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2012 NFL Draft: Linebacker Not A Frequent Top 10 Target

The Buffalo Bills have a need at outside linebacker entering the 2012 NFL Draft, and though the contingent is small, some Bills fans are already predicting that the team will use its No. 10 overall pick on a linebacker.

Of the last 100 players selected in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft - which takes us back to 2002, the year the Bills took Mike Williams - only six were linebackers. Therefore, to those Bills fans predicting a linebacker with the team's first-round pick this year: recent history says you have a six percent chance of being right.

Who were those six players, you ask? Rolando McClain was the most recent, taken one place ahead of C.J. Spiller in 2010; Aaron Curry, Keith Rivers, Jerod Mayo, A.J. Hawk and Ernie Sims also make the list. Of those six linebackers, more have switched teams (Curry and Sims) than have made a Pro Bowl (Mayo - though it wouldn't be shocking if McClain soon joins him).

In an era of football where linebackers are often sidelined in favor of more defensive backs, the position is not considered critical anymore. It's not out of the realm of possibility for the Bills to look at linebackers early - they were really high on Mayo in 2008, as a matter of fact - but history says that they'll try to find value at that position in later rounds.