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2014 POSITION REVIEWS

The OLB's: Van Noy complete package

Thu, Feb 13, 2014

By Phil Savage

Reese’s Senior Bowl Outside or “On-the-Line” Linebackers

Previously, we analyzed the “Inside” or “Box” linebackers, today the “Outside” or “On-the-Line” Linebackers come into focus. These are prospects that will likely play along the LOS as a “Sam” or “Jack” in the 3-4 and then rush the passer as a DE in a Sub package (Nickel or Dime) defense. Here is the breakdown from the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday practices in Mobile. 

1. #3 Kyle Van Noy/BYU          OLB     6032/244      32” Arm/9 1-2” Hand

Kyle was the most complete outside linebacker on the North and South rosters because of his combination of athleticism in space, his ability to stack the run at the point-of-attack and his overall pass rushing skills. He can play on or off the line of scrimmage and appeared equally secure in defending the run or pass. In reality, he is versatile enough to fit the 3-4 or 4-3 systems and play in Sub as a rusher or coverage defender. Kyle should become a starter early on and enjoy a productive NFL career.

1-on-1 PASS COVERAGE:         Wins: 3           Losses: 3

1-on-1 PASS RUSH:                 Wins: 3           Losses: 1

SENIOR BOWL SCOOP: Kyle was chosen as the national Independent Defensive Player of the Year after totaling 70 tackles, 17.5 for loss, 4 sacks and 2 interceptions as a senior.

NFL CAREER FORECAST: Eventual Starter (within two seasons)

2. #7 Christian Jones/Florida State   OLB   6033/234   32 7-8” Arm/9 5-8” Hand

Christian is a fluid athlete that has the developmental skills needed to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 system. He needs to be stouter at the POA and he has a finesse-oriented style as a pass rusher, but he was effective all week as a blitzer. In pass coverage, although the tight ends and running backs made receptions on him, he displayed the kind of body control and balance needed to defend the pass. Christian has the raw tools to play in the NFL, he just needs refinement in terms of his physical approach to the game and in his run/pass keys. He will be an interesting prospect to track over the next few years.

1-on-1 PASS COVERAGE:        Wins: 0           Losses: 5 

1-on-1 PASS RUSH:                Wins: 6           Losses: 1

SENIOR BOWL SCOOP: Christian was chosen 2nd team All-ACC after racking up 56 tackles, 8 for losses and 2 sacks. His father, Willie Jones, played defensive end at FSU and was the MVP of the 1979 Senior Bowl.

NFL CAREER FORECAST: Potential Starter/Contributing Backup

3. #45 Jeremiah Attaochu/Georgia Tech   OLB   6032/252   32 7-8” Arm/9 3-8” Hand

“Jerry” was probably the most physically impressive looking OLB candidate in the game. His background in the 3-4 and 4-3 at GT should help in his transition to the NFL. He has the kind of explosive strength and burst teams are trying to identify, but it must be harnessed and directed within whichever scheme he plays. He has the potential to stack the run and rush the passer, but will need time and patience to clean up his run/pass keys. Jerry will be worked out endlessly this spring as organizations determine his best position for their respective defenses.

1-on-1 PASS COVERAGE:        Wins: 1           Losses: 3

1-on-1 PASS RUSH:                Wins: 1           Losses: 4

SENIOR BOWL SCOOP: This first team All-ACC selection finished his career as the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leader in sacks with 31.5 including 12.5 as a senior in 2013.

NFL CAREER FORECAST: Potential Starter/Contributing Backup

Best of the Rest: 

#93 Trent Murphy/Stanford           OLB  6053/252 33 1-8” Arm/10 7-8” Hand

Trent started 40 consecutive games and recorded 32.5 career sacks for the Cardinal. His best fit for the NFL will be as a 3-4 OLB with the ability to pass rush as a DE in Sub situations. His combination of height/length, run/pass instincts and hustle should serve him well at the next level as a versatile defensive player.

#90 Marcus Smith/Louisville          OLB  6034/258 33 1-4” Arm/9 5-8” Hand

Marcus was the AAC Defensive Player of the Year as a DE for the Cardinals, so his forte is sacking the QB. Athletic enough to play on his feet in coverage, just needs more reps and time to make the conversion to 3-4 OLB.

#55 Michael Sam/Missouri              OLB  6015/260 33 1-4” Arm/9 1-8” Hand

Michael gained experience as an OLB during the practices after exclusively playing as a DE for the Tigers. He is a work-in-progress as a linebacker and will need to show improvement in space/coverage at the Combine, his Pro Day and during individual workouts. His bottom-line “value” on the field as a football player will ultimately determine his draft position and long-term career in the NFL.

#52 Adrian Hubbard/Alabama        OLB  6057/255 33 7-8” Arm/9 1-8” Hand

This 4th year Junior graduate has a rangy build with playtime in a pro-style system at Alabama. Needs better “twitch” and “finish” in his pass rush to garner more attention. Somewhat reminiscent of Van Waiters/Indiana and Browns’ 3rd round pick in 1988.



Phil Savage Phil Savage is the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl. He worked 20 years in the NFL as a coach, scout and executive, including two years as the Director of Player Personnel for the Baltimore Ravens and four years as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns.