Continuing our coverage on the top draft prospects in this years draft. Don’t forget to check out Dave Gilbert’s Top 5 Defensive Linemen article and also my Top 5 Offensive Linemen preview. As you see in the headline of this page, today I will be covering the Top 5 Linebacker prospects. With one of the greatest linebackers (Ray Lewis) to ever play the game retiring, a long list of replacement hopefuls enter the NFL Draft in April. This year’s draft has a lot of talented defensive players who are ready to enter the league and make an impact.
1. Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia (6-3 236 lbs) - One of the two top linebackers who enter the draft for the University of Georgia; Ogletree has shown he can be a play-maker while defending the run game and always seemed to find the ball wherever it was on the field. Just to point out, he failed a drug test which resulted in a 4 game suspension. He came back from that suspension and recorded 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and an interception. This kid could be a Pro Bowler within 3-4 years.
2. Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame (6-2 255 lbs) - Alright let’s forget his little scandal he has going on and focus on what he has actually done while playing for the Fighting Irish. As a Heisman runner-up he recorded 113 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 passes broken up and 7 interceptions. Te’o has displayed excellent blitzing ability and is able to close in quickly as a pass-rusher. This kid should go sometime in the 1st round.
3. Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU (6-2 245 lbs) - As a Junior, Minter showed that he was the most consistent player on the defense. A fast and hard hitting linebacker who isn’t afraid to get physical, is making a good case for himself when it comes to being a 3 down linebacker and a starter at that. Tallying up 130 tackles with 15 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 5 broken up passes, 1 interception and forced fumble. Minter could possibly be go late 1st round.
4. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (6-2 242 lbs) - One man who you can compare Jones to in the NFL is Denver Broncos OLB Von Miller. They are both strong run pursuit defense linebackers. Coming off a good season along side fellow Bulldog, Alec Ogletree, Jones picked up 85 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 24.5 tackles for loss, 7 forced fumbles and 1 interception. I believe he could be a Top 10 pick in the draft.
5. Jonathan Bostic, ILB, Florida (6’1 246 lbs) - I may get some crap for this, but I have a good feeling about this kid. He is projected to go about the 3rd or 4th round but I think he could potentially go late 2nd. Bostic was a core player for Florida’s tough defense. I think he has the ability to win early playing time and could even get put on special teams. This kid reminds me a lot of Baltimore Ravens Jameel McClain, same size, same playing ability. In his senior hear at Florida he recorded 68 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 forced fumble and 3 sacks.