NFLPA Collegiate Bowl: Final LB Rankings
Alex Hoffman-Ellis

Posted Jan 20, 2012
Charlie Bernstein


The inaugural Astroturf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practice week is finished and we were able to take in some underrated talent, from large BCS programs to the FCS level, and everything in between. We will give our final evaluation on how the top linebackers in this event project on the next level.

After a week of mostly non-contact practices, the top linebacker prospect from this event isn't listed as a linebacker, nor did he work out at the position this week. Boston College redshirt junior Max Holloway could be a very solid rotational outside linebacker in a 3-4 system. Holloway is one of two junior players (along with Miami's Brandon Washington) who drew the ire of the NFL enough to keep their scouts away from this game, at least in person.

"If the choice (by the NFL) was to punish the juniors and not have the league consent to the presence of their scouts, we choose no," NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith said in an exclusive interview. "We won't punish those youngsters."

Although Holloway worked out at defensive end, his 6-foot-2, 253 pound frame will not allow him to line up consistently with his hand on the ground. Holloway can and likely will be a designated pass rusher on the outside and has a very good shot of making some 3-4 team's rotation.

Our number two NFL linebacker prospect from this event doesn't require a position change. USC inside linebacker Chris Galippo has prototypical size and good speed. There will be injury concerns with Galippo going back to his collegiate days, but the raw talent and ability is there to be a rotational player immediately, and he could work his way into becoming a starter on the next level.

The smallest of the small school is represented on the list with Bowie State linebacker Delano Johnson. The imposing 6-foot-4, 253 pound backer is vocal and he let his play do the talking this week. Johnson seemed to be always around the football and he was able to shed blocks rather easily. Johnson will struggle in coverage at the next level and that could keep him from being drafted.

Finally, the ultimate "try-hard," always around the ball linebacker in this event was Washington State's Alex Hoffman-Ellis. The 6-foot-1, 232 pound linebacker doesn't have prototypical NFL size or speed, but he seems to always be around the football and posted a Pac-12 leading 68 solo tackles as a senior. Hoffman-Ellis will have to make an NFL roster by contributing on special teams and sub packages.


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