Linebackers I'm Watching Closely Today At Combine...

tynimiller

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Linebackers take the combine over today....and this is a position we desperately need upgrade(s) in IMO. Both from a new scheme/system that is more reliant on their play but also the aging Campbell and underwhelming Walker issues also.

Here's the guys I'm keenly watching....many others but only had a few minutes to post:

Edgerrin Cooper - Guy is my off ball 1 - I need him to just confirm what all his tape and such shows, superior athlete with range and fluidity for days. His RAS should easily be above 8.00 so I expect unless something freaky happens he remains in the Packers type and likely high on their board.

Payton Wilson - Don't take this wrong, but Wilson was and is the BEST off ball linebacker in this class.....his issues all come down to medicals. He is going to shine...they don't make dudes his size that move like him except maybe once or twice a generation. I won't be shocked if we watch Wilson go top 20 or slip into the mid to late Day 2 for all his medical stuff that needs cleared.

Junior Colson - 6'4' 240+ guy that is still under 22 years old....I want to see how well his hips release on drops and break downs...dude has special anticipatory traits in game...I just need him like Cooper to prove to me he is who I sense he is. With his anticipation skills, I'm very curios to see how fast he is...not as much in the forty but in the cone and shuttle drills.

Michael Barrett - The other Michigan backer is special but in a different way. He's a captain, leader and head in the play always type guy. He's listed as 6 foot....and I'm curious to see if he is even that...that's a threshold many say is significant for a LB having to work and see through the pocket. He is an excellent pass rusher from off ball and a rather surehanded tackler too. He's trying to cement himself as maybe the 5th LB off ball taken.

Jeremiah Trotter - Trotter is a guy that has VERY mixed opinions about him out there. Dude is amazing in coverage, but in zone schemes - it really allows his high football IQ and ability to see and diagnose the play on the fly better than most. I'm worried he is going to come out slower than many expect...a solid showing will cement him as a top 5 off ball this draft IMO.

Cedric Gray - My darkhorse I happen to LOVE enough to justify a third round pick on that many don't see it. I hope he tests so well folks have to put his tape back on and rewatch. What is the glaring flag in his record? He is flying around with his hair unfire TOO MUCH and has led to way too many missed tackle opportunities. He's a wildcard, but when and if he hits he has all the traits, measurables that you want out of a starting LB.

Marist Liafau - I'm struggling to think he is as good as many are out there saying, but I've always seen a fourth rounder talent wise watching him at ND...but if he tests crazy good Liafau could find himself justifying a top 100 pick possibly.

Jordan Magee - This Temple prospect I think is the most underappreciated off ball backer in the entire draft. Past quarterback, his IQ and diagnosis abilities are EXCELLENT and you see it showcase in his coverage skills. However, especially this past year I felt like his run defense improved greatly which is that last piece to his game to potentially being a solid Will perhaps. I'm rooting big time for him to test quite well and have some buzz around him - he deserves it.

Easton Gibbs - Can Gibbs be the next successful Wyoming off ball linebacker? He is a tackle machine, younger prospect...lot of upside. I haven't watched a ton of Gibbs film and have him as a 5th/6th rounder....solid day of testing I may have to watch more.

Jontrey Hunter - This Georgia State prospect isn't one many may be familiar with, but he is for sure a draftable prospect...but has to get better at tackling. He is going to rely on his athletic testing to pop and have teams see a ST starter with some work and refinement to do at off ball growth before seeing the field. Lot to like, but a lot to be concerned with too...older prospect as well.

Steele Chambers - Oober athletic guy that is testing his way to hopefully being considered an excellent pass pro package off ball linebacker. His arm length and size removes him from consideration before the fourth for me, but he could be an Oren Burks type OOBER athletic ST starter for years to come and pass pro package depth guy.
 
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Wow. Payton Wilson’s first Run at 4.43 sec at 6’4” X 234lb. That’s basically Devin White/Devin Bush type speed. He just helped his draft stock there. Not sure he’s what we’re looking for at LB he’s got some concerns both technical and injury. However I think he cemented himself as a Rd2 worthy LB today.

DL, Braden Fiske just looks explosive. Very smooth at his 292lb size. He moves like he’s 242lb
 
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Thirteen Below

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Payton Wilson is a force of nature, but the injuries frighten me. 3 major joint injuries starting already in high school, and that long, lanky frame... I may be placing too much emphasis on this, but I had the exact same body type when I played tight end/middle linebacker - 6'5", ~235. I was constantly having joint issues with my shoulders, knees, and elbows, and doctors back then told me I always would because of my body type.

I know sports medicine has come a long way in 45-50 years, but to whatever extent there was truth in what they said, I can't help remembering that the guys who were built like pit bulls instead of beefier baskteball players never had to have ther tendons and ligaments babied like that, with the ultrasound, heat/ice treatments, etc. I'm not saying we shouldn't take him, because they know more about this than I do, but I would probably cringe if it happened on Day One or even any time on Day Two.

But someone is quite possibly going to take him fairly early, and they may wind up hitting a grand slam. I just don't think it's something we need to do.

I was really excited about Trotter a few months back, so I started paying more attention to him, but the more attention I paid the less excited I was. In games, I just wasn't consistently seeing tha athelicism everyone else was talking about. But damn - the man does have skills.
 
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tynimiller

tynimiller

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Wow. Payton Wilson’s first Run at 4.43 sec at 6’4” X 234lb. That’s basically Devin White/Devin Bush type speed. He just helped his draft stock there. Not sure he’s what we’re looking for at LB he’s got some concerns both technical and injury. However I think he cemented himself as a Rd2 worthy LB today.

DL, Braden Fiske just looks explosive. Very smooth at his 292lb size. He moves like he’s 242lb

There is a reason Fiske has lived in my top 50. Dude is a beast and folks just ignored it forever
 
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tynimiller

tynimiller

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As I’ve said Payton is the best off ball backer in this draft, and truthfully if GB wants to draft a LB and believes we are win now and you said damn the future Wilson is the guy you write down.

BUT the injury issues is massive and means you could be looking at a guy not getting out of a first rookie deal…or you could have the best backer to come out in the next five years.

The risk vs the reward….if you want Payton GB better grab him if he is even still there at 25…cuz dude is insane.


My boy Jordan Magee I’ve loved as a fourth or sooner since before college season shut down continues to show up and shut up the critics. Dude is a BEAST
 

Thirteen Below

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As I’ve said Payton is the best off ball backer in this draft, and truthfully if GB wants to draft a LB and believes we are win now and you said damn the future Wilson is the guy you write down.
Well, you sure sold me. I spent about 3 hours last night on the NFL Channel, watching Wilson and comparng him to other LBs. I was just blown away. Every single drill, he was simply a solid level above every other linebacker. It was like watching a really big safety, which I can't take credit for because all the analysts kept saying the exact same thing. His 40 time of 4.43 was faster than a lot of cornerbacks, with a 10-yard split of 1.54.

Every drill he ran, he made it look effortless. Smooth, fluid, natural. What an athlete, and very bright kid too. I'd say there's a pretty good argument for just Packering this man, and if they have to spend #25 to do it, I wouldn't be upset. He might be the solution to a lot of problems on this defense.

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tynimiller

tynimiller

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Well, you sure sold me. I spent about 3 hours last night on the NFL Channel, watching Wilson and comparng him to other LBs. I was just blown away. Every single drill, he was simply a solid level above every other linebacker. It was like watching a really big safety, which I can't take credit for because all the analysts kept saying the exact same thing. His 40 time of 4.43 was faster than a lot of cornerbacks, with a 10-yard split of 1.54.

Every drill he ran, he made it look effortless. Smooth, fluid, natural. What an athlete, and very bright kid too. I'd say there's a pretty good argument for just Packering this man, and if they have to spend #25 to do it, I wouldn't be upset. He might be the solution to a lot of problems on this defense.

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His injury history is the ONLY reason not to draft him day1 He is the best off ball though absolutely.
 

ThePerfectBeard

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His injury history is the ONLY reason not to draft him day1 He is the best off ball though absolutely.
I don't think it's the only reason. He gets washed out in run plays at times due to his size which concerns me. Especially, since we need more run support right now. To me there's no real clear thumper in this class and we already have a coverage linebacker. I'm not saying he can't be great, but there's more than just the injury history to me.
 

PikeBadger

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Well, you sure sold me. I spent about 3 hours last night on the NFL Channel, watching Wilson and comparng him to other LBs. I was just blown away. Every single drill, he was simply a solid level above every other linebacker. It was like watching a really big safety, which I can't take credit for because all the analysts kept saying the exact same thing. His 40 time of 4.43 was faster than a lot of cornerbacks, with a 10-yard split of 1.54.

Every drill he ran, he made it look effortless. Smooth, fluid, natural. What an athlete, and very bright kid too. I'd say there's a pretty good argument for just Packering this man, and if they have to spend #25 to do it, I wouldn't be upset. He might be the solution to a lot of problems on this defense.

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Like Urlacher?
 
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I don't think it's the only reason. He gets washed out in run plays at times due to his size which concerns me. Especially, since we need more run support right now. To me there's no real clear thumper in this class and we already have a coverage linebacker. I'm not saying he can't be great, but there's more than just the injury history to me.
Several Scouts I’ve watched interview were quietly hesitant (almost avoided) the question about which ILB was Day 1 worthy. While that was admittedly pre-combine, I don’t think the combine should lift a player a full round unless it’s from Day 3 to Day 2 etc.

I’d be very surprised if Wilson goes even Day1, at LB, that’s reserved for guys who really don’t have any ?? to speak of. Although stranger things have happened we took Quay Walker at #22 and most had him as a 2nd Rounder.

I will offer that not selecting Payton at #25 isn’t as much about him as it is who else is there. We’re talking about a player like Mims or DeJean or Newton or Verse that slides abs no way would I want us picking Payton Wilson over them. Those premium positions are more important long term and harder to find a Bonafide starter imo.
At earliest I’d use a 2nd Rounder on Wilson #41/#58 because there will be several really good ILB left in RD3-4 where we have 3 more selections. I wouldn’t be upset at #41 and I’d be excited at #58
I think his combine and potential got him there.
 
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