Posted on June 5, 2021
There are some top flight linebackers that should compete for All-American status, and a lot of depth and young players not ranked here who could turn into stars.
1. Devin Lloyd, Senior, Utah
Lloyd has been really good for the Utes for a couple of seasons, and I think this is the season he takes his star turn.
He’s a very complete linebacker who is tough and should lead a defense that will once again be one of the best in the Conference, if not the best.
2. Edefuan Ulofoshio, Junior, Washington
The former walk-on has turned into one of the Pac-12’s best linebackers, a tackling machine that grades super high game after game.
He’s an all around stud who can tackle, get into the backfield and defend the pass.
3. Nate Landman, Senior, Colorado
I thought Landman was going to go to the NFL, but instead he’s back and one of the best defenders in the Pac-12.
He’s a great all around player who can rush into the backfield, rack up tackles, and drop back into coverage.
One of the scariest playmakers on defense in the Conference.
4. Drake Jackson, Junior, USC
Jackson officially moved from more of a DE role to LB in 2020, and it didn’t go perfectly.
To be honest, I’m giving him a lot of credit here that he’ll improve in 2021 after not doing much in 2020, despite having a very elite 2019.
He has all the tools to be the best linebacker in the Conference, though, and that’s why he’s here.
5. Caleb Johnson, Senior, UCLA
Johnson is not the steady play-after-play cornerstone that Lloyd or Ulofoshio are; he’s more an explosive player who makes big plays as a linebacker.
He stepped up in 2020 with more than 44 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5.5 sacks, and an interception.
6. Mitchell Agude, Senior, UCLA
Agude isn’t the explosive playmaker Johnson was, but he graded at a very, very high level in 2020.
He’s one of the best edge players in the Conference, and I think he’s poised to make more plays in the backfield in 2021—and make more of a name for himself.
7. Cameron Goode, Senior, Cal
Another player I thought was going to go to the NFL, and one of the best linebackers in the Conference at making plays in the backfield.
He has logged 22 TFLs and 12.5 sacks in the past two seasons.
8. Kuony Deng, Senior, Cal
Yet another super senior who I think could have gone to the NFL.
The giant Deng wasn’t as explosive in 2020 as he was in 2019, and maybe that is why he is back.
He should get back to his 2019 form as a scary pass rusher and guy who can make plays in the backfield with an elite NFL frame and potential.
9. Avery Roberts, Senior, Oregon State
There might not be a better tackler in the Conference.
Roberts just racks up stats and holds down the entire Beaver defense.
He’s one of the best veteran leaders on the defensive side of the ball that you will find in the Pac-12.
10. Carson Wells, Senior, Colorado
Wells was a great pass rusher and defender in 2020, emerging as a great running mate for Landman.
He plays a lot on the edge and makes life tough on opposing quarterbacks.
I expect him to test the 10-sack number in 2021.
11. Omar Speights, Junior, Oregon State
Speights has been right there with Roberts as a steady linebacker who makes tackle after tackle for the Beavers, and who can also make big plays in the backfield.
He’s a big part of why Oregon State has started to get better on defense under Jonathan Smith.
12. Noah Sewell, Freshman, Oregon
Each group always has an elite young player who could easily be at the top at the end of the season.
Sewell is that guy in this group.
He was a monster at making plays in the backfield as a true freshman, and he could easily turn into a superstar in his first full season, climbing ahead of the veterans above him.
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