2024 FFSN NFL Draft Big Board: Running Back Rankings and Analysis

Note: All stats and analysis are unedited from what the original contributor submitted.

1. Edgerrin Cooper | Texas A&M | 6’ 3”, 230 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Early 2nd
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 83, SOLO 39, AST 44, S 8, PD 2, FR 1, FF 2, 0 INT
Nolan Keck: Hands down the most athletic NFL inside linebacker prospect at the NFL Combine, Edgerrin Cooper is arguably the most physical of all linebackers with a seemingly insatiable desire to get to the football. He has elite speed, good blitzer, eludes the block and a punishing tackler, playing in 45 games and starting 21 during his college career. His Senior season ended with him being tied for sixth in the Power 5 while leading the SEC with 17 Tackles for Loss. A highly versatile nightmare in the backfield, any weaknesses in his game can be refined at the NFL level. He seems a perfect fit as a three-down linebacker in a 4-3 defense where he can showcase his coverage skills and quickness, similar to Fred Warner. Edgerrin’s pure athleticism makes him my ideal choice as the first inside linebacker prospect to take in the 2023 NFL Draft.

2. Payton Wilson | North Carolina State | 6’ 4”, 238 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Early 2nd
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 138, SOLO 69, AST 69, S 6, PD 6, FR 2, FF 1, 3 INT
Nolan Keck: The best inside linebacker in college football and winner of both the Chuck Bednarik Award and Butkus Awards in 2023, Payton Wilson ran the fastest 40 yard dash among linebackers at the NFL Combine, and is genuinely willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and make an impact in the NFL. Great against both the run and the pass, his hero and mentor is none other than Luke Kuechly, who had some of the greatest instincts ever at the linebacker position. He’s a super impressive athlete with a great frame, but he does have an injury history and will already be 24 on draft day. Even so, Payton is the brother of MLB pitcher Bryse Wilson, and he is grounded in his faith and mental toughness to perhaps be the first linebacker taken off the board in the NFL Draft. 

3. Jeremiah Trotter, Jr. | Clemson | 6’ 0”, 230 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Early 2nd
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 87, SOLO 54, AST 33, S 5.5, PD 5, FR 0, FF 2, 2 INT
Andrew Wilbar: Trotter, Jr. has surprisingly flown under the radar during this process, but if he had tested at the combine, I would probably have him as my ILB1. His sideline-to-sideline range makes him an attractive selection in and of itself, but he also displays good instincts as a run defender as well as an ability to shoot gaps quickly. If he can manage to add a little weight to his shorter frame, it may do him well as a run defender moving forward, as stronger running backs can still break away from his tackles. Nonetheless, his instincts, fluidity, bloodlines, and blitzing ability are enough to get me on board. He is a great fit for the modern NFL game, and he can fulfill different roles in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes.

4. Junior Colson | Michigan | 6’ 3”, 247 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Early 2nd
2023 Stats: GP 15, T 95, SOLO 44, AST 51, S 0, PD 2, FR 0, FF 0, 0 INT
Andrew Wilbar: Colson is not the outspoken guy with the vibrant personality you would expect in a middle linebacker who will likely wear the green dot at the next level and lead the defense, but he gets the job done. He shuts his mouth, goes to work, and produces. Colson is the best tackling linebacker in this class, but he is not just a thumper in the middle of the defense. He can cover, and he can even blitz a little. I think he would have broken 4.6 in the 40 if he had run it, but the speed question is what will likely hold teams back from taking him in the top 40 picks. In the long term, I see him as a slightly smaller, but faster, version of Dont’a Hightower. You may not want him lining up against a slot receiver with 4.3 speed, but he is more than competent covering tight ends and most running backs one-on-one. If he somehow falls outside Round 2, he will be a great value for the team that picks him up.

5. Trevin Wallace | Kentucky | 6’ 2”, 241 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Mid 3rd
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 80, SOLO 45, AST 35, S 5.5, PD 0, FR 0, FF 1, 1 INT
Nolan Keck: A Team Captain who saw action in 36 games with 19 starts, Trevin Wallace possesses the explosiveness that put him on the Butkus Award watch list, but struggles to diagnose plays at an NFL level. He’s got the tools and he’s a high character guy, but he needs to develop his instincts to go along with that tremendous physical presence so that he can recognize run schemes and avoid the block. He’ll be 21 by the time of the Draft, so he has plenty of time to learn the patience and nuances that he needs as most of his weaknesses can be ironed out over time. He may start out as a weak-side linebacker or on Special Teams, but he definitely has potential. A likely top-100 pick, he has all of the tools he needs to become a quality NFL linebacker. 

6. Edefuan Ulofoshio | Washington | 6’ 1”, 236 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Early 4th
2023 Stats: GP 15, T 94, SOLO 62, AST 32, S 3, PD 3, FR 0, FF 1, 1 INT
Nolan Keck: An inspirational Team Captain and Butkus Award finalist from Anchorage, Alaska, Edefuan Ulofoshio (whose name means “not afraid of war”) is a former walk-on who came back from injury the past two seasons to start every game in 2023. A grinding, relentless accelerator, he has a broad upper body with a long wingspan for his height, running through tacklers and meeting blockers with a jarring punch. His movement skills make him a good coverage linebacker, but he needs to learn how to diagnose plays faster, do a better job of locating threats in zone coverage, and stand his ground in the running game. He has the physical and mental toughness to overcome adversity, which will be key as he transitions to the NFL.

7. Nathaniel Watson | Mississippi State | 6’ 2”, 245 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Mid 4th
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 137, SOLO 35, AST 102, S 10, PD 2, FR 2, FF 2, 1 INT
Noah_E: I had no expectations whatsoever before watching Watson but I came out pleasantly surprised. He’s a very fluid and explosive athlete who naturally gravitates towards the ball. He has great instincts and is very quick to diagnose where the ball is going. He’s impressive in zone coverage and routinely takes away throwing lanes. Watson made plenty of splash plays during his career, racking up 34 tackles for loss, 21 sacks, and 5 takeaways in the last four years. There are however some major red flags, the most glaring one being that he’ll be 24 at the start of the season. Watson is also a tad slow to shed blocks despite his sack numbers, and he lacks high-end pursuit speed. He is someone who’s going to surprise people right away, and I think he could be an extremely good player.

8. Ty’Ron Hopper | Missouri | 6’ 2”, 221 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Mid 4th
2023 Stats: GP 10, T 55, SOLO 36, AST 19, S 3, PD 3, FR 0, FF 0, 0 INT
Andrew Wilbar: Hopper had an impressive season for the Tigers, but for someone who only weighs about 230 pounds, he lacks the top-end speed needed to roam sideline-to-sideline. Recording a 4.63 40 at his pro day, Hopper did not give teams comfort about his range; however, his abilities against the run are surprisingly solid for a defender with his lack of size. His reactive quickness and ability to diagnose are sufficient, and his tackling form is surprisingly solid. My biggest concern lies in the fact that he does not make very many game-changing plays. He was on a talented defensive unit that kept deflected attention from him and allowed him to put up big numbers, yet his numbers across the board were nothing earth-shattering. He does not create many turnovers, and in the NFL, the opposition is only going to get bigger, stronger, and faster. He held his own as a run defender in college, but can his smaller frame do the same in the NFL? That is a question that will remain unanswered until he enters the league, but from an overall standpoint, I have a hard time justifying a team taking him on Day 2.

9. Tommy Eichenberg | Ohio State | 6’ 2”, 239 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Mid 4th
2023 Stats: GP 10, T 80, SOLO 40, AST 40, S 1, PD 0, FR 0, FF 1, 0 INT
Noah_E: Eichenberg possesses good instincts and quickness to get to the ball. He’s a solid tackler but isn’t much of a hitter. He has a great combination of size, athleticism, and physicality. His straight-line speed is poor and he hasn’t shown that he can be fully trusted in coverage. His lateral quickness certainly needs improving and his ability in the open field is pretty lackluster. Overall Eichenberg is smart, and he has both the build and athleticism to be a good linebacker, but his game needs a ton of work.

10. Curtis Jacobs | Penn State  | 6’ 1”, 238 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Late 4th
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 50, SOLO 31, AST 19, S 2.5, PD 0, FR 2, FF 0, 0 INT
Noah_E: Jacobs has got a very high football IQ and is the definition of a quarterback on defense. He does a good job of fighting through contact as well as defending outside runs. He’s solid in coverage and during his time at Penn State he was asked to cover multiple positions. Unfortunately, Jacobs is a bit of a boring prospect who isn’t explosive or much of a hitter. Not only does he lack sideline-to-sideline speed, but he also needs to improve as a blitzer and show he can create splash plays (just 3 takeaways in three years as a starter). He could be a good player, but his subpar athleticism and physical tools will limit him.

11. Jaylan Ford | Texas | 6’ 3”, 242 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Late 4th
2023 Stats: GP 14, T 101, SOLO 47, AST 54, S 1, PD 2, FR 1, FF 1, 2 INT
Noah_E: When it comes to Jaylan Ford, there’s more bad than there is good. He frequently misses open-field tackles and fails to fill his gap as a run defender. He has poor instincts, below-average speed, and a low motor. Ford does have the prototypical size for an off-ball linebacker and despite his lack of speed, he is a good athlete. He also does a good job taking away throwing lanes in zone coverage. He does have just two years as a starter under his belt, and he looked much improved this past year. The potential is there, but I don’t foresee him being more than a depth piece early in his career.

12. Jordan Magee | Temple | 6’ 3”, 225 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Late 4th
2023 Stats: GP 11, T 80, SOLO 45, AST 35, S 3.5, PD 4, FR 0, FF 1, 0 INT
Andrew Wilbar: Magee’s tape is a little up and down, but the potential is certainly there. When you turn on his bad tape, you see late recognition, poor awareness of his zone in coverage, and subpar communication. However, those traits do not show up in every game. He played better down the stretch this season and helped himself with a strong showing at the combine. He has the range to hang with most skill players in coverage, the hands to disengage from receivers, and the versatility to play WILL, MIKE, or SAM. I could even see him fitting as a MACK in a 3-4 unit if he goes to a team with said defense as its base package. He just needs to improve his communication, take better tackling angles in the open field, and simply be more consistent. Most of his issues are fixable, but the quantity of issues may scare teams off until the mid to late rounds. I see his range being anywhere between Round 3 and Round 5.

13. Cedric Gray | North Carolina | 6’ 3”, 235 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: Late 4th
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 121, SOLO 64, AST 57, S 5, PD 4, FR 2, FF 2, 1 INT
Noah_E: Cedric Gray is a high-level athlete and a very physical player. He isn’t afraid of contact and willingly takes on blockers at the line of scrimmage. He gets downhill quickly, and frequently got into the backfield over his three years as a starter, as evidenced by his 8.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss. Gray is a very consistent tackler and possesses great pursuit speed in the open field. His instincts aren’t quite there yet and he can be a tick slow to diagnose where the ball is. Despite his athleticism, he has yet to prove he can consistently be good in coverage. I think Gray has the ability to make an impact right away and while he may not be a three-down linebacker at the moment, he certainly has the potential and physical tools to be one.


14. Omar Speights | LSU | 6’ 1”, 235 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: 5th
2023 Stats: GP 10, T 69, SOLO 21, AST 48, S 0, PD 0, FR 0, FF 0, 0 INT

15. Kalen DeLoach | Florida State | 6’ 1”, 212 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: 5th
2023 Stats: GP 13, T 68, SOLO 33, AST 35, S 7, PD 2, FR 1, FF 2, 1 INT

16. James Williams | Miami | 6’ 5”, 215 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: 5th
2023 Stats: GP 12, T 73, SOLO 48, AST 25, S 0, PD 4, FR 1, FF 2, 1 INT

17. Carl Jones, Jr. | UCLA | 6’ 2”, 230 lbs
Wilbar’s Overall Grade: 6th
2023 Stats: GP 13, T 39, SOLO 31, AST 8, S 2, PD 0, FR 1, FF 0, 0 INT


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.