Multi-positional Kindle ranks as No. 13 among Big 12 players

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

No. 13

Texas' biggest weakness coming into the season is a defensive front that loses three starters. That's why the development of converted linebacker Sergio Kindle will be so critical for the Longhorns this season.

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has challenged Kindle to fill the role that Brian Orakpo provided as the Longhorns' top pass-rushing threat.

Kindle, a converted high-school running back, is one of the most athletic players in the conference. His development will be critical in the Longhorns' Big 12 title hopes.

Player: Sergio Kindle
Team: Texas
Position: Defensive end/linebacker
Vitals: 6-foot-4, 255 pounds; Sr.; Dallas (Woodrow Wilson)

Why he was picked: Kindle is one of the conference's most devastating pass-rushing threats, either at linebacker or defensive end. Kindle produced 53 tackles and ranked second on the team with 10 sacks and 14 tackles for losses by playing both positions. He also produced 15 quarterback pressures, forced two fumbles and broke up two passes. His production seemed to pick up at defensive end, where he should receive the majority of his playing time during the upcoming season.

What 2009 will hold:The Longhorns desperately need production from their defensive line and Kindle must emerge as their top pass rusher if they have any legitimate Big 12 title hopes. Kindle has been productive in the past, but notched a season-high of only six tackles twice last season. Those numbers will have to improve this season when he will be counted as one of the Longhorns' defensive leaders.

If he can do that, Kindle's national profile could mirror that of Orakpo. Coming into the 2008 season, Orkapo's college career had largely been a disappointment marked by inconsistency and injuries. But a huge senior season boosted him into an consensus All-American who will be drafted among the top eight or 10 players in the NFL draft. Kindle can do the same thing with a monster season in a similar role.

The countdown:

14. Oklahoma T Trent Williams
15. Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon
16. Baylor LB Joe Pawelek
17. Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson
18. Texas WR-KR Jordan Shipley
19. Oklahoma RB Chris Brown
20. Nebraska I-back Roy Helu Jr.
21. Texas Tech DT Colby Whitlock
22. Kansas WR-KR Dezmon Briscoe
23. Oklahoma DE Jeremy Beal
24. Kansas S Darrell Stuckey
25. Texas Tech RB Baron Batch
26. Kansas QB-WR Kerry Meier
27. Texas T Adam Ulatoski
28. Oklahoma State LB Andre Sexton
29. Missouri G Kurtis Gregory
30. Missouri RB Derrick Washington
31. Texas Tech LB Brian Duncan
32. Texas S Earl Thomas
33. Kansas State WR-KR Brandon Banks
34. Oklahoma LB Keenan Clayton
35. Baylor S Jordan Lake
36. Oklahoma State CB-KR Perrish Cox
37. Texas C Chris Hall
38. Texas Tech DE-DT McKinner Dixon
39. Kansas State DE Brandon Harold
40. Oklahoma FB Matt Clapp