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A Look At Some Of The Senior Bowl Inside Linebackers

Posted Jan 30, 2017

With the Senior Bowl providing one more opportunity for prospects to put good film out, the Redskins got a close look at eight different inside linebackers that will be picked in the 2017 NFL Draft.

With the Senior Bowl providing one more opportunity for prospects to put good film out, the Redskins got a close look at eight different inside linebackers that will be picked in the 2017 NFL Draft.

As the Washington Redskins continue to seek improvements for the 2017 season under new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, they could be in the market for inside linebacker depth.

Starting Mike linebacker Will Compton will soon be a restricted free agent, while Terence Garvin – the team’s special teams tacklers leader for the 2016 season – just completed a one-year contract signed last offseason.

Additionally, Su'a Cravens is expected to make the full-time move back to safety after being a situational player during his rookie year.

Last week, the coaches along with general manager Scot McCloughan and his scouting staff got a first-hand look at eight different inside linebackers.

Here’s a look at a few of those players including Haason Reddick, a player NFL Network’s Mike Mayock believed improved his draft stock the most of prospects that were down in Mobile, Ala.:

Haason Reddick
Named the top practice player of the week for all linebackers, Reddick’s impressive week continued Sunday, as he tied the game-high for tackles with nine.

Reddick was named a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection during his senior season at Temple, as he appeared in all 14 games for the Owls and collected 65 tackles (22.5 for loss) along with four passes defensed and three fumbles forced.

“He had a really impressive week,” Mayock wrote. “He was a hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 defensive end with a lot of sack production at Temple, but down here they asked him to stand up and play two different positions, and every day he got better. And his attitude about the switch was terrific; I got a kick out of how he embraced it. The last two days of practice, I don't think he lost a rep. He bounced around and made plays all week. At 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds, most see him as a tweener, but I think he showed versatility. I came into the week wondering what he would be at the next level, and at the end of the practice sessions I left thinking he could be an inside linebacker in a 3-4, an inside linebacker in a 4-3, and an occasional edge rusher. Bottom line: He showed he can do a bunch of things and do them well. He might not have to come off the field.”

Alex Anzalone
At 6-foot-3, Anzalone was the tallest inside linebacker in Mobile and showed off his ability to cover sideline to sideline throughout the week of practices.

Anzalone finished Saturday’s game with four tackles including one for loss following his senior season being cut short by a broken left arm.

While he may have not pieced together a similar resume to some of the other inside linebackers entering the draft, he believes his size could ultimately be an advantage.

“I’m a big, athletic, fast linebacker,” Anzalone told Redskins.com. “That is something that is unique about me, there is not that many people that have my size that can also move like me, so those are the things I feel like separates myself from others.” 

Duke Riley
Riley finished with a South Team-high seven tackles in Saturday’s game fresh off the completion of a senior season in which he was named LSU Football MVP.

He finished the year with 93 tackles – a team-high – along with 1.5 sacks. But despite the strong campaign, it was his only season as a starter so the Senior Bowl provided an opportunity to show he can “move really well.”

“I only had one year to start at LSU so I have more to show these scouts then what they’ve seen,” Riley told Redskins.com. “I’m here showing my hand placement on guys,  that I can get off blocks better, shoot my gap and run players off from sideline to sideline.”

One adjustable area of his game he’s already gotten feedback on is his hand placement.

“It takes time,” Riley said. “In the spring of 2016 my coach told me it was one of my weaknesses that I really needed to work on.  He said everything was fine, I could always work on my eyes, but my hand placement on guys is what I really needed to work on. So what I did during the summer is every day I went on bags and worked on my hand placement. So it made me way better with my hands and getting guys off me.”

Ben Boulware
While Deshaun Watson got a majority of attention for Clemson in the school’s run to a National Championship victory, Boulware was the leader of the defense after becoming a starter in 2015.

During his senior season, the first-team All-ACC selection finished the season with 138 tackles along with 3.5 sacks.

Just weeks after a thrilling last second victory over heavily favored Alabama, Boulware capped of his Senior Bowl week with six tackles for the South Team.

Boulware believes he can ultimately be a playmaking inside linebacker at the NFL level and put additional film out there for scouts and coaches to glance over.

“You have to make plays and you have to be productive to stay in the league and in college,” Boulware told Redskins.com. “Hopefully, I want to keep that trend going. The money comes when you’re productive and make plays and that’s all I’ve done over the past three years so hopefully I’ll keep doing that.”

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