Up next in WCG's multi-part breakdown of the upcoming NFL draft are the Outside Linebackers. Keep in mind, ChiFan13 brought you breakdowns of Brian Orakpo, Everette Brown, and Aaron Maybin, who are all DE/OLB hyrid players. If you have missed any of the previous position breakdowns, you can find them on the left side of the home page.
Let's get started...
Aaron Curry, Wake Forest, 6'2", 254 lbs.
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Aaron Curry is considered by many to be the best OLB in this year's draft. He had an excellent combine, significantly raising his stock to the upper eschelon of the first round. His 4.56 40 yard dash time was tops for OLBs, and he completed 25 reps on the 225 pound bench press. Curry might possibly be the "safest" pick in this year's draft... he will immediately start, and immediately make an impact.
Strengths: Very fast, aggressive. Has great instincts. Is constantly around the football. Leader in the lockerroom. Excellent tackler. Sheds blocks very well.
Weaknesses: He may end up playing for the Lions, Rams, or Chiefs. Honestly, I haven't found really anything that is a knock against this athlete.
Draft projection: Early 1st Round
Brian Cushing, USC, 6'3", 243
Cushing is probably the #2 OLB in this year's draft class. He has an uncanny nose for the football, and has great speed and strength. He was a leader on the field at USC, and is another player who will make an immediate impact in the NFL.
Strengths: Very strong. All over the football field. Has a big motor. Aggressive. Great football instincts.
Weaknesses: Durability has been questioned, and can be late in reading plays.
Draft projection: Mid to late 1st round
Clint Sintim, Virginia, 6'3", 256
Clint Sintim is one of the players who saw a big rise in his stock at the combine. He has consistantly impressed scouts, and will do well in the NFL. He led all LBs last year in sacks. Was a 4 year starter at Virginia.
Strengths: Great size, and an excellent athelete. Strong player, and exceeds at pass rushing.
Weaknesses: Plays too tall at times, and has struggled in pass coverage. Footwork needs to improve.
Draft Projection: Early-mid 2nd round
Clay Matthews, USC, 6'3", 240
Nephew of Bruce Matthews, Clay is another of a long line of great linebackers from USC. He works very hard, and is a true playmaker. He has been known to watch a ton of film, and is a great student of the game.
Strengths: Big motor. Very aggressive. Quick on his feet. Strong. Impact player. Great pass rusher. Good on special teams.
Weaknesses: Not a true athlete. Not good in coverage. Poor hands. Sometimes, too aggressive.
Draft projection: 2nd round
Do I have a sleeper pick? You betcha.
Zack Follett, California: Big hitter, and a ton of tackles for losses. Will be a big pick up in the 3rd or 4th round for some team.
Anyone I left out? What happens if Urlacher gets injured and Briggs gets moved to the middle?