2012 NFL Draft Position Preview: Linebackers


Three Studs

1. Luke Kuechly, Boston College

I haven’t talked to many people that don’t love Luke Kuechly. He is one of the best players at his position of dropping into coverage, and he is a tackling machine. He has drawn comparisons to Brian Urlacher for his size and athletic ability, though I’m not so sold that he’s on that same level. However, Kuechly is a  top notch linebacker prospect and deserves to be a top 10-15 pick in the draft.

2. Lavonte David, Nebraska

Nebraska’s tackling machine has excellent speed and athletic ability, and could be a perfect fit as a WILL linebacker in any 4-3 defense. He has that killer mentality and relentlessness that you love to have in a linebacker. He can also be a leader on and off the field, and will be a great value in the second round for some team. There are some who believe he can possibly sneak into the first round, but I like his value better in the second.

3. Courtney Upshaw, Alabama

I had to include my favorite 3-4 linebacker prospect on this list. I love what Upshaw brings to the game. He is a relentless player who will take some defense to another level someday. I don’t know if he’s a dynamic pass rusher, but he is a guy who is going to disrupt every play and force teams to account for him on every single play. He will be a first round pick, and I don’t think he will get past New England at the back end.


Shea McClellin, Boise State

I really don’t know if McClellin is overrated or not, but his stock soared this offseason when he had solid athletic measurables at his pro day and the combine. He was pretty productive at Boise State, but they don’t play a lot of top tier offensive lines, and while I really like McClellin, I can’t help but think he may be getting overrated slightly. I hope he turns out to be a great player, though.


James-Michael Johnson, Nevada

Pencil this guy in as a starting linebacker down the road. He is not being talked about really at all but I see him as a starting inside linebacker in the NFL and I think you could get him at the back end of the third round, maybe in the fourth round as well. Team captain who was really productive for the Wolfpack throughout his career.