What is Jaguar Scout – Combine Notes / LB, you are asking? I digested the entire 2014 NFL combine. I mean every minute. My poor DVR almost gave out! After watching all of the coverage, I’m getting antsy for May. I sat with a notepad & took shorthand notes. I had the benefit of replay. I was also watching exclusively with the Jaguars’ needs in mind. There will be some evaluations of established players. Ones I liked and some that disappointed. I also project those who moved up my board, those who got on my board because they impressed me, and players I’m projecting as potential undrafted free agents (UFA) that the Jags should invite if available. I have already let you know about the offensive players (QBs, RBs, WR, TE, & OL). On defense, I’ve talked of DE & DT. No we’ll look at LB. All projections come from CBSSportsline…Thank you!!!
- C.J. Mosley (6-2, 234 lbs) – Highest rated ILB coming into the draft. Great size. Very aggressive yet also disciplined. Consistent tackler who won’t leave the field on passing downs. I would have liked to see him run the 40 at the combine, but i guess he felt it could only hurt him. Select him and move on because you’ve got a potential All-Pro LB for at least four years.
- Yawin Smallwood (6-2, 246 lbs) – Very intriguing. A very active and productive player at UConn, last year he led the defense (and the prior year also) with 118 tackles, an INT, 2 forced fumbles, 4 sacks, and 9.5 tackles for loss. He can stay out on passing downs as he had 9 passes defended. I think this kid is money and so does CBSSportsline expert Rob Rang who compared Smallwood to Jared Mayo. That’s good company!
- Khalil Mack (6-3, 251 lbs) – I could be very wrong about this but I feel Mack is over-rated. He didn’t stand out at the combine. He actually looked like the pressure got to him. I made this statement on Gumbussy Mock Draft #4… After reading this, Do you feel like I feel?
- Khalil Mack OLB – Mike Mayock of NFL.com states Mack is the best defensive player in the draft. He likes him more than Clowney. I don’t know. He played for Buffalo University. One thing I have noticed is that Mack had 10.5 sacks last year. Of those, 2.5 came against Ohio State, which was impressive. The remaining 8 sacks came against teams with a combined 17-56 record…including 3 against a winless Miami-Ohio team.
- Anthony Barr (6-5, 255 lbs) – The best OLB in the draft in my opinion. A former RB switched to LB, over the last two years he has accumulated 41.5 tackles for loss along with an outstanding 23.5 sacks. He was a good teammate and was respected by all that dealt with him, even opponents. He is probably better suited for a 3-4 type defense, but is versatile enough to excel in a 4-3 also. CBSSportsline expert Rob Rang compared him to Demarcus Ware! I would take Barr over Mack in a split second!
- Kevin Pierre-Louis (6-1, 232 lbs) – Kevin is out of “Linebacker University” Boston College. Last year, he totaled 108 tackles, along with an INT, 6 sacks & 10.5 tackles for loss. What is interesting about him from a Jaguar perspective is that he ran the 40 in 4.51 and is considered a little smallish for LB. But he would be the perfect height for safety in the Gus Bradley defense. Just a thought…
Potential undrafted free agent LBs the Jags should consider:
- Brandon Watts (6-2, 232 lbs) – Brandon was considered one of the best young LBs in the country after his junior year. He was even a preseason candidate for the Butkus Award. He sustained a leg injury during Spring drills and it seemed to affect him all season. He still finished with 66 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an INT. I say bring him in as a UFA and see if he can return to 2012 numbers…And hey, we have a good history with Georgia Tech LBs.
- Caleb Lavey (6-3, 235 lbs) – An under-rated ILB from a offense-minded team (Oklahoma St.). Caleb put up some awesome numbers (93 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 passes defended, and 4 INTs). Flying under the radar and may not be drafted. Send him an invite and see what he can do.
- Marquis Spruill (6-1, 224 lbs) – Quietly had a capable year at ILB for the Syracuse Orangemen. He put up a respectable 62 tackles, but added an impressive 5.5 sacks. Worth a looksee!
- Andrew Wilson (6-3, 240 lbs) – The problem with Missouri is that they were so loaded with talent last year it was hard for everyone to get noticed. Andrew, an ILB, totalled 114 tackles last year, including 15 against Oklahoma St. in the Cotton Bowl. That’s called showing up in a big game. He may not put up a lot of other stats, but he is a tackling machine. Let’s bring him in!
The LBs in this year’s draft, both inside & Out, are talented and abundant. There were truly about 6 more I could have cited. LB may be the position you can wait until the later rounds, at least the outside LBs. See you next time when I look at CBs.
I’m up late…Say hi on Twitter @gumbussy.