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2013 NFL Draft - Outside Linebackers No. 6-25

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 20, 2013


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

2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings

OLBs - No. 6 to 25


By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... @ColFootballNews 

- 2013 Outside Linebacker Rankings
 
6. Dion Jordan, Oregon 6-6, 248
A former tight end, he’s extremely athletic with an elite frame and great athleticism to grow into a top pass rusher. Fast and explosive, he can both fly into the backfield and can hang around with receivers in pass coverage. A tweener in a good way, he can work as a 4-3 pass rushing end or find a role as a huge 3-4 outside linebacker who’ll engulf everything that comes his way. Now he has to grow a bit more into his body and pack on more functional muscle. Too skinny and too light, he needs to beef up a bit to be able to handle himself as an end, and he has to learn how to stay upright when blockers try to chop him down. Even with all the concerns, teams are going to fall in love with his upside with a different skill set to develop and work with. He’ll be way, WAY overdrafted – he’s hardly a sure thing considering he’ll probably go in the top 15 – and he could disappoint early on. It’ll take a little while before he starts producing at a high level.
CFN Projection: First Round

7. Cornelius Washington, Georgia 6-4, 265
Overshadowed by Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, it’s not crazy to suggest that he might have the most talent of the three. Very big, VERY fast and extremely athletic, he can be a devastating tweener working on the end or as a pass rushing terror at outside linebacker. Insanely strong and with dream tools, he can hold up well against the power blockers and can be used in a variety of ways to become a game-changing star. However, the tape and the tools don’t match up. He was always expected to become a superstar at Georgia, but it never happened as a good player, but never an elite one as a much, much better prospect than pure football player. He needs a lot of technique work and has to get the motor running full-tilt all the time. Can he accept the hard coaching needed to turn all his talents into production? There’s an outside chance that he becomes the best player of the entire lot of outside linebackers if he finds the right position and puts it all together, but he could be maddeningly ineffective if he doesn’t want it.
CFN Projection: Second Round

8. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers 6-1, 241
Not just a stat guy, he’s ultra-productive who’s always around the ball and always finding ways to make plays. Active, he effortlessly gets through the trash and does a little of everything right. The best player in the Big East over the last few seasons, he overcame a frightening broken ankle to come back roaring, showing no ill effects and continuing to be a disruptive force. But is he a stat guy more than a football player? He’s not a big-time hitter and whiffs way too much, he’s not a special athlete in any way, and the stats are a bit overblown because of the defense and style of play, but he’s a baller who’ll be terrific over the next two years once he finds the right fit and right role.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9. Sio Moore, Connecticut 6-1, 245
A terrific tackler, he packs a pop with excellent hitting ability and toughness. A pure linebacker, he’s always around the ball and he’s always finding ways to come up with the play. Smart, he seems to be one step ahead of the play and he always knows how to get around the ball. He’ll fight to make a play. He showed off surprising athleticism at the Combine and now might not be just an inside linebacker like he projected to be throughout his college career. The pass rushing skills are there and he’s a disruptive force who finds ways to make things happen. Likely a good value pick, he has the make-up and the attitude to be a statistical superstar, but he’ll drop to the mid rounds because he might not have a set position. He’ll be underdrafted and will pay off big.
CFN Projection: Third Round

10. Jelani Jenkins, Florida (Jr.) 6-1, 243
There’s undeniable talent with tremendous speed and athleticism to have the right raw tools. A sure-thing superstar out of high school, he started to grow into his promise last season when he was healthy, and that’s the problem. He was never quite right with hamstring problems before suffering a broken foot late in the year. Not huge, he’s thick, but he’s not all that big and doesn’t have any room to add more muscle, however, he can still rock up a bit and transform his body. A pure weakside defender, he’ll get overpowered and needs to use his speed and quickness to be effective, but more but more than anything else he has to prove he can stay healthy. He’s a top 50 overall talent who’ll slide because of injury concerns.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

11. Gerald Hodges, Penn State 6-1, 243
With a great body and excellent toughness and versatility, he can play inside or out, he should be able to fill in wherever needed in a linebacking corps with good enough athleticism to do just about anything. A former safety, he’s smooth with the right body and the right quickness to fit in fine on the weakside. A productive star for a team full of great defensive players, he was terrific against the run and can blast people when he gets to the ball. While he’s not huge, he handles himself well and doesn’t have a problem mixing it up with the bigger blockers. There’s a hard ceiling and there might not be a ton of upside, but he’s simply a good football player who can be a decent starter for a long time.
CFN Projection: Third Round

12. Chase Thomas, Stanford 6-3, 244
Really smart and a tremendous leader, he’s a tough guy who takes over a defense and makes it his. Stanford has had some terrific talents over the last few years, but this was Chase Thomas’s defense. With perfect instincts, he makes up for a ton of glaring issues with great timing and by being two steps ahead of everyone else. Not an NFL athlete, he’s slow, doesn’t have great quickness as a pass rusher and should have problems when the game is a half-click faster than it was in college. It would be nice if he could play inside, but that’s not really his game – he’s not quite bulk enough or strong enough for the position. He’ll never be a sure-thing star, but he’ll make plenty of plays and will be a good producer as long as he’s surrounded by talent.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

13. Zaviar Gooden, Missouri 6-2, 234
Possibly the best pure athlete among the outside linebackers, he has 4.4 speed with tremendous quickness in space. While he’s not huge, he’s a strong weakside defender who can stick with receivers without a problem and hits well and doesn’t get erased by big blockers. There’s no room to get any bigger checking in at a rock hard 235 pounds, and he doesn’t really have a set role. In a dream world he’d be a Von Miller-like pass rusher, but he doesn’t have the bulk. While he doesn’t get overpowered, he stays blocked a bit too easily and hasn’t proven he can fly into the backfield on a regular basis. On pure athleticism he can be turned into a specialist, but he needs work on becoming an all-around NFL linebacker.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

14. Trevardo Williams, Connecticut 6-1, 241
A pure pass rusher with terrific straight line speed, he has worked on the end and could be a tweener who projects as an outside linebacker for any system. A phenomenal closer, when he gets a bead on a quarterback or a ball-carrier, it’s over with a great final burst. Really, really cut, he doesn’t have any room to get any bigger, and that’s a problem. He gets blocked way too easily and will be erased by any NFL blocker who’s able to lock on. It’s going to be a little while to put it all together with no real moves, but that can be easily fixed. He’ll be a specialist right away and nothing more than a third down pass rusher, but he could be really, really good at that one thing.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

15. Lerentee McCray, Florida 6-2, 250
It took a little while before he became a player, and now there’s lots of tread left on the tires with a world of great upside. With decent size and excellent quickness, he has good tools to go along with a great motor going 100 miles per hour all the time. He makes up for problems with great tools and want-to – he never stops working and fights his way into making plays. While he’ll overrun plays because he’s trying too hard, it’s coachable to dial things back a bit. Health is always a problem, dinged up throughout his career, and he worked behind an elite defensive front, but he could be an intriguing part of a defense as an X factor.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

16. Mike Taylor, Wisconsin 6-1, 234
Too small, too slow and with no room to get bigger and no real chance to get faster, he’s missing all the basics. However, he’s a devastating football player and a peerless tackler, using his smarts and instincts to be one step ahead of the play and doing everything needed to come up with a stop. He’ll never get in the backfield and he’ll never be flashy, but he’ll go unnoticed for long stretches but will still end up with 12 tackles. He’ll have to be a key special teamer, but he can work in a variety of ways in a rotation and produce when he gets his chances.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

17. Jon Bostic, Florida 6-1, 245
One of the better all-around linebackers in the draft, he projects to work on the outside but could see time in the middle without a problem. Incredibly quick, he came up with a phenomenal workout at the Combine with silky-smooth movement and the power to hold up against the run. He gets blocked way too easily and he’s not a pass rusher without anything happening behind the line, he doesn’t play as fast or as quick as his workouts might suggest and he’s a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. There’s a lot missing, but his versatility will make him a key swing backup and a decent starter when needed.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

18. John Simon, Ohio State 6-2, 257
Part defensive end, part outside linebacker, all worker, he’s always hustling and he’s always going 100 miles per hour to try making a play. Quick off the ball, he’s a tweener pass rusher who can work in a variety of ways with the raw strength to hold up on the line just enough skill to do a little bit of everything. The problem is that he doesn’t fit any sort of a type. He’s not big enough to be an end and he’s not fast enough to be a playmaking outside linebacker. There’s no questioning his heart or desire, and he’s a pure football player who can find ways to help a team, but there’s a hard ceiling on what he can become.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

19. A.J. Klein, Iowa State 6-1, 250
A tackling machine who grew into a legendary player for Iowa State, he was always in on every play and turned into one of the Big 12’s top producers over the last few seasons. Always around the ball, he always came up with big numbers in the big games against the better teams. A no-nonsense leader, he always gets the job done no matter what. While the stats were great, he made way too many plays down the field and he’ll struggle to hold up against the bigger blockers. He’ll have to change up his style a bit and will have to read and react rather than attack, but he doesn’t have the elite skills to be a special playmaker. Even so, he can do a little bit of everything and become a decent starter.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

20. DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina 6-1, 243
A beefed up defensive back, he’s quick, active and physical. Productive, he stood out on a team full of standouts taking advantage of his chances and making plenty of big plays in all areas. A football player, he seems to love the game and wants to be better and improve, and there’s still room to gets stronger. He needs to shed bad weight and transform his body a bit, and when he does he could be quicker and more athletic. Better weight room and functional strength is a must, but he’s probably not going to get much bigger after working really, really hard just to get up to his current weight. There’s upside and potential, but he’s a good enough football player to be a decent swing player who can see time in a variety of spots and schemes.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

21. TyAnthony Powell, Harding 6-2, 249
With tremendous athleticism and a world of upside, he could grow into a sleeper who teams will fight over. Unbelievable in offseason workouts, he crushed the combine with size, strength and leaping ability. If he went to a BCS school instead of Harding, his stock might be going through the roof. However, he’s more of a pass rusher than an outside linebacker who’ll hold up against the run, and he needs to find a role and a position to tweak and hone his skills. There are off-the-field character concerns, and he bounced around a bit, but the bigger issue could be his age starting the season at 25. He needs work, but will teams have the time and patience? There’s enough potential to take a mid-round chance.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

22. Nathan Williams, Ohio State 6-3, 241
Part defensive end, part outside linebacker, he’s a tweener who busts his tail to make things happen with great energy and a fire for the game. Strong, he’s able to get around and through blockers without too much of a problem, and while he’s not a pass rusher, he can get into the backfield from time-to-time on want-to. The athleticism is missing and he hasn’t been able to come back roaring after having knee problems two years ago. He definitely lost something off of his fastball and isn’t nearly the same all-around football player he appeared ready to be a few years ago, but there’s enough talent and skill to find a role on someone’s defense.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

23. Keith Pough, Howard 6-2, 239
He’s too small, too slow straight-line, and has to get past playing at the lower level, but he’s quick on the field and has no problems getting around. A former wide receiver, he’s smooth and can cut on a dime in both pass coverage and potentially as a pass rusher. As long as he’s surrounded by bigger, bulkier defenders, he should be able to make lots of bit plays as he roams free. However, he’s just not big enough and isn’t going to be able to get by on his athleticism at the next level. He’ll do whatever is needed and could find a role on his fight and motivational skills – you want him in your locker room – but he’s severely limited as an overall prospect.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

24. Brandon Magee, Arizona State 5-11, 223
An extremely productive tackler with great fight and excellent leadership skills, he moves well and is terrific at getting to the ball and coming up with a big hit. Consistent, he’s strong at always bringing the effort each week, but he also his physical play also gets him hurt. He’s way too small and doesn’t have any room to get any bigger, and he’ll get erased by anyone who locks on. Always banged up, he can’t last through a season and will always have to fight through pain. Smooth as glass, he could turn into a decent part of a rotation, but he can’t be a full-time NFL starter.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

25. Doug Rippy, Colorado 6-2, 245
With good size and nice speed, he has a good set of tools and he brings them to the field. An all-around playmaker who always finds ways to get around the ball, he’s good in pass coverage and has no problems holding up against bigger blockers. Good on the field, smart and with a passion for the game, everything is in place except for two things – his knees. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy suffering a bad knee injury a few years ago, and the suffered a slight problem with his other knee last year. If he can stay healthy he’ll be a strong starter who could be a cheap late round or free agent pickup, but his knees are always going to be a problem.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

- 2013 Outside Linebacker Rankings