1. Tank Carder, Texas Christian – Some people think he will be an outside linebacker in the NFL, but I think he would fit best at inside or middle linebacker which would allow to use his skills the best. He is a playmaker and is a good overall athlete who can make plays sideline to sideline. Last season he had 60 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks and 1 interception.
2. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama – Upshaw is a big physical linebacker who is a good tackler and has good pass rush ability. Last season he had 52 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. He needs to get better is pass coverage but is a playmaker when he is going downhill.
3. Jerry Franklin, Arkansas – Franklin last season had 100 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He led the team in tackles, tackles for loss and was second on the team in sacks. He had led the team in tackles the past three seasons and does have the skills to be effective in pass coverage.
4. Chris Galippo, USC – Galippo played both middle linebacker as well as weak outside linebacker last season but in better at the middle linebacker spot. Last season he had 29 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 2 interceptions. Expect more then 29 total tackles out of him this season as he far more talented of a player to only have 29 total tackles.
5. Korey Williams, Southern Mississippi – There were some rumors that Williams was going to come out early last season but decided to come back for his senior season and that should prove to be a good more as he could really help his draft stock with a big season this year. He has all the physical talents to be a very good player at the next level and should be able to show his skills off this season. Last year he had 80 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 3 sacks.
6. Chris Marve, Vanderbilt – Marve is a run stuffing two down linebacker who likes to come down hill. He is a smart instinctive linebacker who can make plays in the backfield and chase down ball carriers, but doesn’t have great pass coverage skills. Last season he had 80 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
7. James Michael-Johnson, Nevada – Johnson moved to middle linebacker last season after playing before on the outside and fits better for the next level inside which allows him to make plays sideline to sideline. Last season he had
88 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He could be a player to watch this season as he could move up team’s draft boards.
8. Audie Cole, North Carolina State – Cole has great size at close to 6-5, 240 pounds he is a physical player who played both middle and outside linebacker at North Carolina State. Last season he had 86 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss 5 sacks and 1 interception. He is a hard worker and a team leader and with his size and athleticism could move up draft boards.
9. Will Ebner, Missouri – Ebner is a smart tough football player who last season played the entire season less than 100 percent due to a neck strain and a foot injury that he waited until after the season to have surgery on it. Despite the injuries he ended up playing in 10 games and had 47 total tackles. If he can stay healthy should be one of the better defensive players in the Big 12.
10. D.J. Holt, California – Holt has shown the ability to be a very effective player over his career and get a guy who gets to the ball carrier. Last season he had 85 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. He has some ability in pass coverage but is much more effective against the run and playing downhill.
11. Carmen Messina, New Mexico
12. Adrien Cole, Louisiana Tech
13. Ronnie Sneed, Kentucky
14. Garrick Williams, Texas A&M
15. Steve Sloan, UCLA
16. J.K. Schaffer, Cincinnati
17. Brian Hendricks, Wyoming
18. Gary Tinsley, Minnesota
19. Byron Hout, Boise State
20. Cort Dennison, Washington