Top Linebacker Prospects

Posted: April 21, 2012

LUKE KUECHLY, BOSTON COLLEGE - He led the nation in tackles for two seasons and complemented his intelligence and instincts with impressive athleticism at the NFL combine, where he ran the third-fastest 40 among linebackers. He is considered one of the safest picks in the draft, and the Eagles would probably have to move up to get him.

DONT'A HIGHTOWER, ALABAMA - The next choice among inside linebackers, Hightower is more of a run-stopper, and analysts don't see the speed and cover abilities the Eagles covet. He also may not be worth the 15th overall pick.

ZACH BROWN, NORTH CAROLINA - Brown has speed tight ends would admire and the skill set to be a playmaker on the weak side, but faces questions about his character and effort.

LAVONTE DAVID, NEBRASKA - At 6-foot-1, David doesn't have ideal size and can be overpowered, but he's instinctive, fast, and productive. He led the Cornhuskers in tackles the last two years.

MYCHAL KENDRICKS, CALIFORNIA - A burner who ran a 4.47 40, Kendricks was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year in 2011. But he's only 5-foot-11 and might be better-suited for a 3-4 defense.

BOBBY WAGNER, UTAH STATE - Wagner is a highly regarded prospect who could go in the second round, but like Hightower he projects as a thumper and run-stopper who doesn't have much speed or quickness.

SHEA McLELLIN, BOISE STATE - A college end, McLellin will probably be a 3-4 linebacker in the NFL. He excelled as a pass rusher despite not having top-end speed. His versatility increases his value.

- Jonathan Tamari

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