NOV 25, 2011; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Boston College Eagles linebacker Luke Kuechly (40) in a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Draft Preview: Linebacker


I’ve saved LB for last in these previews because its the biggest need for the Seahawks right now.

Outside linebacker is a coveted position for teams that play a 3-4 defense because that’s where their pass rush comes from. For 4-3 defense teams like Seattle, it’s not a priority at all. This makes ranking OLBs on a big board to be more difficult that other positions.

This particular draft class is a little light on the top end, but has great depth in the middle rounds.

There’s plenty of outside linebackers in this year’s draft that fit what the Seahawks like, but I think we should all pay close attention to Nebraska’s Levante David. I have him being drafted right about where I expect the Seahawks to be drafting in round 2. He’s a big and fast linebacker who’d be an upgrade of KJ Wright on the strong side, and would allow Wright to move inside to MLB where I think he’ll really excel.

As for MLB, it isn’t usually a first round position. Even the best players at the position are usually taken no higher than pick number 20, with rare exception, so you’ll almost never find MLB with first round grades. This year there is such a player in Luke Keuchly, but his value there is disputed.

Unfortunately, the talent drops off sharply after him and Hightower. I only have 11 players that I believe will be drafted at the position, which is very low. This will put a lot of pressure on the Seahawks to commit to moving KJ Wright from the SAM linebacker over into the middle.

Taking all that into account, I can see the Seahawks taking 2 LBs early in this draft, though I expect one to be a “tweener” like Melvin Ingram or Nick Perry who are listed as DEs on my board.

#

Player

Pos

Pos #

School

24

Zach Brown

OLB

1

North Carolina

40

Levonte David

OLB

2

Nebraska

48

Ronnell Lewis

OLB

3

Nebraska

50

Shea McClellin

OLB

4

Boise St.

56

Bobby Wagner

OLB

5

Utah St.

58

Sean Spence

OLB

6

Miami

65

Bruce Irving

OLB

7

West Virginia

84

Josh Kaddu

OLB

8

Oregon

85

Nigel Bradham

OLB

9

Florida State

93

Demario Davis

OLB

10

Arkansas State

108

Keenan Robinson

OLB

11

Texas

117

Kyle Wilber

OLB

12

Wake Forest

133

Jonathan Massaquoi

OLB

13

Troy

145

Terrell Manning

OLB

14

North Carolina St

148

Travis Lewis

OLB

15

Oklahoma

164

Emmanuel Acho

OLB

16

Texas

193

Brandon Lindsey

OLB

17

Pittsburgh

209

 Tank Carder

OLB

18

 TCU

211

 Tyler Nielsen

OLB

19

 Iowa

230

 Danny Trevathan

OLB

20

 Kentucky

256

 Darius Fleming

OLB

21

 Notre Dame

267

 Adrian Robinson

OLB

22

 Temple

289

 Miles Burris

OLB

23

 San Diego St

293

 Tahir Whitehead

OLB

24

 Temple

#

Player

Pos

Pos #

School

14

Luke Leuchly

ILB

1

Boston College

25

Dont’a Hightower

ILB

2

Alabama

95

Mychal Kendricks

ILB

3

California

112

James-Michael Johnson

ILB

4

Nevada

162

Audie Cole

ILB

5

North Carolina St

183

Vontaze Burfict

ILB

6

Arizona State

189

Chris Galippo

ILB

7

Southern Cal

221

 Max Gruder

ILB

8

 Pittsburgh

243

 Najee Goode

ILB

9

 West Virginia

254

 Shawn Loiseau

ILB

10

 Merrimack

269

 Adrien Cole

ILB

11

 Louisiana Tech

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