2013 NFL Scouting Combine Preview: Linebackers

Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers will certainly be looking at linebackers at next week's scouting combine; here's a preview of the collegiate backers coming to Indianapolis.

Top Prospects

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.

Mid-Round Sleepers

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.

Best Names

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

Player School
Alonso, Kiko Oregon
Barrington, Sam South Florida
Beuharnais, Steve Rutgers
Bostic, Jonathan Florida
Brown, Arthur Kansas State
Collins, Jamie Southern Miss
Gooden, Zaviar Missouri
Greene, Khaseem Rutgers
Hepburn, Brandon Florida A&M
Hodges, Gerald Penn State
Holloman, Devonte South Carolina
Jenkins, Jelani Florida
Johnson, Nico Alabama
Jones, Jarvis Georgia
Klein, A.J. Iowa State
Knott, Jake Iowa State
Lotulelei, John UNLV
Magee, Brandon Arizona State
Mauti, Michael Penn State
McCray, Lerentee Florida
Minter, Kevin LSU
Moody, Nick Florida State
Moore, Sio UConn
Ogletree, Alec Georgia
Porter, Sean Texas A&M
Pough, Keith Howard
Reddick, Kevin North Carolina
Sabino, Etienne Ohio State
Stewart, Jonathan Texas A&M
Taylor, Bruce Virginia Tech
Taylor, Mike Wisconsin
Te'o, Manti Notre Dame
Thomas, Chase Stanford
Washington, Cornelius Georgia
Wort, Tom Oklahoma

More Scouting Combine Coverage:

Wide Receivers | Defensive Linemen | Offensive Linemen | SBNation Combine Central

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