2014 NFL Draft: Ten Prospects the Packers Could Target on Day Two

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Connecticut Huskies linebacker Yawin Smallwood (33) assists defensive end Reuben Frank (47) in a tackle of Temple Owls quarterback P.J. Walker (11). Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Yawin Smallwood – Linebacker, UConn, 6-3, 236 (4.68)

Smallwood is moving up draft rankings rather rapidly. He hasn’t had the national attention of other linebackers, like Alabama’s C.J. Mosley and Stanford’s Shayne Skov, but he deserves to be in the discussion when people talk about the top inside linebacker prospects in this year’s class.

The underclassman from Connecticut is perhaps the most athletic inside linebacker prospect in the draft. He has excellent sideline-to-sideline speed. He moves well in space and excels in coverage, even when he’s matched up against athletic tight ends or receivers in the slot. As a three-year starter for the Huskies, he recorded 16 pass breakups, two interceptions, and seldom gave up a big play in coverage.

Smallwood also has great football instincts. He’s great at reading and reacting to a play as it develops. He averaged over 100 tackles a season in his three years at UConn, and notched 27 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles. Smallwood can also get pressure on the quarterback blitzing either from the inside or outside, notching 7.5 sacks in his final two seasons as a Husky.

Smallwood can play all three linebacker positions and would give Green Bay a versatile, yet underrated, defender that could develop into a solid anchor in the middle of their defense.