Alec Ogletree (Georgia), Kevin Minter (LSU), and Manti Te'o (Notre Dame) are at the top of the class for inside linebackers. Ogletree played outside at Georgia but is a little light to play on the outside in the NFL (especially in a 304 defense) and plays well in coverage. Te'o will need to answer questions about his speed at the combine, as he's the only top ILB prospect who's over 250 pounds.
On the outside, Jarvis Jones (Georgia) is the only sure-fire first round pick, or at least the only one who comes to the combine labeled as a linebacker. There will likely be a handful of players classified as defensive ends who will be drafted as linebackers by 3-4 teams.
On the inside, Nico Johnson (Alabama) had a very productive career and Jonathan Bostic (Florida) had a number of turnovers forced in 2012 including a pair of interceptions. If Ted Thompson wants to improve the coverage abilities at the inside linebacker spot, I could see him going after Bostic in the 3rd or 4th round.
The outside has more depth, with Chase Thomas (Stanford) experienced in a 3-4 defense. Gerald Hodges (Penn State) had a great career as a two-year starter and looked good at the Shrine Game.
Kiko Alonso (Oregon) is in the running, as are Lerentee McCray (Florida) and Etienne Sabino (Ohio State). But I'm going to have to give this award to Tom Wort (Oklahoma), just because it's fun to say and it sounds like the name of a linebacker.
Most Interesting Small School
By default, Howard University is the choice in this group as it's the only school represented that doesn't play in the FBS. Howard's mascot are the Bison, and they must have a deal with the Buffalo Bills for use of their logo. The university is located in Washington, D.C. Antoine Bethea is probably the university's most prominent football alumnus. Keith Pough will be scouted at this year's combine and is widely projected as a mid-round pick at outside linebacker.
Note: Players in italics are underclassmen
|Barrington, Sam||South Florida|
|Brown, Arthur||Kansas State|
|Collins, Jamie||Southern Miss|
|Hepburn, Brandon||Florida A&M|
|Hodges, Gerald||Penn State|
|Holloman, Devonte||South Carolina|
|Klein, A.J.||Iowa State|
|Knott, Jake||Iowa State|
|Magee, Brandon||Arizona State|
|Mauti, Michael||Penn State|
|Moody, Nick||Florida State|
|Porter, Sean||Texas A&M|
|Reddick, Kevin||North Carolina|
|Sabino, Etienne||Ohio State|
|Stewart, Jonathan||Texas A&M|
|Taylor, Bruce||Virginia Tech|
|Te'o, Manti||Notre Dame|
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