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2013 NFL Draft: Alec Ogletree, Arthur Brown headline linebackers

Posted Apr 9, 2013

With the 2013 NFL Draft set for April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris is identifying the top prospects available at every position. Today, he presents an overview of the best 4-3 outside linebackers and inside linebackers.

4-3 Outside Linebackers

1. Alec Ogletree, Georgia: Many have suggested that Ogletree can play inside linebacker, and although that might be true behind a three-man front, his best fit is on the weak side in a traditional 4-3 alignment. Ogletree is a great closer with coverage ability, but he struggles to work through trash with his hands. Projection: Top 50

2. Sio Moore, Connecticut: A true strongside linebacker, Moore offers pass-rushing ability, a physical demeanor on first contact and athleticism to hold up in space. He's not a flashy name, but Moore was a versatile piece on the UConn defense and shows a willingness to do the dirty work. Projection: Second round

3. DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina: As a former safety with a natural toughness to his game, Holloman can likely project as a weak- or strong-side player. He did his best work as the latter, getting upfield while staying under control. Holloman isn't big for the position, but he sheds blockers to make tackles and is experienced in space. Projection: Third round

4. Zaviar Gooden, Missouri: Gooden has some ridiculous closing speed from the weak side and can really chase down ball carriers when given an open lane. I do have some questions about his hips when closing in tight spaces, but with solid angles from the back side, that should not be an issue. Projection: Second round

5. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers: Few 4-3 linebackers were more productive than Greene in 2012. He shows NFL-caliber ability in coverage and while chasing down ball carriers. That said, outside of lining up tackles on the edge, he plays a bit too soft for my liking. Projection: Third round

Inside Linebackers

1. Arthur Brown, Kansas State: Some will automatically write off Brown as an inside linebacker due to his size. Don't. He's short, not small. Brown is an aggressive and physical player who routinely stacks and sheds blockers to make plays near the line of scrimmage. His range to the sideline is exceptional, as well. Projection: First round

2. Kevin Minter, LSU: An absolute missile between the tackles, Minter never shies away from contacting second-level blockers or meeting them at the line. He is just fast enough to reach the edge on outside runs, but Minter will allow a defense to work upfield and stop that lateral movement. Projection: Top 50

3. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame: We have all seen Te'o's on-field struggles, and most of them come versus power offenses that run at and engulf the linebacker. (Alabama immediately comes to mind.) He still offers reliable traits of a good -- but not great -- starting inside linebacker. Projection: Top 50

4. Jon Bostic, Florida: Bostic's solid NFL Scouting Combine workout was a bit surprising, since his best attribute on tape appears to be a willingness to absorb and fight off blocks. Perhaps Bostic has a higher athletic ceiling than initially expected, but a team will have to capitalize on that. Projection: Third round

5. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina: Using good vision to work through trash and plus closing speed to make tackles on ball carriers in running lanes, Reddick fulfills his assignment play after play. In tight spaces, however, the Tar Heel has been known to struggle when fighting off blockers. Projection: Fourth round


Like to do your own draft scouting? We have prospect highlight videos of all the top players entering the 2013 NFL Draft. Watch them now in our Draft section.

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