I'm a big fan of how hard Wesley Woodyard plays and I believe he is an excellent leader but I also think it's time to think about an upgrade. With Woodyard's apparent recent demotion and the rather troubling sight of Paris Lenon actually out on the field I think inside linebacker moves pretty close to the top of our list of draft needs. This year's draft has a decent crop of guys who could fit the bill.
C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama - 6’1" 232lbs 4.56 sec 40 time
-Mosley is the cream of the crop this year when it comes to inside linebackers; he’s lightning fast, a great tackler, but comes from all-star college defense which might mask some deficiencies. I love Mosley as a prospect but I wouldn’t trade up for him in the first round because inside linebacker is not as valuable of a position anymore.
Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford - 6’2" 242lbs 4.79 sec 40 time
-Skov is a smart football player, a big hitter, a great tackler, but lacks impressive speed. Considered the emotional leader of Stanford’s defense but suffered a season ending ACL injury in 2011. I like Skov as a prospect but I’m not sure he would be an upgrade over Wesley Woodyard, I wouldn’t take him unless we traded down into the early third round.
Christian Jones, ILB, Florida State - 6’3" 232lbs 4.74 sec 40 time
-If you’ve looked at any of my Bronco mock drafts this year you know Jones is the guy I want in orange and blue next year; he’s a great tackler and probably the best pass defender in this group despite a slow 40 time. I see Jones as the biggest potential upgrade over Wesley Woodyard, I wouldn’t hesitate to draft him in the late second round.
A.J. Johnson, ILB, Tennessee - 6’1" 245lbs 4.62 sec 40 time
-Bronco fans who loved Joe Mays would also love Johnson; big hitter, great run defender, lackluster in pass coverage. Johnson started the year as a first round prospect but his stock has dropped significantly as some weaknesses have been exposed.
Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UConn - 6’2" 244lbs 4.68 sec 40 time
-Very similar to A.J. Johnson but even weaker in pass coverage. I know there are a lot of Bronco fans out there who love this kid because of his highlight reel hits but I want somebody who can cover NFL tight ends.
Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin - 5’11" 242lbs 4.65 sec 40 time
-Borland has come out of nowhere moving up draft boards because of stellar production and surprising pass coverage skills. The big knock on Borland is his lack of size and relatively short arms but I’m not a fan of judging players like cattle so I’d consider taking him with a late third round pick.
Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State - 6’2" 252lbs 4.74 sec 40 time
-Bullough is an impressive player when you watch him in games but I’m not sure he’s got the speed to cover NFL tight ends. Out of the bigger but slightly slower prospects I like Bullough the most.
Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky - 6’0" 262lbs 4.84 sec 40 time
-Great college player who stood out at a small school but too big and too slow for my taste. If we like Wesley Woodyard as a starter but want to replace Paris Lenon (Please God) then Jackson would be a nice fourth or fifth round value pick.
There you have it fellas. Tell me who you like and why.