Category Archives: Outside Linebackers

Outside Linebackers: Final Position Rankings

2019 NFL Draft:  Top Ranked OLBs

There are no “can’t miss” first round players in this year’s outside linebacker class. Joseph, who is the best run defender of the group, might be on the board when the third round begins. It’s just not talent heavy on the top. However, by the time the third, and fourth round rolls around, expect to see the first wave of 8-10 outside linebackers come off the board. After that, teams will be looking for guys who can excel at special teams and guys with speed.

Vosean Joseph is lightning quick going downhill.
Photo: Jerome Miran/USATODAYSports

1. Vosean Joseph, Florida, 6-1/230

With Josh Allen being listed with DE’s, Joseph now sits atop the OLB rankings. Joseph shows plenty of downhill speed and lateral quickness. Has good instincts and trusts his eyes. He’s a powerful and physical ‘backer that makes splash plays. Athletic enough to cover any back.

2. Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame, 6-2/234

Tranquill is one of the good guys. A team player that will do anything asked of him. Can cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield which might get him on the field sooner than later. Will most like be a special teams standout.

3. David Long, Jr., West Virginia, 5-11/227

Much like Joseph, Long is a big play waiting to happen. He loves physical contact and tries to separate ball carriers from the ball. Generally, trusts what he sees, but can be overly aggressive at times.

4. Ben Burr-Kirvan, Washington, 6-0/230

Burr-Kirvan is a tackling machine. Played in the middle at Washington but projects either at weakside linebacker or a hybrid-safety at the next level. He ran a 4.56 at the combine. Will most likely earn his bread-and-butter on special teams to begin with.

5. Blake Cashman, Minnesota, 6-1/237

Cashman turned heads by declaring early for the draft. Known for his football IQ more than his athleticism, his Combine number were very solid. Was a tone-setter for the Gopher’s defense. Has the frame to get bigger.

6. Dakota Allen, Texas Tech, 6-1/232

Dakota Allen became a household name after his stint on season two of Netflix’s Last Chance U, but he also backed it up on the field. During the last two seasons, Allen racked up 162 total tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss in 23 games played. 

7. Tyrel Dodson, Texas A&M, 6-0/237

Dodson is a leader on and off the field: won the team’s community service award. The junior linebacker has 201 career tackles with 18.5 tackles-for-loss and 11 passes defended.

8. Gary Johnson, Texas, 6-0/225

Speed is the name of Johnson’s game. Above average range and athleticism. Can get skinny and shoot gaps. He’s at his best when playing in pursuit.

9. Cody Barton, Utah, 6-2/237

Was new to the linebacker position when he arrived in Utah back in 2016 and has been steadily growing into the position. Has played in 50 games with 23 starts in his four year career. He played inside at Utah, but has enough athleticism to move outside at the next level.

10. Chase Hansen, Utah, 6-3/222

Hansen was unable to workout for Scouts at Utah’s Pro Day, telling scouts that he had played the second half of the 2018 season with a herniated disc in his lower back. How teams view his currently medical situation will have a lot to do with how they evaluate his draft status.
Hansen’s has some of the best pass defense skills in his position group. He had 16 passed defended in his career at Utah. And in today’s pass happy NFL, his skill set would certainly be welcomed.

11. Terez Hall, Missouri, 6-1/230

Team Captain bursting with high motor energy. Loves film study and is assignment sound. Has improved his coverage skills and hands while at Mizzou. Two -year starter with 36 games played.

12. Sione Takitaki, BYU, 6-1/238

Takitaki really upped his game last year, accounting for 119 tackles, 75 of which were solo. Takitaki closes on the ball in a flash and wraps up well. He had a very solid week at the East-West Shrine game. Should make an immediate impact on special teams.

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  1. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin, 6-0/230
  2. Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas, 5-11/237
  3. B.J. Blunt, McNeese State, 6-1/220
  4. Joe-Giles Harris, Duke, 6-2/234
  5. Luke Gifford, Nebraska, 6-3/243
  6. Quinton Bell, Prairie View A&M, 6-3/238
  7. Koa Farmer, Penn State, 6-1/228
  8. Jordan Jones, Kentucky, 6-2/234
  9. Curtis Bolton, Oklahoma, 6-1/220
  10. Kaden Elliss, Idaho, 6-3/222
  11. Oluwaseun Idowu, Pittsburgh, 6-0/225
  12. Nate Harvey, East Carolina, 6-1/225
  13. Troy Reeder, Delaware, 6-1/235
  14. Deonte Roberts, Rutgers, 6-1/230
  15. Tre Crawford, Alabama-Birmingham, 6-1/228
  16. Khalil Hodge, Buffalo, 6-0/235
  17. Denzil Ware, Jacksonville State, 6-2/240
  18. Charles Wright, Vanderbilt, 6-3/240
  19. Ben Humphreys, Duke, 6-2/225
  20. Nate Hall, Northwestern, 6-2/225
  21. Gunner Scholato, Austin Peay, 6-1/233
  22. E.J. Speed, Tarleton State, 6-3/227

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Top Five ‘Tweeners: These players were college defensive ends who will be asked to move to linebacker at the next level. They’ll need to prove they have enough athleticism to cover tight ends and running backs at the next level – something they either didn’t do in college, or did in a limited capacity. Individual and private workouts will primarily determine where they are drafted.

  1. Christian Miller, Alabama, 6-3/247
  2. Ben Banogu, Texas Christian, 6-3/250
  3. Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois, 6-0/233
  4. Jamal Davis II, Akron, 6-3/243
  5. Anree Saint-Amour, Georgia Tech, 6-3/247

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 PLAYER PROFILE: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Clelin Ferrel had an amazing season, winning 2018 Hendricks Award, winning a National Championship and being named a Consensus All-American. He possesses a quick first step and uses his long arms to his advantage. Because of his size, he holds up well against the run and can be an every down player.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: CLELIN FERRELL | DE | CLEMSON

Height: 6-5| Weight: 260 | Class: Junior | 40 time:

Ferrell may be the most polished edge rusher in the draft. He has prototypical size for his position. On passing plays, he shows a springy first step, followed by good dip and lean. He’s really good at using his long arms to create distance and has a nice punch. Ferrell shows a nice rip move and can swim inside. He keeps his head up and reacts quickly, resulting is tackles for loss. He’s a stout run stopper that sets a good edge.

Ferrell doesn’t have the bend of an you’d like to see, but he get round most tackles on pure athleticism. Top tier tackles were able to handle his speed rush and wall him off at times. While he does have a good arsenal of moves, Farrell is far from reaching his ceiling – and good coaching at the next level will only help him get better.

Ferrell was a Consensus All-American in 2018.
Photo: Tigersnet.com

Ferrell was a consensus first-team All-American, earning selections by AP, Sporting News and Walter Camp. He was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year; first-team All-ACC; and unanimous first-team AP All-ACC selection and earned AP ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

The junior pass rusher from Richmond, Va., entered bowl season credited with 45 tackles, including 17 for loss; 10.5 sacks; three pass breakups; two forced fumbles; and a fumble recovered for a touchdown. He started every game for the Tigers.

In his three-year career, he had 47.5 tackles for loss, eighth most in Tiger history, and 26 sacks, fifth most in school history.

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Plus all NEW, updated, Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 PLAYER PROFILE: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky

Josh Allen has enough athleticism to play linebacker in the 3-4. He has enough size to play on the edge in a 4-3. He’s a guy who has worked hard for everything honor he’s earned. While other players were skipping bowl games, Allen wrapped up his senior year by getting 3 sacks and a blocked kick in the Citrus Bowl. He hustles. He’s grown and gotten better each and every year. And no matter what team selects him, they’ll be getting a true football player.

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2019 NFL DRAFT: JOSH ALLEN | DE | KENTUCKY

Height: 6-4| Weight: 252 | Class: Senior | 40 time:

Allen has prototypical size to play end in the NFL. On passing plays, he shows excellent agility, with enough speed and burst to get past the offensive lineman. He has good bend, dip, and lean when taking the corner. Allen has the quickness to split the gap if asked to rush inside. He shows great closing burst when tracking down from the backside. He plays with his eyes, and his reactions without hesitation.

Occasionally, he’ll try to duck blockers instead of shedding them. While he has a good speed move, good rip and chop, he’ll need to add more moves to his arsenal at the next level.

Josh Allen was a 2018 Consensus All-American.
Photo: David Stephenson, AP

Allen finished his career with 220 total tackles (121 solo), 42 tackles for loss, and 31.5 sacks. He caused 11 fumbles, recovered two, and snagged one INT while in Lexington.

In 2018, Allen set a school single-season record with 17 sacks this past season. Overall, he had 21 tackles for loss and forced five fumbles. He recovered two fumbles. Allen also broke up four passes.

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Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

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The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

Cure Bowl – Dec 15

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ CaJuns (7-6)  vs  Tulane Green Wave (6-6)

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LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE RAGIN’ CAJUNS  |  SUN BELT CONFERENCE

Coach:  Billy Napier

Louisiana-Lafayette Players to watch:

**Sophomore RB Trey Ragas  (5-11/227)

TREY RAGAS IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST GRADED RB IN NATION
Photo: Athlon

A native of New Orleans, Ragas led the Sun Belt Conference with 1,141 rushing yards in 2018, a majority of which have come after contact, and 8 touchdowns.  The 5-foot-11, 227-pound Ragas rushed for 813 yards and 9 touchdowns as a freshman in 2017.

*Junior WR Ja’Marcus Bradley  (6-1/195)

Bradley has pulled in 10 receiving touchdowns this year.  He has 38 receptions for 557 yards, that’s almost 15 yards per catch.  He was one of the most valuable players on the 2018 Ragin’ Cajuns team.

Senior Safety Corey Turner  (6-1/204)

Turner emerged this year as a clear leader in Louisiana’s secondary.  He’s an excellent communicator that brings a physical skill set to the game. 

*Junior DE Bennie Higgins  (6-0/266)

At left end Bennie Higgins is 266 lbs edge-rusher who is tasked with playing a two-way go in the pass rush.  It’s his job to manipulate passing lanes to force QB into hesitation.  The defense is designed to spill the run from the middle to the edges — where Higgins wraps them up.

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TULANE GREEN WAVE  |  AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach:  Willie Fritz

Tulane Green  Wave Players to  Watch:

**Sophomore DE Patrick Johnson (6-2/256)

  Tulane’s Patrick Johnson celebrates after creating havoc off the edge.     
Photo: Tulane Athletics

Johnson has had breakout sophomore campaign where he finished with 10.0 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss and 46 tackles. His 10.0 sacks are tied for ninth nationally and are the most among all sophomores nationally. 

Senior WLB Zachery Harris  (6-0/225)

Harris, a New Orleans native, totaled a single-season career-best 87 tackles. His 87 tackles also led the team and ranked 10th in the AAC. His 10.5 tackles for loss ranked second on the squad. Harris totaled 10 or more tackles in three games this season and had 5 tackles for loss.

Senior CB Donnie Lewis  (6-0/195)

As a senior in 2018, Lewis established himself as one of the league’s best cornerbacks. Lewis led the AAC and ranked third nationally in passes defended, averaging 1.7 per game. He also had a team-leading three interceptions and ranked fifth on the team in tackles with 54. 

Senior FS Roderic Teamer  (6-0/210)

Another New Orleans native, Teamer tied his single-season high for tackles with 67. He finished second on the team in tackles, had six pass breakups and one interception. He finished with 10 or more tackles twice and was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in the East Carolina game.

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AutoNation Cure Bowl
Tulane 41, Louisiana 24

New Mexico Bowl – Dec 15

North Texas Mean Green (9-3)  vs  #23 Utah State Aggies (10-2)

NORTH TEXAS  |  CONFERENCE USA

Coach:  Seth Littrell

North Texas Players to watch: 

Senior LB E.J. Ejiya (6-3/230)

No. Texas Lineback E.J. Ejiya
Photo: No Texas Athletics

Ejiya ranks fourth nationally in tackles for loss with 23.0 and leads the Mean Green in sacks with 9.0, which ranks fourth in C-USA. His 113 total tackles are also fourth most in the conference. 

* Junior QB  Mason Fine (5-1/180)

Fine was name CUSA Offensive Player of the Year for the 2nd year in a row.  He was also a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Awards.  He was on watch lists for the Manning and Walter Camp Awards.  He was voted 2nd Team All-CUSA.

**Sophomore RB DeAndre Torrey  (5-7/186)

Torrey has been a touchdown machine for the Mean Green and ranks sixth in FBS in total touchdowns with 17. He is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, with 161 attempts for 942 yards and 14 rushing scores, while also providing a dynamic presence as a receiver out of the backfield. 

*Junior WR Rico Bussey, Jr. (6-2/208)

Bussey, Jr. leads the Mean Green in every major receiving category and is among the nation’s most productive receivers. 

Senior CB Kemon Hall (5-11/190)

Hall ranks third in FBS in passes defended (1.7 per game) and has posted five interceptions, two of which he has brought back for touchdowns

Senior CB  Nate Brooks  (6-0/192)

Brooks has 61 tackles, 3.0 of which are for loss, nine pass break-ups, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry in 12 starts. Brooks has helped lead a ball-hawking group for North Texas, who have totaled 17 interceptions, which ranks fifth in FBS.

*Junior DE LaDarius Hamilton  (6-3/256)

Hamilton has been a force from his defensive end position for the Mean Green and is second on the team in sacks with 6.5 and 10.0 tackles for loss.

Senior PK Cole Hedlund  (5-10/166)

Hedlund was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award and is 19 of 22 on field goals, including a perfect 2 of 2 from 50-plus yards. 

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UTAH STATE AGGIES | MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE

Interim Coach:  Frank Maile

Utah State Players to watch:

*Junior TE Dax Raymond  (6-5/245)

  Utah State TE Dax Raymond has accepted an invite the the Reese Senior Bowl.
Photo:  Salt Lake Tribune

Despite missing four games this year with a broken hand, Raymond earned honorable mention all-Mountain West honors after catching 25 passes for 335 yards (13.4 ypc) and two touchdowns. For his career, he has caught 70 passes for 863 yards (12.3 ypc) and three TDs.

**Sophomore LB David Woodward (6-2/230)

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Woodward started all 11 games he played in — ranking first in the Mountain West and 10th in the nation with 124 tackles (11.3 pg). He is also fifth in the conference in tackles for loss with 12.5 (1.1 pg) and ninth in sacks with 5.0.

**Sophomore WR/RS Savon Scarver  (5-11/185)

Scarver has returned 21 kickoffs for 719 yards, including four returns of 50-or-more yards. His two kickoff returns for touchdowns (100 yards vs. New Mexico State and 96 yards at Wyoming) rank as the second-most in a single-season in school history, behind Kevin Robinson (three in 2007).

**Sophomore QB Jordan Love  (6-4/220)

Sophomore QB Jordan Love is 11th in the nation in points responsible for with 204 (17.0 pg); ninth in the nation in passing touchdowns with 28 (2.3 pg); 12th in the nation in passing efficiency (159.9); 21st in the nation in completion percentage (.658);18th in the nation in passing (267.3 ypg); 27th in the nation in completions (20.5 pg), and fifth in the MW and 28th in the nation in total offense (272.3 ypg).

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New Mexico Bowl Presented by Progressive
Utah State 52, North Texas 13