Steelers 2013 Draft Analysis: Inside Linebacker – Early Look At The Rankings

Christopher DiMarino

This article continues along with my pre combine look at key positions for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I have made some changes compared to the first articles. I eliminated NFLDraftScout because it was identical to CBS, and I replaced it with DraftInsider. I want to reiterate how it works, NFL and ESPN combine to give us the player ranking (out of 100) and CBS and DraftTek combine to give us the draft position. The approximate draft round is an average that I do by eye comparing all of the values for all of the sites. Finally, I want to remind everyone that no site is perfect but it is important to get other opinions. DraftTek might make some bold and (sometimes ridiculous) claims, but they offer an in depth look at the draft so I find it worthwhile to consider. Finally, not all players are ideal prospects for this position, but I wanted to be cautious and include them just in case.

Inside linebacker is a very interesting position for the Steelers. Just one full season ago, James Farrior decided to retire and threw this position in jeopardy. This decision wasn\’t a surprise, but it was becoming quickly clear that the Steelers did not have a replacement to captain this defense. Larry Foote had a remarkable season filling in for him, but is also getting up there in age and might not be brought back.  This position might not warrant an early pick, but you need to consider that whoever plays this position could end up being the signal caller for the defense.

Kevin MinterLSUrJr6\’124587late 1st26
Manti Te\’oNotre DameSr6\’225590late 1st33
Jon BosticFloridaSr6\’1246654th106
Nico JohnsonAlabamaSr6\’2249644th108
Kiko AlonsoOregonrSr6\’324276late 4th127
Kevin ReddickNorth CarolinaSr6\’224676late 4th144
A.J. KleinIowa StateSr6\’1246515th208
Bruce TaylorVirginia TechrSr6\’1234526th218
Albert RosetteNevadarSr6\’2245157th218
Vince WilliamsFlorida StaterSr6\’1247297th289

The chart shown below is all of the data I tabulated for you to get more insight into what these sites think about each player. A * means that this ranking was in a different category than the rest.

NameNFL.comESPNCBSDraftTekWalterfootballDraft Insider
ScoreScorePos RkOvr RkPos RkOvr RkPos RkOvr RkPos RkOvr Rk
Kevin Minter849013411731-231st
Manti Te\’o87.59223722821-221st
Jon Bostic62.2683102411063-343rd
Nico Johnson64.764411639974-585th
Kiko Alonso67.1845131512353-47*3rd
Kevin Reddick71.5816137715042-354th
A.J. Klein56.34671661024984-565th
Bruce Taylor63.94192269209104-696th
Albert Rosette030102498186N/AFAN/AFA
Vince Williams057820515373115-738*FA

* OLB ranking

With all of the information out there, at least a baseline is established for future conversation. I will try to break down this data before the combine, but if not, please give me an idea of who you like at ILB by commenting below. Please try to keep the discussion about the ILB position only for this post and I will continue thru the positions ASAP. Also, if you have any other sites that you think have thorough and insightful draft information, please post them below.


  • Andrew

    Foote is an UFA, not a matter of cap casualty or not. Profootballweekly has draft material as well

  • steeltown

    Foote must and will be brought back for ONE more season. He already publicly said he’d play for less money.

    They will draft someone, but no matter who it is, they wont be the ‘signal caller’ this season, not from day one, no way

  • lefnor

    You should have listed Alec Ogletree, Arthur Brown, Khaseem Greene, Sio Moore, Keith Pough and Gerald Hodges, because they are listed as OLBs but non of them are pass rushers. They are ILB prospects for us.

    My ILB wish list:

    1. Arthur Brown: Best intincts from this class, hard hitter and perfect fit into our D.

    2. Te’o: Not so good fit if you see the body type of Foote and Spence. Lost weight and was quicker than during the 2011 season. Bulldozer type and true leader. The hoax didn’t help his chances with the Steelers.

    3. Kevin Minter: A hybrid of Brown and Te’o :).

    The problem is that they are exptected to go off board somewhere between 25 and 40. If one of them will be available at our 2nd round pick Colbert shouldn’t hesitate.

    Moore and Bostic are good 3rd round options. I like their atleticism and above average tackling.

  • steeltown

    I dont think they’ll select any of the top guys.. but I would love to get Sio Moore or Nico Johnson in the 3-4th Rds

  • CW

    Personally I’d be for trading back from 17th overall to the mid to late 20s and picking up either Kevin Minter or Arthur Brown as well as adding a draft pick or two later in the draft.

  • grw1960

    I am surprised you left out OLB/ILB Arthur Brown. Especially since NFL com has Brown listed as an ILB and is graded higher (90) on NFL com than either Minter or Teo.
    I don’t pay for ESPN so I have no Idea what his grade is there. But I bet it is better than Bosic or Johnson

  • grw1960

    Sio wouldn’t be bad But Nico Johnson probably isn’t good enough to play passing downs on a regular basis. Nico is mostly a run stopper.

  • Alonso & Reddick

  • zyzak

    Manti Teo best of all of these and he’s a big time leader something they need and the other applicants on this page dont posess

  • steeltown

    I like Reddick as a mid Rd pick, could be a solid player… but, Alonso not only has had injury issues but has had multiple off-field issues as well

  • neighborhooddrunkpart2

    And Devonte Holloman

  • LucasY59

    I Like Williams or Taylor as a 7th/UDFA. would be a good ST/depth replacement for Sly (so far he is not worth his tender of more than 1 mil.) maybe Mauti if he is ok medically. Porter or Hodges would be ok in the 4th. I dont think the Steelers will pick an ILB any earlier because of the other needs and the pick of Spence last year.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Here are my 5 guys that I think can be good value’s at their respective projected draft spots

    Minter LSU Great instincts

    Beauharnais Rutgers does everything good…doesnt excel anywhere

    Klein Iowa St Tough and instinctive. I think Zach Thomas

    Molls Toledo Very productive good speed

    Mauti PSU in the mold of Poz and Lee.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Alonso isnt even on my draft board for the below reasons steeltown said. I do like Reddick as a wild card though…think he has potential to be really good or a bust.

  • Muati will fall because of injury and could be a steal later on.

  • Clint Martin

    Last year we passed on Hightower and he started for the Patriots and did good starting, I hope Decastro this year can be the dominant blocker we drafted.

  • TheBlitz

    Manti is in my opinion the best ILB of this class and worthy of a 1st round pick at 17. Prior to the fake gf fiasco he was easily a top ten pick. He is not anymore, and that’s actually a good thing for us. We haven’t read any factual report so far suggesting that he instigated the whole mess. He was a leader and captain this year for ND and had a good year. That’s what we need. Despite all the noise around his fake gf hoax he is definitely going to be drafted in the 1st round. Don’t let it be Baltimore at 32. They will take a shot at this guy and replace a great ILB with one who has the potential to be a pretty good one!

  • chris dimarino

    Good additions, I made this a quick analysis, but I’ll add those and make it more in depth after the combine. Thanks.

  • chris dimarino

    He’s more of a safety/linebacker mix. He reminds me of Taylor Mays, I just don’t think he’s ideal for ILB.

  • chris dimarino

    I say cap casualty in the fact that he would be a no brainer to bring back at this point if we could take his cap on. It would be nice if we could somehow get 1 more season out of him.

  • neighborhooddrunkpart2

    I disagree with that comparison, Taylor Mays is terrible in coverage, low Football IQ,Stiff, and terrible pre-snap recognition of routes. Taylor Mays is just a fast safety that can hit. That’s all.

    I also disagree with Holloman being a S/LB mix. At 6’1 246(heavier than Alonso & Taylor), Devonte Holloman possess quality traits that want your buck ILB have. High Football IQ, great in coverage,quick to make the tackle after the catch, Ballhawk, not afraid to take on blockers, displays good instincts and awareness. Sure he struggles to shed blocks with poor hand usage and average strength but so did Bobby Wagner and he had a monstrous rookie season.

  • Andrew

    Okay, I agree with you there. At least we generally know what we have in Foote, even if he regresses