NFL Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available ILBs

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterApril 25, 2013

NFL Draft 2013: Tracking the Best Available ILBs

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    Even though this year's inside linebacker class doesn't feature a Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman type, there is still value to be had, especially on day two of the 2013 NFL draft.

    There are four inside linebackers who could find themselves selected among the top 100. Only Manti Te'o and Kevin Minter have been discussed as potential first-round selections.

    With the help from some of the best talent evaluators around, here are the 12 best inside linebackers available.

    Rankings are based off of Matt Miller's big board with scouting reports from Bleacher Report's Scouting Report Database, Rob Rang, and NFL.com

6. Kevin Reddick

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    You can view Kevin Reddick's complete scouting report from Sigmund Bloom by clicking here.

    Even though Reddick isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to Oakland Raiders linebacker Kevin Burnett. 

    Kevin Reddick's strength's according to Sigmund Bloom:

    Reddick is a multifaceted talent with middle linebacker and pass rushing proficiency. He almost never leaves the field and looks equally comfortable whether he's in the opponent's backfield or dropping into coverage. Reddick is a finisher when he has a quarterback in his sights and he is very good at knifing through gaps and disrupting running plays.

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Reddick's game. Let's take a look:

    Kevin Reddick's weaknesses according to Bloom:

    You won't see Reddick take on a blocker very often. He prefers to run around blocks and is often results in his being out of position when the play comes his way. Reddick is somewhat tentative in his movements and will bite on fakes or otherwise overreact to developments in the play. He's not physical and not difficult to knock off of his path when he is defending the run. In general, Reddick's play lacks edge and urgency. He has trouble sticking to receivers, and his instincts on reads often let him down, taking him away from the action.

    Overall, Reddick is the sixth-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    DRAFTED: TBD

10. Jonathan Stewart

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    You can view Jonathan Stewart's complete scouting report from NFL.com by clicking here.

    Even though Stewart isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to Green Bay Packers linebacker Robert Francois. Here's why (per NFL.com):

    Tall interior presence. Rarely has difficulties locating the ball carrier and recognizing if the play is run or pass due to height. Utilizes short hops along the second level to strafe and stick with lateral runners inside the tackle box. 

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Stewart's game. Let's take a look (per NFL.com):

    Arm length appears to be disproportionately short and it shows when tangled with blockers. Fails to consistently fit, press, and disengage to make tackles. Biggest downfall is a hesitant nature. 

    Overall, Stewart is the 10th-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    DRAFTED: TBD

12. Albert Rosette

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    You can view Albert Rosette's complete scouting report from Rob Rang by clicking here.

    Even though Rosette isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to Washington Redskins linebacker D.J. Holt. Here's why (per Rang):

    An instinctive, physical player with the build and temperament required at the position. Good key and diagnosis skills, especially considering his limited time at the position. Fills lanes quickly and provides a pop on contact. 

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Rosette's game. Let's take a look (per Rang):

    A try-hard defender who may simply lack the speed and agility necessary at the next level. Relies on his instincts to beat backs to the edge and isn't capable of doing it when he takes a false-step. 

    Overall, Rosette is the 12th-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    DRAFTED: TBD

1. Manti Te'o

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    You can view Manti Te'o's complete scouting report from Eric Stoner by clicking here.

    As the nation's top inside linebacker, Te'o is often compared to Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk. 

    Manti Te'o has two main strengths according to Eric Stoner: 

    Reads run keys well

    Aggressive taking blocks on 

     

    Despite being the nation's top inside linebacker, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Te'o's game. Let's take a look (per Eric Stoner):

    Lunging tackler

    Lacks elite athleticism

     

    Overall, Te'o is the best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 2, Pick 6 (38), San Diego Chargers

2. Kevin Minter

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    You can view Kevin Minter's complete scouting report from Eric Stoner by clicking here.

    Even though Minter isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to longtime NFL linebacker Takeo Spikes. 

    Kevin Minter's strengths per Eric Stoner:

    Good size/speed combo for the position

    Re-directs well in the box and works well through trash

    Good hand placement, rarely concedes ground

    Smart player that takes good pursuit angles

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Minter's game. 

    Kevin Minter's negatives per Eric Stoner: 

    Well-rounded, but isn't special in any one area

    One-speed player who lacks burst

     

    Overall, Minter is the second-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 2, Pick 13 (45), Arizona Cardinals

3. Kiko Alonso

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    You can view Kiko Alonso's complete scouting report from Garrett Baker by clicking here.

    Even though Alonso isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington. 

    Kiko Alonso's strengths per Garrett Baker:

     

     

     

     

    Very agile and athletic

    Can play any linebacker position

    High motor, intense player

    Versatile, covers and blitzes well

     

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Alonso's game.

    Kiko Alonso's negatives per Garrett Baker:

    Off-the-field issues

    Significant injury history

    Isn't overly instinctual, wastes movement

    Needs to fill out his frame more


    Overall, Alonso is the third-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 2, Pick 14 (46), Buffalo Bills

4. Jon Bostic

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    You can view Jon Bostic's complete scouting report from Sigmund Bloom by clicking here.

    Even though Bostic isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to longtime NFL linebacker Andra Davis.

    Jon Bostic's Strengths according to Sigmund Bloom:

    Bostic plays low and patiently prowls until he decides to attack. His decisions and instincts are usually sound, and Bostic plays with a lot of effort and energy. He is a stout, combative linebacker who will take on a larger blocker with verve and hold his spot at the point of attack, giving up his body so his teammates can make the play.

    Bostic has an extra burst when he is closing on a ball-carrier or quarterback. He is a smart leader of the defense who sets the tone with his physicality.

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Bostic's game. 

    Jon Bostic's negatives according to Sigmund Bloom:

    Bostic is average at best when it comes to speed, quickness and explosion. When his play recognition is slow or incorrect, he is a non-factor because of his lack of plus athleticism. He also generally struggles to get off of blocks. Bostic doesn't have true sideline-to-sideline range, and while his zone coverage is good, he'll be a liability in man-to-man coverage on NFL tight ends and running backs. He looks like a two-down linebacker in the pros who will have to come out on passing downs.

    Overall, Bostic is the fourth-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 2, Pick 18 (50), Chicago Bears

5. Nico Johnson

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    You can view Nico Johnson's complete scouting report from Ryan Alfieri by clicking here.

    Even though Johnson isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to longtime NFL linebacker Bart Scott. 

    Nico Johnson's strengths according to Alfieri:

    Assignment-sound run defender.

    Good form tackler.

    Effective blitzer.

    Physical, willing to take on guards and fullbacks in force.

     

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Johnson's game. 

    Nico Johnson's negatives according to Alfieri: 

    Susceptible in coverage.

    Not a fluid mover.

    Faster in gym shorts than football pads.

    Only a rotational player at Alabama.

    Overall, Johnson is the fifth-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 4, Pick 2 (99), Kansas City Chiefs

7. A.J. Klein

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    You can view A.J. Klein's complete scouting report from Sigmund Bloom by clicking here.

    Even though Klein isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis. 

    AJ Klein's strengths according to Sigmund Bloom:

    Klein is an instinctive, versatile, high-energy linebacker who is often in the right place at the right time. He recognizes where the play is going very quickly and gets after the ball with conviction once he spots it. Klein is comfortable dropping and moving in space and reacts well to passes in his zone. He plays high effort and leads by example. Klein also has terrific hands for the interception and knack for the pick-six.

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Klein's game. 

    Klein's weaknesses per Sigmund Bloom:

    Klein has a lot of trouble with ball-carriers in space. He can be eluded by moves with average quickness and this happens too often and too easily on his film. He lacks sideline-to-sideline range and probably can't hang in man coverage at the next level. Klein is not a stout linebacker, and he lacks ability to consistently take on and defeat blocks.

    Overall, Klein is the seventh-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 5, Pick 15 (148), Carolina Panthers

8. Vince Williams

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    You can view Vince Williams' complete scouting report from Sigmund Bloom by clicking here.

    Even though Williams isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to Atlanta Falcons linebacker Akeem Dent. 

    Vince Williams' strength's according to Sigmund Bloom:

    Williams is a decisive, downhill inside linebacker who makes quick reads and takes a beeline to the action. He plays with urgency and power and can cover a lot of ground to make a play in pursuit. Williams has a mean streak and physical edge, always looking to punish ball-carriers. He has an extra gear when he gets a read on the play, and Williams is generally around the ball. He is also a stout linebacker who can fight through blocks or jolt a blocker in the hole when he has to clash with them.

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Williams' game. 

    Vince Williams' weaknesses according to Bloom:

    Over-aggressiveness gets Williams in a lot of trouble. When he guesses wrong, he will take himself completely out of a play. Williams' eyes wander, leading him to abandon his area of responsibility, often with bad results. He will bite on play fakes and can be lured into no man's land. Williams seems to prefer eluding blockers to taking them on. He sometimes gets so focused on his destination that he leaves himself open to being blown up by blockers he doesn't see. He might not have the foot speed and range to be a three-down linebacker.

    Overall, Williams is the eighth-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 6, Pick 38 (206), Pittsburgh Steelers

9. Michael Mauti

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    You can view Michael Mauti's complete scouting report from NFL.com by clicking here.

    Even though Mauti isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to longtime NFL linebacker Barrett Ruud. Here's why (per NFL.com):

    Tremendously instinctual player who is poised in both the run and pass game. Thick build throughout, which helps him stand his ground against lineman blocks inside. 

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Mauti's game. Let's take a look (per NFL.com):

    Lacks exceptional straight-line speed; hustles to reach either sideline or quarterbacks on bootlegs but will need help to track them down at the next level. Doesn't have the explosive element to his game that you'd like out of an outside linebacker. 

    Overall, Mauti is the ninth-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 7, Pick 7 (213), Minnesota Vikings

11. Steve Beauharnais

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    You can view Steve Beauharnais' complete scouting report from Ryan McCrystal by clicking here.

    Even though Beauharnais isn't the top inside linebacker prospect, he is still often compared to NFL linebacker Clint Sintim. 

    Steve Beauharnais' strengths according to Ryan McCrystal:

    Beauharnais is lacking in physical tools, but makes up for it with his ability to read and react to the offense. He won't make many highlight-reel plays, but he will consistently put himself in the best position to impact the play. 

    Despite the high praise, there are a couple of glaring weaknesses in Beauharnais' game. Let's take a look (per McCrystal):

    Despite solid fundamentals, Beauharnais' upside is limited due to his physical talent. He lacks the type of elite athleticism that many teams covet in linebackers these days. 

    Due to his limited athleticism, Beauharnais is a liability in coverage. His football intelligence and awareness on the field allows him to be serviceable in zone covergae, but he will be exposed if asked to play man coverage against most tight ends in the NFL.

     

    Overall, Beauharnais is the 11th-best ILB prospect in the 2013 NFL Draft class.

    Drafted: Round 7, Pick 29 (235), New England Patriots