2013 Preseason Player Rankings - Linebackers
BYU LB Kyle Van Noy
BYU LB Kyle Van Noy
Posted Aug 9, 2013

CFN's Top 30 Players of 2013 By Position - Linebackers

Preview 2013

Player Rankings - LBs

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Note: This isn't a ranking of the top pro prospects.

2013 CFN Preseason Player Rankings  
Preview 2013 | Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
Tight Ends | Offensive Tackles | Offensive Guards | Centers

Defensive Ends | Defensive Tackles | Linebackers
Cornerbacks | Safeties | Punters | Placekickers | Returners   

1. Anthony Barr, Sr. UCLA
On the outside, Barr was nothing shy of transcendent in 2012. In his first year on defense, after two journeyman seasons at running back, he erupted into a pass-rushing beast with 83 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and five pass breakups. With zero warning, the explosive 6-4, 245-pound athlete ended the year as a member of the All-Pac-12 First Team and the All-America Second Team. Barr is off the charts athletically, so there's no telling how good he might become with another full year to really learn the nuances of the position.

2. Kyle Van Noy, Sr. BYU
For some reason, Van Noy decided to return for his senior season. The 6-3, 235-pound senior weakside playmaker might not have NFL bulk, but he's the type of premier pass rusher the pro types salivate over with a phenomenal closing burst and an uncanny knack of always being around the ball. He was the team's most dangerous threat in the backfield making 13 sacks with 22 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles and 53 tackles, but it was his bowl performance against San Diego State that made his great season something truly special with eight tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a blocked kick and two touchdowns including a 17-yard pick six. A disruptive force, he's an elite athlete who came to BYU as a star receiver and sprinter, and he's putting it all together as one of the nation's top outside linebackers.

3. A.J. Johnson, Jr. Tennessee
The Vols defense might have been a disaster overall, but Johnson was fantastic proving his great freshman campaign wasn't a fluke. One of the SEC's best all-around defenders in 2011, the 6-3, 240-pounder was even better making 138 tackles with a sack, 8.5 tackles for loss and eight quarterback hurries. While he might have been a bit of a function of the old system, he showed he could work in the middle or on the outside with massive production as he cleaned up several messes making 21 stops against Mississippi State, 14 against Alabama, and cranked up 11 tackles or more in each of the last ten games. A pure tackler, 464 stops in high school and isn't missing a stop at the next level.

4. Andrew Jackson, Sr. WKU
A big-time hitter who was one of the key stars of a great Hilltopper defense, Jackson led the Sun Belt with 116 tackles with 16.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and four forced fumbles. A guided missile, he was seemingly in on every running play with 19 tackles against Florida Atlantic, 15 against North Texas and 12 against both Arkansas State and Troy. The 6-1, 265-pounder is big and fast with sideline to sideline ability – he has next level talent and will have everything around the defense funneling his way.

5. C.J. Mosley, Sr. Alabama
Mosley will be one of the team's leaders on the outside after leading the team with 107 tackles with four sacks, eight tackles for loss and two picks. The 6-2, 232-pound senior suffered a dislocated hip in the 2012 BCS championship win over LSU, but he got everything together quickly and was back to new by the start of last season. Very fast, very active and very experienced, he's great at getting all over the field in a variety of ways in the middle or at either outside spot working mostly as a weakside defender earning all-star honors.

6. Shayne Skov, Sr. Stanford
7. Yawin Smallwood, Jr. Connecticut
8. Denzel Nkemdiche, Soph. Ole Miss
9. Ryan Shazier, Jr. Ohio State
10. (DE) Morgan Breslin, Sr. USC
11. Chris Borland, Sr. Wisconsin
12. Max Bullough, Sr. Michigan State
13. Jordan Hicks, Jr. Texas
14. Greg Blair, Sr. Cincinnati
15. Khalil Mack, Sr. Buffalo
16. Avery Williamson, Sr. Kentucky
17. Trey DePriest, Soph. Alabama
18. Adrian Hubbard, Jr. Alabama
19. (DE) Carl Bradford, Jr. Arizona State
20. Eric Kendricks, Jr. UCLA
21. Keith Smith, Sr. San Jose State
22. James Morris, Sr. Iowa
23. Jonathan Brown, Sr. Illinois
24. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Sr. Boston College
25. Derrick Mathews, Jr. Houston
26. Shawn Jackson, Sr. Tulsa
27. Christian Jones, Sr. Florida State
28. Benardrick McKinney, Soph. Miss State
29. Preston Brown, Sr. Louisville
30. Jack Tyler, Sr. Virginia Tech