2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Inside Linebackers

The top 2014 inside linebacker prospects available for the 2014 NFL Draft. * - denotes 2015 prospect. ** - denotes 2016 prospect.

This page was last updated May 5, 2014. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2017 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 | P

2018 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 | P

  1. C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 234.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
    Projected Round (2014): 1-2.

    5/5/14: As we outlined in the rumormill, Mosley's stock is on the decline with some teams. WalterFootball.com spoke with a playoff team in the 20s that is in the market for a linebacker; they like other linebackers more than Mosley. Another team told us that linebackers slide every year and that Mosley falling to the second round isn't out of the question, just like Manti Te'o in the 2013 NFL Draft. Teams have concerns about a knee injury with Mosley and are worried about him being the latest Alabama player to enter the NFL banged up. He is most likely to be a late first-round pick.

    In 2013, Mosley totaled 102 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes broken up. He played well against Oklahoma and had 14 tackles versus Auburn. The senior also got burned on some of the Tigers' misdirection read-option runs.

    Mosley's best game of the season came against LSU. He was around the ball all night making tackles and having a physical presence. Mosley finished with 12 tackles, two passes broken up and 1.5 tackles for a loss, although he did drop an easy interception.

    Mosley was solid in every game in 2013, including against Arkansas when he recorded 10 tackles. Mosley had a good outing versus Texas A&M with 12 tackles. He has showcased a well-rounded game with good run defense, pass coverage and blitzing ability.

    8/14/13: Mosley played excellent football for Alabama last season. He led the team with 107 tackles. The junior also notched two interceptions, four sacks, eight tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two passes broken up. One of his interceptions was returned 16 yards for a touchdown against Michigan.

    Mosley has a real presence playing fast and physical football. Alabama's other defenders struggled against Texas A&M in 2012, but he was excellent, making 14 tackles and a sack.

    NFL scouts will love Mosley's pass defense. He is a phenomenal defender in the passing game in man coverage, zone coverage and blitzing. Mosley is reliable in the ground game and he is a special player.

    Mosley had an excellent debut in 2010. The freshman was third on Alabama's defense with 67 tackles. He also had 10 pass break-ups with two interceptions that were both returned for touchdowns.

    Mosley split a starting role with linebacker Nico Johnson in 2011; Mosley was used more in pass defense. He also missed two games with a dislocated elbow, but ended up with 37 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and an interception. Mosley was injured again in the national championship after he intercepted a pass from Jordan Jefferson. Mosley dislocated his hip on the tackle by Jefferson, but was fine for the start of the 2012 season.

    Mosley has a lot of talent and figures to be very productive for Nick Saban in 2013. The senior is extremely fast and has good instincts.

  2. Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 248.
    40 Time: 4.83.
    Projected Round (2014): 2-4.

    5/5/14: The projections of Borland going in the top 60 have slowed, and it looks more likely that he'll end up as a third-round pick.

    Borland racked up 112 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, two passes broken up, two forced fumbles and four sacks in 2013. The redshirt senior is a thumper middle linebacker who is a tough-as-nails run-defender. He has shown some nice pass-rush ability as an interior blitzer. At the Senior Bowl, Borland had an excellent week to help his draft stock.

    Borland is a tough, physical defender who has a knack for jarring the ball loose. His best fit in the NFL could be on the inside of a 3-4 defense. He may not have the speed and athleticism to play in a 4-3. Borland is short and not a fluid athlete for pass coverage in the NFL, so he could easily end up being a two-down linebacker and special teams contributor.

    At the Combine, Borland was slow - as many expected.

    8/16/13: Borland totaled 104 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and six passes broken up last year. He has been a solid defender for the Badgers, but may not be a starter in the NFL. Borland needs to show an improved ability to defend the pass, or he may only be a two-down linebacker as a pro.

    Borland is a thumper middle linebacker who is an excellent run-stuffer. He totaled 143 tackles in 2011, along with 19 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and five passes broken up. Borland missed all but two games in 2010 with a shoulder injury. The freshman had a solid debut in 2009 with 54 tackles and five forced fumbles.

    Personal: Majoring in history. Son of Jeff and Zebbie Borland.

  3. Carl Bradford*, OLB/ILB, Arizona State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 243.
    40 Time: 4.76.
    Projected Round (2014): 2-4.

    5/5/14: Bradford played really well in 2013. He has a unique skill set with toughness as a run-defender and pass-rushing ability.

    Bradford was impressive against Notre Dame with a lot of disruption. He was superb against Washington State with forced fumbles and a sack. The junior was suspended against Oregon State. Bradford had 61 tackles with 19 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, four passes broken up, one interception and three forced fumbles in 2013. He could be a nice weapon in a 3-4 defense who plays on the inside and outside. Bradford would fit best as a Sam (strongside) linebacker in a 4-3, but he could also be trained on the inside.

    9/5/13: Bradford broke out last year with 81 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for a loss, five passes defended, three forced fumbles and one interception. The sophomore started strong and was on fire to close out the season. He had sacks in the final six games with a total of seven sacks in that stretch. With Will Sutton causing havoc on the inside, Bradford could have another big season as a junior in 2013.

  4. Christian Jones, OLB/ILB, Florida State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 240.
    40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2014): 2-3.

    5/5/14: Jones recorded 56 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, one interception and two sacks in 2013. He had good games against Clemson, Miami and Florida. Florida State was looking for some edge rushers after losing Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine to the 2013 NFL Draft, so the Seminoles played Jones at defensive end a lot. That significantly hurt his tackle totals and didn't use him in a manner that helped his draft stock. Jones was solid at the Senior Bowl and Combine.

    8/16/13: Jones totaled 56 tackles, six tackles for a loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles in 2011. He made a lot of improvements as a junior. The second-year starter led FSU in tackles with 95, plus recorded seven tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

    There is a nice buzz about Jones heading into the his senior season. Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that Jones has a lot of what they are looking for and they feel he is on his way to being an early-round pick. Jones is fast and athletic, so he could produce a huge senior season. If Jones improves as much as he did after his first year as a starter, he could rise into the first round.

  5. Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
    Projected Round (2014): 2-4.

    5/5/14: There are reports that Skov hasn't worked out well for scouts in the final weeks before the 2014 NFL Draft. He could fall to the third day. The fifth-year senior notched 109 tackles with 5.5 sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and four passes broken up in 2013. He had monster games against Washington and Oregon. Skov looked fast and instinctive in 2013. He was a leader and play-maker for the Cardinal defense. Skov didn't run at the Combine.

    8/14/13: Skov was rusty for a lot of last year coming off his 2011 ACL injury. He also was suspended for the first game of 2012 follwowing a DUI arrest over the offseason. Skov had 80 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a pass broken up for the year. He looked more like his old self late in the season and had a great game against Oregon to help shut down the Ducks' high-powered offense.

    Skov played well in the first two games of the 2011 season with 18 tackles, four tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a pass broken up. He blew out his knee in the third game of the year, ending his season. Skov had a strong 2010 season with 84 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and five passes broken up.

    The versatile linebacker is a tough run-defender and an attacking pass-rusher. Like many Stanford defenders, Skov is a perfect fit in a 3-4 defense. He can play multiple positions and has some blitzing ability.

    Personal: Son of Peter and Terri Skov. Majoring in management science and engineering.

  6. Lamin Barrow, ILB/OLB, LSU
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 237.
    40 Time: 4.64.
    Projected Round (2014): 3-5.

    5/5/14: Barrow totaled 91 tackles with 4.5 tackles for a loss and two passes defended in 2013. He wasn't impressive against Alabama, but played better against Texas A&M and Iowa. Barrow didn't get a lot of acclaim, but he played well at the Senior Bowl and was impressive in practice. Barrow was solid at the Combine.

    8/14/13: While players like Barkevious Mingo, Eric Reid and Kevin Minter received the most attention last year, Barrow had an impressive season in his own right. The junior totaled 104 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and one forced fumble. He was a backup to Ryan Baker in 2011 and only made 17 tackles for the season.

    Barrow is a tough run-defender and could be better in 2013 with his year of experience. He needs to show the ability to be good linebacker in pass coverage. Barrow also needs to add weight to be a middle linebacker in the NFL, otherwise he should move to the outside.

    Personal: Majoring in general studies. Son of Ali and Saidah Barrow.

  7. Yawin Smallwood, ILB, Connecticut
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 246.
    40 Time: 5.01
    Projected Round (2014): 3-5.

    5/5/14: At the Combine, Smallwood was a little smaller than expected and injured himself during his 40-yard dash.

    Smallwood was a consistent force for Connecticut over the past three seasons. In 2013, he was one of the nation's leaders in tackles with 111. Smallwood also picked up 7.5 tackles for a loss, eight passes broken up, two sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles. Against Michigan, he almost led an upset win with 13 tackles, one sack, another tackle for a loss and a forced fumble.

    Smallwood notched 120 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles in 2012. As a redshirt freshman in 2011, he became the starter at middle linebacker and recorded 94 tackles.

    Personal: Sociology major.

  8. Jordan Zumwalt, ILB/OLB, UCLA
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 230.
    40 Time: 4.76.
    Projected Round (2014): 3-5.

    5/5/14: Zumwalt has a number of teams interested in him in the mid-rounds. He played well for the Bruins in 2013. Zumwalt helped himself and was a tough defender in the tackle box. He played extremely well against Virginia Tech in the bowl game with 10 tackles an interception. The senior finished the year with 93 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. Zumwalt was solid at the East-West Shrine, but wasn't impressive at the Combine.

    8/14/13: Zumwalt started nine games last year, yet finished fourth on the team with 71 tackles. He had eight tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two sacks. Zumwalt notched 60 tackles and six tackles for a loss in 2011. The senior may have to move to outside linebacker in the NFL if he can't add weight.

    Personal: Son of Nanette and Rick Zumwalt.

  9. Khairi Fortt, ILB, California
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 248.
    40 Time: 4.70.
    Projected Round (2014): 3-5.

    5/5/14: In 2013, Fortt had 64 tackles with 3.5 tackles for a loss, .5 sacks, zero passes broken up and zero interceptions. He would probably fit best as an inside linebacker in a 3-4. Fortt had a quality performance at the Combine.

    Fortt transfered to California from Penn State, so he had to sit out the 2012 season. He had 50 tackles over two seasons of playing time for the Nittany Lions. In 2011, Fortt had 33 tackles with six tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks.

    Personal: Son of Guy and Dr. Tabitha Fortt.

  10. Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 249.
    40 Time: 4.78.
    Projected Round (2014): 4-5.

    5/5/14: Bullough recorded 76 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two passes broken up in 2013. He was a big presence and leader for one of the best defenses in the nation. Bullough is a good run-stuffer, but he will need to improve his pass coverage for the NFL. Bullough hurt his stock by getting suspended for the Rose Bowl. The reasons haven't been made clear, so it is hard to estimate how heavily that will be held against him. He played well at the East-West Shrine and was solid at the Combine.

    8/16/13: Bullough has been one of the better linebackers in the Big Ten over the past few years. He was selected by the coaches as a First-Team All-Big Ten linebacker in 2012 after totaling 111 tackles, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. Bullough was a Second-Team All-Big Ten pick for his 2011 season. He led the Spartans with 89 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks.

    Bullough has nice bulk and is a strong, physical defender. He is very tough in the tackle box and at the point of attack. The question for the next level is going to be if Bullough is only a run-down linebacker. He needs to show that he can defend the pass and play well in coverage in 2013. The senior also has to demonstrate the ability to get deep in his pass drops. If Bullough can't play in the nickel package, he could fall into the mid- to late rounds.

    Personal: Majoring in finance. Son of Shane and LeeAnn Bullough.

  11. Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 254.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
    Projected Round (2014): 4-6.

    5/5/14: In 2013, Jackson recorded 95 tackles with 8.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and two passes broken up. He didn't do enough to impress at the East-West Shrine. Jackson went to the Combine, but didn't do the field work or run the 40.

    8/16/13: A Lakeland, Fla. product, Jackson grew up in Ray Lewis' hometown and has patterned his game after the future Hall of Famer. Jackson had 109 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble in 2011. The sophomore played well against the better competition with 12 tackles and a sack against Kentucky, and eight tackles and a sack against LSU.

    Jackson is one of the most physical players in college football as he constantly lays the wood on linemen and ball-carriers. The junior totaled 122 tackles, 16.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and four forced fumbles in 2012. Jackson held his own against Alabama with seven tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss. He had a huge game against Florida Atlantic with 19 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, a pass batted and a forced fumble that was returned 75 yards for a touchdown by teammate Quanterus Smith.

    Jackson is a thumper of a linebacker. He has good instincts and some quickness. Jackson is extremely physical and has real presence on the field with a big-time demeanor. He needs to show pass-coverage skills and three-down ability as a senior.

  12. James Morris, OLB/ILB, Iowa
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.80.
    Projected Round (2014): 6-7.

    5/5/14: Morris played really well for Iowa in his 4-year career. In 2013, he amassed 107 tackles with 18 tackles for a loss, eight sacks, three passes broken up, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. Morris had a disappointing Combine performance.

    8/14/13: Morris had 113 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four pass breakups and an interception in 2012. He was a solid player, but wasn't a play-maker.

    Morris made 70 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss and four passes broken up in 2010. He had 110 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and one interception in 2011. Morris has good instincts, but looks short on size and speed. If the senior doesn't add around 10 pounds, he will have to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. That could be a better fit for him anyway.

    Personal: Son of Lynn and Greg Morris.

  13. A.J. Tarpley, ILB/OLB, Stanford
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 238.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
    Projected Round (2014): 6-7.

    5/5/14: Tarpley totaled 93 tackles, five tackles for a loss, one interception, three passes batted, one sack and one forced fumble in 2013. He played well against Oregon. Tarpley didn't participate in the Combine.

    8/14/13: Tarpley saw his first playing time in 2011 while Shayne Skov was out with a knee injury. Tarpley started seven games and totaled 57 tackles with four tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four passes broken up and two forced fumbles.

    Tarpley rotated into the game in 2012 behind established linebackers like Skov and Chase Thomas. Tarpley recorded 66 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, two sacks, five passes broken up, a forced fumble and an interception (against Oregon) in that backup role. Tarpley needs to produce well and lock down a starting spot as a senior.

    Personal: Majoring in science, technology and society. Son of Karen and Audie Tarpley.

  14. `
  15. Caleb Lavey, ILB, Oklahoma State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 240.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2014): 6-7.

    5/5/14: Lavey is a sleeper linebacker prospect who could be a nice value pick. He played really well for the Cowboys in 2013, especially in pass coverage. Lavey had 93 tackles with 2.5 sacks, four interceptions, three passes broken up, three forced fumbles and 12.5 tackles for a loss. He didn't participate in the Combine.

    8/16/13: Lavey recorded 53 tackles, two sacks, seven tackles for a loss and one forced fumble last season. He took over as the starter in the middle of the Cowboys' defense in 2011. The sophomore flashed with some big games against Texas and Texas A&M. He totaled 74 tackles with five tackles for a loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one interception.

    Lavey is a sleeper prospect who could rise with a strong senior season.

    Personal: Finance major. Son of Jenny and Mike Lavey.

  16. Andrew Wilson, ILB/OLB, Missouri
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2014): 7-FA.

    5/5/14: In 2013, Wilson had 113 tackles with 6.5 tackles for a loss and three passes defended. He didn't attend the Combine.

    8/14/13: Missouri had a rough season in its SEC debut and Wilson's production was down slightly. He totaled 79 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, four forced fumbles and .5 sacks. Wilson was a Second-Team All-Big XII selection in 2011. The first-year starter led the Tigers with 98 tackles after taking over at middle linebacker.

    Personal: Majoring in business management. Son of Jay & Stacy Wilson.

2017 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 | P

2018 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 | P



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