Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky:
Jackson (6-1, 258) recorded 95 tackles as
a senior, a big total that paled in comparison to his previous seasons. He had 122
tackles, 17.5 tackles for losses and four forced fumbles as a junior and 109
tackles and 17 tackles for losses as a sophomore. He was suspended this season for
a violation of team rules.
Christian Jones, Florida State: Jones (6-4, 234) was a three-year starter.
As a senior he moved to strong-side linebacker midway through the season. He
finished the year with 56 tackles, two sacks and eight tackles for losses to earn
second-team all-ACC. Jones' father played at Florida State for Bobby Bowden.
Willie Jones was drafted by Oakland in the second round in 1979.
Devon Kennard, Southern California: Kennard (6-3, 257) was a finalist for
the Lott Impact Trophy after a season of 60 tackles, nine sacks, 13.5 tackles for
losses. He missed all of 2012 after tearing a chest muscle before the season
started, an injury that required surgery. He played middle linebacker and
defensive end in 2011, and he started eight games at middle linebacker in 2010.
He's an honors
student who has overcome challenges along the way.
Chris Kirksey, Iowa: Kirksey (6-2, 234) was third on the team with 104
tckles and added 2.5 sacks, five tackles for losses and two forced fumbles. As a
junior, he was second in the nation with four fumble recoveries and had two pick-
sixes. The three-year starter had 291 tackles during those seasons. Rather than quit school to concentrate on his pre-Combine
training, he stayed in school. "The degree's important," he said.
Boseko Lokombo, Oregon: Lokombo (6-3, 229) totaled 63 tackles, three sacks
and seven tackles for losses as a senior. He was born in the Congo, moved to
Montreal in 1996 and spent his final two years of high school in Eugene, Ore. He
had a pet monkey when living in Congo.
When he landed in Monreal that first time, he had never seen snow.
"I had never seen snow before, I had no idea what was happening. I was amazed, I
was fascinated. And I remember an hour or two later I couldn't feel anything. I
was frozen. Just seeing snow for the first time was big for me. That memory comes
back a lot."
Khalil Mack, Buffalo: Mack (6-3, 248) was the 2013 Mid-American Conference
Defensive Player of the Year as well as the Jack Lambert Award winner. He came in
second in the voting for Butkus Award. He led the conference in sacks with 10.5
and tackles for loss with 19 to go along with a team-best 100 tackles. He also led
the Bulls with three interceptions and five forced fumbles. He broke the NCAA
record for career forced fumbles with 16 and tied the NCAA mark with 75 career
tackles for loss. Mack introduced himself to the nation
dring this year's season-opening game against Ohio State, in which Mack had
nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pick-six. He's found motivation in being called
"soft" and "just another guy." He's definitely not "just another guy" after not
playing football until his senior season of high school.
James Morris, Iowa: Morris was the third of the Hawkeyes' 100-tackle
linebackers, finishing second with 106 stops. He led the team with seven sacks, 17
tackles for losses and four interceptions, and added two forced fumbles. He was
second-team allBig Ten, an Academic All-American and a National Football
Foundation Scholar-Athlete. At Solon (Iowa) High School, he was the two-time
Gatorade State Player of the Year as a star running back and linebacker.
C.J. Mosley, Alabama: Mosley (6-2, 238) enters the draft as one of the top
prospects at his inside linebacker position. Mosley had a prolific career with the
Crimson Tide, and was the leader of Nick Saban's defense each of the last two
seasons. He was first-team All-SEC his junior and senior year. In his senior
season, he registered double-digit tackles four times. Just before Mosley's final
game at Alabama, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jay Norvell likened him to future
Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. Norvell said, "When we played Ray Lewis when I was in
National Football League, I was just amazed where he always seemed to be in the
right position all the time. That's the way Mosley is."
Trent Murphy, Stanford: Murphy (6-6, 261) was a consensus All-American in
his final season at Stanford, where he recorded an eye-popping 15 sacks and one
interception returned for a touchdown. When Stanford head coach David Shaw was
asked to name his nastiest player
by si.com's Stewart Mandel, he answered without hesitation. "Trent is in his own
category, there really is no off switch, it's just always on." Murphy's toughness
comes from the lessons he was taught by his father. His father said, "I teach my
kids to take care of themselves."
Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College: Pierre-Louis (6-1, 225) was the
strong-side linebacker for Boston College and a member of the first-team all-ACC.
He finished the season with six sacks and one interception, which he returned for
a touchdown. Pierre-Louis was a versatile player that caught the eye of his
coaches during his time at BC. His coach Steve Addazio told the Boston Globe about
switch to the strong side , "He's a versatile guy who can do a lot of
different things in different packages. It's a great showcase for a guy like
Ronald Powell, Florida: Early entrant. Powell (6-4, 240) is coming off a
season in which he played for the first time in over a year and a half. Early in
2012 he suffered a torn ACL in Florida's spring game. He started eight of the 11
games he played in, and recorded four sacks. Powell has run into some trouble at
Florida. In his final game with the team, he was caught spitting in the direction
of Florida State offensive lineman Cam Erving. Before he came to Florida, Powell
was seen as the No. 1 recruit in the country. He participated in the 2012 U.S.
Army All-American Bowl and was nominated for U.S. Army player of the year.
Trevor Reilly, Utah: Reilly (6-5, 256) is a pass rusher that can fit as a
defensive end or outside linebacker depending on the scheme. He played both
schemes during his time in Utah. He finished his senior season with 8.5 sacks and
recorded an interception in the team's final game against Colorado. Reilly has an
1-year-old daughter who is battling breast cancer. Early in 2013, doctors removed
a tumor from Shayn Reilly's kidney, and now Reilly and his wife take their daughter to chemotherapy sessions.
Alabama's C.J. Mosley (inside), Buffalo's Kahlil Mack (outside) and Stanford's Trent Murphy (outside) are two of the top prospects in this year's class of linebackers.
Alabama's Mosley (inside), Buffalo's Mack (outside) and Stanford's Murphy (outside) are top LBs