Top 10 2025 NFL Draft LB Rankings: Harold Perkins Jr., Jaishawn Barham on the Ascent

Who are the top LB prospects on PFN's preliminary 2025 NFL Draft board? Harold Perkins Jr. has been long anticipated, while Barrett Carter returns.

As we transition to the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, who are the preliminary top 10 linebacker prospects in the upcoming class? The 2024 class was well known for its overwhelming volume at the top of the board, and it’ll be tough to match up with — but the 2025 group has potential.

Way-Too-Early Top 10 LB Prospects in the 2025 NFL Draft

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the first linebacker prospect selected was Edgerrin Cooper, who went to the Green Bay Packers at 45th overall. That marked the latest the first off-ball linebacker has gone off the board since 2011 when Akeem Ayers went 39th overall.

The top LBs of the 2024 class had their fair share of fans. Payton Wilson‘s production was impressive, as was Junior Colson‘s motor and energy and Trevin Wallace‘s potential. However many agreed that the class largely lacked top-end talent. Luckily for the league, 2025’s group might be different.

10) Power Echols, North Carolina

The North Carolina linebacker group was incredibly fun to watch in 2023. Cedric Gray was an underrated player who eventually was selected by the Tennessee Titans in Round 4 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Power Echols will carry the torch into 2025.

At around 6’0″, 225 pounds, Echols doesn’t quite have the same size and length as Gray, but he’s a similarly explosive mover and a similarly physical player in the box and has eclipsed the 100-tackle mark for two straight seasons in Chapel Hill, N.C.

9) Tyreem Powell, Rutgers

A torn Achilles ended Tyreem Powell’s 2023 season just eight games in. But up to that point, Powell had accumulated 53 tackles, two sacks, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble. Set to be ready for the season opener, Powell is back on the radar for 2025.

At 6’5″, 240 pounds, Powell’s top selling point before the injury was his mix of size and explosiveness — so it’ll be important to see if he’s kept that. If he proves he hasn’t lost a step, he has exciting versatility as a coverage chess piece and a blitzing threat.

8) Francisco Mauigoa, Miami (FL)

Francisco Mauigoa first caught my eye when he was at Washington State in 2022. In 2023, the 6’3″, 230-pound linebacker transferred to Miami, where he became one of the nation’s leaders in TFLs — accumulating 82 tackles, 18 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

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Mauigoa’s explosive ability and motor coming downhill are what show up the most on tape, but he also has decent reasoning skills in coverage. He gets depth quickly off play-action fakes, and he’s shown he can occlude passing windows with his length.

7) Smael Mondon Jr., Georgia

The 2025 NFL Draft linebacker class isn’t short on upside, but few LB prospects can boast the pure ceiling that Georgia’s Smael Mondon Jr. has. At 6’3″, 225 pounds, with long levers for arms, Mondon is the superlative combination of size, speed, and agility at the second level.

The trade-off with Mondon — who logged 68 tackles, three sacks, and five TFLs in 2023 — is that he’s still largely winning off talent alone right now. That said, in a run-and-chase role where he can play freely and attack downhill, he projects well with added mass.

6) Jestin Jacobs, Oregon

Injuries have prevented us from seeing Jestin Jacobs at full capacity for most of the past two seasons. But the 6’4″, 236-pound LB has all the talent in the world, and he flashed that ability while starting five of the final eight games for Oregon in 2023.

At his size, with the explosiveness he has, Jacobs can be weaponized as a blitzing threat through gaps, but he also has the size-adjusted fluidity to hinge around in intermediate zones and maintain hip leverage against crossing threats in coverage.

5) Danny Stutsman, Oklahoma

Few 2025 NFL Draft LB prospects have been more productive than Oklahoma’s Danny Stutsman has over the past two seasons. In 2022, Stutsman logged a career-high 125 tackles, and in 2023, he added on 104 tackles, 16 TFLs, three sacks, a pick-six, three PBUs, and two FFs.

Stutsman has great size and closing burst at 6’4″, 241 pounds, but he’ll win over NFL evaluators and coaches with his steely toughness and relentless motor alone. Stutsman is aggressive on the chase, and his ability to always be around the ball will take him places.

4) Deontae Lawson, Alabama

From Dont’a Hightower to C.J. Mosley to modern additions like Christian Harris, the Alabama Crimson Tide have distinguished themselves as a linebacker conveyor belt over the years. In the 2025 NFL Draft cycle, Deontae Lawson could be the next man up.

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Lawson — who put up 67 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, three sacks, and four pass breakups in 2023 — brings good size and lean mass at 6’2″, 230 pounds. He has elite agility and twitch when approaching gaps and also has the fluid athleticism and hip leverage IQ to protect seams.

3) Jaishawn Barham, Michigan

Sometimes prospects make themselves known solely by virtue of their talent. That was Jaishawn Barham in 2022, who, as a true freshman, racked up 58 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, four sacks, and a forced fumble for the Maryland Terrapins.

Now, the 6’3″, 248-pound Barham has transferred to Michigan where he could fill the shoes of Colson — and maybe even expand beyond that role. Barham, with his size, strength, and explosiveness, has a rare disruptive upside, and he can halt blocks in their tracks.

2) Barrett Carter, Clemson

There were times in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle when Jeremiah Trotter Jr. was well-regarded among analysts. There’s a good chance Barrett Carter will go off the board far higher than Trotter — a fifth-round pick — did this past April. That’s more a nod to Carter than a slight to Trotter.

At 6’1″, 230 pounds, Carter is one of the most versatile athletes in the coming LB class — perhaps rivaled only by the player ahead of him on this list. His twitched-up, fluid athleticism allows him to play a variety of coverage roles, and he’s a tenacious blitzer.

1) Harold Perkins Jr., LSU

He was a five-star recruit and the top signee of LSU’s 2022 class. And since arriving on campus, Harold Perkins Jr. has amassed 147 tackles, 26 TFLs, 13 sacks, two INTs, seven PBUs, and seven FFs in two years. There are good football players, and then there’s Perkins.

The role that Perkins plays at the NFL level will be heavily scrutinized. At 6’1″, 220 pounds, he’s a bit undersized — but his ability as a two-phase playmaker is unmatched. He’s a deadly pass-rushing threat with his speed and bend, and his range can overtake runners.

Honorable Mentions

  • Jamon Dumas-Johnson, Kentucky
  • Nickolas Martin, Oklahoma State
  • Bangally Kamara, South Carolina
  • Eric Gentry, USC
  • Kam Arnold, Boston College
  • Justin Flowe, Arizona
  • Deshawn Pace, UCF
  • Oluwafemi Oladejo, UCLA
  • K.C. Ossai, Louisiana
  • Chandler Martin, Memphis

KEEP READING: Top 100 NFL Prospects to Watch in 2025 NFL Draft

Other 2025 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Check out our other way-too-early position rankings for the 2025 NFL Draft:

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