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How We Scout The Linebacker Position | NFL Draft | Football Scouting and Analytics

Scouting linebackers in the NFL requires evaluating a player's size, speed, athleticism, instincts, and versatility.


Below is a list of critical components we use to grade the LB position during the NFL Draft process. Every LB receives a grade on a scale of 1-10 for each of the below components during the scouting process. Once each player component is graded, we attach a final grade to indicate where the player stands before entering the NFL Draft, and then we attach a ceiling grade based on future potential.


Here are some key factors to consider when scouting a linebacker:


Size: A linebacker needs to have the size to take on blockers and tackle ball carriers. This includes their ability to generate power at the point of attack, maintain leverage, and finish tackles.


Speed and Agility: A linebacker must be fast and agile enough to cover running backs and tight ends in pass coverage. This includes their ability to change direction quickly, accelerate off the snap, and pursue ball carriers.


Coverage Ability: A linebacker needs to be able to cover running backs and tight ends in pass coverage. This includes their ability to read and react to the quarterback's movements, maintain tight coverage, and break up passes.


Run Stopping Ability: A linebacker needs to stop the run and limit the yardage gained by ball carriers. This includes their ability to maintain gap control, pursue ball carriers, and shed blockers.


Instincts: A linebacker must have strong instincts to read and react to offensive formations and anticipate plays. This includes their ability to recognize offensive schemes, diagnose plays, and communicate with their teammates.


Versatility: A linebacker must be versatile enough to play different positions and execute different defensive schemes. This includes their ability to adjust to different offensive formations, work effectively with different defensive linemen and defensive backs, and contribute to special teams.


Football IQ: A linebacker's football intelligence is vital in order to make quick decisions and adjustments on the field. This includes their ability to recognize offensive formations, diagnose plays, and communicate with their teammates.


Durability: A linebacker's durability is essential, as they will be taking a lot of hits on the field. This includes their ability to stay healthy and recover quickly from injuries.


When scouting a linebacker, it's essential to evaluate all of these factors and the player's overall performance on the field. It's also important to consider the team's specific needs and whether the linebacker's skills and attributes match the team's defensive system and style of play. Additionally, it's important to consider the linebacker's penalties and mental mistakes, as these can be a liability for the defense.

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