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Draft preview: Linebackers

Posted Apr 21, 2014

MIKE MAYOCK'S TOP OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

Khalil Mack
6-3, 251, Buffalo

Went from overlooked prospect with one year of high school football experience to likely top-five pick. ... Explosive athlete consistently wreaks havoc off the edge. ... Started all 48 games played for Buffalo, leading the team in tackles twice. ... Finished four-year career with 327 tackles, 75 tackles for loss, 28.5 sacks and an NCAA record 16 forced fumbles.  

Anthony Barr
6-5, 255, UCLA

Started college career at running back before switching to linebacker for final two years and becoming a first-team All-American. ... Expected to be an early first-round choice. ... Dynamic athlete still developing sound defensive technique. ... Recorded a team-leading 23.5 sacks, 41.5 tackles for loss and 10 forced fumbles in those two seasons.

Ryan Shazier
6-1, 237, Ohio State

Highly productive two-year starter who led Buckeyes in tackles both years (115 stops in 2012, 144 in 2013). ... Recorded 12 sacks, 40.5 tackles for loss, 16 passes defensed and seven forced fumbles in final two seasons. ... Undersized but possesses tremendous athleticism evidenced by 42-inch vertical leap – the top mark at the entire scouting combine. ... Projected to be a first-round selection.

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MIKE MAYOCK'S TOP INSIDE LINEBACKERS

C.J. Mosely
6-2, 234, Alabama

Four-year contributor and two-time national champion projected to be a first-round pick. ... Won the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker in 2013. ... Amassed a team-leading 215 tackles in final two seasons and earned first-team All-America honors both years. ... Respected leader lauded for coverage skills and ability to diagnose plays.

Chris Borland
5-11, 248, Wisconsin

Gifted playmaker who makes up for lack of size with rare instincts and burst. ... Three-year starter recorded three-consecutive 100-tackle seasons and earned first-team All-America honors as a senior. ...  Set Big Ten record with 15 career forced fumbles, the second most in NCAA history. ... Stout at point of attack and has quickness to effectively rush passer. ... Slated to be an early-round pick.

Shayne Skov
6-2, 245, Stanford

Another linebacker boasting commendable instincts. ... Led Cardinal in tackles three times. ... Fifth-year senior finished career with 355 tackles and 16 sacks. ... Tore his ACL and MCL early in the 2011 season. ... Expected to come off the board in the middle rounds.

LOCAL WORTH A LOOK

Carlos Fields Jr.
6-1, 238, Winston Salem State

Two-time CIAA Defensive Player of the Year. ... Ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at Wake Forest Pro Day. ... Could be a late-round draft choice.

COMBINE STANDOUT

Kevin Pierre-Louis
6-0, 232, Boston College

Was top performer in several categories. ... Ranked first among linebackers at combine with 4.51 40-yard dash. ... Ranked third among linebackers with 39-inch vertical leap and 28 bench press reps. ... Projected to be a late-round pick.