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Old 12-09-2012, 10:01 AM
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Default Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Throughout the season we've known that we need to solidify our linebacker corps. Many of us in this forum have been watching impactful players fill big roles for their respective college squads and wondered..."would he look good in Bengal stripes?"

I've looked at game footage for top draftable MLB/OLB prospects to get a glance at what each of these guys bring to the table, and extrapolate (maybe unfairly) where they may be drafted as a result. I'll use one game to not make this any more painfully long than it already will be, so beware of sample bias. I believe only by comparing to the field of other prospects, can you truly see their value.

I hope none of these guys end up in Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

I'll start off with Manti Te'o, arguably the highest LB prospect outside of Jarvis Jones that we have no shot at for schematic and draft position reasons. So why analyze Te'o?

Manti Te'o, ILB/MLB--Footage: ND vs Michigan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVrXuLsnkUc

Notes: This was one of his better games. I looked at a couple and this was the one that represented what he can bring to the table best. Already, it's evident that sample bias exists, as I could use lackluster performances for my argument one way or another.

-The first minute you see his range is short, possibly due to scheme (this was a very gifted option offense, afterall.) He dropped back into short zone once, and rushed the passer to no avail.
-Just after the 2 minute mark, he fails to shed a block on a Robinson run up the middle that leads to a big gain.
-However, next play he reads run immediately but ballcarrier passes the ball into the defender's hands for an interception. This is one of two interceptions his rush causes, as another play later on causes an errant Robinson throw.
-Te'o had a few interceptions himself in this game; one that just fell into his lap, and another off a deflection that required great reflexes.
-Te'o shows great ability to step up into the hole to fill, shed the tackle and come up with or cause the tackle. On the downside, has over-pursued at times and runs himself out of the play, and is limited athletically to make up for instincts.
-Showed great ability to blitz when called to; both immediate and delayed (option read).
-Also was able to drop into coverage, when play was busted Te'o stepped up to meet a scrambling Robinson for only a short gain.

Summary:
Mostly great instincts, football smarts. Limited athletically and should probably shed a few pounds. Occasionally over-pursues and leaves his feet. Excellent ability to blitz, and knows his coverages (though the final play of that film he left his man too early, nothing resulted from it).
TGI's grade: Top 5-20 range pick. I think it would be a reach for a team to grab him in the top 10, but it doesn't mean they won't. The Raiders and Browns would be foolish for different reasons; possible landing with the Bills, but I could see them going other directions. However, don't be surprised if Te'o is still in the green room when the Bengals pick...he has not solidified himself as the best ILB in this class, and certainly not solidified as a top 10 pick at a position whose value has diminished as the game has changed.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Alec Ogletree, ILB/MLB/OLB Footage: Georgia vs. Tennessee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=730bSbwZmUA

Notes:This guy's ability is off the charts. I also found several games and have watched him several times, but Ogletree is much more consistent than Te'o and one is about as good as another. He does have areas of concern, but I believe teams will look past most of these to see the budding, yet-unrealized potential.

-Shown early on blitzing and dropping into short coverage zones. Shows great pass rushing skills off the left tackle, rushing a throw from Bray.
-On one run play, and evident on several, Ogletree meets the runner but fails to fill the hole. Too many runs past the line of scrimmage. This is one area he needs to improve, as his tackling is excellent and his agility is second-to-none at his position; maybe better than Kuechly the prior year. He just needs to step up.
-Shows ability to cover WR's, TE's, and RBs out of the backfield. Also aware enough to drop off coverage early to pursue underneath tackle. Great awareness.
-Reads the play well enough to deflect a pass while in coverage, that leads to an interception.
-More run plays where he sits and waits instead of filling, resulting in yardage. Like the Alabama game.
-Goal-line stance where he fills the hole but weak one-armed the tackle, resulting in a score.
-Though beat in coverage at the goal line, that's more a positive on Bray than a negative on Ogletree IMO. Great move by the receiver as well.
-Displays excellent closing speed on the ball, breaking up a pass. This is his bread and butter.
-Much more decisive at point-of-attack in second half of this game, meeting runners at or behind LOS.
-Half-assed effort on busted play from Tennessee. Runner ran all the way across traffic to cross the goal line.
-Inability to shed block in the running game. I've seen this often from his footage.

Summary:
Ogletree has unlimited potential as an all-purpose linebacker. I think this makes him much more exciting to watch, easy to root for, and makes him much more marketable to grow into his body and position in the NFL. He might be the perfect Tampa 2 defense MLB (watch out for Chicago to make a move if they can), but that doesn't make him any less able to fit any LB position aside from rush linebacker in a 3-4. Ogletree's negatives may be easily correctable, particularly if he hit the weight room, worked on shedding tackles and filling the hole. His athleticism is top-calibre, and I think this makes him potentially a better draft pick than Te'o. I would not be surprised to see him have a rise like Keuchly did last year (especially given this weak draft class), but would not be surprised if he was picked in the 20's due to maturity concerns.

Either way, he's maxed out his draft position, and I see little need to stay in school longer. How much higher can an ILB go, when most of the talent around him is leaving for the NFL? TGI's draft grade: top 10-25 range pick
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:05 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

CJ Mosley, WILL/MLB Footage: Alabama vs. Missouri
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvodZ06OXk8

Notes: Mosley seems like the most polished of the 3 first round linebackers I graded. He comes from the best college system, and is a leader on their defense. Coverage skills are excellent, and is extremely disciplined with his assignments. I haven't seen him in discussions to be a MLB, and the only rationale I can come up with is that his coverage skills may be wasted in that spot, scheme depending (not in a 4-3 like the bears use). Onto the footage.

-Early on his speed is evident. Perfect athlete for the position. Great angles in pursuit of the play, incredibly quick to read pass/run and react accordingly.
-Shows great speed on a blitz up the guard/center hole, get to the quarterback for the sack.
-In sloppy conditions, hurdles a blocker to make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. Just great recognition and play-making ability.
-More of the same; even when the defense wasn't set, Mosley able to make tackle at the line of scrimmage. Fumble recovery in there too.
(I could go on, but it's invariably the same. Mosley just makes the plays he's asked to make.)

Summary: There's no feast or famine with Mosley, just a constant pro. Of the 3 linebackers I have as a first round grade for certain, Mosley is the known quantity. There is no mystery, you're just getting a LB that could fill in on day one. Downside; the imagination may make him seem limited, because he's already so polished compared to the other two prospects.

Mosley's versatile, too. I haven't seen him listed as a MLB prospect, but he's capable. I think he would be best served as a WLB, and that may be why he's not a top-10 pick. It's about the least sexy of the least sexy group on the defense. If you're looking for polish in a LB, besides Kuechly last year...Mosley is your choice. And because of that, I would definitely love to see Mosley in stripes.

TGI's draft grade: 15-30 range.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:57 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Good work! I personally love Mosley, but wouldn't mind Ogletree either. I think Te'o is gone in the top-15, so we shouldn't have to worry about him.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

also think about this, Te'o had around 50 tackles this year. Twice in his career, Luke Kuechly had more SOLO tackles than Te'o had COMBINED tackles in his "Heisman" year.


Te'o is not as good of a prospect as Kuechly and he will be drafted for his story as much as his skill.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Probably shoulda included Anthony Barr
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by berserkerone88 View Post
also think about this, Te'o had around 50 tackles this year. Twice in his career, Luke Kuechly had more SOLO tackles than Te'o had COMBINED tackles in his "Heisman" year.


Te'o is not as good of a prospect as Kuechly and he will be drafted for his story as much as his skill.
7 INTs though, that's pretty impressive.

I don't think he's as good as people are giving him credit for, but he's been a good college player.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ibengals View Post
7 INTs though, that's pretty impressive.

I don't think he's as good as people are giving him credit for, but he's been a good college player.
You know how many he had the 3 years prior to this? 0.
I find some sort of anomalous state there when you have a +7 jump in INT from the previous 3 seasons...combined. Especially considering he has been a starter.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

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Originally Posted by bfine32 View Post
Probably shoulda included Anthony Barr
The guy put a hell of a lot of work into what he did post.
No comments on that?
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by berserkerone88 View Post
You know how many he had the 3 years prior to this? 0.
I find some sort of anomalous state there when you have a +7 jump in INT from the previous 3 seasons...combined. Especially considering he has been a starter.
Haha, you don't like him, we get it.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfine32 View Post
Probably shoulda included Anthony Barr
I tried to include 4-3 first rounders only, and Barr, while impressive, is arguably neither. This is truncated, to say the least.
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:25 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

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Haha, you don't like him, we get it.
For good reason
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Old 12-09-2012, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Awesome post.

I still think that Mosley would be a very solid pick. As you said, he is the most polished and plays well in coverage. I seriously hope he ends up in stripes, because he could really help this team out.
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Old 12-09-2012, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

We need speed in this draft at the Lb position,
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:37 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by berserkerone88 View Post
The guy put a hell of a lot of work into what he did post.
No comments on that?
Yeah I probably shoulda followed your example and praised the OP's work.

Where's that post?


Just suggested Barr is a realistic option to go 1st round
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

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Originally Posted by bfine32 View Post
Yeah I probably shoulda followed your example and praised the OP's work.

Where's that post?


Just suggested Barr is a realistic option to go 1st round
I was commenting on Te'o
Not pulling your usual whine because someone isn't talking about one of "your" guys
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Top Linebacker Prospects Analysis (long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by berserkerone88 View Post
I was commenting on Te'o
Not pulling your usual whine because someone isn't talking about one of "your" guys
Guess you're just unhappy today.
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