After a live view of Ohio State linebackers A.J. Hawk, Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel operating against the Longhorns Saturday night, there is little doubt in my mind that Ohio State owns the best linebacking corps in college football. There also is no doubt that all three can play at the next level.
Hawk is clearly the most talented of the three and should be a top-15 pick in the 2006 draft. He has ideal size, great straight-line speed and rare playmaking instincts.
Carpenter possesses a rare combination of size and athletic ability. He is an intelligent, durable and physical player, who shows great consistency on the football field. He has some experience rushing the passer with his hand down as a defensive end and also has the versatility to play strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 and/or outside linebacker in a 3-4 at the next level, which should solidify him a spot toward the end of the first day of the draft.
Schlegel is the least gifted of the three, but he still warrants Day 2 consideration because of his size, toughness and inside run-stopping abilities.