1. CJ Mosley, Alabama
CJ Mosley is the 2013 SEC co-defensive player of the year. Mosley is the complete package at linebacker. He ended his career at Alabama with 290 tackles and 5 interception. He has good instinct as a linebacker, and has great patience when waiting for the play to develop but still hits the holes when needed. Mosley is great in run defense with the ability to run sideline to sideline and make the majority of his tackles. In terms of pass defense, Mosley is adequate for a linebacker. Mosley can do it all and should be the first inside linebacker taken in this year’s draft.
2. Shayne Skov, Stanford
Skov is a very under rated inside linebacker in this year’s draft. He has above average speed (as seen in his game versus Oregon) and great football instincts. Skov takes great angles in run defense and secures tackles by wrapping up. He was a leader on the Cardinals defense this past season ending the season with 109 tackles. Skov is also a very good pass rusher both off the edge and up the middle. Skov has the potential to be a three down starter in the NFL.
3. Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
Smallwood has been a consistent force on Connecticut’s defense for the past three years. I also feel as in Smallwood is under-rated in this draft. He totaled over 100 tackles the past two seasons. Being a very consistent tackler, he is a stout run defender and a decent pass rusher. Smallwood also has above average zone coverage skills for a linebacker. Smallwood can contribute in special teams as well and should be a solid pickup for any team. He has all the skills to be a three down linebacker. The only knock I see for him is that he played at a small school and didn’t play against incredibly difficult competition, though he did have a solid game against Louisville.
4. Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Chris Borland has some clear strength’s but also some pretty glaring weaknesses. Borland totaled over 100 tackles this past season with Wisconsin. He can be a hard hitter, but sometimes misses tackles completely. He has average speed which shouldn’t be too much of a concern as a 34 inside linebacker. Borland has the ability to rush the passer up the middle but needs to get better in pass coverage if he wants to be a three down linebacker. Sometimes his vision in run support is questionable, but he shows vision and with the right coaching could be a starter in the NFL. Without too much talent at inside linebacker this year, teams may reach for Borland.