2013 NFL Draft - Inside Linebackers

Posted Apr 19, 2013

From a college football perspective, the analysis of the top inside linebacker prospects.

2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Inside Linebackers

By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... @ColFootballNews 

2013 NFL Draft Analysis
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers
- Defensive Ends
- 2012 Inside Linebacker Rankings

- 2013 Inside Linebackers - No. 6-25

2014 Top ILB Prospects
1. Trey Depriest, Alabama (Jr.)
2. A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (Jr.)
3. Eric Kendricks, UCLA (Jr.)
4. Shayne Skov, Stanford
5. Andrew Jackson, WKU
6. Steve Edmond, Texas (Jr.)
7. Max Bullough, Michigan State
8. Denzel Perryman, Miami (Jr.)
9. Chris Borland, Wisconsin
10. James Morris, Iowa
11. Preston Brown, Louisville
12. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut (Jr.)
13. Caleb Lavey, Oklahoma State
14. Curtis Grant Ohio State (Jr.)
*Not eligible until 2015
2012 CFN Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DTs
- ILBs | OLBs | CBs | Ss

2011 CFN Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs
- CBs | Ss  

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
This Class Is … not that big a deal. There aren't many must-have stars to build a defense around, but Kevin Minter, Kevin Riddick and Manti Te'o will all be productive and could put up big numbers. There's little sizzle and nothing spectacular, but there are plenty of good, sound hitters to be had in the mid-rounds. The better talents are on the outside.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Kiko Alonso, Oregon
Most Underrated … John Lotulelei, UNLV
Most Overrated … Michael Mauti, Penn State
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Jordan Campbell, New Mexico Highlands

1. Kevin Minter, LSU (Jr.) 6-0, 246
While he doesn't have tremendous foot speed and isn't necessarily going to go sideline-to-sideline, he's a terrific tackler who sucks up everything that comes within his range. Smooth, he doesn't take a wasted step and he holds up extremely well against the more powerful teams and blocker. Slippery, he's quick enough to be able sidestep blockers and get in on a play, and he's able to get back into pass coverage without any problem. There might not be anything flashy to his game, and he's not going to get into the backfield on a regular basis, but he'll put up huge numbers and doesn't have to come off the field on third downs. While he struggled at the Combine and didn't show off much in offseason workouts, he's a good, pure football player with almost no downside.
CFN Projection: Second Round

2. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina 6-1, 243
Very good as is, there's still a world of upside with excellent talent, good size and a nice résumé. Productive, he was able to get into the backfield and also showed he could hold up well on a regular basis against the run. With a fire for the game, he's a leader who won't need any motivation and should be able to take a defense and make it his. There's another level he can go with his game, needing to be a more consistent tackler and needing to keep working in the film room to improve his instincts and feel, and he should get there with the right coaching. A blaster with good quickness, he has just enough athleticism to move where needed and not need everything funneled his way. He'll make a ton of tackles and should put up big stats.
CFN Projection: Second Round

3. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame 6-1, 241
Improving year after year, it's possible to see the progression in his game after coming to Notre Dame as a huge recruit and getting better and better as he went on. The time on the field improved his instincts and his vision, taking fewer wasted steps last season and sniffing around the ball a lot better leading to interceptions and making big plays and big hits at the right time. While he's going to be a circus sideshow for a while because of everything that happened, he's a leader who should put up big numbers when plays are funneled his way, and despite the BCS Championship fiasco, he's good enough in the open field to get by and won't miss a stop. He'll be a good pro, but not an elite one, missing the raw tools and with a rock-hard ceiling that will be tough to break through. A painful prisoner of inertia, he's not fast, not quick and not athletic with no ability whatsoever to cut or adjust against anyone who makes a cut or a speed move. While he'll be a steady starter, and most teams and GMs are saying the same thing about not caring about his bizarre story, it's an issue. While no one thinks he's a bad guy, the entire situation and how it was handled was still really, really weird.
CFN Projection: First Round

4. Kiko Alonso. Oregon 6-3, 240
With great size, and great frame and excellent athleticism, he has the raw tools and some of the best skills in the draft. Long, he has a good reach and enough speed to get to a ball-carrier and make something happen – he's tough to get around. Versatile, he's fast enough to work on the outside if needed, but his future is in the middle where he'll show off excellent range and the potential to work into the backfield. Now he has to work on getting functionally stronger, getting shoved around way too easily and blasted out of the way by the more physical blockers. While he's smart and productive, he doesn't have the best instincts and could need a little bit of time. Health is a concern and he needs to show he can hold up, but he's a playmaker with a high ceiling who'll come cheap in the middle rounds compared to some of the other top prospects.
CFN Projection: Third Round

5. Nico Johnson, Alabama 6-2, 248
A high character player who doesn't make mistakes and doesn't miss stops, he was a leader on a team and defense full of leaders. Very smart and very fast, he's always in the right position and he's always working to make plays, fighting through the trash and always getting his nose dirty. Used to playing on a D with stars, he'll have no problems adapting to his game to the pro level. Not a pass rusher, he's not going to work on the outside and needs to sit in the middle, and he'll have to read and react more than attack. While he might not be a regular in the Pro Bowl, and he might not do anything special, he'll be a very good, very sound pro who'll hold his own as long as he doesn't have to be the star.
CFN Projection: Third Round  

- 2013 Inside Linebackers - No. 6-25