2013 NFL Combine
OLB Rankings - No. 11 to 25
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CFN Pre-Combine OLB Rankings, Top Ten
11. Cornelius Washington, Georgia 6-4, 265 Proj. 5
Positives: It's all there with terrific size, a great burst and the raw talent and ability to be game-changing defensive star. … He could be a defensive end without a problem, but he's an outside linebacker with the size and pass rushing potential to be special. … A tall player with a great frame, he has the reach and the length to make him tough to get around. He plays big.
Negatives: The tools don't match the tape. Expected to be a superstar throughout his time at Georgia, it never happened. At his best, he was good, not great. … A much, much better prospect than a football player. He has to get the right coaching. … Needs a lot of work. A lot of technique work. Off-the-field issues combine with on-field concerns.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? The intriguing set of tools will get him chance after chance after chance. Eventually, he'll find his groove and will be a solid part of a rotation.
12. Gerald Hodges, Penn State 6-1, 243 Proj. 4
Positives: With great size and good toughness, he can play inside or out. Versatile, he should be able to fill in wherever needed in a linebacking corps. … Athletic, he runs like a defensive back – he's a former safety – with the pounds on to work as a linebacker. … Productive. He stood out on a good front seven doing a little of everything right.
Negatives: Mediocre in pass coverage. Despite his skills and defensive back background, he's only average when he has to drop into coverage or hang around with a tight end. … Misses too many tackles. He doesn't necessarily stop his man cold; gives up yards after contact. … Not much of a pass rusher. He can get into the backfield, but he's not going to be a disruptive force.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? There's a lot not to like from a prospect perspective, but he's simply a really good football player who'll be a decent starter for a long time.
13. Zaviar Gooden, Missouri 6-1, 234 Proj. 4
Positives: Incredible athleticism. Great quickness and speed and great in open space. He should be terrific in pass coverage and can eventually be turned into a pass rusher. … Strong for his size. Has few issues holding up when hit and blocked. Slippery. … A hitter. He always has the motor running and he's always hustling and moving. A high-energy player.
Negatives: Not all that big without much room to get any bigger. He doesn't have the frame to do much more. … Was banged up throughout all of last year. He's going to have to prove he can hold up and fight through the bumps and bruises. … Not much of a pass rusher considering his speed. He's going to need a ton of tweaking and lots of work before he's a polished NFL linebacker. A lot.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll be a key special teamer before eventually growing into a terrific three-down outside linebacker. There's a world of upside.
14. Trevardo Williams, Connecticut 6-1, 241 Proj. 5
Positives: A pure pass rusher who worked on the end, he projects to an outside linebacker where he'll be turned loose. … Fast, athletic and strong, he has a good blend of all-around tools. He's a terrific athlete. … A phenomenal closer. Once he gets a line on a quarterback, it's over. He has a nice finishing burst.
Negatives: Out of place. He's not big enough to be a defensive end and he's not quite built right to be an outside linebacker. … Gets blocked way too easily. He'll have to work in space at the next level and won't be able to escape when hit. … Needs a lot of overall work and could be a bit of a project. It could take a little while to be more than just a specialist.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll be a one-trick defender, but it'll be a very, very good trick.
15. Lerentee McCray, Florida 6-2, 250 Proj. 4
Positives: A little bit of a late bloomer. Lots of tread left on the tires and the belief that the best is still yet to come. Mid-round steal potential. … Moves well. Good motor and nice range for a player of his size. Has all the tools. … Powerful as both a pass rusher and a run defender. A tough guy who can mix it up.
Negatives: Was never the main man and never turned into the superstar he was projected to be. Always dinged up. … Worked behind an elite defensive front that took care of most of the work. He got to roam free more often than not. … Can be blocked. He'll battle, but he gets pushed out of position a bit too easily. He needs to be on the move.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? It will take a little time and developing, but he'll quickly grow into a nice part of an outside linebacker rotation.
16. Keith Pough, Howard 6-2, 239 Proj. 4
Positives: Very quick and very athletic. A former wide receiver, he's smooth as glass able to cut and move on a dime. He could develop into a whale of a pass defender. … Could become a specialist who's turned loose to get behind the line. If he's a part of a D with a big front seven, he could be deadly when allowed to roam free. … Has the smarts and the instincts to make things happen behind the line. Ultra-productive.
Negatives: Howard. He was great against mediocre competition, but he won't be able to get by on his athleticism at the next level. … Not big enough. Maxed out with no room to get bigger, and he needs to be functionally stronger. … He'll have a nightmare of a time getting off blocks.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? Intriguing enough speed and quickness to get his chance as a pass rushing specialist. The potential is there to be a whale of a special teamer.
17. Mike Taylor, Wisconsin 6-1, 234 Proj. 6
Positives: A pure football player who gets in on every tackle. He works his way to get around the ball and is terrific against the run. … Not flashy, but gets the job done. He's the type of player you don't notice, but end up with double-digit tackles. … Smart. A pure leader who can make a linebacking corps his. A good quarterback for the defense.
Negatives: Not that big. Has to work hard to bulk up to get to over 230 pounds. … Not that fast or athletic. More instinctive than quick. He knows what angle to take, but he doesn't always get there. … He isn't going to blow anyone up. Not all that physical and is more technically sound than intimidating.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? If he can stay healthy, he'll be decent backup who'll do a variety of things well.
18. Travis Johnson, San Jose State 6-1, 249 Proj. FREE AGENT
Positives: A phenomenal pass rusher, he flies off the ball and works his way into the backfield without a problem. … A closer. Fights his way behind the line and is great at becoming a disruptive force. A game-changer. … Active and consistent. He came up with a sack in every game last season but four. He could be used as a specialist.
Negatives: Too small. He's not a defensive end and he's not quite an outside linebacker. He's a tweener who'll have to find a role. … Not a three down defender. He might only be able to produce as a pass rusher. … Has to prove he can be a factor in pass coverage. Has to make the transition.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? Line him up and turn him loose. He has enough pass rushing ability to get a shot at a third down job.
19. Herman Lathers, Tennessee 6-0, 224 Proj. 6
Positives: Tough. He fights through bumps and bruises and is able to battle with the stronger run offenses. … Moves well. He has sideline-to-sideline capability and is great in pursuit. … Upside. He's good, but with a little seasoning and some more time he could be a playmaker who's too good to take off the field.
Negatives: Way too small. Not big and there's no room to get any bigger. He has to be on the outside in a 3-4. … Still trying to get back to form after missing all of 2011 with a broken ankle. Was good last season, but disappeared at times. … Not really a pass rusher. He has to be trained to become a factor in the backfield.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A special teamer who'll be used from time to time as a decent backup.
20. Etienne Sabino, Ohio State 6-2, 247 Proj. 5
Positives: A good-sized hitter, he's great at holding up against the run either inside or out. … A tough tackler, he packs a nice punch and can be an intimidating force against receivers combing across the middle. … Good enough speed to get by. He moves well on the outside getting to a runner.
Negatives: Not an elite pass rusher and just mediocre in pass coverage. He might be used only for the run. … Didn't live up to his potential. He was a nice player, but he wasn't the superstar many thought he could become. … Not necessarily versatile considering he can play inside or out; he's really built just to handle the run.
Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A good backup linebacker who'll be at his best as a 4-3 outside defender.
TOP LATE PROSPECTS
21. Nick Moody, Florida State 6-1, 233 Proj. FREE AGENT
22. Ty Powell, Harding 6-2, 251 Proj. 6
23. Brandon Magee, Arizona State 5-11, 223 Proj. FREE AGENT
24. Travis Long, Washington State Proj. FREE AGENT
25. Jake Knott, Iowa State 6-2, 243 Proj. FREE AGENT
CFN Pre-Combine OLB Rankings, Top Ten