Detroit Lions: 5 Undersized Linebackers to Consider in 2016 NFL Draft

Photograph: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Photograph: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Photograph: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Photograph: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports /

Travis Feeney

To be precise, Travis Feeney isn’t so much undersized as he is underweight, by prototypical NFL linebacker standards. At the combine he weighed in at 230 lbs., while measuring 6’4″ so Feeney has room to grow into his frame. But even without adding weight, he’s a player who should intrigue the Lions now.

Feeney was one of the linebacker standouts at the combine. He ran a 4.5o 40-yard dash, had a 40 inch vertical jump, and a 10’10” broad jump. Those numbers would be good ones for a wide receiver, let alone a linebacker prospect. It’s been reported that Feeney also posted those impressive numbers while still dealing with the effects of a hernia.

Perhaps just as important, Feeney is not simply a workout warrior. He compiled 56 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and three forced fumbles for the University of Washington this past season. Clearly he is an impact player, and his skill-set and athleticism would offer the Lions a great asset on defense, as part of a new line of sleek and speedy linebackers who can play on all downs.

Incidentally, Ohio State linebacker prospect Darron Lee, another undersized linebacker prospect, posted similar combine numbers to Feeney. But Lee is expected to be drafted in the first round, and the Lions have more pressing needs along both their offensive and defensive lines. Feeney could be had by the Lions in the second round.

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