NFL draft preview: Linebackers

  • Updated: April 21, 2013 - 8:50 PM
hide

Jarvis Jones led the nation in sacks last season, but he had a lackluster pro day and there are questions about his health.

Photo: David Goldman • Associated Press ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The hot topic: What’s the worry factor on Georgia’s dynamic duo?

Forget for a moment the Tim Tebow-sized circus that’s expected to follow Notre Dame linebacker and infamous “Catfishing” victim Manti Te’o into the NFL. Bigger draft-day concerns might reside in Georgia, where two of the country’s finest linebackers could be toting their own separate baggage to a couple of brave pro teams via the first round.

Alec Ogletree, a twice-suspended inside linebacker who tacked on a DUI charge in February, and last year’s college football sack king Jarvis Jones, whose lackluster pro day added a second red flag to medical concerns about an old neck injury, are projected as mid- to late first-rounders. Of course, they also could take a tumble the way some projected first-rounders tend to do.

Ogletree is nearly everything a certain purple-clad, Tampa-2 team without a starting middle linebacker could want. At least on the field, where the former safety has the speed, quickness and size (6-2, 242) to overcome a lack of polish and become a vital weapon against modern pass-crazed NFL offenses.

“I’ve got him No. 1 among the inside linebackers, but hesitantly,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told the Philadelphia Daily News. “With Ogletree, you’re just betting on the upside.

“[But] I’m scared to death about Ogletree, both for on- and off-the-field issues. When you put the tape on, he has no clue what he’s doing. … Some of the Cover-2 teams will love him because he can run down the middle of the field like a safety. If you can train him and he loves the game and he has a work ethic, all of which are question marks right now, the kid can be special.”

THE FRONT-RUNNER

Dion Jordan, OLB, Oregon

As more teams switch to 3-4 defenses, more teams need 6-7, 248-pound freaks of nature who can clobber QBs. Jordan, a former tight end who grew into an explosive pass rusher, could be a top-five pick. He’s not expected to fall lower than sixth to Cleveland.

THE CONTENDERS

Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame

So which team will take on the sideshow that comes with this instinctive, passionate Heisman Trophy runner-up whose reputation got chop-blocked by an Internet girlfriend hoax? ESPN’s draft gurus are split. Mel Kiper Jr. says the Vikings will have to trade up from No. 23 to get him. Todd McShay says the Vikings will say no thanks at Nos. 23 and 25 as Te’o tumbles to Baltimore at No. 32.

Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Led major college football with 14 ½ sacks last fall but raised eyebrows when he showed up for his pro day out of shape and ran a 4.92 40. Teams also have to weigh the potential long-term pitfalls of his spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the neck canal.

Barkevious Mingo, OLB, Louisiana State

Mingo is one of those “tweeners” who could become an outstanding player or be remembered as a what-were-they-thinking!? bust. The college defensive end is believed to be too lean (6-4, 241) to be an every-down 4-3 end, but he’s still a top-20 pick because he might be a DeMarcus Ware-type 3-4 edge pass rusher.

THE SLEEPER

Cornelius Washington, OLB, Georgia

  • related content

  • Do the Vikings believe in Te'o?

    Sunday April 21, 2013

    Since going from squeaky-clean Heisman Trophy runner-up to popular tabloid fodder, Manti Te’o has been picked apart by the Vikings...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Orlando 7:00 PM
Memphis
Boston 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 6:00 PM
American Univ
Wright State 6:00 PM
Detroit
Syracuse 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Cleveland State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Delaware State 6:00 PM
NC Central
High Point 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Howard 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State 6:30 PM
NC A&T
Nicholls 6:30 PM
Northwestern St
Hampton 6:30 PM
SC State
Gardner-Webb 7:00 PM
Campbell
MD-Eastern Shore 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Norfolk State 7:00 PM
Savannah State
TX A&M-CC 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
Abilene Christian
McNeese State 7:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Milwaukee 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 7:30 PM
Alabama State
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 8:00 PM
Iowa State
Texas Southern 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Long Island 77 1st OT 3:43
Bryant 77
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 48 2nd Half 20:00
Wagner 34
Delaware State 29 2nd Half
NC Central 25
Howard 4:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Coppin State 4:30 PM
NC A&T
Hampton 4:30 PM
SC State
Norfolk State 4:45 PM
Savannah State
MD-Eastern Shore 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Samford 5:00 PM
(25) Chattanooga
Prairie View 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Alabama A&M
Southern U 5:30 PM
Alabama State
Texas Southern 5:30 PM
Miss Valley St
(12) Texas A&M 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Robert Morris 6:00 PM
Mount St Marys
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
Furman
Morehead St 6:00 PM
Tenn Tech
Illinois 6:00 PM
Michigan
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 8:00 PM
Auburn
(15) Nebraska 8:00 PM
(20) Iowa
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close