Slimm's 2015 Outside Linebackers

Discussion in 'NFL Draft Forum' started by TedSlimmJr, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    Seniors

    1. Paul Dawson / TCU / 6'2", 230

    2. Jake Ryan / Michigan / 6'3", 240

    3. Chi Chi Ariguzo / Northwestern / 6'3", 235

    15403081-mmmain.jpg



    4. Mark Nzeocha / Wyoming / 6'3", 240

    5. Quayshawn Nealy / Georgia Tech / 6'1", 232

    6. A.J. Johnson / Tennessee / 6'2", 243

    7. Dyshawn Davis / Syracuse / 6'2", 220

    8. Derek Akunne / North Texas / 6'0", 244

    9. Lynden Trail / Norfolk St. / 6'6", 250 (Rush)
    (4 Star recruit originally committed to Florida. Some folks close to the program thought he was going to be the next Jevon Kearse.)

    10. Matt Robinson / Maryland / 6'3", 240

    11. Qushaun Lee / Arkansas St. / 5'11", 225

    12. James Vaughters / Stanford / 6'2", 254

    13. Mike Hull / Penn St. / 6'0", 227

    14. Tony Washington / Oregon / 6'3", 243 (Rush)

    15. Maurice Falls / East Carolina / 6'2", 247

    16. Xzavier Dickson / Alabama / 6'3", 265 (Rush)

    17. Efrem Oliphant / Houston / 6'1", 230

    18. Jordan Hicks / Texas / 6'2", 238

    19. Reshard Cliett / USF / 6'2", 220

    20. Serderius Bryant / Ole Miss / 5'9", 220

    21. Nick Temple / Cincinnati / 5'10", 220

    22. Junior Sylvestre / Toledo / 6'0", 220

    23. Vince Buhagiar / San Jose St. / 6'3", 237

    24. Kyle Woestmann / Vanderbilt / 6'3", 252 (Rush)

    25. David Mayo / Texas St. / 6'2", 228

    26. Josh Keyes / Boston College / 6'2", 225








    Underclassman:

    1. Leonard Floyd / Georgia / 6'4", 230 (Rush)

    2. Shaq Thompson / Washington / 6'2", 225

    3. Benardrick McKinney / Mississippi St. / 6'4", 250

    4. Jordan Jenkins / Georgia / 6'3", 246 (Rush)

    5. Nick Vigil / Utah St. / 6'2", 230
    (Reminds me of a young Keith Brooking coming out of Georgia Tech)

    6. Kyler Fackrell / Utah St. / 6'4", 245 (Rush)

    7. Tyler Matakevich / Temple / 6'1", 235

    1713-MATAKEVICH-600.jpg


    8. Eric Striker / Oklahoma / 6'0", 225

    9. Casanova McKinzy / Auburn / 6'2", 245

    10. Steve Longa / Rutgers / 6'1", 225

    11. Cory James / Colorado St. / 6'0", 240

    12. Denzel Devall / Alabama / 6'2", 250 (Rush)

    13. Dominique Tovell / ULL / 6'2", 248

    14. T.T. Barber / MTSU / 6'1", 220

    15. Ejiro Ederaine / Fresno St. / 6'2", 225

    16. Steven Daniels / Boston College / 6'0", 257

    17. Terrance Smith / Florida St. / 6'3", 220

    18. Denzel Nkemdiche / Ole Miss / 5'11", 215
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2015
  2. finsfanjay13

    finsfanjay13 Rookie Donator

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    Looking at some of those names, I can't help but think of that damn Key & Peele sketch...
     
  3. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    Shaq Thompson is phenomonal. I'm surprised you don't have him higher among the underclassmen.
     
  4. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    I actually really like Thompson, reminds me a lot of Daryl Washington coming out of TCU. He actually has the athletic skills to play defensive back, which is exactly how he began his career. Excellent special teams player. Many of these collegiate offenses are going to start you out in your nickel package anyway, and it's becoming even more prevelant at the next level too. I think Thompson is the type of LB that I would covet as a true 3 down linebacker in the mold of an Arthur Brown, Daryl Washington, Lavonte David, Ryan Shazier.

    I have Thompson graded as a 2nd rounder in the #45 overall range as we speak. He's a terrific player, as are some of these guys ahead of him. Although most of them are going to be outside, or weakside "rush" linebackers in defenses that prefer to utilize an odd front.
     
  5. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    That sounds right.

    It's tough to see linebacker as anything but a dying position in the NFL. Or at the very least a changing one. Offenses are spreading the field, putting defenses in nickel packages more than their base package, and going into hurry-up to interfere with a defense's substitutions.

    The very first thing the NFL needs out of a top linebacker prospect is for that linebacker to be a good nickel coverage/blitzing linebacker with the kind of speed and agility you would expect from that kind of specialist, and from there they just build the guy into the base package.

    Shaq Thompson is probably a poster child for that trend. As you say, the way he's used and the way he plays, he's practically another defensive back...a run-and-hit safety. That's why he excels in kick and punt coverage so much. Fearless. But he's also good in coverage, especially man. I like his overall viciousness, physicality, trigger. The physical change of direction, agility and acceleration skills are near to ideal too.

    Seems like every draft you can almost count on one hand the number of linebacker prospects you find that you think could play 1000 snaps a season at the next level. And the number of those that could actually play WELL for 1000 snaps a season, even lower. That's what I mean by dying position. If Shaq Thompson comes to be seen as one of those guys I think he could go high like Mosley or Shazier.
     
  6. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    The guy I have some trouble with is Kyler Fackrell.

    You have him as a rush linebacker and I think that's correct. But when evaluated as a pass rusher, are we really seeing a GREAT pass rusher? Because if we're not, then whatever multiple style team he goes to will keep trying to replace him with the newest line of Barkevious Mingo dolls to hit the market, or the team he's on will convert to a 4-3 and have no place for him because he's not a Von Miller and there's no use trying to build your defense around him as if he is a Von Miller.

    Basically we might be looking at a guy like Jarret Johnson. You can win a lot of games with Jarret Johnson, but teams don't necessarily covet Jarret Johnson...and Jarret Johnson's fate is controlled by defensive coordinators who either build their schemes according to their rigid beliefs or according to needle-moving chess pieces on the defense, which aren't Jarret Johnson.
     
  7. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    There's very few great pass rushers in college football...especially when they're only sophomores. You only need one hand to count those. I wouldn't describe Fackrell as a great pass rusher. Big kid that's fast, athletic, tough, relentless, and durable. Probably an underrated prospect out there right now if I were to guess.

    I think he's a tenacious pass rusher. He's equally adept at playing the run and rushing the passer. I see it on tape a lot where they're disinterested in the former and the defense suffers as a whole because of it.

    Utah St. has only been good on defense for 2 years, largely due to Kyler Fackrell. Out of all the "abilities" that a player can have, to a coach the most important one is availability. Fackrell has proven extremely durable his first two years.

    The kid never stays blocked. He understands leverage and how to disengage. Although he's not very experienced yet in coverage. Coach Wells likes to use him essentially as an overhanging or "force" defender at the line of scrimmage.

    The interesting thing about Kyler Fackrell is that he's an offensive convert similar to Anthony Barr. Still has a lot of upside as a pass rusher. I know Tennessee better be ready for him week 1. Because they don't have Jawuan James there anymore and he's going to try to wreck 'em. I'll bet high that he makes 2 or 3 plays on defense that change the complexion of that football game.

    I certainly agree with your point regarding the league and how they'll tend to covet athletes like Mingo...and for good reason. That's why I have Floyd as my top guy here. He's basically a carbon copy of Mingo.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2014
  8. Tannenbombs

    Tannenbombs FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    Shaq Thompson is an ideal 4-3 Will. Not in the same league as David or Shazier in recent years, but will be a good-very good starter for a team for a while. Block shedding isn't an issue as a 4-3 WILL as you're already covered up, especially in an under front like Seattle's. I think ~ #45 range is right where he will/should be picked.
     
  9. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    Depending upon whether Miami would prefer Tripp to develop into a WLB or MLB, I can see Thompson being on their radar. He definitely fits the modern WLB prototype - over-sized NB, who can blitz and is comfortable around the LOS. I can also see Hickey seeing some L. David to his game.
     
  10. MiamiDolphin618

    MiamiDolphin618 A True Fan

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    Shaq Thompson had like a 50+ yard touchdown as the halfback today. Id say its pretty evident he's just an overall athletic freak…very good fit for our D
     
  11. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    Alani Fua really has had my attention. He stands out on film. Had a heck of a game against Texas.
     
  12. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    One of the most interesting trends in college football to me at the moment is that we're seeing these teams use extremely athletic linebackers to carry the football from the RB position.

    In terms of recent history, Tennessee began this trend with A.J. Johnson during his freshman year when he was the trigger man in their Wildcat package. FSU moved Karlos Williams over from safety, who has the size of a linebacker. UCLA made Myles Jack a household name last year by letting him tote the rock. Washington has gotten in on the action with Shaq Thompson. Utah St. is now turning around and handing the football to Nick Vigil, who reminds me a young Keith Brooking at Georgia Tech.

    To me it points directly to two things.... struggling to convert 1st downs on the ground due to poor offensive line play and/or lack of a RB who can break tackles and get the tough yards due to the infestation of the spread. Running backs aren't just devalued in the NFL, the devaluation of RB's began in college. That's why a RB never wins the Heisman anymore other than Mark Ingram. He won it because Alabama is one of the few programs that still put an emphasis on strong, tackle breaking RB's and running the football.

    You can count these teams on one hand in the NFL, and both hands in college football. However, these teams are typically successful on both levels. It's difficult for many of these programs to be able to recruit the caliber of running back it takes to produce at a consistent level and break the tackles of defensive players that are bigger, stronger, and faster than they've ever been coming out of high school.

    It's not the value of what a running back contributes that has fallen by the wayside, or that consistently good RB's are a dime a dozen. It's completely the opposite. It's the fact that consistently good RB's are hard to find in college to begin with, and this simply carries it's momentum on to the next level.
     
  13. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    Devon Johnson worth mentioning along those lines. He was a linebacker as a freshman in 2012, moved to tight end in 2013, now is a 150 yard per game tailback in 2014...at 6'1" & 245 lbs.

    I think there are all kinds of things at work in this trend, which I've also been observing although I hadn't thought of A.J. Johnson's switch or Nick Vigil's.

    To me, I'm looking at Devon Johnson's switch from LB to TE to RB, I'm looking at Shaq Thompson's switch from LB to RB, I'm looking at Karlos Williams' switch from oversized safety to RB, I'm looking at UCLA's moving Myles Jack between OLB and RB, and then I'm looking at James Conner's switch from DE to RB. That's the trend that I've had my eye on.

    My conclusions are a little bit different. Proliferation of the spread is certainly a factor, but I think about what the proliferation of the spread has done to defenses. I think defensive players aren't necessarily bigger and faster than they used to be, really just faster and more explosive. A lot more penetrators on the defensive line, a lot more run-and-hit guys among the linebackers, and a lot more defensive backs on the field period.

    The game is pretty cyclical so I think the natural response to this is to bring in some oversized explosive types at tailback and really challenge these lighter, faster defenses' ability to man up and tackle a guy.

    I think Jim Harbaugh was part of the counter-wave against these defenses that had started to be built to stop the spread. Instead of wide offensive line splits like you saw with Mike Leach, he tightened the offensive line splits, and then they started to just bring more big bodied OLs onto the field as tight ends, started using tight ends like wide receivers, and used ogres like Toby Gerhart to run the football behind them. Try and stop that with your defense designed to handle the spread.
     
  14. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    One of the reasons I'm so enamoured with watching Marshall this year is they have a spread offense, yet they also have a monster at tailback that runs over the defenders coming onto the field to try and defend that spread. It's such a conundrum for defenses.

    And there really are some offensive concepts that lay unused in that offense, that they could be using to better maximize Rakeem Cato's feet and mobility. Yet they're hanging 46 points a game on teams. It's fun to watch.
     
  15. Tannenbombs

    Tannenbombs FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    I have him in the top 15. I see you've updated your ranking since this post in August though.

    For anyone who hasn't bought stock in Shaq Thompson yet, now would be a good time.
     
  16. Tannenbombs

    Tannenbombs FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    I may be in the minority here, but Benardrick McKinney is not a very good football player.

    When you're 6'5 250 and Nick Marhsall is breaking your tackles that's a serious problem. He's drag down tackler. He should hit, wrap, and explode from his hips. I've seen him do that maybe once or twice. Really stiff hips like most high cut guys.. liability in coverage, don't see him stack and shed, he's not quick to key, flow and fill. Aside from HGHT/WGHT/SPEED I don't know what is appealing to some people.
     
  17. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    If I could add one LB from this class to Miami, I'd want AJ Johnson, and I wouldn't be opposed to spending a 1st on him. Instincts, block shedding, playmaking, COD, burst - all major pluses. I like Shaq Thompson, but with the emergence of Jenkins, I wouldn't prioritize WLB, and I don't think Thompson is as good as AJ.

    Going to have to disagree with Tannenballs on McKinney. Like AJ Johnson, when McKinney shoots a gap, he doesn't have to be perfect to blow up a running play. He has the physicality to meet a pulling guard in the hole and still blow up the run. He doesn't have Johnson's COD (to my eyes, anyway), but I'd jump all over McKinney in the 2nd.
     
  18. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    I'm curious what the NFL is going to decide on Shaq Thompson. His rushing results have become awful compelling.
     
  19. Tannenbombs

    Tannenbombs FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    After 5 tapes I didn't see him blow up a pulling guard or stack and shed an OL at the 2nd level. I wouldn't take him top 75. He just doesn't do anything well. He's got to come off the field in subpackages. When Nick Marshall can step out of two of your tackles you're obviously not a form tackler. With his size/speed a quarterback should never step out of a tackle.

    Like most high-cut guys he has stiff hips. He is a major liability in coverage. MAJOR.
     
  20. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    It's an interesting point - since LB has been devalued on D much the same way RB has been devalued on offense (though to not the same extent). Still, given his playmaking ability on D, I'd imagine that most NFL teams would favor him as a LB. Overall, I really like Thompson, but he's not in on nearly as many plays as the guys he's been compared to in this thread. The flip side is that those players didn't make as many huge plays. As cool as it is to see Thompson go from a great season on D to a great season on O, I would have liked to see him finish the year at LB. I still have some questions about his ability to make a consistent impact.
     
  21. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    That's not my take. I've seen him physically overwhelm O-linemen. Nick Marshall makes a lot of people miss/look bad. I wouldn't fixate on that play too much. I was re-watching the Auburn game yesterday, and he was a problem in the running game (a problem for Auburn). He can battles with O-linemen like a D-lineman, and he's also a viable pass rusher. If I were to pick a comp for him, I'd say he's a lot like Dont'a Hightower, but McKinney looks to be a better athlete.
     
  22. TedSlimmJr

    TedSlimmJr Hartselle Tigers (15-0) 5-A State Champ

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    Hightower is a nice comparison for McKinney, although a little better athlete than Hightower. He's great at the POA, limited in coverage. He's basically just another linebacker prospect if you look at strength vs. weakness. This is usually typical of most linebackers.

    However, where he's unique is with his size and athleticism. Actually reminds me a lot of Chris Slade coming out of Virginia in the early 90's who went on to be a pro bowler and a dominant force with the Patriots in Parcells' 3-4 defense. It's incredible how similar they are. Slade came off the board early in the 2nd round, I think it's a good range for McKinney.
     
  23. Tannenbombs

    Tannenbombs FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    It's not that he made him miss in the open field. McKinney went to dive/drag down Marsha and he stepped right out of it. He doesn't wrap and shoot his hips like you're supposed to.
     
  24. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    Man, it's been a while since I've thought of Chris Slade. I was a kid for most of his career, so I don't remember a lot of the details of his game. I just remember that he moved well for his size, was very physical, and he made a lot plays. Do you like McKinney best as a 3-4 SOLB/SLB in and Under?
     
  25. Fin Thirteen

    Fin Thirteen FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP Donator

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    I agree McKinney is over-rated. I think he reads the game magnificently and he's a great athlete. I just don't see him executing what he reads half as well as he should. For a guy who is so deficient in coverage, you'd expect him to be ultra-decisive and executing well the plays in front of him, but it's not always there. He doesn't have the impact on the game that his leadership, his instinct and physique should deliver.
     
  26. Fin Thirteen

    Fin Thirteen FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP Donator

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    Paul Dawson of TCU is the best linebacker in the NCAAF that nobody is talking about. Instinctive, quick, great run stuffer, great in pursuit, decent in coverage, has a nose for the sack. His tackling is phenomenal. I would love us to take this kid if the price wasn't too high. He's going to be getting a lot more attention the later we get into the season, no question.
     
  27. Fin Thirteen

    Fin Thirteen FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP Donator

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    "TCU head coach Gary Patterson can credit his defense for the finishing flourish in the contest turning the game against Texas into a big time blowout, with a pick-six in the final three minutes capping off a terrific second half in which they forced four turnovers. Linebacker Paul Dawson had a dominant game -- recording six tackles in his first 10 snaps -- to wind up as nation's only player with at least 100 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions this season."

    Dawson is still under the radar versus his production. I would love to see us snag this guy. Didn't see the Texas game - can anyone comment?
     
  28. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    Great call on Fua. Super quick, amazing feet for a guy that size. Moves like a CB (minus the straight-line speed). Very high ceiling.
     
  29. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Premium Member

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    I see kind of a young Scott Fujita. Who knows though.
     
  30. j-off-her-doll

    j-off-her-doll FinHeaven VIP Finheaven VIP

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    I'm seeing him projected in the 6th round. I don't think that will stick. With his 10-yard split, 20-yard shuttle, and 3-cone, he tested into a pretty elite group - that includes guys like Matthews, Ware, Von Miller, and Vic Beasley. I can see a team like New England (who we all know loves the 3-cone) taking him at the end of the 3rd - not banking on him to produce until 2016. But if he adds the necessary weight and strength, he and Jamie Collins would be terrors in the passing game.
     

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