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2009 NFL Draft/Combine - Inside LBs
Southern Miss LB Gerald McRath
Southern Miss LB Gerald McRath
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 24, 2009


Where do the top inside linebacker prospects rank as the Combine finishes up? Along with the positives and the negatives for each top prospect, here's the initial ranking for the 2009 NFL Draft inside linebacker class.

2009 NFL Draft

Post-Workout Rankings

The Top Inside Linebacker Prospects

By Pete Fiutak 

- 2009 NFL Combine Numbers
Quarterbacks | Running Backs & Fullbacks | Receivers
Tight Ends | Centers & Guards | Off. Tackles

Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Inside LBs | Outside LBs
new  Cornerbacks | Safeties


- new  2009 NFL Draft Post-Workout Rankings
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers | Tight Ends
Centers | Guards | Off. Tackles | Def. Ends | Def. Tackles
Inside LBs | Outside LBs | Cornerbacks | Safeties


Full Player Breakdowns & Analysis To Come In Marc
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- 2008 CFN Draft Central
2008 NFL Draft Breakdown and Analysis

1st Round | 2nd Round | 3rd Round | 4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Rd | 7th Rd

1. Rey Maualuga, USC  6-2, 249
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
1
Post-Combine Skinny:
It wasn't a good trip to Indianapolis, but it's not going to matter. An injured hamstring reared its ugly head during the workout and is partly being explained for the painfully slow 4,82 in the 40. the 23 reps in the weight room were fine, but not special, and he wasn't able to show off any quickness thanks to the injury. He'll still be the first inside linebacker taken.
Positives: Devastating hitter. An intimidating force who’ll blow up plays … All over the field. Very quick, very aggressive … Has it all. He’s the type of linebacker defenses are built around.
Negatives: Tries a bit too much to go for the kill shot … Speed. Great when he gets going, but straight speed isn’t special … Not an outside linebacker. Strictly for the inside.

2. Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina  6-2, 252
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
5
Post-Combine Skinny: All questions or his concerns about his injured knee were answered in a big way as one of the quickest, most athletic linebackers in Indianapolis. Combine his surprising movement with his toughness and big hitting ability, and this was a good weekend for him. The biggest of the inside linebackers, the 26 reps and the 4.72 40 helped, too.

Positives: Very big leader who was the main man for the USC defense when healthy … Quick for his size. Can be a pass rusher … Tough. Pure inside stuffer.
Negatives: Knee issues … Needs to play up to his size more and beat up more blockers … Lacks the burst he had before getting hurt.

3. Scott McKillop, Pitt  6-1, 244
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
4
Post-Combine Skinny: Considering the knock on his was his mediocre athleticism, he helped himself in a huge way by blowing through the short drills with shocking quickness. With the good jumps in the vertical (35.5") and the long jump (9'11"), and the 27 reps on the bench, he made a big impact.

Positives: Extremely productive. A tackling machine … Always around the ball. Always … Not bad in pass coverage. Can stay with most tight ends and running backs in short spaces … High character.
Negatives: Needs to get stronger … Won’t blow up ball-carriers. Not a huge hitter … Doesn’t necessarily have the NFL skill set.

4. James Laurinaitis, Ohio State  6-2, 244
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
2
Post-Combine Skinny:
A shocking, unmitigated disaster. If the 4.8 40 wasn't bad enough, he was stunningly stiff in all the drills, showed no explosion, and appeared to labor in almost all of his moves. The 23 reps were good, but they hardly made up for being exposed athletically. This might have been a bad enough workout to push him out of the first round after he was originally considered a possible top ten pick.
Positives: An all-timer of a producer … A leader. Doesn’t make mistakes and is always around the ball … Fantastic toughness who doesn’t miss a tackle.
Negatives: Has to get a bit bigger to play inside … Became quiet. The stats were there, but it didn’t always seem like he was doing anything … Can get erased by big blockers.

5. Darry Beckwith, LSU   6-0, 242
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
3
Post-Combine Skinny: Compared to most of the other top inside prospects, Beckwith came across as more athletic and showed off surprising speed. The 4.77 wasn't great, but he moved just well enough in the short drills to get by. He didn't help himself, but he didn't hurt his stock.

Positives: Smart, tough playmaker …. Good technique. Polished … Plays bigger and stronger than his size.
Negatives: Not huge. Good sized, but not a bulky, big defender … Not quite fast enough to be an all-around disruptor at an NFL level … Tricky knee and he could get beaten up. Has to prove he can hold up.

6. Gerald McRath, Southern Miss  6-3, 225
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
6
Post-Combine Skinny: His future home will likely be on the outside, but the quickness and range showed in the drills might keep him on the inside for some teams. The 19 reps in the weight room weren't a positive to overcome his safety size, but the 4.61 40 and the 10-3 blast on the long jump made him a must-have athlete.

Positives: Ultra-productive … A baller. Wants to be better. Has a passion for the game … Good enough speed to play outside if needed.
Negatives: Small. Too small … Needs to get much stronger … Not a huge hitter. Might get pushed around too much.

7. Dannell Ellerbe, Georgia  6-1, 236
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
7
Post-Combine Skinny: He looked terrific. He was extremely quick, smooth, and appeared to be 100% back from the knee injury that limited him throughout the year. While he didn't run the 40 and didn't lift, but blew through the short drills.

Positives: Extremely versatile … When 100%, he’s an elite athlete who can do it all … Quick, big hitter.
Negatives: Not quite prototype size for the inside … Hurt his knee last year and struggled … Fire? He has to show that last year was a fluke and that he can go full-tilt.

8. Jason Phillips, TCU  6-1, 239
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
9
Post-Combine Skinny: It was a surprising performance from a defender pigeon-holed into the inside. He was far, far more athletic than expected with a fantastic 4.32 time in the shuttle and an explosive 10-foot jump in the long jump. He didn't always look smooth, but he helped himself in a big way by showing he could be used in a variety of ways.

Positives: A fighter. Fiesty leader … Good instincts. Knows where he’s supposed to be … Tough. Will battle to get to the ball.
Negatives: Not a form tackler … Decent quickness, but he might only be an inside linebacker … Will need to be surrounded by athletes.

9. Worrell Williams, California  5-11, 240
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
8
Post-Combine Skinny:
Is he for the inside or the outside? He was athletic enough to play on the outside, but he appears to be more of an inside presence even with a pedestrian 23 reps. He had a good enough workout to help himself overall, but it wasn't a special weekend.
Positives: Can play anywhere in the linebacking corps … Makes huge plays. Huge hitter … Fast enough. Always around the ball.
Negatives: Not all that tall. Squatty … Needs to find one position he can master at an NFL level … Goes for the big pop too often.

10. Stanley Arnoux, Wake Forest  6-0, 232
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
13
Post-Combine Skinny: He couldn't have done better. The 19 reps in the weight room wasn't strong, but he was flying around like a safety in the short drills. He leapt 10'1" in the best broad jump of any of the inside prospect, and he was the fastest of the group with a 4.61. He still needs work, but he was every bit as athletic as hoped for.

Positives: Good strength, toughness inside … Solid tackler. Big hitter … Very smart and well respected. A leader.
Negatives: Not lightning fast for his size. A half-step slow to be a star NFL MLB … Will struggle in pass protection … Doesn’t always look natural.

11. Joshua Mauga, Nevada  6-2, 243
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
11
Post-Combine Skinny: While he didn't work out, he showed up and showed long arms, a decent look, and solid size. He'll have to run and show off a little athleticism to make a little bit of noise.

Positives: Major-league producer. Great tackler … Can play inside or out … Tough. Will play through injuries.
Negatives: Not fast enough to play on the outside on a regular basis … A bit too physical. Gets hurt … Decent athlete. Not great.

12. Michael Tauiliili, Duke  5-11, 235
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
12
Post-Combine Skinny: Wasn't At The Combine

Positives: Ultra-productive … Tackled everything and everyone that moved … Great instincts. Always finds his way to the ball.
Negatives: Not all that big. He’ll have to prove he can hold up … Only an inside linebacker. Not athletic enough to play on the outside.

13. Antonio Appleby, Virginia  6-4, 250
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
10
Post-Combine Skinny: Wasn't At The Combine

Positives: Fast … Physical. Will hit everything … Could grow into a defensive end.
Negatives: Tall. Rangy … Not necessarily built like an inside linebacker … Limited a bit by an ankle injury. Still needs work.

14. Dave Philistin, Maryland  6-0, 230
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
14
Post-Combine Skinny: Wasn't At The Combine

Positives: Great tackler … Excellent against the run … Can do a little of everything well.
Negatives: Way undersized … Not strong enough … Will get beaten up on the inside.

15. Daniel Holtzclaw, Eastern Michigan  6-1, 250
Pre-Combine Position Rank:
15
Post-Combine Skinny: Wasn't At The Combine

Positives: Veteran producer. Was a starter as a freshman … Good instincts against the pass. Can drop into coverage seamlessly … Good hitter.
Negatives: Not all that athletic … Will be a step off against NFL caliber speed … Can’t play the outside at all.