2008 NFL Draft – Inside Linebackers

Penn State linebacker Dan Connor
On Thursday, I examined the outside linebackers that are eligible for the 2008 NFL Draft. Today, I examine the outside linebackers that are expected to be eligible for the draft. Below, you will find the player’s name, school, brief narrative about the player and the team expected to draft him. Here we go:

1. Dan Connor, Penn State
Very athletic; a reliable tackler. Is physical and aggressive. Does very well in coverage. Has sideline-to-sideline range. Has above-average football smarts and instincts. Has a non-stop motor. One of many good linebackers to come from Linebacker U. Downside for Connor – Needs to bulk up (6’3″, 233). Has difficulty taking on blockers head-to-head. A bit rigid and robotic. Some minor character concerns.

Team likely to draft him: New York Giants (1st round)

2. Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech
Excellent athlete. Above average speed (4.50 40). Good quickness with burst. Very good rusher and tackler. Great instincts on the field. Downside for Wheeler – Undersized (6’2″, 230), needs to bulk up. Has trouble shedding blocks. Questionable coverage skills. Needs to improve his hand usage skills.

Team likely to draft him: Green Bay (3rd round)

3. Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma
Very good athlete. A tackling machine. Good quickness despite his 4.75 40 speed. Good coverage skills. Very strong as he has benched 380 lbs. Downside for Lofton – Undersized (6’0″, 238).

Team likely to draft him: New Orleans (3rd round)

4. Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt
Covers lots of ground for his size (6’4″, 235). Has a nose for the ball and a very good tackler. Has a high motor. Good in pass coverage but even better vs. the run. Downside for Goff – Has trouble shedding blocks. Hand technique needs to improve. Can on occasion be pushed around.

Team likely to draft him: New York Jets (3rd round)

5. Jerod Mayo, Tennessee
Covers lots of ground. Is explosive off the ball. Very capable run stopper and is good in pass coverage. Has good instincts. Downside for Mayo – Needs to improve on shedding blockers. Could be better at shutting down running lanes. His speed at the combine will dictate where he is drafted; may be drafted as an outside linebacker.

Team likely to draft him: Jacksonville (3rd round)

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