Here’s a look at how I feel about the 2009 inside linebacker prospects. Ends and linebackers may be used interchangeably due to uncertainty of which position the prospect will play in the NFL. The order may change as draft day nears.
1. Rey Maualuga – Southern California
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 254 | 40-time: 4.75
What I like about him: Plays like an animal, blows up the ball carrier, and pushes back the pile. Light on his feet and uses his hands well.
What I don’t like about him: Doesn’t have great lateral agility and can overpursue due to his aggressiveness.
2. James Laurinaitis – Ohio State
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 255 | 40-time: 4.65
What I like about him: Good football instincts, gets in position to make the play in a hurry. Has good sideline-to-sideline speed to make plays in space.
What I don’t like about him: Doesn’t pack a powerful punch when making the tackle. Doesn’t shed blockers quickly enough.
3. Darry Beckwith – Louisiana State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 233 | 40-time: 4.60
What I like about him: Natural athlete with good range and versatility. Can use speed to make tackles in open field or strength to be an effective in-the-box tackler.
What I don’t like about him: Doesn’t have great instincts. Doesn’t have great quickness to cover backs in passing situations. Doesn’t use his hands well or disengage with blockers.
4. Jason Phillips – Texas Christian
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 236 | 40-time: 4.59
What I like about him: Smart player who has a nose for the football. Four-year starter and a coach’s son. Takes good angles and avoids blockers.
What I don’t like about him: Doesn’t have good sideline-to-sideline range and lacks overall athleticism. Will struggle in man-to-man coverage.
5. Dannell Ellerbe – Georgia
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 236 | 40-time: 4.55
What I like about him: Plays with explosiveness. Has good instincts and can diagnose plays well by reading his keys. Good speed and coverage ability.
What I don’t like about him: Misses a too many tackles and lacks the strength to shed blockers. Character and durability may be a concern.
6. Scott McKillop – Pittsburgh
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 240 | 40-time: 4.77
What I like about him: Instinctive player who will get to the ball quickly. He’s understands the game well and knows where he needs to be.
What I don’t like about him: Lacks fluidity and doesn’t have ideal arm length. Struggles to wrap up on tackles and can be overpowered by blockers.
7. Antonio Appleby – Virginia
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 243 | 40-time: 4.70
What I like about him: Ideal size with good athleticism and fluidity in his movements. Possesses decent strength to shed blockers and stand up the ball carrier.
What I don’t like about him: His toughness and effort have been called into question. He doesn’t have the speed to pursue plays in space and he lacks leadership.
8. Gerald McRath – Southern Mississippi
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 220 | 40-time: 4.65
What I like about him: Good straight-line speed and he has ideal height. Decent at reading the quarterback’s eyes and he is a good defender in zone coverage.
What I don’t like about him: Needs to add bulk to his frame. Doesn’t take on blockers and could be re-routed easily. Looks stiff at times and doesn’t change direction well.
9. Worrell Williams – California
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 250 | 40-time: 4.72
What I like about him: Above average speed will enable him to stick with backs and tight ends. He has good range and takes good angles to the ball. Brother of Broncos’ D.J. Williams.
What I don’t like about him: Doesn’t have good instincts. Lacks ideal height. Doesn’t shed blocks well, has average strength, and doesn’t have great awareness.
10. Josh Mauga – Nevada
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 250 | 40-time: 4.64
What I like about him: Good recovery speed to make up for missteps. Good agility and moves fluidly.
What I don’t like about him: Doesn’t have good reaction time. Lacks power and intensity. Doesn’t use his hands well and misses too many tackles.
11. Jasper Brinkley – South Carolina
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 275 | 40-time: 4.79
What I like about him: Big and strong and works hard. He’s an above-average open-field tackler. Limited experience in big-time competition.
What I don’t like about him: Durability could be an issue. Doesn’t have the speed to excel in pass coverage. Doesn’t have natural instincts.
12. Stanley Arnoux – Wake Forest
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 245 | 40-time: 4.61
What I like about him: He reads his keys well and flows to the ball quickly. He’s a solid tackler and can shed blocks.
What I don’t like about him: Played with one of the best linebackers in this draft class, Aaron Curry, which means his production might have been inflated.
13. Morris Wooten – Arizona State
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 235 | 40-time: 5.00
What I like about him: Has ideal build but lacks good height. Uses good strength to rip free from blockers. He takes good angles to overcome below-average speed.
What I don’t like about him: Overachiever who has a limited skill set and doesn’t possess good instincts or play recognition.
14. Brit Miller – Illinois
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 253 | 40-time: 4.86
What I like about him: Plays with toughness and will get to the ball carrier quickly. Can chase down ball-carriers to the outside.
What I don’t like about him: Lacks ideal height. Doesn’t have a great closing burst or overall athleticism.
15. Brett Warren – Virginia Tech
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 237 | 40-time: N/A
What I like about him: Will bring it on every play. Shows toughness and has an NFL pedigree. Has good strength.
What I don’t like about him: Durability could be a concern. Doesn’t have ideal athleticism.
Brian Toal – Boston College
Brock Christopher – Missouri
Dave Philistin – Maryland
Derek Burrell – Kent State
Derek Nicholson – Florida State
Ellix Wilson – Tennessee
Glenn Cook – Miami
Jake Flaherty – Syracuse
John Bacon – Oregon
Kevin Grant – Akron
Maurice Crum – Notre Dame
Maurice Kitchens – Marshall
Michael Tauilili – Duke
Nick Hursky – Liberty
Pat Maynor – Stanford
Rashad Bobino – Texas
Robert Henson – Texas Christian
Ryan Manalac – Cincinnati
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