Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon
Height: 6-6. Weight: 248. Arm: 33.78. 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2013): Top-10 Pick. 4/24/13: Jordan's stock has continued to rise in the lead up to the 2013 NFL Draft to the point that he is a consensus projection to be a top-five pick. Jordan could add enough weight to play defensive end in the NFL, or he could maintain in the 250s and still play outside linebacker.
Jordan notched 44 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and five sacks this season. His pass-rushing opportunities were hurt because the Ducks often dropped him back into pass coverage. Jordan plays well in space and would definitely fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, but he is so fast and athletic he could play outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
Jordan put on a clinic in the field drills at the Combine. He was extremely fast in the 40, fluid in the field drills and a natural as an outside linebacker. Jordan is having shoulder surgery and could start to add weight to his frame once he is done rehabbing.
Jordan could become an elite pass-rusher off the edge in the NFL due to his speed and athleticism. He has a ton of upside and appears to be just scratching the surface of his talent.
8/27/12: Jordan is a raw prospect who has some upside. He was a tight end early in his college career before switching to defensive end in 2010. Jordan had 33 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss as a sophomore. Jordan made real strides last year and produced a lot more with 42 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. The junior was a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection.
Jordan needs to fill out his frame to hold up on the edge in the NFL. If the senior continues to improve his production this season, he could move up higher on the second day of the draft.
Barkevious Mingo*, DE/OLB, LSU
Height: 6-4. Weight: 241. Arm: 33.68. 40 Time: 4.58. Projected Round (2013): Top-20 Pick. 4/24/13: Mingo was said to look good at his pro day, but teams have real concerns about his lack of strength. He also has admitted in team interviews to taking plays off, and entire games off. His lack of work ethic on and off the field is a big red flag for a lot of teams.
Mingo had a disappointing junior season which has proven that he should be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Mingo is very undersized and not strong enough to be a 4-3 end. However, he could play 4-3 outside linebacker in a role similar to the Broncos' Von Miller.
Mingo was on fire against Clemson in his final collegiate game. He was a disruptive presence and was dominating the right tackle. Mingo produced some sacks and other tackles for a loss before having to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an abdominal issue. He really helped himself in that bowl outing, and it was probably his best performance of 2012.
Mingo played well versus South Carolina. He picked up four tackles and a sack, and had other pressure on quarterback Connor Shaw. Mingo started out well against Florida a week earlier. He pressured Jeff Driskel to help force a sack for Bennie Logan. Logan ripped the ball out and Mingo recovered the loose ball inside the Gators' 10-yard line. He was getting pushed around in the ground game during the second half, and Florida had a lot of success running at him.
D.J. Fluker, Alabama's right tackle, struggled all year in pass protection, yet Mingo was a non-factor against him aside from two plays. Mingo drew a holding penalty and batted down a third-down pass attempt, but overall, Fluker kept him from making an impact against the Crimson Tide.
Mingo recorded his first sack of the year versus Towson. He came close to a number of sacks against Auburn and Washington, but put regular pressure on the quarterback. Mingo saw a number of double-teams his direction in 2012. He finished the year with a total of 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and 4.5 sacks.
8/27/12: Mingo is a fabulous athlete and a pure speed-rusher. The sophomore was constantly making plays in the backfield last season. Mingo recorded 46 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and a forced fumble in 2011. The lower weight gave him some problems in run defense, so he'll need to add strength for the next level. Mingo had 35 tackles with 2.5 sacks, 5.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and six passes batted as a freshman.
Mingo was more disruptive and had more pass pressure than his 2011 sack total indicates. He helped create sacks for fellow end Sam Montgomery by flushing quarterbacks towards Montgomery. With a great supporting cast around him, Mingo looks poised for a huge 2012 season.
Like Montgomery, Mingo should be able to add weight as he has a tall frame. Mingo and Montgomery are capable of producing huge seasons that vault them to the top of their draft classes.
Jarvis Jones*, OLB, Georgia
Height: 6-2. Weight: 242. Arm: 33.08. 40 Time: 4.9. Projected Round (2013): Top-25 Pick. 4/24/13: Scouts at the East-West Shrine told WalterFootball.com that Jones would slide on draft day because they believed he would test poorly before the draft and isn't a hard worker in the weight room. The scouts said that watching the game tape, Jones is worthy of being a top draft pick, but they don't believe he will go that high. Jones passed on working out at the Combine.
The scouts predictions were validated at Jones' pro day when he ran the 40 in an ugly time of 4.9-5.0 seconds. NFL.com's Gil Brandt said that he could see Jones falling to the second round. That might be an exaggeration, but him falling to the mid-teens seems likely.
Jones is an elite edge-rusher who also is phenomenal in pursuit. He had 85 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, three passes broken up and one interception in 2012. Jones finished the year strong with two sacks against Nebraska and announced he would skip his final collegiate season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. Jones led the nation in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles.
Jones notched two sacks and a forced fumble against Alabama. His sack-fumble was a phenomenal play on which he beat blocks from right tackle D.J. Fluker and running back Eddie Lacy to take down A.J. McCarron. Jones picked up another coverage sack later, but the Crimson Tide had a lot of success running straight at him. It was an ugly game for Jones as a run-defender.
The junior missed the Kentucky game with a knee injury and didn't look the same against South Carolina, but he came back with a vengeance against Florida. Jones turned in a massive performance to push his team to a huge victory over the Gators. He totaled 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Jones also made the game-saving play with a forced fumble around the Georgia 5-yard line in the final minutes. It was a tremendous outing that illustrated his ability to make big plays in big games.
Jones had a similar showing in Week 2 against Missouri with a game for the ages. He stepped up with huge plays to help lead the Bulldogs to a win. Jones had nine tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass batted and an interception returned 21 yards to the goal line. The turnovers he created came late in the game and sealed the win for Georgia.
8/29/12: The USC transfer was a pass-rushing terror last year for the Bulldogs. The sophomore tied for fifth in the nation in sacks with 13.5. He also had 70 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, two passes broken up and two forced fumbles. Jones' season was highlighted with a four-sack game against Florida, but he was held in check against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.
Jones is an explosive pass-rusher off the edge who is a perfect fit in Georgia's 3-4 defense. His speed and agility make him extremely difficult for tackles to get a hold of. He has a non-stop motor and gives relentless effort.
Jones is best in pursuit in run defense. He isn't particularly stout at the point of attack when runs come directly at him. Even though Jones could use more bulk, he is a very good tackler. He wraps up ball carriers and quarterbacks well. Jones also skillfully goes for strips when hitting quarterbacks. His closing speed is phenomenal as both a run-defender and a pass-rusher.
After leading the SEC in sacks in 2011, Jones won't take anybody by surprise this season and will see plenty of extra attention. The junior should still produce a quality season, and if he does, he could be a high first-round pick next April. If Jones can add 8-10 pounds of muscle for the NFL, that would make him an even better prospect.
Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 241. Arm: 32 1/4. Hand: 9 7/8. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2013): 1-2. 4/24/13: Brown's stock climbed over the final months, and some think he could go in the back half of the first round. He has interviewed well with teams and that has helped him.
Brown had 100 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two interceptions, four passes broken up and a sack in 2012. He was excellent for Kansas State and was a team leader. Brown has drawn comparisons to Lavonte David, but Brown is a poor-man's version; David was far more productive and is a lot faster. Brown has the reputation of being totally devoted to football with the drive to be great. He was unable to work out at the Combine.
8/29/12: Brown is a very good athlete who could use more size for the NFL. If the senior is unable to add weight, he should move to outside linebacker. Brown recorded 101 tackles with 9.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and one interception last year. It was his first season playing for Kansas State.
Brown started out his college career at Miami. He was a backup for two seasons before sitting out the 2010 season when he transferred to Kansas State.
Brown has upside and should improve in his second season as a starter. He plays middle linebacker for the Wildcats ,but if he doesn't add weight, he'll have to move to outside linebacker in the NFL.
Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers
Height: 6-1. Weight: 241. Arm: 31 7/8. Hand: 9 1/2. 40 Time: 4.71. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: Despite a ton of production, Greene has gone under the radar. He could be a second-day steal.
Greene was an animal for Rutgers in 2012. He amassed 136 tackles, six sacks, six forced fumbles, five passes batted, two interceptions and 12 tackles for a loss. The senior was tremendous at consistently producing impact plays and was the leader of his defense.
Surprisingly, Greene didn't perform well at the Combine. His 40 time was slower than expected, and his bench press total of 17 reps was rather small.
8/29/12: Greene played safety his first two collegiate seasons before moving to outside linebacker as a junior. The move payed off for Rutgers as he used his speed to fly around the field and make tackles.
Greene led the team with 141 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last year. He broke his ankle against Iowa State in the Pinstripe Bowl. Greene had 77 tackles and two interceptions as a sophomore.
For the NFL, Greene may have to move back to safety if he is unable to add more weight. He looks like a safety/linebacker tweener.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
Height: 6-3. Weight: 250. Arm: 33 3/8. Hand 9 7/8 40 Time: 4.64. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: The fast and physical Collins was a consistent producer for Southern Miss. The senior totaled 92 tackles with 10 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, five passes batted and four forced fumbles this season. He racked up 98 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, eight passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception in 2011.
Collins put a serious athletic skill set on display at the Combine. He was fast, strong and fluid. Collins is an interesting prospect who could either be a 3-4 outside linebacker or as a 4-3 linebacker. An injury knocked him out of the Senior Bowl.
Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut
Height: 6-1. Weight: 245. Arm: 33.58. 40 Time: 4.65. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: Moore helped his draft stock by performing well at the East-West Shrine and the Senior Bowl. He showed nice speed, instincts and a physical nature. The senior totaled 72 tackles with 15.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and 11 passes broken up this year.
2012 was Moore's third straight quality season for Connecticut. He finished 2011 with 86 tackles with 16 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, six passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He had 110 tackles with an interception, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass broken up and two forced fumbles as a sophomore.
Moore demonstrated a serious combination of strength and speed at the Combine. He is a good sleeper linebacker who could develop in the NFL.
Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
Height: 6-1. Weight: 229. Arm: 31 7/8. Hand: 9 3/8. 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2013): 2-3. 4/24/13: Scouts told WalterFootball.com that Porter has a second-day grade for the 2013 NFL Draft. There were a lot of teams showing interest in him in the form of visits and workouts.
The Aggies changed defensive schemes after 2011, and Porter ended up as a traditional 4-3 outside linebacker, rather than the 3-4 outside linebacker position that he played before. Porter was not used as a pass-rusher very often as a result.
The senior recorded 66 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, four passes broken up and an interception for Texas A&M in 2012. Porter was solid at the Senior Bowl, but was slower than expected at the Combine.
8/29/12: After the Aggies lost Von Miller to the NFL, Porter was looked at to be a replacement in 2011. The junior did an admirable job of replacing Miller. Porter was a dangerous edge-rusher and used his speed to fly around the field. He totaled 79 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Porter played well against good teams and respectable offensive tackles. He recorded five sacks against Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Baylor. All three of those teams have offensive tackles who are well regarded.
Heading into November, Porter had 8.5 sacks and looked poised to compile a total in the teens. However, he had a streak of four games late in the season in which he didn't record a sack. Porter was still was around the ball in those games, and had quality tackle totals with four tackles for a loss. He ended the season well against Northwestern with six tackles and a sack.
Porter is a seek-and-destroy defender who flies around the field chasing down ball-carriers. His biggest strength is his ability to rush the quarterback off the edge. Porter plays well in space and is not a liability dropping into pass coverage, although he is a much bigger difference-maker rushing the quarterback.
Porter needs to add weight for the NFL. It would be ideal if he could gain 10-20 pounds to hold up on the edge. Porter occasionally gets washed out of plays in run defense when offensive linemen get their hands on him.
Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford
Height: 6-3. Weight: 244. Arm: 31 1/8. Hand: 9 1/2. 40 Time: 4.91. Projected Round (2013): 3-4. 4/24/13: Thomas is short on size, speed and athleticism. However he's a good football player and could be a nice value pick.
Thomas ended the year with 71 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, one interception and 7.5 sacks for Stanford. His sack against USC came at a critical time to help seal the Cardinal's upset win. He played really well against Notre Dame even though the stat sheet didn't reflect it.
The redshirt senior placed a lot more pressure on the quarterback than the sack numbers indicate. Thomas was quiet as a pass-rusher for some time before totaling four sacks in the final two regular-season games against UCLA.
Though Thomas has the flexibility to play inside linebacker, he thrives blitzing off the edge and combines good physical skills with intelligence. Thomas has a knack for causing turnovers. He had some struggles as a 4-3 outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl and that continued to be seen in the Combine drills. Thomas had a slow time in the 40-yard dash. He could use some development in the NFL.
8/29/12: Thomas started 2011 on fire, collecting 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss and two forced in the first two games. He has continued to play well throughout the year, which got harder for him after fellow linebacker Shayne Skov was lost to a season-ending injury.
That caused Thomas to get more blocking attention. He still had a real presence and consistently pressuring the quarterback. Thomas recorded 52 tackles with 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. He should be a perfect fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level.
Though Thomas has the flexibility to play inside linebacker as well, he thrives blitzing off the edge and combines good physical skills with intelligence. Thomas has a knack for causing turnovers. Thomas has added some bulk this offseason, and could eventually have ideal size for a 4-3. He could be the 2013 NFL Draft's version of Clay Matthews or Shea McClellin, and rise into the first round.
Trevardo Williams, OLB, Connecticut
Height: 6-1. Weight: 241. Arm: 32. Hand: 9 1/4. 40 Time: 4.57. Projected Round (2013): 3-4. 4/24/13: Williams played well overall in 2012. He picked up 42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks and a forced fumble. The one game in which the senior didn't have an impact was against Rutgers.
Williams was a workout warrior at the Combine with a fast 40 time and a good total on the bench press (30 reps). The issue for him is his future postion. He is a natural 3-4 outside linebacker, but is undersized for that position. Williams may have to play in a 4-3 in the NFL.
8/30/12: Williams came out of nowhere to be one of the most prolific pass-rushers in college football in 2011. He racked up 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, 43 tackles and two forced fumbles. However, almost a third of his sacks came in a four-sack game against Rutgers.
Williams had 6.5 sacks in his previous two seasons. He also needs to gain weight as he doesn't looks like a 3-4 edge-defender. Williams needs to become more consistent against the run this year, but still produce a quality sack total. Otherwise, he will be labeled a flash-in-the-pan one-year wonder.
Jelani Jenkins*, OLB, Florida
Height: 6-1. Weight: 243. Arm: 32.28. Projected 40 Time: 4.55. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Jenkins managed just 29 tackles in 2012. He broke his thumb against Texas A&M and missed two games due to the injury. The junior came back to play some against LSU before injuring his hamstring. He spent a lot of the LSU game on the sidelines and basically missed the next game, against Vanderbilt.
Jenkins was also out versus Georgia before playing well against Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette. He returned a blocked punt 36 yards for a game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter in the latter contest. Jenkins had an interception against Florida State before leaving the game after re-injuring his hamstring.
Jenkins' injury-plagued season should have caused him to return to school, but he entered the 2013 NFL Draft. The advisory board told Jenkins he would be a third-day pick. He added a lot of weight before the Combine and did well in the bench press (27 reps). Jenkins is a physical specimen who could be a sleeper prospect who develops into a starter.
8/29/12: Jenkins played well in 2011. His sideline-to-sideline speed is undeniable, and he just needs to become more consistent. Jenkins had 75 tackles with six tackles for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, one interception and six passes broken up last year. He should stay in school in 2012, if not for two more seasons, to get better and bigger before entering the NFL. The junior is just scratching the surface of his potential.
Jenkins earned a starting spot as a redshirt freshman in 2010. He recorded 76 tackles on the season, which led the Gators front-seven defenders and was behind only safety Ahmad Black on the team. Jenkins also had 4.5 tackles for a loss with one interception and two sacks.
Jenkins has added about 10 pounds of mass under Florida's new strength and conditioning coach. That added weight should help his overall game as well as his draft stock. Jenkins is extremely fast and looks like he has a high ceiling. He needs to continue to add bulk, but could be poised for a big season in 2012.
Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 243. Arm: 32.08 40 Time: 4.78. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: The team leader played really well with 109 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, seven passes broken up, one forced fumble and two interceptions in 2012.
Hodges is a well-rounded linebacker with three-down potential for the NFL. He performed well at the East-West Shrine, but didn't stand out at the Combine.
8/29/12: Hodges led Penn State in tackles last season with 106 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, one interception, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles. It was his first full season of playing time. He is a hard-nosed player who has good instincts and a nice physical skill set. The Penn Stater looks like a solid second-day selection.
Zaviar Gooden, OLB, Missouri
Height: 6-1. Weight: 234. Arm: 32.38. 40 Time: 4.47. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Some are high on Gooden because of his skill set, and think he could be a second-day pick. That is all based on projection because Gooden didn't play well last season. He finished 2012 with 61 tackles, an interception and four tackles for a loss. Gooden missed the games against Arizona State and Central Florida. He didn't compete well against South Carolina and Alabama.
It was a disappointing season for the senior, but he bounced back to perform well in Mobile at the Senior Bowl. Gooden looked a lot better there than he did during the fall. Gooden was extremely fast at the Combine and did well on the bench press (27 reps). However, he did not play up to his athletic ability in college.
8/29/12: Zavier Gooden was Missouri's replacement for Sean Weatherspoon in 2010, and the sophomore had a solid debut. He led Missouri with 85 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, two interceptions and two fumbles recovered.
Gooden didn't elevate his level of play as a junior as he recorded 80 tackles with six tackles for loss and two interceptions. He needs a big senior season in order to be a second-day pick.
Walter Stewart, OLB, Cincinnati
Height: 6-5. Weight: 249. Projected 40 Time: 4.72. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Stewart's 2012 season was off to a great start as one of the top pass-rushers in college football with five sacks through the first five games. He also had 22 tackles with two forced fumbles and seven tackles for a loss. The 6-foot-5, 249-pounder was a terror off the edge. However, a newly discovered spinal defect cost him the rest of the year and many thought his career was over.
Doctors have since cleared Stewart to return to football. The speedy edge-rusher could looks worthy of a late-round pick. He had 44 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, six sacks, eight passes broken up and four forced fumbles in 2011.
Steve Beauharnais, OLB, Rutgers
Height: 6-0. Weight: 240. Arm: 32. Hand: 9. Projected 40 Time: 4.84. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Beauharnais was a 3-year starter and a solid producer for Rutgers. He was overshadowed by Khaseem Greene, but Beauharnais was a very good college player in his own right. The senior totaled 82 tackles with a sack and an interception. He performed well at the Senior Bowl.
Beauharnais had his best season in 2011 as he recorded 77 tackles with five sacks, three interceptions, a forced fumble and 16 tackles for a loss. He totaled 79 tackles with six tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 2010. Beauharnais did not help himself at the Combine.
Ty Powell, OLB, Harding
Height: 6-2. Weight: 246. Arm: 32.48. 40 Time: 4.64. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Powell was one of the stars at the Combine and has continued to improve his standing with NFL scouts. He impressed scouts at his pro day with his movement skills at linebacker. Powell played defensive end, safety and linebacker during college.
The senior had 15 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, 40 tackles and four blocked kicks in 2012.
Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 251. Projected 40 Time: 4.67. Projected Round (2013): 4-6. 4/24/13: Jenkins went out for the year with a broken foot in the first week of the season. He would have been better off taking a medical redshirt and returning for his senior season, but he has decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft instead. Jenkins is more likely to have a big freefall than crack the first round. He had one sack and three tackles against Murray State before the injury.
Jenkins checked in shorter and lighter at the Combine than he was listed at Florida State. Jenkins isn't big enough to be a defensive end in the NFL and will have to play outside linebacker.
8/27/12: Jenkins had a breakout season in 2010. A first-year starter at right end, he led Florida State in sacks while the Seminoles led the nation in sacks. Jenkins notched 13.5 sacks with 21.5 tackles for a loss. He had five multi-sack games and was voted the team's MVP.
Jenkins started his junior season slowly. He drew extra blocking coming off his stellar 2010 season, but that helped defensive end Bjoern Werner have a breakout year. Jenkins didn't play well against Oklahoma, but he bounced back against Clemson with a sack and a number of pressures on quarterback Tajh Boyd.
Jenkins finished last year with 41 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and eight sacks. He played better down the stretch as he adjusted to the double-teams and also drew more one-on-one blocking. Jenkins's strength is his pass rushing. He hasn't been a real standout as a run defender.
Jenkins is a speed edge-rusher coming around the corner. He has a nice repertoire of moves to throw at offensive tackles. Jenkins is an excellent athlete who could fit well in a NFL 3-4 defense as an edge rusher. The biggest negative about the senior is that he could be more physical at times.
Jenkins' athletic ability is enough of a mismatch for him to record at least seven sacks this year, and he probably will approach double-digit sacks if not record 10+. That would give him a total of 30 sacks over three seasons, and that kind of production usually spells first-round pick.
Cameron Lawrence, OLB, Mississippi State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 230. Projected 40 Time: 4.70. Projected Round (2013): 6-FA. 4/24/13: Lawrence had 120 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, two interceptions and four sacks in 2012. He had double-digit tackle totals against Auburn, Troy and Tennessee. Lawrence is a good player and sleeper prospect who could surprise people at the next level. He has good instincts.
8/29/12: Lawrence was second in the SEC in tackles in 2011 with 123 total stops. He also had six tackles for a loss, two sacks and two interceptions. Lawrence is high-effort player who could be a solid depth linebacker and special teams performer in the NFL.
Jake Knott, OLB, Iowa State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 239. Arm: 31.08. Projected 40 Time: 4.72. Projected Round (2013): 6-FA. 4/24/13: Knott recorded 79 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and six passes broken up in 2012, but missed the final five games.
8/29/12: Knott had a strong junior season with 115 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. The team captain was a First-Team All-Big XII selection.
Knott broke out with a fabulous sophomore season, recording 130 tackles, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and five passes broken up. He is a smart, instinctive defender who looks a little lacking in the physical-skills department.
DeVonte Holloman, OLB, South Carolina
Height: 6-1. Weight: 243. Arm: 32.48. 40 Time: 4.76. Projected Round (2013): 6-FA. 4/24/13: Holloman recorded 57 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, four passes broken up and two sacks in 2012. He was a solid contributor for the Gamecocks. At the Combine, Holloman didn't run fast and had a low total on the bench press (15 reps).
8/29/12: Holloman played strong safety the past two seasons, but he is too big to be a defensive back in the NFL. Holloman totaled 51 tackles with an interception and four passes broken up last season. He had 69 tackles in 10 starts at strong safety in 2010.
Holloman looks like a good special teams player for the NFL, but he will be a developmental project on defense.
Michael Clay, OLB, Oregon
Height: 5-11. Weight: 222. Projected 40 Time: 4.64. Projected Round (2012): 6-FA. 4/24/13: Clay led Oregon in tackles this year with 101. He also recoeded 10 tackles for a loss, three sacks and a forced fumble. Clay had an even bigger impact in 2011 with 102 tackles, two interceptions, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
Clay is extremely undersized for linebacker. He may have to lose some weight and move to safety in the NFL, unless he can add another 10-15 pounds.
Travis Long, OLB, Washington State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 256. Projected 40 Time: 4.79. Projected Round (2013): 6-FA. 4/24/13: Long turned in three multi-sack games through the first four contests of 2012. He totaled 61 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, four passes batted, an interception and a forced fumble for the year.
Long should definitely stay as a 3-4 linebacker in the NFL. He is very much in the mold of the Texans' linebackers Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed. Long didn't participate in the Combine or play in an All-Star game.
8/29/12: The Cougars are making the switch to a 3-4 defense and moving Long to outside linebacker. He played linebacker in high school before being moved to end in college.
Long is a much better fit as a standup linebacker who can use his speed and athleticism to attack offenses in space. If the senior performs well this season, he could be a prospect similar to Brooks Reed or Connor Barwin.
Long has had modest production over the past two years. He had 51 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and one forced fumble in 2010. The junior notched 42 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, four sacks and a forced fumble last season.
While Long's stat line is just decent, the coaches of the Pac-12 names him as a 2011 Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection. He had a bigger impact than his numbers illustrated.
Long definitely is an outside linebacker for the NFL game. He is a nice sleeper prospect who could be in store for a good final season to elevate his draft stock.
Alonzo Highsmith, OLB, Arkansas
Height: 6-1. Weight: 220. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2013): 7-FA. 4/24/13: Highsmith was solid for Arkansas with 54 tackles and two sacks through six games. He had 10 tackles against Alabama, but was hurt versus Auburn. Highsmith was out for the rest of the season because of a foot injury. He did not participate in the Combine.
8/29/12: The junior college product Highsmith had a respectable debut year in 2011 for Arkansas. He had 80 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. Highsmith had a big game against LSU with 13 tackles, .5 sacks and a fumble returned 47 yards for a touchdown. His father, Alonzo Highsmith Sr., was a star running back at the University of Miami and played seven years in the NFL.
Shaq Wilson, OLB, South Carolina
Height: 5-11. Weight: 224. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2013): 7-FA. 4/24/13: Wilson had 86 tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 2012. He was a good player for South Carolina. The senior is fast and plays with some aggressiveness, but is extremely undersized.
Wilson collected 52 tackles, five tackles for a loss and two passes broken up in 2011. He missed the previous season with a hamstring injury.
Kenny Tate, OLB, Maryland
Height: 6-4. Weight: 230. Projected 40 Time: 4.71. Projected Round (2013): FA. 4/24/13: Tate missed the first three games of the year. He ended 2012 with a total of 42 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, four sacks and a forced fumble. Tate had three sacks against Florida State.
8/29/12: Tate has played both linebacker and safety in his Maryland career. He is a tweener, but should be a linebacker in the NFL.
Tate had an excellent 2010 season as the starting free safety and was a First-Team All-ACC pick. He had 100 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a lost, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.
Tate was playing a hybrid linebacker and safety position last season that is common in college football. He was limited to four games after sustaining a knee injury. Tate needs to stay healthy and produce in order to help his draft stock.
Mike Taylor, OLB, Wisconsin
Height: 6-2. Weight: 222. Projected 40 Time: 4.72. Projected Round (2013): FA. 4/24/13: Taylor recorded 123 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, three sacks and four passes broken up in 2012. He had a big game against Utah State with 15 tackles. Taylor is a good college player, but looks short on size and athletic ability to start in the NFL.
8/29/12: Taylor was an All-Big Ten selection last year. The junior was one of the leaders on Wisconsin's defense and had big-time tackle production. Taylor recorded 150 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and five passes broken up. He is extremely intelligent and instinctive.
Taylor broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman in 2009. He started seven games before losing the rest of year to injury. Taylor recorded 58 tackles in 2010 with eight tackles for a loss, one sack and two interceptions.
The senior is a quality run-defender who has to pack on more size for the NFL. If Taylor weren't so undersized, he would be a second-day pick.