The 2020 NFL Draft kicks off next week. Leading up to the start of the first round on April 23, Giants.com will be taking a look at the top five prospects at each position in this year's draft class. Each list is based off of NFL.com's prospect rankings.
Next up are the linebackers.
Giants current depth at LB: Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly, David Mayo, Devante Downs, Mark McLaurin, Chris Peace, Josiah Tauaefa
View photos of the Giants' current depth at linebacker.
Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
2019 stats: 15 games, 104 tackles (67 solo), 8.0 sacks, 16.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, three interceptions, eight passes defended
Height / Weight: 6'4" / 238 lbs
Accolades: CFP National Champion (2018), Butkus Award (2019), ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2019), First-Team All-ACC (2019), Unanimous First Team All-American (2019)
2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 - #3
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: Simmons is an extremely versatile, athletic defensive chess piece. He is a long, rangy athlete who lined up at linebacker, over the slot and in the deep middle for Clemson, thanks to his diverse and unique skill set. Against the pass, he has terrific range and instincts from the deep middle. He has the speed and agility to match up with top-flight tight ends and backs underneath. He is an explosive blitzer off the edge and in through the middle. Simmons overpowers running backs in protection. Against the run, he takes good angles and his speed allows him to make plays from the back side. He will struggle at times if he has to take on blocks on the edge. Overall, Simmons is built for today's NFL and his role could change week to week, depending on the opponent.
View photos from the college career of Clemson LB Isaiah Simmons
LSU LB Patrick Queen
2019 stats: 15 games, 85 tackles (637solo), 3.0 sacks, 12.0 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, one interception, two passes defended
Height / Weight: 6'0" / 229 lbs
Accolades: CFP National Champion (2019)
2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 - #15
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: Queen is an undersized linebacker with outstanding burst, instincts and coverage ability. Against the pass, he is very fluid in his drops and his change-of-direction ability is excellent. He has good instincts to jump routes and he closes to the flat in a hurry. He is a very dynamic blitzer (see him flat-back an offensive guard in the Texas A&M game). In the run game, he is quick to key/read and shoot gaps. He does get uprooted at times because of his size, but he usually finds a way to beat blockers to spots. Overall, Queen is a high-tempo playmaker at the second level and should impact all three downs.
View photos of LSU linebacker Patrick Queen.
Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray
2019 stats: 14 games, 102 tackles (69 solo), 4.0 sacks, 17.0 tackles for loss, four passes defended
Height / Weight: 6'2" / 241 lbs
Accolades: Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year (2017), Second-Team All-Big 12 (2018), First-Team All-Big 12 (2019)
2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 - #18
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: Murray is an off-the-ball, run-and-hit linebacker. He is at his best when he's free to chase and make plays to the perimeter. He closes in a heartbeat and he is an explosive tackler. He struggles when he has to play off blocks and locate the football through the trash inside, as he doesn't use his hands and gets swallowed up. He has had some success dipping and slipping blocks. He is very athletic in coverage versus running backs, easily mirroring them in space. He is also a very dynamic blitzer. Overall, I believe Murray would be best served to play outside and off the ball, where he would be afforded clean sight lines to attack with his speed.
View photos of Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray.
Wisconsin LB Zack Baun
2019 stats: 14 games, 75 tackles (52 solo), 12.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, one interception, one touchdown, two passes defended
Height / Weight: 6'2" / 238 lbs
Accolades: First-Team All-Big Ten (2019)
2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 - #33
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: Baun is a slightly undersized outside linebacker with excellent athleticism and versatility. He spends a lot of time playing over tight ends and gets the best of them in the run and pass games. As a rusher, he has a good initial burst and can really bend at the top of his rush. He has a nifty inside counter move and he can get skinny before closing on the quarterback. He mixes in a stutter/bull rush, but usually stalls out after generating some push. He is very athletic as a dropper in coverage. He is very good as a back-side run defender because of his burst and effort. Teams will differ on where to play him at the next level. He reminds me of former USC LB Uchenna Nwosu, someone whose versatility the Chargers have tapped into. I'd do the same with Baun.
View photos of Wisconsin linebacker Zack Baun.
Southern Illinois LB Jeremy Chinn
2019 stats: 10 games, 71 tackles (48 solo), 1.0 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, four interceptions, seven passes defended
Height / Weight: 6'3" / 221 lbs
2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings: Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 - #43
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah: Chinn is a fun player to study. He lined up all over the field in SIU's scheme. He has an outstanding blend of size, speed and instincts. He is at his best when he's in the box as a down safety/nickel linebacker. He has tremendous range to make plays sideline to sideline. He can locate and play the ball naturally (see: the high-point INT vs. UMass). He does have a little tightness when he's in space, but he recovers quickly. He is a very firm/reliable tackler. Overall, I believe Chinn is ideally suited to play WLB at the next level. He is exactly what teams are looking for in today's NFL.
View photos of Southern Illinois linebacker Jeremy Chinn