2010 NFL Combine - Inside LB Analysis
Alabama LB Rolando McClain
Alabama LB Rolando McClain
Posted Mar 5, 2010

Combine quick looks at the inside linebackers invited to Indy.

2010 NFL Post-Combine

Inside Linebacker Rankings

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

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2010 NFL Combine Results
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- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs 

- 2010 NFL Combine - Offensive Winners  
- 2010 NFL Combine - Offensive Losers 
- 2010 NFL Combine - Defensive Winners 
- 2010 NFL Combine - Defensive Losers 

1. Rolando McClain, Alabama 6-3, 254
Post-Combine Skinny: Disappointing because of a tweaked hamstring. It would've been nice if he had been able to run, and the 24 reps weren't all that impressive, but he's still everyone's top inside linebacker prospect even though he's tall and rangy.
Pre-Combine Rank: 1
Positives: Ultimate leader. A quarterback on the defensive side and knows what everyone is supposed to do. … Just a great football player. The type of guy every coach wants somewhere in the mix. … Fantastic tackler. Always in the right position and always holds up well against the run.
Negatives: Overhyped. A great player, but wasn't as good as all the college attention. … Benefitted from having a big line in front of him. Didn't always have a lot of trash to work through…. Not elite in pass coverage. Good range, not great range.

2. Brandon Spikes, Florida
6-3, 249
Post-Combine Skinny: Disappointing. He was stiff, didn't lift, and turned some people off by not running the 40. He wasn't quick through the cone drill and the 29" vertical wasn't that big a deal. He needs to rock on the much ballyhooed Florida Pro Day to secure himself in the first round. He's quickly sliding.
Pre-Combine Rank: 2
Positives: Extremely strong leader of a tremendous defense. A playmaker who was always around the big plays. … A better athlete on the field than he'll likely test. Plays fast. … Stood out on a defense full of standouts. Always was the star in a group of NFL talents.
Negatives: Not polished for all the experience. Not great technique in pass coverage. … A hot head. The good intensity is sometimes overshadowed by moments of mistakes because of his attitude. … Not fluid. A wee bit stiff at times.

3. Daryl Washington, TCU 6-2, 230
Post-Combine Skinny: While he wasn't bulky and might end up projecting into more of an outside linebacker, his workout was strong on the eyeball test. The 17 reps on the bench were a tad light and the 4.66 40 wasn't blazing, but he moved well, was quick, and he was fluid through all the drills.
Pre-Combine Rank: 3
Positives: Terrific athlete. Unlimited range and is great at getting into the backfield. … Feisty. Gets through blocks by hustling and being more active than anyone else. … Doesn't miss a stop both in space and in pursuit. A killer.
Negatives: Small. A beefed up safety-sized player who doesn't have any room to grow. … Will be erased by a big blocker. Just isn't big enough to shed NFL linemen. … Late bloomer. Didn't rock until his final year.

4. Micah Johnson, Kentucky 6-1, 258
Post-Combine Skinny: The workout wasn't good. The 31 reps on the bench were excellent, but he was bulky and looked like it when he tried to move. the 4.99 40 was lumbering and slow, he wasn't smooth through the quickness drills, and he looked like nothing more than a run stuffer who has to play in a box.
Pre-Combine Rank: 4
Positives: A tough leader. Always making plays, always working, always producing. … Strong against the run with great size and strength. Holds up well against bigger blockers. … Terrific motor. Never takes a play off and never gives up. Has enough hustle to play on the outside if needed.
Negatives: Not an elite athlete. Has decent range, but not a flier. … Tries hard in pass coverage, but is limited. … Will need to have good athletes and lots of speed around him. You want a Micah Johnson in your linebacking corps, but an NFL team can't have three of them.

5. Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State 6-1, 242
Post-Combine Skinny: Very big and with the bulk to fit anyone's system, he stepped up with a 4.54 in the 40, the fasted among the true inside linebacker prospects, and he exploded with a 39" vertical and sipped around in the drills. It was a terrific workout to show off the raw skills, but it wasn't enough to overshadow the negatives on the tape.
Pre-Combine Rank: 8
Positives: Great size. Has the bulk and the body to be more than fine inside against bigger NFL blockers. … Always working. Doesn't take a play off and hustles to get to everything. … Surprising range and quickness for a player of his size. Can play in a 3-4 or a 4-3.
Negatives: Good in all phases but not great in any one particular area. … Not quite as good as he should've been against the run on a regular basis considering his sze. … Just okay against the pass. Isn't going to erase any receivers.

6. Sean Lee, Penn State 6-2, 236
Post-Combine Skinny: While he didn't look big and didn't quite look the part, he lifted well with 24 reps and he moved like his banged up knee was never a problem. The 4.72 40 was way too slow for an outside linebacker, but he moved around well enough to be in the hunt for an early second round pick.
Pre-Combine Rank: 5
Positives: Tremendously productive with the right attitude and mentality. A pure football player. … Sniffs out plays. Always is in the right place at the right time. … Always around the ball and always producing. A good stat-sheet filler.
Negatives: His knee. He is a year off the pace after tearing up his ACL just before the 2008 season. Was great when he returned, but wasn't quite the same. … Smallish and not an elite athlete. Not a huge hitter and not as physical as he might be to be an intimidating force.

7. Pat Angerer, Iowa 6-0, 235
Post-Combine Skinny: It was a good workout for a short, squatty defender who lifted well with 26 reps and was quick through the short drills. He did enough to be considered a good inside prospect, and the 4.69 40 was a big help.
Pre-Combine Rank: 6
Positives: Big-time producer. Didn't get nearly enough credit for a sensational 2009 when he might have been the best linebacker in America. … Great range and disruptive. Screws things up for offenses. … Ultra-tough. Good hitter and doesn't back down from anything.
Negatives: Too small. Will get caught up in the trash at the next level. … A try-hard type who might be a pure inside defender. Not necessarily an NFL outside prospect. … Fine against the pass, but not great.

8. Darryl Sharpton, Miami 5-11, 236
Post-Combine Skinny: A bit short and very compact, he lifted well for an inside defender with 24 reps and the 4.73 40 wasn't bad. It wasn't a great workout, but he had good feet and looked the part, However, he didn't stand out.
Pre-Combine Rank: 7
Positives: Excellent tackler. Good at getting into the backfield with the quickness to make something happen when the opportunity is there. … Great inside. Works extremely well in a limited space. … Big hitter. Packs an intimidating punch.
Negatives: Smallish. Not bulky for an NFL inside defender and will have issues against the run. … Not a sideline-to-sideline playmaker. Decent range, not great. … Got by on raw talent way too often and had to make up for mistakes a bit too much. Not going to be able to get away with that at the next level.

9. Joe Pawelek, Baylor
Not Invited To The Combine

10. Reggie Carter, UCLA
Not Invited To The Combine

11. Ryan Stamper, Florida
Not Invited To The Combine

12. Kion Wilson, South Florida 6-0, 239
Post-Combine Skinny: A good athlete, he was flying around the drills and looked like a natural. However, he was a bit small and wasn't fast with a 4.85 40. It wasn't a bad enough workout to hurt his stock, but he didn't boost himself in any way.
Pre-Combine Rank: 21
Positives: An excellent playmaker on an athletic defense. Stood out all the time. … Mega-hitter. Hits with a bad attitude. … Tough as nails. A heart-and-soul type of linebacker who never disappoints with effort.
Negatives: Smallish. Not a lot of room to get bigger and has a hard-ceiling on what he can be physically. … Not great at shredding blocks. Not slippery. … Not a pass rusher and has to be used in a 3-4. Not a MLB and not an OLB.

13. Mike McLaughlin, Boston College 6-0, 242
Post-Combine Skinny: Strong and slow. He lifted 225 pounds 29 times and he didn't have a problem doing it. He was agile through the short drills and broad jumped 9'6", but the 4.82 40 cemented himself as just an inside prospect.
Pre-Combine Rank: 12
Positives: A good, sound player who picked up the leadership slack with star Mark Herzlich out for the year. … Tough against the run. Holds up well and does a good job of sniffing out plays. … Good size and excellent in short areas. Eats up everything that comes his way.
Negatives: Recently suffered an Achilles heel injury. Played the season, but durability question marks. … Not an athlete. Little NFL caliber range. Inside LB only. … Not a pass defender. Might only be a two-down player.

14. Phillip Dillard, Nebraska 6-0, 245
Post-Combine Skinny: He was fine, but nothing special. Known for being physical, he wasn't able to show it much by not lifting. He didn't stand out on the move, but the 4.64 was one of the fastest times among the inside backers. It was an even workout and didn't help or hurt himself.
Pre-Combine Rank: 13
Positives: A great hitter who blows up ball-carriers. Tough as nails. … Good burst into the backfield. … Always moving. A try-hard player with a great motor.
Negatives: Was greatly benefitted by having a tremendous line in front of him. Didn't have a lot of wash in the way. … Not always in the right position. Questionable instincts. … A bit too aggressive. Misses plays by guessing too much.

15. Boris Lee, Troy 6-0, 238
Post-Combine Skinny: He didn't do anything to stand out from the crowd and looked like just another guy. The 4.82 40 wasn't miserable, but it wasn't a plus for his size. While he was fluid working around the short drills, he didn't do enough to overcome the tweener tag.
Pre-Combine Rank: 14
Positives: Ultra-productive leader for a long time at a high level. Was the main man on the Sun Belt's best team. … Great quickness to the ball. Active and great at finding his way to the ball. … Attack, attack, attack. Great motor and doesn't make mistakes by being overaggressive.
Negatives: Not huge. Had to work to get up to his current weight and is still too light. … Isn't a sideline-to-sideline player at an NFL level. … Sort of a tweener linebacker. Not an outside linebacker and not big enough to be a regular inside.

16. Reed Williams, West Virginia
Not Invited To The Combine

17. Josh Hull, Penn State 6-3, 237
Post-Combine Skinny: Slow. No one thought he'd be a great athlete, but he surprised even though he went a defensive tackle-slow 4.91. However, he was far quicker than fast with speedy shuttle and short drills. He moved surprisingly well and the 25 reps were good.
Pre-Combine Rank: 16
Positives: Blossomed into a terrific playmaker with great hustle and excellent work. … Looks the part. Good size, makes it look effortless. … Doesn't miss a stop. Eats up everything that comes his way.
Negatives: A mediocre athlete. The former walk-on wasn't a big recruit for a reason. … Not a pass defender. Only worthwhile against the run at the next level. … A form tackler, but not all that physical. Not an intimidator.

18. Jacob Cutera, LSU
Not Invited To The Combine

19. Travis Goethel, Arizona State 6-2, 240
Post-Combine Skinny: While he didn't lift all that well with just 21 reps, he ran extremely well for his size with a 4.7 40 and showed good balance and loose hips through the cone and short drills. To be a bigger factor and prospect, he has to get stronger as evidenced by the bench. His inability to stop the run will be a problem.
Pre-Combine Rank: 22
Positives: Good size. Has the height and the the look to get a big bigger. … Makes every tackle. He brings down everything he gets to. … A decent athlete with just enough skill to move to the outside if needed. Can be tried out almost anywhere.
Negatives: Get get held up. Doesn't shed well enough. … Not much of a pass rusher at an NFL level. No elite quickness. … Will be more of a run defender. Not going to get much work in pass coverage.

20. Vincent Rey, Duke
Not Invited To The Combine

21. Ryan Reynolds, Oklahoma
Not Invited To The Combine

22. Ryan D'Imperio, Rutgers
Not Invited To The Combine

23. Lee Campbell, Minnesota 6-2, 247
Post-Combine Skinny: Awful, and while he's a football player, he's going to have a problem getting drafted. The 17 reps on the bench were a disaster and the 4.89 40 was way too slow for a player of his size. He just didn't look like he belonged with the better athletes.
Pre-Combine Rank: 23
Positives: Ultra-productive without a whole bunch of help around him. Didn't get enough national attention. … Great against the run. Eats up ball carriers. … Always in the right spot. Doesn't miss any assignments and doesn't get out of position.
Negatives: Mediocre athleticism. No real range. … Doesn't look the part. Doesn't move all that well. … A try-hard type who has a hard, unmovable ceiling he might have already hit.

24. Prince Hall, Central Washington
Not Invited To The Combine

25. Bear Woods, Troy
Not Invited To The Combine

NR. Donald Butler, Washington 6-1, 245
Post-Combine Skinny: The 35 reps on the bench got him noticed by everyone; no other inside linebacker came close to the mark. He didn't do anything else of note, he didn't run the 40, and he was a bit small, but he was strong enough to warrant a second look.
Pre-Combine Rank: Not Ranked
Positives: Good athlete. Could be moved to the outside without much of a transition. … Good in pass coverage. Sniffs out plays well. … Made himself into a player. Good motor and great in practices.
Negatives: Nice athleticism but not all that speedy. More quick than fast. … Mediocre tackler. Not all that physical. … Not polished. A lot of holes in his game with the biggest problem coming in traffic.

NR. Nathan Trippet, Minnesota 6-3, 250
Post-Combine Skinny: A tall, rangy player, he showed some explosiveness with a 9'7" broad jump, but that was about it. He didn't lift well (20 reps) and the 4.74 40 was nothing to write home about. It was a good enough workout to potentially get him drafted, but it wasn't anything to make anyone go out of their way to take him.
Pre-Combine Rank: Not Ranked
Positives: Tough. Put him in a phone booth and he'll come out the winner. … Nice size and build. Looks the part of an inside linebacker off the field. … Works his tail off. Always hustling and never takes a play off.
Negatives: Not an athlete. Forget about putting him outside. … Everything has to come to him. Won't be able to get after the ball. … Limited. Looks the part off the field, not smooth on it.