The Arizona Cardinals have invested an unhealthy amount of money and draft picks in Steve Keim’s tenure as GM in the off-ball linebacker position.
It came to a head in the 2018 season when his 2014 and 2017 first round draft picks were sitting on the bench for two street free agents.
In the 2019 offseason he added Jordan Hicks to settle the position, hoping to get something out of Haason Reddick in the process.
Instead, Reddick was finally moved out to outside linebacker full time and the pursuit at inside linebacker continues for the 7th consecutive offseason.
There are four that you need to know from the 2020 Senior Bowl.
Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State - A throwback inside backer may be a bit too similar to Jordan Hicks in terms of skillset. Harrison is a downhill player, who can move well enough, but it is his understanding of where he needs to be and reaction that sets him apart.
Francis Bernard, LB, Utah - Maybe the best coverage linebacker in the draft, Bernard could be a nice compliment to Hicks. The biggest concern on Bernard has been his work against the run.
Evan Weaver, LB, California - Weaver looks like the ideal mike backer, but like Harrison, the question is will he be too similar to Hicks. Weaver more than any other backer needs a strong showing at the combine to answer some athletic limitation concerns.
Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State - There is not a linebacking prospect in this draft you will find like Davis-Gaither. He measured in at 6-1 219lbs, but his play reminds me of another undersized linebacker coming out, Telvin Smith. Davis-Gaither is an elite athlete and cover guy who makes splash plays and plays like a heat-seeking missile. The question becomes, does his stock rise to the point that he goes too high for the Cardinals?