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2015 NFL Draft outside linebacker rankings: This year's deepest position group

There are multiple outside linebackers poised to be taken high in the draft, including players like Nebraska's Randy Gregory and Clemson's Vic Beasley. Don't forget those weakside players either.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Outside linebacker, pass rusher, EDGE. Whatever you want to call them, the players who get after the quarterback is the most loaded position in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Nebraska's Randy Gregory may have questionable intelligence after failing a drug test at the Combine, but he's still a heck of a football player. Despite being so tall and lanky, Gregory is exceptionally fluid in space and can bend the edge to get after the quarterback. He’ll obviously need to get stronger, but he has a good first step and the length to knock down some passes. The drug stuff might mean he’s not the first outside linebacker drafted, but his tools are the best.

Ever so slightly behind Gregory in that regard is Vic Beasley of Clemson. He has the best first step of any player in the draft this year and consistently plays with a lot of effort. With 33 career sacks, Beasley is a highly productive player to match his talent. He just needs to get better at playing the run and you have a complete player.

Kentucky’s Bud Dupree is another freaky athlete at the position, as is Virginia’s Eli Harold. A tier below them are players like Lorenzo Mauldin of Louisville, Hau’oli Kikaha of Washington and Nate Orchard of Utah.

Since these rankings are done using traditional positioning, it features much more than pass rushers. Chief among them is Washington's Shaq Thompson, himself a man without a true position. He could be a safety as a pro. If not, he's an ideal weakside linebacker because of his athleticism, range and speed. LSU's Kwon Alexander is another player who should be penciled in on the weak side.

If you're looking for Shane Ray, he's in the defensive end group. Don't simply equate size to a position. I wonder about Ray's ability to change direction in space. Dante Fowler of Florida is also listed as a defensive end.

Under the radar: Want to know a deep sleeper on Day 3 of the draft? Gabe Martin of Bowling Green put together a nice career of 246 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 10 sacks for the Falcons. He has solid instincts and range and should make for a good special teams player and won’t be a detriment if asked to start.

Position grade: A-

1. Randy Gregory, 6’6, 240 pounds, OLB/DE, Nebraska
2. Vic Beasley, 6'3, 235 pounds, OLB/DE, Clemson
3. Bud Dupree, 6'4, 264 pounds, OLB/DE, Kentucky
4. Shaq Thompson, 6'1, 228 pounds, OLB, Washington
5. Eli Harold, 6'4, 250 pounds, OLB/DE, Virginia
6. Lorenzo Mauldin, 6'3 5/8, 256 pounds, OLB/DE, Louisville
7. Hau'oli Kikaha, 6'2 1/2, 246 pounds, OLB/DE, Washington
8. Nate Orchard, 6'3 1/4, 251 pounds, OLB/DE, Utah
9. Zack Hodges, 6'2 5/8, 242 pounds, OLB, Harvard
10. Kwon Alexander, 6’0 3/4, 227 pounds, OLB, LSU
11. Lynden Trail, 6'6 5/8, 269 pounds, OLB, Norfolk State
13. Tony Washington, 6'3 5/8, 247 pounds, OLB, Oregon
14. Davis Tull, 6’2, 246 pounds, OLB, Tennessee-Chattanooga
15. Norkeithus Otis, 6'1, 235 pounds, OLB, North Carolina
16. James Vaughters, 6'1 7/8, 258 pounds, OLB, Stanford
17. Max Valles, 6'5, 251 pounds, OLB, Virginia
18. Geneo Grissom, 6'3 1/8, 264 pounds, OLB, Oklahoma
19. Kyle Emanuel, 6'4 1/2, 254 pounds, OLB, North Dakota State
20. Deiontrez Mount, 6'5 1/8, 242 pounds, OLB, Louisville
22. Martell Spaight, 5'11 7/8, 232 pounds, OLB, Arkansas
24. Gabe Martin, 6'2, 236 pounds, OLB, Bowling Green
25. Thurston Armbrister, 6'3, 241 pounds, OLB, Miami
26. Ishaq Williams, 6'5 1/2, 271 pounds, OLB, Notre Dame
30. Chi Chi Ariguozo, 6'3, 230 pounds, OLB, Northwestern
32. Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, 6’2, 248 pounds, OLB, Maryland