Top 10 Linebackers to Watch in 2025 NFL Draft Featuring Harold Perkins Jr.

Linebackers poised for resurgence in 2025 NFL Draft

by Zain ul Abedin
Top 10 Linebackers to Watch in 2025 NFL Draft Featuring Harold Perkins Jr.
© Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

College football linebackers are in line for a resurgence in the upcoming 2025 NFL draft after an underwhelming class in 2024, where it just had to wait until 45 picks flew off the board before a linebacker was actually chosen.

That was only Texas A&M's Edgerrin Cooper to get that high in the opening two rounds. This seems to be a promising one for a really great season chock-full of exceptional players. Jestin Jacobs will be another hard-luck story in an Oregon uniform following an injury-plagued stint at Iowa.

The Top Potential Displayed, Jacobs would register upwards of 32 tackles in the matches following his playing from the middle of October 2023.

Top Prospect: Perkins

Highest-rated linebacker prospect Harold Perkins Jr. has put up 147 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, and 13 sacks.

A game-changer, he takes over games and will create turnovers. This could be another big season for LSU. With Trevin Wallace out, Kentucky turns to Jamon Dumas-Johnson. Standing 6'1", three years at Georgia had given him 125 tackles and 9.5 sacks—an absolute speed and intensity monster that quickly became the heart of the Kentucky unit.

In the broader sense, Jay Higgins also represents a general concept of the Iowa state defense. This past season, he was able to tally 171 tackles, five for a loss, four pass breakups, and an interception to his 2023 résumé, proving he is broadly a hard worker on the field and can be relied upon.

The 5-11 Power Echols has turned in a pair of 100-tackle years over his first two campaigns at UNC. His ball-hawking ways give the linebacker 11.5 tackles for loss and an interception in each campaign. As such, massive things are expected from Georgia's Smael Mondon Jr., who steps into 2024 with 154 total tackles and 14 for loss in the last two seasons, based on raw athletic ability combined with intensity and experience.

Deontae Lawson has 118 tackles in two seasons to go with eight breakups. He also has cover skills that will be relied upon in a significant way for the Alabama defense, considering that today's game is very pass-happy. Having Barrett Carter, who passed last year, in a rebounding stance, he came with 73 tackles in 2022, so he's one of those leaning-talent backs that should be in full form this year, having been notched in 2024.

Jaishawn Barham: Barham had a solid freshman campaign for Maryland in his first season but was injury-riddled in 2023, he is now transferring to Michigan to get back on track with the high ceiling he showed at the beginning of his college career.

Danny Stutsman: Stutsman was one of the few bright spots on the Oklahoma defense in 2022, racking up 125 tackles, with 10.5 for loss; he followed it up with 104 sure tackles, 16 for loss in 2023. Notable about that, though, is how much of a headhunter he is with his aggressive stylings of play.