Mailbag: Finding linebacker replacement

Stu from Stirling, Scotland thinks Iowa State linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott project as potential replacements for Leroy Hill at weak-side linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.

"I know John Schneider and Pete Carroll like their defenders big and quick, but I'm not sure there is a safer and more immediately useful option in the fourth through sixth rounds," Stu writes. "Would they draft a players likes these with high floors and low ceilings? I'm struggling to think of examples in recent years?"

2012 Draftees Listed at WLB in late August

Sando: I don't know enough about those specific linebackers to project where they'll land. Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay did offer thoughts on them recently. They see both getting drafted in the final four rounds.

Before last season, I used the depth charts on Ourlads.com to single out 2012 draft choices listed as weakside linebackers for teams running 4-3 defenses. The goal was to see how many were drafted and where in the process teams selected them. Teams used two in the second round, one in the fourth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.

The chart shows those six players and what percentage of snaps they played on defense last season.

Surely there were other 2012 draft choices who could have projected as 4-3 weakside linebackers. Perhaps they were needed elsewhere. But four months after the draft, there were only six 2012 choices listed a weakside linebackers for 4-3 teams.

The Seahawks will presumably target one of them, similar as to when they did in selecting K.J. Wright to play on the strong side two years ago. Wright was the fourth of four 4-3 strongside linebackers selected in that draft class.

Seattle does have other options. Malcolm Smith is a candidate to replace Hill in the lineup. I'd expect Seattle to draft insurance at the position. The team has 11 draft choices, so there will be opportunities.