NFL Draft – OLB Rankings

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Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

5.) Telvin Smith, Florida St (6’3, 218): If he were 20 pounds heavier he might be a first round pick. Smith was one of the most impressive LBs I’ve watched in this class. He has elite speed and excellent instincts. In the Senior Bowl, Smith snuffed out 3 screen plays by himself. At FSU he was constantly around the ball and didn’t miss many tackles. Smith is solid in coverage and a violent blitzer. Teams will be wary of drafting a 218 pound linebacker and some will look to move him to safety. Wherever he ends up, Smith is a heck of a football player and will be an asset on special teams. Draft Projection: 2nd-3rd round

6.) Trevor Reilly, Utah (6’5, 245): Tough, versatile football player who might not have a defined position in the NFL but will be solid wherever he ends up. He’s old for a rookie (Mormon) but is a classic “sum is greater” type guy. Worst case, he will be a solid special teams contributor, but could surprise as a 3-4 OLB. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

7.) Christian Kirksey, Iowa (6’2, 233): He’s a well-rounded linebacker who showed better than expected pass rush and coverage skills at the Senior Bowl. Kirskey has the skill-set to stay on the field no matter the situation and is versatile enough to play in any scheme. One of my favorite mid round LB prospects. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

8.) Carl Bradford, Arizona St (6’1, 250): He’s undersized, but is a relentless pass rusher and plays the game with an edge. Bradford has the versatility to play inside or outside in a 3-4 and should be able to get to the QB wherever he lines up. Bradford isn’t great against the run, but he is one of the better pass rushing LBs in the draft. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round

9.) Jordan Tripp, Montana (6’3, 234): Fluid athlete who surprised at the Senior Bowl with good pass rush and coverage skills to go with the solid run stopping skills he showed at Montana. Tripp ran well at the combine with a 4.67 40 and showed great short-area quickness as the only linebacker with a sub-4 second 20-yard shuttle. Draft Projection: 3rd-4th round