Monday, 18 March 2013 10:16
Former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and I rank the top five players at 13 different positions, plus provide the best “sleeper” pick at that position.
Our rankings are based on performances from the NFL scouting combine, discussions with NFL personnel in Indianapolis, plus film review and research.
TODAY: Inside linebackers
- Kevin Minter, LSU (6-0, 246) – He is sometimes overshadowed by all the other talent on LSU’s defense, but is considered the best inside LB in the draft, despite his lack of height. Had 120 tackles, including 15 for losses, last season – his second as a starter. Steelers really like him. Had 33-inch vertical jump with 25 reps on the 225-pound bench. Projected round: 1-2
- Alec Ogletree, Georgia (6-3, 242) – Great athleticism and quick-twitch ability that coaches seek. Explosive hitter with aggressive hands who creates turnovers. Some NFL coaches have him projected as outside LB because of his range and closing speed. But DUI arrest and other red flags will make him a risk-reward pick. Projected round: 1-2
- Jonathan Bostic, Florida (6-1, 245) – Fast, athletic linebacker who ran 4.61 with 32 ½-inch vertical jump at the combine. Has a chance to move up the board and go higher than some anticipate. Had impressive pro-day workout that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert attended. Projected round: 2
- A.J. Klein, Iowa State (6-1, 250) – Not ideal athleticism, but ran a faster 40 time (4.61) than people expected. Good ball skills in coverage, witness his four interception returns for TD. Good anticipation and instincts. Could be a pleasant surprise. Projected round: 2-3
- Manti Te’o, Notre Dame (6-1, 241) – Variety of opinions and analysis, not to mention what teams think about his internet girlfriend hoax. Needs to improve his 40 time from the combine (4.82) on his March 26 pro day. Will be most scrutinized player in the draft. Projected round: 1-3
Sleeper: Kevin Reddick, North Carolina (6-1, 243) – Played in the middle in the base defense, but also used as an edge rusher in sub packages at NC. Plays well within the scheme, doesn’t take chances. Won’t make big plays, just plenty of steady ones. Lacks the speed to play sideline-to-sideline. Projected round: 3-4
Comments on this article: