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DKphin
01-18-2010, 07:40 AM
Gil Brandt from NFL.com discusses the position and the reluctance of teams to expend a high draft choice on it:

Editor's note: This is part of a weekly series detailing the top senior prospects, by position, for the 2010 NFL Draft.
Over the past 10 years (2000-09), only four inside or middle linebackers have been drafted in the first round of the draft -- the only position with less first-round picks over that time is fullbacks with none (not including punters/kickers).
The reason for this is because unless a prospect can play all three downs as an inside linebacker or can rush the passer and create big plays, teams are waiting to the later rounds to fill a need at the position.
Over the past two years, only 15 inside linebackers have been selected over the entire draft. In 2002, just two were taken in the first four rounds while only four were chosen in the first four rounds in 2006. In the 2009 draft, two very good players James Laurinaitis (http://www.nfl.com/players/jameslaurinaitis/profile?id=LAU629310) (Ohio State) and Rey Maualuga (http://www.nfl.com/players/reymaualuga/profile?id=MAU059326) (USC) did not get picked until the second round by the Rams (35th overall) and Bengals (38th), respectively.
I wonder what former great Hall of Fame linebackers like Dick Butkus, Sam Huff, Jack Lambert, Willie Lanier, Ray Nitschke, and Joe Schmidt think of this present trend.

TOP SENIOR INSIDE LINEBACKERS
http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2010/01/brandon_spikes_100x125-1.jpg 1. Brandon Spikes

College: Florida
Height/Weight: 6-2, 251

Spikes played as a true freshman in 2006 and for some reason seemed to play better in '07 than he did in '08, though, he did have four interceptions against top-25 ranked teams, returning two for touchdowns. He was the leading tackler on the team as a sophomore and junior as well being the team captain in 2008. He played defensive end in high school before moving to linebacker. He is a good tackler who is strong and does not get driven back when making tackles. Spikes is a playmaker, if his projected speed (4.75) holds up, he will be drafted in the lower half of Round 1.

http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2010/01/Micah_Johnson_100x125-1.jpg 2. Michah Johnson

College: Kentucky
Height/Weight: 6-2, 255

Johnson played and started two games as a true freshman. He was a highly recruited high school running back. He is fast and has strength, but needs better recognition when he tackles a ball carrier. Johnson can play every down and was first-team All-SEC in 2008, when he had 93 tackles, including 13 for loss.



http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2010/01/pat_angerer_100x125-1.jpg 3. Pat Angerer

College: Iowa
Height/Weight: 5-11, 233

Angerer is a fifth-year player. Iowa does a great job keeping in-state players and working with them to improve their strength and skills. He went from being a second-team player in 2007 to being named second-team All-Big Ten in 2008. He was the Hawkeyes' leading tackler last season. Angerer has very good speed and athletic ability. I just wish he was taller.

http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2010/01/Jamaar_Chaney_100x125-1.jpg 4. Jamaar Chaney

College: Mississippi State
Height/Weight: 6-foot , 240

Chaney played as a true freshman in 2005, starting three games as an outside linebacker on the weakside. He moved to middle backer in 2007, started 12 games and was the team's leading tackler and second overall in the SEC. He missed the entire 2008 season after being injured in the first game against Louisiana Tech. Chaney has the speed and strength to go along with his competitiveness. The only question about him is whether he is recovered from a broken ankle. He signed with Georgia out of high school, but was released from his scholarship and signed with Mississippi State.

Read the rest at http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d811b1d43&template=without-video-with-comments&confirm=true

3rdandinches
01-18-2010, 07:46 AM
But the ones that we're picked were pretty awesome, Willis and Mayo come to mind.

James Laurinitis has proven worthy of a first round selection but dropped to the second. McClain will also be well worth the 1st round pick where ever he ends up being selected, hopefully us!!!

rev kev
01-18-2010, 11:07 AM
CAIN is worth top ten he is like a QB of the defense out there with instincts - has Thomas like qualities but a lot more freaky physically than Thomas - Crowder can't hold Thomas' jock... We miss a guy like Thomas in his prime...

3rdandinches
01-18-2010, 12:38 PM
CAIN is worth top ten he is like a QB of the defense out there with instincts - has Thomas like qualities but a lot more freaky physically than Thomas - Crowder can't hold Thomas' jock... We miss a guy like Thomas in his prime...

We can only hope the teams infront of us need/fallinlove with someone else. McClain for us would be huge, one of the few rookies that would have a major instant impact.