Posts Tagged ‘Outside Linebackers’

2014 NFL Draft Positional Breakdowns: Outside Linebackers

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Buffalo’s Khalil Mack is the star talent in a strong class of outside linebacker. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino

This year’s crop of outside linebackers offers exactly what the NFL wants: Versatile edge defenders who can be moved around and contribute in a variety of roles within a multi-front defensive scheme. The value is diminishing for prospects that lack versatility.

Talent should be found throughout at the position, but the sweet spot is in the second to fourth rounds, where I have 12 players graded.

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Joe Marino’s Senior Outside Linebacker Rankings for the 2014 NFL Draft

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

Buffalo’s Khalil Mack is the best of a star-studded class of senior outside linebacker prospects. (Photo: Kevin Hoffman — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

The senior outside linebacker class rivals offensive tackle in terms of having the most potential for first-round draft picks. Any of the top four would be valid first-round picks, while there are plenty of guys who are solid Day 2 selections.

There are several unique skill sets among the class. Whether a 3-4 defense is looking for a pass-rusher off the edge, or a 4-3 defense is looking for a rangy player, there are players who can help in this group.

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2014 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Arizona State OLB Carl Bradford

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Arizona State outside linebacker Carl Bradford is a likely mid-round selection if he declares for the 2014 NFL draft. (Photo: Matt Kartozian — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

Carl Bradford, a fullback coming out of high school, has transitioned into a playmaking outside linebacker for the Arizona State Sun Devils. After redshirting as a freshman in 2010, Bradford started the team’s bowl game against Boise State at the end of the 2011 season, and has become a fixture in the defense ever since. Bradford had a monster season as a redshirt sophomore in 2012, posting a very productive stat line of 81 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

Bradford plays the “Devilbacker” position for the Sun Devils and can be seen lining up in a variety of ways. He is primarily an outside linebacker, but will frequently put his hand on the dirt and lineup as a defensive end on pass-rushing downs. Bradford also occasionally lines up as an inside linebacker.

Bradford’s Skill Set

Bradford is extremely quick and explosive off the ball, with an incredible first step when he lines up as a defensive end. He plays with a tremendous motor and there is an obvious suddenness to the way he plays.

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A Rising Star in Buffalo: 2014 NFL Draft Prospect Khalil Mack

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Buffalo senior outside linebacker Khalil Mack gave Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller trouble in the Buckeyes’ season opener. (Photo: Greg Bartram — USA Today Sports)

BBD Editor: Dan Hope

With a new hybrid defensive scheme under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, the Buffalo Bills made a strong effort to overhaul their roster of outside linebackers this offseason. Four free-agent additions new to the roster—Manny Lawson, Jerry Hughes, Marcus Dowtin and Jamaal Westerman—will see the majority of playing time when the Bills use odd defensive fronts.

Those four players won’t be the only outside linebackers generating buzz in Buffalo this year. In fact, the best outside linebacker in the metropolitan region might be playing for the Buffalo Bulls, a Division I college team, not the Bills.

Bulls senior Khalil Mack is quickly becoming one of the best outside linebackers in college football. A terrific athlete with the ability to line up all over the field, generate pressure off the edge and also drop back into coverage, Mack is one of the top 3-4 outside linebacker prospects in college football.

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2014 NFL Draft Prospect to Watch: Improvement Necessary for Florida State OLB Christian Jones

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Florida State outside linebacker Christian Jones has outstanding athleticism and coverage ability, but the rest of his game has a long way to go. (Photo: Kim Klement — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joe Marino

Florida State linebacker Christian Jones is one of the most athletic players in all of college football. This athleticism allowed him to get on the field as a true freshman, contributing on special teams and even getting some looks as a linebacker. Since then, he started every game as a sophomore and junior for the Seminole defense and should have over 40 starts for his career after this season.

Jones is coming off his best season in 2012, when he was the team’s leading tackler with 95 stops. He played mostly weakside linebacker last season.

Jones has good size for his position, coming in at 6’4’’ and 235 pounds according to the Seminoles’ official website. He projects as a 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL. He is mentioned as a breakout candidate by many for his senior year. He has shown some good things on the field, but he has several areas of concern to clear up before I will be convinced he is worthy of an early draft pick.

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