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2010 NFL Draft Predictions – Linebacker Rankings

2010 NFL Draft Coverage – Linebackers Preview

Hey folks — Looking for Online 2010 NFL draft prospects, positional analysis, draft order, sample 2010 NFL mock drafts and more? Keep checking out CappersPicks.com NFL draft pages as we’ll keep you posted on draft activity and the fantasy impact these rookies will have.

The NFL draft moves to primetime for the first time in 2010. The first round will be in PRIMETIME, and takes place on Thursday April 22nd at 7:30 p.m. ET. The NFL Draft second and third rounds are on Friday April 23 at 6 p.m. ET. Rounds Four thru Seven will be held on Saturday April 24th at 10 a.m. ET.

With all that said the 2010 NFL Draft is rapidly coming up on us and our College football handicapping expert James Hayes has begun analyzing player data from the Combine and PRO workout days.

He’s begun writing his online NFL draft position by position scouting reports.

Onto the 2010 Linebackers – (LB) Rankings –

Experts and media types have been telling us all year that this Mizzou prospect translates perfectly to the NFL. They are correct. Weatherspoon looks like a fantastic outside ’backer from the get-go. Simply put, he’s explosive; he fires out of his stance, is a form tackler who blasts through a ball-carrier. He anticipates the play and always seems to be around the ball. His 235-lb frame is sturdy enough and he can pull himself back in position in a heartbeat with an uncanny ability to change directions. Some thought Weatherspoon might go to the Giants at #15 but they seem enamored with Rolando McClain; both players are two sure-fire first-round linebackers.

The shiny beacon on a fantastic Crimson Tide defense has a chance to be a legendary player at the next level. Teams no longer view inside linebacker as the penultimate, vital position, which is why McClain may slip to the middle of the first round. He’s huge – 6”4, 256 lbs – with long arms and a well-honed football brain to go with it. He’s comfortable in coverage or rushing the passer. His tackling technique is excellent and he has no qualms scuffing paint off opponents’ buckets. He’s a hard worker and a leader and he’s only 20 years old. This all translates into McClain being solid value if he’s around in picks 10-20. A team in love with him (the Giants?) may trade up to get him.

When you see 6”4, 255 lbs, you assume an NFL-bound player would be a rock in the middle of a defense. However, Kindle is a head-scratcher because he’s really not into playing slobberknocker football. He is a finesse player who best serves as a pass-rusher. He is an athletic marvel; very flexible and fleet-footed for a man his size. But there have been questions about Kindle’s character and his inconsistency. If you want to be a high pick, it’s not good when scouts see film of you disappearing against talented lineman. Still, Kindle could be a second-rounder on athleticism alone.

Hughes played DE for Texas Christian, but due to the flood of pass-rushing/3-4 rush LB prospects, Hughes can be included with the linebackers. He’s 6”2, 257 lbs and looks a lot like Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts. Hughes could be a great pass-rusher, but he’ll likely be a liability against the run and will get swallowed by larger O-lineman. He has great footwork and a non-stop motor, which is a premium compliment for someone aiming to get to the QB. Hughes ran a sub-4.7 forty at the Combine and will make a difference somewhere. Thus, he could go from the late first round to the second round.

Hughes’ teammate Washington is an athletic marvel who made plays all over the field for the Horned Frogs. He is, however, somewhat in limbo due to his size; he played ILB at Texas Christian but looks more like an OLB in the pros (he goes at 6”2, 226 lbs). He has very long arms, great closing speed and plays with a mean streak. He could also make a nice impact on special teams; he had four punt blocks at TCU. Washington will be valued higher by teams that play a lot of zone – they value speed and don’t mind undersized players. If he were around in the latter half of Round 2, Washington would be a steal.

Honorable Mention: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech Is another of these DE/LB ’tweeners that teams will like because he is just relentless.

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About James Hayes

James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!