2004 NFL Draft Outside LB Top 10

Heading into the final week before the draft, as the Pro-Days closed out, here's an updated ranking and scouting reports of the top 10 Outside Linebackers for this years draft class.

Name: D.J. Williams School Miami-Fl Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-0.5 Wt: 250 40: 4.53 Pos: OLB

Bio: Former fullback that's been a three year starter for the Hurricane defense. Senior totals included 82/8/6 after junior numbers of 108/16/4. Has never intercepted a pass in college.

Positives: Strong, run defending linebacker and a dominant force in the box. Aggressive in all aspects, easily defeats blocks from bigger lineman and strong at the point. Scrapes laterally, immediately alters his angle of attack and rarely off his feet. Displays speed to the flanks, always willing to stick his head in a pile and an intimidating defender.

Negatives: Improved his ability to diagnose as a senior but still not efficient, takes false steps or guesses wrong. Commits to a move and gets caught out of position. Stiff in pass coverage and taken off the field on certain third down situations.

Analysis: A terrific athlete that holds a lot of upside for the next level, Williams is more brain than brawn to this point. Must be put in the system that minimizes his mental responsibilities yet takes advantage of his physical skills. He'll impress as a rookie with bone crunching hits but expect a few blown assignments.

Name: Karlos Dansby School Auburn Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 251 40: 4.57 Pos: OLB

Bio: Led the team with 84/13/5.5 as a senior, also breaking up six passes. Junior totals were 76/14/4 when he intercepted 3 passes. Posted 59 tackles his first year on the field and led the team with 5 interceptions.

Positives: Tall, angular linebacker with great athleticism and explosion. Flows laterally to the ball displaying speed to the flanks and suddenness arriving on the scene. Gets depth on pass drops, effective in space and covers a lot of area. Fires up the field in run defense and a devastating hitter that delivers the knockout blow. Disciplined, does not bite on play action passes and squares into tackles. Helps out on coverage teams.

Negatives: Seemed to suffer a case of senioritis last season and did not play with a sense of urgency. Lacked body control and haphazard in his movements. Has a high metabolism and may have difficulty keeping on extra weight.

Analysis: Besides bone crunching hits that make the highlight reel, Dansby also plays a smart brand of football and offers a good feel for the game. Did not move into the early reaches of round one like many thought he was capable of last season but still offers a great amount of upside potential for the next level.


Name: Teddy Lehman School Oklahoma Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 240 40: 4.56 Pos: OLB

Bio: All Conference and All America selection as a senior after leading Oklahoma in tackles totaling 117/19/2. Awarded the Chuck Bednarik Trophy for the nation's best defensive player in 2003. All American and All Conference choice as a junior after posting 112/17/2. Broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore and finished with 89/13/3.

Positives: Instinctive defender who combines top athleticism along with football intensity to get the job done. Immediately reads or diagnoses the action, displays a good head for the ball and explodes at the point of attack. Scrapes laterally, takes good angles to the play and wraps up tackling. Easily handles several responsibilities at one time, true leader of the defense and goes all out on every snap.

Negatives: Overly aggressive against the run and gets caught out of position in pass defense. Only average man-to-man cover skills and better in zone.

Analysis: A fast and furious defender, Lehman is a complete linebacker that finds a way to get the job done. Offers a great combination of instincts, explosion and intensity. A rookie that can immediately come in and impact an NFL team.


Name: Michael Boulware School Florida State Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 225 40: 4.51 Pos: OLB

Bio: Led the Seminoles in total tackles as a senior with 111/4/2.5. Finished with 127/4/1 as a junior after moving into the starting lineup as a true sophomore posting 81/6/3. Brother of Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware.

Positives: Explosive linebacker that can play a number of positions on the defense. Fast, goes sideline-to-sideline and displays recovery speed. Breaks down well, bends his knees and rarely off his feet. Takes good angles to the action and cuts-off the flanks. Outstanding in pursuit yet patient and reads the action rather than running around mindlessly. Adequate instincts and lets the action develop before committing to a play. Excels in coverage and effective over the slot receiver.

Negatives: Lacks bulk, playing strength and the ability to shed blocks. Squares and wraps up tackling but has difficulty bringing opposing ball carriers down on initial contact.

Analysis: A top athlete who's game possesses large amounts of explosion, Boulware offers a lot of upside for the future and should just get better as he physically matures. Should be a starting weakside linebacker midway through his rookie campaign and worthy of being drafted early in round two.


Name: Dontarrious Thomas School Auburn Year 5Sr
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 241 40: 4.65 Pos: OLB

Bio: Moved from outside linebacker into the middle as a senior and totaled 75 tackles with 7 tackles for loss. Junior numbers included 92/11/3. Awarded All Conference honors his first two seasons in the program, leading the team in tackles as a sophomore with 122.

Positives: Nice sized athletic linebacker built for the weakside. Fluid changing direction, displays speed and easily runs with tight ends or running backs in coverage. Displays outstanding pursuit skills. Slips off blocks and gets to the action with a burst of closing speed. Quick filling the gaps in run defense, forceful and wraps up tackling.

Negatives: Struggled at middle linebacker last season. Not instinctive when the ball's in the air and takes too many false-steps to the action.

Analysis: Thomas has the athletic skills to be a productive player at the next level yet needs to polish off his mental skills. Should be starting in the NFL by his second season in the league.


Name: Demorrio Williams School Nebraska Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-0.5 Wt: 232 40: 4.55 Pos: OLB

Bio: Two year starter who posted 128/21/11 as a senior after 92/6/1 the prior year.

Positives: Explosive linebacker slowly turning into a complete defender. Quick in all aspects of his game, forceful on the blitz yet displays great range with the ability to make plays in space. Fast to the flanks, gets depth on pass drops and plays with balance. Immediately alters his angle of attack, wedges between blocks and gets to the action. Adequate skills over pass catchers in the slot.

Negatives: Slow to shed once engaged at the point. Not instinctive or quick to react in pass coverage.

Analysis: A linebacker prospect that makes a lot of athletic plays on the field, Williams has displayed a steady path of progression the past two years. Mainly used up in the box at Nebraska, must learn to consistently make good decisions in space but offers the underlying skills to eventually start for an NFL team.


Name: Keyaron Fox School Georgia Tech Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 227 40: 4.61 Pos: OLB

Bio: Three year starter who led the ACC in tackles last season with 155/18/4, while also breaking up 3 passes. Junior totals were 92/13/3 after 95/8/2 as a sophomore.

Positives: Athletic linebacker who plays with a great amount of explosion. Forceful moving up the field, deceptively strong and adjusts off the initial block. Tremendous range and athleticism; fast sideline-to-sideline, gets depth on pass drops and makes plays in every direction. Quick arriving on the scene, has a closing burst of speed and throws his body around the field. Squares and wraps up tackling.

Negatives: Lacks body control and over pursues the action on occasion. Has difficulty defending the run in the box and better out to the flanks. Hesitant on the field at times l.

Analysis: Athletically, Fox is one of the most explosive weakside linebacker prospects in the draft. His forceful nature coupled with the natural abilities gives him a nice upside for the next level.


Name: Bryan Hickman School Kansas State Year 5Sr
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 231 40: 4.72 Pos: OLB

Bio: Finished second on the team in tackles as a senior posting 107/13/4 after a junior campaign in which he totaled 79/15/4.

Positives: Athletic and hard hitting strong side linebacker best between the hashes. Breaks down well, holds his ground against blocks or defeats them altogether. Disciplined, stays with assignments and quick to read the action. Collapses from the outside to defend the run and a solid tackler that wraps up ball carriers. Gets depth on pass drops in zone coverage, reacts well to the ball and nicely flows to the play. Competitive and always flying around the football.

Negatives: Not a sudden defender that flashes on the scene. Only average man-cover skills and hesitant turning back to the pass. Seems better in a straight line and lacks top speed to the flanks.

Analysis: A high intensity defender that plays with reckless abandon, Hickman offers a nice combination of strength and speed for the next level. Style is best suited for the strong side though he'd benefit from adding bulk to his frame.


Name: Kendyll Pope School Florida State Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 226 40: 4.71 Pos: OLB

Bio: Suffered a sprained knee during his senior campaign and posted 56/7/3 in ten games. Led the team in tackles as a junior posting 131. after finishing second as a sophomore with 113.

Positives: Athletic, weakside linebacker that excels in pass coverage. Quick diagnosing the action, fluid and displays excellent sideline-to-sideline range. Takes nice angles to the ball, efficient and plays heads up football. Gets depth on pass drops, effective over tight end or covering backs in the box. Reacts well in all situations and makes plays in every direction of the field.

Negatives: Seemed to lose explosion and suddenness due to the knee injury. Not a sure handed tackler. Slow shedding blocks once engaged at the point.

Analysis: Though undersized, Pope's career has paralleled that of former FSU defender Tommy Polley. Should be an effective weakside linebacker at the next level and like his predecessor and is a solid choice near the end of the draft's first day.


Name: Alex Lewis School Wisconsin Year 4Sr
Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 227 40: 4.75 Pos: OLB

Bio: Two year starter that posted 89/16.5/9 as a senior after junior totals of 86/11/1.

Positives: Athletic and explosive linebacker best defending in the box. Quick filling gaps up the field, fast to the flanks and goes hard sideline-to-sideline. Sneaks through the small creases, gets to the ball carrier and excellent in pursuit. Tough defender that looks to get involved in the action.

Negatives: Gets depth on his pass drops and displays above average range but does not show good ball skills. Not efficient, takes too many steps or incorrect angles to the action.

Analysis: Lewis has done a terrific job in only two years of major college football though his game is still rough around the edges. Could eventually grow into a starting weak side linebacker at the next level if given time to develop.


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