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35. Deone Bucannon, Arizona Cardinals

Pass Defense: 18/25

Run Defense: 16/25

Pass Rush: 10/15

Tackling: 15/25

Position Value: 7/10

Overall Grade: 66/100

Bucannon battled an ankle injury all season, forcing him to miss the Cardinals' first three games and their Week 13 contest. Four years into his career, Bucannon is no longer an inexperienced rookie. Most importantly, Bucannon seems to be aware of the ways he wins and how he can avoid being exploited. His size will always be a cause of concern against teams that run with power in a gap scheme. Bucannon is best as a gap-shooting weakside linebacker who can be a primary underneath coverage defender.

      

34. Kevin Minter, Cincinnati Bengals

Pass Defense: 16/25

Run Defense: 17/25

Pass Rush: 8/15

Tackling: 18/25

Position Value: 7/10

Overall Grade: 66/100

Minter parlayed a solid season in Arizona last year into a free-agent contract from Cincinnati. Unfortunately, a Week 7 elbow injury disrupted Minter's season and eventually landed him on Injured Reserve. Throughout the first half, Minter wasn't putting up the same numbers as last year, but his play was nearly identical. He's a consistent linebacker that is at his best as a reactionary player paired with instinctual running mates. Minter is a clean-up player that doesn't have the explosiveness of other linebackers in the AFC North, but he's a sure tackler who can fight through contact at the line of scrimmage.

      

33. Elandon Roberts, New England Patriots

Pass Defense: 16/25

Run Defense: 17/25

Pass Rush: 10/15

Tackling: 16/25

Position Value: 7/10

Overall Grade: 66/100

Elandon Roberts' development from his first to second years has been somewhat disappointing. There's no questioning that the Patriots' linebacker hits like a Mack truck, but the recklessness in his play has been an issue all season. Roberts has no issue hitting top gear and isn't afraid to meet blockers in the hole, but he plays far too wildly and takes himself out of plays. Of all teams, the Patriots surely know how to harness that playing style, but Roberts will have to become a more disciplined player himself if he plans on becoming an every-down linebacker in the NFL. If the team can be patient, Roberts shows the speed, power and aggressiveness that can be the centerpiece of a formidable defense.

      

32. Brock Coyle, San Francisco 49ers

Pass Defense: 18/25

Run Defense: 18/25

Pass Rush: 7/15

Tackling: 17/25

Position Value: 7/10

Overall Grade: 67/100

Brock Coyle began the season as a backup and quickly found significant playing time following tremendous turnover in the 49ers linebacking corps. Coyle is an above-average backup and spot-starter that has the tenacity and thick chest to compete as an interior defender. He'll struggle to work across linemen in space that take strong angles in zone schemes. Coyle is a smart and steady defender that should see a long career as a primary backup and core special-teamer.

       

31. A.J. Klein, New Orleans Saints

Pass Defense: 14/25

Run Defense: 18/25

Pass Rush: 9/15

Tackling: 19/25

Position Value: 7/10

Overall Grade: 67/100

A.J. Klein looked like the best backup linebacker in football last year while filling in for injured Carolina Panther Luke Kuechly. Klein signed a free-agent deal with the New Orleans Saints and was able to carve out a starting role after years behind Kuechly. Klein has all of the tools to be an above-average starter in the league, but he's playing in the wrong division. Klein will consistently be compared to Kuechly, Deion Jones and Kwon Alexander, three players with incredible speed that Klein simply doesn't have. He's a consistent, high-effort player that has the strength to be adequate against gap runs, but man-to-man coverage against backs like Alvin Kamara will leave Klein exposed.

Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2752307-nfl1000-ranking-the-top-inside-linebackers-of-2017-season

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