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NFL Draft Board: Ranking the Top 5 NCAA Linebackers

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NFL Draft Board: Ranking the Top 5 NCAA Linebackers



NFL linebackers must able to stop the run, cover receivers and pressure the quarterback. These are the top 5 NCAA linebackers in this year's draft.



The best NFL linebackers have that seek and destroy mentality, a take no prisoners approach that demands respect. They must be the meanest, hardest-hitting, fiercest players on defense. Often referred to as the quarterback of the defense, linebackers are that all important second line of defense. They must be strong enough to take on offensive linemen, quick enough to get to the quarterback, and fast and elusive enough to cover running backs and tight ends. This year’s NFL draft showcases a number of excellent NCAA linebacker prospects who each demonstrate these qualities. So, who are the top 5 linebackers in this year’s NFL draft?


Sean Lee of Penn State:

Pennsylvania State University has a history of turning out NFL caliber linebackers. Year after year, this university provides the NFL with one hot prospect after another, and this year is no exception. Sean Lee stands tall at 6 feet 2 inches and weighs a solid 235 lbs. Consider Sean Lee a “jack of all trades and master of none”. He can do everything well, and is perhaps the most consistent linebacker in this year’s draft. Not especially big or fast, he is an every down linebacker in an age of specialists. Lee can cover running backs and tight ends, work one-on-one with offensive linemen, and if needed, rush the quarterback. Only concern is the knee injuries Lee suffered recently and how that might make some NFL scouts apprehensive.


Navorro Bowman of Penn State:

Why stop at just one Penn State player on this list, when there are two equally effective linebackers available in this year’s draft. Much like Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman has pretty good size at 6 feet 1 inches and 230 lbs. Navorro is a little faster than Lee and can move sideline to sideline to make tackles. However, it’s that speed that often gets him into trouble as he has a tendency to over-pursue the play, and gets caught flat footed on play action passes. He is able to avoid blockers with relative ease, but if a blocker gets a hand on Bowman, he tends to have a hard time breaking away. Regardless, he’s as solid prospect who hits like a tonne of bricks, and can plug running lanes.


Brandon Spikes of Florida:


Brandon played second, and even third fiddle, to both Rolando McClain of Alabama, and Sergio Kindle of Texas. Playing in the SEC on a team that finished third in the nation to both Alabama and Texas will do that. However, Brandon is well accomplished in his own right, and is a solid prospect with excellent size at 6 feet 3 inches and 260 lbs. While Spikes missed 3 games in 2009, he still made a name for himself by being an all around linebacker capable of taking on the best of the SEC.



Sergio Kindle of Texas:

Sergio Kindle is perhaps the 2010 version of current Redskin Brian Orakpo. Much like Orakpo, Kindle is a linebacker who also plays in the down linebacker/ defensive end position. While not your typical defensive end at 6 feet 4 inches and 250 lbs, he still manages to beat his one-on-one matchups with pure speed. He is an excellent prospect for any team looking for an impact linebacker of Orakpo’s ability and speed. Expect to see Sergio fill the same role as Orakpo has on some NFL team in 2010.


Rolando McClain of Alabama:

Coming from the NCAA National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide, it’s hard to argue against Rolando McClain being the top linebacker in this year’s draft. He has all the attributes of a great linebacker. He is a winner of both the Dick Butkus and Jack Lambert awards. He’s a load at 6 feet 4 inches and 260 lbs, is fast, and has that rare combination of speed and power that all great linebackers have. He’s patient, doesn’t over pursue, can avoid and work off of blocks, and can cover receivers out of the backfield. Without a doubt, Rolando McClain is this year’s best linebacker prospect.


Many NFL fans are anxiously awaiting this year’s draft, and rightly so. The 2010 NFL draft is destined to be one of the great defensive drafts in some time. Every team wants to both run the football, and be able to stop the run. To do that requires a solid defensive line, and fleet-footed linebackers to play off the defensive linemen and make tackles. These five linebackers represent the best the NCAA has to offer.


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Here's how Walterfootball has them going


McClain-1st rd.

Kindle-1st-2nd rd.

Bowman- 2nd-3rd rd.

Lee-3rd-4th rd.

Spikes-4th-5th rd.



I would think that the players that are considered the 4th and 5th best LBs in this draft would go much higher than the 4th or 5th round. Of the 22 players that constitute offense and defense, if you are playing a 3-4 defense, then Linebackers constitute 18% of a teams entire starting lineup.

In the first 3 rounds of the draft there are 96 picks. Applying a pro-rata formula you could expect to see as many as 17 linebackers taken in the first 3 rounds. And in the first round alone, applying the same pro-rata formula you could have as many as 5 LBs taken. Perhaps each of the above players should be considered as possible first round picks. Obviously there is no strict application of this formula, but one would think overall such a thing would be likely to happen. Fair to say?

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My above post gave me pause to think. In pure mathematical terms, the following is the percentage that each position on a football team has of the total:


Defensive backs: typically 4= 18% of the team

Linebackers: typically 4=18%

D Line: typically 3= 14%

OTs: typically 2= 9%

OGs: typically 2= 9%

Center: typically 1= 4.5%

TE: typically 1= 4.5%

QB: typically 1= 4.5%

WRs: typically 2= 9%

Fullbacks: typically 1= 4.5%

Halfbacks: typically 1=4.5%


Note: except for kickers and punters (and maybe long snappers) all special teams players usually also occupy one of the above positions.

There will be 255 picks in this years draft. Applying the math you would expect to see 46 DBs, 46 LBs, and 46 DL drafted, along with 23 each of OTs, OGs and WRs along with 11 or 12 each of Tight Ends, Centers, Quarterbacks, running backs and fullbacks.

It might be interesting to trace the variance. The one position that throws things off a bit in my opinion are those hybrid DEs/OLBs.

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Heres a list of who walter has going in first three rounds, this include DE/3-4 OLB guys, not counting the 5 guys above


Obviously thats just somebodys opinion that them 5 are the best, you ask somebody else and you'll more that likely get a different answer.



Derrick Morgan

Jason Pierre Paul

Brandon Graham

Shaun Weatherspoon

Jerry Hughes

koa Misi

Daryl Washington

Carlos Dunlap

Jason Worilds

Ricky Sapp

Pat Angerer

Dekoda Watson

AJ Edds

Thaddeus Gibson

Navarro Bowman


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