2010 NFL Combine - Outside LB Analysis
Michigan DE/OLB Brandon Graham
Michigan DE/OLB Brandon Graham
Posted Mar 5, 2010

Combine quick looks at the outside linebackers invited to Indy.

2010 NFL Post-Combine

Outside Linebacker Rankings

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- DEs | DTs | ILBs | OLBs | Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | Cs | OTs | OGs 
- 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. Sergio Kindle, Texas (DE) 6-3, 250
Post-Combine Skinny: If the goal was to shed the tweener tag, he didn't do it. He planed and cut well and he was smooth in and out of his breaks, but the 4.71 40 might make him just fast enough to move to outside linebacker while the 25 reps on the bench weren't quite enough to make him a sure-thing, full-time end. He's a 3-4 outside linebacker and he had the explosiveness to keep the scouts excited.
Pre-Combine Rank: 1
Positives: A natural 3-4 OLB but could work as a 4-3 speed rushing end. … Forces everyone to key on him. Demands a double team or a chip on every play to keep him from sitting on the quarterback's head. … Quick. Flies off the ball in a hurry.
Negatives: Not all that big. Not large enough to be a regular end. … Was erased too often when he tried to fill the Brian Orakpo role. Everyone had to try to explain why he wasn't coming up with big sack totals. … Not an elite athlete for the position and needs weight room work.

2. Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri (ILB) 6-1, 239
Post-Combine Skinny: From the white body suit to the always upbeat chatter, he stood out like he always does. The 34 reps on the bench were amazing and the 4.68 40 was nice, while the quickness and fluidity in the rest of the basic drills secured him a spot on the outside of someone's defense. He can play in any system.
Pre-Combine Rank: 4
Positives: Great tackler and playmaker. Extremely active and always around the ball. … Extremely strong. Holds up well against blockers of all size. … A vocal leader. The type of player the rest of the defense feeds off of. Plays with a high level of emotion.
Negatives: A yapper. Rubs some the wrong way. … Doesn't have great range for a top NFL OLB. … Has to be sharper with his reads. Is out of position a bit too much but was still able to get in on the play. Needs to do more at the point of attack.

3. Jerry Hughes, TCU (DE) 6-2, 255
Post-Combine Skinny: He did a terrific job to up his stock and showed he could be an defensive end and isn't a lock to be just an outside linebacker. The 255-pounder came up with a solid 26 lifts on the bench and ran a terrific 4.69, but he really stood out in the short drills flying around the shuttle with a DE-best time of 4.15. He helped himself in a big way.
Pre-Combine Rank: 6
Positives: Pass rusher extraordinaire. Has a high motor, a variety of moves, and a closer's ability to lock on a quarterback and drop him. … Strong against the run. Can't just be hammered on by bigger linemen. … High character. Coaches rave about him as a person and a worker.
Negatives: Not really an OLB and not really a pure DE. Needs to find the right fit. … Didn't take plays off, but was spurty at times. Disappeared for stretches. … Not elite strong. Could stand to hit the weights a bit.

4. Brandon Graham, Michigan (DE) 6-1, 268
Post-Combine Skinny: Coming off the monster Senior Bowl, he helped himself further with the impressive 31 reps on the bench. He moved fine, but his football, tape speed and quickness is better than what he showed in the drills. For his size, though, the 4.72 40 was good enough to keep his positive momentum going.
Pre-Combine Rank: 3
Positives: Destroyed the Senior Bowl. Stood out on a field full of all-stars both in practices and the game. … Excellent size and could work fine as a quick pass rushing defensive end. Extremely quick off the ball. Ridiculously strong. … Always working and always screwing things up. Blows up game plans.
Negatives: Not an elite athlete and a bit of a tweener. Will explode as a part of a great defense, but will be erased at the next level as The Guy. … Not tall enough to be a defensive end. Sort of squatty. … Doesn't necessarily have a sure-thing position.

5. Ricky Sapp, Clemson (DE) 6-4, 252
Post-Combine Skinny: He didn't show anything to make him anything other than a 3-4 outside linebacker. He wasn't super-quick, he wasn't all that strong (23 reps), and the 4.7 40 was fast for an end, but he doesn't look like a down lineman. It was a good enough workout to keep him easily in the first round, but not a strong enough one to put him in the top 15.
Pre-Combine Rank: 2
Positives: Huge upside. A good college player who has the tools to blow up as a pro. … Tall, tough for a 3-4 OLB and can see time as a pass rushing specialist. … Seamlessly drops into coverage. Moves extremely well.
Negatives: Average run defender. Not physical enough to be a regular end. … Could stand to get bigger and likely will add at least ten pounds. Will that hurt his athleticism? Still an overall physical work in progress. … Gets caught up too easily. Not slippery.

6. Eric Norwood, South Carolina (DE) 6-1, 245
Post-Combine Skinny: It was the workout he needed to overcome an overrated and inconsistent season. Smooth as silk, he was extremely quick in everything he did and the 4.67 40 wasn't bad. He doesn't have the size to even think about being an NFL defensive end, but he has the athleticism to become a whale of an outside linebacker.
Pre-Combine Rank: 10
Positives: Occasionally a pass rushing terror as a defensive end. Can play outside in a 3-4 as an OLB or a 4-3 as a smallish end. … Big hitter and an emotional tone-setter. The star of the front seven with players working around him. … Strong. Doesn't get shoved around easily.
Negatives: Had a few monster games that everyone saw and got by on reputation the rest of the way. … Not big enough to be a regular end and not athletic enough to be a special LB. … Struggles with his consistency. Drifts too much during plays and gets knocked out of the play way too easily.

7. Navorro Bowman, Penn State 6-0, 242
Post-Combine Skinny: Stunningly disappointing. He wasn't all that athletic and was relatively slow through the short drills, and the 4.72 wasn't a plus for a player who was supposed to have special explosion. The 26 reps were fine and he checked in at a beefy 242 pounds, but he didn't move fluidly at the weight.
Pre-Combine Rank: 5
Positives: Tremendously athletic and strong. Moves well and is a fantastic closer. … Can be sent into the backfield to be disruptive and can chase down receivers with his quickness. A pure OLB. … All over the field. Possibly the best combination of range and talent among the OLB prospects.
Negatives: Not all that big. Will have to get help from the players around him and can't get caught up in the trash. … Got in trouble at Penn State. Stayed on the team, but had some issues. … Might only be used in a 3-4. Was great in a 4-3 in college, but might need to be further outside at the next level.

8. Dekoda Watson, Florida State 6-1, 240
Post-Combine Skinny: The guy looked like one big, bulging muscle. The phenomenal physique was also functional on the field running a blazing 4.56 and flying through the short drills. And then came the broad jump which he destroyed with an eye-popping 11'2" leap. On the down side, he's not getting any bigger. There's no more room for another muscle.
Pre-Combine Rank: 9
Positives: Carved out of stone. The typical Florida State type of prospect with a perfect physique. … Good quickness and great at using it to get into the backfield. … Not just an athlete. Tough and works to make things happen.
Negatives: Limited in pass coverage. Doesn't seem to have a feel for it. … Could stand to get a bit bigger. Has good size, not great size. … A bit dinged up at times. Works through injuries, but won't ever be 100% at the next level.

9. Rennie Curran, Georgia 5-11, 235
Post-Combine Skinny: While he was a bit small and didn't look big enough to hold his own as a regular three-down linebacker, he did everything well enough to not hurt himself. The balance and the pop in the drills confirmed that his on-field functional quickness is for real, while the 25 reps were a plus. However, the 4.72 40 for a player of his size wasn't great.
Pre-Combine Rank: 7
Positives: All over the field and extremely productive. If it's possible, he was an underappreciated and underrated SEC star. … Works hard. Always hustling to get to the ball and to make things happen. … A tough leader. Is the type of player a whole defense works around.
Negatives: Not all that big and could have problems getting flattened by bigger NFL linemen. … Not an elite athlete. Decent quickness and good strength, but not at a high level. … Not a pass defender. Will have problems with quicker backs and receivers.

10. Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State 6-2, 243
Post-Combine Skinny: He was what you'd expect out of an athletic Ohio State defender. At his size he's not a defensive end in any way, but he led all ends at the Combine with a 6.84 cone drill time and blazed through the shuttle in 4.27. That was nothing compared to his bench press with 32 reps to tie for the best of the ends. He has the tools.
Pre-Combine Rank: 8
Positives: Used as a smallish defensive end at OSU and held up well. A veteran who has been through it all. … A great athlete who moves extremely well. Is a natural NFL OLB. … Has no problem with big blockers by simply going around them. Extremely quick.
Negatives: Didn't produce as well as he should've. Was supposed to be a pass rushing terror and wasn't. … Not a great pass defender despite all his athleticism. … Could be a better pro than a collegian, but is hardly a sure thing with high bust potential.

11. Dexter Davis, Arizona State 6-1, 244
Post-Combine Skinny: Fast for an end, tearing off a 4.64 40, and he was among the quickest end prospects looking balanced and fluid. Throwing up 24 reps on the bench didn't hurt the cause, and now he's able to try out as a situational end in a 4-3 as well as on the outside as a linebacker.
Pre-Combine Rank: 18
Positives: Has the tools to quickly make the transition from end to OLB. Great straight-line speed. … A good, smart veteran who produced well on the line for a good defense. Fantastic pass rusher. … Holds up well against the run despite his size.
Negatives: Has to get bigger. Doesn't have bad size but would be better with a bit more bulk. … Has to learn the position. Will have to grow into an in-space playmaker. … Not really fluid for a linebacker. Might struggle with the transition.

12. Antonio Coleman, Auburn (DE) 6-1, 255
Post-Combine Skinny: The workout wasn't anything special for a defensive end, but for a 255-pound linebacker prospect it was decent. He didn't run the 40 and the 18 reps on the bench were awful, but he measured well and looked the part. He needs another workout to generate any sort of a buzz.
Pre-Combine Rank: 11
Positives: A hard-working, high-motor pass rusher who was a key player at a high SEC level. … Plays bigger than his size. Doesn't get pushed around easily. … Polished as a pass rusher. Doesn't show just one thing to get into the backfield.
Negatives: Not really an NFL pass rusher and will have to prove he has the athleticism to be a regular three-down linebacker. … Not a pass defender. Needs a ton of work. … Doesn't fly around as expected. Isn't going to have sideline-to-sideline NFL range.

13. Rico McCoy, Tennessee
Not Invited To The Combine

14. Koa Misi, Utah (DE) 6-3, 251
Post-Combine Skinny: He's a tweener, and the workout wasn't a bad one to make him a tweener for a variety of formations. He was tremendously quick for an end running a 4.69 in the 40 and flying around in the shuttle and cone drills. . He didn't lift, but he looked like he has the potential to beef up and get to an end sized 260 to 265 pounds without a problem.
Pre-Combine Rank: 13
Positives: Is he a DE or a LB? He has the strength and the athleticism to be moved around where needed. … High motor disruptor. Screws up offenses. … Will work his way into a lineup and a role. He'll do whatever he must to make a team.
Negatives: Not an NFL DE. Will have to spend plenty of time working on making the transition. … Not a pass defender. This could take forever to come around. … Not great in space and will have to show he can read and react to plays.

15. Keaton Kristick, Oregon State 6-3, 234
Post-Combine Skinny: The 16 reps on the bench were lousy and he didn't look all that strong and didn't look the part at 234 pounds on a rangy 6-3 frame, but he was athletic enough to move himself up several notched on a few draft boards. The 4.21 in the shuttle was terrific and the 4.68 40 was good enough. The ten-foot broad jump was wide receiver impressive.
Pre-Combine Rank: 26
Positives: A nice all-around athlete who can do a little of everything. Could be a special teams superstar at the next level. … Busted his tail to get better. The coaches rave about him. … Strong for his size. Isn't going to be erased by blocks.
Negatives: Not big enough. A tall, rangy player who lacks the bulk. … Often banged up. Never afraid to sacrifice himself to a fault. … Not the surest tackler. Misses a bit too much.

16. Stevenson Sylvester, Utah 6-2, 231
Post-Combine Skinny: If a team liked him as a pass rushing specialist before, they'll love what he might be able to do now. The 23 reps on the bench were as good as Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy, and the 4.63 in the 40 was good enough. The 231 pounds was a bit light, but it was a good workout. He looked good.
Pre-Combine Rank: 22
Positives: A nice pass rusher who played at a high level for a long time. … Slippery. Can't be blocked easily and works to get into the open. … Excellent quickness. Should be able to step into an OLB role without much of a problem.
Negatives: Small. Isn't going to be an every down defender and will struggle with bigger blockers. … Could be pigeon-holed as a specialist. A pass rushing OLB only. … Can get pushed around. Will have issues at the next level with power blockers.

17. Perry Riley, LSU 6-1, 239
Post-Combine Skinny: At his size, only 239 pounds, he needed to be far fast ... and he wasn't bad. He was quick around the cone drill and he jumped well, broad jumping 9'9", but the 4.64 needed to be a wee bit better. Even so, it wasn't a bad workout considering he didn't lift.
Pre-Combine Rank: 14
Positives: Can fly to the ball when he gets a bead on a player. … Doesn't miss plays. Makes the stop when he gets his hands on a ball-carrier. … Not a bad pass defender despite limitations.
Negatives: Not really a great in-space NFL linebacker. More straight-line speed than football quickness. … Doesn't move all that well and isn't smooth. Will struggle with quicker backs in pass coverage. … Not big enough. Could stand to get bulkier to move inside.

18. Roddrick Muckelroy, Texas 6-2, 246
Post-Combine Skinny: He moved well enough in the drills, but he didn't do anything special and didn't make a name for himself. He measured well for an outside linebacker, and the 4.73 40 wasn't miserable, but the 19 reps on the bench were no big deal and he wasn't nearly elite enough to warrant top 100 consideration.
Pre-Combine Rank: 16
Positives: Has all the skills. Works well, moves well, strong. … Great motor. Always works to try to make a play. … The type of player coaches love to have. Will always bust it in practice.
Negatives: Major problems staying healthy. Suffered a variety of dings. … Good at everything, not great at any one thing. Not a special prospect. … Not slippery. Gets blocked and pushed too easily.

19. A.J. Edds, Iowa 6-4, 246
Post-Combine Skinny: Edds was quick and moved well for a player with good height and the room to get bigger. He ran a decent 4.71, but he only lifted 16 reps on the bench and showed that he needs to hit the weights more. It was a good enough Combine to earn him a mid-round pick and a longer look.
Pre-Combine Rank: 17
Positives: Tall with room to grow into his frame. Has the potential to add ten pounds without a problem. … Very productive. Overshadowed by flashier players but was under-the-radar good. … Tough and strong. Doesn't get shoved around.
Negatives: A decent athlete but hardly a special one. … Has to get bigger to be effective at the next level and to be versatile. … Okay in pass coverage but it's hardly a strength.

20. Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota 6-0, 232
Post-Combine Skinny: Expected to be a good athlete, he didn't disappoint with a 40" vertical and smooth as silk feet through the short drills. He wasn't tall, the six-foot barrier might be an issue, but the 21 reps were fine for him and the 4.68 40 will keep him on the radar.
Pre-Combine Rank: 24
Positives: Excellent athlete. Extremely smooth with great range. … Good at getting to the ball. Doesn't get shoved around without a big block. … Strong in pass coverage. Can turn and cover like a safety.
Negatives: Isn't big. Doesn't have the bulk or the physical ability to handle himself when everything is coming his way. … Not a playmaker. Doesn't do enough to blow plays up. … Mediocre against the run.

21. Cameron Sheffield, Troy 6-2, 257
Post-Combine Skinny: He wasn't nearly athletic enough to be considered a special outside linebacker in any way, and he was was too light to be a defensive end. It was a tough workout with a brutal 4.90 40 and lumbering athleticism in the drills. He looked light, he didn't look fast, and now it'll be tough to find a spot for him.
Pre-Combine Rank: 15
Positives: An excellent defensive end who has the raw skills to become a dangerous all-around defender at the next level. A good pass rusher. … Smart. Sniffs out plays and has great instincts. … Has the tools to quickly grow into a game-changing linebacker.
Negatives: Needs to learn a new position. Not an NFL pass rusher to try to develop as an end. … Needs a ton of work to grow into an OLB. Might need a year. … Tremendous upside, but someone will have to be really, really patient and has to find someone who wants to find a spot for him.

22. O'Brien Schofield, Wisconsin 6-2, 221
Post-Combine Skinny: He didn't work out, as expected, because of his knee, but he measured as a linebacker, and a smallish one, at just 221 pounds.
Pre-Combine Rank: 19
Positives: Peerless pass rusher with speed, moves, and want-to as a college end. … Excellent athlete who had few problems with bigger blockers. Too quick for almost all tackles. … Has the athleticism to move to OLB without much of a problem.
Negatives: Knee. He tore his ACL in the Senior Bowl after initially looking like the player everyone would've been buzzing about. He'll need time to get back to 100%. At least a year. … Not big, even for an OLB. Forget about end at the next level. … Can get erased when locked on. Erased when a blocker's hands are on.

23. Kavell Conner, Clemson 6-0, 242
Post-Combine Skinny: He wasn't tall and was bulky, but he ran like a linebacker and lifted like an end. He's not really a tweener, but the 24 reps on the bench opened some eyes and the 4.63 40 made him some money. It was a good, strong workout.
Pre-Combine Rank: 20
Positives: Made a ton of plays and was an underappreciated cog. Didn't get the credit that a lot of flashier Tigers received. … A baller. Might not have the raw skills, but he knows hot to play. … Tough as nails. Has no problems mixing it up.
Negatives: Not a top athlete. Isn't going to do much in pass coverage. … More of an ILB who'll have to play OLB at the next level. A tweener of a linebacker. … Limited. Little upside and will need better athletes around him.

24. Justin Cole, San Jose State 6-3, 242
Post-Combine Skinny: The 22 reps on the bench were expected and the size was impressive enough to give him a tryout as a 4-3 end, and he was long with a great wingspan and he looked the part of a potentially dangerous pass rushing threat. The 4.73 wasn't great for him, but it was good enough to not kill his chances as an outside linebacker.
Pre-Combine Rank: 21
Positives: Has a nice frame with good upside. Might just be scratching the surface on his size and skills. … Great at attacking a play. Can get into the backfield. … Hard-nosed. Isn't afraid to get physical or mix it up.
Negatives: A question mark because he hasn't hit his potential yet. Should end up playing with about ten pounds more. … He'll put on weight but he wasn't exactly a smooth pass defender to begin with. … Lacks instincts. Will have to be a film rat to figure out how to be an NFL OLB.

25. Carl Ihenacho, San Jose State (DE) 6-2, 255
Post-Combine Skinny: It wasn't good enough. He didn't run the 40, the 20 reps on the bench didn't help his cause, and he didn't show anything to make him stand out from everyone else. He needs to work out and show good speed and a flash at some point.
Pre-Combine Rank: 23
Positives: Good speed for an end. A strong pass rusher who combines effort with quickness. … Has a variety of moves. Creative at being disruptive. … Just scratching the surface. Hasn't come close to reaching his potential.
Negatives: Took up football late and doesn't have the instincts. It might be forever before he becomes an OLB. … Not big enough or heavy enough to be an end. … Struggles to ditch blocks. Not slippery.

26. Cory Reams, Alabama
Not Invited To The Combine

27. Patrick Lavine, Oklahoma State
Not Invited To The Combine

28. Cameron Martin, Virginia Tech
Not Invited To The Combine

29. Jarvis Geathers, UCF
Not Invited To The Combine

30. E.J. Savannah, Washington
Not Invited To The Combine

NR. Jason Beauchamp, UNLV 6-3, 244
Post-Combine Skinny: Slowwwwww. the 4.82 40 was painful and he didn't show nearly enough athleticism to put him at outside linebacker. The 21 reps on the bench didn't help, but the 39.5" vertical showed just enough explosion to give him another shot at a workout. He's a late-round flier at best.
Pre-Combine Rank: Not Ranked
Positives: Durable and reliable. Played a long, long time for UNLV at a high level. … Part DE, part OLB, he can be used in a variety of situations. … Decent athlete who always gets around the ball. A strong tackler with decent pass rushing skills.
Negatives: Might have topped out on skills. A good player, but not an elite one. Didn't progress too much after a great freshman year. … Not a disruptor. Not a game-changer. … A true tweener, but not an end at an NFL level.

NR. Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech 6-1, 203
Post-Combine Skinny: Way too small. He's light for a safety, much less an outside linebacker. He lifted well for his size with 21 reps and he was quick around the cone running an OLB-best 6.58 in the cone drill, but he's just not bulky enough to be anything more than free agent.
Pre-Combine Rank: Not Ranked
Positives: A try-hard type who does anything needed to try to produce. … Terrific in pass coverage. Like a safety. … Doesn't miss a stop. Plays bigger than his size.
Negatives: Not big. Might be a career special teamer and defensive specialist. … Not a great athlete. Can't cover anyone with speed. … Hard ceiling. Is never going to be anything more than a cog in the system.

NR. Samuel Maxwell, Kentucky 6-2, 246
Post-Combine Skinny: He didn't run and didn't lift because of his bad shoulder.
Pre-Combine Rank: Not Ranked
Positives: Terrific in pass coverage. Finds a way to get to the ball and has good hands to pick the ball off. … Can play any outside linebacker position. Can cover as a weakside man or can hold up on the strongside. … Decent size. Good tackler. Nice all-around athlete.
Negatives: Shoulder. He suffered a torn labrum and has furiously tried to rehab it. He might not be full strength until the 2011 season. … A bit of a late bloomer. Not a regular starter throughout his career. … An unfinished, boom-or-bust project. Hardly a sure-thing by any stretch.