Kansas City Chiefs: The Inside Linebacker Draft Prospects

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Oct 25, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers linebacker Stephone Anthony (42) sacks Syracuse Orange quarterback AJ Long (4) during the first quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Stephone Anthony – Clemson – 6’3″ 243 lbs

When I set out to write this piece on ILB prospects I planned on Stephone Anthony being a guy that KC should consider in the second round, not the first. However, that was simply based on his size, combine performance (where he was the most impressive of the ILBs), and scouting reports from others that I had read. Then I put on some tape. As always, I watch my game tape via the cut up videos at www.draftbreakdown.com (highly recommended). I always start with the game that seems like the strongest competition. So for Anthony I clicked on his game against Florida State last season. I’ll talk about what I like about Anthony in a minute, but if you are questioning my sanity for picking him as the best ILB in this draft class I urge you to take eleven minutes and watch the video below. If you won’t watch the whole thing, at least watch the first two plays that include a tackle for a loss and then a pass break up.

Of the countless games I watched of ILB prospects that was hands down the most impressive single game I watched. While Anthony isn’t perfect (his over pursuit on the final play in OT as an example) he shows the ability to do everything that KC is looking for in this one game. He slides off blockers to make stops in the run game. He drops into coverage and breaks up passes. He shows the timing and explosion needed to apply pressure up the middle including recording a sack. Most importantly, in my opinion, is that he shows the speed/explosion, range/agility, and strength/toughness needed to be successful against both the run and pass in the NFL. While not every game of his that was available to watch is as impressive as the FSU game, they do consistently show off his abilities. While Anthony may not be as powerful against the run as McKinney, I would place him second out of the other top tier ILB prospects. Similarly, while he may not be quite as good as Kendricks in coverage, I would again place him second out of the top prospects in that area.

So while KC wouldn’t be getting THE best guy to fill the 3-4 “thumper” next to DJ or THE best guy to play LB in the sub package, they would be getting THE best guy that could fill both openings. Now, I know what some of you are saying. “Great, so wait and take him in the second round.” Well I don’t care what the latest mock drafts say, a guy with Anthony’s size/speed/experience/game tape isn’t lasting until the mid to late second round. Anthony is going to get picked in the first round. The Chiefs MIGHT be able to trade back a little and get him, but every year there are prospects that go higher than all the draft “experts” and mock drafts predicted. I’d put my money on Anthony being one of those guys this year.

So while I still would prefer an offensive lineman and think it’s probably more likely that the Chiefs go with a CB in the first round, if they do take an ILB with the pick my recommendation would be Stephone Anthony of Clemson.

So what if KC does decide to pass on taking an ILB early in the draft? On the final slide I’ll give you a few mid to late round prospects that they could target.

Next: Click Here For Some Mid To Late Round ILB Targets