NCAA Football

10 Inside Linebackers Who Could Get Drafted in 2014

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Top 10 2014 NFL Draft Inside Linebackers

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 NFL Draft is eight months away but it’s never too early to get a look at who your favorite team might have on their draft board come May. There will be plenty of talented players in next year’s draft class at many positions and inside linebacker is no exception.

While dozens upon dozens of young men that have played inside linebacker at the collegiate level will declare themselves eligible for next year’s draft after all the bowl games have been played, the vast majority of them won’t be drafted. Even fewer of those who get selected by an NFL team will have a sustained career in the NFL.

NFL teams that are looking to spend their precious few draft picks on an inside linebacker are looking for someone that is fast and agile, can shed blocks and occupy blockers, read offenses and put himself in the proper position and most importantly, make tackles reliably.

The inside linebackers that get drafted by NFL teams are often among the national leaders in tackles and tackles for loss. Most of them aren’t piling up sacks but the best ones still find a way to break up passes. The elite ones force fumbles and intercept passes intermittently.

In this year’s draft class, we have 10 inside linebackers who look ready to take the next step and help a defense on Sundays. They have shown their mastery of the college game and are prepared to take their talents to the NFL.

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10. Lamin Barrow, LSU

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Barrow is following up a tremendous junior year with a great senior campaign. He is leading the Tigers with 36 tackles and has shown his versatility to play either inside or outside.

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9. Greg Blair, Cincinnati

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Greg Blair is on pace to repeat the performance from his junior season in which he registered 103 tackles, 2.5 sacks, recovered a fumble and intercepted two passes

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8. Chris Boreland, Wisconsin

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After receiving All Big-10 honors in 2012, Borland was named to several preseason award watch lists. If Borland can force two fumbles this season, he will own the FBS career record.

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7. Max Bullough, Michigan State

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Bullough is a second-year captain and centerpiece of the nation's top defense. He was featured on preseason watch lists for the Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi, Nagurski and Lott IMPACT trophies

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6. Glenn Carson, Penn State

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Through five games of his senior season, Carson has racked up 39 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.

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5. Christian Jones, Florida State

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Considered by many the top inside linebacking prospect in this year's draft class, Jones' versatility and experience have made him a favorite for the Butkus award plus a candidate for the Bednarik and Nagurski trophies as well.

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4. Devekeyan Lattimore, USF

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A starter since his sophomore year, Lattimore's career average for tackles ranks amongst the best in the nation. Lattimore has also made an impact for the Bulls on special teams, blocking two kicks so far in his career

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3. James Morris, Iowa

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Morris was named to this year's preseason Lott Impact watch list for good reason. Morris has recorded 43 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and three interceptions so far this season.

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2. Shayne Skov, Stanford

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The fifth-year senior who was named to a smathering of preseason watch lists, Skov is a team captain and has had multiple double digit tackle games so far this season.

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1. Avery Williamson, Kentucky

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In his second year now at inside linebacker, Williamson finished second in the SEC in tackles last season.