Posts Tagged ‘Prince Shembo’

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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2014 NFL Draft: Linebacker Options to Fix Buffalo’s Run Defense

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

If the Buffalo Bills choose to improve their linebacker corps with the No. 9 overall pick, UCLA’s Anthony Barr is one possible option. (Photo: Andrew Weber — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski

The Buffalo Bills improved in many ways under a new coaching staff in 2013, but stopping the run continued to be a problem. The Bills ranked 28th in the NFL in run defense, allowing 129 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and 19 runs of longer than 20 yards.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso had a tremendous rookie year, totaling 159 tackles and two sacks, but he showed far more value in coverage, sometimes being swallowed up by blockers in run defense. If the Bills are going to get better against the run as a team, they need to spend the offseason adding more stout talent around Alonso in the linebacker corps.

With that in mind, the Bills should have their eyes on some of the following linebackers in the upcoming draft who excel against the run. Most of these players have experience in versatile defenses or possess skill sets that would lend themselves to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s hybrid system.

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2013 Pinstripe Bowl Prospect Preview: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

In what could be his final college football game, Notre Dame defensive end Stephon Tuitt will be a player to watch Saturday. (Photo: Matt Cashore — USA Today Sports)

BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot

Notre Dame and Rutgers will “play ball” when they face off in the Pinstripe Bowl (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN) at Yankee Stadium. Both Notre Dame (8-4) and Rutgers (6-6) took a step backward in 2013 after strong 2012 seasons. The Fighting Irish had an unbelievable 2012 season, going 12-0 before getting throttled in the national title game against Alabama. Rutgers started the 2012 season 7-0 before finishing the season 2-4. Neither team could match its win total from the year before in 2013, but a win Saturday could get one team off on the right foot as they head into 2014.

While neither team had great 2013 seasons, both have talent headed to the 2014 NFL draft, though Notre Dame’s roster has more overall talent.

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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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