2011 NFL Draft: Inside Linebacker Rankings

  1. Quan Sturdivant, ILB, North Carolina
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2011): 2.

    10/9/10: Sturdivant looks like the top consensus inside linebacker at the moment. He is a hard hitter with adequate range in coverage and good instincts who doesn’t miss his gaps.

    5/12/10: Quan Sturdivant collected 79 tackles and 12 TFL as a junior.

  2. Chris Marve, ILB, Vanderbilt
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2011): 2-4.

    10/9/10: Marve is a quick athlete who diagnoses and makes plays. He has shown the ability to cover tight ends in man coverage. He’s battling a knee injury at the moment, but should return to his stellar play when healthy.
  3. Dont’a Hightower*, ILB, Alabama
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 250.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-4.

    10/9/10: Hightower is ridiculously overrated right now. I’ve seen a very slow, sluggish player on tape with no range (though this could be the result of his knee injury). He’s always getting to the play late and delivering a big hit at an irrelevant time when he’s the second or third player to the ball-carrier. I don’t like his lethargic body language or jogging around on the field in the middle of the play. Buyer beware.

    5/12/10: Dont’a Hightower is a very talented linebacker, but played only four games in 2009 because of a knee injury that required surgery.

  4. Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 239.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-4.

    10/9/10: Sheppard has gotten a lot of hype this season, but I haven’t seen him really produce on tape yet. I think he needs to step it up.

    5/12/10: Kelvin Sheppard collected 110 tackles and 8.5 sacks in 2009, and there was speculation that he’d declare for the 2010 NFL Draft.

  5. Mike Mohamed, ILB, California
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 237.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.73.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-5.

    5/12/10: Playing in Cal’s 3-4, Mike Mohamed managed 111 tackles, eight TFL, three passes broken up and three picks as a junior.
  6. Mario Harvey, ILB, Marshall
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 244.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.81.
    Projected Round (2011): 4-6.

    10/9/10: Harvey has been getting a lot of hype this season for his play and rightfully so. He’s outstanding in run support as a sure tackler and being able to shed blockers at will.

    5/12/10: Mario Harvey has a knack for getting to the quarterback; as a junior, he had 117 tackles, 8.5 TFL and seven sacks, earning All-Conference USA First Team honors.

  7. Nate Irving, ILB, North Carolina State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.82.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    10/9/10: Irving looks like a developmental linebacker at the next level because of his lacking speed and range.
  8. Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.76.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    5/12/10: Casey Matthews notched 81 tackles, 4.5 TFL, five passes broken up and three sacks in 2009.
  9. Brian Duncan, ILB, Texas Tech
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 249.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.86.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    10/9/10: Duncan has been racking up the sacks this year for Tech, but his skill set doesn’t project very well to the next level.
  10. Josh Bynes, ILB, Auburn
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 239.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    1/8/10: Josh Bynes notched 104 tackles and six TFL as a junior. Did not declare for the 2010 NFL Draft.

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  11. Alex Wujciak, ILB, Maryland
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 255.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.84.
    Projected Round (2011): 5-7.

    5/12/10: An All-ACC First Team member, Alex Wujciak had 131 tackles and 8.5 TFL. As with Brandon Spikes, Wujciak’s 40 will be crucial because his sideline-to-sideline coverage is a concern.
  12. Scott Lutrus, ILB, Connecticut
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
    Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.

    10/9/10: Lutrus missed the first three games being injured, and his concerning durability might prevent him from getting drafted in the mid-rounds – or at all.
  13. Brian Smith, ILB, Notre Dame
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 240.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
    Projected Round (2011): 6-FA.

    5/12/10: Brian Smith notched 71 tackles, 5.5 TFL and two interceptions in 2009.
  14. Kendall Smith, ILB, Florida State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 224.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
    Projected Round (2011): 7-FA.

    5/12/10: Kendall Smith’s size is an issue, but he had 85 tackles and seven TFL as a junior.

WalterFootball.com: 2011 NFL Draft: Inside Linebacker Rankings.