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My Linebacker Rankings

The Lions’ most glaring need position is outside linebacker, yet this draft is one of the weakest linebacker groups in years.  The spread offense phenomenon has college defenses playing more nickel and dime personnel so there aren’t as many pure linebackers as there have been in the past.

Despite linebacker being a huge need, there is a distinct possibility that the Lions may not address it high in the draft, or at all.  If the Lions believe that there will be a free agency period, they could opt to fill the linebacker holes with free agents fromwhat would be a strong crop of linebacking talent.

The Lions will not address the linebacker position in round one unless they trade down or by some unthinkable chance Von Miller falls to 13.  The Lions may address linebacker in the second round, but there could be a mini run on linebackers before them that may not leave a lot of value there either.  The earliest I anticipate the Lions looking linebacker, barring any trades, is the third round.

This draft class has a lot of linebackers that project to different positions depending on the team that drafts them.  I have them broken down by position that I expect them to play in the Lions’ scheme. 

These rankings will vary from some other rankings you’ll see because these are team specific and scheme specific.  Some players are left off my rankings because they are not a good fit for the Lions. 

Since I have limited resources to work with, my evaluations don’t extend past 3rd or 4th round prospects.  These rankings are based on a combination of various scouting reports, game footage, Senior Bowl practices, Combine coverage, draft related articles and opinions from sources.  The players’ names link to the scouting reports on

Outside Linebackers
My Rank Player, Pos, Team Height Weight
1 Von Miller OLB, Texas A&M 6-3 243
2 Akeem Ayers OLB, UCLA 6-4 255
3 Bruce Carter OLB, North Carolina 6-3 235
4 Mason Foster OLB, Washington 6-2 242
5 Martez Wilson OLB, Illinois 6-4 250
6 K.J. Wright OLB, Mississippi State 6-4 250
7 Doug Hogue OLB, Syracuse 6-2 235
8 Quan Sturdivant OLB, North Carolina 6-2 230
9 Ross Homan OLB, Ohio State 6-0 240
10 Lawrence Wilson OLB, Connecticut 6-1 229
11 Brian Rolle OLB, Ohio State 5-11 229
12 Chris Carter OLB, Fresno State 6-2 240
13 Mark Herzlich OLB, Boston College 6-4 238
14 Jacoby Thomas OLB, Troy State 6-0 234
15 Adrian Moten OLB, Maryland 6-2 230
Inside Linebackers
My Rank Player, Pos, Team Height Weight
1 Kelvin Sheppard ILB, LSU 6-3 240
2 Casey Matthews ILB, Oregon 6-2 237
3 Colin McCarthy ILB, Miami-Florida 6-3 240
4 Nate Irving ILB, NC State 6-1 235
5 Mario Harvey ILB, Marshall 6-0 250
6 Kendall Smith ILB, Florida State 6-0 235
7 Greg Jones ILB, Michigan State 6-1 240

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