Monday, February 25, 2013

Cream of the 2013 NFL Draft crop: Linebackers


This is the sixth edition of an eight-part series noting the top prospects of the 2013 NFL Draft at their respective positions.

THE LINEBACKER PROSPECTS: Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, Kevin Minter, Manti Te'o, Arthur Brown, Khaseem Green. (photo: Neon Tommy, Flickr)

Jarvis Jones (6-2, 242 lbs.) Georgia
Explosive edge rusher. Very strong, and has an effective bull rush move despite his small size. Has a good motor and is more than capable of dropping into coverage. Is a two-time All-SEC performer. His smaller frame may impede his ability to add more bulk. Was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2009, which may prevent teams from medically clearing him. Projected round: 1

Alec Ogletree (6-3, 234 lbs.) Georgia
Exceptional athlete who has a knack for making big plays. Proficient in coverage, and has rare ball skills for a linebacker. Impact player. Struggles to disengage blockers and at times displays poor tackling technique. Made headlines recently with an arrest for DUI, which joins a long list of off-the-field red flags, including other arrests and drug-related suspensions. Projected round: 1

Kevin Minter (6-1, 245 lbs.) Louisiana State
Smart and intuitive player. Diagnoses plays quickly and anticipates where the ball will be going, and gets to the point of attack with burst. Can shed blockers and get to the quarterback from his inside linebacker spot. Lower physicality and althleticism than is typically expected of his position in the NFL, and may overly rely on anticipation to compensate for his lack of speed. Projected round: 1-2

Manti Te'o (6-2, 255 lbs.) Notre Dame
Powerful player with a low center of gravity. Good instincts. Strong in coverage, and a capable tackler in the open field. Does not have great speed, and has not displayed the ability to get off blocks. Was embroiled in a internationally-publicized scandal, and beyond the personal concerns that were raised, brings with it publicity that may affect a team's willingness to draft him. Projected round: 1-2

Arthur Brown (6-1, 228 lbs.) Rutgers
Cerebral player who anticipates the offense's actions. Plays with a high level of technical skill, and has the athleticism to capably serve in the many duties of an outside linebacker. Plays strong for his size, but his limited mass may greatly affect him at the NFL level. Hasn't displayed the ability to make impact plays. Projected round: 2

Khaseem Greene (6-1, 236 lbs.) Rutgers
Extremely athletic, and has the speed to go sideline to sideline. Sure tackler and adept at blitzing, with the burst to get around the edge. Skilled at separating the ball from the runner. Very small for an NFL linebacker, and has a tendency to avoid physicality due to a preference to rely on his speed to get away from blockers. Can lose sight of ballcarrier in traffic.  Projected round: 2

AFC East need meter: (Very pressing, mildly pressing, not pressing)
Bills: Very pressing
Jets: Very pressing
Patriots: Not pressing
Dolphins: Not pressing

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