The 2023 NFL Draft is over and teams are getting comfortable with their new draft picks. The next class of players is preparing for another year of college football. Each position will be analyzed in the coming days. Here is the 2024 NFL Draft prospect watchlist: Linebackers.
Barrett Carter, Clemson Tigers
Carter was a five-star recruit out of Georgia who signed with Clemson in the class of 2021. He played sparingly as a freshman, finishing the season with 16 total tackles and two tackles for loss. In 2022, he improved with 73 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions, helping Clemson make the Orange Bowl.
At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, Carter is a little undersized for a linebacker at the NFL level. He is a good athlete who uses his movement abilities well in coverage and to track down ball carriers. Carter needs to work on adding strength to shed blocks and he’ll also need to diagnose plays quicker.
Cedric Gray, North Carolina Tar Heels
Gray played special teams his first season for the Tar Heels, but has improved since that point. In 2021, Gray had 99 total tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He was one of the more productive player in the country for the 2022 season with 145 total tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 1.0 sack.
At 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, he has solid size for an NFL linebacker. He has exceeded at pursuing ball carriers and bringing them down. Gray also has some coverage potential to guard tight ends. He needs to work on his blitzing and having better form tackling.
Jeremiah Trotter, Clemson Tigers
Trotter was one of the best players in his high school class and signed with Clemson. He had 15 total tackles as a true freshman when he was playing sparingly. Trotter stepped into the starting lineup for the 2022 season. He finished the season with 89 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
He is a little undersized for the position at 6-foot and 230 pounds. His lack of size makes it tough for him to shed blocks. Trotter does have great athleticism for the position, which he uses to be good in coverage, chasing down ball carriers and blitzing. He is the frontrunner right now to be the first linebacker taken in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Other Draft Prospects to Watch
Junior Colson, Michigan Wolverines-While he is a little undersized, Colson has a knack for tracking down ball carriers.
Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State Buckeyes- Eichenberg has improved every season at Ohio State and had 120 total tackles last season.
Justin Flowe, Arizona Wildcats- Flowe was a highly-touted recruit, but his career has been marred by injuries. He has transferred from Oregon to Arizona, where he will hope to reach more of his potential.
Smael Mondon, Georgia Bulldogs-Mondon took over well for the departed linebackers from the 2021 Georgia team and played well. He could be the next in-line to be an early draft pick.
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