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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Mel Kiper's take on linebackers in the draft

By Ohm Youngmisuk

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper did a conference call with reporters this week and I figured I would take some snippets from the call and apply it to the New York Giants.

In his latest mock draft, Kiper has the Giants addressing the offensive line with the 19th pick in the first round.

But what does he think about the linebackers in the draft? In addition to offensive line, the Giants also have a need for an athletic linebacker. Keith Bulluck will be a free agent and the Giants need to add more depth to a group that features Michael Boley and Jonathan Goff.

Based on where the Giants draft in the first round, UCLA’s outside linebacker Akeem Ayers appears to be the one linebacker most prognosticators predict will be available.

There are some outside linebackers that Kiper says teams can find after the first round.

“Bruce Carter from North Carolina, I didn’t like some of things I saw on film on him, of course had the injury late, I thought he slipped back a bit,” Kiper said. “Lawrence Wilson from Connecticut, I like as fourth or fifth-round pick. Mason Foster as maybe a third-round pick out of Washington, Ross Homan out of Ohio State as maybe a third-round pick.”

“There are some of those traditional 4-3 outside linebackers that you can look at as third or fourth-round guys,” Kiper continued. “Opinions on these guys are going to vary.”

Kiper says teams are really going to have to do serious homework to find an outside linebacker that can help in the middle rounds.

“There’s not a ton,” Kiper said. “You got to do some very, very astute scouting to find an outside linebacker in that third, fourth and fifth round to come in and be a factor for you right away.”

As for inside linebackers, Kiper says there aren’t a lot in this draft to choose from.

“In terms of the linebacker position, it is not a good year necessarily for inside (linebacker),” Kiper said. “Outside there are always going to be combo guys. There’s not a lot but there are some guys, if you catch lightning in a bottle you might find the right player in the inside position. It is not a lot of talent at that position.”