Bucs Draft Breakdown: Middle Linebackers

This is a breakdown of the middle linebackers in this draft specifically for the Bucs. We tell you why the Bucs should and should not take the top 10 middle linebackers in this draft.

In this positional breakdown, we look at the middle linebackers in this year's draft.

1. Denzel Perryman - Miami

5'11'' - 236 lbs - 4.78

2nd Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Perryman is easily my favorite middle linebacker in this draft. He brings intensity and toughness to the middle of a defense. I love the way he works through blocks and attacks the ball carrier.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: Perryman is limited in pass coverage. I don't think he is as limited as others make him out to be, but he is a better fit in a 4-3 defense that has their linebackers attacking the line of scrimmage.


2. Stephone Anthony - Clemson

6'3'' - 243 lbs - 4.56

2nd Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Anthony is big, fast, and very good in coverage. I think Anthony has all of the natural talent to be a top middle linebacker. Anthony definitely has the speed and athleticism to cover the deep middle of the field in the Tampa 2 defense.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: Sometimes it seems as if Anthony is reacting while he is running around, rather than reading and reacting properly. This causes him to be out of position at times.


3. Eric Kendricks - UCLA

6'0'' - 232 lbs - 4.61

2nd Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Kendricks is likely the safest linebacker in the draft. His brother, Mychal, has become a very good linebacker with the Eagles, and Eric should follow in those footsteps. Eric Kendricks has the size, athleticism, and football smarts to be a very good linebacker for a long time in the NFL.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: I'm not as high on Kendricks as others. I think he's a good linebacker, but will likely be drafted much higher than he should. I see Kendricks struggle to get off of blocks, and I'd consider him good, not great, in coverage.


4. Paul Dawson - TCU

6'0'' - 235 lbs - 4.93

2nd/3rd Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: No linebacker in this draft has as good of instincts as Dawson plays with. Dawson's outstanding instincts make him play faster than he tests at.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: Attitude is a concern with Dawson. He has admitted to be tardy for several meetings and workouts during his time at TCU, but also acted like it was no big deal. It will be a big deal in the NFL.


5. Benardrick McKinney - Mississippi State

6'4'' - 246 lbs - 4.66

2nd/3rd Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Obviously, McKinney possesses the size and physical presence in the middle of a defense. I like the way he attacks the line of scrimmage.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: I like McKinney moving toward the line of scrimmage, but I do not like the way he moves in any other direction. He is very reminiscent of Donte Hightower of the Patriots. McKinney should be a great fit in a 3-4 defense.


6. Ben Heeney - Kansas

6'0'' - 231 lbs - 4.59

4th Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Heeney was one of the lone bright spots on a bad Kansas team. He is one of the more athletic linebackers in the draft. Heeney always looks like he is playing at 100mph and always looks angry on the field.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: I'm just not sure how physical Heeney can be and I'm concerned that his potential is limited.


7. Ramik Wilson - Georgia

6'2'' - 237 lbs - 4.77

4th/5th Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Wilson is solid in pursuit and pretty good in coverage. I think he is more athletic than he is fast.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: Wilson tends to struggle when taking on blocks. He wants to go around blocks than fight through them. I think a lack of ideal strength is behind this.


8. Taiwan Jones - Michigan State

6'3'' - 245 lbs - 4.93

5th/6th Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Versatility is key with Jones as he can play inside or outside linebacker. Jones is best at coming downhill and converting his speed to power to take on blocks.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: Jones is very limited in coverage and needs to improve his reaction time.


9. Bryce Hager - Baylor

6'1'' - 234 lbs - 4.60

6th Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: Hager has a good blend of size, speed, and athleticism to develop. I think some of his issues can be corrected with good coaching.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: I'm not a fan of the angles Hager takes consistently. These bad angles puts him out of position often. Hager also struggles with power and gets swallowed up by bigger blockers.


10. Hayes Pullard - USC

6'0'' - 240 lbs - 4.78

6th Round

Why the Bucs Should Take Him: The best attribute for Pullard is that he was a 4-year starter and 2-year captain at USC. Pullard is durable and versatile. As a later round pick, Pullard would be very good for depth and special teams.

Why the Bucs Should Not Take Him: I think Pullard's potential is almost tapped out. He is what he'll be. He can get overwhelmed by stronger blockers and can struggle at times in coverage. Backup player at best.


Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!

Follow Bucs Blitz on twitter: @TBBucsOnScout


Bucs Blitz Top Stories