clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015 NFL Draft outside linebacker rankings: College ends boost ordinary group

New, comments

Players like Vic Beasley of Clemson, Shane Ray of Missouri and Bud Dupree of Kentucky are the only thing keep the outside linebacker class from being terrible.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Outside linebacker is a position in the 2015 NFL Draft that is only good because of the college defensive ends who are expected to make a position change in the NFL.

In the rankings below six of the top seven players have experience playing end and could even stick there in the NFL. They're listed here becuase they're athletic enough to move to linebacker.

That's especially the case with Vic Beasley of Clemson. He's a speedy quick end who gets off the line of scrimmage with ease. But he can be held up by stronger tackles. As a linebacker he could thrive using the extra space to generate speed or use counter moves. Much of the same can be said for Shane Ray of Missouri and Bud Dupree of Kentucky.

The best "pure" outside linebacker in the draft is Shaq Thompson of Washington. Thompson is a little on the light side, but grades out as a top 20 pick because of his playmaking ability both versus the run and the pass. He's proven he can cover tight ends in space, a valuable asset that many of the other players at the position lack.

1. Vic Beasley | 6'3, 235 pounds | DE/OLB | Clemson
2. Shaq Thompson | 6'1, 228 pounds | OLB | Washington *
3. Shane Ray | 6'3, 245 pounds | DE/OLB | Missouri *
4. Bud Dupree | 6'4, 264 pounds | DE/OLB | Kentucky
5. Dante Fowler | 6'3, 260 pounds | DE/OLB | Florida *
6. Nate Orchard | 6'4, 255 pounds | DE/OLB | Utah
7. Lorenzo Mauldin | 6'4, 252 pounds DE/OLB | Louisville
8. Hau'oli Kikaha | 6'3, 246 pounds | DE/OLB | Washington
9. Jordan Jenkins | 6’3, 252 pounds | OLB | Georgia *
10. Leonard Floyd | 6’4, 230 pounds | OLB | Georgia **
11. Eli Harold | 6'4, 250 pounds | DE/OLB | Virginia *
12. Paul Dawson | 6'2, 230 pounds | OLB | TCU
13. Jake Ryan | 6’3, 236 pounds | OLB | Michigan
14. James Vaughters | 6'2, 258 pounds | OLB | Stanford
15. Eric Striker | 6'0, 221 pounds | OLB | Oklahoma *
16. Zack Hodges | 6'3, 235 pounds | DE/OLB | Harvard
17. Norkeithus Otis | 6'1, 235 pounds | OLB | North Carolina
18. Tony Washington | 6'3, 250 pounds | OLB | Oregon
19. Ishaq Williams | 6'5 1/2, 271 pounds | OLB | Notre Dame
20. Thurston Armbrister | 6'3, 241 pounds | OLB | Miami
21. Gabe Martin | 6'2, 236 pounds | OLB | Bowling Green
22. Geneo Grissom | 6'4, 252 pounds | OLB | Oklahoma
23. Chi Chi Ariguozo | 6'3, 235 pounds | OLB | Northwestern
24. J.R. Tavai | 6'2, 250 pounds | DE/OLB | Southern California