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Old 02-13-2014, 01:47 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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WF Position Reviews

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http://walterfootball.com/draft2014positionreviewOT.php

2014 NFL Draft Position Review: Offensive Tackles
Charlie lays out an overview at the top players from each position for the 2014 NFL Draft. For further information, check out our in-depth analysis of 2014 NFL Draft Prospects by Position.
By Charlie Campbell.

Position Review: Offensive Tackles

Offensive Tackle Class
Early-round talent: A+
Mid-round: B+
Late-round: B-
Overall grade: A

2014 prospects vs 2013
Jake Matthews > Eric Fisher
Greg Robinson > Luke Joeckel
Taylor Lewan < Lane Johnson
Zack Martin < D.J. Fluker
Antonio Richardson < Justin Pugh
Cyrus Kouandjio > Menelik Watson
Morgan Moses > Terron Armstead
James Hurst < Brennan Williams

This year's draft class has a stronger group of tackles than the 2013 class, and that is saying something considering five went in the top-20 picks of the first round last year, including the No. 1-overall pick, No. 2-overall pick and the No. 4-overall pick. However, the 2013 draft class was weak, and those players were pushed higher as a result. The 2014 class has more talented tackle prospects, but they won't get selected as high because of the strength of other positions. The 2014 NFL Draft could have anywhere from four to seven first-round picks at tackle.

If you were to merge the two classes, Matthews and Robinson are still the top tackle prospects. Fisher, Joeckel, Johnson and Fluker would go behind Robinson but ahead of Lewan. Pugh and Martin are practically identical twins as prospects. Richardson and Kouandjio would be rated ahead of Watson. Moses would go after Watson and ahead of Armstead. Williams meanwhile was a better prospect than his former teammate Hurst.

It will be interesting to see how these prospects perform at the NFL Scouting Combine. We'll do a tackle update after the Combine as well.

Safest Pick: Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Matthews is a very safe pick. He proved that the past four seasons as he was rock solid for Texas A&M going up against good talent in the Big XII and SEC. Matthews is a very good athlete with quick feet, good length, strength and agility. He is a well-rounded blocker and looks like a lock to turn into a good starting left tackle in the NFL. Plus, he has a great pedigree with Hall of Fame bloodlines. It would be shocking if Matthews was a bust.

Biggest Bust Potential: Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
Kouandjio could be a top-20 pick, which seems risky to me. There is no doubt that he is a strong run-blocker, but he gave up too many sacks during the 2013 season. His pass blocking improved over the past two years, but it is still a weakness as evidenced by Oklahoma's Eric Striker in the Sugar Bowl.

If Kouandjio can't turn into a good pass-blocker, he may have to move to right tackle or inside to guard.

Offensive Tackles Rankings by Attributes


Pass Protection:
NFL prototype: Joe Thomas, Browns
1.Jake Matthews
2.Antonio Richardson
3.Zack Martin
4.Greg Robinson
5.Taylor Lewan
6.James Hurst
7.Morgan Moses
8.Cyrus Kouandjio


Recap: Franchise left tackles have to be rock solid in pass protection. Most teams feature a right-handed quarterback, so the left tackle has to be trusted to shut down pass-rushers coming from the blind side. Joe Thomas is the top offensive tackle in the NFL and is the current gold standard for a franchise left tackle.

Matthews looks very similar to Thomas in terms of skill sets. Both are lights-out pass-protectors, and Matthews looks like a safe bet to be a franchise left tackle. He was dominant for four years at Texas A&M.

You might be surprised to see Richardson this high, but he was great for Tennessee. He also did very well against Jadeveon Clowney in their two matchups. Richardson was tremendous for Tyler Bray as a sophomore and followed it up with a good junior year in 2013. He did well in his rematch against Clowney and the Missouri tandem of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam. Richardson's pass-protection ability is being underrated.

Martin really elevated his pass blocking in his final season and was phenomenal at the Senior Bowl. Robinson has the athletic ability to be a superb blind-side protector. He is more raw, but with good coaching he should turn into an asset at left tackle.

Lewan also improved as a senior, but he could have some issues in the NFL with speed rushers.

Hurst's best trait is his pass protection. He was a quality pass-blocker for North Carolina during the past few years. Hurst also held his own when matched against Jadeveon Clowney last season. Hurst did a decent job against Georgia Tech's Jeremiah Attaochu, although Attaochu did beat him for a sack. Hurst is currently dealing with an injury during the leadup to the draft.

Moses moved to left tackle as a senior and performed well. In the long run, he could be more effective at right tackle in the NFL. As stated above, Kouandjio needs to improve his pass-protection skills, but he has the physical talent to be good.

Run Blocking:
NFL prototype: Joe Staley, 49ers
1.Greg Robinson
2.Taylor Lewan
3.Cyrus Kouandjio
4.Antonio Richardson
5.Jake Matthews
6.Morgan Moses
7.Zack Martin
8.James Hurst


Recap: Robinson is definitely the best run-blocking tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft. He is an animal in the ground game and has the ability to blast open holes. His power allows him to push defensive linemen around and move them out of their gap with ease. Robinson's hands are extremely strong, and when he locks on, the defender is done. Robinson should be an impact run-blocker immediately in the NFL.

Over his collegiate career, Lewan was a good run-blocker for Michigan. He is strong at the point of attack and did his job to open up holes for ball-carriers.

Kouandjio's strength is in run blocking. He does well in man, power and zone plays. Kouandjio can push around defenders and is able to get to blocks on the move.

WalterFootball.com knows scouts who have said that Richardson's run-blocking ability is underrated. He showed improved run blocking in his final season for the Volunteers as he did a nice job of opening up holes for Rajion Neal.

Matthews was a good run-blocker for Texas A&M in all four of his seasons. The Aggies had a lot of success running behind him when he was on the right side as well.

Both Martin and Moses were reliable run-blockers in college. Martin's technique is very developed. At the college level, Hurst had his best success as a run-blocker during his junior year, but he also had Jonathan Cooper next to him at left guard and Giovani Bernard as his tailback. Hurst isn't overly strong, so he doesn't project to be bulldozer as a run-blocker in the NFL.
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:07 PM   #16
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:08 PM   #17
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So, I think this safety class is totally overrated. Just pay Byrd and be done with it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 04:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Nightfyre View Post
So, I think this safety class is totally overrated. Just pay Byrd and be done with it.
Clemons will be cheaper and just as good.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:26 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Pestilence View Post
Clemons will be dramatically cheaper and just as good.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:29 AM   #20
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http://walterfootball.com/draft2014p...nreviewILB.php

Position Review: Inside Linebackers

Inside Linebacker Class
Early-round talent: B+
Mid-round: C
Late-round: C
Overall grade: B

2014 prospects vs 2013
C.J. Mosley > Alec Ogletree
Chris Borland < Manti Te'o
Christian Jones < Kevin Minter
Carl Bradford < Kiko Alonso
Shayne Skov < Jonathan Bostic
Yawin Smallwood < Arthur Brown
Lamin Barrow < Sio Moore
Khairi Fortt > Zaviar Gooden

This is an interesting comparison. The 2014 NFL Draft class has more high-end talent, but the depth was drastically better a year ago. The 2013 NFL Draft's class had eight inside linebackers drafted in the first three rounds. Even though the 2014 draft is more talented overall, this year's inside linebackers may not produce eight players selected in the top 100. The 2014 class features an elite player at the top and a significant drop-off behind him.

Looking at the two classes together, Mosley would be the highest-rated prospect. However, in my opinion, Ogletree has more upside and I think he'll turn into the better pro than Mosley. That being said, Kiko Alonso could end up being better than all of them.

If you were to merge the two classes as prospects, Mosley would go first. Borland, Jones, Bradford, Skov and Smallwood would all go behind Arthur Brown. That group is pretty equal to Sio Moore and they would all go ahead of Zaviar Gooden.

Safest Pick: C.J. Mosley, Alabama
There is no doubt that Mosley has a well-rounded game. He is excellent in pass coverage, and the NFL is a passing-driven league. Mosley is well suited to defend pro passing attacks. He also has some nice blitzing ability and instincts. His run defense got better throughout his time at Alabama. Mosley also is a smart player who made the checks and audibles for the Crimson Tide defense. It would be a shock if he didn't turn into a solid pro linebacker.

Biggest Bust Potential: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Borland is a favorite of a lot of the draft media, but I think he has some serious bust potential. I can explain it in three words: short and slow. If the NFL was the running-focused game of the 1980s and earlier eras, Borland would be tremendous. He'd be worth a first-round pick because he's a great run-defender. But, the NFL is a passing-driven league now. Linebackers need to be able to match up against dangerous receiving tight ends and backs.

Borland (5-11, 248) is too slow to run with the fast tight ends, and he is very short, so even if he runs with tight ends, they can just make catches over him. I think Borland's limitations in the passing game could turn him into a situational player in the NFL, and thus, he may not validate his draft slot. As a pass-defender, he is basically the opposite of Luke Kuechly in terms of length and speed. Ergo, I think Borland has some legitimate bust potential.

Inside Linebacker Rankings by Attributes


Pass Coverage:
NFL prototype: Luke Kuechly, Panthers 1.C.J. Mosley
2.Christian Jones
3.Khairi Fortt
4.Lamin Barrow
5.Yawin Smallwood
6.Shayne Skov
7.Carl Bradford
8.Chris Borland


Recap: The ability for a linebacker to be effective in pass coverage is mandatory in the passing-driven NFL. Defensive coordinators need linebackers who cover a lot of ground and can drop quickly downfield. Along with playing zone, linebackers who can effectively match up against the versatile pass-receiving tight ends and running backs out of the backfield are difficult to find.

Mosley is superb in pass coverage. He has the speed, agility and length to potentially match up with tight ends in man coverage. In zone, he covers a lot of ground and has good instincts. Mosley's pass-coverage ability is one of his most intriguing attributes to NFL teams.

Jones (6-3, 240) is fast, agile and has length. He is well suited for the passing game and illustrated that more in the 2012 season. The versatile athlete should develop into a good pass-defender who has man coverage ability.

Fortt is an interesting defender in pass coverage. He does a nice job of covering ground and staying with receivers, but he could stand to improve his ball skills to prevent receptions when he has his man well covered. Fortt also operates well in zone coverage. He enters the league as a nice pass-defender with room to be even better.

Barron showed improved pass defense at the Senior Bowl. He did a nice job there of covering backs and tight ends. Smallwood and Skov have flashed nice pass-coverage ability, but are inconsistent. Skov has length, though he may be a little slow for NFL tight ends.

Bradford is a tough evaluation from a pass-coverage perspective because Arizona State used him as an edge rusher. He does have some speed and athleticism to work with.

As mentioned above, Borland's pass coverage is very limited. He can function decently in zone coverage in the middle of the field, but that's about it. Teams are going to target Borland with athletic tight ends, and I don't think the results will be pretty for Borland's team.

Run Defense:
NFL prototype: Patrick Willis, 49ers 1.Chris Borland
2.Shayne Skov
3.C.J. Mosley
4.Lamin Barrow
5.Khairi Fortt
6.Yawin Smallwood
7.Christian Jones
8.Carl Bradford


Recap: As multiple scouts told WalterFootball.com at the college all-star games, the thumper inside linebacker is a dying breed in the NFL. Still, teams have to have middle linebackers who can be tough run-defenders. They especially need pursuit skills with the rash of mobile quarterbacks and the success of the read option.

Borland is an awesome run-defender. He sheds blocks, tackles hard, reads his keys quickly and has a nose for the football. Even though Borland isn't fast, he can still make some plays on perimeter runs. Borland is great against the run, and his best fit in the NFL may come on the inside of a 3-4 defense where he comes off the field in the nickel.

If you have doubts about Skov as a run-defender, just put on his games against Oregon. He is a tough player who can get off blocks and get to the ball-carrier. Skov's senior year was much better as he was another year removed from his 2011 knee injury.

Mosley started out his career as a platoon player because Alabama had some bigger linebackers for the run, but by his junior season, Mosley was a main-stay and turned himself into a good run-defender. He gets to the perimeter well and also does a good job in the box.

Barrow, Fortt and Smallwood are also quality run-defenders. They have the quickness to go to the sideline and make tackles. All three could stand to get faster at processing plays and reading their keys.

Jones showed nice run defense as a junior at linebacker. As a senior, he played a lot of defensive end. Jones may need a little more time to get accustomed to playing inside linebacker, but he should turn into a quality run-defender in the NFL.

Bradford spent much of his time on the edge in college. He could stay at outside linebacker, but if he moves inside like some project, he'll need some development to take on and shed blocks.

Read-and-React:
NFL prototype: Jerod Mayo, Patriots 1.C.J. Mosley
2.Chris Borland
3.Shayne Skov
4.Carl Bradford
5.Yawin Smallwood
6.Lamin Barrow
7.Khairi Fortt
8.Christian Jones


Recap: The ability to read his keys and instantly react to the play is a critical attribute for any inside linebacker in the NFL. The ones who do that well put themselves in position to make more tackles and produce more splash plays. This year's group of linebackers does a solid job of this.

Mosley is the best read-and-react linebacker available. He not only used those skills to not only make a lot of tackles for Alabama, but he also put himself in position to make some impact plays in pass coverage.

Borland is superb with his read-and-reaction in the ground game. He sees what the offensive line is setting up and runs to the right spot. Borland will need to continue to improve on his read-and-react skills in pass coverage.

Bradford does a nice job of reacting to plays. He flows to the ball in run defense and gets upfield on pass plays. Smallwood and Barrow also react to plays quickly.

Fortt is a little slow at reading and reacting to some plays. At times he is quick, but other times, he can take some false steps or get caught by misdirection. Jones will need to get reacquainted with reading keys after the change in his role from last year.

Tackling:
NFL prototype: Vontaze Burfict, Bengals 1.Chris Borland
2.Lamin Barrow
3.Khairi Fortt
4.C.J. Mosley
5.Shayne Skov
6.Christian Jones
7.Yawin Smallwood
8.Carl Bradford


Recap: With each passing year, I think tackling is becoming a lost art in the NFL. Missed tackles are a plague on defenses that seems to get progressively worse every season. One of the primary reasons for this epidemic is the decreased training camp practices with less padded work and live hitting. Rule changes have also made tackling more difficult as players must avoid contact in certain locations and not use certain methods of taking down a ball-carrier. The end result is seeing a plethora of missed tackles on a down-by-down basis.

Borland is a fantastic tackler. He hits with authority while also doing a good job of wrapping up ball-carriers. When Borland got to the runner in 2013, they were going down. Borland could have some issues in the open field with faster and more athletic ball-carriers, but his tackling form looks NFL ready.

Barrow and Fortt are good tacklers. They're strong and backs are generally unable to break out of his grasp, but both can have the tendency to go for some knockout blows when they instead need to wrap up.

Mosley is generally sound, but had some surprising missed tackles as a senior, especially in the Auburn game. At times, he was more of a drag-down tackler. Mosley is a good tackler, but he could use some development to be ready for the power backs of the NFL.

Skov is a reliable tackler. He flashes some plays where he stuffs ball-carriers and plants them in the ground. Jones was well coached at Florida State and mostly has good fundamentals in his tackling. Smallwood was consistent last season.

Bradford had some missed tackles at times and could use some work on his technique for the NFL.

Instincts:
NFL prototype: Patrick Willis, 49ers 1.C.J. Mosley
2.Chris Borland
3.Shayne Skov
4.Lamin Barrow
5.Khairi Fortt
6.Christian Jones
7.Yawin Smallwood
8.Carl Bradford


Recap: Instincts are what separate good linebackers from great ones. Having the innate feeling of what a offense is going to do is a huge factor for linebackers. It can help a player take the ball away, make a critical stop on a third down or consistently set up good down-and-distance situations for the defense. All great players are instinctive.

Considering Mosley's well-rounded play against the run and pass leaves him as the most instinctive linebacker in this draft class - but that isn't by a huge amount. Borland and Skov also possess good instincts. Those three players have all shown the ability to anticipate what is coming and get in position to make plays. Each should continue to have good instincts in the NFL after getting tuned in to the pro game. Mosley just has the edge in pass coverage, thus he's rated first.

Barrow looked more instinctive at the Senior Bowl. He's strong against the run and could improve in pass defense.

The bottom four linebackers here are pretty equal. They all flash good instincts, yet other times, seem to bite on misdirection. With some development in the NFL, their instincts could become a strength.

Pass Rush:
NFL prototype: Daryl Washington, Cardinals 1.Carl Bradford
2.Shayne Skov
3.Christian Jones
4.Chris Borland
5.C.J. Mosley
6.Khairi Fortt
7.Yawin Smallwood
8.Lamin Barrow


Recap: There aren't too many inside linebackers in the NFL who consistently rush the passer, but 3-4 defenses especially like to have interior backers who can get after the quarterback.

Bradford is definitely the best pass-rusher in this group. He was an edge rusher for Arizona State and totaled 20 sacks over the past two seasons. Bradford also can move around and blitz from the inside. He is fast and agile to chase down the quarterback. For the NFL, Bradford's blitzing ability is his biggest strength. He has nice pass-rushing potential and would be a good fit in a 3-4 defense.

Stanford used Skov in the pass rush, and he did well for the Cardinals with sack totals of 5.5 (2013) and 6.5 (2010). Skov times his blitzs well and closes in a hurry. Jones also spent a lot of time as an edge rusher. That was by need as Florida State lost Bjoern Werner, Tank Carradine and Brandon Jenkins to the 2013 NFL Draft. Still, Jones is fast and physical. He could be a weapon as a blitzer as a pro.

While Borland doesn't project well in pass coverage, he is an excellent blitzer. Borland had four sacks in each of the past two seasons and does a good job of getting pressure when he charges after the quarterback. Borland could blitz on pass downs, but it could be an issue of predictability.

Mosley doesn't get much credit for his pass rush because Alabama would always drop him into coverage, but when he did get to blitz, he affected the quarterback.

Fortt, Smallwood and Barrow weren't really used as pass-rushers very much.

Shedding Blocks:
NFL prototype: Patrick Willis, 49ers 1.C.J. Mosley
2.Shayne Skov
3.Lamin Barrow
4.Chris Borland
5.Carl Bradford
6.Khairi Fortt
7.Yawin Smallwood
8.Christian Jones


Recap: Getting off blocks is a critical attribute for any linebacker in the NFL. Running around blockers results in busted gap integrity and can spring backs for big runs. Shedding blocks is one of the hardest aspects for a college player going to the the next level. A lot of the top linebackers in the NFL struggled with it early on.

Mosley could get more consistent, but as a senior, he was good about getting off blocks. Mosley has enough strength to do it in the NFL. Skov finished the year on a sour note in this regard against Michigan State, but he typically had the ability to shed blocks during his college career.

Borland does a pretty nice job of getting off blocks. However, his lack of length could hurt him in this regard in the NFL.

Bradford has some natural strength and athletic ability to defeat blocks in the NFL, but he will need coaching to develop the skill. Fortt and Smallwood both improved in this skill during their careers.

Jones is physical with offensive linemen, but after disengaging, he didn't get to the ball-carrier often enough last season. Jones should get better after he has more time at his natural position.

Awareness:
NFL prototype: Luke Kuechly, Panthers 1.C.J. Mosley
2.Shayne Skov
3.Chris Borland
4.Lamin Barrow
5.Khairi Fortt
6.Yawin Smallwood
7.Christian Jones
8.Carl Bradford


Recap: Awareness is an increasingly important trait for linebackers given the read options and misdirection plays that are currently challenging defenses in the NFL.

Mosley has the best awareness of any linebacker in this draft class. He does a superb job of knowing what is going around in his surroundings. Mosley's intelligence is one of his best traits.

Skove and Borland have very good awareness and typically do not get caught out of position. Barrow has awareness, but there were plays on which he bit on some fakes by the offense. Barrow should get better with more experience.

Fortt, Smallwood and Jones have room to improve their respective awarenesses. Bradford's awareness was limited to rushing off the edge, defending runs straight at him or pursuing runs to the other side. He'll need more grooming if he is to line up on the inside.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:40 AM   #21
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WF haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaates Dee Ford.

And looooooooooooooooves Khalil Mack.

http://walterfootball.com/draft2014p...nreviewOLB.php

2014 NFL Draft Position Review: Outside Linebackers
By Charlie Campbell.
last updated March 20, 2014.

Outside Linebacker Class
Early-round talent: A+
Mid-round: A
Late-round: B
Overall grade: A

2014 prospects vs 2013
Khalil Mack > Jarvis Jones
Anthony Barr > Alec Ogletree
Ryan Shazier > Jamie Collins
Dee Ford > Arthur Brown
Demarcus Lawrence > Sio Moore
Kyle Van Noy > Zaviar Gooden
Jeremiah Attaochu > Jelani Jenkins
Marcus Smith < Khaseem Greene

This year's class of outside linebackers is a lot more talented than the 2013 class. Five outside linebackers went in the first two rounds in the 2013 NFL Draft, but four could easily go in the first round this year.

If you were to merge the two classes together, Mack and Barr would be the top-two prospects. Jones would go ahead of Shazier. Ogletree and Shazier are basically equal. Collins and Brown would go behind Ford but ahead of Lawrence. Moore, Gooden, Jenkins and Greene would all go behind Smith. That group of four from last year were third- and fourth-round picks, while the eight prospects from 2014 could easily go in the first two rounds.

Safest Pick: Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Mack is the easy pick as the safest selection. He has a rare combination of speed, strength and explosion. Mack is an excellent edge rusher who lives in the backfield. He has the ability to be a double-digit sacker and also is a tough defender against the run. Mack has the athletic ability to develop the skills to drop into pass coverage. WalterFootball.com also spoke with former teammates of Mack, and they say that he is a tireless worker that wants to be great. Mack could develop into an impact player quickly in the NFL.

Biggest Bust Potential: Dee Ford, Auburn
Ford is a one-trick pony who is just a pure speed rusher off the edge. He is weak in run support and will have to move to outside linebacker from defensive end, because he's very undersized. Ford (6-2, 243) needs more strength to shed blocks in the NFL and won't be able to just run around blockers at the next level. Offenses are going to run at Ford and he looks like a liability as a run-defender.

Last season, Ford had only 29 tackles. If you take away his sacks, he had shocking low total of 18.5 tackles all season. That is scary.

Sources have told WalterFootball.com they gave Ford a late second-round grade but expect some team to reach for him in Round 1. He could be a good situational pass-rusher early in his NFL career, but if he doesn't develop a more complete game, he could easily turn into a bust.

Outside Linebacker Rankings by Attributes


Pass Coverage:
NFL prototype: Lance Briggs, Bears

Ryan Shazier
Kyle Van Noy
Khalil Mack
Anthony Barr
Jeremiah Attaochu
Marcus Smith
Dee Ford
Demarcus Lawrence



Recap: The NFL is all about the passing offense, so linebackers must be be an asset at defending the aerial attack. Defensive coordinators want linebackers who function well in space and cover a lot of ground. Defenders have to have good instincts and anticipate the routes that are coming their direction.

Linebackers also need to function well in zone and have the ability to quickly get deep in their drops. Those who can play man coverage on running backs and tight ends are in serious demand, too.

Shazier looks the most natural in pass coverage of the 2014 linebackers. He is very good in zone coverage and picks up receivers well. Shazier has some man-coverage ability as well on tight ends and running backs. His prowess in pass coverage should help place him in the top-32 picks.

Van Noy is strong in pass coverage and isn't far below Shazier. Still, Van Noy just isn't as athletic to match up in man against tight ends and running backs as Shazier is. BYU used Van Noy as a pass-rusher more often in 2012, so he had less reps in coverage. However, the senior often dropped into pass coverage during 2013. Over the past two seasons, Van Noy totaled four interceptions, including some pick-six action each year. His pass-coverage tools are a nice asset.

Khalil Mack demonstrated good potential to drop into coverage at Buffalo, but rarely did it because he is such a force as a pass-rusher. Ditto for Barr at UCLA.

Attaochu, Smith, Ford and Lawrence all need to develop the ability to drop into pass coverage. Attaochu did more dropping than the others, but all were ends in college. They'll need time to learn and get this craft down.

Pass Rush:
NFL prototype: Von Miller, Broncos

Khalil Mack
Anthony Barr
Dee Ford
Marcus Smith
Jeremiah Attaochu
Kyle Van Noy
Demarcus Lawrence
Ryan Shazier



Recap: All eight of these linebackers are good blitzers off the edge. The only one who didn't typically rush off the edge in passing situations was Shazier.

I have Mack first, but he and Barr are basically tied. Mack is a relentless pass-rusher. He is an utter force coming off the edge with the ability to beat double-teams. Mack is fast, fights off blocks and has a non-stop motor. He totaled 28.5 sacks in college with 10.5 as a senior. Mack could be a pass-rusher in the mold of Von Miller and maybe the example of the prototype in the years to come.

Barr was one of the best pass-rushers in college football over the past two seasons. He had 13 sacks as a junior and 10 sacks as a senior. Barr is explosive off the edge with fantastic closing speed. He also is a physical player who dishes out some punishing hits on the quarterback. Barr should develop into a double-digit sack artist in the NFL.

Ford is another dangerous edge rusher. He had 10.5 sacks last season, but he isn't as strong as Mack and Barr. The latter two do a better job of fighting of blocks, while Ford is reliant on speed only. Ford is explosive off the snap and is a speed threat who must be accounted for.

Smith (6-3, 252) will be an asset as a pass-rusher in the NFL. He was second in the nation in 2013 with 14.5 sacks. Smith's level of offensive tackle wasn't that great, but he is fast and has a nice set of moves.

Attaochu (6-3, 252) had 12.5 sacks in 2013 with 10 the year before. He is very fast off the edge and has developed more strength. Attaochu is a sleeper who could end up being a steal.

Lawrence played defensive end for Boise State, but he is a streaky pass-rusher. Lawrence goes quiet for stretches. He had 10.5 sacks in 2013 with 9.5 the season previous. Lawrence needs to develop more strength to fight free of blocks in the NFL.

Even though Shazier didn't rush as much as the players above him, he is no slouch as a blitzer. Shazier had six sacks in 2013 with five during 2012. In the NFL, he should be a secret weapon as a blitzer.

Run Defense:
NFL prototype: Lavonte David, Buccaneers

Khalil Mack
Ryan Shazier
Kyle Van Noy
Anthony Barr
Demarcus Lawrence
Jeremiah Attaochu
Marcus Smith
Dee Ford



Recap: Mack is a superb run-defender. He is downhill play-maker who lives behind the line of scrimmage. Mack had 65 tackles for a loss in his collegiate career. He is also tough at the point of attack and gets in on tackles in the box. Mack recorded 100 stops as a senior.

Shazier could easily be ranked first for this attribute. The reason why I went with Mack is because he has more size and is better at defending runs coming straight at him. That could be an issue for Shazier in the NFL, however, he's added 10 pounds to get into the mid-230s after playing in the 220s for Ohio State. Shazier is a tackling machine in the mold of Lavonte David. Shazier had 143 tackles in 2013 and 115 the year before.

Van Noy is a tough run-defender. He makes a lot of plays in pursuit and is quick to read his keys. Van Noy just needs to get better at holding up against runs that come straight at him. He amassed had almost 40 tackles for a loss over the past two seasons. Van Noy could play inside or outside linebacker in the NFL.

The same criticism Van Noy gets is leveled on Barr's run defense, but he had 65 tackles in 2013 and 83 the season before. Barr does have to improve, but he chases down a lot of ball-carriers and is active in run defense. I think that critique has been some pre-draft nitpicking of an high-level prospect.

Attaochu was a weak run-defender in 2012, but he showed a lot of improvement as a senior. Smith could stand to get better, but he did show progress in college.

As stated above, Ford is a poor run-defender. He is going to need a lot of work at that in the NFL. Teams had success running at Ford in college, and that will continue in the pros until he can drastically improve his game.

Read and React:
NFL prototype: Sean Weatherspoon, Falcons

Khalil Mack
Ryan Shazier
Kyle Van Noy
Anthony Barr
Jeremiah Attaochu
Marcus Smith
Dee Ford
Demarcus Lawrence



Recap: Mack, Shazier and Van Noy are all excellent read-and-react linebackers. The three of them of them have good awareness and anticipate what the offense is trying to do. Mack and Shazier are exceptional.

Barr was a fullback early in his career before Jim Mora Jr. and his staff moved him to outside linebacker. Barr's a natural edge rusher who took perfectly to his new position. That being said, he could stand to get faster at reading his keys, but that isn't surprising considering he changed positions mid-way through college.

Attaochu, Smith, Ford and Lawrence need to work on their read-and-reaction skills. All of them were college defensive ends who need to improve on their ability to read plays as they move to linebacker.

Tackling:
NFL prototype: NaVarro Bowman, 49ers

Khalil Mack
Ryan Shazier
Anthony Barr
Kyle Van Noy
Jeremiah Attaochu
Marcus Smith
Demarcus Lawrence
Dee Ford



Recap: Mack is the best tackler in the class, but Shazier is a close second. Both are extremely reliable in taking ball-carriers to the ground when they get a hold of them. Mack has good strength and technique to wrap up. It has been a very seldom sight for Shazier to miss a tackle.

Barr is the similar. He was very reliable for UCLA. Van Noy's tackling looked better as a junior, but he also had more opportunities as teams sent plays away from him as a senior. In 2012, Van Noy had Ziggy Ansah on the other side to provide some balance to the Cougars' defense.

Attaochu and Smith were solid tacklers in college. They'll both need to work on tackling running backs in space as outside linebackers for the NFL after playing defensive end.

Both Lawrence and Ford could stand to improve their tackling. They also could use more strength for the power backs who will be coming their way.

Shedding Blocks:
NFL prototype: Chad Greenway, Vikings

Khalil Mack
Anthony Barr
Marcus Smith
Jeremiah Attaochu
Ryan Shazier
Kyle Van Noy
Dee Ford
Demarcus Lawrence



Recap: Mack is excellent at shedding blocks. Even though offensive linemen have a lot more size in the NFL, Mack's strength and hand usage are tremendous. He knocks their hands off of him and uses his speed to run by them. Mack also has shown the ability to fight double-teams.

Barr is skilled at getting free of blockers in the tackle box when he is in pursuit. Barr doesn't shy away from taking on contact and has the ability to disengage, but he needs refinement and should get better when blockers come at him downhill. Ditto for Smith and Attaochu.

Shazier was solid at shedding blocks in college, but will need to continue to work on this in the NFL. He has added a lot of weight since the end of the season, which should help him.

Van Noy, Ford, and Lawrence have all developed the ability to use their hands. All three are better at fighting off blockers in pass protection over the ground game. They all will need to work on beating blocks to defend the run in the NFL.

Splash Plays:
NFL prototype: Von Miller, Broncos

Khalil Mack
Kyle Van Noy
Anthony Barr
Ryan Shazier
Demarcus Lawrence
Marcus Smith
Dee Ford
Jeremiah Attaochu



Recap: NFL coaches love players who can take the ball away. Turnovers are a great equalizer against high-powered offenses and directly lead to victories.

There is no doubt about this one. Mack was a splash-play machine the past three seasons; not just in the form of sacks - he was consistently producing turnovers. In that span, Mack totaled 14 forced fumbles and three interceptions. He regularly makes game-changing plays.

Van Noy is very instinctive about creating turnovers. He had 10 forced fumbles and four interceptions the past two seasons, plus forced some other turnovers for teammates who didn't show up on the stat sheet. Barr has developed the art of the strip-sack as well. He had nine forced fumbles across the past two seasons.

Shazier was skilled at taking the ball away as well. He had seven forced fumbles and interception over the past two years. Lawrence matched those numbers with Boise State.

Smith broke out in 2013 with four forced fumbles. Ford had three forced fumbles across the past two seasons. He could get better at slapping the ball out while hitting the quarterback. Attaochu brings up the rear as he had only one forced fumble the past two seasons.

Intangibles:
NFL prototype: Sean Weatherspoon, Falcons

Khalil Mack
Anthony Barr
Ryan Shazier
Kyle Van Noy
Marcus Smith
Jeremiah Attaochu
Demarcus Lawrence
Dee Ford



Recap: Mack is known as a hard worker. He is considered a good locker-room presence and a high-character individual. Barr, Shazier and Van Noy were the leaders of their defenses. Each was a tone-setter who is known to love football with the drive to be great. All four should develop into leadership positions.

None of Smith, Attaochu, Lawrence or Ford has a reputation as a bad guy. They all seem like they'll bring a positive presence to a NFL locker room.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:44 AM   #22
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:02 PM   #23
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Old 03-20-2014, 07:24 PM   #24
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