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In 2009, I had the privilege to attend the Cotton Bowl for the first time. Three of the players would go on to be first round selections in the 2009 draft and another three would be selected in the draft’s first three rounds. What I remember the most, however, is that I sat next to a former NFL scout who was then working for ESPN. We talked about the players we saw at Senior Bowls over the years, why Bo Jackson was two decades ahead of his time, and eventually, what made for a good scout. It was this scout's opinion that certain positions required - namely linebacker - tended to be more volatile over time, and more varied given the linebacker responsibilities in a system. As such, the following list, unlike the others in this series will not have comments placed next to the players, rather it will list a number of collegiate linebackers that currently project as prospects worth watching, far more than will be drafted in the first two days of the draft. This is a different approach than what I have used for other positions but, based on my 8 year old memory of a conversation I had with a professional scout, a change worth making.

*Arden Key and Porter Gustin were included on the defensive linemen rankings, although either could project to pass rushing outside linebacker depending on scheme.


Dante Booker, OLB, Ohio State

Lorenzo Carter, OLB, Georgia

Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College

Malik Jefferson, OLB, Texas

Kendall Joseph, OLB, Clemson

Jack Cichy, ILB, Wisconsin

Shaun Dion-Hamilton, ILB, Alabama

Tre Williams, ILB, Auburn

Cameron Smith, ILB, USC

Niles Morgan, ILB, Notre Dame

Josey Jewell, OLB/ILB, Iowa

Azeem Victor, ILB, Washington

Micah Kizer, ILB, Virginia

TJ Edwards, ILB, WIsconsin

Chad Whitener, ILB, Oklahoma State

Reggie Carter, OLB/ILB, Georgia

Marquis Haynes, OLB, Ole Miss

Ogbonna Okoronkwo, OLB, Oklahoma

Matthew Thomas, ILB, Florida State

Mike McCray, OLB, Michigan

Rashaan Evans, OLB, Alabama

David Bellamy, OLB, Georgia

Te’Von Coney, OLB, Notre Dame

Jason Cabinda, OLB/ILB, Penn State

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