This year’s linebacker’s class really has no standout among the pack. Most of the higher profile guys seem to be 3-4 outside linebackers that fill the mold of a Clay Matthews. Nothing wrong with being compared to Clay, but the Lions are in need of 4-3 outside linebackers who are better at run support and pass coverage. Let’s look at who possibly could fill one of the 2 spots the Lions need to fill this offseason.
Von Miller – Texas A&M – 6’2” 237 lbs. Projected 40 yard dash time – 4.56 seconds. Is an elite pass rusher. Has to be drafted by a 3-4 defensive team. Not an every down linebacker. Had 27.5 sacks over the last 2 years in college. Elite first step. He will be a top 10-15 pick, but the Lions will not be drafting this guy.
Justin Houston – Georgia – 6’3” 260 lbs. Projected 40 yard dash time – 4.65 seconds. Had 10 sacks and 44 quarterback hurries this past season for the Bulldogs. Another prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker that excels at rushing the passer exclusively. Could possibly bulk up to be a defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Very strong and a workout warrior. A liability in coverage. Will be there for the Lions at # 13 but there is zero chance they will draft him.
Akeem Ayers – UCLA – 6’4” 255 lbs. Projected 40 yard dash time – 4.66 seconds. Has good playmaking ability, 2 INT’s, 2 FF, 4 Sacks, and 10 TFL this past season. Captain this past year, has leadership skills. Has some trouble shedding blocks, but with the Lions D Line should not be too big of an issue. Has room to bulk up, needs to be stronger. Over pursues at times. Starting to sound like Ernie Sims to me. He is the best 4-3 linebacker if the Lions are picking a LB in the 1st round. I just don’t feel like he is a safe pick, too inconsistent…. At times lights up the stadium then he disappears for a few drives. Will be there for the Lions at # 13 but I believe there will be better players available for them to take.