CFB 24/7: Path to the Draft  

 

Top 5 2014 NFL Draft prospects by position: Outside linebackers

The increased utilization of hybrid 3-4 defenses has made outside linebacker a marquee position in the draft. Coaches and scouts love hybrid players capable of rushing or dropping from the edge.


Pre-draft events:
» Senior Bowl | NFL Scouting Combine | Pro days

Mock drafts:
» Brooks: Projecting first two rounds
» Huguenin: Texans would regret not taking QB
» Jeremiah: Surprise team takes a QB
» Goodbread: Diabolical duo for Detroit
» Smith: One of 'Big 3' QBs is going to slip
» Fischer: Bridgewater falls out of first round
» Davis: Clowney No. 1; Bridgewater to Browns

Draft coverage:
» Tracking teams' interest in prospects | Draft rumors
» Mayock's position-by-position prospect rankings
» Brooks' Big Board | Position rankings | Blog
» Jeremiah's top 50 draft prospects
» Brandt's top 50 draft prospects
» Top positional draft needs for all 32 teams
» College Football 24/7 Podcast: Latest draft buzz

Draft's top five at each position:
» QB | RB | WR | TE | OT | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S

Draft Tracker:
» Rounds | Teams | Players | Positions | History

Interact:
» Fan War Rooms | Predict the Pick | Twitter

Video:
» NFL comparisons for top draft prospects
» Combine workouts: Top prospects go through drills

Anthony Barr is the headliner of a group that features several intriguing possibilities. The UCLA star has emerged as a disruptive force despite only spending two seasons on the defensive side of the ball.

Ryan Shazier wreaked havoc on opponents in the Big Ten, with a combination of speed and quickness that made him nearly impossible to slow down off the edge. Khalil Mack is a small-school standout with big-time game.

1. Anthony Barr, UCLA

The former running back has become the premier edge defender in college football. Barr showed tremendous growth as a drop defender, while also adding a few tools to the toolbox as a pass rusher.

2. Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Scouts are buzzing over Mack's potential as a rugged edge defender. He established new NCAA marks in tackles for loss and forced fumbles, but the level of competition diminishes the significance of those numbers, in my mind. While some small-school standouts struggle at the next level, the fact that Mack is such a polished player makes it hard to bypass his skills as a disruptive playmaker.

3. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

Shazier dominated the Big Ten with his speed and quickness, but he's more than a one-trick pony off the edge. Shazier is capable of tracking down runners from the back side in the running game, yet is also comfortable shadowing tight ends down the seam. Some scouts will have concerns about his slender build, but coaches looking for a versatile second-level defender will place him near the top of the charts.

4. Kyle Van Noy, BYU

Few defenders can match Van Noy's disruptive production as an edge player. He wreaks havoc off the edges, while also making plays against the run or pass. Those skills were on full display at the Senior Bowl, boosting his chances of hearing his name called at the end of the first round.

5. Telvin Smith, Florida State

A strong performance at the Senior Bowl has created a buzz about Smith's game and potential in the scouting community. Some evaluators view Smith as a dynamic "Will" linebacker in a traditional 4-3.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15