Oakland Raiders Draft Saturday: 5 linebackers for 2018

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 12: Shaun Dion Hamilton
TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 12: Shaun Dion Hamilton /
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One linebacker that has been hard to project about what he could be at the next level in senior Micah Kiser for the Virginia Cavaliers. The Hoos should be better under second-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall thanks to the great personnel he’ll have defensively.

Kiser and safety Quin Blanding are the two names everybody is talking about. Blanding was a blue-chip prospect coming out of high school. It would not be shocking to see him be a top-50 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Some have Kiser going in that range as well, but he might be overhyped heading into his senior season in Charlottesville.

At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Kiser has the ideal build to be an effective linebacker in this league. He can play both the run and the pass. Getting after the passer might be an edge he has over his competition, but consistency is key seeing where he’ll inevitably be drafted.

Kiser can be hit or miss in run defense. Not a surprise, given how bad Virginia has been the last few years. The Hoos would play from behind and would face a ton of snaps on the ground from the opposition to try to grind out games. Saying Kiser has first-round potential at this time might be a reach, but he has a certain allure about him that will keep scouts interested in him through the season.