Inside backer Prospects for the 2009 Draft

Although there are two individuals from this group that are considered slam dunk top round selections, veteran NFL talent scout has some questions and also feels that the drop off behind this duo is both sudden and steep

I can't begin to tell you the number of inside or mike backers that Ohio State has developed over the past three decades. I know I am leaving off a number of exceptional players, but a partial list would include; Randy Gradishar, Tom Cousineau, Marcus Merek, Chris Spielman, Steve Tovar, Andy Katzenmoyer and AJ Hawk. I'm certain I'm not breaking any new ground, with this statement, but all future lists in my opinion should likely include the name of one James Laurinaitis.

With the exception of Hawk and Cousineau none of the aforementioned players were particularly good athlete, but each had great playing instincts, were highly competitive, productive, physical and tough. Sound familiar? Well in a nutshell I just described Laurinaitis. I don't see him as a three down player (thought he struggled some in coverage, but he's a rugged individual who will step up and be counted with the game on the line.

I have to tell you I was a little disappointed in the play of USC's inside man Rey Maualuga. He is a very tough hombre who will step up, meet pressure and put the ball carrier on his butt. This guy will step on your hands and do everything necessary to beat you. I thought he had a tendency to overplay things when moving down the line, had just limited playing range, lacks a closing burst, struggled with his direction change and he's not going to be in the ball game on third down. He has too much toughness and guile not to become a top player, but make no mistake about it, this player has physical limitations that will follow him throughout his professional career.

I'm really not a major fan of the remaining inside players, but believe all, including some of the suspects below the line. Beckwith is an experienced hand, but I question his overall playing instincts. McKillop was a productive, between the tackles player. Again, I thought he was just a limited athlete with little in the way of range and marginal in coverage. Brian Toal is a player that bears watching. An inside backer and short yardage fullback starter at a freshman, he was red shirted in 2007 due to his injury to his shoulder and this past season a broken right fibula versus Virginia Tech. He can run, has range and is an explosive player on contact. He's not particularly big, but if he can overcome the injury the injury jinx, I believe he could develop into a contributing back up and special team player.

Inside Linebackers

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
1 Laurinaitis, James Ohio St 6017v 244v 4.80v 1.16
2 Maualuga, Rey USC 6016v 249v 4.87v 1.27
3 Beckwith, Darry LSU 6002v 242v 4.79v 1.35
4 McKillop, Scott Pittsburgh 6007v 244v 4.74v 1.45
5 Philistin, Dave Maryland 6013v 235v 4.74v 1.50
6 Felder, Anthony California 6017v 233v 4.74v 1.55
7 Ellerbe, Dannell Georgia 6010v 236v 4.69v 1.56
8 Toal, Brian Boston College 6002v 229v 4.72v 1.61
9 Phillips, Jason TCU 6006v 239v 4.65v 1.71
10 Crum, Maurice Notre Dame 5115v 236v 4.89v 1.77

Free Agents

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
Palmer, Ron Arizona 6014v 233v 4.83v 1.80
Warren, Brett Virginia Tech 6004v 232v 4.77v 1.80
Wooten, Morris Arizona St 5115v 231v 5.04v 1.90
Tauilili, Michael Duke 5101v 231v 4.87v 1.90
Adkins, Spencer Miami 5113v 233v 4.47v 1.90
Davis, Romeo Miami 6026v 228v 4.64v 1.90
Appleby, Antonio Virginia 6034v 246v 4.81v 1.90
Arnoux, Stanley Wake Forest 6000v 232v 4.59v 1.90
Ivy, Mortty West Virginia 6014v 248v 4.94v 1.90
Nicholson, Derek Florida St 5117v 231v 4.89v 1.90
Christopher, Brock Missouri 6015v 237v 4.98v 1.90
Miller, Brit Illinois 6001v 243v 4.62v 1.90

Kickers, Punters, and Long Snappers

Long Snappers

Free Agents

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
Ingram, Jacob Hawaii 6027v 232v 5.11v 1.90
Griffin, Sean Michigan 6014v 242v 5.14v 1.90

Punters

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
1 Huber, Kevin Cincinnati 6007v 221v 4.91v 1.53
2 Morstead, Thomas SMU 6042v 225v 4.85v 1.59
3 Miller, Chris Ball St 6013v 208v 4.74v 1.79

Free Agents

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
Thiry, Zach Montana 6015v 225v 5.00e 1.90
Colquitt, Britton Tennessee 6025v 205v 4.93v 1.90
Brantly, Justin Texas A&M 6031v 247v 4.86v 1.90

Place Kickers

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
1 Gano, Graham Florida St 6003v 194v 5.00e 1.54
2 Buehler, David USC 6016v 227v 4.62v 1.62
3 Sakoda, Louie Utah 5084v 176v 4.86v 1.75

Free Agents

RK Name School HT WT 40 GR
Masthay, Tim Kentucky 6014v 198v 4.84v 1.90
Fodge, Matt Oklahoma St 6002v 193v 4.96v 1.90
Martinez, Jose UTEP 5093v 197v 5.00e 1.90
Swank, Sam Wake Forest 6000v 193v 5.00e 1.90

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