Former LSU linebacker Duke Riley is receiving high praise leading up to the 2017 NFL draft.
According to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, scouts have anticipated big things from LSU linebackers based on the recent success of fellow former Tigers Kwon Alexander and Deion Jones. While Kendell Beckwith was the name many expected to generate draft buzz in the fall, Riley has since grabbed scouts’ attention after a strong combine performance.
The senior, who led LSU with 93 tackles, led all linebackers in the 40-yard dash (4.58 seconds), three-cone drill (6.89) and 20-yard shuttle (4.21). He also recorded a 34.5-inch vertical jump, 122-inch broad jump and 18 reps on the bench press.
According to Brooks, scouts have been impressed with Riley’s “impressive instincts and athleticism,” as well as being a “consistent tackler with strong wrap-up skills.”
“Looking ahead to draft day,” Brooks writes, “I believe Riley grades as a bottom-of-the-second-round player (eventual starter with the potential to crack the lineup by Year 2), but I could see him going at any point on Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) to a team looking for a potential starter with special-teams ability. Considering how Alexander and Jones were also viewed in that light before emerging as difference makers on their respective teams, scouts would be wise to keep tabs on Riley during the process.”
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