LB7: Dorian Williams (Tulane)
Dorian Williams is an easy projection for a MIKE linebacker role in the NFL. His instincts are top-notch, and the style in which he plays is infectious to the whole defensive unit. Williams logged more than 2,000 snaps as the middleman for the Tulane defense, earning him invaluable experience in the process.
In a breakout 2022 season for Tulane, Williams served as the leader of the defense. He recorded 97 tackles, six sacks, three pass breakups, and two interceptions, giving him a sparkling PFF grade in coverage, as a pass rusher, and as a tackler. Offseason workouts only confirmed what I saw on tape — Dorian Williams is a DUDE.
Now, he is not perfect. Williams is undersized, no matter who you ask. He is 6-foot-1 and only weighed 228 pounds at the NFL Combine. Still, his testing numbers were elite, and the tape showed very few signs of Williams being too small. Will that change against NFL-level talent? Maybe. But I’ll take my chances on day two.
NFL Draft Grade: Late Day 2
LB6: Nick Herbig (Wisconsin)
Nick Herbig should really be considered an edge rusher heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, but a player of his size would never last as a full-time pass rusher. Instead, much like he did at Wisconsin, Herbig will be asked to expand his game and use other traits outside of his wide array of pass-rushing moves.
Herbig stands at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds. He could add another 10 pounds to the frame to help out against stronger blockers, but it would likely jeopardize his mobility. Herbig did not complete agility drills, but his tape shows a player capable of planting his feet and re-accelerating toward the ball, giving an idea of how he could impact plays as a linebacker.
In addition to his agility, Herbig also shows a lot of strength in his hands. He delivers big blows in run support, and as is apparent by his career-high coverage grade in 2022, Herbig is plenty versatile. But now to the best part of his game: pass rushing.
The reason Herbig holds such a high place on this list is that he is potentially the best pure pass rusher in the entire class. He has no shortage of tricks up his sleeve, winning with speed, converting speed-to-power, and exhibiting impeccable hand fighting when working toward the quarterback.
Herbig is undersized and may be viewed as a pass-rushing specialist at the moment, but he is much, much more than that. Take the chance on a guy as capable as Herbig as a pass rusher and do your best to round out the rest of his game. He can be a starting OLB in most 3-4 schemes.
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-to-Late Day 2
LB5: DeMarvion Overshown (Texas)
DeMarvion Overshown is yet another versatile weapon in the linebacker group. He was once a highly-touted safety recruit, but upon arriving to Texas and itching for playing time, Overshown switched to linebacker and became a force for the Longhorn defense.
It wasn’t the smoothest transition initially, but Overshown found his calling in 2022. Logging more than 100 snaps on the defensive line and from the slot, plus 469 more in the box, the Texas superstar was all over the field.
He boasts elite athleticism and length, but his overall frame is not bulky, which can cause some issues as a run defender, especially when you factor in his less-than-ideal tackling form. Still, oftentimes Overshown hits a player so hard they crumble to the turf anyway.
With range from his safety days, Overshown oozes potential in coverage. His size allows him to stick with bigger bodies from the slot, while his flat-line speed and change of direction allow him to stay stride for stride with speedy receivers.
What Overshown is great at, you cannot teach. What he is lacking, you can absolutely teach. He is an easy day-two player on my board.
NFL Draft Grade: Mid-to-Late Day 2