1. C.J. MOSLEY, Alabama (6-2, 234, 4.68, 1) – Defensive leader for a team that went 46-7 and won a pair of national titles. “He’s one of those guys that kind of makes a defense, he really does,” said one scout. “Extremely smart. Instinctive. Explosive. Fast. All about football. No off the field issues. Never comes out of the game.” Started just 29 of 51 games, finishing with 319 tackles (23 for loss), 8½ sacks and eight “big” plays (defined as the total of interceptions, fumbles forced and fumbles recovered). “He’s maybe like Lavonte David,” another scout said. “He’s not as big as Luke Kuechly. He’s not Patrick Willis.” Returned three of his five picks for TDs. “Excellent in the passing game,” a third scout said. “He can match up in zone or man to man. He also can play the run directly at him or run laterally to the sideline. If he gets knocked down it will because of the medical.” Has had major elbow, hip and shoulder injuries. “Sometimes his lack of size shows up in his tackling,” a fourth scout said. “He lacks tackling bulk. Sometimes he gets outsized by linemen, and sometimes he’ll hit ’em and they don’t fall down.” From Mobile, Ala.
2. RYAN SHAZIER, Ohio State (6-1, 230, 4.38, 1) – Third-year junior and a two-year starter on the weak side. “He is the fastest guy I have scouted at linebacker other than Brian Urlacher,” one longtime scout said. “We had him at 4.38 at 235 or 237. Mosley is a hell of a football player but I’ll take 4.38 and see if I can work with it. He’s a blur. He’s faster than Derrick Brooks. He’s a bigger, faster Lavonte David. He’s a freak when it comes to speed.” Posted the best vertical jump (42 inches) of anyone at the combine and led LBs in the broad jump (10-10). Scored 20 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test and bench-pressed 225 pounds 25 times. “His problem is he’s a real linear guy,” another scout said. “He bulked up for his pro day but he probably played under 220 this year. He’s doesn’t have a lot of (expletive) to him so when he hits you sometimes his legs go dead.” Finished with 315 tackles (44½ for loss), 14 sacks and 10 big plays. Compared by one scout to former Bear WLB Wilber Marshall. “Not very strong,” a fourth scout said. “Gets bounced around some. He’s got unique speed. Pursuit angles are a little inconsistent. Supposed to be a pretty good kid. Good hands, but not physical. Good feel in the pass game.” From Pompano Beach, Fla.
3. CHRIS BORLAND, Wisconsin (5-11½, 247, 4.83, 2) – One of the greatest defensive players in Badgers’ history. “I watched practice before I watched any tape when I was there,” one scout said. “I saw him and I said, ‘Are you kidding me? How does this guy play middle linebacker in the Big Ten?’ Then I put the tape on. Does everything. Awesome in coverage. Blitzes well. If he’s 6-1 and his arms are longer than a pencil he’s a top-10 pick. But middle linebacker is the one position where you can lack a little length.” Arms measured a scant 29¼ inches. “It will take (guts) to draft him, but I wouldn’t worry about it,” another scout said. “This guy is unique. He’s like (Luke) Kuechly. His body length is going to get him in a little bit of trouble on wide plays sometimes because he’s not the fastest guy in the world. But he always has great leverage on the ball. He knows where the ball’s going.” Wonderlic of 32. Said a third scout: “The plays he made against Ohio State, when he stones the best running back (Carlos Hyde) in the draft and beats a blocker to get to him to do that…with his first-step quickness to the ball and leverage, I have faith in that kid.” Finished with 410 tackles (50 for loss), 17 sacks and a whopping 27 big plays. “He’s going to get completely destroyed in there,” a fourth scout said. “He’s short and has short arms. He plays his (expletive) off but what’s his pro physical up side?” From Kettering, Ohio.
4. PRESTON BROWN, Louisville (6-1, 251, 4.81, 3-4) – After the top three there’s a massive drop-off to Brown. “Nothing special,” said one scout. “They didn’t think he was tough enough. At the end of the year one of the coaches said he was. He kind of grew on me. He has good production. He runs well enough. He’s a backup.” Started in the middle the last two seasons after aligning on the strong side in 2011. “Stout enough,” another scout said. “He’s like a fifth-round pick or something.” More of an old-fashioned MLB with limitations in coverage. Had 301 tackles (21½ for loss) with seven sacks and six big plays. From Cincinnati.
5. TELVIN SMITH, Florida State (6-3, 222, 4.50, 3-4) – Played 54 games but started just 15. “It’s a projection (inside),” said one scout. “Unfortunately, he’s undersized. Does he have the instincts? Yes. Is he a take-on guy? No. Can he cover a tight end? Yes. You do the best you can.” Played the weak side for the Seminoles, finishing with 214 tackles (29 for loss), seven sacks and 10 big plays. “He’s a very good lateral player,” said a second scout. “Can he make plays 10, 12 yards off the line of scrimmage? I don’t know because he was a forward player there. But he is a really good athlete.” Called “stiff and straight-line” by a third scout. “I don’t know what you do with him,” a fourth scout said. “He looks like he’s a tiny person. He’s a good player, but 215 is kind of tough.” From Valdosta, Ga.
6. SHAYNE SKOV, Stanford (6-2½, 243, 5.20, 4-5) – Started for the better part of four years. “Remember how smart those old Penn State linebackers were?” one scout said. “They all played more on brains than talent. That’s what this guy might be. He’s not real fast but his angles get him to the ball where he absolutely minimizes the gains that a back might make outside. Yet, he rarely gets cut back on. And he’s a magnificent blitzer. I’ll give him that, boy. In pass cover watch him on his drops. It’s almost like he knows where the offense is sending the ball on the snap. You better have better players around him, but he’ll be the glue that will hold your defense together.” Has a bad knee and might be rejected by some teams. Damaged his draft hopes by running a terrible 40 on April 21. “He’s just a try-hard guy,” said a second scout. Finished with 355 tackles (40½ for loss), 17 sacks and eight big plays. Wonderlic of 34. Lives in Guadalajara, Mexico.
7. CHRISTIAN KIRKSEY, Iowa (6-2, 234, 4.57, 4-5) – Played out of position in the middle most of his career. Got a shot on the weak side at the Senior Bowl and flourished. “He wasn’t strong enough for middle and they put him in position where he’d never make any plays,” said one scout. “He’s the best of the three Iowa (LBs). He’s athletic.” Finished with 315 tackles (13½ for loss), 5½ sacks and 16 big plays. “Very good Senior Bowl week,” another scout said. “Nowadays everyone is so undersized, anyways. I think he can play inside but he’s going to have to have some help. Very athletic and really instinctive. I’m betting on the come with him.” From St. Louis.
8. JORDAN ZUMWALT, UCLA (6-4, 232, 4.71, 4-5) – “Overachiever,” one scout said. Played in a 3-4 defense the past two seasons, starting 17 games inside and five outside. “He’s like crazy,” another scout said. “He’s that hyper kind of player. Just not very fundamentally sound. He isn’t playing within the defense. That’s something he needs to work on. He’s the see-ball, get-ball type.” Finished with 256 tackles (22 for loss), two sacks and nine big plays. “Has a great motor,” a third scout said. “Grows on you. Makes plays.” From Huntington Beach, Calif.
9. KHAIRI FORTT, California (6-2, 245, 4.73, 4-5) – Compared by one scout to ex-Packer Desmond Bishop, another former inside LB at Cal. “He’d be an interesting guy if you could protect him a little bit because he’s not a great take-on,” one scout said. “But he’s got speed. I don’t care what he runs on the clock. He’ll run fast on a field.” Fourth-year junior with just 10 starts in three seasons. Played hurt much of 2013. Finished with 114 tackles (10 for loss), three sacks and no big plays. “Not a bad player,” a third scout said. “He can play over the tight end or play middle backer. Been hurt his whole career. He couldn’t even make it through the combine workout without getting hurt (hamstring).” From Stamford, Conn.
10. MAX BULLOUGH, Michigan State (6-3½, 248, 4.75, 5-6) – Three-year starter at MLB with a Wonderlic of 31 and 30 reps on the bench press. “Kind of the team’s leader,” one scout said. “All intangibles, not as good of a football player. Taller and plays tall. Average speed. But he lines everybody up and gets everybody under control.” His grandfather Hank was the Packers’ defensive coordinator from 1988-’91 after playing 20 games at guard for them in the late 1950s. “His reputation and his name will help him a lot so he’ll probably get drafted (late),” a second scout said. “I’d take him as a free agent because he’s smart and plays hard.” Added a third scout: “Try-hard overachiever. Tough kid. Typical Big Ten guy.” From Traverse City, Mich.
OTHERS: Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky; Avery Williamson, Kentucky; Jordan Tripp, Montana; Lamin Barrow, Louisiana State; Jeremiah George, Iowa State; Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut; James Morris, Iowa; Anthony Hitchens, Iowa; Glenn Carson, Penn State; Jonathan Brown, Illinois; Brock Coyle, Montana.
1. KHALIL MACK, Buffalo (6-2½, 252, 4.57, 1) – Four-year starter at OLB in a 3-4 defense. “Buffalo was the only team that recruited him,” said one scout. “Love that kid. (Expletive), yeah, he’s better than (Anthony) Barr. He can do whatever he wants.” Tremendous athlete (40-inch vertical jump). “He can do anything,” another scout said. “He’s the best defensive player I’ve ever evaluated. In watching him in the MAC (Mid-American Conference), he makes it look like he’s playing against eighth-graders.” Registered nine tackles and 2½ sacks Aug. 31 at Ohio State, often beating LT Jack Mewhort. “But he played damn good against Ohio State and pretty average against the rest of those (expletive) teams that they played against,” a third scout said. “He didn’t dominate his competition. He tests out, tough, strong. But it’s going to take him awhile.” Although his Wonderlic scores of 13 and 17 were low, two scouts said they detected no hesitation in his play. “Is he truly a pass rusher?” a fourth scout said. “All I see him do is bull rush. Can he bull rush big offensive lineman in the NFL?” Finished with 327 tackles (75 for loss, tying Jason Babin’s NCAA record), 28½ sacks and 23 big plays, including a record 16 forced fumbles. From Fort Pierce, Fla.
2. ANTHONY BARR, UCLA (6-4½, 251, 4.46, 1) – Initially followed in the footsteps of his father, Tony, a Notre Dame RB who was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round in ’92. Played sparingly as a RB and TE for two years before moving to ROLB in a 3-4 for 2012-’13. “He has an extremely high up side,” one scout said. “Talented pass rusher. Slippery. Needs to get better at the point against the run but has great range and is good in coverage.” Finished with 151 tackles (40½ for loss), 23½ sacks and 13 big plays. “Is he just a (3-4) outside linebacker?” a second scout said. “Or is he Dave Robinson in a 4-3, tall and rangy? He doesn’t play to his size at all. He ought to be kicking their (expletive) and making ’em like it, you know? I hate to say it but UCLA has the reputation for having better athletes than football players.” Ran a fantastic 40 at pro day. “He’s a poor man’s poor man’s DeMarcus Ware,” a third scout said. “UCLA guys used to worry me but (Jim) Mora has changed the culture there. This kid hasn’t had much time on defense.” From San Pedro, Calif. Wonderlic of 28. Added another scout: “He has more ability than Clay (Matthews). Doesn’t always play hard. You wonder about his grit.”
3. DEMARCUS LAWRENCE, Boise State (6-3, 250, 4.72, 1-2) – Redshirted one year and played another in junior college, started 23 games in 2012-’13 at Boise and declared a year early. “Down defensive end there,” one scout said. “Pass rusher. Kind of a rangy guy. Got length, some rush skill and pretty solid production. He’s had a few off-the-field issues. You hoped he would run much better.” Finished with 120 tackles (34 for loss), 20 sacks and 10 big plays. Garnered 12 sacks in his JUCO season. “I like him as an outside backer,” said another scout. “Problem is he’s been suspended three times.” Wonderlic of 20. “He’s a little guy who is quick but not strong,” a third scout said. “I don’t know what the heck you’re going to do with him. He didn’t play linebacker there. He strictly rushed the passer. He’s not physical. He was extremely disappointing. In fact, the entire Boise State team this year was disappointing.” From Aiken, S.C.
4. KYLE VAN NOY, Brigham Young (6-3, 245, 4.66, 2) – Three-year starter. “He’s silky smooth,” one scout said. “He’s not a balls to the wall guy all the time. It’s not that he dogs it. He’s just so fluid. He’s not a grinder, knock the snot out of you (player). He’s just a good football player. He can rush and he can drop.” Finished with 226 tackles (62 for loss), 26 sacks and 22 big plays. “He is jack of all, master of none,” a second scout said. “Very sound player. Got an NFL body. Lacks a little physicality.” Wonderlic scores of 13 and 16. “Extremely instinctive,” a third scout said. “Good pass-rush ability. Best player on that team by far. Could be a ‘will’ or a ‘sam.'” From Reno, Nev. Will try to overcome short arms (315/8) in role as a pass rusher. “I don’t like him,” a fourth scout said. “Big guy that plays soft. Just not really a great athlete.”
5. JEREMIAH ATTAOCHU, Georgia Tech (6-3½, 250, 4.59, 2) – Played three seasons as an OLB in a 3-4 under coordinator Al Groh and then at DE in a 4-3 as a senior. “He’s whatever you want him to be,” one scout said. “He reminds me a lot of (ex-Bear) Mark Anderson. He can get on an edge and switch a gear on you that you don’t think he has. I don’t think he’s a guy that can drop much. He may be able to buzz the flat or swing with a back on a flare. He’s naturally more of a 3-4 outside guy. Is he a top-tier guy from suddenness, speed, length? Probably not. But he comes in and competes right away. He has played for Al Groh so the verbiage will be second nature for him.” Finished with 196 tackles (43½ for loss), a school-record 31½ sacks and seven “big” plays. “The knock on him is just innate feel for the game,” another scout said. “But he’s got the body type, the burst, the want-to.” From Washington, D.C. “Best thing he does is come off the edge, but he’s really stiff in space,” said a third scout. “Played linebacker in the Senior Bowl, and I thought he struggled with his movement and instincts all week.”
6. MARCUS SMITH, Louisville (6-3½, 251, 4.68, 2) – Was a high school QB in Columbus, Ga., but was shifted to defense almost immediately. Started 31 games at DE, finishing with 86 tackles (32½ for loss), 24 sacks and 11 big plays. “He will be drafted higher than you think because he has some pass-rush potential,” one scout said. “Might be a pretty good investment. His best production came when he had his hand in the dirt and rushed. I don’t see him as an immediate starter. He doesn’t have the lower-body build to anchor the run. It will take a year to teach him to play.” Played standing up about 70% of the snaps as a senior. “Kind of a hard fit for a 4-3,” said another scout. “He’s got a knack for rushing. Some of it’s inside. He rushes against backs. He’s more athletic than Attaochu.”
7. CHRISTIAN JONES, Florida State (6-3, 239, 4.74, 3) – Said one scout: “No instincts. Looks the part. No instincts.” Started 37 games outside and just two in the middle, but several teams are taking a hard look at him inside. “If you look at him you’d say he’d be a great inside backer,” a second scout said. “You could do it but you’re just not going to get the most out of his ability. Now if you play him as an outside 3-4 guy that rushes a lot, he’d be much more natural. Florida State moved him to a down DE spot and I thought their defense started to play much better.” Finished with 225 tackles (24 for loss), eight sacks and seven big plays. “He’s always been a guy that sits behind that three-technique (DT) and just runs and chases and hits,” said a third scout. “Athletically, he could play inside, but it would take some time for him.” Willie, his father, was drafted in the second round by the Raiders in 1979 and had 10 sacks in ’81. From Winter Park, Fla.
8. ADRIAN HUBBARD, Alabama (6-6, 257, 4.67, 3-4) – Fourth-year junior with 26 starts. “Got all the measurables,” one scout said. “Just stands and watches. He certainly looks the part, but he doesn’t play the part. They tried to drop him some at the Senior Bowl and the guy struggled. Somebody will take him because he has a great frame and good growth potential. I think he’ll play down.” Finished with 83 tackles (18 for loss), 10 sacks and three big plays. “He stinks,” another scout said. “There’s nothing to him. Low motor. No pass rush. Not very strong. Not explosive.” From Lawrenceville, Ga. “Great basketball player in high school,” a third scout said. “Very outspoken type kid. He’s going to speak up and challenge you.”
9. PRINCE SHEMBO, Notre Dame (6-1½, 254, 4.68, 3-4) – Three-year starter at OLB in a 3-4. “Very disciplined in how they played him,” said one scout. “He wasn’t turned loose. He can rush the passer.” Posted 145 tackles (24½ for loss), 19½ sacks and three big plays. “He’s only 6-1 and doesn’t make many plays,” said another scout. “Questionable instincts. He can run. Can’t play off the ball. I don’t know what you do with him. He’s got to be a 3-4 outside guy.” Was removed from one’s team board after he acknowledged at the combine that he was the player linked to an alleged sexual assault of a student who committed suicide 10 days later. He was not charged. “You’re not ever going to get an explanation,” said a third scout. “You’ve got to either trust the kid or dismiss him altogether. He’s a good football player.” From Charlotte, N.C. Wonderlic of 19.
10. KEVIN PIERRE-LOUIS, Boston College (6-0½, 234, 4.50, 4) – Weak-side starter from 2010-’12, strong-side starter in ’13. “He will be a great nickel linebacker,” one scout said. “The guy can really run. He’s tough. Good coverage player. If you can tolerate his size, he has the athletic ability and coverage skills to make up for it.” Wonderlic of 24. Highly emotional person. From Norwalk, Conn. “He’s a run and chase guy,” another scout said. “Good player, just small at the point of attack. Makes plays all over.” Posted 360 tackles (23 for loss), eight sacks and four big plays.
OTHERS: Carl Bradford, Arizona State; James Gayle, Virginia Tech; Howard Jones, Shepherd; Devon Kennard, Southern California; Marquis Flowers, Arizona; Trevor Reilly, Utah; Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas; Derrell Johnson, East Carolina; Jonathan Newsome, Ball State; Michael Sam, Missouri; Tyler Starr, South Dakota.