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Scout’s Eye: Inside Linebackers

Posted Mar 10, 2013

Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz gives a scouting report on five inside linebacker prospects.


Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz sat down to discuss prospects at several positions of need leading up to next month’s draft. This is the second installment of a five-part series: defensive linemen.

Ray Lewis has retired, Dannell Ellerbe is a free agent and Jameel McClain is an unknown coming back from a spinal cord injury.

Thus, the Ravens have a definite need at inside linebacker.

Here’s Hortiz's take on five interior defensive linemen who could be possibilities for the Ravens in this year’s draft:

Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Senior, 6-foot-1, 241 pounds; 113 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 7 interceptions
“This guy comes in for four years and is a tackling machine and a leader. Yeah, he’s a little smaller than you would like and a little slower than you would like. … The speed is out there. You know what you’re getting.”

  • The top high-school recruit who chose Notre Dame over USC
  • Four-year starter and team leader
  • Instinctive and tough in the box as a run stopper
  • Doesn’t have high-end speed

Kevin Minter, LSU
Junior, 6-0, 246; 130 tackles, 15 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 interception
“He’s going to be an instinctive, tough, competitive guy who makes plays in the box and makes plays in the run game outside.”

  • Another run stuffer that is physical taking on and getting off blocks
  • Good tackler
  • Undersized a bit, shorter than Te’o
  • Limited role on third downs, not expected to be in man coverage

Alec Ogletree, Georgia
Junior, 6-2, 245; 111 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception
“Big, fast, athletic; he’s what you want. He’s made some questionable decisions that he’s got to answer and stand up to, which he has to my understanding.”

  • Converted safety (freshman year) who is very athletic
  • Good speed although he was slower than expected at the combine (4.7-second 40-yard dash)
  • Not a downhill thumper, but more of a sort, flow and attack player
  • Makes a lot of plays outside the box and down the field in coverage

Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Senior, 6-0, 241; 100 tackles, 7 for loss, 1 sack, 2 interceptions
“He’s probably got more man cover skills than the other guys. But he’s also undersized so he may get swallowed up a little more than the other guys like Te’o and Minter.”

  • Transferred from University of Miami after he didn’t start in his first two years
  • Waiting to see what he does because he didn’t work out at the combine
  • Undersized but tough and competitive
  • Has more speed than usual inside linebackers, also played outside in college

Nico Johnson, Alabama
Senior, 6-2, 248; 54 tackles, two forced fumbles, 1 pass breakup
“He is a thumper. He is your downhill run stopper. I think he is your traditional first, second down, off the field on third down guy.”

  • Rotational player used in run-stopping formations in college
  • Limited to zone drops but perhaps has the athleticism to do more
  • Tough, instinctive and will bang heads in the box
  • Polished use of the hands, a product of good coaching

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