2010 NFL Draft: Top Outside Linebackers

Chris J. NelsonSenior Writer IMarch 31, 2010

COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 07:  Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon #12 of the Missouri Tigers reacts after stopping the Baylor Bears offense during the game at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With the 2010 NFL Draft less than a month away, I will be highlighting the top players at each position in this year's class.

These are my top outside linebacker prospects available in the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri

A three-year starter at Missouri, Weatherspoon recorded 410 tackles, 12.5 sacks, and four interceptions on his way to three All-Big 12 selections and two All-American selections.

An outstanding all-around linebacker with top-notch ability and intangibles, Weatherspoon projects at any of the linebacker spots in the 4-3 and inside in the 3-4. He is likely to come off the board sometime in the latter part of the third round.

2. Sergio Kindle, Texas

Kindle racked up 115 tackles, 34.5 tackles for a loss, and 15.5 sacks in two seasons starting for the Longhorns from 2008 to 2009.

A Brian Orakpo clone, Kindle is arguably the top prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker in this year's draft. He should come off the board somewhere in the middle of the first round, and could develop into an elite pass rusher if he stay out of trouble.

3. Brandon Graham, Michigan

A three-year starter at Michigan, Graham was a constant pass-rushing force for the Wolverines with 135 tackles, 55.5 tackles for a loss, and 29 sacks in his final three collegiate seasons.

Although Graham doesn't have the ideal size for the 3-4 outside linebacker spot, his skills are undeniable. He'll push to come off the board in the middle of the first round, but at the very least shouldn't fall out of it completely.

4. Jerry Hughes, Texas Christian

The Mountain West Conference's top defender each of the past two seasons, Hughes racked up 110 tackles, 36 tackles for a loss, and 26.5 sacks over his final two years with the Horned Frogs.

Like Graham, Hughes lacks the ideal size for the 3-4 outside linebacker position, but his athleticism is second-to-none among his fellow rushers in this year's class. He has a chance of cracking the first round, but will certainly be gone before the third.

5. Daryl Washington, Texas Christian

Just a one-year starter at TCU, Washington concluded his career with the Horned Frogs with 109 tackles (11 for a loss), two sacks, and three interceptions as a senior in 2009.

Although he played inside at TCU, Washington is a bit undersized for an NFL linebacker and projects best outside in a 4-3 scheme. The highest he could go is probably 31st overall to Indianapolis, but he should definitely be gone sometime in the second round.

Who are your top outside linebacker prospects in the 2010 NFL Draft? Share your thoughts on the forum here!

Chris J. Nelson is a journalism major at Georgia State University. He operates his own Miami Dolphins Web site, The Miami Dolphins Spotlight, and can be followed on Twitter here.


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