Inside Linebackers

Class Review: Not a great inside linebacker class that would have been made better had Maryland's E.J. Henderson decided to come out. There will probably be a few guys taken on the first day, which may include Trev Faulk, Rocky Calmus, and Robert Thomas (UCLA). Josh Thornhill, Brad Jennings (Florida State), Justin Ena (BYU), and Ben Taylor (Virginia Tech) are probably the best of the rest, and should all go at some point between rounds four and six. This is basically a weak class with some decent prospects, but really lacks stars.



THIRD ROUND


Josh Thornhill
(6'2" 245) Michigan State (4.75)

He can play all over the field. Has nice speed and is good in coverage unlike most middle linebackers. Has nice power with a nose for the football and nice instincts. Could probably play some on the strongside in the NFL, although the middle position is his more natural and permanent home. Thornhill does not get the recognition of the other top inside guys, but is probably better than most rate him. I would not be very surprised if he turns out to be the best of the bunch.

Rocky Calmus
(6'3" 239) Oklahoma (4.75)

Toughness is the name of Calmus' game. He does not really fit at any particular linebacker position, but probably fits best in the middle position. He has good speed, size, and strength. But he's not really strong enough to play up on the line of scrimmage. The key for Calmus will be to find a defense where his instincts, toughness, and the intangibles can be used very effectively. He could be a good weakside guy, but does not have great speed or is that particularly good in coverage. Could be a good middle man if he has some solid defensive tackles in front of him to keep blockers off him.


FOURTH ROUND


Andra Davis
(6'1" 238) Florida (4.95)

He is a nice athlete and is a decent all-around middle man. But he does not do anything particularly well. He is a decent in coverage but is the type of player who needs a solid supporting cast if he wants to be productive. He needs some protection up front. Has some talent, but not a lot of upside.


FIFTH ROUND


Pernell Griffin
(6'1" 250) East Carolina (5.1)

He's a nice run plugger, who can step up and fill a hole. He's not very fast and that's obvious from his timed speed. I liken him to a lesser Earl Holmes minus the range. Not a sideline to sideline guy. Is tough and physical and gets the job done. Could fit very well into some schemes, but not in others. If the emphasis of the scheme is on the middle man filling gaps, then he'll do a very good job in that scheme. If he's expected to chase down runners, then he'll struggle.


SIXTH ROUND


D.D. Lewis
(6'1" 235) Texas (4.55)

Lewis lacks strength and will need protection up front from blockers. Needs to get stronger and was far too easily taken out a player in college. Average in coverage. He projects as a reserve special teams performer, and not much else. Has some upside, but I doubt he'll ever be a starter. Is the type of player who can complete a good defense, but won't make the defense any better than it was before.


SEVENTH ROUND


Travis Carroll
(6'4" 240) Florida (4.85)

Was the backup middle linebacker at Florida behind Davis, but could actually have a decent NFL career. Has enough size to play the strongside, and has nice strength and speed. Is pretty solid at point of attack. He's really just a special teams player who should be a good reserve capable of playing the middle or strongside spots.


UNDRAFTED


Eric Brackens
(6'1" 238) Michigan (4.85)

An average prospect. Is not a physical run stuffer and needs to add strength. Is basically a special teams guy. Not gifted athletically and is not a speedster.


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