2024 NFL Draft: Cowboys, Chargers should take a deep look at these NFL prospects at linebacker

A look at the linebackers the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers should consider during the 2024 NFL Draft

Michigan linebacker Junior Colson
Michigan linebacker Junior Colson / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Texas linebacker Jaylan Ford is a sleeper in the 2024 NFL Draft

4. Jaylan Ford, Texas

Jaylan Ford was named my sleeper middle linebacker going into the season, and his 2023 season backed up why I am so high on him. This season he had his second consecutive year with over 100 tackles and at least 10 tackles for loss. The area of his game that most excites NFL scouts is his awareness in pass coverage. He does a great job of locating his man in zone coverage and also has picked off six passes over the past two years. While he is a better pass defender than run defender he should be able to be a three-down linebacker. Against the run, he has a nose for the ball and is also a sure tackler. If he has a good 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine look for him to get looks at the end of the second day of the draft. Draft Grade: Fourth Round

"I would say I’m an excellent communicator. I understand my responsibilities. I do my job at a high level. I have great awareness and play recognition. I’m great in coverage. I can play in the box, between the tackles, and in space. I’m a sideline-to-sideline guy. I’m a three-down defender."

Jaylan Ford via The Draft Network

5. Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

One of the stronger linebackers in the 2024 NFL is Kentucky’s Trevin Wallace who posts a 380-pound power clean and squats close to 600 pounds. This power allows him to be a force vs. the run and consistently fight through tackles. In addition to his impressive strength, he also is a sound tackler who does a terrific job of tackling in space. The question with Wallace will be is he just a base defense linebacker who goes out of the game when teams go to their nickel package. Against the, he needs to improve his awareness and also prove he has the speed to match up against running back and tight ends. If Dallas decides to wait until day three of the NFL Draft he could be a good fit for the Cowboys due to his strong play against the run. Draft Grade: Fourth Round

Trevin Wallace
Trevin Wallace / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

6. Cedric Gray, North Carolina

A player I am lower on than other people is North Carolina linebacker Cedric Gray. I only give Gray a fifth round grade while others see him as high as second-round pick. The main reason I am not sold on him is his questionable instincts. Against the run, he tends to get caught up in traffic too often, and also will overrun some plays. Against the pass, he struggles in man coverage and also is slow to diagnose passing concepts. On the positive side he has put up good stats in college and has NFL size. Draft Grade: Fifth Round