NFL Draft News & Analysis

2022 NFL Draft: Linebacker prospect superlatives

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) celebrates during the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports

If you haven’t heard, the linebacker class in the 2022 NFL Draft is one of the deepest in PFF's eight years of evaluating college football.

As it stands now, 13 linebackers rank in the top-100 on the PFF draft board, which means there’s a lot of talent to choose from for these respective superlatives.

BEST SIDELINE-TO-SIDELINE RANGE: CHANNING TINDALL, GEORGIA

Tindall looks like the T-1000 when he’s chasing down running backs in the flat — he just keeps building up speed. At the combine, he ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash with a 1.52 10-yard split. Just watch him scoot.

BEST IN COVERAGE: DEVIN LLOYD, UTAH

PFF’s LB1 plays the linebacker position gracefully. He doesn’t have jaw-dropping athleticism, but at the same time, he makes everything look so easy. His ability to break on passes from any body position is exactly what evaluators want to see from a linebacker in coverage, and it led to four interceptions and three pass-breakups this past season.

BEST AT TAKING ON BLOCKS: LEO CHENAL, WISCONSIN

It’s incredible how adept Chenal is at separating from blockers despite not possessing ideal length for the position (31-inch arms). That skill enabled him to earn a 94.1 run defense grade (first among linebackers) and 91.8 pass-rushing grade (second among linebackers) last season. Chenal is so adept at it that Wisconsin routinely walked him up on centers to play a tilt nose tackle role. 

BEST RUN GAME INSTINCTS: NAKOBE DEAN, GEORGIA

Call it processing, football intelligence or instincts – Dean has it. It’s why he was downgraded the fewest times against the run of any starting linebacker in the Power Five last year. Offenses aren't going to catch Dean out of position too often.

BEST TACKLER: QUAY WALKER, GEORGIA

Walker was not only an incredibly proficient collegiate tackler, but he also has ideal traits to continue to do so at the NFL level, as he missed only seven tackles on 138 attempts in his four years at Georgia. At a shade under 6-foot-4 with a nearly 6-foot-8 wingspan and 4.52 speed, Walker is going to be a value-add as a tackler in the NFL.

BEST ATHLETE: TROY ANDERSEN, MONTANA STATE

Andersen had some competition in this year’s class. Chenal, Walker, Christian Harris, Brandon Smith and Chad Muma could all garner some athletic “freak” tags as well. Ultimately, Andersen stands alone at the top when taking his comprehensive testing into account. Just check out how insane his numbers are:

Event Measurable
40-Yard Dash 4.42 seconds
10-Yard Split 1.49 seconds
Vertical Jump 36 inches
Broad Jump 10-foot-8
Short Shuttle 4.07 seconds
Three-Cone 6.77 seconds

And he’s 240 pounds! He’s a physical monster who shows that on tape.

You've got the first pick with your finances. Western Southern Financial Group.
Sponsor

NFL Draft Featured Tools

  • Live picks, grades and reaction to the 2022 NFL Draft.

  • 250+ three-page scouting profiles - advanced stats, 3-year grades, player comps, combine data and Senior Bowl grades - for the 2022 draft class.

    Available with

    Edge
  • PFF's Big Board for the 2023 NFL Draft offers three-year player grades, combine measurables, position rankings, and in-depth player analysis for all of the top draft prospects.

    Available with

    Edge
  • Our exclusive database, featuring the most in-depth collection of NCAA player performance data.

    Available with

    CFB Prem Stats+
Pro Subscriptions

Unlock NFL Player Grades, Fantasy & NFL Draft

$9.99 / mo
$39.99 / yr

Unlock Premium Stats, PFF Greenline & DFS

$34.99 / mo
$199.99 / yr
College Subscriptions

Unlock College Player Grades and Preview Magazine

$7.99 / mo
$27.99 / yr

Unlock NCAA Premium Stats & PFF Greenline NCAA

$29.99 / mo
$119.99 / yr