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DRAFT PREVIEW

Linebackers

The Times takes a position-by-position look at the top college prospects and veteran free agents available:

April 18, 2001|ROY JURGENS

TOP LINEBACKER PROSPECTS

Dan Morgan, Miami, 6-3, 235--He is pegged as a future Pro Bowl player because of his ability to defend the run and cover receivers. Reads and reacts like a 10-year pro. A top-10 pick.

Tommy Polley, Florida State, 6-4, 225--Athletically gifted, but he will need to put on weight to be effective in the NFL. A solid playmaker who wreaks havoc in opposing backfields. Could be a first-round selection.

Carlos Polk, Nebraska, 6-2, 256--Has all the bulk, power and attitude to become a force in the middle. A nasty hitter.

Kendrell Bell, Georgia, 6-1, 240--Agile, sheds blocks and pursues nicely. Always seems to be around the football. Expected to be a second-round pick.

Markus Steele, USC, 6-3, 225--His ability to cover and pursue makes him an every-down type of player that NFL teams covet. Expected to go late in the second round.

BEST OF REST

Zeke Moreno, USC, 6-2, 238--Can play all three linebacker positions. Torrance Marshall, Oklahoma, 6-2, 245--Led national champions' defense. Jamie Winborn, Vanderbilt, 6-0, 235--Natural athlete. Quinton Caver, Arkansas, 6-5, 230--Huge upside. Morlon Greenwood, Syracuse, 6-0, 231--Outside speed rusher. Brandon Spoon, North Carolina, 6-1, 245--Very smart. Brian Allen, Florida State, 6-0, 233--Versatile. Matt Smith, Oregon, 6-3, 251--Adept at reading offensive sets.

SLEEPERS

Orlando Huff, Fresno State, 6-2, 234--Good run stuffer. Edgerton Hartwell, Western Illinois, 6-1, 238--A throwback.

VETERAN FREE AGENTS

Chris Slade (New England), Winfred Tubbs (San Francisco), Sam Rogers (Buffalo), Bryan Cox (New York Jets).

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NEXT: RUNNING BACKS

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