Inside Linebackers

First Round


Jon Vilma

(6'1" 233 4.61) Miami Senior

Pros: Has good speed and flows well to the ball. Does a good job weaving through traffic and finds a way to roll off blocks. Is adequate in zone and man coverage. Excellent tackler in the open field and loves to lay the wood. Has great closing speed and can blitz.
Cons: Not great at the point of attack. At times may take poor angles to the ball and doesn't always do great in his gap assignments. Doesn't do well in coverage when he isn't allowed to make contact.
NFL Forecast: Vilma lacks size, but he can definitely play in the middle. He's the type of hard-nosed run stuffer you like in the middle. He's good enough in coverage to play on third downs, although it's far from his strong suit. But he should improve there with greater reps in the NFL. I think he can play all three positions in the 4-3. If he played in on a defense that allowed him to operate in a lot of space, he'd be great. He could play on the outside, but he'd be slightly limited there since he's not great in coverage, nor does he have superb range. In the end, Vilma is an excellent linebacker that has the throwback mentality of the greats in the middle, and he should take his place as one of the upper-echelon guys in the league.
NFL Comparison: Zach Thomas, Dolphins.
Value: He's definitely worth a Top 20 pick, but would be worth more if he was better in coverage.

Second Round


Rod Davis

(6'2" 238 4.72) Southern Mississippi Senior

Pros: Great at attacking the line of scrimmage. Has great closing speed on the football. Is good at getting upfield and shooting gaps. Does a great job weaving through traffic. Sound open-field tackler that will deliver hits.
Cons: Doesn't do a good job getting off blocks. Plays undisciplined in gap control and will take poor angles to the football. Needs work in coverage.
NFL Forecast: Davis is a guy that needs to keep things in front of him. He definitely plays in a scheme that hides some of his deficiencies. He could be effective in both the 3-4 and 4-3 systems in the middle, but for both schemes he would have play a little more disciplined. He could probably also play either of the outside spots in the 4-3 if need be, but he probably wouldn't be as good in either. I think there is going to be a big adjustment for Davis when he hits the league, because of how much the Golden Eagles' defensive system protects him. But I do think he has the talent and instincts to eventually adjust and be a standout middle man.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Second round. Has definite first round talent, but really needs to find a team with the right scheme.

Richard Seigler

(6'3" 243 4.88) Oregon State Senior

Pros: Excellent speed and burst to football. Great in pursuit. Gets good drops in coverage. Good strength and willing to take on blockers. Has a great mentality and very willing to punish players.
Cons: Struggles to shed blockers and lacking against the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: Not as gifted as former teammate Nick Barnett in coverage, but Seigler has him beat as a run stopper. He should be able to play the MIKE spot in the NFL, but could also play the WILL. Will need help up front to shield blockers off him. If he has the beef up front, he could be among the best middle men in the league. Depending on the scheme, he could be a top guy on the weakside as well. He's the type of player that if you put a good enough group of players around him, he'll definitely produce like a Pro Bowler. But at the least, he should be an above average starter if not a top guy. I say Seigler is a better collegiate linebacker than Barnett, who I felt was a fourth rounder. In the end, Barnett was a first round pick and was a rookie of the year runner-up. So it could definitely bode well for Siegler.
NFL Comparison:
Value: His versatility to play both inside or outside and excel there push him into the early part of the second round.

Third Round


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Fourth Round


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Fifth Round


Leon Joe

(6' 230 4.47) Maryland Senior

Pros: Has a good nose for the football. Good at the point of attack. Is a decent zone guy.
Cons: Doesn't have great speed to get to sideline and will overpursue. Struggles in man coverage.
NFL Forecast: He looks like he can be a good fit at the middle spot on the next level. Lacks ability in coverage so he won't be an every down middle guy. His speed is not great, but he works very well within the hashmarks. He's a good run stopper that doesn't play as fast as his timed speed. But he plays hard and makes plays when they need to be made. He could develop into a starting middle guy, but he probably won't be more than an average starter.
NFL Comparison:
Value: A good player, but a bit limited since he won't be an every down player.

John Leake

(6' 228 4.75) Clemson Senior

Pros: Has good speed and can make plays in pursuit. Shows good ability at the point of attack. Has good power and strength and can punish runners. Shows some ability in zone and upside in man coverage. Does a good job attacking the line of scrimmage and shows some ability to come off edge as a pass rusher.
Cons: Struggles a bit to get off blocks and will take some poor angles to the football. Needs work in coverage. Keys in on quarterback too much and is susceptible to play fakes and play actions.
NFL Forecast: He has good potential and works best in between the hashmarks. Despite his lack of size, I really see him most effective as a middle man since he has the swagger and mentality. Has some ability and upside in coverage, but needs more work there to be a coverage guy on the next level. He could move to the weakside, but that would basically take him out of his best element. Heís not great in space, and I could see him thriving as an inside guy in the 3-4. Heís a solid player that is not dominant, but capable. He could make a very good reserve or a decent starter that gets by more on heart than physical ability.
NFL Comparison: Keith Brooking, Falcons.
Value: For a 3-4 team, he would make a pretty decent fifth round pick. For any other team, heís probably worth a late sixth.

Vegas Robinson

(5'11" 244 4.75) Virginia Tech Senior

Pros: Has good instincts against the run and has a nose for the football. Does a good job getting off blocks from tight ends and fullbacks. Is good at the point of attack and plays well in confined space.
Cons: His abilities in coverage need some upgrading. Is not as effective against offensive linemen as he is against fullbacks. Not a sideline to sideline player as he will get caught up in trafffic in pursuit.
NFL Forecast: Could be an excellent inside linebacker in a 3-4 system. I think he projects best for the inside in that scheme, but could also play there in the 4-3 as well. Can even potentially play all three positions in the 4-3, although the middle or strongside would be his best. He plays his best between the harshmarks and when allowed to get upfield, so any defense that allows him to do that, will get a solid starter. Has good versatility and is just a playmaker at the linebacker position. Should be a solid starter at some position in the NFL.
NFL Comparison: Kendrell Bell, Steelers.
Value: Fifth round. Has starter potential and can play multiple positions, but won't be a great starter, just an average one.

Caleb Miller

(6'3" 224 4.71) Arkansas Senior

Pros: Has good pop and flow to the football. Most effective in pursuit. His speed is good and shows that he is functional in man coverage. can provide some pressure off the edge. Does a good job attacking the line of scrimmage. Willing to mix it up.
Cons: Struggles to get off blocks at the point of attack and struggles to fight through traffic.
NFL Forecast: He's probably a better fit for the outside position due to his weaknesses at the point of attack, but he has good enough instincts to play the middle. His coverage abilities don't blow you away, but they are more than adequate enough to play every down at the next level. He could be effective in the middle if he had beef up front to keep blockers off him. He has a bright future on special teams as well.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Fifth round. If moved to the outside, he makes a nice addition there, but would be a seventh round pick as an inside linebacker.

Sixth Round


Carl Diggs

(6'1" 242 4.63) Michigan Senior

Pros: Has good size and strength and is capable at the point of attack. Is comfortable playing up near the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Lacks speed and range to go sideline to sideline. Needs work in coverage.
NFL Forecast: He looks like he could play on the strongside or in the middle in the 4-3 defense. He's not a big playmaker or presence against the run, so he'll probably go to the strongside most likely. But because of that versatility, he'll make a valuable reserve on the next level. If he was forced to start, he'd be marginal. Bottom line, he's a steady player and not a big playmaker.
NFL Comparison: Brandon Short, Panthers.
Value: Sixth Round. Helps depth and could be a stopgap starter.

Rob Reynolds

(6'3" 251 4.76) Ohio State Senior

Pros: Has good nose for the football Shows heís decent in man coverage. Is capable at the point of attack.
Cons: Doesnít always take good angles to the football, and lacks sideline speed. Needs more work in man coverage.
NFL Forecast: looks like a capable inside linebacker, but doesnít really have the ability or upside you like in a potential starter. Should make a good reserve, but would be limited in a starting role. Plays well and doesnít make a lot of mistakes, but is not an impact playmaker at the middle position.
Value: Sixth Round. Boosts depth, but would need a lot of talent around him to be an effective starter.

Seventh Round


Lewis Moore

(6'1" 247 4.68) Pittsburgh Senior

Pros: Has a good nose for the football. Does a pretty good job at the point of attack. Capable in zone coverage and gets good drop.
Cons: Struggles to shed blockers. Lacks the speed to be a sideline to sideline guy and will underpursue the play for that same reason.
NFL Forecast: Didn't play well with the move to the middle as a senior. Could be an effective ILB in the 3-4 scheme where it is more about gap control since he lacks great sideline speed. Could move back to the SAM spot in the 4-3, but lacks the speed you want in an outside linebacker. He's a bit of a tweener that projects more as a backup type. He's made some big plays in the past, but mostly on the outside, so it's likely that will be his best NFL position.
NFL Comparison:
Value: A solid player that had a poor enough senior year to drop him into the seventh round.

Marc Dailey

(6' 230 4.75) Fresno State Senior

Pros: A smart run stopper that knows the angles and can fill holes and gaps. Pretty good at the point of attack and can roll off blocks.
Cons: Doesn't have sideline speed and won't make a lot of plays in pursuit. Needs a lot of work in coverage. Will miss some tackles in the open field.
NFL Forecast: Looks like he could be a good 3-4 inside linebacker since he would maintain gap responsibility. Could be decent in the 4-3, but would not be as good since he is not much of space player. As a 3-4 guy, he could potentially develop into a decent starter, although I see him more as a backup. Mostly a backup prospect that should be able to make an impact on special teams and be a fill-in starter.
Value: Has some ability, but lacks great upside to be a starter.

Ben West

(6'1" 235) Minnesota Senior

Pros: Is a hard-nosed middle man that can make plays versus the run. Shows ability to get off blocks at the point of attack and is a sound wrap tackler. Has decent speed and can make plays in pursuit.
Cons: Is uncomfortable in space and struggles in coverage. Sometimes has trouble getting through the traffic.
NFL Forecast: He's purely a run stopper type that will have to work on first and second downs and be yanked in passing situations. But he has good ability to stop the run and is a throwback to the type of middle linebackers that were the norm a decade ago. He may never be a starter in the NFL, but I see him being a quality backup that will probably make a splash on special teams.
NFL Comparison: Greg Biekert, Vikings.
Value: Seventh round. Plays the run better than most collegiate linebackers, but his deficiency versus the pass will drop him.

Cody Spencer

(6'2" 242 4.66) North Texas Senior

Pros: Has a pretty good nose for the football, and plays best when allowed to attack up the field. Has some good speed and plays well in space.
Cons: Lacks great size and struggles at the point of attack. Will take some poor angles to the football.
NFL Forecast: Could be a decent backup middle man/special teams ace on the next level. Plays tough. Will only make it in the NFL if he has capable guys up front that can keep blockers off him. Reminds me a bit of Brad Kassell, a guy I wasn't too keen on coming out of North Texas either. But since Kassell has developed into a decent middle man.
NFL Comparison: Brad Kassell, Titans.
Value: Seventh Round. Has potential to be a solid reserve, but questionable if he'll be a starter.

Niko Koutivides

(6'3" 240 4.70) Purdue Senior

Pros: Has nice speed and effective in pursuit. Has a good nose for the football. Best when playing upfield and attacking the line of scrimmage.
Cons: Needs to work on his coverage abilities. Very raw there. Will take poor angles and overpursue the football at times. Isn't physical and doesn't seem as tough as you want a guy in the middle. Struggles at the point of attack.
NFL Forecast: I think he's going to have to move to the outside since he's not that good at the point of attack. Unless he can play on a defense that is going to have some beef up front to keep blockers off him, he's somewhat of a liability vs. the run. Is not a particularly gifted run stopper or pass defender, so he's basically marginal. You like his speed and instincts, but he's not a special player. He's poor in coverage and is right now a two-down player, and since he's not a great run stopper, he's not going to be great in that role. I see him as a decent reserve middle man, but lacks the ability or upside to be a starter.
Value: Helps depth, but projects better for special teams than defense.

Undrafted


Jeff Mack

(6' 245 4.79) Wisconsin Senior

Pros: A solid tackler. Adequate in coverage. Is able to maintain gaps.
Cons: Struggles in space due to lack of speed. Plays backwards and doesn't attack the football. Needs to see things develop. Needs some work in coverage.
NFL Forecast: His coverage abilities are adequate for the collegiate level, but won't cut it in the NFL. Mack will be best used as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 system where he'll be more used for gap control since he'd struggle in the space of the 4-3 scheme. I don't really see him being a starter at the next level, but could be an adequate backup in that defense. He will likely have to excel on special teams in order to stick on the next level.
Value: Undrafted. Worth a look for a team that runs the 3-4 scheme in training camp.

Ray Holdcraft

(5'10" 242 4.78) Utah Senior

Pros: Does a good job attacking the line of scrimmage and has a good nose for the football. Will come up and punish runners.
Cons: Lacks strength to get off blocks and can get engulfed at the point of attack. Struggles in coverage and doesn't get good pass drops. Lacks speed to be a sideline-to-sideline player. Will be a 25-year old rookie.
NFL Forecast: He's a hard-nosed run stopper in the middle. He would play best in a scheme that would allow him to attack the line of scrimmage. I think he could be a solid reserve middle man. Has the mentality you like on special teams as well. He probably will never be a starting linebacker in the NFL, but could really make a name for himself on special teams.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Undrafted. Hard worker that will help some team's special teams.

Robert Peace

(6'3" 235 4.70) Tennessee Senior

Pros: Shows some ability to make plays in pursuit. Has some ability in zone coverage. Has a good nose for the football.
Cons: Struggles in man coverage. Not very effective at the point of attack and struggles to shed blockers.
NFL Forecast: At best, he looks like a decent reserve middle man. Heís nothing special as a run stopper, and needs much more work in the passing game. His best bet will be to make a roster as a special teams ace. He could be a decent reserve, but really doesnít have great upside or ability to stick on the next level.
NFL Comparison:
Value: Undrafted. Worth a look as a reserve, but lacks upside to be a starter.

Josh Goolsby

(6'2" 233 4.70) Texas Christian Senior

Pros: Is an enforcer the middle and will punish runners. Shows some ability to shed blockers and be effective at the point of attack.
Cons: Speed is only marginal and is not a sideline-to-sideline player. Struggles in coverage due to lack of speed and instincts.
NFL Forecast: He's more interested in cracking skulls than being a complete middle linebacker. For that reason, he'll probably never be more than a backup that excels on special teams. He's a one-dimensional run stopper in the middle, but does it well enough that he'll get a look in the NFL.
Value: Projects well for special teams, but too limited to be a draft pick.

Terrell Jones

(5'9" 224 4.68) Miami of Ohio Senior

Pros: Plays hard and has a pretty good nose for the football. Is pretty decent at the point of attack for his size and does a decent job snuffing the inside run.
Cons: Lacks size, strength, and speed. Doesn't shed blockers well and is not a great pursuit player. Not good in coverage, resorting more to tackilng and holding rather than covering receivers.
NFL Forecast: He plays hard but is just too limited physically to have much NFL prospects. Looks like the type of player that could be decent on special teams, and that would be his only route into the NFL. He has a shot to be a decent backup inside guy, but doesn't have the great range teams like and it is an uphill climb for him to make an NFL roster.
NFL Comparison: London Fletcher, Bills.
Value:

 

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