Dylan Moses, Alabama, Senior (6′ 3”, 235 lbs)
As a top level competitor who played all three linebacker positions in Nick Saban’s defence, Dylan Moses has a solid all round game. He can stuff the run game as well as he drops back in coverage. His athletic ability, explosiveness and lateral quickness were all on show in his 2018 season. Before the 2019 season began, Moses suffered an ACL injury that kept him out for the whole of that year. Going into the 2020 season, it was clear that Moses had not fully recovered from surgery on his knee. His movement to the ball and in coverage was slower, which is understandable. What impressed most was his mental toughness on the field after his recovery.
Dylan Moses is an excellent linebacker who has football smarts. The ACL injury and the performances that followed in 2020 has seen his draft stock fall. If Moses can get back up to speed from the injury, he will be a steal if he falls to Round 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Monty Rice, Georgia, Senior (6′ 0″, 238 lbs)
Monty Rice is not the biggest linebacker, but still plays hard against the more physical opponents. He is excellent against the run. Rice’s short yard speed and explosiveness gets him to the line of scrimmage quickly to make plays. These qualities are on display when fighting through bodies to get to the ball. Rice is a strong tackler, showing good form when wrapping up ball carriers well. He rarely misses tackles. The main area of concern with Rice is in pass coverage. His lack of size and ideal length will limit him on passing downs.
Monty Rice is a natural leader on the field. His limitations in the passing game are a concern and could see him slide down the draft board. As a run stopper. Rice is one of the best, and could be a great late round pick.
Justin Hilliard, Ohio State, Senior (6′ 0″, 227 lbs)
One of a cluster of linebackers coming into this years draft from Ohio State, Justin Hilliard had limited snaps but has created some buzz around him. His explosive downhill speed is a plus when stopping the run. He gets to the line of scrimmage quickly, breaking through gaps and causing chaos in the backfield. Hilliard is above average when lining up in coverage. He gets physical with Tight Ends and has great hands when knocking receivers out of their routes. When it comes to the faster and shiftier receivers, Hilliard can struggle to get his hips in the right position to combat them. He can find himself struggling to get round to cover.
Justin Hilliard has had his injuries and his playing time capped at the college level. Looking at the tape available, you can see lots of positives and on another team could have showcased his qualities much more. If Hilliard is picked on Day Three of the 2021 NFL Draft, a team could be looking back at the steal of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Garret Wallow, TCU, Senior (6′ 2″, 230 lbs)
Garret Wallow has transitioned well to the linebacker position after transitioning from Safety. His ability in coverage is good. He has great awareness of what’s happening around him. He has an ability to be in the right position to make plays. Wallow also has excellent closing speed towards the ball carrier. For a smaller sized linebacker, he plays physical and is a quality tackler. An area that needs addressing is his angles when closing on ball carriers. He can at times undercut and overshoot, which puts him in a bad position to make a play.
Garret Wallow has plenty of potential heading into the NFL. He can line up in any of the linebacker positions and do a solid job. If Wallow can tidy up some areas in his game which can be coached at the next level, a team could have a quality player in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Anthony Hines III, Texas A&M, Junior (6′ 3″, 230 lbs)
Anthony Hines is an exciting prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft at linebacker. With only two years of playing experience in college, Hines has still shown leadership material and high-end footballing smarts. His ability to read the game well is a real plus in coverage, getting in the right position to make plays. Hines has good lateral movement and tracks receivers up field. Ironing out some moderate issues such as footwork and getting off blocks is the priority at the next level. Also, adding some density to his big frame will only be a positive.
Hines missed all of 2018 through injury and opted out of the 2020 season. This has given teams limited tape to evaluate. What they will see is a quality linebacker who has a lofty ceiling. His attributes are perfect for the position an NFL team will love working with him to become a future star at the next level.