Draft: Overrated and underrated LBs, DBs

NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas has his list of players that are the best at their position, along with his most overrated and underrated at each position. We conclude with linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties.

Inside linebacker

Cream of the Crop: C.J. Mosley, Alabama — The Butkus Award winner and two-time first-team All-American led the Tide's powerhouse defense with 108 tackles, including nine for losses, and added 10 quarterback hits.

Shayne Skov, Stanford — Skov was a third-team All-American and a finalist for the Butkus. He led the team with 109 tackles and added 5.5 sacks, 13 TFLs, 10 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles.

Most Underrated: Chris Borland, Wisconsin — Borland was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year after piling up 112 tackles, four sacks and 8.5 TFLs as a senior. He finished his career with 420 tackles and a Big Ten-record 15 forced fumbles.

Yawin Smallwood*, Connecticut — The first-team all-conference pick led the Huskies with 118 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. He added nine passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

About the only knock on Borland is he's 5-foot-11. Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports

Most Overrated: Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky — The Sun Belt's preseason player of the year was suspended at midseason for a violation of team rules. He finished five tackles short of his third consecutive 100-tackle season.

Outside linebacker

Cream of the Crop: Trent Murphy, Stanford — The consensus All-American piled up 15 sacks, 23.5 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and one interception as a senior. His 1.1 sacks per game led the nation.

Anthony Barr, UCLA — After playing offense his first two seasons, Barr moved to defense in 2012. As a senior, Barr had 10 sacks, 20 tackles for losses and five forced fumbles.

Most Underrated: Carl Bradford*, Arizona State — Bradford, who was one of the nation's top fullbacks in high school, had 20 sacks and 39.5 TFLs during his final two seasons.

Denicos Allen, Michigan State — Allen, a three-time all-Big Ten performer, started the final 39 games and ranked sixth in school history with 19.5 sacks and third with 44.5 TFLs.

Most Overrated: Kyle Van Noy, BYU — A finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, Van Noy had four sacks, 17.5 TFLs and two interceptions as a senior. In 2012, he had 13 sacks, 22 TFLs, two interceptions and six forced fumbles.

Morgan Breslin, USC — A monster junior season of 13 sacks and 19.5 TFLs but was limited to five games (4.5 sacks, eight TFLs) by a sports hernia and hip injury, both of which required surgery.


Cream of the Crop: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State — The Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation's top defensive back and a consensus All-American picked off four passes and broke up 14 passes as a senior.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon — All-conference first-team selection his final two seasons. He picked off three passes as a senior and four as a junior. He added five tackles for losses as a senior and forced six fumbles as a junior.

Most Underrated: Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State — Joyner was first-team all-ACC in each of his final two seasons. Not only did he intercept two passes, but he forced three fumbles and had 5.5 sacks.

Pierre Desir, Lindenwood (Mo.) — The two-time All-American won the Cliff Harris Award as the nation's top small-school defensive player. He intercepted 25 passes in his career, including 13 during his two years at Division II Lindenwood.

Most Overrated: Jason Verrett, TCU — Verrett, a second-team All-American, led the nation with 38 passes defensed during his final two seasons. He held two of the Big 12's top receivers, Baylor's Antwan Goodley and Texas Tech's Eric Ward, to a combined once catch.

Marcus Roberson, Florida — Roberson played in seven games (four starts) due to injuries but left a year early after posting three passes defensed this season.

Free safety

Cream of the Crop: Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt — The first-team all-SEC selection tied for the conference lead and set a school record with five forced fumbles, plus tied for second in the league with five interceptions.

Most Underrated: Calvin Pryor*, Louisville — Pryor started all three seasons. In 2013, he intercepted three passes and forced two fumbles, and finished his career with seven picks, nine forced fumbles and 13 tackles for losses.

Most Overrated: Hasean Clinton-Dix*, Alabama — Picked off two passes and broke up six more as a junior in 2013 after tying for the SEC lead with five interceptions in 2012. He was suspended for two games for receiving an improper benefit.

Strong safety

Cream of the Crop: Deone Bucannon, Washington State — The four-year starter had a monster senior year with six interceptions, three forced fumbles and 114 tackles to be a first-team All-American.

Most Underrated: Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State — The three-year starter intercepted eight passes during his career, including two as a senior.

Most Overrated: Craig Loston, LSU — Intercepted three passes, broke up three others and had one sack in 10 games as a senior. He was second-team all-SEC in his final two seasons.


Cream of the Crop: Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State — Averaged 41.6 yards on 84 punts as a senior, with 27 of them downed inside the opponents' 20.

Most Underrated: Cody Webster, Purdue — A finalist for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter, he averaged 43.5 yards on 70 punts as a senior, with 24 of them downed inside the 20.

Most Overrated: Tyler Campbell, Mississippi — Averaged 44.6 yards on 51 punts as a senior, with 17 of them downed inside the 20, but had 10 touchbacks.

* Early entry to the draft

Category selections by Dave-Te Thomas. Text by Bill Huber.

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