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Quotebook: Top Linebacker Prospects

Posted Feb 23, 2014

See what the top linebacker prospects had to say in their media availabilities.

Here are a handful of quotes from some of the top linebacker prospects here at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Jeremiah Attaochu (OLB) – Georgia Tech

On how difficult it is for him to not be able to compete at Combine…

“It’s definitely tough not being a part of it. I went to the Senior Bowl to compete and unfortunately I injured my hamstring and also injured my hand. I will be working out at my Pro Day on March 28th. I should be ready by then.”

On if he prefers to be a linebacker or play with his hand down at defensive end…

“Doing both. I played in a 3-4 the first three years of my career. I played in the 4-3 over my last year of my career. That kind of made me more versatile and be able to do both.”

On if he is ready for the NFL…

“Definitely. I always treated football as a fulltime job in college. At Georgia Tech you have to always treat everything that way because the academics. You have to treat it likes it’s a full time job. With football, that’s kind of how I always handled it. I feel like it will be a little easier when I can just focus on football and taking care of my body and trying to help my team.”

Anthony Barr (OLB) – UCLA

On transitioning from offense to defense…

“The transition was pretty smooth, honestly. Difficult at first. I think moving backwards, going back in coverage, was something that was new to me. But now I feel comfortable with that. Just sort of getting used to the position. It’s still sort of new to me in a sense. It’s exciting. If I continue to work, the sky’s the limit.”

On what he needs to work on…

“Shedding blocks, defending the run, using my hands. I think those things are still new to me, things I’m still work on. If I continue to work on it, I think I’ll be able to perfect those.”

On NFL players he likes…

“Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, guys like that. One day I’d like to be named with those guys.”

Chris Borland (ILB) – Wisconsin

On if he is the most complete linebacker in draft…

“I'm confident that I am, and I don't know that there are a lot of players that are a better all around athlete. I don't get maybe a lot of credit for it. I'm small, and straight line speed is not my strong suit necessarily – we'll see how it goes tomorrow. But as far as what it takes to play football, I've got all it requires.”

On guys a similar size being successful…

“There are a lot of guys that have gotten it done at a high level being under six feet. You mentioned London Fletcher, he's a guy I watched. Zack Thomas, Chris Spielman is about six feet. A lot of guys have played very well at that size and they kind of paved the way for guys like me.”

On his toughness…

“I feel like I'm the toughest guy here, or at least one of them. We've got a lot of tough guys here at the combine, but I've played through things, no complaint, practice hard, all the right things. Probably the way I grew up. I've got four older brothers, six siblings, and we were playing sports all the time, so it's just kind of the way I operate.”

Khalil Mack (OLB) – Buffalo

On his versatility…

“My versatility helps me in a lot of ways. If you have a guy who can rush the passer, as well as drop in coverage- that covers two of the big issues on the defense.”

On his relationship with teammates…

“I feel like it's a brotherhood in the locker room as far as I'm concerned. A lot of those guys, I love them like my brothers. All of those guys, I play to my last- I give it my all for every one of those guys, and I let them know that every chance I got. Especially, being a leader on that team.”

On what will be the toughest part transitioning to the NFL…

“The toughest transition is going to be getting to know grown men in a professional environment. I feel like that's always going to be difficult at first, especially hearing some of the rookies that come down to Tom Shaw’s and tell us about the stories that they get from the vets, and all those different things. So  it's going to be a transition but I feel like football-wise I'm ready to step in and make an impact anyway I can.”

Yawin Smallwood (ILB) – Connecticut

On what he wants to prove to scouts…

“That I'm an athletic Mike (middle linebacker). I feel like I can cover the tight ends, the fast tight ends now. I feel that I can stop the run, make plays out there on the football field."

On who he patterns his game after…

"Jerod Mayo from the New England Patriots and also NaVorro Bowman from the 49ers….If you watch those two people on the field, they are always flying around. They're always around the football and that's something that I try and do as well. Besides that, those are great guys to look after on the field, they're great role models off the field."

On why he succeeds at the middle linebacker position…

“It's the quarterback of the defense and I feel like I have that responsibility."

Kyle Van Noy (OLB) – BYU

On his ability to make big plays…

“I feel like I’ve done a lot of things that people around me haven’t done. I scored five career touchdowns playing defense, so I feel like I’m an offensive player on defense. I want to get the ball in the offenses hands, but also have the aggression to play linebacker. I feel like every time you get a sack, you try to get the ball out. Quarterbacks, some can’t see you from the backside or some are looking down field when you’re coming from the front side. I feel like getting the ball is key. At the end of the day it’s all about getting the ball.”

On his leadership on the field…

“I was allowed to check plays if I saw something that I didn’t feel comfortable scheme wise. I was on the same page with the coaching staff for the defensive calls. I can call plays.”

On his big performance in the bowl game a year ago…

“The bowl game, I kind of put myself on the map as well as Brigham Young as a whole. We’re kind of an under radar team. Teams who we know are defensively, we finished top 10 every single year. For me it was unbelievable. I hit every category in one game and scored touchdowns in one game. I look back and I think about how fortunate I was to have guys around me doing their job and being able to put points up and the game was pretty fun.”


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