Draft preview: Linebackers

MIKE MAYOCK'S TOP FIVE

Paul Dawson
6-0, 235, Texas Christian

Dawson was a consensus first-team All-American in 2014 after leading the Big 12 with 136 tackles. In 2013, he led the Horned Frogs with 91 tackles. There are questions about the former junior college wide receiver's size and discipline, but most view him as a second-round pick.

Eric Kendricks
6-0, 232, UCLA

The talented Bruins linebacker capped a stellar four-year career by claiming the Butkus Award and Lott Trophy in 2014. Kendricks led UCLA in tackles each of the last three years and finished as the school's all-time leader in tackles with 481. The younger brother of Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks could come off the board at the end of the first round.

Stephone Anthony
6-3, 243, Clemson

Anthony racked up 330 tackles during his four-year career. Recorded 131 stops as a junior in 2013. Boasts ideal size and athleticism for the linebacker position and has seen his stock rise. Considered a second-round selection.

Benardrick McKinney
6-4, 246, Mississippi State

After redshirting as a freshman, the former high school quarterback emerged a standout linebacker for the Bulldogs. Recorded 36 starts and racked up 244 tackles in three seasons. Thrives as a run-defender and will likely be a second-round pick.

Denzel Perryman
5-11, 236, Miami (Fla.)

In his final two seasons as a full-time starter, Perryman recorded 108 and 110 tackles respectively. Scouts have expressed concern about his size, but Perryman makes up for it with explosiveness and good instincts. Likely a third-round draft pick.

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COMBINE STANDOUT

Ben Heeney
6-0, 231, Kansas

Heeney recorded the top time among linebackers in three categories – three-cone drill (6.68), 20-yard shuttle (4.0) and 60-yard shuttle (11.06). Kansas' leader in tackles each of the last three seasons also posted a 4.59 40-yard dash and is considered a middle-round prospect.

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