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2015 NFL Draft player rankings: Eric Kendricks tops the list of inside linebackers

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Few players are as complete at their positions as UCLA's Eric Kendricks. Because of that, he's the top inside linebacker in the draft this year.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It's something of a misnomer that inside linebacker is an undervalued position in the NFL Draft. Since 2012, at least two inside linebackers have been taken in the top 50 picks of the draft. That could happen again this year.

The most likely first-round pick at the position is UCLA's Eric Kendricks. He's a complete linebacker who plays with a lot of range and has good instincts. What sets him apart from the other inside linebackers this year is his coverage ability. He can stick with tight ends in man coverage and has good enough aptitude to play zone. The biggest negative about Kendricks is his size – he's just over 6'0 – but it doesn't bother him.

"Measurables are one thing," Kendricks said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "But you can’t measure explosion and you can’t measure certain other things that people bring to the table like natural instinct and getting to the ball."

Paul Dawson of TCU had a bad combine. He didn't test well and was peppered with questions about his character. But on the field, he's the real deal. Dawson moves around fluidly and is just a notch below Kendricks in coverage. The Horned Frog is a solid blitzer and can close in a hurry against the run.

Perhaps the best run-stopping linebacker in this year's draft is Miami's Denzel Perryman. He's a thumper who closes on the ball and rarely misses a tackle.

1 Eric Kendricks, 6'0, 230 pounds, ILB, UCLA
2. Paul Dawson, 6'2, 230 pounds, ILB, TCU
3. Denzel Perryman, 5'10 5/8, 242 pounds, ILB, Miami
4. Benardrick McKinney, 6'5, 249 pounds, ILB, Mississippi State
5. Hayes Pullard, 6'0 1/4, 236 pounds, ILB, Southern California
6. Stephone Anthony, 6'2 3/8, 245 pounds, ILB, Clemson
7. Ben Heeney, 6’0 1/4, 231 pounds, ILB, Kansas
8. Ramik Wilson, 6’1 3/4, 237 pounds, ILB, Georgia
9. Amarlo Herrera, 6’0 5/8, 244 pounds, ILB, Georgia
10. Jeff Luc, 5'11 3/4, 263 pounds, ILB, Cincinnati
11. Bryce Hager, 6’0 3/4, 234 pounds, ILB, Baylor
12. Taiwan Jones, 6'2 1/4, 258 pounds, ILB, Michigan State
13. Mike Hull, 6'0, 237 pounds, ILB, Penn State
14. Trey DePriest, 6’0, 254 pounds, ILB, Alabama
15. Jordan Hicks, 6'1 1/2, 241 pounds, ILB, Texas
16. Zach Vigil, 6’2, 240 pounds, ILB, Utah State
17. A.J. Tarpley, 6'0 1/4, 233 pounds, ILB, Stanford
18. Terrance Plummer, 6’1, 236 pounds, ILB, Central Florida
19. A.J. Johnson, 6'2, 245 pounds, ILB, Tennessee
20. Curtis Grant, 6'3, 240 pounds, ILB, Ohio State
21. Quayshawn Nealy, 6'0 1/4, 237 pounds, ILB, Georgia Tech