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NFL Combine: Scouting the Linebackers

Posted Feb 24, 2014

An in-depth analysis of the linebackers who worked out at the NFL Scouting Combine.


Ricky Henne’s Take: 
 

The linebackers available for the 2014 NFL draft are extremely skilled. Perhaps more than any other position, I was eager to see the top-end talent in action the most. I’ve listened to Jordan talk about Khalil Mack for quite some time, ever since the Buffalo stud dominated against Ohio State. He created even more buzz this week when Mike Mayock said he’d take him first overall in the draft. I thought Mack performed admirably and showcased the elite athleticism people have raved about. In fact, his 4.65 40-yard dash time was the fourth best among all linebackers. The prospect I came to the Combine more familiar with was UCLA’s Anthony Barr, and he continues to impress me. He measured just a hair under 6-5 and 255 pounds, and he oozes with play-making ability. His 40 time was almost identical to Mack’s at 4.66. Another player I wanted to see was C.J. Mosley. He’s regarded as the “Heart and Soul” of the Alabama defense in 2013, which is exactly what they said about D.J. Fluker and Alabama’s offense exactly one year ago. The inside linebacker looked smooth during the drills and helped his cause to be selected early in the first round. Finally, one of my favorite players in this entire draft is Wisconsin’s Chris Borland. He is a bit undersized at 5-11 and may not post the eye-popping metrics like some others, but he has a nose for the ball. Borland is the Badgers’ all-time leader in forced fumbles with 14, and over his career posted over 300 tackles. He did showcase his strength with 27 reps at the bench press, which ranked fifth among all linebackers.

Jordan Beane’s Take:

The second group to hit the field here at Lucas Oil Field had a trio of prospects that I was interested in seeing – Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr and Trevor Reilly. Mack, the outside linebacker from the University of Buffalo, was the most intriguing to me. I saw him play, and dominate at times, in a game against Ohio State last season and I was interested to see how he did here in Indy. His 40 was impressive, clocking in officially at 4.65, while getting in 23 reps at the bench press. With that sort of athleticism, the former Buffalo Bull showed why he’s a small school player who could make a big impact at the next level. Mack ran a tick faster than his main competition for the top linebacker in the draft class, UCLA’s Anthony Barr. Barr, who arrived in Pasadena as a running back, put up a 40 time of 4.66, essentially the same as Mack. He only managed 15 reps at the bench press, a disappointing number for the former Bruin. Not disappointed in his bench press number was Valley Center’s (and Utah’s) own Trevor Reilly. Reilly put up 26 reps at 225 pounds, good enough for 6th overall at the linebacker position. Reilly wasn’t able to fully participate in the Combine after a minor surgery this month but at 6-5, 245 pounds, the former Ute could be a second-round pick.

TOP PHOTOS OF THE LINEBACKER PROSPECTS WORKING OUT

HEAR DIRECTLY FROM SOME OF THE TOP LINEBACKER PROSPECTS

TOP FIVE PERFORMANCES

40-Yard Dash

1. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College - 4.51
2. Telvin Smith, Florida State - 4.52
3. Lamin Barrow, LSU - 4.64
T-4. Khalil Mack, Buffalo - 4.65
T-4. Ronald Powell, Florida --4.65

40-Yard Dash

T-1. Max Bullough, Michigan State - 30
T-1. Khalri Fortt, California - 30
T-2. Jeremiah George - 28
T-2. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College - 28
5. Chris Borland, Wisconsin - 27

Vertical Jump

1. Ryan Shazler, Ohio State - 42.0 inches
2. Khalil Mack, Buffalo - 40.0 inches
3. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College - 39.0 inches
T-4. Adrian Hubbard, Alabama - 38.5 inches
T-4. Prince Shembo, Notre Dame - 38.5 inches

Broad Jump

1. Ryan Shazler, Ohio State - 130.0 inches
T-2. Khalil Mack, Buffalo - 128.0 inches
T-2. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College - 128.0 inches
4. Lamin Barrow, LSU - 123.0 inches
5. Carl Bradford, Arizona State - 122.0 inches

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