2006 NFL Draft: Halil Out, DeMarco Ryans In subject logo: PROSPORTS
Posted by: badanov

We were looking over the NFL.com website about the draft and one of the revisions we must do to our picks for top linebackers is to replace Penn State's Tamba Halil with Alabama's DeMarco Ryans.

We realize that Ohio State linebacker AJ Hawk is likely to be taken in the first round, and in fact is in talks for the 2006 season already.

We would like to point out for all his greatness, in another time, AJ Hawk would be passed to the latter rounds based on his size, 6'1” 240 pounds. He may make a nice DE, but we have reservations at any linebacker position unless he signs on as a pass rush specialist only.

Also perusing the lists we came to the conclusion that our list is every bit as divergent as the analysts at the NFL. Those folks are much likely to be correct about the best from the data they have from the combines, but our selections were based on size and statistics, and from what we were able to catch in the post season.

And leaving out DeMarco Ryans was a dreadful mistake we happily correct in this story.

Ryans played for the second best defense in the nation, the 2005 Alabama Crimson Tide team, a team with a defense so good, they were able to shut down one of the nation's best offenses in Texas Tech, vindicating our contention ( Actually Oklahoma college football coach Bud Wilkinson's contention ) that a great offense can kill a game but a great defense will always win it.

We had zero chance to watch Ryans except in the Cotton Bowl and our focus at the time was to watch the defensive line and the secondary and what was done with the quick count passing plays of Texas Tech. We had been told by friends there was no way Alabama could counter such a potent passing attack, and we admit we were convinced it could happen, except for the Alabama secondary, which played up tight against the line of scrimmage to rob the Red Raiders of some of their best plays.

Ryans played in that game but from what we remember about it it was the secondary and the front line which won the game for Alabama. It is possible that Texas Tech knew better than to throw passes in the linebacker zone where Ryans would be.

We watched the Ohio State Texas game and was impressed with AJ Hawk, but we were more impressed with the general play of the linebackers of the Buckeyes than just Hawk.

The upshot of all this is that our list of the top five essentially remains with the changes noted. We know that Lawson and Williams of NC State but are outstanding OLBs and we know that Ryans will likely be the second linebacker taken this year.

John Chick of Utah State is the only wild card of that group. We haven't seen his name come up on many lists, and we may be far off base. It could be that the Ute's defensive scheme would disallow an easy changeover from defensive end, which Chick played to outside linebacker. But we like Chick's size and his play from the defensive end position, and that make him a logical choice for a top pick at outside linebacker.

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