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2014 NFL Draft outside linebacker rankings

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The gap between Anthony Barr of UCLA and Khalil Mack of Buffalo is narrowing. Don't be surprised if by the time the 2014 NFL Draft starts in May several teams have Mack rated as the higher player.

Of the two, Barr is the better pure athlete. He can close on the play and change direction faster. Mack is the more complete player. He can stack and shed against the run, smoothly drop into coverage and his pass rush skills are obvious. The debate about these two is coming to come down to potential versus immediacy.

Trent Murphy of Stanford has vaulted himself into the first-round discussion. Some teams will like him as a linebacker while others will consider him a defensive end. The best pure 4-3 outside linebacker is Ohio State's Ryan Shazier. He's the classic sideline-to-sideline linebacker with instincts.

Depending on whether or not Shazier and other underclassmen go pro will determine the depth of the class. As it stands, it's conceivable the first 10 players ranked should be top 100 picks.

1. Anthony Barr | 6'4, 248 pounds | Outside Linebacker | UCLA
2. Khalil Mack | 6'3, 244 pounds | Outside linebacker | Buffalo
3. Trent Murphy | 6'6, 261 pounds | Outside linebacker | Stanford
4. Ryan Shazier | 6'2, 222 pounds | Outside linebacker | Ohio State *
5. Christian Jones | 6'4, 232 pounds | Outside linebacker | Florida State
6. Dee Ford | 6'2, 238 pounds | Outside linebacker | Auburn
7. Jeremiah Attaochu | 6'3, 240 pounds | Outside linebacker | Georgia Tech
8. Kyle Van Noy | 6'3, 235 pounds | Outside linebacker | BYU
9. Denzel Perryman | 6'0, 240 pounds | Outside linebacker | Miami *
10. Devon Kennard | 6'3, 260 pounds | Outside linebacker | Southern California
11. Telvin Smith | 6'3, 218 pounds | Outside linebacker | Florida State
12. Morgan Breslin | 6'2, 250 pounds | Outside linebacker | Southern California
13. Adrian Hubbard | 6'5, 260 pounds | Outside linebacker | Alabama
14. Ronald Powell | 6'4, 244 pounds | Outside linebacker | Florida *
15. Carl Bradford | 6'1, 243 pounds | Outside linebacker | Arizona State
16. Denicos Allen | 5'11, 215 pounds | Outside linebacker | Michigan State
17. Jonathan Brown | 6'1, 235 pounds | Outside linebacker | Illinois
18. Shaquil Barrett | 6'2, 250 pounds | Outside linebacker | Colorado State
19. Derrell Johnson | 6'2, 264 pounds | Outside linebacker | East Carolina
20. Prince Shembo | 6'1, 258 pounds | Outside linebacker | Notre Dame
21. Jeff Luc | 6'1, 248 pounds | Outside linebacker | Cincinnati *
22. Boseko Lokombo | 6'3, 229 pounds | Outside linebacker | Oregon
23. Anthony Hitchens | 6'1, 233 pounds | Outside linebacker | Iowa
24. Gabe Martin | 6'1, 224 pounds | Outside linebacker | Bowling Green *