Early Stock Risers: Linebackers
Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky
Dupree showed today that he is athletic freak. He started out the day with a 42 inch vertical, then next had an 11’6″ jump, which is second in the entire combine only behind wide receiver Chris Conley who jumped 11’7″. His first unofficial forty time was 4.57, which finished best among all linebackers — exceptionally impressive because he weighs at least nine pounds more than any other of the linebackers at the combine at 269 pounds. He has a lingering injury, so he was only able to run the forty yard dash and not participate in any other drills. Dupree is a very flashy player and is inconsistent on tape, but he has the size and power to be a prominent edge rusher in this league. And I believe he will be a top 25 pick.
Stephone Anthony, Clemson
Inside linebacker often feels like a forgotten position in the draft in recent years. However, if you find the right one, they are irreplaceable. The most recent of those being C.J. Mosley, who was second in the running for defensive rookie of year and was as important as anyone on the Ravens’ defense this season. Stephone Anthony looks to be a special player that no one is talking about. Anthony tied Alvin Dupree with the best official forty-yard dash time at 4.56 seconds, while also posting an impressive 37 inch vertical. He really stood out in the linebacker drills and could be plugged into any defense and play inside linebacker for that team. He showed fluid hip movement in the drills, along with quick reactions paired with great instincts. I think he can be a solid mid second round option and provide a lift to any team needing inside backer help.
Other Linebacker Notes:
Shaq Thompson continues to be an intriguing player. He could play at linebacker, safety or running back. I believe his best fit is playing linebacker in a 4-3 defense at either the strong or weak side. He shows tremendous cover ability, which can be a huge advantage to a defense if they can use Thompson to cover running backs like Le’Veon Bell and Giovani Bernard in today’s NFL. Denzel Perryman, an undersized linebacker from Miami, ran slower than I would have liked, but still has better closing speed from box to box than his forty suggested.