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My glance around the 2015 NFL Draft continues with a glimpse into the heart and soul of defenses everywhere aka the linebackers.  Unlike the offensive skill players, some defenders rise and fall benardrickmdepending on the scheme that they play in.  Their athletic skill is important, but so is the role they will get featured in. Here are my thoughts:

1) Eric Kendricks, Minnesota

Although he is a little short for an inside backer, Kendricks is ultra-athletic and will get to play along his college linebacker.  It looks like he will play MLB and should be able to flow freely to the ball carrier.

2)  Stephone Anthony, New Orleans

Here is another very athletic linebacker who struggled at times against the pass.  He is an excellent tackler and is great against the run.  The competition is quite light for his job, so I expect growing pains in Louisiana, but plenty of opportunity until he masters the spot.

3) Benardrick McKinney, Houston

This two down thumper and excellent pass rusher struggles when covering receivers/backs.  This might limit his snaps initially.  The Texans go through inside linebackers like Spinal Tap went through drummers, so he will get a chance this season. I believe that his relentlessness and physicality will make a fan out the Houston defensive staff.

4) Denzel Perryman, San Diego

The Chargers experiment with Manti Te’o seems to have run its course.  Perrryman moves well side to side while seeing the entire field.  It might take him half the season to wrestle the job away from Te’o, but then he should hold onto it for the next eight to ten years. Don’t worry about his timed speed, Perryman is a gamer.

5) Jake Ryan, Green Bay

The Michigan product is a hard-nosed defender that will add some toughness to the Packer linebacker corps.  He is versatile enough to play any linebacker spot and should see time right away.

6) Shaq Thompson, Carolina

This rookie got drafted into a team that is already flush with inside linebacker talent.  He might play a third backer role on passing downs, because he is so impressive against the pass.  Thompson played on both sides of the ball using his amazing athleticism and will have a significant role created for him early on.

7) Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Pittsburgh

Dupree is a raw, athletic disruptor.  It might take time for him to adjust into the Steelers complicated defense, but once that conversion occurs, havoc will ensue.

8) Shane Ray, Denver

The Broncos traded up to take a chance on this pass rusher despite his legal issues.  His value is much greater in sack happy formats, and might get some huge opportunities if Peyton Manning and the rest of the Broncos offense rebound.

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