Inside linebacker, outside linebacker, rush 'backer. The position has evolved with the NFL looking for more and more speed, but the job requirements remain the same: Get the ball. But with so many different types of athletes and players available in the 2014 draft, who is the best?
That’s what the NFL Draft 100 aims to identify. Looking only at the film, who is the best?
The B/R NFL Draft 100 metric is based on scouting each player and grading the key criteria for each position. The criteria are weighted according to importance on a 100-point scale. Unlike our NFL 1,000 series, this project factors in upside for each player—as the NFL draft is as much about upside as it is about production.
Linebackers are broken into two categories—inside and outside. Inside linebackers are judged on run defense (50 points), pass rush (10), coverage (20) and upside (20). Outside linebackers are graded on pass rush (40 points), coverage (10), run defense (30) and upside (20). Both include these categories and all of the technique, athletic ability and football intelligence needed to play the position.
In the case of ties, the ranking is based on which player I prefer personally.
Subjective? Yes. But ties are no fun.
Each player was scouted by me with these key criteria in mind. The following scouting reports and grades are the work of months of film study and in-person evaluation.