FanPost

Draft Prospects: Outside Linebacker Edition

Outside linebacker may have been the Falcons biggest need prior to the Dunta Robinson release and not being able to retain Brent Grimes. In Mike Nolan's hybrid defense, we may ask our outside linebacker to cover a tight end or running back, or rush the passer. We all know those were two huge problems throughout last season, and killed the Falcons in the playoffs. Stephen Nicholas was a solid run stuffer and could translate well to a 3-4 strong side inside linebacker but can't be trusted to cover a tight end. At least I think he would thrive as the "tackler" in the 3-4. Anyways, this draft is pretty deep and I think the Falcons will need to use a few picks on linebacker. Again, guys like Dion Jordan and Mingo will not be included on this list because they will be taken long before the Falcons draft. We all know anything can happen, but I don't see it happening at all. So here are the outside linebackers that should be on the Falcons radar come draft day.

Jarvis Jones: Georgia

Height:6'2

Weight:245 lbs

Arm Length: 33 inches

Hands: 9 1/8 inches

40 Yard Dash:Did Not Participate

Bench Press:Did Not Participate

3 Cone Drill:Did Not Participate

20 Yard Shuttle:Did Not Participate

NFL Comparison: Bruce Irvin

Skill Set: Jarvis Jones is one of the elite line backers in the draft, when he is on the field. He has the ability to play both inside and outside but primarily plays outside. He attacks the outside shoulder of lineman quickly and sets the edge on pass plays. He fights to the ball even on second and third attempts at the quarterback. But, he doesn't have many pass rush moves which makes him somewhat predictable. He does a good job of keeping contain and breaking through to take down ballcarriers. In coverage Jarvis does a good job of covering tight ends on short to medium routes but sometimes seems lost in the flats or when asked to cover a tight end going down field. Does well reading the quarterback in zone coverage.

Analysis: Jarvis Jones started the draft process as a top 5 pick, but after seeing his injury history, which is VERY long, you can see why he has dropped out of the top 5 and even the 1st round in some mocks. But, I know for a fact if Jarvis Jones was there and the Falcons passed on him so of us would be livid. I for one would rather have a Ogletree/Brown if they are there but would be happy with Jones. His injury history is scary but the cieling is too high. He was only a one year starter in college so that is also a concern. He would be a fan favorite as he is from Columbus and went to UGA. I don't know if Jones will be there for the Falcons round one, but if he is I'd be happy to draft him.

Hightlights: Jarvis Jones

A must watch on Jarvis Jones

Arthur Brown: Kansas State

Height:6'0

Weight:241 lbs

Arm Length: 32 1/2 inches

Hands: 10 inches

40 Yard Dash:Did Not Participate

Bench Press:Did Not Participate

3 Cone Drill:Did Not Participate

20 Yard Shuttle:Did Not Participate

NFL Comparison: NaVorro Bowman

Skill Set: First off, he is compared by some to Navarro Bowman that alone should say alot. He is listed as a ILB to some and OLB to others, on the Falcons roster I project him more as an OLB in the 4-3 and ILB in the 3-4 because of his size and speed. Despite questionable size he finds the ballcarrier and rarely misses tackles even on bigger ball carriers. Brings the wood on every hit no matter who it is. Does a great job of bringing down ballcarries in space. He doesn't have a problem with fullbacks and pulling guards and doesn't shy away from contact in the box. Shows good coverage ability as he has good instincts and can keep up with both slot recievers and tight ends. He does a good job of fighting for 50/50 balls and picking up crossing routes. As a pass rusher uses his hands and arms well and finds the gap and attacks quickly. Only real weaknesses are size and somewhat poor vision when run stopping and getting after the QB, but I don't see either as a huge issue.

Analysis: I have loved the idea of drafting Arthur Brown since day 1. Now he has picked up some steam in the draft process, I just hope he is there pick 30. He is a hard hitting linebacker even though most say he is "too small". He is great in coverage and that is a huge need. Very versatile and won't have to come off the field on 3rd downs. there is not much I don't like about Arthur Brown and I would love to have him in a Falcons uniform next season. I don't see TD and the FO passing up on him.

Highlights: Arthur Brown

Khaseem Greene: Rutgers

Height:6'1

Weight:241 lbs

Arm Length: 31 7/8 inches

Hands: 9 1/2 inches

40 Yard Dash: 4.71 seconds

Bench Press: 17 reps

3 Cone Drill:7.58 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.20 seconds

NFL Comparison: Geno Hayes

Skill Set: Greene is listed as a OLB/S by some scouts and it shows why he is also listed as a safety in his coverage skills. Moves around like a safety and can cover a slot reciever or tight end anywhere on the field including the deep 3rd. He does a good job of recognizing where the ball is going to go on quick throws and screens. Finds his way to the QB well. In the run game he doesn't have the physicallity to drop running backs and is seen making alot of plays where he wraps up around the legs. Also he overruns plays to the sideline, and is often seen taking plays off when they aren't to his side.

Analysis: I'm not a huge Khaseem Greene fan, but he could be a good pick up. I think he would have to come off the field for obvious run plays, against bigger backs, and on the goal line. He will be good in coverage but I just don't see him as a good run defender. I'd pass on him and get a more all around linebacker.

Highlights: Khaseem Greene

Jamie Collins: Southern Miss

Height:6'3

Weight:250 lbs

Arm Length: 33 3/8 inches

Hands: 9 7/8 inches

40 Yard Dash: 4.64 seconds

Bench Press: 19 reps

3 Cone Drill:7.10 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.32 seconds

NFL Comparison: Clark Haggans

Skill Set: Jamie Collins does a good job of getting around the tackles and has great closing speed on QBs and ballcarriers coming out of the backfield. But, doesn't have the strength or pass rush moves to be an every down rush end in the NFL. Can keep up with slot recievers and tight ends on short routes and does a good job knocking recievers out of their routes with his arms. He sometimes is lost in zone coverage. He struggles with quick, elusive guys in the open field whether it be running back, reciever, or even quarterback.

Analysis: Seems like a raw player that with good coaching could surprise some people. Comes from a small school so some teams overlook him. With a 2nd or 3rd round pick he would be a solid player. He is very gifted with his size and athleticism but just may need someone to help him put it all together. I'm very interested to see how he will do in the NFL.

Highlights: Jamie Collins

Sio Moore: UCONN

Height:6'1

Weight:245 lbs

Arm Length: 33 5/8 inches

Hands: 10 1/4 inches

40 Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds

Bench Press: 29 reps

3 Cone Drill:7.49 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.31 seconds

NFL Comparison: Michael Boley

Skill Set: Moore does a good job understanding the play and staying in his gaps. Sometimes struggles with ballcarriers in the open field but is a physical tackler and limits extra yards. In coverage, Moore can keep up with larger recievers and tight ends with his speed. Does a god job jumping slants and winning 50/50 balls. Some question his closing speed and how that will translate to the NFL. Some think he won't be a playmaker because of his lack of closing speed.

Analysis: Moore would be a great pickup in the 3rd to 4th round and could be an instant upgrade. I think his closing speed is not as big of a question as some think and he will be a quality NFL player. He is a very athletic player with good size. Depending on who is taken in the first few rounds, Sio Moore could be a good pickup. Could we have a Willy Mo and a Sio Mo?

Highlights: Sio Moore This one is long but its the only real quality game footage highlights I could find.

Sean Porter: Texas A&M

Height:6'1

Weight:229 lbs

Arm Length: 31 7/8 inches

Hands: 9 3/8 inches

40 Yard Dash: 4.75 seconds

Bench Press: 22 reps

3 Cone Drill:Did Not Participate

20 Yard Shuttle: Did Not Participate

NFL Comparison: Michael Boley, yes another Michael Boley

Skill Set: Sean Porter is a good pass rusher that has a wide range of moves as he can burn the tackle, give him a shake and use his speed to cut inside, or spin past the tackle. But this may have only been a good college skill set, he doesn't seem to have the size to get past NFL tackles and may struggle with chips from tight ends in the NFL. He does a good job of filling the lane of the running back and closing in on the carrier. Needs to work on his coverage which got better and better in college.

Analysis: Porter may have been a product of a pretty good Texas A&M front seven over the years. He may become a good player in the NFL but as of right now he lacks the size and skill set to succeed. I was a big Porter fan during the college football season but he does not possess an NFL skill set. That doesn't mean he won't figure it out but he is a project. I wouldn't draft him until the 4th round and only if the next guy isn't there.

Highlights: Sean Porter

Chase Thomas: Stanford

Height:6'3

Weight:244 lbs

Arm Length: 31 1/8 inches

Hands: 9 1/2 inches

40 Yard Dash: 4.91 seconds

Bench Press: 18 reps

3 Cone Drill:7.17 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.31 seconds

NFL Comparison: Connor Barwin

Skill Set: The Connor Barwin comparison is very good in that he isn't going to over power the tackles with strength but has a good club, swim, and spin move and can make the cutback into the A and B gaps. He may need to work on his strength so he has a better arsenal against the NFL tackles. Does a pretty good job in coverage in the flats and on tight ends. When, covering the flats on quicker ballcarriers, he is sometimes caught over pursuing. Shows alot of hustle and makes plays downfield and plays on the opposite side of the field he is on. Smart player, after all he went to Stanford.

Analysis: For all you guys hoping we could snag Connor Barwin in free agency, here is your second chance. He is a smart, high motor player that can produce now. I have liked the idea of drafting this kid from the get go and would be a good pick anywhere from the 3rd to 4th round. He is a Georgia native so won't mind adding another Georgia boy.

Highlights: Chase Thomas

Jelani Jenkins: Florida

Height:6'1

Weight:243 lbs

Arm Length: 32 1/4 inches

Hands: 9 3/8 inches

40 Yard Dash: Did Not Participate

Bench Press: 27 reps

3 Cone Drill:Did Not Participate

20 Yard Shuttle: Did Not Participate

NFL Comparison: Nick Roach

Skill Set: Jelani is a fast linebacker that has good sideline to sideline speed. Does a good job in coverage on running backs and tight ends. His athleticism allows him to be a good blitzer at times but he sometimes gets held up by linemen because of his strength. He is good in pursuit and does a fine job bringing down ballcarriers.

Analysis: Jelani is a interesting prospect, he has all the tools to be a good player just needs to get a little stronger. It is reported he has been working with his coaches at Florida and gained 10 pounds which apparenly a good amount of muscle mass. He obvioulsly is hard worker and would be a good late round pick up in the 5th to 6th round range.

Highlights: Jelani Jenkins

Zaviar Gooden: Missouri

Height:6'1

Weight:234 lbs

Arm Length: 32 1/4 inches

Hands: 10 inches

40 Yard Dash: 4.47 seconds

Bench Press: 27 reps

3 Cone Drill:6.71 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.18 seconds

NFL Comparison: Justin Durant

Skill Set: If you couldn't tell by his combine numbers he is one of the fastest linebackers in the draft. Will be a will in a 4-3 and is an agressive defender. He does a good job engaging tight ends and fullbacks and keeps good vision on the ball even when engaged with a defender. Has the speed to keep up with running backs, slot recievers, and tight ends. He gets caught up in the play action at times and because of it is out of the play. Does a good job of changing direction.

Analysis: This was Sean Weatherspoon's replacement in Missouri after he left and has made the most of his opprutunity. His athleticism is NFL ready but needs to work on his play reading. Can be a solid pickup again in the 4-5th round range and we all know TD likes Missouri players since they have given us Spoon and Willy Mo.

Highlights:Zaviar Gooden

So I want to know who you guys think would be the best value pick up and why? And what position would you like to see next?

<em>This FanPost was written by one of The Falcoholic's talented readers. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The Falcoholic.</em>

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