2012 NFL Combine: Defensive Preview

LINEBACKERS

Emmanuel Acho, TEXAS, LB01, OB
Ryan Baker, LOUISIANA ST, LB02, OB
Nigel Bradham, FLORIDA ST, LB03, OB
Zach Brown, NORTH CAROLINA, LB04, OB
*Vontaze Burfict, ARIZONA ST, LB05, IB
Miles Burris, SAN DIEGO ST, LB06, OB
Tank Carder, TEXAS CHRISTIAN, LB07, IB
Audie Cole, NORTH CAROLINA ST, LB08, IB
Lavonte David, NEBRASKA, LB09, OB
DeMario Davis, ARKANSAS ST, LB10, OB
Darius Fleming, NOTRE DAME, LB11, OB
Chris Galippo, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, LB12, IB
Najee Goode, WEST VIRGINIA, LB13, IB
*Dont’a Hightower, ALABAMA, LB14, IB
James-Michael Johnson, NEVADA, LB15, IB
Steven Johnson, KANSAS, LB16, IB
Josh Kaddu, OREGON, LB17, OB
Mychal Kendricks, CALIFORNIA, LB18, IB
*Luke Kuechly, BOSTON COLLEGE, LB19, IB
Travis Lewis, OKLAHOMA, LB20, IB
Shawn Loiseau, MERRIMACK, LB21, IB
*Terrell Manning, NORTH CAROLINA ST, LB22, OB
Brandon Marshall, NEVADA, LB23, OB
Caleb McSurdy, MONTANA, LB24, IB
Tyler Nielsen, IOWA, LB25, OB
Keenan Robinson, TEXAS, LB26, OB
Sean Spence, MIAMI-FL, LB27, OB
Nathan Stupar, PENN ST, LB28, OB
Danny Trevathan, KENTUCKY, LB29, OB
Courtney Upshaw, ALABAMA, LB30, OB
Bobby Wagner, UTAH ST, LB31, IB
Tahir Whitehead, TEMPLE, LB32, OB
Kyle Wilber, WAKE FOREST, LB33, OB

One of the more interesting things for me this year will be to see how some of the WLBs run. Guys like Zach Brown, Lavonte David and Sean Spence will have to run well to raise their draft stock. All three players are likely limited to being WLB in a 4-3 set, and would benefit in a Tampa-2 scheme. I’d like to see 4.4 or 4.5 numbers for all of those guys.

Josh Kaddu and Kyle Wilber are guys I watched a lot this week and do have some versatility with Kaddu able to play SLB or 3-4 OLB and WIlber likely able to play SLB, 3-4 OLB or 7-tech DE. I want to see how each of those guys move and what their weigh ins say.

Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw should be on everyone’s list of mental notes since both players fit the Patriots so well. Hightower could struggle in the 40 yard dash, and if he does, he could fall to the Patriots.

Luke Kuechly and Vontaze Burfict are completley different prospects but each have something to prove this week. Kuechly could struggle in the speed drills, but should excel in interviews with teams. Burfict will likely do extremely well in workouts, but he’ll have to explain a lot of his mental lapses on the field.

A couple smaller guys like Mychal Kendricks and Demario Davis could raise their stock this week. Davis showed off really nice flexibility and technique down at the Senior Bowl, really getting praised by coach Mike Singletary while I was watching linebacker drills. Kendricks showed off some nice burst at Cal and could do very well in workouts.

Click on page 3 for the defensive backs.

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Tags: 2012 NFL Combine, 2012 NFL Draft, Brandon Boykin, Bruce Irvin, Courtney Upshaw, Don'ta Hightower, Janoris Jenkins, Luke Kuechly, Quinton Coples, Vontaze Burfict

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