NFL combine OLBs analysis

Like the inside linebackers, many outside linebacker prospects offered several good performances at the recent NFL combine as many vastly improved their draft stock. And just like the men in the middle, small school names stood out.<p>

One of the best displays, if not the top overall performance, came from Mars Hill product Khalid Abdullah. After running reasonably well in the 40 (4.64), Abdullah displayed outstanding range, footwork and pass cover skills; all necessities for a 227-pound linebacker.

Likewise Nick Barnett was explosive and looked incredibly natural while running in reverse. There was some concern the undersized Oregon State defender was too small and would have to be moved to safety (his college playing weight was in the 220-pound area). After tipping the scales at 236 pounds, running a 4.65 then performing the way he did during drills, Barnett not only proved he could stay at linebacker but moved into the draft's first day.

Scott Shanle had a solid day displaying quick feet and speed moving laterally.

As expected Angelo Crowell did not run well for the clock but looked solid in drills and was very efficient during the pass defense segment.

After a great 40 time Purdue's Joe Odom looked great in all the drills, but that is typical of Odom; he usually works out much better then he plays.

Hawaii's Pisa Tinoisamoa ran well and showed a lot of explosion in a straight line but had great difficulty making plays in reverse and did not look natural.

A pair who disappointed were Gerald Hayes and Chris Clemons. Both struggled laterally and neither looked smooth or comfortable.

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