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AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger

2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Leighton Vander Esch

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 256 lbs.

Age: 22/23

School: Boise State


40-yard dash: 4.65 sec.

Vertical: 39.5”

Broad: 124.0”

Bench: 20 reps

3-cone: 6.88 sec.



Three-down linebacker with great combination of size, speed, and athleticism. Excellent on-field awareness and instincts. Exceptional range and agility. Plays from sideline to sideline. Works his way through traffic to shoot the gap and make a tackle. Keeps his eyes on the action. Strong hands and good technique as a tackler. Elite ability in coverage. Very smooth in space with fluid hips. Effortlessly runs with tight ends down the seam. Can play with his back to the quarterback but will turn to locate the ball and catch it. Shows burst off the edge.



Needs to get stronger. Struggles to get off blocks when fully engaged. Can improve physicality when taking on blockers. Will sometimes over pursue and be forced to arm tackle.


NFL Comparisons

Brian Urlacher – Derrick Johnson – Clay Matthews



Leighton Vander Esch is an extremely smooth linebacker prospect that has great range as both a tackler and in coverage. His biggest issue on tape is taking on and getting off blocks, but he bulked up for the Combine without losing his elite explosiveness. I think he is a good pick at the end of Day 1.


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