2011 NFL Draft: Outside Linebacker Rankings

  1. Travis Lewis*, OLB, Oklahoma
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
    Projected Round (2010): Top 20 Pick.

    10/9/10: Lewis is the crown jewel of the 4-3 outside linebacker class. He is a dominant force in his run support and range in coverage. He can play both the strongside and weakside, and this versatility certainly fuels his value. Lewis is a playmaker who will get drafted fairly high.

    1/8/10: Travis Lewis had 108 tackles and 9.5 TFL in 2009. Lewis has given no indication that he’ll declare as a redshirt sophomore, but he’d probably be the top outside linebacker in the 2010 NFL Draft if he did.

  2. Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round (2010): Top 25 Pick.

    10/9/10: Carter has been a bright spot on the Tar Heel team that has been surrounded with controversey. He’s a big-hitting linebacker with great range and athleticism. He’ll likely get drafted in the first round – his best fit is as a 4-3 weakside linebacker.

    5/9/10: One of many first-round prospects on North Carolina’s defense, Bruce Carter collected 65 tackles and 7.5 TFL in 2009.

  3. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 240.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
    Projected Round (2011): 1-2.

    10/8/10: Miller has been battling an injured ankle all season and that’s why he hasn’t lived up to his preseason billing. However, despite not playing very well, we know he’s hurt and this shows how tough he is. Playing through pain is something you will have to do in the NFL and Miller isn’t a pansy – we know this now. Once he’s healthy, then we can start to fairly evaluate his game. As a 4-3 outside linebacker, Miller projects as a strongside linebacker who can also rush the quarterback. He’s a great fit for hybrid schemes.
  4. Akeem Ayers*, OLB, UCLA
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 252.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.64.
    Projected Round (2011): 1-2.

    10/8/10: I loved Ayers’ game tape against Texas. He can drop in coverage, play the run, and really compete on the field. There is no denying his talent level, but when I watched his game against Washington State he was a little invisible and didn’t make his presence felt enough. As a pass-rusher, he is a little overrated – I just haven’t seen it yet, but some coach will believe he can be taught.

    5/7/10: Akeem Ayers had 12.5 TFL and five sacks as a mere sophomore.

  5. Greg Jones, OLB, Michigan State
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 228.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.61.
    Projected Round (2010): 2.

    10/9/10: Jones best fit at the next level is weakside linebacker with his outstanding range in coverage and his ability to be a run-and-hit linebacker. He is very fast and seems to always be around the ball.

    5/12/10: A bit undersized right now, Greg Jones had a terrific junior campaign, notching 154 tackles, 14 TFL and nine sacks.

  6. Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 244.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
    Projected Round (2010): 3-4.

    10/9/10: I really like Foster as a prospect. He has the physical talent to be a player in the league, and he’s consistent enough to get drafted early in the mid-rounds.

    5/9/10: Mason Foster notched 85 tackles, 7.5 TFL and six passes broken up as a junior.

  7. Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 238.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.69.
    Projected Round (2010): 3-4.

    10/9/10: Herzlich hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype, but this should be expected. It looks like he’s lost a step and he isn’t the same player he used to be. We will be conservative with his projection now, but there’s the possibility he falls very far in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    5/9/10: Great news – Mark Herzlich appears to have won his battle with cancer. He had a steel rod implanted in his leg, but has already begun working out. Can’t way to see him out on the field this fall.

    5/20/09: Mark Herzlich has revealed that he has cancer in his leg. Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery.

    1/10/09: Announced he’ll be returning for his senior season.

    12/6/08: Mark Herzlich was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He had 98 tackles, nine TFL, 2.5 sacks and seven passes broken up. Most impressively, he had six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

  8. Nigel Bradham*, OLB, Florida State
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
    Projected Round (2010): 3-5.

    10/9/10: Bradham is a very talented player, but his instincts are sub-par at this point and he’s been too inconsistent.

    5/9/10: Nigel Bradham notched 93 tackles, 5.5 TFL and two sacks as a mere sophomore in 2009.

  9. Ross Homan, OLB, Ohio State
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 229.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.77.
    Projected Round (2010): 3-5.

    10/9/10: Homan isn’t very fast, but he’s tough and does a solid job when taking on blocks.

    5/9/10: Ross Homan garnered 108 tackles, five TFL, five interceptions, five passes broken up and two sacks as a junior. A member of the All-Big Ten Second Team.

  10. Lawrence Wilson, OLB, Connecticut
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 220.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
    Projected Round (2010): 3-5.

    10/9/10: Wilson is an underrated playmaker at the position with very good instincts and solid sideline-to-sideline range. He needs to have some monster games to move up boards.

    5/9/10: Very productive; had 140 tackles, 11 TFL and five sacks for the Huskies in 2009.

  11. Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
    Projected Round (2011): 3-5.

    10/8/10: Moch had a lot of hype entering the season with his elite speed and athleticism, but he really has no clue how to play football, and on tape he reminded me of Vernon Gholston. He has absolutely no instincts and is very soft. He is the definition of a workout warrior. Moch’s instincts really hurt his ability to play almost any position at the next level. His triangle numbers will get him drafted A LOT earlier than he deserves to be. If you are looking at prospects for your team, I would ignore Moch unless you want to be disappointed.

    5/7/10: Dontay Moch qualified for the All-WAC First Team with a whopping 20 TFL and 6.5 sacks in 2009.

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  12. Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 240.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
    Projected Round (2010): 4-6.

    10/9/10: Carter doesn’t have great speed, but he’s tough and a big time leader for Fresno State.
  13. K.J. Wright, OLB, Mississippi State
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 245.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.73.
    Projected Round (2010): 4-6.

    5/9/10: K.J. Wright had 81 tackles and 5.5 TFL as a junior.
  14. Colin McCarthy, OLB, Miami
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 242.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.61.
    Projected Round (2010): 4-6.

    5/9/10: Colin McCarthy was finally healthy in 2009, when he recorded 94 tackles and 10 TFL. If he can stay off the injury reports, he has a good chance to be a second-round pick.

    1/8/10: Granted a medical redshirt, Colin McCarthy bounced back off an injury-ridden 2008 campaign to garner 94 tackles and 10 TFL.

  15. Brian Rolle, OLB, Ohio State
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 215.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2010): 4-6.

    10/9/10: Rolle might have to transition to strong safety in the NFL, but he could be a backup weakside linebacker and special teams demon at the next level.
  16. Michael Morgan, OLB, USC
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 220.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
    Projected Round (2010): 5-7.

    5/9/10: In his first year as a starter, Michael Morgan collected 50 tackles, 13 TFL and four sacks.
  17. Jonas Mouton, OLB, Michigan
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 228.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
    Projected Round (2010): 6-FA.

    5/9/10: Jonas Mouton had 65 tackles and three TFL in 2009. He was suspended for one game for throwing a punch.
  18. Eric Gordon, OLB, Michigan State
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 228.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.69.
    Projected Round (2010): 6-FA.

    5/9/10: Eric Gordon had a solid junior year, collecting 93 tackles and eight TFL.
  19. Elijah Joseph, OLB, Temple
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.67.
    Projected Round (2010): 6-FA.

    5/9/10: Elijah Joseph notched 63 tackles and 6.5 TFL as a junior.
  20. Malcolm Smith, OLB, USC
    Height: 6-1. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2010): 7-FA.

    5/9/10: Had 72 tackles and six TFL in his first year as a starting linebacker for USC.
  21. Adrian Moten, OLB, Maryland
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
    Projected Round (2010): 7-FA.

    5/9/10: Adrian Moten collected 68 tackles, nine TFL and 5.5 sacks as a junior.
  22. J.T. Thomas, OLB, West Virginia
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 225.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.64.
    Projected Round (2010): 7-FA.

    5/9/10: An All-Big East First Team qualifier, J.T. Thomas recorded 76 tackles, seven TFL and five passes broken up in 2009.
  23. Eric McBride, OLB, Richmond
    Height: 6-2. Weight: 231.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
    Projected Round (2010): 7-FA.

    5/9/10: Eric McBride recorded 81 tackles as an All-Colonial Athletic First Team member.
  24. Craig Stevens, OLB, Auburn
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 223.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.67.
    Projected Round (2010): 7-FA.

    5/9/10: The undersized Craig Stevens notched 95 tackles and eight TFL in 2009.
  25. Winston Venable, OLB, Boise State
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 223.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
    Projected Round (2010): 7-FA.

    5/9/10: Winston Venable had 63 tackles, eight TFL and three passes broken up as a junior.

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