2014 GZL Draft - Position by Position OLB Ranks
90-100 - Elite Prospect
80-89 – Very Good Prospect
70-79 – Good Prospect
60-69 - Average Prospect
50-59 - Adequate Prospect
21-49 - Borderline Draft Prospect
A series of draft articles written by draft analyst John Stanley. They rank the top players at each position in the draft and provide some analysis on each of those players. The rankings aren’t merely a reflection of my own rankings, but also take into account league value and perception on all of the players which may influence the ranking of certain players.
OLB Snapshot: This year’s OLB class features some real stars with guys like Jarvis Jones, Casey Carter, and Arthur Brown. Beyond the stars though, it also has a number of high-quality players who can be starters for every team. There are some athletic, rangy players, as well as some bigger, stouter players. There is also is great depth, and much like the MLB class, you can find any number of good players to start or have as backups late in the draft.
1. Jarvis Jones - Georgia :: Grade - 96 :: Jarvis Jones is about as good as it gets at the LB position. He is also as good as it gets in this entire draft class. He could arguably be called the most talented player in the draft. He has adequate size for the position, but makes up for it with unbelievable athleticism and strength, and on top of that is already as polished as they come. The closest comparison to Jones is probably Von Miller of a few drafts ago, and Miller went Top 5, which is probably where Jones will end up going in this draft.
2. Casey Carter - Missouri :: Grade - 91 :: I am not sure if Casey Carter will get the credit he deserves from most of the GMs in the league, but he is a top flight LB in his own right and if not for Jones would be damn good #1 LB in a draft. He has everything you look for in a LB, size, athleticism, strength and polish. In my opinion, Carter should be a top 10 pick in the draft in addition to Jones but I am not sure he will end up there. In fact, most mock drafts haven’t had him inside the top 20 picks. Maybe, I am letting the best kept secret of the draft out of the bag and screwing myself out of a steal, but so be it. Carter is good.
3. Arthur Brown – Kansas State :: Grade - 88 :: The third of the top OLB in this class, Brown is different from the other two in that he doesn’t quite have the great size and strength, but he makes up for it with his athleticism. He is similar to a player like Gary Guyton of TB, or Quincy Black of SD. Both of those players are very productive, and Brown will be as well. He should be a starter from day one, and a very productive one at that. Should be a first round pick, but we’ll see how things shake out. Would be a shame if he wasn’t.
4. Sean Porter – Texas A&M :: Grade - 82 :: Porter leads the group of the next tier players after the top 3 at OLB, but the next 4-5 players on this list are really close and can be interchangeable depending on what scheme you run and what you like to see in your LB. Porter is a very athletic LB who is actually pretty similar to Brown above him, but lacks the polish of Brown which is the main reason for the difference in grades and rank.
5. Kenny Tate - Maryland :: Grade - 81 :: Tate is a really intriguing player. He is really raw and needs a good deal of development, but makes it here mainly on potential. He has great size at 6’4” 230lbs, to go along with great athleticism. He is a little weak for a LB, but he makes up for that with his range and athleticism. He could be a great pass rusher, and great in coverage as well as a former safety. Could be a real stud for someone willing to put in a little legwork.
6. Tavon Fields - Purdue :: Grade - 80 :: Fields is a really solid all-around LB. He has solid athleticism, size, and strength. He needs a little bit of polish in AWR and TKL, but once he gets up to speed will be a real force at OLB. Even without that polish, he can still start from day one, in my opinion, and be very effective. Should be a good 2nd-3rd round pick for someone.
7. Khaseem Greene - Rutgers :: Grade - 80 :: Pretty much everything that was just said about Fields could be said about Greene, they are essentially mirror images of each other. Greene is an athletic player with a little more polish then Fields but a tad less AGI and STR which is where I made the distinction in this case. Greene was a very productive player at Rutgers and should be just as productive in the GZL.
8. Jelani Jenkins - Florida :: Grade - 77 :: Jenkins is probably the lead player of the 3rd tier of LB, after a little drop-off from the second group. This group has a few more deficiencies then the LBs rated ahead of them. Jenkins size (6’0”) will likely cause him to slide a little. His strength at 67 is also a little suspect, and could use some polish in AWR. Aside from that, he provides great upside with his athleticism, and should make for a nice mid-round pick for someone, in a deep OLB class.
9. Sio Moore - Connecticut :: Grade - 76 :: Moore was a very good player for Connecticut throughout his entire career there. Moore is similar to Jenkins above him, but sacrifices a little athleticism for more polished AWR right off the bat. Like Jenkins though, Moore will make a nice mid round pick for a team, and could even start from day one.
10. Trevardo Williams - Connecticut :: Grade - 76 :: Williams is also similar to Jenkins and Moore above him. He sacrifices a little of Jenkins’ athleticism, but possesses much of the same polish that Moore has. He was a teammate of Moore at UConn, forming quite the Big East LB duo with current GZL players Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus.