Chiefs

Rating the top outside linebackers in the 2016 NFL Draft

Ohio State’s Joey Bosa is at the top of the draft class among outside linebackers.
Ohio State’s Joey Bosa is at the top of the draft class among outside linebackers. The Associated Press

Included in measurables are height, weight, age they turn this year (if available) and 40-yard-dash time. Players are listed at the position they are projected to play in the 3-4 scheme the Chiefs run.

1. JOEY BOSA, Ohio State

Measurables: 6-5, 269, 21, 4.86

Bio: Three-year starter who had 51 tackles (16 for loss), five sacks and 14 hurries in 12 games in 2015. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Is young for this draft class. Forty-yard dash (4.86) and vertical jump (32 inches) were only adequate. Isn’t a twitchy, elite athlete but posted good marks in the broad jump (120 inches), three-cone (6.89) and 20-yard shuttle (4.21), so he has some explosiveness. Experienced and productive. Understands how to play the game, plays with good technique. Plays with body control and can reduce to a three-technique and rush on passing downs. Isn’t explosive off the snap but has a knack for pass rushing and has a closing burst to the quarterback. Strong enough to set the edge. Has some pop in his hands. Consistently plays hard and is disruptive. Disciplined run defender; plays with good awareness. Spent his career with his hand in the dirt but is a true football player; can line up in any system and be productive. Can also play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. Is on the ground a little more than you’d think. Likes to jump the snap.

Grade: 7.0

2. LEONARD FLOYD, Georgia

Measurables: 6-6, 244, 24, 4.60

Bio: Three-year starter who had 74 tackles (10  1/2 for loss), 4  1/2 sacks and 15 hurries in 13 games in 2015. Also had zero interceptions and three pass breakups. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Super athlete who was among his position’s top testers in the 40, vertical (39  1/2 inches) and broad jump (127 inches). Terrific length, but lacks bulk. Great initial burst off the edge. Has ability to bend around the edge. Is comfortable rushing from a two-point stance. Is a good enough athlete to line up in space against some tight ends. Athletic enough to turn and run with tight ends. Even lines up at inside linebacker on occasion. Has some pop in his hands but can be overpowered at the point of attack; needs to bulk up some and improve his play strength. Has an attitude; plays to the end of the whistle.

Grade: 7.0

3. SHAQ LAWSON, Clemson

Measurables: 6-3, 269, 22, 4.70

Bio: One-year starter who had 60 tackles (25  1/2 for loss), 12  1/2 sacks and five hurries in 15 games in 2015. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL combine. Posted great times in the 40-yard dash (4.70) and 20-yard shuttle (4.21). Has good athletic ability and NFL size. Faced left tackles every week. Is a bit stiff in the hips but is light on his feet. Strong enough to anchor at the point of attack vs. the run. Plays very hard — is an all-day sucker — and has good hands. Doesn’t have great size or get off. Can stack and shed and stop the run. Showed toughness by trying to play through injury against Alabama in 2016 National Championship Game. Reportedly has good football character. Has experienced lining up in a two-point stance. Only started for one year in college but was a productive backup as a freshman and sophomore and was very productive in 2015. Needs to improve his in-game conditioning.

Grade: 7.0

4. EMMANUEL OGBAH, Oklahoma State

Measurables: 6-4, 273, 23, 4.63

Bio: Two-year starter who had 64 tackles (17  1/2 for loss), 13 sacks and 19 hurries in 13 games in 2015. Also had zero interceptions and four pass deflections. Declared after redshirt junior season.

Consensus: Great athlete; posted a good 40-time, vertical (35  1/2 inches) and broad jump (121 inches). Also has excellent length (35  1/2 -inch arms). Really looks the part; strong base, great size. Was super-productive in college. Has very good play strength; can hold his own at the point of attack. Gives good effort. Has shown the ability to reduce down and rush from a three-technique. Mainly rushed from a three-point stance. Really flashes a good burst when he lets it loose upfield. Might be able to play defensive end or outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme — he might be a tad too stiff for that — but 4-3 teams, especially, should love him for his upfield burst and projectable size and athleticism.

Grade: 7.0

5. NOAH SPENCE, Eastern Kentucky

Measurables: 6-2, 251, 22, 4.80

Bio: Two-year starter who had 63 tackles (22  1/2 for loss), 11  1/2 sacks and 15 hurries in 11 games in 2015. Had some off-field issues; was dismissed from Ohio State for failing two drug tests.

Consensus: Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL combine. Posted an impressive 121-inch broad jump. Strong, compact frame but doesn’t have great overall size. Has some burst off the edge. Has some burst off the ball. Flashes the ability to bend the corner, but needs to be more consistent. Hustles in pursuit. Can be overpowered by bigger tackles. Spent most of his time rushing in a three-point stance. Shows a spin move but needs to keep refining his pass-rush repertoire. Probably is a first-round talent but teams will dig into his character because of his dismissal from Ohio State.

Grade: 6.8

6. SHILIQUE CALHOUN, Michigan State

Measurables: 6-4, 251, 24, 4.82

Bio: Three-year starter who had 49 tackles (15 for loss), 10  1/2 sacks and 18 hurries in 14 games in 2015. Also had zero interceptions and three pass deflections.

Consensus: Is old for a prospect. Good athlete. Among top testers at his position in the vertical (35 inches), three-cone (6.97) and 20-yard shuttle (4.25). Good combination of size and athleticism. Flashes an effective club-rip move, along with a bull rush and spin. Has a fairly diverse pass-rush arsenal. Has some juice off the snap out of a three-point stance, and a real closing burst. Get stuck on blocks too long vs. the run and needs to add strength but gives good effort and has the frame and potential to consistently set the edge. Motor runs a bit hard and cold. Has the skill-set to potentially sneak into the first round. Reportedly has very good football character.

Grade: 6.8

7. KAMALEI CORREA, Boise State

Measurables: 6-3, 243, 4.69

Bio: Two-year starter who had 39 tackles (11 for loss), seven sacks and three hurries in 13 games in 2015. Declared for the draft after his true junior season.

Consensus: Posted a very good 40-yard dash time but isn’t a twitchy athlete. “Cowboy” who plays with tremendous intensity. One-speed rusher with a nice closing burst and decent get-off. Has experience in two-point and three-point stances. Also has some experience dropping into zone coverages; shows decent feet and awareness. Tries to incorporate different pass-rush moves, including a spin, but needs to refine them. Occasionally has trouble disengaging against the run.

Grade: 6.8

8. JORDAN JENKINS, Georgia

Measurables: 6-3, 259, 22, 4.80

Bio: Four-year starter who had 59 tackles (10  1/2 for loss), 4  1/2 sacks and 12 hurries in 12 games in 2015.

Consensus: Posted a good vertical jump (36  1/2 inches). Flashes exceptional burst off the snap, and fires out low. Has good play strength; has enough power to lock out and set the edge. Has rushed out of two- and three-point stances. Has some real pop in his hands. Regular showed toughness by matching up inside against bigger offensive tackles. Does a nice job finding the football. Showed toughness by playing through a groin/hip flexor injury as a senior. Knows how to play the position. Only has 19  1/2 career sacks in four years, so overall lack of sack production from an edge-rush position is a bit of a concern.

Grade: 6.7

9. KYLER FACKRELL, Utah State

Measurables: 6-5, 245, 25, 4.72

Bio: Four-year starter who had 82 tackles (15 for loss), four sacks and 12 hurries in 13 games in 2015.

Consensus: Is old for a prospect. Very good length. Is not twitchy; a one-speed pass-rusher who plays with great effort. Has lots of experience lining up in a two-point stance and playing in space. Can cover some ground in zone coverage. Tries to get his hands up in passing lanes. Shows an effective spin move. Will need to prove he can bend the corner against NFL tackles. Needs to get stronger to set the edge at the NFL level, but has the frame to do it. Still honing his eyes. Overcame a season-ending knee injury in 2014. Only has 12 career sacks in four years.

Grade: 6.6

10. DADI NICOLAS, Virginia Tech

Measurables: 6-3, 235, 24, 4.74

Bio: Two-year starter who had 45 tackles (seven for loss), 2  1/2 sacks and five hurries in 13 games in 2015. Also had zero interceptions and two pass deflections.

Consensus: Had a formal interview with the Chiefs at the NFL combine. Posted a great vertical (41 inches) at the combine. Has long arms (34  3/4 inches) and big hands (10  3/8 inches) for his size. Quick, twitchy athlete with really good range. Has excellent burst off the snap and a closing burst, too. Was miscast as an interior lineman in 2015, but held up better than most men his size would. Showed toughness by playing through hand injuries as a senior. Was much more productive in 2014, when he earned more snaps on the outside and finished with 72 tackles (18  1/2 for loss) and nine sacks. Still, he only had 17  1/2 sacks in four years. Really needs to build up his core strength; can be controlled at the line of scrimmage if he doesn’t win with initial quickness.

Grade: 6.6

OTHERS TO WATCH: James Cowser, Southern Utah; Jason Fanaika, Utah; Matt Judon, Grand Valley State; Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland; Joe Schobert, Wisconsin.

GRADING SCALE

7.5-7.1: Top 10 pick

7.0: 11-20

6.9: 21-32

6.8: Top half of the second

6.7: Bottom half of the second

6.6: Top half of the third

6.5: Bottom half of the third

6.4: Fourth round pick

6.3: Fifth-round pick

6.2: Sixth-round pick

6.1: Seventh-round pick

6.0: Priority free agent

5.9: Non-prospect

NOTE: All rankings are based on a combination of extensive personal film study, interviews conducted with draft analysts and information gleaned from NFL Network draft broadcasts. Evaluations are cross-checked with multiple draft resources. Measurements and testing results are from the combine and pro days, according to NFL.com. Grades are assigned based on where each player could be drafted.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments