The NFL is looking for the next sack artist, in the NFL and these guys certainly have the talent. Linebackers have to read plays quickly and respond, one misstep can put them out of position to make the tackle. They will be called upon to blast through gaps and stop the run and may can force in man to man coverage. Here are the top five linebacker prospects of this year's draft.
1. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA Height: 6-4. Weight: 248.
Barr presented amazing burst off the snap and pass-rushing ability with steady pressure all season. In his penultimate game for the Bruins, he helped beat rival USC with five tackles, three tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two sacks. He finished the season with a total of 65 tackles with 20 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, five forced fumbles and a pass batted. Barr has established himself as a first round pick, possibly a top ten pick.
2. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo Height: 6-3. Weight: 245.
Mack was one of the best defensive players in college, setting school records, as well as he set an NCAA record with sixteen forced fumbles. Mack is a fast, strong downhill defender who makes lots of plays in the backfield. He is adept at shedding blocks with the speed and athleticism to be an edge-rusher in the NFL. Mack would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
3. Dee Ford, OLB, Auburn Height: 6-2. Weight: 243.
Ford is one of top edge rushers in the draft. He ended last season with 29 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Ford has incredible speed off the edge with moves to get away from blockers. He will fit perfectly in a 3-4 defense in as a linebacker in the NFL.
4. C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama Height: 6-2. Weight: 234.
Mosley totaled 102 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and five passes broken up last season at Alabama. In fact, he projected as a first rounder as he’s listed as the number one middle linebacker in the 2014 NFL Draft. Since he mainly played middle linebacker with the tide.
5. Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State Height: 6-2. Weight: 226.
Shazier is a very dominate player with sideline to sideline speed, and is a solid tackler. With great instincts and dynamic speed. He accounted 143 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, four passes broken up, four forced fumbles and six sacks last season for 143 tackles along with five sacks his junior year. Shazier was named an All-American in 2013.
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