NFL Draft – OLB Rankings

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Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

15.) Denicos Allen, Michigan St (5’11, 220): If Allen were a few inches taller and 10-15 pounds heavier he’d be a day 2 pick. He’s a heck of a football player. Allen is very fast for an LB (4.5ish), has great instincts, and is a sure tackler despite his small frame. He’s also a violent blitzer and good in coverage. Allen is never going to get any taller, but he’s about the same size as former Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard (6’0, 230) who has been an excellent weak side linebacker. Allen would make an ideal back-up at WLB and will be a demon on special teams. Draft Projection: 7th round – UFA

16.) Devon Kinnard, USC (6’3, 249): USC team captain in 2013 who led the team with 8 sacks. Kinnard could develop into a solid pass rusher at OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

17.) Morgan Breslin, USC (6’3, 249): Would have been ranked higher if Breslin came out after his junior year (13 sacks), but he struggled with injuries as a senior and looked much less explosive. If Breslin gets healthy and can regain his 2012 explosion, he could be an effective pass-rushing OLB in a 3-4 or hybrid scheme. Draft Projection: 7th round – UFA

18.) Tyler Starr, North Dakota (6’4, 249): Athletic small school prospect who had 27 sacks over the course of his career and is an interesting pass rush prospect. Starr had the fastest 3-cone time of the linebackers at the combine and his elite short-area quickness should get him drafted. Draft Projection: 6th-7th round

19.) Boseko Lokombo, Oregon (6’2, 225): Fast, aggressive outside linebacker, who is a bit raw and a little undersized but makes up for it with elite athleticism. Lokombo excels in coverage and with NFL offenses deploying 3 or 4 wide receiver sets more often, nickel linebackers are becoming more valuable. Lokombo has shown good blitz instincts and gives a good effort verse the run, he is just a little too small to shed blockers effectively. Lokombo’s mix of coverage skills, speed (4.66), and athleticism give him a shot to be a valuable sub-package contributor and a special teams ace. Draft Projection: 7th round – UFA

20.) Jonathon Brown, Illinois  (6’0, 238): Brown was very productive at Illinois but had a disappointing combine and is below average athletically compared to most NFL linebackers. He is a long shot to get drafted, but I had to have at least one player from my Alma mater in my rankings. Draft Projection: UFA

* Christian Jones (FSU) is listed in my ILB rankings

* Kevin Pierre-Louis (BC) will be listed in my SS rankings.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_