OLB Rankings 2017 NFL Outside Linebacker Rankings Projected Rounds: 1. Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple: 43 solo tackles, 22 assisted tackles, 65 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, and 3 deflections from pass breakups Round 1, 2. Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA: 50 solo tackles, 11 assisted tackles, 61 total tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, 6 deflections from pass breakups, and 3 quarterback hurries Round 1, 3. T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin: 38 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, 63 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, and 4 deflections from pass breakups Round 1, 4. Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri: 35 solo tackles, 26 assisted tackles, 61 total tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, and 2 deflections from pass breakups Round 2, 5. Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama: 30 solo tackles, 31 assisted tackles, 61 total tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 deflections from pass breakups Round 2, 6. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: 22 solo tackles, 9 assisted tackles, 31 total tackles, 16 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, 12 quarterback hurries, 2 forced fumbles and 2 deflections from pass breakups Round 2, 7. Carl Lawson, OLB, Auburn: 15 solo tackles, 15 assisted tackles, 30 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, and 24 quarterback hurries Round 2, 8. Carroll Phillips, OLB, Illinois: 30 solo tackles, 26 assisted tackles, 56 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, and 3 quarterback hurries Round 3, 9. Devonte Fields, OLB, Louisville: 24 solo tackles, 21 assisted tackles, 45 total tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, and 3 deflections from pass breakups Round 3, 10. Josh Carraway, OLB, TCU: 25 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles, 49 total tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, and 5 quarterback hurries Round 3, 11. Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State: 44 solo tackles, 14 assisted tackles, 58 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks, and 21 quarterback hurries Round 3, 12. Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas State: 34 solo tackles, 18 assisted tackles, 52 total tackles, 17.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries, 3 forced fumbles, and 3 deflections from pass breakups Round 3, 13. Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston: 27 solo tackles, 20 assisted tackles, 47 total tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, 9 quarterback hurries, 3 deflections from pass breakups, and 1 forced fumble Round 3, 14. Ejuan Price, OLB, Pittsburgh: 33 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 45 total tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, and 3 forced fumbles Round 4, 15. Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin: 29 solo tackles, 15 assisted tackles, 44 total tackles, 26 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 7 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble, and 1 deflection from a pass breakup Round 5, 16. Matt Milano, OLB, Boston College: 41 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, 58 total tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 deflections from pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry Round 5, 17. Duke Riley, OLB, LSU: 40 solo tackles, 53 assisted tackles, 93 total tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 quarterback hurries Round 6, 18. Alex Anzalone, OLB, Florida: 22 solo tackles, 31 assisted tackles, 53 total tackles, 4 tackles for a loss, and 3 sacks Round 6, 19. Steven Taylor, OLB, Houston: 41 solo tackles, 33 assisted tackles, 74 total tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hurries, 4 deflections from pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and 1 defensive touchdown Round 7, 20. Dylan Cole, OLB, Missouri State: 85 solo tackles, 47 assisted tackles, 142 total tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 5 deflections from pass breakups, and 2 interceptions Round 7


2017 NFL Draft: Outside Linebacker Rankings





Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: February 20, 2017.



  1. Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple Projected Round 1st Round

    2016 Season Recap At 6-1 237 lbs Haason Reddick dominated at 4-3 defensive end with 43 solo tackles, 22 assisted tackles, 65 total tackles, 22.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries, and 3 deflections from pass breakups in 2016. Reddick performed so well that he got an invite to Mobile for the 2017 Senior Bowl.


    Reddick lacked the size to be a defensive end in Mobile. Coaches moved him to outside linebacker and inside linebacker. Reddick is a plug in play guy that can play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, 3-4 right outside linebacker, 3-4 left outside linebacker and 3-4 middle linebacker.


    Haason Reddick SWOT Report

    Strengths: Haason Reddick may be perceived as a tweener after playing defensive end at Temple. He has the size of an outside linebacker and plays like a complete defender in terms of pass rushing, run stuffing, and dropping back into coverage. He also has the rip and swim moves of a defensive end despite being an outside linebacker prospect.


    Weaknesses: Played less than 70 percent of snaps a Temple. Only concern with Reddick is him potentially fatiguing and he showed he was a three down player in Mobile.


    Opportunities: 21. Detroit Lions, 22. Miami Dolphins, 23. New York Giants, 24. Oakland Raiders, 32. New England Patriots. Haason Reddick has the versatility to play linebacker at a lot of different spots.


    Threats: Haason Reddick was involved in an assault back in 2015. It seems like NFL teams are finally ready to look past that. As long as Reddick does not screw up at the NFL Combine or off the field he should be a first round pick.



    Before 2016

    Haason Reddick played running back and safety in high school. Temple converted him to defensive end. His best game came in 2015 against Notre Dame where he won a lot of snaps against offensive tackles Ronnie Stanley and Mike McGlinchey. Reddick had 12.5 tackles for a loss in 2015.




  2. Takarrist McKinley, OLB, UCLA Projected Round 1st Round

    2016 Season Recap At 6-2 265 lbs Takkarist McKinley finally put together a quality season showing the versatility to play 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, 3-4 right outside linebacker, and 3-4 left outside linebacker. McKinley had 18 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in 2016.


    Takkarist McKinley SWOT Report

    Strengths: Takkarist McKinley can rush the quarterback and stop the run. Has a relentless work ethic and refuses to give offensive tackles a fresh air of breathe. Also does an awesome job with his burst off the edge. Does a phenomenal job dropping back into coverage. Easily the best EDGE rusher among the outside linebackers.


    Weaknesses: Struggles when placing his hand in the dirt. Also has a terrible knee bend. This may force him to play 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.


    Opportunities: 25. Houston Texans, 29. Green Bay Packers, 30. Pittsburgh Steelers, 46. Baltimore Ravens, 48. Indianapolis Colts. Takkarist McKinley should be drafted as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He will be drafted in the top 48, but he's a first to second round pick at this point.


    Threats: Takkarist McKinley was dealing with an injury with a torn labrum. He missed the 2017 Senior Bowl due to shoulder surgery.



    Before 2016

    Takkarist McKinley stepped in for an injured Myles Jack last season. Jack did not stand out in 2015 and needs to stand out in 2016 in order to be a first round pick.




  3. T.J. Watt, OLB, Wisconsin Projected Round 1st Round

    2016 Season Recap At 6-5 243 lbs T.J. Watt finally put everything together in 2016 38 solo tackles, 25 assisted tackles, 63 total tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, and 4 deflections from pass breakups in his first year as a starter. Watt showed he could play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, 3-4 right outside linebacker, 3-4 left outside linebacker, or 3-4 middle linebacker.


    T.J. Watt SWOT Report

    Strengths: T.J. Watt can rush the quarterback and stop the run. Has a relentless work ethic and refuses to give offensive tackles a fresh air of breathe. Also does an awesome job with his burst off the edge. Does a phenomenal job dropping back into coverage.


    Weaknesses: T.J. Watt relies on his speed to get to the quarterback. Watt needs to develop his rip and swim moves if he expects his skills to translate to a 3-4 defense.


    Opportunities: 21. Detroit Lions, 22. Miami Dolphins, 25. Houston Texans, 29. Green Bay Packers, 32. New England Patriots. T.J. Watt does not have the upside of a Takkarist McKinley. Watt is more versatile though which is why I think he has a better chance of going in the first round.


    Threats: T.J. Watt is a guy that NFL scouts want to develop into a 4-3 base end. As he doesn't go to a team that wants to turn him into what J.J. Watt is he will succeed. The team that drafts T.J. Watt needs to let him do his own thing at the outside linebacker position. That's really the only thing that could jeopardize T.J.'s promising career.



    Before 2016

    T.J. Watt is the little brother of J.J. Watt. T.J. watt will finally start for Wisconsin in 2016.




  4. Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri Projected Round 2nd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-3 255 lb Charles Harris has lined up at 4-3 right end for Missouri, but has the size and versatility to play 3-4 right outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme while getting by left tackles.


    Charles Harris was limited to 2 solo tackles against West Virginia. Harris needs to do a better job if he wants to improve his draft stock.


    Charles Harris had 3 sacks against Georgia. Harris dominated in one-on-one against Florida left tackle David Sharpe despite getting 0 sacks. Harris is putting his hand in the dirt showing he has the skill set to play 4-3 right end or 4-3 left end, but with him being 255 lbs, that may cause him to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. Harris did fatigue at times against the Gators and that has me asking if he's a two down pass rusher.


    Charles Harris SWOT Report

    Strengths: Charles Harris is an excellent run stuffer and pass rusher. Explodes off the snap and has a tremendous first step.


    Weaknesses: Charles Harris fatigues at times. He also struggles to react quickly when dealing with counter running plays by the opposing offense.


    Opportunities: Charles Harris entered the season as a first round pick. He's now a second round prospect. I think the earliest he could go is the Baltimore Ravens in the second round, but we won't get a clear indicator of where that is until we know who wins the coin toss between the Colts and Vikings. Some other teams besides the Ravens that could look at Harris are the Indianapolis Colts, the Denver Broncos, the Green Bay Packers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.


    Threats: Charles Harris has no threats. He's one of the safer prospects, but I think he'd do better on a 3-4 team at outside linebacker than a 4-3 team at defensive end.



    Before 2016

    Charles Harris lined up at 4-3 right end and 4-3 left end. He's a better fit as a 3-4 right outside linebacker or a 3-4 left outside linebacker. Harris has incredible versatility and tape.


    Harris had 32 solo tackles, 24 assisted tackles, 56 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, 11 quarterback knockdowns, 10 quarterback hurries, and 7 sacks in 2015. Harris may not be a sack artist yet, but he reminds me a lot of Leonard Floyd coming out of Georgia when you compare him to the pass rushers in the 2016 NFL Draft.


    Charles Harris knows more techniques for the 4-3 defense than Myles Garrett even though he's nowhere near the sack artist Garrett is on tape. Harris can play the 6-technique or 7-technique as a 4-3 left end, the 8-technique as a third 4-3 defensive end, or the 9-technique as a 4-3 right end.




  5. Ryan Anderson, OLB, Alabama Projected Round 2nd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-2 253 lb Ryan Anderson is a pure 3-4 outside linebacker. He has lined up at 3-4 right outside linebacker and 3-4 left outside linebacker. Anderson can probably be a 4-3 outside linebacker on either side, but he's a pure outside linebacker.


    Ryan Anderson continued to show the versatility to play both sides at outside linebacker. Anderson had a sack on fourth down where he got by Zack Banner.


    Ryan Anderson has dominated next to Tim Williams in 2016. I had Anderson as a third round prospect, but he is playing like a late second round pick on tape even though I have him getting drafted very early in the third round. Anderson is a much better run stuffer than Williams, but he hasn't been as effective as a pass rusher.


    Ryan Anderson SWOT Report

    Strengths: Ryan Anderson is an outside linebacker. He's done well against both left tackles and right tackles. Also does well against the run and in coverage.


    Weaknesses: There really are no weaknesses with Ryan Anderson. He's one of the more complete players in this years draft at outside linebacker.


    Opportunities: Ryan Anderson is a second round prospect. I think the earliest he could go is the Baltimore Ravens in the second round, but we won't get a clear indicator of where that is until we know who wins the coin toss between the Colts and Vikings. Some other teams besides the Ravens that could look at Anderson are the Indianapolis Colts, and the Denver Broncos.


    Threats: Both Ryan Anderson and his teammate Tim Williams have some off the field concerns. That's why I have second round grades on both linebackers now. Anderson did enough down the stretch in my eyes to jump Williams, but you can make a case that both are first round talents.



    Before 2016

    Ryan Anderson had 12 solo tackles, 13 assisted tackles, 25 total tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 9 quarterback hurries in 2014. Anderson had 21 solo tackles, 16 assisted tackles, 37 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, and 10 quarterback hurries in 2015 during his junior season.


    Ryan Anderson did get arrested for an assault charge before the 2015 season. He did not get suspended for a game and he did not get dismissed from Alabama so I guess that's water under the bridge.




  6. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama Projected Round 2nd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-4 230 lb Tim Williams is a pure 3-4 outside linebacker. He has lined up at 3-4 right outside linebacker and 3-4 left outside linebacker. Williams can probably be a 4-3 outside linebacker on either side, but he's a pure outside linebacker unlike Myles Garrett or Charles Harris.


    Tim Williams had 2 solo tackles and 1 quarterback hurry against USC. Williams got the best of USC right tackle Zach Banner.


    Tim Williams has showcased much more production than Charles Harris. At the same time, I feel like Williams has played easier teams than Harris. Harris does well against the pass and run. Williams on the other hand seems like a pass rusher. Williams missed some tackles on tape on running plays against Tennessee plus a lot of NFL scouts have criticized Williams for his inability to stop the run despite having 7.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 2016.


    Williams also does have one off the field incident from his freshman year. It's very minor and microscopic though so as long as Williams continues to keep his nose clean he should go in the first round.


    Tim Williams SWOT Report

    Strengths: Tim Williams is an outside linebacker. At times he plays like the best pass rusher outside of Myles Garrett.


    Weaknesses: His run stuffing and ability to drop back into coverage effectively concerns me. Williams needs to show scouts he can do more besides rush the quarterback effectively.


    Opportunities: Tim Williams is a second round prospect. I think the earliest he could go is the Baltimore Ravens in the second round, but we won't get a clear indicator of where that is until we know who wins the coin toss between the Colts and Vikings. Some other teams besides the Ravens that could look at Anderson are the Indianapolis Colts, and the Denver Broncos.


    Threats: Both Ryan Anderson and his teammate Tim Williams have some off the field concerns. That's why I have second round grades on both linebackers now. Anderson did enough down the stretch in my eyes to jump Williams, but you can make a case that both are first round talents. Williams has too much talent to drop out of the top 50 even though it turns out he had multiple off the field arrests instead of one which leads to the severity of Wiliams character concerns.



    Before 2016

    Tim Williams had 13 solo tackles, 6 assisted tackles, and 19 total tackles in 2015. He made each one of those tackles count though as Williams had 12.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks in his first year as a starter. Williams will get more tackles, opportunities, and will be asked to do more in 2016. He's not someone who can drop back into coverage, but he can get to the quarterback and stop the run.




  7. Carl Lawson, OLB, Auburn Projected Round 2nd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-2 257 lb defensive end/outside linebacker Carl Lawson is not a sack artist, run stuffer, tackling machine, or a guy who can drop into coverage. That concerns me. Auburn did line him up at 4-3 left end, but Lawson doesn't like placing his hand in the dirt so he just keeps his stance until the snap and goes straight for the quarterback.


    Carl Lawson had 3 assisted tackles and 2 quarterback hurries against Clemson. He got some pressures on Watson when getting by Clemson's right tackle.


    Carl Lawson is getting better at placing his hand in the dirt and lining up at both 4-3 right end and 4-3 left end. Lawson has stayed healthy and produced this year. He played 2 NFL left tackle prospects in Avery Gennesy of Texas A&M and Mitch Hyatt of Clemson. Lawson struggled against Hyatt. Lawson played a little better against Gennesy. Lawson already has 21 quarterback hurries in 2016.


    Lawson had 7 quarterback hurries against Arkansas in Auburn's 56-3 win over Arkansas. Lawson played on the other side across from Arkansas left tackle Dan Skipper who gave up a sack to the edge rusher across from Lawson since Lawson and Montravius Adams commanded double teams from Arkansas's offensive line. Lawson still had 7 quarterback hurries in one game even with double teams from the right guard and right tackle playing across from Skipper.


    Carl Lawson SWOT Report

    Strengths: Carl Lawson has explosive speed off the edge which helped him against Alabama's Cam Robinson. Corrected his issue with placing his hand in the dirt in 2016.


    Weaknesses: Carl Lawson still struggles with dropping back into coverage. Offensive tackles with long arms like Oklahoma's Orlando Brown kept Lawson in check.


    Opportunities: Carl Lawson is a second round prospect. I think the earliest he could go is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 52. Another team that could consider him is the Detroit Lions.


    Threats: Durability concerns are the biggest threat to Carl Lawson. I still believe Lawson has enough talent to get picked in the first two rounds though.



    Before 2016

    Carl Lawson had 11 quarterback hurries in 2015. He needs to register more sacks and stay healthy in 2016. Lawson has deadly speed off the edge and may be the best pure speed rusher if you discount how many sacks he has and just compare his speed as a pass rusher on tape to anyone else.




  8. Carroll Phillips, OLB, Illinois Projected Round 3rd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-3 240 lb defensive end/outside linebacker Carroll Phillips has lined up at 4-3 right end facing tough left tackles. He has the size of an outside linebacker and I project him at 4-3 right outside linebacker.


    Carroll Phillips had 20 tackles for a loss and 9 sacks in 2016. Phillips dominated in his first year as a starter.


    Carroll Phillips SWOT Report

    Strengths: Carroll Phillips has explosive speed off the edge. His run stuffing is unbelievable and he has the lateral agility to track ball carriers. Phillips has the run stuffing you look for in an NFL player which is why I think he can have success at outside linebacker in the NFL.


    Weaknesses: Carroll Phillips is a one year starter. That works against him to an extent.


    Opportunities: Carroll Phillips is a third round prospect. I think the San Francisco 49ers could be a team that drafts him early in the third round with them switching to a 4-3. The Miami Dolphins are also giving Phillips a serious look.


    Threats: Phillips is a pretty safe prospect despite being inexperienced. That makes Phillips one of the safer draft picks.



    Before 2016

    Carroll Phillips played at Lincoln Community College in 2013. He transferred to Illinois in 2014 and has gotten better each year. Phillips needs a breakout season in 2016 if he wants to shoot up draft boards after being a rotational player for depth behind Jihad Ward the last two seasons.




  9. Devonte Fields, OLB, Louisville Projected Round 3rd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-4 245 lb 3-4 right outside linebacker has the versatility to play outside linebacker on either side. Another dominant season at Louisville can get Fields pushed into the first round.


    Devonte Fields had 2 solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 5 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 deflection from a pass breakup. Fields did well on defense and could do well again in Syracuse in a week from now.


    Devonte Fields had great tape against Roderick Johnson faced Florida State getting a tackle for a loss and a sack against Florida State. He wasn't a force against Clemson left tackle Mitch Hyatt who is a 2018 first round prospect that may go in the top 5.


    Devonte Fields SWOT Report

    Strengths: Devonte Fields can fly around the field. He's excellent at stopping the run and dropping back into coverage.


    Weaknesses: Devonte Fields needs to sack the quarterback more consistently. I'd also like to see him get stronger.


    Opportunities: Devonte Fields is a third round prospect. I think a team that runs a 3-4 defense like the Jets will look at Fields.


    Threats: Devonte Fields does not have a major threat. I just see a good starter rather than an elite starter.



    Before 2016

    Devonte Fields dominated as a true freshman in 2012 at TCU with 34 solo tackles, 19 assisted tackles, 53 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks in 2012. Fields got injured in 2013 after 3 games.


    Fields got involved in an assault case at TCU in 2014 which led to his dismissal, Fields got suspended for a half at TCU in 2013. Fields played at Trinity Valley Community College and led them to a 12-0 record in 2014 before enrolling at Louisville in 2015.


    Fields had 22.5 tackles for a loss, 12 quarterback hurries, and 11 sacks in 2015. Fields could be a first round pick with another strong year. Devonte Fields has Pro Bowl potential in the NFL. Fields has to keep his head on straight and stay out of Louisville in 2016 in order for that to happen.




  10. Josh Carraway, OLB, TCU Projected Round 3rd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-4 250 lb Josh Carraway lined up at 4-3 left end at TCU. Carraway is likely going to be a 3-4 left outside linebacker in the NFL if he declares for the 2017 NFL Draft.


    Josh Carraway had 2 quarterback hurries in TCU's season opener. Carraway dominated at 4-3 right end against Dan Skipper who also moved to left tackle.


    Carraway is showing the versatility to play 4-3 right end, 4-3 left end, 3-4 right outside linebacker, or 3-4 left outside linebacker. With 8.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and 3 quarterback hurries, Carraway has done enough on tape to move up to a third round prospect. Carraway is doing an awesome job rushing the quarterback as a pass rusher and stopping the run in 2016. Carraway has even improved in coverage as well.


    Carraway has improved on tape in 2016. He got pressure on Patrick Mahomes even though TCU lost to Texas Tech in overtime.


    Josh Carraway SWOT Report

    Strengths: Josh Carraway has the speed to be an effective outside linebacker. I love his ability as a run stuffer, but the rest of his game needs development. Carraway did a better job pressuring the quarterback in 2016.


    Weaknesses: Josh Carraway needs to drop into coverage more. I'd also like to see him get stronger.


    Opportunities: Josh Carraway is a third round prospect. I think a team that runs a 4-3 defense like the Vikings will look at Carraway.


    Threats: Josh Carraway does not have a major threat. I just see a borderline starter rather than an quality starter.



    Before 2016

    Josh Carraway had 25 solo tackles, 22 assisted tackles, 47 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 9 sacks, and 9 quarterback hurries in 2015.


    Josh Carraway can play the 6-technique or 7-technique at 4-3 left end. He's a better fit for a rotational pass rusher at outside linebacker though in the NFL since he struggles with stopping the run against Oklahoma.




  11. Derek Rivers, OLB, Youngstown State Projected Round 3rd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-4 250 lb Derek Rivers had a career high 14 sacks in 2016 before being invited to the 2017 Senior Bowl. Rivers has 56.5 career tackles for a loss. He seems like the perfect player to either start at 3-4 right outside linebacker or 3-4 left outside linebacker.


    Derek Rivers SWOT Report

    Strengths: Derek Rivers is a fantastic run stuffer. Rivers has an explosive burst off the edge. Rivers finally developed as a sack artist in 2016 and has excellent character. Got Youngstown State to the 2016 championship where they lost to James Madison.


    Weaknesses: Derek Rivers struggles against offensive tackles with long arms. He also places his head too low on plays. Played against inferior competition at FCS school.


    Opportunities: Derek Rivers is a third round prospect. A team that wants a 3-4 outside linebacker will take a look at Rivers.


    Threats: Derek Rivers does not have a major threat. He did well in Mobile. His rip and swim moves are good, but no great. He's probably limited to a 3-4 outside linebacker role. If Rivers goes to a team looking for help at the 4-3 he may end up being a backup.



    Before 2016

    Derek Rivers had 14 sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. Derek Rivers started since he was a freshman at Youngstown State. Rivers had 15.5 tackles for a loss in 2015. Rivers could surge up draft boards if he plays like he did in 2014 and leads Youngstown State on a deep FCS run.




  12. Jordan Willis, OLB, Kansas State Projected Round 3rd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-3 255 lb Jordan Willis lined up at both 4-3 right end and 4-3 left end in 2016. He projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker after having 17.5 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks during his senior season at Kansas State.


    Jordan Willis SWOT Report

    Strengths: Jordan Willis can rush the quarterback or stop the run. He has the rip and swim moves to dominate off the edge. His 19.2 miles per hour at the Senior Bowl bested any running backs speed in Mobile. Has the eyes and play recognition you want in a linebacker. Dominates in zone coverage. Willis has violent hands that make him a threat to get past the line of scrimmage on every single play.


    Weaknesses: Jordan Willis does not have the size to be a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL. Willis will have to move to outside linebacker in the 4-3 or the 3-4.


    Opportunities: Jordan Willis is a third round prospect. A team that wants a 3-4 outside linebacker will take a look at Willis.


    Threats: Jordan Willis does not have a single major threat. He dominated in Mobile by getting pressure on the quarterback by forcing fumbles. Jordan Willis could move into the late first or early second with a dominant NFL Combine.



    Before 2016

    Jordan Willis had 15.5 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks in 2015. Willis will surge up draft boards if he improves on that in 2016.




  13. Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston Projected Round 3rd Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-3 240 lb Tyus Bowser is a 4-3 outside linebacker that is extremely versatile. He can play 4-3 right outside linebacker or 4-3 left outside linebacker.


    Tyus Bowser had 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 4 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 tackle for a loss. Bowser made plays all over the field against Oklahoma and that allowed Houston to dominate. Bowser is a beast and could go anywhere between the third and seventh round. I love what Tyus Bowser brings to the table and think he can be an immediate starter so I gave him a third round grade.


    Tyus Bowser SWOT Report

    Strengths: Tyus Bowser has an explosive first step. He had 12 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks in 8 games despite missing 4 games with injuries. Bowser played on Houston's basketball team for two seasons which helped him develop his footwork.


    Weaknesses: Tyus Bowser is undersized on the edge. He'd do better in a 4-3 scheme.


    Opportunities: Tyus Bowser is a third round prospect. A team that wants a 4-3 outside linebacker will take a look at Bowser.


    Threats: Tyus Bowser needs to stay healthy. He also needs to be drafted by a team that runs a 4-3 defense.



    Before 2016

    Tyus Bowser had 27 solo tackles, 23 assisted tackles, and 50 total tackles in 2015. Bowser needs to do more in 2016 if he wants to get drafted.




  14. Ejuan Price, OLB, Pittsburgh Projected Round 4th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-0 255 lb Ejuan Price had 33 solo tackles, 12 assisted tackles, 45 total tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, 13 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, and 3 forced fumbles in 2016. Price is a guy that will get picked at some point in between the third and fourth round, but I currently have a fourth round grade on him.


    Ejuan Price SWOT Report

    Strengths: Ejuan Price dominates as both a pass rusher and a run stuffer. Price could be a stud prospect in a 3-4 defense. Numerous NFL scouts have compared him to the hometown pass rusher on the Pittsburgh Steelers in James Harrison.


    Weaknesses: Ejuan Price struggles at dropping back into coverage. Price also fatigues at times.


    Opportunities: Ejuan Price is a fourth round prospect. A team that wants a 3-4 outside linebacker will take a look at Price.


    Threats: Ejuan Price needs to stay healthy. He's missed two seasons with durability issues despite staying healthy the last two seasons at Pittsburgh.



    Before 2016

    Ejuan Price had 19.5 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, and 9 quarterback hurries in 2015. Price could move up draft boards into day 2 range potentially if he improves on those numbers in 2016.




  15. Vince Biegel, OLB, Wisconsin Projected Round 5th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-3 232 lb Vince Biegel has the versatility to play both 4-3 right outside linebacker or 4-3 left outside linebacker. He can also play 3-4 right outside linebacker or 3-4 left outside linebacker. Biegel is extremely versatile and is one outside linebacker that could end up in the 2017 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.


    Vince Biegel was very dominant for Wisconsin. Biegel gave LSU's offensive line all kinds of problems. Beigel has missed some time with injuries, but he is very impressive on tape.


    Vince Biegel SWOT Report

    Strengths: Despite limited action, Vince Biegel has excellent leadership. He was voted team captain for Wisconsin and can pick apart zone blockers off the edge.


    Weaknesses: Vince Biegel was projected to weigh in at 6-4 243 lbs. Biegel only weighed 6-3 232 lbs. Biegel has issues with his size and needs to get stronger.


    Opportunities: Vince Biegel is a fifth round prospect. A team that wants an outside linebacker for either scheme will take a look at Biegel.


    Threats: Vince Biegel needs to stay healthy. Durability is the biggest threat to Biegel's NFL career.



    Before 2016

    Vince Biegel had 14 tackles for a loss, 8 sacks, and 9 quarterback hurries in 2015. He may get more double teams this year with Joe Schobert now in the NFL.




  16. Matt Milano, OLB, Boston College Projected Round 5th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-1 221 lb Matt Milano had 41 solo tackles, 17 assisted tackles, 58 total tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 deflections from pass breakups, and 1 quarterback hurry in 2016. Milano played 4-3 left outside linebacker in the SAM for Boston College.


    Matt Milano SWOT Report

    Strengths: Matt Milano has good reaction time and play recognition. A natural run stuffer who had 11 tackles for a loss. He's also excellent in zone coverage.


    Weaknesses: Matt Milano was projected to weigh in at 6-2 230 lbs. Milano only weighed 6-1 221 lbs. You can argue Milano should move to safety with his size.


    Opportunities: Matt Milano is a fifth round prospect. A team that wants an outside linebacker for the 4-3 will take a look at Milano.


    Threats: Matt Milano needs to stay healthy. Matt Milano also needs to gain more muscle. I think that's one thing that works against Milano even though he's more durable than the last two outside linebackers I ranked ahead of him.



    Before 2016

    Matt Milano became Boston College's starting 4-3 left outside linebacker in 2015. He's probably going to be a day 3 pick regardless of how good he does in 2016.




  17. Duke Riley, OLB, LSU Projected Round 6th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-0 231 lb Duke Riley finally became a full time starter in 2016. Riley showed he was versatile enough to play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, and 3-4 middle linebacker. Riley had 40 solo tackles, 53 assisted tackles, 93 total tackles, 9 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and 3 quarterback hurries during his senior season at LSU and his play got him into the 2017 Senior Bowl.


    Duke Riley SWOT Report

    Strengths: Duke Riley has good reaction time and play recognition. A natural run stuffer who knows where the opposing running back is and how to attack them. He's also excellent in zone coverage and can drop back into coverage on play action passes. His football IQ and ability to adapt is that high.


    Weaknesses: Duke Riley's lack of size works against him. He also only has one year of experience as a starter.


    Opportunities: Duke Riley is a sixth round prospect. A team that wants an outside linebacker for the 4-3 will take a look at Riley.


    Threats: There are no threats with Duke Riley. Despite a lack of experience, he's actually one of the safer prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft and he played for a college in LSU that naturally produces NFL linebackers.



    Before 2016

    Duke Riley was a backup for depth during his first three seasons. Riley finally becomes a full-time starter in 2016.




  18. Alex Anzalone, OLB, Florida Projected Round 6th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-3 240 lb Alex Anzalone can play 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, and 3-4 middle linebacker with his versatility. Anzalone is not as highly coveted as his teammate at middle linebacker in Jarrad Davis, but he still provides outstanding value.


    Alex Anzalone SWOT Report

    Strengths: Alex Anzalone is a three down linebacker who takes up a lot of ground. Anzalone does not fatigue. He has the ideal size you want in a linebacker prospect and is very versatile. Anzalone played well enough to earn an invite to the 2017 Senior Bowl. I thought he did good there, but not well enough to stand out in Mobile.


    Weaknesses: Alex Anzalone had no interceptions or forced fumbles at Florida. He's mainly a run stuffer and his ability to drop back into coverage needs work.


    Opportunities: Alex Anzalone is a sixth round prospect. A team that wants an outside linebacker for the 4-3 will take a look at Anzalone.


    Threats: Alex Anzalone has some durability issues. The only threat to his career is if he can stay on the field. Anzalone was injured during three of his four seasons.



    Before 2016

    Alex Anzalone stepped onto Florida in a backup role. He earned the nickname Thor for his hair and special teams play in 2014. Anzalone finally becomes a starting outside linebacker in 2016. He needs a huge year as a junior redshirt in order to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft.




  19. Steven Taylor, OLB, Houston Projected Round 7th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-1 225 lb Steven Taylor is a 4-3 outside linebacker that is extremely versatile. He can play 4-3 right outside linebacker or 4-3 left outside linebacker.


    Steven Taylor was better than Tyus Bowser against Oklahoma. Recording 2 sacks and 2 tackles for a loss against Oklahoma is pretty impressive. Taylor continues to outplay Bowser and with Bowser injured, I finally decided to move Taylor ahead of Bowser.


    Steven Taylor SWOT Report

    Strengths: Steven Taylor is a three down linebacker who takes up a lot of ground. Steven Taylor was a four year starter that played at 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, and 4-3 left outside linebacker in 2016. Taylor is a spontaneous blitzer with effective results. He can be a turnover machine at times getting fumbles and interceptions.


    Weaknesses: Being 6-1 225 lbs limits him to a 4-3 scheme since at that size he will not be utilized as an edge rusher since he's too small for the interior. I think that size also means he's more likely to play the weak side or the strong side rather than a middle linebacker role despite having experience at middle linebacker during his senior season.


    Opportunities: Steven Taylor is a seventh round prospect. A team that wants an outside linebacker for the 4-3 will take a look at Taylor.


    Threats: Steven Taylor is a late round pick. Unless he stands out on special teams he may get cut by the team that drafts him in training camp.



    Before 2016

    Steven Taylor isn't as good as Tyus Bowser on tape. Despite that, Taylor has much better statistics. Taylor had 61 solo tackles, 31 assisted tackles, 92 total tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks in 2015. If he can match those numbers in 2016, Taylor could jump Bowser on draft boards.




  20. Dylan Cole, OLB, Missouri State Projected Round 7th Round

    2016 Season Recap The 6-1 240 lb Dylan Cole has NFL ability and incredible strength. Cole plays 4-3 right outside linebacker at Missouri State and that hasn't stopped him from sending tape of himself doing bench press reps to NFL teams.


    Dylan Cole had 4 solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, and 5 total tackles. Cole needs to do more in 2016 if he wants to get noticed by NFL scouts.


    Dylan Cole has dominated in 2016. Cole already has 61 solo tackles, 38 assisted tackles, and 99 total tackles in 2016. Cole has lined up at 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, 4-3 left outside linebacker, and 3-4 middle linebacker. Cole has showcased a lot more versatility in 2016 and that will help him even if he doesn't get 152 total tackles like he did in 2015. Cole has also improved his ability to dominate in coverage which may make up for the fact that Cole is not a pass rusher.


    Dylan Cole finished with 85 solo tackles, 47 assisted tackles, 142 total tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 5 deflections from pass breakups, and 2 interceptions in 2016. Cole has NFL talent and could be a small school sleeper.


    Dylan Cole SWOT Report

    Strengths: Dylan Cole is a three down linebacker who takes up a lot of ground. Dylan Cole was a four year starter that played at 4-3 right outside linebacker, 4-3 middle linebacker, and 4-3 left outside linebacker in 2016. Cole is an elite run stuffer despite playing FCS competition. Cole is strong and athletic plus he stands out on tape in coverage.


    Weaknesses: Cole needs to blitz more. Doesn't get by the line of scrimmage enough


    Opportunities: Dylan Cole is a seventh round prospect. A team that wants an outside linebacker for the 4-3 will take a look at Cole.


    Threats: Dylan Cole is a late round pick. Not having an invite tot he 2017 NFL Combine or the 2017 Senior Bowl may put him in jeopardy of getting drafted.



    Before 2016

    Dylan Cole had 14.5 tackles for a loss in 2014. Cole had 152 total tackles and 12 tackles for a loss in 2015.







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