In my last post, I wrote about outside linebacker prospects, including potential first-round draft picks Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews, who were both invited by the Titans for a pre-draft visit.
We now take a look at some prospects who may receive the opportunity to be Tennessee’s future man in the middle.
Two middle linebackers who were also invited to Tennessee are projected to be first-round picks as well. Let’s take a look at the two invitees, as well as a round by round look at some others who might be considered by the Titans next weekend.
Rey Maualuga 6’2″, 249 Southern Cal
Widely considered to be the best MLB in the draft, it’s possible, but not probable, his name will still be on the board when the Titans will be on the clock with the 30th selection. Good size and quickness. Athletic, physical and explosive. Delivers big hits and big plays. Has the ability to be the next Ray Lewis. Would be an upgrade at the position. He was scheduled to visit the Titans on Friday. I like the combination of quickness and physicality.
James Laurinaitis 6’2″, 244 Ohio State
If Maualuga is #1, then Laurinaitis is 1A. He’s projected by quite a few analysts to be taken in the first round, but if not, I expect him to be picked early in the second. Won the Butkus Award as the nation’s best linebacker. Quick, instinctive and an excellent tackler. Another good combination of quickness and athleticism, he also visited the Titans and would also be an upgrade.
Rounds Two or Three:
Jasper Brinkley 6’2″, 252 South Carolina
Great size, good strength and speed. A good athlete and tackler. Will need to come off the field on passing downs, but that’s the norm for the Titans. May fit better in a 3-4 defense.
Darry Beckwith 6’1″, 234 LSU
Another physical, aggressive and explosive player but to a lesser degree and on a smaller scale than Maualuga. Great quickness and instincts. Could use some more muscle, which shouldn’t be a problem for Steve Watterson. Has also played some Will linebacker.
Rounds Three or Four:
Jason Phillips 6’1″, 239 TCU
Strong work ethic, Energizer Bunny motor. Sounds like a smaller version of KVB.
Dannell Ellerbe 6’1″, 236 Georgia
Great in 2007 but hampered by a knee sprain last year. A one-year wonder?
Rounds Four or Five:
Scott McKillop 6’1″, 244 Pittsburgh
Savvy and instinctive. Tough with a great motor. A very good tackler who would be drafted sooner if he was stronger and more physical.
Worrell Williams 5’11”, 240 California
Another strong, physical explosive player. Was used as both a middle and weakside LB in a 4-3 and as an inside backer in a 3-4. Another good tackler with a strong motor. Brother is Broncos’ LB D.J. Williams.
Rounds Six and Seven:
Joshua Mauga 6’1″, 243 Nevada
Good instincts, good tackler. Versatile — played as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme and as both a middle and strongside LB in a 4-3.
Antonio Appleby 6’4″, 243 Virginia
Played in a 3-4 in college where he was overshadowed by teammate Clint Sintim. Strong and physical. Won’t be on the field in passing situations.
Stanley Amoux 6’0″, 232 Wake Forest
Physical and a good tackler in the middle. Isn’t as effective moving laterally. Another guy with a strong motor. Sounds like a good candidate for special teams. I think he must have some upside.
Frantz Joseph 6’1″, 242 Florida Atlantic
Another physical guy. Hard hitter, very ferocious. A liability in pass coverage but the Titans normally pull their MLB on passing downs.
Of all these guys, I like Maualuga, Laurinaitis, Beckwith and Phillips the best. What’s your opinion?