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Heading into the 2012 season I thought the linebackers were going to be one of the best units on the team. Unfortunately, injuries and suspensions didn't allow my prediction to be correct.
With all the injuries, Denzel Perryman was moved from inside to outside linebacker and had a solid season considering he missed more than three games with injuries. I expect him to stay at outside linebacker next season but wouldn't be surprised if he gets moved back to the middle.
The other outside linebacker is a complete toss-up. During the middle of last season I thought freshman Eddie Johnson had the position locked down for as long as he was in Miami, but personal issues may hurt a promising career.
Johnson broke team rules and ended up missing the last two games of the season. The Hurricanes need him to shape up because he is extremely talented, and if he stays clean, he could be one of the most important linebackers on the team.
Another person that could be vying for a starting position on the outside is Gionni Paul. Paul didn't get a bunch of playing time early in the season but came on strong during the middle and end, finishing with 61 tackles and 3.5 sacks in six starts for the 'Canes.
So if Perryman stays on the outside he will obviously be one of the starting outside linebackers while the other spot will rest on the shoulders and attitude of Johnson.
Paul could fight Johnson for that spot, but I highly doubt he will.
Thurston Armbrister had his moments last season and will come off the bench; he should give the Hurricanes some great depth.