Senior Bowl: Wednesday's Linebacker Rankings

Miami's Darryl Sharpton and South Carolina's moved up with stronger performances while the teams worked out in full pads. The votes of our team of writers and analysts who are taking in the action live in Mobile have been tallied. Check out the results inside...

1. Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri

Witherspoon continues to show why he's the top linebacker at the Senior Bowl. His motor is always running, and on Wednesday, so was his mouth. Whether he was actively playing or rotated out for a few plays, Weatherspoon was whooping it up, encouraging his teammates, and challenging his opponents. In full pads, he displayed his hitting ability, running through players while hitting them squarely in the chest. Weatherspoon showed off his ability to disrupt a slot receiver trying to come off the line, totally neutralizing his opponent and taking him out of the play. While his zone pass protection work was usually flawless, he gave up one big catch when he dropped too deep into coverage.

2. Donald Butler, Washington

Butler became the second-most noticed linebacker on Wednesday as he showed great technique as a tackler. Working inside, he squared up on ball carriers, dipped his shoulders and launched himself into their chest or waist while wrapping up tightly. After one catch by a running back underneath, he delivered a blow that kept the play from turning into a decent gain. Butler continues to react quickly to receivers in the passing game and shadowed them well. He only gave up one big catch on a crossing route after dropping too deep.

3. Daryl Washington, TCU

Washington showed more of the physical side of his game on Wednesday, making some bone-jarring chest-high tackles. He uses his speed and acceleration well to increase the impact of his tackles. Washington also showed that he can bring the pressure as a rusher off the outside edge while continuing to due a reliable job in pass coverage. He dropped to number three simply due to Butler's impressive practice, not due to a drop-off in performance.

4. A.J. Edds, Iowa 

Edds is improving his stock in Mobile, showing off his excellent open-field skills during both pass and run plays. When you watch him he doesn't look particularly fast, but he makes up for that lost step with instincts that allow him to react faster to the action. With full pads on, Edds showed that he's a solid and reliable tackler.

5. Darryl Sharpton, Miami

You could tell Sharpton was excited to be in full pads and his stock bounced back considerably on Wednesday. He was a physical presence on the field, truly punishing blockers and ball carriers with his hits. During one run play, he put USC's scrappy offensive lineman Jeff Byers down while he was attempting to lead block and then wrapped up the ball carrier a split second later. Byers was slow to get up after the collision, despite being a pretty tough guy as well. Sharpton was disciplined when tasked with contain duties on the edge and moved well in pass coverage. 

6. Eric Norwood, South Carolina

Norwood finally showed more of his natural talent when he was in full pads and had a couple of days of practice under his belt. He displayed a good burst at the snap and good instincts on quickly determining the run versus the pass. He flashed good speed off the edge and engaged in a feisty battle with tight end Garrett Graham on a run play. Norwood made smart decisions in zone coverage and did a nice job staying with the tight end on a deep route.

7. Jamar Chaney, Mississippi State 

Chaney got manhandled when an offensive lineman came out after him in the second level and he wasn't much of a factor against the run. But he continued to be effective while defending the pass, neutralizing the slot receiver as assigned, making quick adjustments while recognizing the pass during play-action.  He dropped a bit from his number four ranking on Tuesday.

8. Koa Misi, Utah

He continues to be impressive in pass coverage, using his speed to close quickly. But he also did a better job of shadowing receivers on Wednesday. His results as a tackler were mixed. One one play he took down his opponent with a solid hit, but on another he was faked out and desperately tried to make an arm tackle that failed. Misi showed some good instincts and speed when lined up out on the edge against the run, timing his attack well to get behind the offensive line and wrap up the legs of a running back who was attempting to run to the opposite side.

9. Dekoda Watson, Florida State 

He continued to shadow receivers well, but continues to lose some battles when moved up in the box. He held his own on the edge against an offensive lineman during a run play, but in open space he was rocked by another blocker while in pursuit of a ball carrier running a sweep. Give Watson credit though, he stays in the action and it's evident that he's focused and bringing a good energy level to the field.

10. Phillip Dillard, Nebraska

At times, Dillard's high-energy level seems nearly frantic. That helps him in some situations, but hurts him in others. But it's evident that he's fully engaged in what's going on around him on the field. He showed good velocity while moving in for the tackle, but continued to struggle a bit when asked to move up on the line against tight ends--they are usually able to get by him with minimal disruption and then he struggles to keep pace down the field. Dillard was more effective against the pass when he was off the line and could see the action developing ahead of him. 

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