As your New Orleans Saints prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft, we take a look at the top 10 ranked players at various positions. The 2022 NFL Draft big board rankings are reflective of Bucky Brooks' top five 2022 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0 and ESPN's NFL Draft "Best Available" list.
Here are the top 10 ranked draft prospects at linebacker:
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 1 Devin Lloyd | Utah
Devin Lloyd is a versatile, talented pass rusher that can play multiple linebacker positions. He filled up the stat sheet in 2021, rocketing him to NFL.com's No. 1 prospect and ESPN's second best inside linebacker. At times, he can play too quickly and become undisciplined, but he has the skills that are simply too hard to pass up for linebacker-needy teams. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds, had a vertical jump of 35, did 25 reps in the bench press, and posted a broad jump of 126.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 237 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.38
NFL.com Overview: "Highly productive and highly physical, Lloyd could create interesting discussions in draft rooms as teams work through his process versus production. Lloyd can be a little inconsistent with early diagnosis and fit recognition and unorthodox in how he flows to the football. With that said, he has a stat sheet full of production in every major category, including 43 tackles for loss over the last three seasons...Lloyd will make plenty of plays and should become a good starter as an inside or strong-side linebacker, but inconsistent process could limit his consistency."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 2 Nakobe Dean | Georgia
Nakobe Dean is a fearless attacker with the capability to run through the ball carrier. He can track down a runner or receiver with great speed and strength. He is smaller for a linebacker, which can lead to him being swallowed up in the middle of the field in zone-style defenses. He is listed as the second best linebacker on NFL.com and the best inside linebacker prospect on ESPN's Best Available. Nakobe Dean did not participate in the NFL Combine, so he is relying on his existing tape and potentially pro day to get teams interested.
Height: 5 feet 11
Weight: 229 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.40
NFL.com Overview: "Explosive, three-down linebacker with the demeanor and quickness to become a volume tackler while holding down third-down duties at a high level...Quick feet and plus agility will bring him to ball-carriers at a high rate but a lack of size and length means he'll need to fine-tune his approach as a tackler to make sure he finishes what he starts. He might lack measurables, but he has the toughness and technique to see a boost in his performance once his play becomes more proactive."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 3 Christian Harris | Alabama
Christian Harris is agile, athletic, and has the pursuit speed to keep up with some runners. His coverage is not the best, and he can be caught lacking at times. He is listed as the third best prospect on NFL.com and the fourth best on ESPN. At the Combine, he ran a blazing 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, has a vertical jump of 34.5, and a broad jump of 132. He can grow under the right coach, but may not be ready to start as soon as he enters the league.
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 226 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.21
NFL.com Overview: "Long, athletic inside linebacker whose strengths and weaknesses could make him a target for a move outside. Harris' lack of desired recognition will result in missteps and mistakes that could prove much more costly on the NFL level...Harris has the physical attributes and athletic ability to make plays as an eventual starter but he might lack three-down versatility."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 4 Damone Clark | LSU
Damone Clark played alongside Devin White and Patrick Queen, which has helped him build both his character and his game. The game against Alabama helped him a lot, and he was able to show off his talents against a bigger opponent. His coverage is a little weaker than some linebackers and his pursuit speed is more build-up based. He has the skills to be a good starter a few years down the line, but he may need a little work to get there. At the Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds, had a vertical jump of 36.5 and posted a broad jump of 127. He is listed as the fourth best prospect on NFL.com and the ninth best interior linebacker prospect on ESPN's Best Available.
Height: 6 feet 2
Weight: 239 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.32
NFL.com Overview: "Long, well-built inside linebacker packed into an athletic frame...Play recognition and instincts are erratic and could continue to be, but his game against Alabama should be weighed more heavily in his favor, as it shows what he's capable of against bigger, better opponents. Clark profiles as an early backup and special-teams performer but has projectable upside that could make him a starting inside linebacker within his first three seasons."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 5 Chad Muma | Wyoming
Chad Muma is an interesting prospect. On one hand, he averaged 11 tackles per game in the last two seasons and has a nose for the football. On the other hand, his build and lack of ability to change direction quickly could allow him to fall to Day 3. He had a decent Combine, putting up a 40-yard dash of 4.63, a vertical of 40 and a broad jump of 129. He is the fifth best linebacker prospect of Bucky Brooks' top 5, and he is the seventh best prospect for interior linebackers on ESPN's Best Available.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 239 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 5.96
NFL.com Overview: "A high-cut linebacker, Muma has a nose for the football but his methodology for getting there will need an upgrade to earn NFL playing time. He falls prey to false steps and wasted motion at times. He has a see-ball, get-ball mentality and hunts runners with good build-up speed and an aggressive demeanor...Muma profiles as a backup inside/strong-side linebacker with four-phase special teams talent that should lock him into a roster spot as a Day 3 selection."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 6 Boye Mafe | Minnesota
Boye Mafe is a linebacker/edge rusher that is projected to be an early round draft pick. He is explosive and has great power in his moves. His hand usage and balance raise some question marks, but he can be coached up in the right system. At the Combine he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53, had a vertical jump of 38, and jumped a broad jump of 125. He is the second best outside linebacker on ESPN's Best Available, so he has a high chance to be chosen on day 1.
Height: 6 feet 4
Weight: 261 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.35
NFL.com Overview: "Mafe's evaluation requires the evaluator to focus more closely on the flashes than just the play-to-play action. His combination of rare explosive measurables with average fundamentals could make for a perfect storm of rapid development once he gets focused skill work at the pro level...He has the traits and toughness to develop into an above-average starter as a 4-3 base end."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 7 Drake Jackson | USC
Drake Jackson is another edge rusher/linebacker hybrid that can make an impact with his speed around the edge of the offensive line. He lacks some physicality, though, and tends to play into opposing linemen rather than through them. At the Combine he had a vertical jump of 36.5 and a broad jump of 127. He's listed as the third best outside linebacker on ESPN's Best Available. He is a bit of a mystery, but does have upside. His ceiling is a bit lower than some, but he could outperform expectations if he continues to work on his game.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 254 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.00
NFL.com Overview: "Jackson lacks play strength but has the frame to add muscle and mass. He's a loose-limbed, restless pass rusher with the activity level to find angles and openings in both his primary and secondary rush...He has developmental rush potential, but needs a major upgrade in grit and technique against the run."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 8 DeAngelo Malone | Western Kentucky
DeAngelo Malone is an outside linebacker/edge rusher that has a smaller frame, but he plays bigger than he is. He's thoughtful in his rushing schemes, and he has the capability to make impact plays from time to time. His rush needs to be more consistent and he needs to work on his power because sometimes he can be swallowed up by pass blockers. He's projected to be a starter at some point in his career, but he may take a little longer to get to that point. ESPN lists him as the 4th best outside linebacker. The only Combine event he participated in was the bench press where he did 23 reps.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 243 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.22
NFL.com Overview: "Super senior who decided to come back for another season to put more on film for general managers to think about. Malone's wiry build belies his toughness and play strength at the point of attack. He uses quick feet, a flexible frame and unusually successful recovery balance to slink into playmaking positions in the run game...His slender frame will get knocked and he needs to craft a more repeatable rush, but he is competitive and savvy. Malone could challenge for a future starting job as a 3-4 outside linebacker and offers immediate special-teams value."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 9 Nik Bonitto | Oklahoma
Nik Bonitto has great speed and burst, allowing him to achieve great success in the run game. He has the ability to be moved around along the front 7 do fit the needs of stopping runs. On ESPN, he is listed as the 5th best prospect for outside linebackers. He does lack some power and it can be difficult for him to play the edge position on passing plays due to him playing smaller than his size. At the Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54 seconds, had a broad jump of 120, and jumped a vertical jump of 35.5.
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 248 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.33
NFL.com Overview: "Undersized edge defender who plays in a slant-based scheme that makes evaluating his three-down value more difficult. Evaluating the pass-rush talent, on the other hand, is quite easy. He's a wildly athletic rusher who blends get-off, stride length and flexibility into one alarming package for tackles trying to slow him down. Rush counters come instinctively and his ability to seamlessly transition his attack from outside to inside makes him a projectable rusher against athletic tackles as a pro..."
2022 NFL Draft prospects - Linebacker | No. 10 Kingsley Enagbare | South Carolina
Kingsley Enagbare has a forceful demeanor and great tackling power that bode well for an NFL team. He does lack some explosiveness and can be predictable, so he will need some work with a good coach that can help him refine his game. He ran a 4.87 in the 40-yard dash, jumped a 36.5 in the vertical jump, and posted a 117 in the broad jump. He has the skills to be an NFL starter some day, but he may take a year or two to get there. ESPN has him listed as the 6th best outside linebacker prospect.
Height: 6 feet 4
Weight: 258 pounds
NFL.com Draft Grade: 6.24
NFL.com Overview: "Enagbare is long and strong but lacks explosiveness, which could create diverging opinions regarding his position and how best to play him. He's heavy-handed and physical but will never be confused for a playmaker on the edge. He's best suited as a cubicle defender where his power and length can benefit him in smaller spaces..."