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Draft Preview: Notable Linebacker Highlights

Eric Kendricks

At 6-0 and 232 pounds, Kendricks leaves UCLA as a five-year senior with 41 starts under his belt. Projected by most draft experts as a three-down player at weak side or middle linebacker, Kendricks can cover and pursue and tackle against the run. Like most rookies, he'll have to add some strength at the NFL level much like his brother, Mychal, who plays for the Eagles, did.

Photos of UCLA LB Eric Kendricks

Shaq Thompson

This junior out of Washington started his collegiate career as a nickel back but moved to weak side linebacker full-time as a sophomore. As a 6-0, 228-pound junior, Thompson stayed at linebacker but also played some running back, winning the Paul Hornung award as the NCAA's most versatile player. That might help his draft status, as some analysts project him as a safety or even a running back in the NFL.

Check out photos of LB Shaq Thompson from the University of Washington

Denzel Perryman

At 5-11 and 236 pounds, this four-year senior from Miami started at both middle and outside linebacker as a member of the Hurricanes. He is strong, tough and ferocious playing against the run, attacking the line of scrimmage and runner with force. Some independent scouts believe he has to improve on his coverage skills if he wants to be an every down linebacker in the pros.

Photos of Miami LB Denzel Perryman

Paul Dawson

A high school WR, Dawson played linebacker three years at TCU after spending one year at Trinity Valley Community College. He played SAM linebacker at TCU and was the team's leading tackler the last two seasons. At 6-0 and 235 pounds, he attacks the ball but with his late position change, experts think he still has to improve his technique and discipline.

Photos of TCU LB Paul Dawson

Benardrick McKinney

At 6-4 and 246 pounds, this four-year junior from Mississippi State started 36 games at middle linebacker for the Bulldogs. He has the size and speed to succeed in the NFL and is effective near the line of scrimmage. Draft experts have questioned his cover skills and ability to play in space down the field against NFL tight ends.

Photos of Mississippi State LB Benardrick McKinney

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