Off-the-ball linebacker is arguably the Detroit Lions' biggest need, and they will be looking at adding some talent from this position group. It’s entirely possible the Lions look to secure a player at linebacker early in this draft, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go after more than one.
Let’s take a look at the linebackers who stood out at the 2022 NFL Combine.
If you missed any of our previous NFL Combine reviews, be sure to check out:
- 8 quarterback standouts
- 10 running back standouts
- 15 wide receiver standouts
- 8 tight end standouts
- 7 offensive linemen standouts
- 8 interior defensive line standouts
- 12 edge rusher standouts
Damone Clark, LSU, 6-foot-2 1⁄2, 239
4.57 (40 y/d), 36.5-inch vertical, 10-foot-7 broad jump, 7.12 second (3-cone)
There wasn’t one measurable that stood out for Clark. He finished 10th in the group in the 40-yard dash, ninth in the vertical, eighth in the broad jump, and sixth in the 3-cone, but the collection of balanced scores produced a very impressive result.
One of my favorite linebackers in this class, LSU's Damone Clark quietly put together a great Combine. pic.twitter.com/Iw7Hpaqi68— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) March 6, 2022
And that’s really what Clark’s game is all about: a balanced collection of skills that project him to be an instant starter at the MIKE.
In on-field drills, Clark did well in each drill, consistently played under control, and made things look easy. When moving laterally, he stayed balanced and on the balls of his feet. When asked to drop, things were smooth and quick. And when asked to bend the corner and pass rush, things once again came naturally for Clark—which is no surprise after displaying that skill late in the season.
Add in his high intelligence, impressive game film from 2021, and connection to Lions’ linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard from their time together at LSU in 2020, and all the dots connect for him to be a target on Detroit’s radar.
Christian Harris, Alabama, 6-foot-0 1⁄2, 226
4.44 (40 y/d), 34.5-inch vertical, 11-foot-0 broad jump
Harris stood out in his measurables, running the second-fastest 40-yard dash of the day and recording the second-longest broad jump. His speed and explosion showed up in drills too, constantly flying around the field while staying balanced and under control. There were some tricky moments when he was asked to transition early, but Harris quickly shored those up and put together a strong showing. The Lions won’t worry about his size and would welcome his speed. If drafted by Detroit, he would have a shot at the starting MIKE or BUCK role early in his career.
Devin Lloyd (Utah, 6-foot-2 3⁄4, 237) ran a 4.66 (40 y/d) which underwhelmed a lot of analysts who had him as LB1 in this class. However, he did very well for himself in the jumps and performed better than he is getting credit for in drills—I thought he displayed naturally quick movements. He’s still a first-round prospect, just maybe not a top-15 prospect.
Quay Walker (Georgia, 6-foot-3 3⁄4, 241) covered a lot of ground in drills and his legs moved like pistons in an engine. His 4.52 40-yard dash was impressive for his size and he added to an impressive day from Georgia defenders.
Channing Tindall (Georgia, 6-foot-2, 230) was expected to test well and he checked the boxes by doing so, running fast (4.47, 40 y/d) and jumping well (42-inch vertical, 10-foot-9 broad jump). But he also looked very good in drills, looking explosive and quick when moving laterally or dropping.
Chad Muma (Wyoming, 6-foot-3, 239) seems to be a fan favorite linebacker for the majority of Lions fans, and if you were on the Muma train before his workout, don’t let his 4.63 40-yard dash sway you from staying on board because he plays faster than his timed speed. He was smooth and fluid in drills, and incredibly quick when asked to move laterally.
Troy Anderson (Montana State, 6-foot-3 1⁄2, 243) ran the fastest 40-yard dash amongst the off-the-ball linebackers (4.41 seconds), which is wildly impressive at his size. That speed translated into drills as well, as he looked fluid throughout the day. He has the potential to be a starting MIKE that can be found in the third round.
D’Marco Jackson (Appalachian State, 6-foot-0 3⁄4, 233) is an underrated Day 3 linebacker who looked consistently under control and quick during drills. He recorded a 4.55 40-yard-dash adding to his appeal.