Arizona Cardinals: Top 5 ILB at Scouting Combine


The Arizona Cardinals continue their revolving door at linebacker, especially on the inside

The Arizona Cardinals need help at inside linebacker.  They officially have three players currently on their roster that are listed as inside linebackers.  Kenny Demens, Larry Foote, and Kevin Minter are your three guys sitting in the inside at linebacker.

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Here are the top five guys the Cardinals should be taking a look at during the Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis as teams prepare for the draft at the end of April.  The Cardinals certainly should look to retain Larry Foote and could stick with the three guys they have but odds are they will add to their linebacker core in the draft.

1. Eric Kendricks, UCLA

As of right now has him projected as a second-rounder but he could go as high as late first round and could be a guy the Cardinals look at.  I had him as the Cardinals pick at number 24 in my first mock draft a couple of weeks ago.  He has great explosiveness but people are concerned about his length. He was the 2014 Butkus Award winner.  CBS compares him to Bobby Wagner of the Seattle Seahawks.  We know all too well about what that guy can do.

2. Benardick McKinney, Mississippi State

He’s an underclassman but certainly not undersized.  At 6’4 he is the tallest inside linebacker in the draft.  A projected second-rounder, McKinney.  He is versatile who can play linebacker and also on the edge as a rusher.  He sometimes relies too much on his speed rather than technique, which could get him into some trouble if that keeps up in the NFL.  He had 71 tackles, eight of them for loss, and three sacks in 2014.

3. Ramik Wilson, Georgia

He had 110 tackles and two sacks in 2014.  He is a guy that is always around the ball.  He was the highest graded SEC linebacker in quality tackles.  He is more of a 4-3 guy but scouts say he has the ability to play in a 3-4.  Scouts worry about his instincts and physicality but can run from sideline to sideline and is a hard guy to knock down.  His production tailed off a bit from 133 tackles and four sacks in 2013.

4. Stephone Anthony, Clemson

Anthony is another guy with great size and build to be a linebacker in the NFL.  His biggest positive in my eyes is his ability to cover tight ends, something the Cardinals have had great trouble with in recent years.  He is also considered a great blitzer, something else the Cardinals do often.  Scouts do say he needs better arm extension as he loses leverage on blocks at times.  He is projected as a fourth-rounder.

5. Taiwan Jones, Michigan State

Here’s another linebacker with really good size that fits in the NFL.  He’s listed a 6’3 and 258 pounds.  He’s a little more raw at the position as he lacks instincts.  He is considered slow at times and was taken off field in passing situations often.  He would need some work but was known as a leader at Michigan State and has durability.  Might be worth a fifth-round pick.