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Getting Defensive: The Top Defensive Prospects From The American

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Derrick Mathews has exceled since moving to inside linebacker. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.
Derrick Mathews has exceled since moving to inside linebacker. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Houston made a great move this season when they decided to move Mathews to inside linebacker. As an outside linebacker, Mathews was a good prospect, but inside he is great. He has great speed and can make plays sideline to sideline as yet another tackling machine in the conference. Mathews has only totaled 10-plus tackles once in the Cougars' four games, but that is due in part to his increased role in the pass game. Mathews has a great nose for the ball and diagnoses plays very well and uses great downhill speed to atack the hole.

The biggest knock on Mathews is his size (6-0, 214). Some wonder whether Mathews is big enough to play inside linebacker at the NFL level.