Mel Kiper continued his NFL Draft 2015 preliminary prospect rankings and unveiled his ranking for the top players at outside linebacker on Friday evening. Kiper has previously released his rankings for the top prospects at defensive end, defensive tackle, inside linebacker, cornerback and safety earlier this week, so now the entire defensive rankings are complete.
The top senior prospect is Clemson’s Vic Beasley who bypassed the 2014 draft where he likely would have been a mid-late first round selection. The former college running back is an excellent pass rusher and would be an ideal fit in a 3-4 front where he can get after the quarterback from a two-point stance.
Coming in at No. 2 is Miami’s Denzel Perryman who is a true 4-3 OLB who could even play inside linebacker in a pinch because of the physicality and downhill nature he brings to the gridiron. He can be a three-down linebacker in the NFL because he can get deep and in the flats to cover backs and tight ends in the passing game.
Ariguzo is a complete linebacker for the Wildcats who can stuff the run and defend the pass, Washington led the Ducks in tackles for loss and sacks last season and projects as a 3-4 OLB and Vaughters is a player who brings a lot to the position and the ability to play inside.
The top junior on Kiper’s list is a real name to watch this college football season as Kyler Fackrell from the Utah State Aggies is unlikely a name that pops up in conversations when discussing the top players at his position, but he should pile up huge numbers this season and emerge as a top draft prospect.
Coming in at No. 2 is a former top recruit as Shaq Thompson has played all over the field for Washington but his pro position likely will be as an edge rusher. He could have a breakout season this year as he can focus on one position.
Another former top recruit comes in at No. 3 as Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence brings a speed element to his pass rush repertoire. He had a breakout sophomroe season but begins this season on the sidelines as he completes a suspension. If he can bulk up a bit and get stronger in his lower half and hold up in the run game, he could be a top-15 pick.
Jordan Jenkins had high expectations at Georgia where he took over for Jarvis Jones and led the team with 12 tackles for loss, but you get the sense that there is more to come from him and he could be in store for a monster season for the Bulldogs.
This trio of linebackers bring a great deal of quickness to the position and should make a number of plays all over the field this year for their respective teams and build their case for the upcoming draft if they decide to leave school early.
Who do you think will be the first outside linebacker taken in the 2015 NFL Draft?
Kiper completed his offensive rankings earlier on Friday with the offensive lineman and you can see his top prospects at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, offensive tackle, offensive guard and center.