The Jacksonville Jaguars were back on the clock with the first pick of the fifth round, and selected Louisville linebacker/edge rusher Yasir Abdullah with the 136th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Abdullah was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2022 after recording 63 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, two interceptions and four fumbles forced.
In 61 career games as a Cardinal, Abdullah amassed 210 total tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, eight forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and three interceptions.
With the 136th pick in the 2023 #NFLDraft, we select Louisville LB Yasir Abdullah!@Dream_Finders | #DUUUVAL pic.twitter.com/yZTGFRIbJh— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) April 29, 2023
- Prospect name: Yasir Abdullah
- Hometown: Miramar, Florida
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Louisville
- Year: Fifth-year senior
- Age at draft: 23
- Height: 6’ 1” (2%)
- Weight: 237 lbs (2%)
- Hand Size: 9 1/4” (12%)
- Arm Length: 32 3/8” (57%)
Percentiles via MockDraftable
Yasir Abdullah was drafted with pick 136 of round 5 in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.63 #RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 100 out of 2652 LB from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/0ttW3kYEDw pic.twitter.com/phDp0Id98U— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 29, 2023
Scouting report from Matt Holder of Bleacher Report:
The Louisville prospect would be best as a pass-rush specialist on Sundays. An odd front team could see him as a standup linebacker on the line of scrimmage, but his size will still be an issue in that scheme, and he doesn’t have much room for growth. Given that, switching to off-ball linebacker could be in the cards for him, and he did show solid coverage skills in college.
Player summary from Dane Brugler of The Athletic:
A four-year starter at Louisville, Abdullah was a stand-up rush linebacker in former defensive coordinator Bryan Brown’s 3-4 base scheme. He posted above-average backfield production with 32.0 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks over his final 26 games and led the ACC in quarterback pressures (59) in 2022. With his natural pass rush skills and first-step quickness, Abdullah was at his best as a pass rusher on tape and showed savvy when working the edges. But he also looked comfortable when asked to drop, read and then go make open-field finishes.
Overall, Abdullah has some tweener traits and will be asked to play more in reverse in the NFL than he was in college, but his read/react athleticism and finishing skills are solid base skills for a linebacker. His ideal role in the NFL is an off-ball linebacker and pass-rush specialist in subpackages.
Last word from Jordan Edwards of Sports Info Solutions:
Abdullah projects to be a versatile defender who can play as an edge defender in a 3-4 front or he can even be a Sam linebacker in a 4-3 front. While he is slightly undersized to be a traditional edge rusher, he still has the explosiveness and speed off the edge to generate pressure. He also has the athleticism to be able to play some off-ball linebacker reps where he can rush the passer being part of an even-front scheme. On 3rd downs, Abdullah can rush off the edge from a 2-point stance and even drop back into coverage as well. Abdullah’s athleticism and explosiveness can help him thrive in a special teams role at the next level.
Prospect overview from Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
Teams will need to decide whether to play him as a 3-4 rusher or try him as an off-ball linebacker in a 4-3 defense. One look at the size and length will turn most 3-4 teams off, but the tape tells a different story. His leverage, power and agility mitigate size issues, while his nose for the football has created production as a run defender, pass rusher and special teams tackler. He’s not a fluid mover, but he’s hardly stiff and is always near the play. The rush production might not be translatable on the next level, but Abdullah has the talent and tenacity to become a solid pro who can play immediately on special teams.