Player Spotlight: Penn State Linebacker Curtis Jacobs

Penn State v Maryland
Penn State v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages

Position: Linebacker

Age (Draft Day): 22

Height/Weight: 6'1", 241lbs

40 Yard Dash: 4.58 seconds


Curtis Jacobs is a versatile linebacker prospect with a chance to contribute on day three of the 2024 NFL Draft. Widely regarded as a four-star recruit by major scouting services, he impressed college coaches. 247Sports specifically ranked him 34th overall nationally, 4th among outside linebackers, and 3rd best player in Maryland. A highly-rated recruit coming out of high school, Jacobs solidified himself as a key cog in Penn State's defense throughout his collegiate career. He saw significant playing time at both middle and outside linebacker positions, displaying his adaptability and willingness to embrace different roles.


  • Straight-Line Athlete: Jacobs possesses impressive speed and athleticism. His 4.58 40-yard dash time translates to sideline-to-sideline coverage ability, allowing him to chase down plays in the open field.
  • Mirror Coverage: Jacobs demonstrates good mirroring skills in man coverage. He can stay hip-to-hip with running backs and tight ends in coverage, making him a valuable asset in nickel and dime packages.
  • Versatility: During his time at Penn State, Jacobs thrived in various roles, showcasing his adaptability and football IQ. This versatility could be attractive to teams searching for a multi-dimensional linebacker.


  • Weight: Listed at 241 lbs at the combine, Jacobs might be a bit light for a traditional starting middle linebacker in the NFL. While he added weight for the combine, his natural playing weight might be closer to the 225 lb range.
  • Change of Direction: While possessing good straight-line speed, Jacobs can be a little stiff with his change of direction skills. This could limit his effectiveness in dropping into coverage or reacting to quick plays in the backfield.
  • Tweener Status: Jacobs falls in a bit of a grey area between middle linebacker and edge rusher. He doesn't possess the natural pass rush instincts of an edge rusher, while his size and stiffness might limit him from becoming a true sideline-to-sideline middle linebacker. He is, however, a very dangerous blitzer who has a knack for closing and making big plays.
  • Play Diagnosis: While a smart player, Jacobs can be a little slow to read and diagnose plays, particularly when lined up in the middle. This could be a liability against offenses with quick passing schemes.

NFL Comparison: Jerome Baker

Jerome Baker
New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

Jerome Baker was a versatile linebacker coming out of college who wasn't quite a natural linebacker coming out of school. It took him a few years in the NFL to become a really solid player once he improved on his ability to read and react. Jacobs could have a very similar career trajectory as Baker if he continues to improve.

Draft Projection: Day 3

Jacobs' versatility and athleticism will intrigue teams looking for depth at the linebacker position. However, his weight and lack of elite play recognition might push him to day three of the draft. If a team can develop his instincts and scheme him into a specific role, Jacobs has the potential to become a productive contributor on special teams and eventually on defense.