2011 NFL Draft 3-4 Outside Linebacker Rankings

By Chris Ransom

New England has 3 linebackers Tully Banta Cain, Rob Nikovich, and Jermaine Cunningham.  They need one more pass rusher to shore things up.

1. Von Miller 3-4 ROLB Texas A/M Von Miller is the top pass rusher in the draft and he is probably going to Buffalo.  Miller can play 4-3 DE, 4-3 weak side linebacker, 3-4 Right End as a 5 technique, or be used as a 3-4 pass rusher.  Von Miller is a very versatile player plus he can pass rush, stuff the run, and drop back into zone coverage.  Von Miller reminds me a lot of Derrick Thomas.

2. Robert Quinn 3-4 ROLB North Carolina Robert Quinn is a 3-4 right outside linebacker that is probably the 2nd best rush linebacker in this draft.  Quinn may be the best jack linebacker in this draft if you exclude Miller and his versatility.

3. Ryan Kerrigan 3-4 LOLB Purdue Kerrigan can play either the 4-3 end position on either side or can be used as a rush linebacker on either side of the defense.  Ryan Kerrigan is my 3rd best 3-4 outside linebacker and has a lot of versatility.

4. Justin Houston 3-4 ROLB Georgia Justin Houston is another versatile rush linebacker who played defensive end in the 4-3.  Houston can play some 5 technique, but is best served as a pass rusher for Georgia.

5. Akeem Ayers 3-4 LOLB UCLA Ayers is versatile enough to play either linebacker spot in the 3-4 and he can play outside linebacker on either side in the 4-3.  Ayers is a very versatile player.  Don’t be fooled by his motor off the snap and his poor 40 time at the Combine.  Ayers can be a disruptive pass rusher at the next level.

6. Brooks Reid 3-4 ROLB Arizona Brooks Reid is another quality jack linebacker who can be a 3-4 right end or a disruptive pass rusher in the 3-4.  Reid should go at the end of round 1.

7. Sam Acho 3-4 ROLB Texas Acho is another Jack Linebacker that Will Muschamp developed at Texas.  You saw Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle play well as jack linebackers at Texas.  Orakpo translated his skills to the NFL and Kindle may have translated his skills if he did not get injured.  Acho should be a 2nd round pick I have him going to San Diego with their first 2nd round pick.

8. Ricky Elmore 3-4 LOLB Arizona Elmore has the size of an outside linebacker in the 3-4, but he has a better understanding of the 4-3 like Brooks Reid.

9. Alex Keiser 3-4 LOLB Stanford Keiser could go in round 4 and played outside linebacker in an 3-4 defense.  He can get by right tackles, but will struggle against left tackles.

10. Colin McCarthy 3-4 LOLB Miami FL McCarthy is a versatile linebacker he can be an outside linebaker or an inside linebacker in the 3-4.  McCarthy would make a great fit for a team like New England in the later rounds as McCarthy is a 5th round prospect, but New England probably takes a pass rusher at #28.

11. Mario Harvey 3-4 ROLB Marshall Mario Harvey is a very versatile linebacker he can play the 3-4 as a pass rusher or move inside as a run stuffer and a tackling machine.  Harvey should go in round 6.

12. Mike Mohammed 3-4 LOLB California Mike Mohammed may be a sleeper as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.  Mohammed will be a 6th to 7th round pick.

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