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NFL Draft 2013: Highlighting Best Linebackers Available

ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 17: Jarvis Jones #29 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates after the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Sanford Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2013

NFL fans love linebackers, and it's understandable why. These are the defensive beasts who come flying out of nowhere to unleash bone-crunching hits on opposing offensive players to the delight of fans, and this year's draft class has some men at the position who could dominate in the league for years to come.

One name that stands out in particular is that of former Georgia Bulldog Jarvis Jones, who can simply do it all on the field. He can rush passers, chase down backs and receivers, and just looks like an absolute monster when in full gear.

His teammate, Alec Ogletree, is no exception. Sure, his off-field issues are a cause for concern, but the fact remains that the man can still play. When push comes to shove, teams may look at that more than his personal life.

The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of teams that need help at linebacker in this year's draft. When their turn comes, their respective GMs would be wise to consider only the best men available at the position.

 

Alec Ogletree, Georgia

On numbers alone, Ogletree is a great player. He had 112 tackles and three sacks in his junior season with the Bulldogs, and has solid size for the position at 6'3", 237 pounds.

However, Ogletree comes with some off-field issues that need to be addressed. In 2010, back when he was playing safety, he was arrested for misdemeanor theft.

Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, with the NFL Scouting Combine just days away, and Ogletree was arrested for DUI. He was also suspended for four games earlier this season for what was reported as a violation of the team's substance abuse policy, so the concerns surrounding him are legitimate.

However, unless new evidence causes more concern surrounding him right before draft day, the fact remains that Ogletree can play when his head is in the game. He is a ferocious tackler with incredible strength, and teams should definitely consider him in spite of his off-field issues.

 

Jarvis Jones, Georgia

Jones is good on numbers alone, but there is one giant red flag that could hurt him on draft day. He has spinal stenosis, a condition that causes a narrowing of the spinal cord and could scare some NFL scouts away.

Just the same, Jones proved this past season that he can play hard regularly in spite of his medical issue. He had 86 tackles and an astounding 14.5 sacks his junior season, plus an interception and seven forced fumbles. At 6'2", 242 pounds, his explosiveness speaks for itself.

It's still unclear at just which position Jones will be drafted, but one thing is certain: When this man is healthy, he can play.

 

Dion Jordan, Oregon

Though he was a defensive end in college, Jordan is being scouted as an outside linebacker, and it's understandable why. The man has incredible size at 6'6", 248 pounds, and showed his speed with a 4.60 40-yard dash at this year's combine.

The man also had 44 tackles and five sacks in his senior year with the Ducks, showing a solid first step and tremendous athleticism.

It certainly helps Jordan that he can play two positions if called upon, but his overall skill set makes him a prime fit for a 3-4 scheme. Thus, teams that employ that type of defense are sure to be the ones that make the strongest play for him.

Regardless of where he goes, however, it's clear that Jordan is a special type of player. Whichever team lands him is going to have itself an excellent addition that makes the defense even stronger.

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