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NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers

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NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers Empty NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers

Post by Adam D Mon 23 Sep 2013, 8:53 pm
NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers 4900999
Prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft
As chosen by Graham Fraser

Notes on Linebackers

Anthony Barr, UCLA
Barr is an early season favourite to be one of the first defensive players selected at next years NFL Draft and his superior athleticism is leading to comparisons with Miami Dolphins first round pick Dion Jordan. analyst Daniel Jeremiah posed the question of who is the better football player to a number of NFL talent evaluators with the results being a narrow win for Barr. It's worth noting their different roles within the defense but when you have two highly athletic prospects who possess a unique skillset the comparison is an obvious one. Barr started out as a running back/full back with the Bruins before being moved to the defensive side of the ball where he enjoyed a breakout season with 82 tackles, 21 for loss and 13 sacks. Going from FB to LB and having that much production doesn't happen without being some kind of athlete and Barr shows burst, flexibility and balance as a pass rusher combined with impressive change of direction and closing speed. The Bruins take advantage of this by making Barr a stand up rusher and allowing him to work upfield. Barr needs time to learn the position and to improve technique as he does not always put his length to good use and he needs to do a better job with his hands and leverage in order to work off his blocker. Improving his impact as a run defender would elevate his game and make him a more complete player and closer to realising his potential. 

CJ Mosley, Alabama 
Mosley has been described as one of the most complete linebacker prospects in recent years and has impressed evaluators with his ability to imact all facets of the game. Productive defensive prospects from Nick Saban's Alabama are usually well thought of and Mosley had 107 total tackles, 8TFL and 4 sacks from the weakside linebacker position in 2012. Among the most impressive things about Mosley's game are his vision and instincts at the position when playing both run and pass. On run plays he's quick to identify the running back and flows downhill to make a tackle at or behind the LOS which he rarely misses. When in zone coverage he does a good job of reading the QB and puts himself in position to intercept or deflect passes and forcing the quarterback to be perfect on placement which often results in a mistake. Mosley's athleticism is key to his success against pass and run and he shows good speed to cover ground whether moving laterally in pursuit or attacking the LOS as well as playing in space/coverage. It also allows him to be used as a  blitz linebacker or as a QB spy where his COD, vision and closing speed all come into play. Due to his size he does have some deficiencies as a run defender as he can get engulfed and overpowerd by bigger OL opponents though he does a good job working around blocks and staying clean.  

NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers 3432383

Khalil Mack, Buffalo 
Ohio State was a good advertisment for Mack but he was already well known to evaluators after he collected 94 tackles, 20 TFL, 8 sacks and 4 FF in 2012 for the Bull's which led to first team all-MAC honours. His performance against Ohio State earned him praise from both Urban Meyer and Baylor coach Art Briles, the later of whom said "He reminds me of Von Miller". Mack makes his biggest impact as a pass rusher and creates disruption whith his ability to win with power and finesse. When he extends his arms into the tackle he has the strength to drive the OT back and he's smart enough to know when to mix it up with speed and quickness which keeps opponents on their toes and off balance. Mack is much more adept when working as a rusher but he shows the ability to hold an edge in the run game from the OLB position. He has excellent straight line speed and has no problems closing plays down and chasing from behind. While he shows the ability to control his gap on the outside he can be undisciplined at times and will bite on misdirection. 

Max Bullough, Michigan State
Bullough, the Spartans 6'3, 245lbs middle linebacker, was a 1st team All-Big Ten coaches slection in 2012 after a productive year which included 110 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He seems to be off the radar as a prospect but he's a consistent presence on the field. Bullough has a perceived lack of athleticsm and is accused by evaluators of not being explosive and below average in pass defense. For his size he looks to have adequate athleticism and covers ground well in a straight line. In pass defense some of Bullough's limitations do show up, however he does a good job in zone coverage of reading the QB and putting himself in position to influence the play. His stengths are in run defense where he finds a way to beat his man despite being inconsistent when asked to take on and shed blockers, he'll look to work round opponents and uses his vision and anticipation to get ahead of the play. He also shows some abiltiy when used on plays which call for him to blitz from the inside showing straight line speed and an ability to pressure the quarterback. 

Dee Ford, Auburn
The Tigers undersized defensive end is a tough projection in the NFL, at 6'2, 240lbs he's probably not an every down player at DE and is likely seen as a pass rusher in sub packages or possibly a linebacker in the pros. A transition to linebacker might be on the cards for Ford as he often looks better rushing the quarterback from a stand up position ranther than out of a three point stance. He's a threat to turn the corner and his quickness of the snap often gives him a jump on the OT. For his size he has a better anchor than might be expected but he can be turned away from the play too easily. Starts his season out with a knee injury sustained in practice. 

Kyle van Noy, BYU
Like marmite there doesn't seem to be any inbetween with van Noy as evaluators either love him or hate him. He's a hard working linebacker who is used as a stand up edge rusher for BYU with some coverage responsibility. Van Noy has a habbit of making impact plays, forcing turnovers, tackles for loss and using his length to disrupt passing lanes and deflect passes at the LOS. His workman-like play around the LOS stands out as he willingly chases down plays from the backside and scrapes down the line to make tackles. Shows some ability to rush the passer but he's not a pure edge rusher despite being used in that role by BYU. Van Noy lacks physicality against the run and that's one of the reason's he's a better fit off the LOS where he can be given some protection. He also needs to finish plays better, this is overlooked due to his ability to make plays on the ball but he could be even more impactful if he cut out some of the missed tackles.

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Adam D

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NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers Empty Re: NFL Draft Prospects - Linebackers

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Tue 24 Sep 2013, 1:00 am

Good read Ok!
Good Golly I'm Olly
Good Golly I'm Olly
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