2009 Draft Countdown: Outside Linebackers

With the 2009 NFL draft only days away, we offer our extensive position-by-position breakdown. Each report includes an analysis of the Dolphins' status at the position, the likelihood of a draft pick being spent at the position, a look at which prospects the Dolphins have worked out or visited with, a list of the top prospects, and the sleepers. We continue with the outside linebackers.

Where the Dolphins stand: This has been perhaps the biggest focus on defense since the end of last season. Joey Porter is coming off a tremendous season, but there was nobody else providing much of a pass rush, and the Dolphins would like that to change. The hope is that two-time CFL defensive MVP Cameron Wake — he was Derek Wake at Penn State — can make a big impact, but he's clearly an unknown quantity as an NFL player. Matt Roth started opposite Porter last season, and while he did a decent job in run support he simply didn't make enough big plays. Charlie Anderson showed pass-rushing flashes last year, but whether he's a full-time answer is debatable. The roster also includes a few special teams standouts who double as outside linebackers, such as Erik Walden and William Kershaw. The other OLBs on the roster are veteran Reggie Torbor, who also can play inside, as well as Quentin Moses and newcomer Tearrius George.

Likelihood of the Dolphins using a pick at the position: This clearly is one of the positions the Dolphins wanted to upgrade after last year. The big question is, how much confidence does the team have that Wake can be a difference-maker? The Dolphins probably will address this position in one of the first three rounds, and it wouldn't be a shock if it happened in the first round if the right guy was available.

The top prospects: 1. Aaron Curry, Wake Forest; 2. Brian Cushing, USC; 3. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati; 4. Clay Matthews, USC; 5. Larry English, Northern Illinois; 6. Clint Sintim, Virginia; 7. Marcus Freeman, Ohio State; 8. Cody Brown, UConn; 9. Tyrone McKenzie, South Florida; 10. Jason Williams, Western Ilinois

Summary: Keep in mind that our top 10 does not include certain college defensive ends who project as 3-4 OLBs. Guys like Aaron Maybin and Everette Brown certainly would interest the Dolphins but likely won't be available at No. 25. There should be several candidates of interest at either No. 25 or 44, among them Matthews, English and Sintim.

Sleepers: Lee Robinson, Alcorn State


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