The anticipation of the NFL Draft has officially reached its peak! On Thursday, the 2023 NFL Draft will kick off to millions of fans across the nation tuning in to see who their favorite team selects in the first round. More specifically, with plenty of linebacker prospects to choose from, it is time to check out our NFL odds series where our first linebacker drafted in the first round prediction and pick will come true.
In today’s day and age of spread ’em out football that requires teams to have high-IQ linebackers who excel in playmaking and also possess the proper amount of speed to be able to make plays near the boundary. Not to mention, possessing the skillset as a run stopper and in pass-coverage ends up being a valuable attribute. All in all, which name will hear themselves be called first when Thursday comes around?
Here are the NFL Draft odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
2023 NFL Draft Odds: First Linebacker Drafted in First Round Prediction
Drew Sanders: -170
Jack Campbell: +250
Trenton Simpson: +500
Dalyan Henley: +3000
Why Drew Sanders Could be Drafted First
The stingy and feisty linebacker out of Arkansas, few can argue that Drew Sanders is as productive as they come. Not only did Sanders showcase this during the NFL Combine, but he also performed well in his junior season in Fayetteville. Believe it or not, the massive 6’5″, 232-pound linebacker didn’t wrack up a whole lot of tackles, but instead found a way to make his name known when it came to getting after the quarterback. Believe it or not, Sanders can line up anywhere on the field which was a big reason why he ended the 2022 season with 9.5 sacks. With a wickedly fluid swim and spin moves in the A, B, and C gaps, it is hard to imagine that Sanders isn’t successful in some sort at the professional level.
Why Jack Campbell Could be Drafted First
Another massive human being coming in the form of Jack Campbell, the former Iowa standout currently has the second-best odds to be drafted at +250. At first glance upon Campbell’s game tape, the realization quickly begins to set in that it is his extreme athleticism that makes him stand out from the rest of his linebacking peers. Believe it or not, it was Campbell that actually could’ve played D-1 college basketball has he led his high school teams to state titles his junior and senior years. Above all else, Campbell is a projected second-round pick that excels with his awareness and ball skills which usually put him in the perfect position to make a play in the run and passing game. Although he needs to work on playing off of blockers with more efficiency, this linebacker prospect will certainly make some heads turn at the next level.
Why Trenton Simpson Could be Drafted First
Next up on this list is a Clemson Tiger standout in Trenton Simpson who is fresh off of a 2022 campaign in which he racked up a total of 76 tackles en route to becoming one of the more main fixture on that defense. At first glance, Simpson strives himself by using his speed to make any play on the field.
In addition, not only does Simpson play inside linebacker, but he also has familiarity at the outside linebacker position which makes him that much more valuable coming into the draft. Even more so, whenever Simpson is activated as a blitzer, opposing offensive lines better be on the same page or else it will be the ferocious Clemson linebacker that will wreak some havoc in a big way. Although Simpson often displays confusion in pass coverage, there is no question that this young man will be highly sought after this weekend.
Why Daiyan Henley Could be Drafted First
Playing his college ball at Washington State for a whopping six years. Henley put together his best campaign of his collegiate career acting as a human torpedo by making 106 tackles and serving as the heartbeat of the Cougars’ defense in 2022. Currently, Henley is projected to be a serviceable starter in the NFL at the linebacker position thanks to his rambunctious playing style that includes a decent amount of speed and instinctual play. Furthermore, Henley does a stellar job in disrupting running lanes and ranging from sideline to sideline on run plays. Also, he happens to have experience as a special team player which could force NFL teams to select him as a depth piece. At the moment, Henley is +3000 to become the first linebacker selected in the draft, so it would probably be wise to stay away from this one unless you’re feeling extremely lucky.
Final 2023 NFL Draft Odds: First Linebacker Drafted in First Round Prediction
No doubt, this is an intriguing linebacker class that possesses size, speed, and proper instincts to fit right into what the NFL game is all about defensively. However, at the end of the day, pick Jack Campbell with his tremendous upside and athleticism to be too good to pass up by being the first linebacker off of the board.
Final 2023 NFL Draft Odds First Linebacker Prediction & Pick: Jack Campbell +250
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