Redskins combine prep: Inside linebacker

February, 20, 2014
Feb 20
2:30
PM ET
There are some positions the Redskins will have more interest in this offseason, starting with the scouting combine that takes place over the next week. Wednesday we took a look at some safeties; Thursday it's inside linebacker. The Redskins already know they need to find one starter this offseason. If they somehow let Perry Riley get away, they would need two and it could be hard to fill both spots in free agency. So here are four to watch for various reasons. It's not a deep group.

Inside linebackers
Chris Borland (Wisconsin): He will be a good player in the right system. The question will be, can he do what Washington asks of its linebackers, particularly in coverage. That’s a big part of playing inside in a 3-4 and it’s one area of Borland’s game that has been questioned. His instincts give him a chance. It’ll be interesting to see what his 40 time is. It’s not the main measuring stick (nor should it be), but it is a piece of the puzzle.

Shayne Skov (Stanford): He was highly productive at Stanford, but Skov is not considered a fast player, which will impact where teams want to draft him. Scouts Inc. rated him as average in every key category aside from productivity where he was above average. They liked his ability to take on blocks, but wrote of his coverage skills: “Possesses adequate range in underneath zone coverage. However, lack of elite athleticism puts a cap on his overall play making ability in coverage. Will have limitations in man coverage. “

Christian Jones (Florida State): Not everyone lists Jones as an inside linebacker because he also played outside at Florida State, so some might view him more as an outside linebacker. He’s talented. He might go a couple rounds lower than Borland, but he’s an active player with good range and might be the most intriguing. He just hasn’t stayed at one spot long enough. He’ll need to show a strong understanding when teams quiz him about the X's and O's. An inside linebacker in a 3-4 must have a good command of this area.

Here’s what ESPN’s Scouts Inc. wrote about him: “Flashes above average upper body strength and appears to have long arms. Not violent enough at the point and can take too long to get off blocks in phone booth … Gets to depth and can cover a lot of ground on underneath zone. Picks up backs and H-backs releasing out of the backfield. Appears long and fast enough to match up with tight ends.”

Max Bullough (Michigan State): He was productive, but there are plenty of questions that need to get answered, starting this week at the combine. Bullough was suspended for the Rose Bowl and must answer questions about that as well as why he put on so much weight. He weighed in at 265 pounds at the East-West Shrine Game -- about 20 pounds more than he had previously been listed at (I think it was his playing weight in 2012). It made a difference in his performance. Bullough will need to lose around 20 pounds to play in a 3-4. As of now, it sounds as if he’s a guy you’d pick in the fifth round or later.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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