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2012 NFL Draft Preview: Linebackers

Posted Apr 2, 2012

Take a closer look at some of the top prospects at linebacker as the 2012 NFL Draft approaches.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the weeks leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft, DenverBroncos.com is taking a look at the draft prospects position-by-position.

We will devote a week to each group, looking back at some of the Broncos' previous picks at the position and showcasing some of the top prospects through top stories, blogs and Broncos TV videos.

Fourth in the nine-part series: linebackers.

Below you will find six of the top prospects at the linebacker position. Later in the week, we will profile another player to keep an eye on -- North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown.

TOP PROSPECTS AT THE POSITION:

DONT'A HIGHTOWER
• POSITION: Inside Linebacker
• COLLEGE: Alabama
• HEIGHT: 6'2"
• WEIGHT: 265
On how playing at Alabama and against high-level SEC competition made him better:
"We all compete and that’s another reason why we came to Alabama and the SEC, to compete against some of the best athletes in the country."
Player
MYCHAL KENDRICKS
Player • POSITION: Inside Linebacker
• COLLEGE: California
• HEIGHT: 6'0"
• WEIGHT: 239
On his thoughts on playing special teams:
"Oh yeah. Gotta get on the special teams to earn your spot. That’s the ticket, without a doubt. That’s the in and out this business, wherever I go."
LUKE KUECHLY
• POSITION: Inside Linebacker
• COLLEGE: Boston College
• HEIGHT: 6'3"
• WEIGHT: 242
On how he would you describe himself as a player?:
"Instinctual player is something that pops up for a lot of people. That, coupled with, I think I'm a smart player. I think I do a pretty good job preparing myself."
Player
TRAVIS LEWIS
Player • POSITION: Outside Linebacker
• COLLEGE: Oklahoma
• HEIGHT: 6'1"
• WEIGHT: 246
On his leadership skills:
"I’ve always been at good at firing people up and keeping people excited about the game. That’s something I want to continue to do in the NFL. I think that’s one of my most valuable traits."
SEAN SPENCE
Player • POSITION: Linebacker
• COLLEGE: Miami
• HEIGHT: 5'11"
• WEIGHT: 231
On his strengths:
"I think I’m a three down linebacker, very fast, I can go sideline to sideline, I’m a smart, very instinctive player, I’m going to play hard, I’m a leader, I lead by example, and most of all I make plays."
COURTNEY UPSHAW
• POSITION: Outside Linebacker
• COLLEGE: Alabama
• HEIGHT: 6'2"
• WEIGHT: 272
On whether he is comfortable in either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive scheme:
“I'm very comfortable. We had a nickel package where I played a 4-3 as the end, away from the tight end, in a five-technique, hand-on-the-ground, dropping out of a three-point stance in coverage if the D-end had to. So I'm real comfortable with doing that.”
Player