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Draft History: Inside Linebackers

Posted Apr 18, 2012

SAN DIEGO – As we begin our preview of the inside linebackers available in the 2012 NFL Draft, here’s a look at players the Chargers have drafted at the position.

Player: Donald Butler
Drafted: 2010, third round (79th overall)
School: Washington
Career with Chargers: Butler missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon after a promising offseason. He asserted himself again in training camp last year despite a lockout-truncated offseason, won a starting job next to Takeo Spikes and had a promising first full season. Butler finished with 102 tackles, second on the team to Spikes, and pitched in 10 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovered and returned for a touchdown.

Player: Junior Seau
Drafted: 1990, first round (5th overall)
School: USC
Career with Chargers: One of if not the most recognizable Charger of all-time, Seau’s legendary career included a franchise-record 12 Pro Bowls (1991-2002). He received All-Pro honors in half those seasons, including ’94, San Diego’s only AFC Championship team. Seau played 200 games in 13 seasons for the Chargers, making more than 1,800 tackles, 47 sacks, 15 interceptions and 16 fumble recoveries. Seau was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame last season.

Player: Billy Ray Smith
Drafted: 1983, first round (5th overall)
School: Arkansas
Career with Chargers: The Arkansas product made more than 730 tackles during his 10-year career, all with the Chargers. Smith made 11 sacks in ’86 and five interceptions in ’87, but was mostly a sound tackler who topped 100 stops in each of his first four NFL seasons. Smith started 111 of his 126 NFL games and also is a member of the Chargers’ 50th-Anniversary All-Time Team.

Player: Woodrow Lowe
Drafted: 1976, fifth round (131st overall)
School: Alabama
Career with Chargers: One of San Diego’s all-time draft steals, the Chargers selected the undersized Lowe and were immediately praised by legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant (“San Diego’s getting Lowe in the fifth round is like getting a 10-dollar gold piece for 10 cents”). Listed at 6-foot, 211 pounds, Lowe’s size offset a decorated four-year career at the University of Alabama and allowed San Diego to get him well into the draft. Lowe missed just one game during an 11-year career with the Chargers and retired with 164 games played, the most by a San Diego defensive player at the time. He remains sixth all-time in games played. Lowe finished his career with 973 tackles, 21.5 sacks and 21 interceptions and reached the 100-tackle mark three times.

Player: Frank Buncom
Drafted: 1962, sixth round (48th overall)
School: USC
Career with Chargers: The three-time AFL All-Star also played on the 1963 AFL Championship team. A member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, Buncom signed with Cincinnati in 1968 and tragically died in his sleep the night before the Bengals’ 1969 season-opener. Buncom made four interceptions as a rookie and earned a reputation as a strong tackler in the middle of San Diego’s defense, where he did not miss a single regular-season or playoff game in six seasons.



OTHER DRAFTED INSIDE LINEBACKERS
Year Player Round Drafted School
2011 Jonas Mouton 2nd (61 overall) Michigan
Andrew Gachkar 7th (234) Missouri
2007 Brandon Siler 7th (240) Florida
2006 Tim Dobbins 5th (151) Iowa State
2003 Matt Wilhelm 4th (112) Ohio State
2002 Ben Leber 3rd (71) Kansas State
2001 Carlos Polk 4th (112) Nebraska
Zeke Moreno 5th (139) USC
2000 Shannon Taylor 6th (184) Virginia
1997 Toran James 7th (218) North Carolina AT&T
1995 Preston Harrison 3rd (98) Ohio State
Chris Cowart 4th (100) Florida State
1994 Zane Beehn 7th (207) Kentucky
1992 Kevin Little 5th (131) North Carolina AT&T
1991 Andy Katoa 9th (230) Oregon State
1989 Ricky Andrews 10th (260) Washington
1988 Cedric Figaro 6th (152) Notre Dame
1986 Tommy Taylor 4th (97) UCLA
1984 Mike Guendling 2nd (33) Northwestern
1983 Mike Green 9th (245) Oklahoma State
1981 Carlos Bradley 11th (300) Wake Forest
1980 Wayne Hamilton 6th (163) Alabama
1978 Blake Whitlatch 9th (248) LSU
1977 Curtis Townsend 10th (265) Arkansas
1976 Bob Horn 4th (94) Oregon State
Ray Preston 11th (295) Syracuse
Clarence Sanders 17th (463) Cincinnati
1975 Ken Bernich 4th (101) Auburn
Larry Keller 9th (214) Houston
Jerry Dahl 12th (292) North Dakota State
1974 Don Goode 1st (15) Kansas
John Ketchoyian 10th (237) Santa Clara
Charles Anthony 15th (366) USC
1973 John Knoble 5th (125) Weber State
Tab Bennett 9th (214) Illinois
1972 Lon Kolstad 10th (246) Whitewater (Wisc.)
Andy Selfridge 13th (321) Virginia
1971 Ray White 5th (117) Syracuse
Eric Humston 15th (377) Muskingum (Ohio)
1970 Jack Protz 11th (275) Syracuse
1969 Bob Babich 1st (15) Miami (Ohio)
1968 Jeff Queen 12th (317) Morgan State
1967 Ron McCall 2nd (40) Weber State
Bernard Erickson 5th (121) Abilene Christian
1966 Jeff Staggs 3rd (26) San Diego State
Doug Buffone 8th (72) Louisville
Danny Pride 10th (90) Tennessee State
Bill McDownell 20th (180) Florida State
1965 Doug Woodlief 4th (30) Memphis State
Rick Redman 5th (38) Washington
Tom Good 6th (46) Marshall
Mike Cicollella 12th (94) Dayton
Bill Quigley 13th (102) Villanova
John Godden 16th (126) San Diego State
1964 John Kirby 2nd (16) Nebraska
1963 Pat Emerick 6th (42) Western Michigan
Buddy Soefker 20th (154) LSU

 


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