From the FanPosts. -Joel
Here's a rundown, in order, of my ILB board. This is not comprehensive; there are ILBs that will no doubt get drafted that are not on this board. This is just an intro.
Most ILBs are exclusively WILB talent (like DJ) or SILB talent (like Belcher). I label them as such. If they are not labeled, it's because they have some versatility for either.
Kevin Minter, LSU
6'0", 245 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.67
2012: 130 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT, 5 PD
I think Minter is a 1st round prospect that will not be taken in the 1st round because of the position he plays. He is more of a line of scrimmage thumper than he is a jack-of-all-trade will-backer (the more valuable ILB position), even though he has the talent to be both. Any team scooping him up in the 2nd round is getting a steal, however. Minter does everything well, his only question mark is downfield coverage, and his skillset even suggests that he'd excel there (not to mention he takes to coaching like fish to water). Most of all, he just plays for contact, which this team sorely, sorely needs. 1st round grade, no question.
Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
6'1", 241 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.67
2012: 136 tackles, 6 sacks, 6 FF, 2 INT, 5 PD
Greene does not seem like a great fit for the 3-4 defense. He's a finesse linebacker who's basically a glorified safety. But his numbers are so stupendous you almost gotta wonder if there's some way you can shoehorn him onto your roster somehow. His instincts are unparalleled in this draft class, and his ability to dissect what the offense is doing seems otherworldly. I think he's got All Pro written all over him, and I'd consider him in the 1st round if I had a huge need at LB for a 4-3 team. 1st round/2nd round borderline.
Alec Ogletree, Georgia
6'3'", 244 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.64
2012: 111 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 5 PD
If you think Ogletree is past his substance abuse troubles (he had a DUI in February), then he may be worth a 1st rounder for you. I personally think he's overrated. He's got a pretty versatile game, but mostly just seems to be more of a DJ type that falls back into coverage as his forte. With the way the NFL is going, that's definitely important. And he does feature tons of experience in the 3-4. But he is not the crazy athlete he's made out to be, nor is he the engine of defensive perserverence like some of the other guys on this board are. Still a very talented guy, and if you don't mind the red flags, he's a 2nd rounder. I'd put him at a 2nd/3rd borderline.
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
6'0", 241 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.67
2012: 100 tackles, 1 sack, 2 INT, 4 PD
Brown has emerged in this draft class as a man possessed by football, and that largely seems to be the case. He is a workaholic who is totally on fire for the sport, and that energy proved to be infectious in the K State locker room. He'd be a valuable addition for any locker room. He's got a lot of the great tools to work with: he loves to be physical, he loves to drop back into coverage, and he's going to love the chess match with opposing QBs as he adjusts his teammates pre-snap. His passrush is mostly nonexistant, however, and his coverage ability is mostly just okay, not great. But you are cooking with all the right ingredients here. 2nd/3rd borderline prospect.
Jon Bostic, Florida (SILB)
6'1", 245 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.59
2012: 62 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 FF, 2 INT
Bostic is a ChiefsPlanet favorite, and it's easy to see why. He is the best pure thumper in this draft, his body and his play simply embody the position. If you thought Jerrell Powe was the perfect mental and physical fit for the NT position, Bostic brings the same perfect fit for SILB. Thick, muscular chest and arms and a Steelers-like hitting ability against ball carriers. He is a James-Harrison-like tone setter and a great enforcer in the middle of your defense if you're looking for a change in tone, from simply "talented" to "nasty." Every defense needs a mixture of piano players and piano lifters, and Bostic is the prototypical lifter. Late 2nd, early 3rd.
Sio Moore, Connecticut (WILB)
6'0", 245 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.62
2012: 72 tackles, 8 sacks, 11 PD
Such a unique prospect. Moore would be a really interesting addition for a 3-4 team, as he has experience rushing the passer and could offer some versatility at both ILB and OLB. Moore is tremendous in coverage, he's almost a larger corner in his ability to stay with tight ends and even some WRs, so he is really an interesting joker of a player. He's very disciplined, a very smart player. But as good as he is as a passrusher, he does play soft. Not a great guy to have in the trenches against the run game. 3rd round prospect.
Kiko Alonso, Oregon
6'3", 238 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.74
2012: 81 tackles, 1 sacks, 2 FF, 4 INT, 2 PD
One of the most versatile LBs in this year's draft, Kiko's one of the guys who's equally good rushing towards the QB as dropping back into coverage. (This is not reflected in his stats, but Oregon didn't ask him to rush the QB frequently.) The Chiefs are known to really like Alonso. I don't think he's the perfect ying to DJ's yang (they're both pretty close to the same player), but if your goal is to stock your defense with talented players who can stay on the field all three downs, he's a hard guy to turn down. 3rd rounder.
A.J. Klein, Iowa State
6'1", 250 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.66
2012: 117 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 PD
I love this guy, I really do. I think Klein has "10 year starter" written all over him, but the disagreement out there about him is pretty diverse. Some people (like myself) believe a more complete team could drop a low 2nd on him and feel good about themselves. Others believe he'll tumble deep into the low rounds. I see a guy with fiery play on the field, outstanding leadership ability, a great nose for the ball and a classic run defending mentality. Klein is aggressive and plays under control with a chip on his shoulder. He carried an underwhelming Cyclones defense. I'd like to see what he can contribute to an NFL caliber defense. 3rd/4th rounder.
Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
6'1", 241 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.78
2012: 113 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 7 INT, 4 PD
Te'o has a lot of things going for him, but perhaps the best thing is that he's a true three-down LB that can play both the SILB and WILB positions. I think he pans out as a poor man's Luke Kuechly -- certainly nobody's idea of a line of scrimmage dominator, but a very smart player who can dissect plays incredibly fast. Te'o's game is the same. I think concerns about his speed are overblown, but he definitely does need to get tougher. He's not a pure WILB, so he will be asked to crash the line of scrimmage in a 3-4 scheme. That's a weakness of his as of now. He's best suited to a MLB in a cover 2, I'd say. He'd be a great fit in Chicago, a team that could spend a 2nd on him and feel good about it, but a 3-4 team like KC should sit on their hands until the 3rd or 4th, though.
Sean Porter, Texas A&M (WILB)
6'1", 229 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.69
2012: 66 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 INT, 4 PD
The buzz is that Porter is 2nd day material... but I don't see it. He's undersized and a bit slow, and he didn't stand out in A&M's new 4-3 defense. In their old 3-4 defense, he played rush-backer pretty damn well (8.5 sacks in 2011), so the upside is that he offers versatility for whatever 3-4 team that brings him on. He will need to add weight, however. He looks most comfortable in the 3-4 defense, where he reads angles better, dissects plays better and never gets beat out on the edge it seems. Has a really intense playing style that was all-too-often neutered by the 4-3 conversion. 4th rounder.
Gerald Hodges, Penn State (WILB)
6'1", 243 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.70
2012: 109 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 7 PD
I think Hodges would be a really good OLB in a 4-3 scheme, but he is easily physically capable of locking down the will-backer position in a 3-4 alignment. He has two things I absolutely love about his background: he was a wrestler, and he played safety. So with extraordinary combat skills for the line of scrimmage, and exceptional coverage ability, it's not surprising to see Hodges put up some of the best tackle numbers in college football. That said, I think he plays better falling back into coverage than he does charging upfield. If that's what your team needs, he's a 4th rounder.
Zaviar Gooden, Missouri (WILB)
6'2", 234 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.46
2012: 61 tackles, 1 INT
You read that right. 4.46. He crushes every other LB prospect on this board in speed, and that's just the 40. Every single speed drill at the Combine, Gooden was the #1 participant. Zaviar Gooden is, without a doubt, the most physically promising prospect in this draft of any linebacker position. But it does not come across in the tape. He lacks discipline and plays like he's on roller skates. If you are certain you can turn this athlete into a football player, he's a 3rd round pick. You probably aren't certain, however, so a 4th or 5th might be smarter. But you absolutely know some team is going to take him somewhere near the 3rd based on that phenomenal speed. Right?
Kevin Riddick, North Carolina
6'1", 243 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.71
2012: 85 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 2 FF, 6 PD
Riddick is good at a lot of things, but let me highlight the one thing he's phenomenal at: in 2012, Riddick racked up 18.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and forced two fumbles. If you play an attacking 3-4 that asks your linebackers to mess some people up by penetrating the pocket, then you have an absolute cookie cutter fit here. He does have some ability to drop back into coverage, and is incredibly durable (never missed a game in four years). Has a London Fletcher skillset, and can develop his coverage ability over time. I think he's a sleeper 4th or 5th round value, and might be worth taking a round earlier if your defense plays to his ability.
Jelani Jenkins, Florida (WILB)
6'1", 237 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.65
2012: 29 tackles
Jenkins is the biggest mystery in this draft at ILB. He is a gifted athlete who moves as well as any ILB on this board save for a couple dudes at the top. Every single time he's on the field, he flashes and he jumps out as a Derrick Johnson clone. He drops back, he pursues, he covers, he dives into the backfield and wreaks havoc. He's a very hard worker, and has bulked up to Greek god degrees this year. The problem is: he absolute cannot stay healthy. Cannot. He missed almost all of 2012 with four separate injuries. Jenkins is a starting caliber WILB, and would be a good pick in the 5th if you needed one, or a great pick later on if you didn't.
Nico Johnson, Alabama (SILB)
6'2", 248 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.73
2012: 55 tackles, 2 FF
Nico's a favorite of mine, but I don't pretend that he's anything other than what he is: Jovan Belcher plus 25 pounds. I think Nico hits like a goddamn truck, but he's pretty much only useful in obvious running downs. If you are of the opinion that the notion of "obvious running downs" is outdated, Nico's not your guy. He is a lunchpail, one-dimensional assaulter of running backs. As a result of this limitation, he'll probably tumble into the 6th round.
Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech (SILB)
6'1", 237 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 5.00
2012: 76 tackles, 1 FF, 5.5 sacks, 5 PD
Taylor is the kind of player that shouldn't be out in space. He should be up against the line of scrimmage, reading which way the play is going, then bursting quickly to where the play is headed. He played pretty well dropping into coverage at VTech, but given his physical limitations that probably won't hold in the NFL. Taylor hits like a load. He could be a steal, most of his stats came late in the season as his nagging foot injury faded away. He ended on such a high note (a high note he consistently held whenever he was healthy) that I believe he's solid 6th round talent, 5th round if you truly believe in his upside.
Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers
6'1", 240 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.84
2012: 82 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
This guy was totally overshadowed by his teammate at the near-top of this board, but he is a great prospect in his own right. I think he's very athletic, despite his Combine numbers -- I think he's faster than he times. Very fluid athlete, with multiple years of high performance. He is an iron man who never misses a game and has some experience with his hand in the dirt. He's not an elite player, more of a jack of all trades guy. But a good dude to have in your locker room. 6th rounder.
Tom Wort, Oklahoma (WILB)
6'0", 237 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.75
2012: 53 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 INTs, 1 PD
Wort doesn't really have the bulk to play the SILB position in any shape or form. He was trapped in a pretty unfortunate offense in OU this past season which was very, very nickel- and dime-heavy. His snap count was way down as a result, and he was coming off a season-ending injury in 2011 as well. Wort makes a few highlight-worthy play, and is a great opportunist of offensive mistakes. For the most part, though, even in 2011 where he made his name, he was really, really inconsistent. He's also needs to fill out his frame more. But he's got the tools, if a team is willing to explore them. I think he's a solid 6th round value.
Vince Williams, Florida State (SILB)
6'1", 233 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.76
2012: 59 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PD
Vince Williams was a major disappointment with his weigh in. On the field, he looks and plays with the power and rigidity of a guy who's 250 lbs, but it turns out he's about 20 pounds lighter than that. The Chiefs brought in Williams, and they seem to like him. Fine, that's great. But he's an under-producer who played behind college football's best defensive line -- how do you only manage 59 tackles in that position? The one thing I like about Vince Williams, though I do think he's overrated, is that he is a fiery asshole of a locker room badass. He talks a huge game and gives your D a huge edge. 6th/7th round talent.
Cornelius Washington, Georgia (SILB)
6'4", 265 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.53
2012: 22 tackles, 0.5 sacks
Washington is making all the rounds right now with teams at a much more important position: rushbacker. His great size and athleticism seems to suggest he could excel as a passrusher, despite the fact he never did at Georgia. Instead, I think he could work as an OLB/ILB hybrid. But make no mistake, he is a hardcore developmental prospect. He is going to take a shit ton of work. But a team will undoubtedly want to gamble on his incredible size. I think he's a 6th/7th round borderline guy.
Will Compton, Nebraska
6'1", 230 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.54
2012: 98 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 FR
Compton is flying up draft boards right now, from UDFA territory to late-round consideration. I am of the belief that Compton will be drafted; you simply don't pass on a LB with 4.5 speed. Nebraska linebackers already seem to have a head start on most of their colleagues with their NFL readiness. He plays with all the energy and ferociousness of a guy ready for the next level, and he is regarded as a natural leader. He has worked on his athleticism, and it shows, but he will need to have tighter discipline coached into him. Seems like a good 6th/7th round pick.
Michael Mauti, Penn State
6'2", 243 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: n/a
2012: 96 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 INT
Mauti comes from a family that's had a couple generations of Penn State football players. His father played wide receiver for seven years in the NFL. Mauti himself seems to be gifted enough to have an enduring NFL career. What he doesn't have, however, is the ability to withstand injury. He has missed significant time in his career to all sorts of injuries, and may being 2013 on PUP because of a knee injury he had to end his senior season (and has kept him from running the 40). It's a shame, minus the injury concerns he'd probably be a 4th or 5th round prospect. As of now, I'd downgrade him to a 7th.
Brandon Hepburn, Florida A&M
6'2", 240 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.68
2012: 86 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 7 PD, 1 FF
Hepburn's character is through the goddamn roof. He's a a guy you must get on your team if he lasts to UDFA -- he was a walk-on at FA&M with a full biochemistry load. The guy is smart, and played very well (occasionally dominated) against pathetically inferior competition. I personally think he's got an outside shot, and he'll almost certainly get drafted in the 7th or so as 20 teams showed up to his pro day.
Steve Greer, Virginia (SILB)
6'0", 231 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 5.00
2012: 122 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 PD
As of the conclusion of last season, no BCS player had more career tackles than Manti Te'o. 2nd on the list? Steve Greer. Greer is just a player. He doesn't have very good size, he doesn't have very good athleticism, and he doesn't have the best speed, but he just plays every time you put him on the field. His 40 times sucks, his performance at East/West? Great. You're not always going to get the best production out of him, however -- because of his lacking speed, you're going to get some Donnie Edwards padding on the tackle numbers. He's the kind of guy that goes to UDFA despite his great production, and he should be targeted there. For my part, I'd put him around a 7th round grade.
Jonathan Stewart, Texas A&M
6'3", 242 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 40 Yrd Dash: 4.65
2012: 81 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 PD
The Aggies' field general in 2012, Stewart is an intriguing prospect given his size/speed combination. 4.65 is pretty damn good for a 242 lbs linebacker, and even better was his 4.55 pro day time. He also has experience in an elite 3-4 program when A&M ran it. Stewart is built for blitzing, that's what he loves to do, and that's what he's best at. He charges the pocket with abandon. Anything else, however, and he largely disappears. He doesn't play as aggressive as his size says he should, and he doesn't play the run as tough as you'd like. Can an NFL team change that? 7th rounder, maybe.
Sam Barrington, South Florida (SILB)
6'0", 235 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.80
2012: 80 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 2 FF, 3 PD
A great athlete for the position, Barrington recorded a 37 inch verticle at his pro day, even though he put a 4.80 up for his 40 (he later recorded a 4.69 at his pro day). Barrington put up four really good years for USF, almost all his stats coming from or near the line of scrimmage. He skillset is that of a thumper, even though he does have at least some positional flexibility. I think he has some ability, especially for a guy who can get past offensive lineman. If you like him enough, he could be worth a 7th round pick. I doubt it, though.
Uona Kaveinga, BYU
5'11", 230 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.65
2012: 49 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
The stats aren't there, but the athleticism seems to be. The problem is that Kaveinga doesn't play like he has that great speed. Instead, it seems like he plays a step slower than he should. He can keep pace with most tight ends, and yet can't cover all that well. To be fair BYU asked Kaveinga to sit back at MLB and react, but doing that, you'd expect better statistics from him. Worth a flyer at UDFA.
Albert Rosette, Nevada (SILB)
6'2", 231 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.91
2012: 128 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PD
All I know about Rosette is what I've watched while observing other Nevada prospects. He has played some defensive end, so he'd be an interesting UDFA to bring in as an OLB/ILB hybrid. I wasn't impressed, however. He's regarded as Nevada's top run defender, but Nevada gave up something like 5.1 yards/carry. He's slow, one-dimensional, and not the enforcer you'd want at the position. It's hard to deny that he's always around the ball, however.
Christian Robinson, Georgia (WILB)
6'2", 233 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.93
2012: 47 tackles, 1 FF
I think you need to avoid Robinson. Surrounded by the talent he had with him in a great program, he never flashed on the screen. His talents as a thumper are useless as he doesn't seem to be that great of a tackler, and he's not athletic enough to pull off the will backer. He is experienced in an elite 3-4 program, but that's about it.
Dwayne Beckford, Purdue
6'1", 235 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.86
2012: kicked off team
Beckford is a guy with some skills worth nothing -- as a sophomoer and a junior, he totaled 175 tackles while missing various games due to suspensions. But he was kicked off Purdue's program before the 2012 season following his 4th arrest in a little over a year. Beckford has his talents, and was known as a very hard worker on the football field. His chances in the NFL seem over.