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NFL Scouting Combine: Outside Linebackers

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Before I post my analysis of the Green Bay Packers current outside linebackers, I looked at the top outside linebackers participating in the NFL combine. I don't have any particular reason to believe they'll target an outside linebacker early. But their depth at linebacker was tested often by injuries last season, so it might be a position they want to address.

Texas A&M's Von Miller. He started out last season with a knee injury, and began drawing comparisons to Colts bust DE Jerry Hughes. But he ended the college season strong, and he's now drawing comparisons to LB Clay Matthews. He's really impressed at the draft combine, and Wes Bunting says he's a Top 6 pick.

UCLA's Akeem Ayers. He recorded a slow 40 time, but "he clearly plays faster than he times." As I watched some of the drills on NFL Network, Ayers really impressed me with his fluid movement for such a big guy (6 2 1/2" and 254 lbs.). He's going to be a good player, and he's currently projected as a mid-first round pick. 

Georgia's Justin Houston. He's the biggest outside linebacker at almost 6'3" and 270 lbs. And watching him, as Wes Bunting also pointed out, he didn't look as agile. He looked like a college defensive end trying to convert to outside linebacker. He could be available for the Packers at the end of the 1st round, and he is a great pass rusher, but he doesn't look like a good every down candidate for the Packers.

Missouri's Aldon Smith. He seems to be an injury prone project. He's projected as a mid-first round pick, and should be gone before the Packers draft. Which is just as well as far as I'm concerned.

Miller and Ayers are impressive players, but both will be long gone when the Packers select. Anyone else appears to be a reach at the bottom of the first round, so it doesn't look like they'll use their first round draft choice here.