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Top 15 Linebackers to Watch in Major League Football: MLFB Rosters and Analysis

Top 15 Linebackers to Watch in Major League Football: MLFB Rosters and Analysis

Top 15 Linebackers to Watch in Major League Football: MLFB Rosters and Analysis

The start of the inaugural season of Major League Football is looming closer. Our experts through their analysis and the statistics breakdown the fifteen linebackers to look out for around the league.

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Top 15 Linebackers to Watch in Major League Football: MLFB Rosters and Analysis

Alexis Ramos, Arkansas Attack #30

Measurables: 6-2, 230 pounds

College: Southeastern Louisiana

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats 

Southeastern Louisiana 2019-21 (29 Games) 211 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

A Tasmanian devil of a linebacker has contributed to the recent success of Southeastern Louisiana football. His presence and football instincts have made their defense one of the best around. During his senior year, he led the conference in total tackles with 80 along with 2 sacks plus 2 pass breakups and 2 forced fumbles. During the game that helped him win honors for Louisiana Defensive Player of the Week, he produced a stat line of 17 tackles with two for loss along with a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup in a victory over Northwestern State. That added onto an eighty-tackle season in just the span of seven games. His athleticism merged with his intelligence and instincts brings so much the Arkansas Attack defense.

More Collegiate Accolades

2019 Second Team All-Southland Conference Selection

2020-21 Louisiana Defensive Player of the Week (March 16)

2021 Southland Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll

2020-21 Second Team All-Louisiana Selection

2020-21 Second Team All-Southland Conference Selection

Manoa Pikula, Virginia Armada #40

Measurables: 6-1, 235 pounds

College: Brigham Young

Pro Experience: NFL

Recent Stats

Brigham Young 2012-15 (49 Games) 144 Tackles, 81 Solo Tackles, 12 Tackles for Loss, 5 Sacks, 1 Interception

He may be too small for the position, but let’s face. Football today is becoming a game of speed and finesse. A linebacker who is quick from sideline to sideline and has the strength to shed blocks. A multi-faceted backer is what he is, someone who can play pass coverage and rush the passer equally as well as he can stop the run. Think of him as a smaller version of Junior Seau or a mirror reflection of Patrick Willis with a comparable skillset.

More Collegiate Accolades

2014 All-Independent Conference Preseason Team Selection

2015 All-Independent Conference Preseason Team Selection

Blair Brown, Virginia Armada #44

Measurables: 6-0, 243 pounds

College: Ohio

Pro Experience: NFL

Recent Stats

 Ohio 2016 (43 Games) 131 Tackles, 96 Solo Tackles, 47 Stops

(PFF Overall Grade=92.4, PFF Run Defense Grad=91.5)

Jacksonville Jaguars 2017-18 (28 Games) 17 Tackles, 13 Solo Tackles, 0.5 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery

During his senior year with the Ohio Bobcats, Blair Brown was ranked first in the FBS in tackling efficiency with 96 tackles and only missed a tackle just three times. Blair Brown was given an overall grade of 92.4 and a run defense grade of 91.5 by Pro Football Focus. Only Alabama’s linebacker that year Reuben Foster was given higher grades in those same categories, who eventually was drafted in the first round by the San Francisco 49ers the following draft.

Brown’s 131 total tackles were tied second in the FBS among inside linebackers that same season. He was also ranked third in the nation in run-stop percentage. According to the game film, he possesses a vicious, sonic-booming play style. Not afraid to counterattack on blockers and all it takes is one hit from him to make any ball carrier think twice about running his way. With blockers he doesn’t just take them on, he bulldozes them like a minotaur. He is basically a downhill linebacker, getting to the ball by any means necessary.

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Zach Hall, Alabama Airborne #53

Measurables: 6-0, 238 pounds

College: Southeastern Missouri

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Southeastern Missouri 2016-19 (48 Games) 406 Tackles, 178 Solo Tackles, 40 Tackles for Loss, 15.5 Sacks, 6 Interceptions, 14 Pass Breakups, 8 Forced Fumbles, 3 Fumble Recoveries

This guy sure does have a huge college football resume to brag about with countless awards won and all-conference selections. Highly recognized as a preseason conference All-American by some of the most notable sports magazines out there like Athlon, Lindy’s Sports, and Street and Smith’s. Watching him on film, he is a traditional linebacker. A backer who is big, strong, and a tackling machine. One hundred and sixty-eight tackles in 2019 and 19 tackles on the opening day of his Senior season says it all about this fine football player. Finishing his career with 22 double-digit tackle performances. He could eventually become Alabama’s Luke Kuechly.

More Collegiate Accolades

2016 Defensive Newcomer Award

2016 Southeast Scholar-Athlete Award

2017 Second Team All-OVC Conference Selection

First Team All-Ohio Valley Conference Selection 2018

Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year 2018

Athletics Director Association National Defensive Player of the Year Awards 2018

2018 Buck Buchanan Award Winner

2019 Preseason Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year

Aaron Tiller, Ohio Force #96

Measurables: 6-0, 255 pounds

College: Southern

Pro Experience: Albany (NAL)

Recent Stats

Southern (57 games) 184 tackles, 29.0 sacks, 60 tackles for loss, 8 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Albany (2019) 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

Selected to the 2017 SBN Black College All-American Team 

Aaron Tiller is an athletic defender with speed and range except he actually played against bigger college competition like Georgia, Texas State, and Southern Miss. In this position, he recorded a sack in each of those matches playing for the Southern University Jaguars. He spent most of his time rushing Quarterback from all spots of the line of scrimmage with his Dwight Freeney-like spin move. He has the tools to become a superb pass rush specialist for the Ohio Force.

More Collegiate Accolades

Ranked fifth among HBCU football players in sacks per game with 0.86 with 9.5 total sacks in 2017.

SWAC Conference Defensive Player of the Week (2019): Five tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks in a win over Alabama A&M.

Tristen Vance, Ohio Force #41

Measurables: 6-1, 230 pounds

College: Northern Arizona

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Northern Arizona 2015-21 (41 Games) 159 Tackles, 77 Solo Tackles, 9.0 Tackles for Loss, 3.5 Sacks, 6 Pass Breakups, 2 Forced Fumbles, 3 Fumble Recoveries

A great sense of where the ball is going before the quarterback says, “Set, Go!” He is already there to meet you before you even think about making your way to the endzone. He’ll be there to make you know better than to come his way. You can’t escape him, you can’t evade, and you can’t outsmart him. All you can do is feel his wrath. Through his eyes is probably like a widescreen view of the field and his quickness from point A to point B is frightening for an offense. The power of a brute, the agility of a leopard, and the brain of a computer is a scary combination. That is the kind of football player Tristen Vance is.

More Collegiate Accolades

2019 Phil Steele Preseason Third Team All-Big Sky Conference Selection

All-Big Sky Conference Selection 2021  (Honorable Mention)

Phil Steele Fourth Team All-Big Sky Conference Selection 2021

Spring All-Big Sky Conference Selection (Honorable Mention) 2021

Beau Griego, Alabama Airborne #55

Measurables: 6-1, 210 pounds

College: Morehead State

Pro Experience: TSL

Recent Stats

Morehead State 2018-19 (22 Games) 114 Tackles, 50 Solo Tackles, 13.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 1 Interception, 6 Pass Breakups, 2 Forced Fumbles, 3 Fumble Recoveries

Another guy who is not in the correct position based on his height and weight. But he is aggressive enough to be a linebacker. Beau Griego would be considered a hybrid linebacker. Half Devin White and half Harrison Smith. A man who can check pass catchers like a Hall of Fame defensive back as well as he can catch ball carriers in the backfield like an All-Pro linebacker. Arms long enough to stand up blockers for outside containment. At times, he plays too high to where he exposes so much of his chest for running backs to run through. But he does wallop a king size hit on a daily basis. 

Cecil Cherry, Arkansas Attack # 52

Measurables: 6-0, 235 pounds

College: Tennessee Martin

Pro Experience: TSL, FCF

Recent Stats

Coahoma Community College 2017 (12 Games) 104 Tackles, 72 Solo Tackles, 8 Tackles for Loss, 1 Interception, 1 Force Fumble, 3 Pass Breakups

(Set the conference record for tackles made in a season, 104)

Tennessee Martin 2019 (12 Games) 83 Tackles, 35 Solo Tackles, 9 Tackles for Loss, 4 sacks, 6 Pass Breakups, 1 Forced Fumble

Like Beau Griego, Cecil Cherry may be underweighted to be considered a linebacker, but his style is a throwback to the position. He looks like Derrick Brooks or Bobby Wagner flying around the field. Making big plays and big hits. He caught the attention of NFL scouts, but the pandemic that hit during 2020 put a halt to everything. Including the pro day, he was scheduled to have. He didn’t make it to the NFL, so he settled for the FCF, Fan Control Football. Cherry continued to display his many talents that are not seen in many linebackers. He shall show off his freakish gifts for the Arkansas Attack and could become their best defender.

More Collegiate Accolades

First Team MACJC All-State Defense (2017)

MACJC Conference Defensive Player of the Year (2017)

JUCO All-American Selection (2017)

STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week (11/4/19)

OVC Defensive Player of the Week (11/3/19)

TSWA Defensive Player of the Week (11/5/19)

Tavante Beckett, Ohio Force # 44

Measurables: 5-11, 220 pounds

College: Marshall

Pro Experience: Detroit Lions (2021)

Recent Stats

Marshall 2020 (9 Games) 90 Tackles, 31 Solo Tackles, 7.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles, 4 Fumble Recoveries, 6 QB Hits, 1 Pass Breakup, 1 Touchdown Fumble Return

2019 Conference USA Leader in Tackles (131 Tackles)

When you hear “standing at five feet and eleven inches tall weighing two hundred and twenty pounds,” it’s a size more fitting for the safety position. Despite the appearance, Tavante Beckett has the style that makes him a true linebacker. The speed gives him the advantage to evade blockers and chase down scrambling quarterbacks and speedy tailbacks. He is definitely a sure tackler and will make you feel the pain. Not many linebackers have ball skills like Tavante Beckett does. He can cover like a safety and can attack the ball like a safety. He is truly a one-of-a-kind talent.

More Collegiate Accolades

2019 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week

2020 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year

Terry Whittington, Ohio Force # 47

Measurables: 6-3, 225 pounds

College: Southern Miss

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Southern Miss 2019 (12 Games) 32 Tackles, 21 Solo Tackles, 7.5 Sacks

The Ohio Force just might have the best set of linebackers in Major League Football. Terry Whittington and Aaron Tiller are on the edges with Tavante Beckett and Tristen Vance in the middle. This is an elusive and tenacious cast of backers right here. Terry Whittington not only can get to the quarterback with ease. He can also play pass coverage well and can stop ball carriers dead in their tracks. Not many running backs will get so far with Whittington around.

Whittington has a set of moves to take care of offensive linemen to get to the passer. Bill Conley helped build a great tradition of legendary linebackers over at Ohio State and once again he will be seeing before his eyes more soon-to-be great linebackers to come with the Ohio Force.

Taylor Powell, Virginia Armada # 47

Measurables: 6-1, 243 pounds

College: Sacramento State

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Sacramento State 2021 (10 Games) 53 Tackles, 21 Solo Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 5.3 Tackles per Game, 0.5 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovery, 2 Pass Breakups

Best believe that once you catch eye to eye contact with Taylor Powell, it is over. Once he gets his hands on you, there is no escape. It is best for you to just go down yourself before he makes you go down. Otherwise, you will be in a world of hurt attempting to deal with Taylor Powell. He can be a tackling beast and a ballhawk at the same time. There are endless possibilities of what Terry Shea can do with this guy and what this guy can do for the Virginia Armada.

More Collegiate Accolades

2x All-Big Sky Conference Selection

2016 Big Sky Conference Special Teams Player of the Year

Gee Stanley, Arkansas Attack # 58

Measurables: 6-2, 195 pounds

College: Emporia State

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Robert Morris 2016 (11 Games) 59 Tackles, 29 Solo Tackles, 12.5 Tackles for Loss, 8.5 Sacks, 1 Pass Breakup, 3 Forced Fumbles, 3 Fumble Recoveries

Coffeyville 2018-20 (20 Games) 89 Tackles, 17 Tackles for Loss, 5 Sacks

A Stat monster for a linebacker is what Gee Stanley is. He doesn’t stop playing until he hears the blow of the whistle. Amazing speed and a great sense of where the play will go. He is a do it all linebacker and that is what is expected of linebackers in the game today. He will make a great trio of linebackers for the Arkansas Attack. Gee Stanley patrolling the defense along with Cecil Cherry and Alexis Ramos will be a sight to watch. Maybe there should be a nickname given for this group, “The Back Attack?” How about, “The Little Rock Crew?” Whatever it is, expect a lot of damage done from these three.

More Collegiate Accolades

2016 Northeast Conference Defensive Rookie of the Year

2016 HERO Sports FCS Freshman All-American Selection

Kaelin Burnett, Alabama Airborne # 56

Measurables: 6-4, 240 pounds

College: Nevada

Pro Experience: NFL, CFL, AAF, XFL

Recent Stats

Nevada 2008-2011 (38 Games) 93 Tackles, 41 Solo Tackles, 9.5 Sacks

Oakland Raiders 2012-2013, Tennessee Titans 2014 (27 Games) 15 Tackles, 10 Solo Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble

Arizona Hotshots 2019 (7 Games) 17 Tackles, 1 Sack

Houston Roughnecks 2020 (5 Games) 15 Tackles, 1 Interception

Despite of elderly age for a football player, the experience is what matters the most. Fundamentals most of the time overtake athletic ability or even the lack of it. Kaelin Burnett is thirty-two years old, and he has spent his whole football journey so far not cracking the starting lineup. He sure makes the best of the time he gets on the field. He has even spent playing time on special teams.

Constantly, he is a linebacker who stays disciplined and doesn’t over-pursue. An aggressive tackler and can play pass coverage decently too. A decent pass rusher to add as well. What he brings to Alabama Airborne is wisdom and his mentality is surely what head coach Jerry Glanville would love about him.

Royce See, Alabama Airborne #51

Measurables: 6-0, 210 pounds

College: Sam Houston

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Sam Houston 2016-18 (50 Games) 201 Tackles, 112 Solo Tackles, 25.5 Tackles for Loss, 10.5 Sacks, 4 Interceptions, 13 Pass Breakups, 6 Forced Fumbles, 5 Fumble Recoveries

This linebacker may have difficulty playing the position not only because of his size and height. It is also because he plays too high and plays hesitantly at times. He’ll play like a chicken with his head cut off at times but does make up for it with the tenacity he brings. A streamer down the line and will keep up with the ball carrier step by step. There is no eluding him and let’s also take into account his athleticism. He was a three-sport varsity athlete in football, basketball, and baseball back in high school.

Denzel Feaster, Virginia Armada #46

Measurables: 6-3, 225 pounds

College: University of Texas-San Antonio

Pro Experience: Rookie

Recent Stats

Kansas Jayhawks 2015-20 (30 Games) 36 Tackles, 29 Solo Tackles, 2.5 Tackles for Loss, 2 Forced Fumbles, 2 Fumble Recoveries

Texas-San Antonio Road Runners 2021 (14 Games) 41 Tackles, 25 Solo Tackles, 1.5 Tackle for Loss, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Fumble Recovery

A great amount of football competition can also tell the success of a player and how well he plays against that competition. From the BIG 12 as a Kansas Jayhawk to the Conference USA as a UTSA Roadrunner could only have made Denzel Feaster a better football player. Already coming into the league with a fair amount of competition against some of the best football programs in the nation.

Feaster may not be someone to fear, but he sure can be a good contributor to building a winning foundation here with the Virginia Armada. He could become an improved football player under the guidance of head coach Terry Shea. Terry Shea himself has a knack for improving football talent.

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