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2012 NFL Draft: Inside Linebacker Rankings


The top 2012 inside linebacker prospects available for the 2012 NFL Draft in the order in which I believe they will be drafted. * - denotes 2013 prospect.

This page was last updated May 28, 2011. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | OG | C | DE | DT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | NT | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2014 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | 3-4 DE | NT | 3-4 OLB | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2015 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K

  1. Vontaze Burfict*, ILB, Arizona State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
    Projected Round (2012): Top 15 Pick.

    5/28/11: Vontaze Burfict is unbelievably talented; he had 90 tackles and 8.5 TFL in 2010. The only issue with him is that he's a personal foul machine, a la Nick Fairley.

    8/10/10: Vontaze Burfict had an incredible freshman year, registering 69 tackles, seven TFL, two sacks and five pass break-ups. He can play in any system.

  2. Luke Kuechly*, ILB, Boston College
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
    Projected Round (2012): Top 20 Pick.

    5/28/11: Luke Kuechly, a consensus All-America, is a terrific, instinctive tackler. He's not the athlete that Vontaze Burfict and Manti Te'o are, but he's a possible first-round prospect.

    8/10/10: As a mere freshman, Luke Kuechly had a whopping 158 tackles, 13 TFL and four pass break-ups.



  3. Manti Te'o*, ILB, Notre Dame
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
    Projected Round (2012): Top 25 Pick.

    5/28/11: Manti Te'o headlines this very talented linebacker class along with Vontaze Burfict. He had 129 tackles and 8.5 TFL in 2010.

    8/10/10: Manti Te'o totaled 63 tackles and 5.5 TFL as a true freshman. A terrific athlete, Te'o is a great fit for any scheme.

  4. Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 250.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
    Projected Round (2011): 2.

    5/28/11: Dont'a Hightower had a disappointing 2010 campaign, registering 69 tackles and 3.5 TFL. Fortunately, he says that he feels much better now that he's nearly two years removed from a nasty injury.

    10/9/10: Hightower is ridiculously overrated right now. I've seen a very slow, sluggish player on tape with no range (though this could be the result of his knee injury). He's always getting to the play late and delivering a big hit at an irrelevant time when he's the second or third player to the ball-carrier. I don't like his lethargic body language or jogging around on the field in the middle of the play. Buyer beware.

    5/12/10: Dont'a Hightower is a very talented linebacker, but played only four games in 2009 because of a knee injury that required surgery.

  5. Tank Carder, ILB, TCU
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 237.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
    Projected Round (2012): 2-3.

    5/28/11: Tank Carder, the unquestionable leader of TCU's defense, had 61 tackles and 9.5 TFL. He was an AP All-America second-teamer.

    8/10/10: Every linebacker should have a name like Tank Carder. Carder totaled 89 tackles, 10 TFL and 10 pass break-ups. He's a 4-3 prospect who would be great in any scheme.



  6. James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 240.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.64.
    Projected Round (2012): 3-4.

    5/28/11: James-Michael Johnson totaled 88 tackles and eight TFL in 2010.

    8/10/10: James-Michael Johnson had just 58 tackles, but 11.5 of them were for loss. He also broke up five passes.

  7. Korey Williams, ILB, Southern Miss
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 243.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.66.
    Projected Round (2012): 3-4.

    5/28/11: Korey Williams bulked up from 234 to 243 in the past year. He had 92 tackles and 14.5 TFL in 2010.

    8/10/10: Korey Williams had a monstrous sophomore campaign, notching 119 tackles, 12 TFL, 8.5 sacks and four pass break-ups.

  8. Chris Marve, ILB, Vanderbilt
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-4.

    5/28/11: Battled through a knee injury in 2010, but still recorded 80 tackles and eight TFL.

    10/9/10: Marve is a quick athlete who diagnoses and makes plays. He has shown the ability to cover tight ends in man coverage. He's battling a knee injury at the moment, but should return to his stellar play when healthy.

  9. Chris Galippo, USC
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 250.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
    Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

    5/28/11: Had just 29 tackles in 2010. He lost his starting job at the beginning of the year.

    5/12/10: Once in the first round of my 2011 NFL Mock Draft, Chris Galippo really struggled in coverage as a sophomore. He's 3-4 only.

  10. D.J. Holt, ILB, California
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 250.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
    Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

    5/28/11: D.J. Holt totaled 85 tackles and 5.5 TFL in 2010.

    8/10/10: Playing in California's 3-4, D.J. Holt had 36 tackles, three TFL and three pass break-ups in 2009.

  11. Carmen Messina, ILB, New Mexico
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 236.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2012): 4-6.

    5/28/11: Carmen Messina bulked up from 222 to 236 this past year. He had 115 tackles and six TFL in 2010.

    8/10/10: A tackling machine, Carmen Messina had 163 tackles as a sophomore. He also had eight TFL and three sacks.



  12. Will Ebner, ILB, Missouri
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2012): 5-7.

    5/28/11: Missed some time with a neck injury. Had 47 tackles last season.

    8/10/10: Will Ebner tallied 78 tackles, nine TFL and three sacks in 2009.

  13. Adrien Cole, ILB, Louisiana Tech
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 250.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.71.
    Projected Round (2012): 5-7.

    5/28/11: A 3-4 inside linebacker, Adrien Cole had 80 tackles and 4.5 TFL last season.

    8/10/10: Adrien Cole tallied 93 tackles, four TFL and two sacks in 2009.

  14. Brandon Maye, ILB, Mississippi State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.67.
    Projected Round (2012): 5-7.

    5/28/11: Brandon Maye has transferred to Mississippi State via the graduate program/loophole. He had 44 tackles for Clemson in 2010.

    8/10/10: Brandon Maye had 95 tackles and seven TFL as a sophomore. He recorded eight tackles in Clemson's spring game.


  15. Barquell Rivers, ILB, Virginia Tech
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 237.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.67.
    Projected Round (2012): 6-FA.

    5/28/11: Missed the 2010 season with a leg injury.

    8/10/10: Barquez Wilson had 96 tackles, 6.5 TFL and three pass break-ups as a sophomore.

  16. J.K. Schaffer, ILB, Cincinnati
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.61.
    Projected Round (2012): 6-FA.



  17. Ronnie Sneed, ILB, Kentucky
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 233.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.68.
    Projected Round (2012): 6-FA.



  18. Brian Hendricks, ILB, Wyoming
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2012): 6-FA.

    8/10/10: Brian Hendricks missed some time in 2009 with various leg injuries, but still totaled 116 tackles and five TFL.

  19. Steve Sloan, ILB, UCLA
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 228.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.68.
    Projected Round (2012): 7-FA.





2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | OG | C | DE | DT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | NT | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2014 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | 3-4 DE | NT | 3-4 OLB | 4-3 OLB | ILB | CB | S | K | P

2015 NFL Draft Position Rankings:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | NT | 3-4 OLB | 3-4 DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K



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69WOODY 03-04-2013 12:38 am xxx.xxx.xxx.108 (total posts: 4)
35     27

I Agree with comment below about Niam.As a SoConn. follower,Niam was a great defender inside and outside and was also the leader of one of the best defenses in the FCS the past 5 years.If Mike is healthy.....WATCH OUT!!!!!!
niamfan#1 03-03-2013 11:53 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.108 (total posts: 4)
57     28

All of us great football fans should pay close attention to #45 Mike Niam out of Wofford College.Good size,instincts,and passion for this great game of football.He's a BEAST!
Geoff 03-03-2013 03:18 am xxx.xxx.xxx3.60 (total posts: 1)
12     10

Cornelious Washington worked out as a LB at the combine because he fancies himself as most marketable as an outside rush linebacker 3-4. He is not an ILB. He is a DE. I have watched 5 Georgia games and the senior bowl and he was a DE in all of those. Also he ran a 4.5 not a 4.99.

..and to the guy below me, Pough is from Howard. Not Harvard.

Get it together folks.
J.WIll 02-03-2013 01:17 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.216 (total posts: 1)
10     9

Hey Walter,

Are you going to take a look at this keith Pough out of harvard? And if so could you include him in your prospect rankings? Or do you just see him going un-drafted? I hear he made quite the impression at the shrine game.
Tyler Hills 01-22-2013 10:35 pm xxx.xxx.xxx4.77 (total posts: 1)
8     10

Skov is going back to Stanford with some of his other comrades.
SuperMcTynan 01-22-2013 02:19 pm xxx.xxx.xxx8.11 (total posts: 1)
18     9

Jake Knott and AJ Klein
I bleed green 01-20-2013 11:33 pm xxx.xxx.xxx9.42 (total posts: 1)
14     8

I love teo, but I just don't think he's the #1 dude. Is Alec ogletree the bro of Kevin ogletree?
JRoK 01-14-2013 06:50 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.207 (total posts: 1)
10     9

Greg Blair from the University of Cincinnati eh.......
yeah 01-08-2013 03:21 pm xxx.xxx.xxx7.92 (total posts: 1)
34     13

Te'o is the most overrated player in the country. The guy's going to be a bust like Aaron Curry.
kevan mathy 01-08-2013 11:37 am xxx.xxx.xxx.253 (total posts: 1)
21     9

After last night Te'o stock drop like a rock.
Dave 01-05-2013 05:01 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.166 (total posts: 1)
7     8

For most people who don't study the game this maybe a reach. MLB Dante Cook was a high rated CAA linebacker prior to knee injury sustained prior to 2012 season. Played on one leg and still was highly effective. Any player that can play that position on one leg and still play at a high level deserves draft consideration in my book. Would make a great safety.
MacKenzie 01-05-2013 12:38 pm xxx.xxx.xxx6.78 (total posts: 1)
7     8

Even if you think Skov is still #4, if nothing else, change that 40 estimate. That's his 40 pre ACL tear. Post ACL tear, it's 4.75, at best. He looks so much less athletic on film this year
Lew Johnson 12-23-2012 01:38 am xxx.xxx.xxx5.68 (total posts: 1)
12     16

there is nothing on Kyle Van Noy!
BYU 12-20-2012 09:55 pm xxx.xxx.xxx.119 (total posts: 2)
6     9

#44 Ogletree
#4 Kaveinga
#3 Van Noy
Will Compton 12-20-2012 10:41 am xxx.xxx.xxx.117 (total posts: 1)
17     10

Compton was the only person in the linebacker corps, or for that matter the front seven, who was reliable against the run and the pass.


2014 NFL Mock Draft - April 23


2014 NBA Mock Draft - April 23


NFL Free Agents - April 22


2015 NFL Mock Draft - April 17


Fantasy Football Rankings - March 28


NFL Picks - Feb. 2



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