To continue this NFL 2020 draft series, we take a look at the guys who wear the green sticker, the middle linebackers. This 2020 NFL Draft doesn’t have a Devin White or a Devin Bush this year, but it does have some solid talent in the middle rounds.
Joe Bachie-Michigan State
This 6’2 230-pound prospect brings his lunch pale and hard hat to work with him every day. Old school feel with Bachie, and his run-stopping gap control is the best out of all the prospects in the 2020 NFL draft. His best role moving forward would be a 3-4 gap inside backer and not asking much to cover the middle of the field.
Bachie’s football IQ is off the charts and can diagnose blocking schemes regularly. He has the potential to become a leader of defense if he is given a couple of years to learn and blossom under the tutelage of a savvy veteran. As of now, I see Bachie going in the 2nd or third round in the next draft.
Evan Weaver-California University
Slated initially at defensive end Weaver is a jack of all trades player. Weighing in at 245 pounds Weaver is that hybrid player everyone is leaning towards now. A guy who can play multiple positions and tackle the lights out of the stadium Weaver is the total package.
When Weaver is given creative freedom and can roam the field, his relentless ball pursuit is unstoppable for any would-be blocker. His IQ on the field is very high on several occasions. I’ve seen Weaver disguise his intentions in several creative ways. Weaver is a lock for the second round, in my opinion, and will be a starter day one.
This choice is tentative, at best. Phillips is a junior with limited experience in a complicated defense. That being said, during his short time at LSU, Phillips has shown the ability to cover the pass and run equally along with calling out the calls to his fellow Tigers. Phillips is another new-age inside linebacker with his speed and his ability to cover down-field as well.
As of now, his stock for the 2020 draft is a second-round at best, but most likely, a mid 3rd rounder is his situation now should he declare. No real chink is in his armor right now other than his lack of experience; he’s shown leadership ability and plays the game the right way. Should he stay for his senior year, He would be a first-round lock.
Another Junior inside linebacker, Paddy, is your old school linebacker who is extremely good at his job. His gap control and tackling ability has given him this reputation as a leader of this Wildcats defense. Although his old school feel Paddy is incredibly athletic and goes sideline to sideline with ease.
One of his flaws is his ability to cover although he has made strides this year and parts of last year. If he can continue to show improvement and can obtain more game reps and film, Paddy is undoubtedly going to be a mainstay in the NFL for years to come.
Before his ACL injury in the Spring, Moses was touted to be the next stud linebacker out of Alabama. A finalist for the Butkus Award last year, Moses was a lock to be a high first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Now with this injury, Moses will have to decide on whether to stay one more year or not.
Looking purely at his ability pre-injury, Moses is a fast inside backer who is incredibly athletic and fits this new-age mold of the hybrid linebacker. His speed has hindered him with his reaction time, relying too much on his speed to make up for his mistakes. If he decides to declare for the 2020 draft, Moses will be a bit of a project and will need time to mold him into the future leader he can be.
This class is a bit on the weak side with no real superstars that we can see now. But these five individuals all have the potential to become future green dot wearers and leaders of their respective defenses. On April 23-25th of 2020, expect to hear some, if not all, of these names eventually.