Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 NFL Draft Prospects - Outside Linebackers

(4-3 and 3-4)
1 – Von Miller (Texas A&M)
2 – Jeremy Beal (DE/OLB, Oklahoma)
3 – Aldon Smith (DE/OLB, Missouri)
4 – Akeem Ayers (UCLA)
5 – Dontay Moch (DE/OLB, Nevada)
6 – Bruce Carter (UNC; inj.)
7 – Mark Herzlich (Boston College)
8 – Mason Foster (Washington)
9 – Colin McCarthy (Miami)
10 – Brooks Reed (DE/OLB, Arizona)
11 – Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut)
12 – KJ Wright (Mississippi State)
13 – Ross Homan (Ohio State)
14 – Chris Carter (DE/OLB, Fresno State)
15 – Doug Hogue (Syracuse)
16 – Wayne Daniels (DE/OLB, TCU)
17 – Thomas Keiser (Stanford)

While I’ve never doubted his talent Miller’s, I wonder how well he’ll hold up size-wise (6-3,235) in the NFL. A team is going to get an extremely proven pass rusher, but I worry that’s about all he’ll provide. He’s probably the draft’s “hottest” talent at this point and is being talked about as a potential top 5 pick. His ability to get after the passer is outstanding, but I think his size is a legitimate issue.....I’m big on Jeremy Beal. I see a Kerrigan-like motor in him; always hustling, snap to whistle. He played a lot of DE at Oklahoma, but I think his ability to hold his own in short coverage zones will allow him to play standing up in a 3-4 defense. Beal doesn’t have elite speed but makes up for it with persistence and strength.....I see Smith as a really raw collegiate DE that has a bright future as a 3-4 OLB in the pros. He’s long and lean and a very explosive rusher off the edge. You might hear “potential” mentioned more with Smith than any other player at the position this year.....Ayers looks to be a bit more scheme flexible. He doesn’t get to the passer with Miller’s regularity but is a much better run defender.....If Smith isn’t the guy getting all the “potential” buzz, it will be Moch, another collegiate end likely to move to linebacker in the pros. Moch may be the fastest front seven player in the draft, and his explosion and agility should contribute to him making a ton of plays in opposing backfields.....Bruce Carter’s ability to play contain on the perimeter stands out to me. He doesn’t “bring it” as much as I’d like, but when he recovers from his late season ACL injury, Carter figures to be a productive pro.....Foster isn’t a guy that’s going to initiate a lot of contact or be the most physical guy on the field, but I like his effort and consistent textbook tackling. He looks like an active WLB with potential.....Last but not least, the inspirational Herzlich. His NFL position and forecast are a bit hazy, but no one will ever question his commitment or effort. He looks a lot better moving forward than dropping into coverage, and while he’s not nearly the quickest at his position, he possesses plus read and reaction skills. His ability to diagnose and react quickly will help compensate for his lack of ideal speed.

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