Data Points: Top LBs rarely match hype

With the 2011 NFL Draft looming on Thursday, there will be much speculation about who will go where. And then post-draft, analysts and fans alike will opine on who will be a bust, based on a personal preference, which team a player lands with, or perhaps, because of the position he plays.

A perfect case in point is Texas A&M’s Von Miller, who many project to go in the top 10, if not the top five. One potential landing spot is Buffalo, which definitely needs help on defense.

Being picked by the Bills can be a curse all its own: J.P. Losman (2004) and Aaron Maybin (2009) are two recent first-round selections who haven’t exactly panned out. Even if Miller doesn’t land in Ralph Wilsonville, is it possible he never reaches top-five potential because he’s a linebacker?

Recent history suggests just that. Courtesy of analyst and legendary Dallas Cowboys personnel guru Gil Brandt, six linebackers have gone in the top 10 during the past decade with less-than-fantastic results … like having only one Pro Bowl appearance collectively.

Meanwhile, running backs taken in the top 10 have the highest Pro Bowl yield, with 1.25 Pro Bowl selections per draft pick.

— Elliot Harrison

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