2024 Atlanta Falcons Draft Pick Profile: LB J.D. Bertrand

The Atlanta Falcons drafted a fantastic depth linebacker in the fifth round in J.D. Bertrand.
Wake Forest v Notre Dame
Wake Forest v Notre Dame / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons used their fifth round pick to select J.D. Bertrand out of Notre Dame to fortify the linebacker corps. Bertrand profiles best as a depth linebacker and special teams guy throughout his career, and even if that's all he is, it's a fantastic use of the fifth round pick considering most fifth round picks don't play through their first contract with the team that drafted them. Bertrand fits in very well with this style of defense and his role on defense will be the same as what he was playing for the Fighting Irish in college.

J.D. Bertrand

University of Notre Dame


Athletic Comparison and Numbers

J.D. Bertrand was injured during the testing period. So there's no athletic testing to pull from. He does look like he flies around the field and is relatively athletic.

Stats and Awards

2023: 12 Games Played, 76 Tackles, 7.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 7 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 5 Pass Deflections, William V Campbell Trophy Finalist, Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist
2022: 12 Games Played, 82 Tackles, 8.5 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 3 Pass Deflections, Notre Dame Defensive Player of the Year
2021: 13 Games Played, 101 Tackles, 7.0 Tackles for Loss, 1.5 Sacks, 4 QB Hurries, 1 Fumble Forced, 1 Pass Deflection
2020: 11 Games Played, 7 Tackles
2019: 4 Games Played, Redshirted

Highlight Reel

Scouting Report


J.D. Bertrand is one of the most productive players at linebacker in college football. Bertrand is solid in run defense and does a great job sifting through blocks and getting to the ball carriers. He projects a ton of special teams ability as a core-four special teams player. He's got a high football intelligence and knows where the ball is going before the play, and it shows on film. He also has solid coverage instincts and has some juice as a blitzer.


When it comes to J.D. Bertrand's weaknesses, his angles to the football leave a lt to be desired. His athleticism is passable for the NFL, but it's not elite. His technique against the run leaves a lot to be desired. He's not great at stacking and shedding blocks despite being able to sift around them. His lack of speed shows up in coverage a lot. His weaknesses are very similar to what Nate Landman's were coming out of college.

Intangibles & Off-Field Red Flags

As an Alpharetta, Georgia native, J.D. Bertrand is a local player who has a ton of ties to the area. Bertrand was a two-time team captain for the Fighting Irish and was the vocal leader of their defense. He's the ultimate team player and a hard worker. On top of that, he's huge in community service and was a finalist and semifinalist for the Wuerffel and Campbell awards. The Falcons continue to bring in players who are excellent culture fits to continue to build the culture.

NFL Stylistic Comparison: Paul Worrilow

Much like Paul Worrilow, J.D. Bertrand is best suited as a depth linebacker and special teams player. If he does end up starting, much like Worrilow, he'll be a tackling machine, but he'll be a liability in coverage. However, the Falcons would be perfectly fine with Bertrand being that kind of guy. Atlanta doesn't need this fifth round pick to start. They need a quality depth piece that is similar to what Worrilow provided for the Falcons towards the end of his career.

How does he fit in with the Atlanta Falcons

The idea behind drafting J.D. Bertrand is that the Falcons can have a quality depth linebacker that contributes on special teams and won't completely mess up the defense if he has to come in. They need someone who can be a leader and captain for their special teams units and have a career similar to what Ike Reese had for the Eagles and later the Falcons. With Troy Andersen, Nate Landman and Kaden Elliss as the top three linebackers on the roster, Bertrand won't have to contribute on defense if they don't need him to.

Why J.D. Bertrand instead of CB Kris Abrams-Draine, WR Johnny Wilson or LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr.?

The Falcons decided that adding depth to the linebacker room made more sense than bringing in a cornerback or wide receiver at this point in the draft. Jeremiah Trotter is a quality player, but is slower than J.D. Bertrand and doesn't provide the same level of special teams abilities. Bertrand seems to fit the culture the Falcons are trying to build in Atlanta, and that's the biggest reason why the Falcons decided to take him over the others.

All advanced stats are courtesy Pro Football Focus or Football Outsiders. All traditional stats are courtesy of official team websites, NFLGSIS or CFB Stats. All RAS and athletic testing numbers are courtesy of DraftScout.com and Kent Lee Platte's RAS Football website.