Justin Hilliard NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for San Francisco 49ers LB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 2, 2021

National Team linebacker Justin Hilliard of Ohio State (6) during the first half of the NCAA college football Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

 6'0 1/2"

WEIGHT: 229 lbs



—A violent, active linebacker.

—Saw playing time over projected top-100 pick Baron Browning at times.

—High-effort player who could be a premium player on special teams.



—Overall athleticism is poor for an NFL linebacker.

—Lost a lot of playing time because of injury.

—Only started seven games in six years at Ohio State.



33 TKL, 5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 3 FR, 1 FF



—Ohio's Division I defensive player of the year during his senior season.

—Made only seven starts in his six years with Ohio State, in part because of injuries.

—Was a team captain in 2020.


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Despite never becoming a full-time starter with Ohio State, Justin Hilliard saw significant playing time in a rotational role with the program, even earning captainship as a senior. Injuries stunted his career a bit, as did the influx of talented defenders on the Buckeyes roster, but he is a violent player who is willing to play special teams, which opens a way for him to stick on an NFL roster.

His athleticism is not up to par with NFL starters, but he may be able to see the field as a starting linebacker off the bench in an injury situation.


GRADE: 6.8/10 (Round 5)



PRO COMPARISON: Keishawn Bierria


Written by B/R NFL Scout Justis Mosqueda

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