2015 NFL Draft Rankings: 3-4 OLB

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The 2015 NFL season is officially over, so it’s time to ramp up the NFL draft coverage here at BGO. I will be ranking the top draft prospects at every position over the next few months as well as updating my mock draft every couple of weeks. If you have any issues with my rankings, feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

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2015 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Defense: DT 3-4 DE | 4-3 DE | 3-4 OLB | OLB | ILB | CB | SS | FS

Offense: C | OG | OT | TE | WR | RB | QB | FB | K | P | RT

2015 3-4 OLB Rankings:

The top five were so close that I’ve changed the order at least seven times. It comes down to a matter of team preference as they all have top 15 grades. None of them are good against the run at this point of their careers, but Fowler’s extra weight and versatility ultimately gave him the edge.

1.) Dante Fowler Jr, Florida  (6’2 | 261 | 4.78)

Scouting report – Dangerous pass rusher whose stats don’t reflect that impact he had on the Florida defense. Fowler only had 8.5 sacks on the season, but was a consistent presence in opposing backfields and would probably be among the FBS leaders in QB hurries if those numbers were readily available. Florida moved Fowler all over the field and that versatility will boost his draft stock. Fowler was a force against the pass, but struggled vs the run. His aggressive QB pursuit often left him out of position on draws and play-action and made him basically a one dimensional player. Luckily for Fowler that one dimension is the most important one to NFL GMs. His elite athleticism, non-stop motor, and pass rush ability should get Fowler drafted in the top 10 overall.

Draft grade: Top 15

2.) Randy Gregory, Nebraska (6’5 | 235 | 4.64)

Scouting report – A natural pass-rusher who has all the tools to be a double-digit sack guy in the NFL right away. Gregory already has 3 or 4 polished pass rush moves and has the instincts to know when to use them. He has a quick first step, has shown the ability to shed blocks and can run down QBs in pursuit. As a pass rusher Gregory is the total package, but his run defense could be a weak spot early in his NFL career. He doesn’t have the strength to hold his position when teams run right at him, so he will need to get considerably stronger to become an all around force in the NFL. There are some concerns about Gregory’s playing weight, but he looked so fluid in the combine drills that he should have no problem transitioning to 3-4 OLB.

Draft grade: Top 15

3.) Shane Ray, Missouri (6’3 | 245 | 4.54)

Scouting report – Productive pass rusher who has an explosive first step and 4.5 closing speed.  Ray is an elite athlete, rumored to run as fast as 4.4 with a 40″ vertical, and a max bench of over 400 pounds. Ray didn’t get a chance to prove it at the combine, but is expected to be healthy for Missouri’s pro day. He might have the best first step in the draft this year, shows great bend around the edge getting almost parallel to the ground, changes directions quickly without losing speed, has the closing burst to run down any QB, and has a non-stop motor. Most of Ray’s 14 sacks this year came on pure speed, athleticism, and pursuit. He has shown a few pass rush moves, but they will need to get better to beat NFL tackles. With his speed and first step he will get sacks in the pros, but developing a few go-to rush moves could make Ray an All-Pro.

Draft grade: Top 15

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

4.) Vic Beasley, Clemson (6’2 | 246 | 4.58)

Scouting report – There were some questions about Beasley’s ability to move to the 3-4 OLB position, but he answered them at the combine and then some. Beasley might have had the best all around performance in Indy with better than expected marks in every drill and is rumored to have aced the interviews as well. He is an explosive pass rusher off the edge with a great first step, good strength, and a variety of pass rush moves. Beasley was very consistent throughout his career with 32 sacks and a sack in almost every game this season. He beat some of the top LTs in SEC and should be effective rushing the passer in the NFL. He’s not great against the run and has relatively short arms (32″) but his elite pass rush potential should get him drafted early in the first round.

Draft grade: Top 15

5.) Alvin Dupree, Kentucky (6’4 | 267 | 4.63)

Scouting report – Has all the tools to be a successful pass rusher in the NFL. Dupree has a quick burst off the line, long arms to maintain separation from O-lineman, good closing speed, the flexibility to lean off the edge, and a variety of pass rush moves. He was one of the most underrated players in the draft coming into the combine, but no longer after showing off elite speed and athleticism. Dupree has a legitimate shot to be drafted in the top 10 and shouldn’t fall farther than 15.

Draft grade: Top 15