Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2010 NFL Draft: Top Inside Linebackers

With the 2010 NFL Draft less than a month away, I will be highlighting the top players at each position in this year's class.

These are my top inside linebacker prospects available in the 2010 NFL Draft.

1. Rolando McClain, Alabama

A three-year starter for the Crimson Tide, McClain dominated the SEC on the country's best defense as a senior with 105 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions on the way to all-conference honors, All-American honors, and a Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.

McClain has all the tools you look for in a run-stuffing linebacker, fitting easily into the 3-4 or 4-3 defensive inside. He has a chance of cracking this year's Top 10, but should definitely be gone within the first 20 picks.

2. Sean Lee, Penn State

The next in a long line of quality linebackers from Penn State, Lee was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 2007 and 2009, having missed the 2008 season with a torn ACL in his right knee. He finished his collegiate career with 325 tackles (29.5 for a loss), 11 sacks and three interceptions.

Lee projects anywhere in the 4-3 and inside in the 3-4, but he is most likely destined for inside no matter what scheme he plays in. He'll likely come off the board sometime in the second round, and should start for his drafting team as a rookie.

3. Donald Butler, Washington

A two-and-a-half-year starter for the Huskies, Butler broke out as a senior in 2009, earning second-team All-Pac-10 honors while recording 94 tackles (15.5 for a loss), one sack, and two interceptions.

A big, athletic linebacker with top-notch tackling ability, Butler should hear his name called sometime on the draft's second day (which now consists of the second and third rounds).

4. Brandon Spikes, Florida

A two-time All-SEC selection and first-team All-American as a senior in 2009, Spikes actually saw his production drop each of his final three seasons with the Gators, as his tackle total dropped from 131 to 93 to 68.

Once thought by some to be a potential top-five pick, character concerns after an eye-gouging incident as a senior and ridiculously slow speed during pre-draft workouts have significantly lowered his stock.

The best-case scenario for Spikes at this point would be to go in the second round, but it's quite possibly he'll fall to the third or fourth round.

5. Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State

A three-year starter for the Bulldogs from 2006 to 2007 and 2009 while missing most of 2008 due to a broken leg, Chaney finished his collegiate career with 288 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and two interceptions.

Chaney's stock has been on the rise since a great performance during Senior Bowl week, and he could have brought himself into the draft's first three rounds.

Who are your top outside linebacker prospects in the 2010 NFL Draft? Share your thoughts on the forum here!