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Ranking the top linebackers in the 2021 NFL Draft: Bob McGinn’s grades are in

Bob McGinn Apr 27, 2021comment-icon@2x.png 30 save-icon@2x.png

This is the 37th year Bob McGinn has written an NFL Draft Series. Previously, it appeared in the Green Bay Press-Gazette (1985-2001), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (1992-2017) and BobMcGinnFootball.com (2018-19). Until 2014, personnel evaluators often were quoted by name. The series reluctantly adopted an all-anonymous format in 2015 at the request of most scouts. This will be a nine-part series.

Others in the series: QBs | RBs |WR/TE | OL | DLEdge

Of the Pro Bowl linebackers just four years ago, the Panthers’ Luke Kuechly has retired, the Steelers’ Ryan Shazier suffered a career-ending spinal injury, the fortunes of the Jets’ C.J. Mosley have taken a turn for the worse and the Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner will be entering his 10th season.

New blood, most notably the Buccaneers’ Devin White, has come up through the personnel pipeline at linebacker, but more is needed. Many teams continue to seek that fast, tough and smart “mike” linebacker to wear the green dot on his helmet and play 100 percent of the defensive snaps.

Fortunately, this looks like the year to draft that kind of player.

“I have nine linebackers in the first 75 picks,” an executive in personnel for an AFC team said. “I don’t know if nine linebackers have ever been taken in the top 75. I feel if I need a linebacker, I can get one at the bottom of the third round or the top of the fourth. A guy I can start as a rookie and get production out of.”

He wasn’t alone. Two other personnel evaluators also expressed confidence there will be starting linebackers available in Round 3.

“That top five is a really good, strong group,” said another AFC personnel executive. “Those next guys are all solid in their own range. It’s a better inside linebacker group than it has been most recently.”

Penn State’s Micah Parsons, not only the fastest linebacker on the board but also one of the biggest, should be gone within the first 15 selections. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah of Notre Dame, whose balky hamstring apparently prevented teams from obtaining a 40 time, also is projected for the first round, and Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and Kentucky’s Jamin Davis might go anywhere from 20 to 50.



Then comes the cohort of eight to 10 names that fills the position with intrigue. By no means will they all become great players, but there are raw ingredients throughout to demand the utmost consideration.

“Everybody wants a Devin White,” another scout said. “White’s the best linebacker I’ve scouted in 20 years. He’s not falling off the tree every year. (Other than) going back two years ago and taking Devin White at No. 5, there are no Devin Whites coming along.”

The Bucs hit it big with White in 2019 just as the Steelers did with Devin Bush five slots later. The year before, the Bears secured Roquan Smith at No. 8 and couldn’t be more pleased with the acquisition.

For various reasons, Tremaine Edmunds in Buffalo, Rashaan Evans in Tennessee and Leighton Vander Esch in Dallas haven’t been all their teams hoped they’d be as first-round picks in 2018. In fact, two players taken later that year, the Colts’ Darius Leonard at No. 36 and the 49ers’ Fred Warner at No. 70, have gone past their more celebrated first-round peers.

Last year, four linebackers were drafted in the first round: Isaiah Simmons, Kenneth Murray, Jordyn Brooks and Patrick Queen.

They all had adequate rookie seasons. At this point, however, it’s possible that Willie Gay (No. 63) in Kansas City, Logan Wilson (No. 65) in Cincinnati, Zach Baun (No. 74) in New Orleans, Jacob Phillips (No. 97) in Cleveland, Malik Harrison (No. 98) in Baltimore and Mykal Walker (No. 119) in Atlanta might surpass any or all of them. Those second-, third- and fourth-round players displayed considerable promise in 2020.

Some teams have taken larger safeties and grouped them with the linebackers. Virginia Tech’s Divine Deablo (6-foot-3½, 226 pounds), Florida State’s Hamsah Nasirildeen (6-foot-3, 215), Auburn’s Jamien Sherwood (6-foot-1½, 216) and LSU’s JaCoby Stevens (6-1, 212) fit the profile.

“One reason why there are so many names in this stack is that’s football now,” one AFC executive said. “These are all modern-day, college-football linebackers that have to expand out in coverage or run down the middle of the field to protect the seam or what have you. That’s why there are so many names. Some of these guys are safeties that are converted to linebacker.”



Eighteen personnel people were asked to rate the linebackers from 1 to 5, with a first-place vote worth five points, a second-place vote worth four and so on.

Parsons dominated with 12 firsts and 81 points. Following, in order, were Owusu-Koramoah (52½, three), Collins (50, one), Davis (40½, two), Nick Bolton (19), Pete Werner (14), Baron Browning (three), Jabril Cox (two), Dylan Moses (two), Monty Rice (two), Chazz Surratt (two), Derrick Barnes (one) and Ernest Jones (one).

“It’s what you value,” an AFC personnel director said. “If you’ve got a base-down guy, you would want more of a nickel player. Or, if you have a situational guy that can play on third down, you might want more of a heavy-handed guy.”

Ranking the linebackers

1. Micah Parsons, Penn State (6-foot-3, 246 pounds, 4.36 40 time, Round 1): Didn’t start as a freshman but still led the team in tackles. Started 12 games in 2019 before opting out in ’20.

“You always know he’s in the game,” one scout said. “He’s either blowing up the quarterback on a blitz or going outside and knocking the sh*t out of somebody. He can man cover a back and a tight end at a very good level. Hell of a pass-rushing linebacker. Plays to the outside are his forte. Running the ball down.”

Almost refuses to use his hands while taking on blocks.

“Not a real shock-and-shed kind of linebacker,” a second scout said. “More of a scrape-and-run guy. He’s OK against the pass. He was a five-star (recruit) and all that. He opted out, and you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get in this situation. But he’s got all this physical ability.”

From Harrisburg, Pa., Parsons switched high schools after being suspended during his junior year for an incident in the school cafeteria.

“We have to find out a little bit more about leadership and intangibles, and being able to call a defense,” said a third scout. “But even if he’s just a rush-hit guy, he might turn out to be Darius Leonard. He’s not Devin White. He doesn’t take on blocks like Devin White. He tries to run around and jump things, but the athletic things are top-notch.”

Finished with 192 tackles (19 for loss) and 13½ “big plays” (defined as the total of sacks, interceptions, fumbles forced and fumbles recovered).

“What you have is a space-chase ‘backer,” a fourth scout said. “If everything is straight-line for him and he sees it, he’s explosive inline. His sacks, (Penn State had stunts) upfront and blitzed him right through the middle. They schemed him to do that stuff. When he’s in space and if he’s chasing somebody, you can see his speed.

“Besides that, he’s not an exceptional athlete. His effort’s OK. He is a non-factor when a blocker is on him. He reminds me of Isaiah Simmons last year. Simmons just had an average year (for the Cardinals).”

Parsons’ 11-inch hands were the largest at the position.

2. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (6-foot-1½, 221, no 40, Round 1): Redshirted in 2017. Suffered a broken foot in practice after two games of the 2018 season. Started as a linebacker “rover” in 2019 and ’20.

“He’s a ‘will’ linebacker,” said one scout. “He’s so athletic and quick-twitch that you can do a lot of things with him. He’s not as big as (Isaiah) Simmons, but he’s a similar kind of athlete.”

Decided not to run the 40 at pro day.

“His 40 would be in the high 4.4s,” a second scout said. “I think he didn’t run because he wanted the weight, not the speed. I think he played at 215. He’s athletic, twitchy, violent, physical. He’s wired right.”

Finished with 142 tackles (24½ for loss) and 17 big plays.

“Playing inside in a 3-4 wouldn’t be best for him,” a third scout said. “You could get away with him as a 4-3 ‘mike.’ It’d be better if he was an outside guy in a 4-3. You’ve got to allow him to get around blocks rather than take on blocks and go make the tackle. He certainly has the physical ability to cover tight ends. There’s a lot that can be done with this guy.”

Had basketball offers from smaller Division I schools out of Hampton, Va. Compared by one scout to Jamal Adams and by another to Deion Jones.

“All right, if you want a tackle 15 yards down the field, he’s your guy,” a sixth scout said. “He can run around, but do you want this guy out in space in coverage? No. You love the way he plays, but he’s little.”

Played wide receiver, cornerback and safety in high school.

“He’s the wild card,” a seventh scout said. “I got a vibe the Notre Dame people were nervous about making this guy a safety because of his ability to communicate and he freelanced so much. I saw him as an elite cover ‘backer. Put him at ‘will’ and let him run around and hit people and play in coverage. To put this guy inside facing blocks all the time, I don’t know why you would do that.”

3. Zaven Collins, Tulsa (6-foot-5, 259, 4.65, Round 1 or 2): Lightly recruited out of tiny Hominy, Okla., where he played quarterback and safety and was class valedictorian.

“He plans on becoming a doctor,” said one scout. “Does very, very well in interviews. He can play all the linebacker positions, but he thinks he’s best at ‘sam.'”

Lined up off the ball as a weakside linebacker in a 3-3-5 defense.

“He’s got a little Dont’a Hightower (6-foot-2, 265, 4.64) in him,” said a second scout. “He’s not as powerful as Dont’a, but he does play strong. As a rusher, you see things that can be developed. He can play ‘mike,’ too.”

After a redshirt season, he started 31 of 33 games. Finished with 244 tackles (30 for loss) and 18½ big plays.

“He’s a big body with straight-line speed,” said a third scout. “It’s more just build-up speed. He’s not the sudden, explosive, quick guy. He’s more of a bigger man who just kind of takes up space, and when the ball goes away from him, he can turn, build speed and track it down.”

His arms measured 33⅝ inches, the longest at the position.

“It’s like you’re watching a midget football game and there’s a kid that shouldn’t be on the field because he’s too big,” said a fourth scout. “He’s a giant. When you get a guy that big, people think he should be ripping everybody in half. He doesn’t do that, but who (cares)? He gets guys down. You look at the body, you’d think he was an old-school, 1980s, ‘mike’ linebacker. Just a big, between-the-tackles plugger. But this guy can run. He’s not a blowback tackler. (Brian) Urlacher probably is a good comparison.”

Jamin Davis finished his career at Kentucky with 144 tackles. (Mike Watters / USA Today)

4. Jamin Davis, Kentucky (6-foot-3½, 234, 4.47, Round 1 or 2): Fourth-year junior, one-year starter.

“He’s by far my No. 1 linebacker,” one scout said. “Plays hard. Can run. Not the greatest take-on guy, but who is nowadays? He’s tough. He can slip and dip. In coverage stuff, they never take him off the field. Just really instinctive in coverage. Against Florida, they were spread out and he was just running all over the place making plays.”

Redshirted in 2017, played off the bench for two years and moved into the lineup at middle linebacker in ’20 when Chris Oats suffered a stroke in the summer.

“It’s a little bit like when (linebacker) Josh Allen came out of there (in 2019),” a second scout said. “He blew up on the radar at the last minute. I look at those Kentucky guys very similar. They’re late bloomers. He’ll need some time. I don’t think he’ll be the guy you want running the show the first year. I want him playing fast.”

From Ludowici, Ga., Davis finished with 144 tackles (five for loss) and 8½ big plays. Led the position in the vertical jump (42) and broad jump (11-0).

“His workout was insane,” said a third scout. “He’s got instinct problems. I see his playing style best at ‘mike,’ and a ‘mike’ that is not instinctive is very dangerous.”

Weighed 234 pounds at pro day, but a fourth scout said he looked “rail-thin” during the season. He guessed his playing weight was below 220.

“He’s more of a ‘will’ in a 4-3 rather than a ‘mike,’” said a fifth scout. “He’s a little bit slower reacting inside the box, but they tell you it’s because of all the RPO stuff. If you react suddenly to an RPO run, then the ball goes behind you, over your head. Every team that needs a linebacker is sitting on him. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t go in the first (round).”

5. Nick Bolton, Missouri (5-foot-11, 237, 4.60, Round 2): Third-year junior, two-year starter.

“He should have been playing in the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s,” said one scout. “He’s a hitter. Tough kid. Like the old-school linebackers with a little better speed. But he does not read the inside blocking schemes time after time. He gets fooled by play-action pass, which is a killer for me.”

Played sparingly as a freshman, then started for two years on the weakside in a 4-2-5 defense.

“He reminds me of Demario Davis,” said a second scout. “Physical like that. He’s got nice, instinctive feel. Makes a (lot) of plays. I’d like to see him develop a better feel in the passing game.”

Originally from Frisco, Texas, Bolton finished with 224 tackles (17½ for loss) and just seven big plays. Never forced a fumble. “Poor man’s Devin Bush,” a third scout said. “He played ‘mike’ (at Missouri), but he might be better served playing on the outside because of his size. Really good kid.”

Said a fourth scout: “Small run-around guy. Gets beat up. I don’t think he has good instincts. Chase downfield effort guy.”

6. Peter Werner, Ohio State (6-foot-3, 238, 4.61, Round 2): Three-year starter with a 39½-inch vertical jump.

“I was hoping Pete Werner was a secret,” said one scout, laughing. “There are no more secrets in this business. He’s smart. Played a lot over the slot. He can play in space. He moved really well in the workout. He’s a legit three-down linebacker.”

Started both on the weakside and the strongside.

“This (kid) has the intensity to be a Hall of Famer,” a second scout said. “He reminded me of Dan Morgan. You can’t overlook intensity in a kid. Teams love it when you show that. Defensive captain and leader. He can run your defense.”

His father, Greg, started four of his 10 games as a tight end for the Jets (free-agent signing) in 1989 after a collegiate career at DePauw.

“He’ll be a good, solid pro,” a third scout said. “Probably a starting ‘mike’ by Year 2.”

The Indianapolis native finished with 185 tackles (15 for loss) and 10 big plays.

“I’m surprised he’s that high,” a fourth scout said. “I love the makeup, but there are limitations. He’s not as good as (James) Laurinaitis, and Laurinaitis wasn’t that good.”

Said a fifth scout: “He just looked like a guy who knew how to play. Lot of effort. Little bit limited as an athlete.”

7. Baron Browning, Ohio State (6-foot-3, 245, 4.56, Round 2 or 3): Joined by Pete Werner, Justin Hilliard and Tuf Borland as Buckeyes linebackers in the draft.

“If he had Borland’s and Hilliard’s intangibles, he’d be a top-10 pick,” said one scout. “He never really started until this year; he played behind Borland. He coasts on talent. The athletic ability cannot be denied. I think the best thing he does is rush the passer. It’s boom or bust with this guy. He’ll come in and be a steal, or be a career underachiever.”

Labeled as “an old-fashioned ‘sam’ ’backer” by one scout.

“If you’re going to gamble on traits, you could take him,” said a third scout. “The tools are outstanding. Do I put 10 pounds on the guy and put his hand in the dirt and let him be a D-end? Or do I put him at ‘sam’ on early downs and let him rush on third down?”

Fort Worth, Texas, native started just nine of 43 games, finishing with 110 tackles (18 for loss) and 11 big plays. Some teams think he’s best suited to play OLB in a 3-4 defense.

“He’ll probably go mid-to-late four,” said a fourth scout. “There’s just too much in that body to let him go longer than that.”

Considered a modest medical risk (shoulder) by at least one team.

8. Monty Rice, Georgia (6-foot-0½, 236, 4.58, Round 3): From Huntsville, Ala., he played four seasons for the Bulldogs, starting 28 of 47 games.

“He’s more power guy than athlete,” one scout said. “He’s got some thump to him. He is a good fit inside for a 3-4. Not sure about his range and ability to play in coverage.”

Georgia generally took him off the field on passing downs so his exposure in coverage was limited. Increased his draft stock dramatically by running an unexpectedly swift 40.

“I had no clue he could run like that,” said a second scout. “The workout helped him. Nice college football player. His coverage isn’t very good.”

His hands, measured at 8¾ inches, were the smallest at the position.

“He may not come across that way at first, but he’s good enough on the board,” said a third scout. “He’ll be able to run your defense. Won’t have any issues with this kid.”

Finished with 219 tackles (10½ for loss) and six big plays.

“Might be more of a weak inside ‘backer if you’re in an odd front,” said a fourth scout. “He could play ‘mike.’ Georgia has a pro-style defense, so he has some experience in that regard.”

Chazz Surratt began his college career as a quarterback. (Bob Donnan / USA Today)

9. Chazz Surratt, North Carolina (6-foot-2, 229, 4.59, Round 3): Redshirted as a quarterback in 2016 before starting seven games under center (80.1 passer rating) in ’17. Eyeing his NFL future, he voluntarily made the move to inside linebacker in 2019 and started in a 3-4 defense.

“He’s probably the closest one to being able to run your defense because he’s so intelligent,” said one scout. “It wouldn’t surprise me if at the end of the day, he’s the most productive of all these guys. He’s really athletic. He’s tough. He’s got to learn how to play under control. He can match in space. He’s got to get a little bit bigger.”

Said a second scout: “I was pleasantly surprised by the kid’s instincts and compete and tackling,” said a second scout. “He’s not a killer, but he’s a good wrap-up tackler. He can run and cover.”

His short arms (30¼ inches) concern some teams.

“If you want a guy that will bend people over backward, he’s not your guy,” a third scout said. “But for a guy who used to be a quarterback, he showed pretty good toughness. I just like the athlete.”

The Denver, N.C., native finished with 207 tackles (22½ for loss) and 18½ big plays.

“He needs time to develop,” a fourth scout said. “He is a vocal leader. He’s got problems getting off blocks. He’s got sideline-to-sideline speed.”

10. Jabril Cox, LSU (6-foot-3, 232, 4.60, Round 3): Moved from North Dakota State, where he was a three-year starter, to LSU as a grad transfer in 2020.

“(I) like him,” said one scout. “He played better at LSU than at North Dakota State.”

Played as a running quarterback at a high school in Kansas City but went to Fargo, N.D., as a linebacker.

“He’s a ‘will’ linebacker who will be your dime and nickel linebacker,” a second scout said. “His whole thing is his ability to play in the passing game. He had some issues at the Senior Bowl when he had to play inside against the run.”

Half a dozen personnel people said he needed to be more physical.

“Undersized,” said a third scout. “Gonna struggle to hold up between the tackles.”

Quickly won a job with the Tigers, giving him a whopping 48 starts in 55 games. Finished with 316 tackles (38½ for loss) and 29 big plays.

“All of the issues he has can be coached,” said a fourth scout. “If you get him to bend his knees and play with urgency, he can be a really dynamic linebacker. He’s got the best man cover skills of any linebacker in the draft. I think he has more upside than (Patrick) Queen.”

Added a fifth scout: “He’s a lesser version of Pete Werner.”

11. Dylan Moses, Alabama (6-foot-1, 225, no 40, Round 3 or 4): Alabama and LSU were among the schools that offered him scholarships as an eighth-grader in Alexandria, La.

“Off his (2018) film, I gave him a first-round grade,” said one scout. “He didn’t play as well this year. I thought he came back from the knee (injury) a little bit too early.”

Played extensively as a freshman in 2017 and led the team in tackles in ’18. His career arc changed in August 2019 when he suffered a torn ACL. Fought his way back to start 13 games for the national champions in ’20 but wasn’t nearly as productive.

“He’s been hurt a lot, and I think it’s kind of taken away his range, speed and change of direction,” said a second scout. “Plays hard, but he looks small on tape.”

Finished with 196 tackles (22 for loss) and 11 big plays.

“I don’t want to say (he’s) overrated, because I think he’s still recovering from his knee injury,” a third scout said. “He’s at the line of what I call an ideal starter. The one good thing for him is almost all Alabama players are polished. They get boosted up in the draft.”

12. Derrick Barnes, Purdue (6-foot-0½, 240, 4.62, Round 4): Started 20 of 38 games from 2017 to ’19 as a rush outside linebacker, amassing 11 sacks as a junior, then shifted inside last year.

“He can play three downs,” said one scout. “He’s going to be more of a zone coverage guy than a man coverage guy. He can go sideline to sideline. Considering he’s a one-year starter (inside), he did exceptionally well. He has added value because he can rush the passer from the outside.”

Compared by another scout to Kwon Alexander and Denzel Perryman.

“He plays like a pro, just his assertiveness,” he said. “Some (blockers) will knock him down because he’s not very tall. He’s a little limited, a little tight in space. I think he’s a plug-and-play linebacker because he’s so physical and mean.”

From Covington, Ky., Barnes finished with 225 tackles (25 for loss) and 14½ big plays. His 29 reps on the bench led the position.

“His pro day was pretty damn good,” said a third scout. “I really liked the blitzing and pass rushing. He was good with the speed-to-power stuff. He just lacks the size there. I thought he lacked quickness in coverage. He’s a great person. He’ll be a (beast) on special teams wherever he goes.”

13. Cameron McGrone, Michigan (6-foot-1, 234, no 40, Round 4): Third-year junior. Played the early portion of 2020 with a club protecting a hand injury before suffering a torn left ACL in November. He had a right ACL tear in high school (2016).

“I was shocked that he came out,” said one scout. “With the injury, I don’t know where he’ll go. If he didn’t want to be at Michigan, he should have transferred. There’s a lot of inconsistency on tape when he did play.”

As a sophomore in 2019, he replaced NFL-bound Devin Bush at middle linebacker and had a solid season.

“He’s best playing downhill when he could shoot through a hole,” said a second scout. “Strength might be an issue. He gets caught up in the trash a little bit. His speed might get him exposed in coverage. Last year (2019), he was way better. Someone will get good value. With that injury, he’ll drop.”

The Indianapolis native finished with 91 tackles (11 for loss) and four big plays.

“He leaves you scratching your head,” a third scout said. “He’s talented. He can run. He’s pretty tough. The production and effort is really up and down.”

14. Isaiah McDuffie, Boston College (6-foot-1, 227, 4.60, Round 4 or 5): Fourth-year junior with short arms (30¼ inches).

“I thought he was the best (prospect) at Boston College,” one scout said. “Weakside type. Best in space and laterally. Good range. Can break on ball. He just wasn’t real physical. Thing is, he can play in space. That’s what people are looking for.”

Moved into the lineup in 2018, his second season, but underwent knee surgery in spring 2019 that caused him to miss the first four games. Had 111 tackles in 2020.

“He’s a ‘mike,’” said a second scout. “Good special-teams player. Needs to get stronger, but I like the temperament. He could develop into a good backup who may push to be a starter in time.”

The Buffalo native finished with 230 tackles (15½ for loss) and 10½ big plays.

15. Ernest Jones, South Carolina (6-foot-1½, 230, 4.72, Round 4 or 5): Third-year junior, two-year starter.

“He played better in 2019 than in 2020,” said one scout. “He wasn’t as physical against the run this year. His pad level was higher and he was catching blocks.”

Originally from Waycross, Ga., Jones played five games as a backup in 2018 before starting 21 games the past two years at middle linebacker.

“On first and second down, you would like to say that he could (call signals),” said a second scout. “Then you’d want to get him off the field on third down.”

Finished with 199 tackles (10½ for loss) and nine big plays. “I really admire how he plays,” said a third scout. “At the end of the day, his 4.7 speed makes him a dinosaur.”

Said a fourth scout: “Looks like Darius Leonard. He’s not as long, but he is mean. He’s a tone-setter.”

Other top linebackers: Buddy Johnson, Texas A&M; Tony Fields, West Virginia; K.J. Britt, Auburn; Nick Niemann, Iowa; Justin Hilliard, Ohio State; JaCoby Stevens, LSU; Anthony Hines, Texas A&M; Amen Ogbongbemiga, Oklahoma State; Paddy Fisher, Northwestern; Grant Stuard, Houston; Garret Wallow, Texas Christian; Riley Cole, South Alabama; Tuf Borland, Ohio State.

The Skinny

Justin Hilliard has a rather lengthy injury history, but still managed to play in 48 games for the Buckeyes. (Douglas DeFelice / USA Today)

Unsung hero

Justin Hilliard, Ohio State: Oh, what might have been. In 2015, Hilliard was the Buckeyes’ lone five-star recruit as the No. 1 player in Ohio. Then the injuries hit: three biceps tears requiring surgery, a torn Achilles and a torn meniscus. In six years, he managed to play 48 games but made just seven starts as part of a crowded, talented linebacking corps. His play stood out in the College Football Playoff Has his master’s degree. He’s undersized (6-foot-0½, 229) and ran a disappointing 40 (4.81), but he goes all-out all the time.

Scouts’ nightmare

Nick Niemann, Iowa: His brother, Ben, logged 43.4 percent of the playing time at inside linebacker for the Chiefs in 2020. He didn’t test athletically as well as Nick, who at 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds ran a 4.50 40 and recorded the best 3-cone time (6.67) at the position. In the last decade, Iowa linebackers have shown a penchant for making NFL rosters, but his production in Iowa City was marginal.

Scout to remember

Raymond “Fido” Murphy: He was a legendary, colorful scout for the Bears under George Halas for decades, beginning in 1934. The 40-yard dash was his idea, he always maintained. After checking into a hotel, sometimes he would have himself paged.

“It isn’t that I’m smarter than anyone else,” he once said. “It’s just that I know more.”

In 1963, Sports Illustrated wrote a story about him, headlined “Football’s Greatest Scout.” He was married to a Hollywood actress for 30 years. When asked about Oregon State QB Terry Baker, the Heisman Trophy winner and first pick in the 1963 draft, he cracked, “For carrying around a trophy, he’s got a great arm. For throwing a football, no.”

Murphy died in 1983 at the age of 78.

Quote to note

NFL executive: “This year, more guys ran (the 40) well than any year I’ve been involved in. The ones that ran, (they) ran well. There were very few disappointing times.”

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