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2011 NFL Draft Predictions – Outside Linebacker Rankings

2011 NFL Draft Coverage – Outside Linebacker Preview

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The NFL draft moves to primetime for the second time in 2011. The first round will be in PRIMETIME, and is scheduled to take place Thursday, April 28, 2011; the second and third rounds on Friday, April 29; and the final four rounds on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

The Panthers with the worst record for 2010 have the right to the 1st pick in 2011.

Note: A provision in the current NFLPA-CBA ensures that this draft will still take place even with the current labor dispute.

OLB Rankings

6”2, 240 lbs

Miller is, overall, one of the best players in the 2011 NFL Draft crop. He could be a little bigger, but other than that, Miller is a bona fide playmaker and possesses every building piece you need to be a great NFL pass-rusher. He’s got the first step, the moves, the speed, the strategy, the tenacity, the versatility to play with a hand down in the DE position. He’s a fluid athlete that can cover, he’s instinctive, he’s a leader that hasn’t yet hit his ceiling. Want to know what else he is? A Top 5 pick.

May remind you of: DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys

6”3, 254 lbs

Ayers grades as a first-round pick because of his versatility. He is strong at stopping the run and very strong in coverage. The short-coming of his game is the pass-rushing skill set, but there are coaches out there who will believe they can coach that. He’s a competitor and though his Combine 40 time was a tad slower than expected, he’s got a lot of game film in his corner.

May remind you of: Julian Peterson, FA

6”3, 263 lbs

The man with the dirty blond flow spilling out of his helmet could also be regarded as a rush DE, but he looks well-suited as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme. He’s a true pass-rusher with a constant motor. At the Senior Bowl, Reed made OT Anthony Castonzo – one of the top tackle prospects and a likely first-rounder – look like a child. He also ran a 4.66 forty at the Combine, faster than expected. Some teams will like Reed’s potential and he should go in the second round.

May remind you of: Clay Matthews, Packers (for both the dirty Grunge-era hair and the never-say-die motor)

BRUCE CARTER, North Carolina
6”2, 241 lbs

Carter was earlier considered a first-round talent, but he didn’t participate in the Combine and a lot of players have made late pushes with strong Combines and Senior Bowls. He joins Robert Quinn as a Tar Heel with oodles of NFL upside. Carter is a big hitter with plenty of range and athleticism for pursuit in space and coverage. He projects strongest as a weakside 4-3 ‘backer and is a likely second rounder.

May remind you of: Chad Greenway, Vikings

6”2, 262 lbs

Acho is another one of those DE/3-4 OLB ‘tweeners that has gained notoriety in recent weeks. Earlier, scouts might have said Acho was too much of a finesse player. But he looked excellent at the Senior Bowl, registering a sack and two TFLs against elite offensive line prospects. Granted, he is a raw player that will need to study in the NFL, but his lethal quickness is indeed a desired trait in NFL locker rooms. Acho will probably go in Round 2.

May remind you of: Osi Umenyiora, Giants

Honorable Mention: MASON FOSTER, Washington The best Huskies prospect not named Jake Locker, Foster exhibits productivity, consistency and undeniable talent. He looks like a 4-3 OLB and ought to go in the second or third round.


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