Leighton Vander Esch Draft Profile

Leighton Vander Esch


  • Size
  • Athletic
  • Lateral burst
  • Great cover linebacker
  • Solid tackler
  • Has rush talent
  • Instincts
  • Mirrors QB’s eyes

Analysis: Leighton Vander Esch has been climbing draft boards since the college football season ended. He has elite size and athleticism for the position. His lateral burst and change-of-direction is one of the best in this year’s class. He has a nose for the football and finds it with ease. Scouts we have talked to have said Vander Esch is the best cover linebacker in the draft. He can mirror the quarterbacks eyes and diagnose where the ball is going. He has the athletic ability to hang with tight ends and running backs coming out of the backfield. He uses active, catch-ready hands to breakup the pass or take it away. In addition to his supreme cover talent, Vander Esch is also dangerous rushing the passer. He can blitz from anywhere on the field, but he has the athleticism and bend to attack the edge and beat opposing offensive tackles. Instincts are real.


  • Experience
  • Play strength
  • Block shedding
  • Needs to utilize hands more
  • Patience

Analysis: Despite his climb up many teams draft boards, Leighton Vander Esch is still considered raw for the position. He only has one year of starting experience and is still filling out his frame. He will need to add more muscle mass to hang with the big boys at the next level. His play strength leaves a lot to be desired and can get ‘bodied’ by larger, stronger lineman. He has some struggles in taking on blocks and will get washed away by down blocks. His hand usage will be key–he hasn’t yet learned how to utilize his hands enough while disengaging from blocks. On tape, he is too amped at times and will over-pursue missing cutback lanes or just running past the ball carrier. Takes himself out of tackle opportunities by attacking iso-blocks and lead blocks with a shoulder.

Size: 6’4 256lbs

Draft Rank: No.2 ILB

NFL Comparison: Anthony Barr

Draft Projection: Round 1

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Dan Schalk

Dan Schalk is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief for MFST and can be heard weekly on the 'My Fantasy Podcast'. He is likely watching Seinfeld right now, not that there's anything wrong with that.
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https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/893950486.jpg.0.jpg?fit=1024%2C683&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/www.myfantasysportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/893950486.jpg.0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Dan SchalkMountain WestNFLNFL DraftRecent PostsBoise State Broncos,Leighton Vander Each,Leighton Vander Esch Draft Profile,Mountain West,NFL,NFL DraftLeighton Vander Esch Draft Profile Strengths: Size Athletic Lateral burst Great cover linebacker Solid tackler Has rush talent Instincts Mirrors QB's eyes Analysis: Leighton Vander Esch has...