Combine Preview: Outside LBs

The Packers need a quarterback-sacking sidekick to Clay Matthews III. Fortunately, there are a lot of them at the Scouting Combine. We examine the outside linebackers that will be working out on Monday and would fit in a 3-4 scheme.

The NFL's ultimate job interview, the Scouting Combine, began on Wednesday in Indianapolis, with the first on-the-field workouts starting on Friday.

Packer Report gets you ready for the Combine with a position-by-position look at the 329 players on the invitation list.

Outside linebackers

State of the Packers

Barring a surprise long-term contract extension for Aaron Kampman, the Packers need to add another outside linebacker to the mix. Clay Matthews III had a brilliant rookie season and fellow rookie Brad Jones was a surprise in Kampman's place, but Jones might not offer the pass-rushing prospects the Packers need as a bookend. Even if Kampman comes back with a one-year deal, the Packers at least need to add a prospect.

Combine guest list

Running backs
Wide receivers
Tight ends
Offensive tackles
Interior offensive line
Nose tackles
Defensive ends

(Note: The Combine has players broken into position groups based on a 4-3 defense. So, several of these players won't fit in a 3-4 scheme. On the other hand, several players who are listed as defensive ends project to being outside linebackers in a 3-4.)

Jason Beauchamp, UNLV

Kyle Bosworth, UCLA

Navorro Bowman, Penn State

Keenan Clayton, Oklahoma

Justin Cole, San Jose State

Harry Coleman, LSU

Kavell Conner, Clemson

Rennie Curran, Georgia

A.J. Edds, Iowa

Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech

Keaton Kristick, Oregon State

Simoni Lawrence, Minnesota

Sean Lee, Penn State

Samuel Maxwell,  Kentucky

Eric Norwood, South Carolina

Perry Riley, LSU

Steven Sylvester, Utah

Dekoda Watson,  Florida State

Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri

Who to watch

Ricky Sapp
This group is just ridiculously deep, which is why so many teams are moving to the 3-4.

Rahim Alem, LSU: Alem (6-3, 260) posted 8.5 sacks in 2008 but wasn't able to have an encore performance. His 4.5 sacks in 2009 didn't exactly come against top-notch competition, either. But he's got the burst and brains to get a late-round call.

Kevin Basped, Nevada: Basped (6-6, 240) will be a project, though his 19.5 sacks over the last two seasons warrant a late-round selection. He'll need to get much stronger to be an every-down player.

Antonio Coleman, Auburn: Thoughts are all over the board on Coleman (6-2, 255). Could go late Day 2 or early Day 3; could go much, much later. Had a productive week at the Senior Bowl to follow up on his 10-sack senior season. Has no experience in coverage.

Jermaine Cunningham, Florida: Cunningham (6-3, 252) was a three-year starter who posted 19.5 sacks and 34 tackles for losses during that time. He's got good all-around skills but he doesn't have that one area where he blows you away. Could go late in Day 2.

Dexter Davis, Arizona State: Davis (6-1, 244) might be a one-trick pony, but it's a good trick: 31 career sacks. There's more to playing linebacker than rushing the passer, though, so he'll be a late-round pick, at best.

— A.J. Edds, Iowa: Edds (6-4, 245) just knows how to play. He's not impressive in any particular aspect. With a 3-4 team, he could probably play inside and outside. His five interceptions as a senior speak to his ability to find a niche in coverage. He'll go sometime late in Day 2.

— Junior Galette, Stillman: Galette (6-2, 244), a Division II All-American, led the conference with 9.5 sacks, then more than held his own against fast-rising left tackle prospect Jared Veldheer at Texas vs. The Nation game. Could garner a late draft pick.

Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State: Gibson (6-2, 240) declared early after the NFL Advisory Committee gave him a second-round grade. Probably won't go that early. Had four sacks in 2009. Not sure he's got the bulk to set the point against the run that a 3-4 team desires.

Brandon Graham, Michigan: The Packers need a left tackle and another cornerback, but if Graham lasts until No. 23, he'd be awfully hard to pass up. At 6-foot-1 and 263 pounds, he lacks the height you want in the position. But Packers general manager Ted Thompson values football skills more than anything, and Graham has drawn comparisons to former Michigan teammate LaMarr Woodley, who is only 6-foot-2. He was flat-out unstoppable at the Senior Bowl and had 20.5 sacks in his last two seasons at Michigan.

Greg Hardy
Getty Images
Greg Hardy, Mississippi: At 6-foot-4 and 279 pounds, Hardy is remarkably athletic and could be an interesting pick if he's on the board in the third round. A former first-round prospect, Hardy was slowed as a junior by a foot problem and his senior season was sunk by injuries. Still, his 26.5 career sacks are hard to ignore. He was athletic enough to play a little wide receiver as a freshman, when he also played in 15 games with one start in basketball.

Jerry Hughes, TCU: Hughes (6-2, 257) piled up 26.5 sacks and 36 tackles for losses in earning All-American honors the last two seasons. He's a second-round prospect because he doesn't play the run as well as Graham. Other than that, he's a playmaker and will play immediately as a pass-rushing specialist until he figures the rest of it out.

Carl Ihenacho, San Jose State: Ihenacho (6-3, 256) had four sacks as a senior but starred when he had Jarron Gilbert as a sidekick in 2008 (seven sacks, 18.5 tackles for losses). Very smart on the field and in the classroom. Could go in the seventh round.

Sergio Kindle, Texas: Kindle (6-4, 255) has drawn comparisons to former Texas sidekick Brian Orakpo, who led all rookies in sacks last year for Washington. Kindle had 5.5 sacks and a whopping 21.5 tackles for losses last season. Off-the-field problems (drunken driving charge in 2007, ran into apartment while texting in 2009) will give teams pause, but he's a good all-around prospect. Second round.

Austen Lane, Murray State: Lane, who was born in Iola, Wis., is an impressive 6-6 and 267. He helped himself during Senior Bowl week by looking surprisingly fluid for someone with his frame. He piled up 23 sacks over his last two season as well as 41.5 tackles for losses. Could go in Day 2.

Brandon Lang, Troy: Lang (6-4, 260) tallied 20 sacks during his last two seasons for the Trojans. He showed an array of pass rush moves during Senior Bowl week. He'll be battling his former college teammate, Cameron Sheffield, to be first off the board in the third or fourth round.

Albert McClellan, Marshall: Maxwell (6-1, 249) will vie to be a late-round selection. Doesn't have the size, his three sacks as a senior aren't impressive and a torn ACL that cost him 2007 is another problem. But in 2006, he was among the national leaders in sacks (11) and tackles for losses (19).

Koa Misi, Utah: Misi (6-3, 244) impressed at the Senior Bowl with his pass-rushing and athletic ability. The three-year starter had 4.5 sacks as a senior and has the all-around skills the Packers like. Should go in Day 2.

Arthur Moats, James Madison: Moats (6-0, 246) just doesn't have the size teams want and probably will go undrafted. He's worth a look, though. He led FCS with 23.5 tackles for losses, and his 11 sacks gave him 29 for his career.

— Eric Norwood, South Carolina: If the Packers don't draft an outside linebacker in the first two rounds, keep Norwood in mind in Round 3. Norwood (6-1, 246) is an all-around talent and a high-character player who earned his degree in 3.5 years. Lacks the height you want but he produced with school records of 29 sacks and 54.5 tackles for losses.

Jason Pierre-Paul
Kevin Rivoli/AP Images
Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida: An athletic marvel, Pierre-Paul (6-6, 265) could be a top-10 pick based on potential alone. Statistically, he posted 6.5 sacks and 16 tackles for losses as a senior. Won't be the type of all-around outside linebacker that the Packers like, though, because he's not a stud against the run. An electric first step, however, gives him the potential to be a true sackmaster. Probably will be long gone by No. 23.

Ricky Sapp, Clemson: Like Pierre-Paul, Sapp is more potential than production. Playing as a stand-up linebacker last season, Sapp (6-4, 248) totalled five sacks and 15 tackles for losses. A partially torn ACL in 2008 will be a concern, as will his lack of bulk to set the point against the run. Could sneak into the first round.

— O'Brien Schofield, Wisconsin: Schofield (6-2, 238) was rocketing up draft boards after posting 12 sacks and 24.5 tackles for losses as a senior. One scout was raving about Schofield just before he tore his ACL during practice for the Senior Bowl.

George Selvie, South Florida: Selvie (6-4, 247) sort of disappeared after posting 14.5 sacks and a stunning 31.5 tackles for losses as a sophomore. He's gone from first-round prospect to someone who hopes to go in Day 2 — in part because he never developed a reliable complement to his outside speed.

— Cameron Sheffield, Troy: Sheffield (6-3, 256) attracted the interest of the Packers at the Senior Bowl, where he flashed all-around skills and coachability. He posted 13 sacks and 24 tackles for losses in this last two seasons. A quality mid-round prospect.

Adrian Tracy, William & Mary: Tracy (6-3, 248) is from Darren Sharper's alma mater. Outstanding production in career with 31 sacks and 62.5 tackles for losses. He reportedly looked good playing at linebacker at the East-West game. Should go in the fifth or sixth round.

Lindsey Witten, Connecticut: Witten (6-5, 248) is a lot like NC State's Young in terms of frame and his weakness. Witten's 11.5 sacks a senior will impress — though he gets his sacks more on technique than sheer speed. He'll need to get stronger and get a better grasp of the leverage game.

Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech: With a last name that's ready-made for a good nickname, Worilds (6-2, 252) will be battling to be among that second tier of outside linebackers. Not quite as sturdy as you want against the run but he can get to the quarterback and make plays with 12 sacks and 30 tackles for losses in the past two seasons. Should go in the second round or early in the third.

Willie Young, N.C. State: Young (6-5, 251) had a solid senior season with eight sacks and 15 tackles for losses. A good first step and enough counter moves to fit at least as a situational rusher until he gets stronger and gets better technique against the run.

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

Packer Report Top Stories