GM profiling: McCloughan and the LBs (revisited)

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

What kind of linebackers have the 49ers preferred since general manager Scot McCloughan and coach Mike Singletary arrived in 2005? The chart shows which ones they wound up selecting, arranged by how early each was drafted.

We discussed the subject about three weeks ago. A subsequent conversation with Scouts Inc.'s Steve Muensch [see his latest chat] might help us identify linebackers fitting the 49ers' profile in the 2009 draft. A pass-rushing outside linebacker would fill one of the 49ers' biggest needs while the team finds out whether Manny Lawson will emerge in the role.

Muensch on the 49ers in the first round

Outside linebacker makes too much sense because of value, need and depth of the class. I keep hearing Aaron Maybin. He did not have a great combine, but on film he is just so quick off the ball.

I think Connor Barwin is a very interesting player, but probably later in the round. Brian Orakpo was the most sought-after guy. If he were to slide, they are in a good position to take a guy that early. With Manny Lawson and Patrick Willis, [McCloughan] has shown a willingness to go in the first round and take that guy.

If they for some reason did get a safety or corner in the first round, Larry English could be a guy for them [as an outside linebacker in the second round]. He is a small-school guy, played at Northern Illinois, but he performed really well at Senior Bowl week. He doesn't have great size and he doesn't have great timed speed, 4.82. But these are guys who are quicker on film than on the track. Certain guys run better in pads. He is just an excellent football player.

Muensch thought English could play situationally as a rookie while making the conversion from defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker.

At inside linebacker, Takeo Spikes played well enough for the 49ers as a free-agent addition last season to project as the starter in the "Ted" role next to Willis. Muensch pointed to South Carolina's Jasper Brinkley as an inside linebacker to watch in the fourth or fifth round: "I think he would be a great fit there because he doesn't have to play for a year."