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Old 11-22-2010, 07:54 AM    (permalink
Ozzy
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Default The Hands-Down Best Linebacker Prospect in the Nation...

.....is Luke Kuechly


To me it is not even close, and if he was able to come out for the draft this year he would be the 1st linebacker taken. He is just as elite as they come, can easily shed blockers, has great balance and arm strength. Is is very conditioned, can run all over the field. Arguably can play all three linebacker spots and is a definition of a tackling machine rarely missing a tackle. He has everything you want in a top flight NFL linebacker prospect.

Might be one of the best linebacker prospects I can remember. He is better potentially coming out of college than the likes of AJ Hawk, Brain Cushing, Brian Urlacher, Jerod Mayo, James Laurinaitis, Rolando McClain, Paul Posluszny, Ernie Sims etc...



Looking at the best in college regardless of their position at linebacker here is how I would rank them. The top three at all super stars potentially, but Kuechly is a step above the rest I would say at this point. Hopefully he can stay healthy, keep up his improvement and productive and become a very high pick in next years draft.



Best overall linebacker prospect regardless of class or position. (*) indicates they are draft eligible this season
1) Luke Kuechly Boston College OLB SOPH
2) Vontaze Burfict Arizona State ILB SOPH
3) Manti Te'o Notre Dame ILB SOPH
4) Aldon Smith Missouri OLB SOPH RS*
5) Kelvin Sheppard LSU OLB SR*
6) Bruce Carter UNC OLB SR*
7) Dont'a Hightower Alabama OLB JR*
8 ) Greg Jones ILB Michigan State SR*
9) Michael Mauti Penn State OLB SOPH
10) Josh Bynes ILB Auburn SR*
11) Mason Foster Washington OLB SR*
12) Brian Rolle Ohio State ILB SR*
13) Von Miller Texas A&M OLB SR*
14) Nate Irving NC State ILB SR*
15) Mario Harvey Marshall OLB SR*
16) Lavonte David Nebraska OLB JR*
17) Akeem Ayers UCLA OLB JR*
18 ) Sean Spence Miami FL OLB JR*
19) Travis Lewis Oklahoma OLB JR*
20) Walter Stewart Cincinnati OLB SOPH RS*
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:14 AM    (permalink
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Id also have Shayne Skov up there. the 09 linebackers class was crazy.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:21 AM    (permalink
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Where is Dontay "4.25" Moch, because he deserves to be on the list unless you are projecting him as a DE
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:46 AM    (permalink
Ozzy
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wicket Id also have Shayne Skov up there. the 09 linebackers class was crazy.
Skov is a very fine linebacker and like you said is in that great sophomore class. But most elite in the country, not sure he is at that point yet.

Quote:
shylo3716 Where is Dontay "4.25" Moch, because he deserves to be on the list unless you are projecting him as a DE
Yes he could be on this list as a 3/4 OLB. At his size though not sure how good he will be, maybe he can make the transition to an outside linebacker but if he will be a pass rusher, kind of hard to be a edge 3/4 OLB at 6-1 245. Sure James Harrison has similar size but Harrison has monster leg strength and can get leverage, I see Moch as a speed rusher not a power rusher like Harrison. But sure his speed is nice, and maybe he can be a standup outside linebacker in a 4/3 but will have to wait and see how he does in drills. Then again his 40 time is impressive but really it means nothing, many players on this linebacker list are far superior to him in terms of their football abilities. Speed is great but it does not always mean success for linebackers like it does for say receivers or corners. So those question marks are probably why he is off this list, question on where he can play and what he can do. He will not over power anyone as a 3/4 OLB, and it is unknown if he can shed blockers and has the instincts to play outside linebacker in a 4/3. Players like Aldon Smith have the size and the length to instantly be a fine 3/4 pass rusher and a guy like Hightower I think has the toughness and strength to be a fine pass rusher as well and can really set a good edge as a 3/4 pass rusher potentially.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:55 AM    (permalink
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Nope. It's Vontaze Burfict. I've seen damn near every snap Luke has played in college, and while I love him and think he's a fantastic prospect, he's not Burfict. Kuechly could be Derrick Brooks good in a Tampa 2 system, but he's not the best linebacker prospect in the country. He doesn't have to take on blocks all that often and that's why you see the tackle numbers. He's athletic, quick to the ball, and smart, but he's not physical or nasty like you like to see from a guy in that position. Probably one of the better linebackers in coverage to come out in awhile too, but I just can't put him above Vontaze. I think both of them are going to be great, but Burfict is truly rare specimen both physically and in the way he plays the game(Although he actually might need to tone it down a bit).
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:57 AM    (permalink
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Why is Greg Jones not #1?
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:18 AM    (permalink
Ozzy
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ElectricEye Nope. It's Vontaze Burfict. I've seen damn near every snap Luke has played in college, and while I love him and think he's a fantastic prospect, he's not Burfict. Kuechly could be Derrick Brooks good in a Tampa 2 system, but he's not the best linebacker prospect in the country. He doesn't have to take on blocks all that often and that's why you see the tackle numbers. He's athletic, quick to the ball, and smart, but he's not physical or nasty like you like to see from a guy in that position. Probably one of the better linebackers in coverage to come out in awhile too, but I just can't put him above Vontaze. I think both of them are going to be great, but Burfict is truly rare specimen both physically and in the way he plays the game(Although he actually might need to tone it down a bit).
In a way yes they are very close and both are fine players, but not sure how Burfict is above Kuechly. Also not sure how Kuechly does not shed blockers, it is not like that defensive line infront of him is full of super star defensive lineman or something. Burfict is flasher, makes bigger plays and gets bigger hits I will give him that but consistency how could one argue the tackle numbers. Kuechly almost doubles the number of tackles Burfict gets. And no tackles are not everything but they show a level consistency, effort and attention to detail during the game. But yes flashing players, for sure go with Burfict but in terms of substance I would go with Kuechly.

I hope Burfict does not turn out to be a Rey Maualuga type prospect at inside linebacker. Rey was amazing as a sophomore, has turned out to be an ok pro but not as great as everyone thought he could be. He had so much potential but started to down slide from his junior season. And he was the player that made the huge highlight hit, but fact is Rey was not that physical, was terrible in coverage and had a lot of issues in his game outside of the highlight play. Burfict probably won't go down that same road but again it speaks to the substance and consistency of it all, sure big hits are great but ultimately one wants linebackers to be the second line of defense and make tackles on a consistent basis, Kuechly can do that as well as anyone. Yes if he was playing behind a LSU defensive line where he had 1st round pick defensive tackles ahead of him sure, but he does not have that type of help ahead of him, but still is productive. However for example you take Fairley off Auburn you better believe Josh Bynes would instantly become less productive on the field.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:45 AM    (permalink
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No love for Justin Houston?
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:07 AM    (permalink
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I think he's the safest, not sure I'd say the best
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:21 AM    (permalink
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Well atleast you didn't say he is potentially better then when Patrick Willis came out.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:24 AM    (permalink
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Bruce Carter and Nate Irving are my top 2.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:36 AM    (permalink
Ozzy
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Morton Why is Greg Jones not #1?
Assuming that is a joke, but the few times I have seen him he has kind of disappointed this season, playing well, has a long history of being a productive player. Even though he is improving his pass coverage skills, he is not making as many explosive plays as he did in years past. Still fine player but not sure he is that elite just yet.


Quote:
descendency No love for Justin Houston?
I would not have him that elite just yet, very solid, good junior prospect and should come back for his senior year. I like his potential of being possibly a 3/4 OLB pass rusher, I like his build and ability to get to the quarterback.


Quote:
JRTPlaya21 Well atleast you didn't say he is potentially better then when Patrick Willis came out.
They are different players, and not sure he has All Pro inside linebacker ability Patrick Willis has, but he could easily be as productive as Brian Cushing has been in the league if not more so. Willis was injured the year he came out and did not have a great season, but played with that club which was very impressive, much less showing that running ability and open field speed. But no Kuechly is not that elite of an athlete if compared to Willis but has just as much ability, just maybe not that type of power.


Quote:
etk Bruce Carter and Nate Irving are my top 2.
This year yes one could easily argue Carter is the best physically at outside linebacker by far. And Nate Irving is playing well, I like him a lot but if compared to those sophomore players he is not at that level, lucky for him they cannot come out and this years inside linebacker group is pretty weak overall.
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:01 PM    (permalink
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I had written a real ******* long reply and it got deleted, so I'll quickly paraphrase. You really need to check out the tape on Justin Houston. He's the best pass-rusher in the SEC & the best rush-LB prospect eligible for this draft. In no way, shape, or form is Aldon Smith fit to carry Justin Houston's pads to the locker room. A phenomenal young player who is always improving. Good speed, great quickness, great instincts, and the strength/power to bring down 250+ pound QBs.

Stats don't always tell the tale but for Houston they certainly help: 17.5 TFL 10.0 Sacks and 41 QBH. Daryl Gamble is second on his team in QBH with 13. He's 6'2-6'3 / 245-255 / 4.6-4.7. We're not talking about a little guy producing in a small conference; this is a big guy, in the nations strongest conference, living in the backfield as a rush LB.

He's likely a First-Team All-American this year and as high as a Top 15 pick in April. He's a RS Junior who will more than likely declare after two strong years (15.0 TFL, 7.5 Sacks 2nd-Team All-SEC as a Soph.)

When in doubt, go to the tape.
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:14 PM    (permalink
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i like josh bynes quite a bit....david harris-like?
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:39 PM    (permalink
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I'd have Mason Foster at the top of the draft eligible as i think he can play multiple lb positions.

On a sad note too bad Mark Herzlich cant be in the conversation, or can he?
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:46 PM    (permalink
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.....is Luke Kuechly


To me it is not even close, and if he was able to come out for the draft this year he would be the 1st linebacker taken. He is just as elite as they come, can easily shed blockers, has great balance and arm strength. Is is very conditioned, can run all over the field. Arguably can play all three linebacker spots and is a definition of a tackling machine rarely missing a tackle. He has everything you want in a top flight NFL linebacker prospect.

Might be one of the best linebacker prospects I can remember. He is better potentially coming out of college than the likes of AJ Hawk, Brain Cushing, Brian Urlacher, Jerod Mayo, James Laurinaitis, Rolando McClain, Paul Posluszny, Ernie Sims etc...



Looking at the best in college regardless of their position at linebacker here is how I would rank them. The top three at all super stars potentially, but Kuechly is a step above the rest I would say at this point. Hopefully he can stay healthy, keep up his improvement and productive and become a very high pick in next years draft.



Best overall linebacker prospect regardless of class or position. (*) indicates they are draft eligible this season
1) Luke Kuechly Boston College OLB SOPH
2) Vontaze Burfict Arizona State ILB SOPH
3) Manti Te'o Notre Dame ILB SOPH
4) Aldon Smith Missouri OLB SOPH RS*
5) Kelvin Sheppard LSU OLB SR*
6) Bruce Carter UNC OLB SR*
7) Dont'a Hightower Alabama OLB JR*
8 ) Greg Jones ILB Michigan State SR*
9) Michael Mauti Penn State OLB SOPH
10) Josh Bynes ILB Auburn SR*
11) Mason Foster Washington OLB SR*
12) Brian Rolle Ohio State ILB SR*
13) Von Miller Texas A&M OLB SR*
14) Nate Irving NC State ILB SR*
15) Mario Harvey Marshall OLB SR*
16) Lavonte David Nebraska OLB JR*
17) Akeem Ayers UCLA OLB JR*
18 ) Sean Spence Miami FL OLB JR*
19) Travis Lewis Oklahoma OLB JR*
20) Walter Stewart Cincinnati OLB SOPH RS*
No mention of Martez Wilson... tsk tsk tsk...
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:51 PM    (permalink
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I rarely agree with some of your crazy posts here sir, but this one. I am with you. I have seen Luke play live about 7 times. I have never seen a kid with the instincts, that natural twitch to go from sideline to side line. His on the field generalship is amazing too. The kid knows where the ball is going before the offense even does. His body has yet to fill out so I coudl se him packing on another 10-15 lbs. This kid is high in character also.

I think he stays 2 more years though, or so I hope so i can see him play another 4-6 times.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:07 PM    (permalink
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What's with the hate on Ricky Stanzi? Those youtube clips of him with the hulk hogan theme music instantly make him better than Luck.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:29 PM    (permalink
Ozzy
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ThePudge I had written a real ******* long reply and it got deleted, so I'll quickly paraphrase. You really need to check out the tape on Justin Houston. He's the best pass-rusher in the SEC & the best rush-LB prospect eligible for this draft. In no way, shape, or form is Aldon Smith fit to carry Justin Houston's pads to the locker room. A phenomenal young player who is always improving. Good speed, great quickness, great instincts, and the strength/power to bring down 250+ pound QBs.

Stats don't always tell the tale but for Houston they certainly help: 17.5 TFL 10.0 Sacks and 41 QBH. Daryl Gamble is second on his team in QBH with 13. He's 6'2-6'3 / 245-255 / 4.6-4.7. We're not talking about a little guy producing in a small conference; this is a big guy, in the nations strongest conference, living in the backfield as a rush LB.

He's likely a First-Team All-American this year and as high as a Top 15 pick in April. He's a RS Junior who will more than likely declare after two strong years (15.0 TFL, 7.5 Sacks 2nd-Team All-SEC as a Soph.)

When in doubt, go to the tape.
Top 15 pick in this years draft? Justin Houston? That would be very surprising. Aldon Smith is just as skilled, the major negative for him however is the fact he has injury issues at times. If Houston is a top 15 pick this year I would be shocked.


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Babylon I'd have Mason Foster at the top of the draft eligible as i think he can play multiple lb positions.

On a sad note too bad Mark Herzlich cant be in the conversation, or can he?
Herzlich will drop a little in the draft for sure but he will find his way on a roster and will make the team. He would be a great fit in a 3/4 defense, has good length, can still get after the quarterback a little and run in space. He will probably be a 3rd or 4th round pick I would say and will surprise people. But seriously hard to sleep on the kid, before his health issues he was arguably one of the best linebackers in college and one of the best pass rushing linebacker around.


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D-Unit No mention of Martez Wilson... tsk tsk tsk...
He just missed the cut, close but I would have a hard time putting him ahead of any of those players. Especially at the bottom putting him ahead of guys like Spence, Travis Lewis and Ayers. Case in point, good to see people did not freak when I had Ayers that low, his lack of physical toughness is extremely disappointing and he is clearly an athletic player but his strength is really a major question mark.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:35 PM    (permalink
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^
Agree on Herzlich, the thing i liked most about him was his ability to drop into coverage, might have been the best coverage LB i'd ever seen. Hopefully by combine time he's even that much more healthy and can get that speed back he's lost.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:40 PM    (permalink
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Babylon ^
Agree on Herzlich, the thing i liked most about him was his ability to drop into coverage, might have been the best coverage LB i'd ever seen. Hopefully by combine time he's even that much more healthy and can get that speed back he's lost.
Yeah if he can come back from Cancer I am sure his will and drive is not to be questioned. He will make a roster without question, against Virginia he did not look that bad, had a great quarterback pressure where he almost leaped over a blocker, had an interception, had a few open field tackles. Sure not as dominating of a pass rusher but he will easily get a chance in the NFL.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:40 PM    (permalink
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i like josh bynes quite a bit....david harris-like?
Bynes is sloooooooooooooooow. Great size and is really physical, but he is so freakin slow.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:45 PM    (permalink
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Luke Kuechly is a great college 'backer, but at 6'3, 225# he's at least 20# away from being a legit pro prospect.
Love his instincts and would be a great fit planted in the middle of a 4-3 if he demonstrates he has the speed to cover RBs and TEs.
Tackles are the ultimate stat IMO for college 'backers, but all tackles are not created equal.
Is Kuechly a wrap-and-drag type tackler, or does he explode through ballcarriers and plant them on their backside??

I'd really have to see film of Luke to determine how well he closes on a ballcarrier, to see if he demonstrates the ability to wash out plays that scheme-wise, were supposed to be made by another player?

I love players who have the ability to steal other player's stats because their reaction time, intensity and instincts are simply superior.

Of the draft eligible LBs, Greg Jones is still my #1 inside guy.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:49 PM    (permalink
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Yeah if he can come back from Cancer I am sure his will and drive is not to be questioned. He will make a roster without question, against Virginia he did not look that bad, had a great quarterback pressure where he almost leaped over a blocker, had an interception, had a few open field tackles. Sure not as dominating of a pass rusher but he will easily get a chance in the NFL.
He never really put up big sack numbers but i thought he was effective there early in his career. The differance from where he was two years ago and now is probably a step, literally. I couldnt pull more for a guy than this guy.
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Old 11-22-2010, 01:50 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by draftguru151 View Post
Bynes is sloooooooooooooooow. Great size and is really physical, but he is so freakin slow.
as a thumper in a 34 i like him though, just like i liked spikes who was very slow.
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"He won't be able to just use his arm power to throw defenders around at the next level!"

The hell he won't, lol.
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