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Mike Mayock position rankings: Reuben Foster, Haason Reddick top ILBs before the 2017 NFL Combine

The NFL Network draft analyst breaks down the top five ILBs in this year’s draft class.

The 2017 NFL Combine gets started in just under two weeks, and we are officially into the most prominent time of the year Mike Mayock. The NFL Media Draft analyst released his first round of position rankings on Tuesday. You can view them all, but I thought we would pull out some of the more pertinent positions.

The San Francisco 49ers are expected to switch to more of a 4-3 under defense, after spending much of the past decade running a 3-4. That changes up how linebackers operate, but it does not mean the team has less need for the position. NaVorro Bowman is coming off a second significant lower left leg injury. Ray-Ray Armstrong signed a two-year extension this past December, but his status is unclear with the new coaching staff and front office.

Here is a look at Mayock’s top five inside linebackers.

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama
2. Haason Reddick, Temple
3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
4. Jarrad Davis, Florida
5. Alex Anzalone, Florida

Mayock is a big fan of Reddick, and although this is his first ranking, it sounds like Reddick climbed up it during Senior Bowl week. Mayock recapped Senior Bowl practice week, and he listed Reddick as the player who made the most money. The Senior Bowl game is worth watching, but practice week is when players are going to improve or hurt their draft stock. Here’s what Mayock had to say about Reddick:

He had a really impressive week. He was a hand-in-the-dirt 4-3 defensive end with a lot of sack production at Temple, but down here they asked him to stand up and play two different positions, and every day he got better. And his attitude about the switch was terrific; I got a kick out of how he embraced it. The last two days of practice, I don't think he lost a rep. He bounced around and made plays all week. At 6-foot-1 and 237 pounds, most see him as a tweener, but I think he showed versatility. I came into the week wondering what he would be at the next level, and at the end of the practice sessions I left thinking he could be an inside linebacker in a 3-4, an inside linebacker in a 4-3, and an occasional edge rusher. Bottom line: He showed he can do a bunch of things and do them well. He might not have to come off the field.

There have been some mock drafts suggesting Reuben Foster at No. 2. He had surgery recently on a torn rotator cuff that will keep him from doing drills at the Combine, and likely will keep him out of OTAs and minicamp.

In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper projects Reddick to the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 30. If you are the 49ers and you grab some other position at No. 2 (barring a trade down), do you pounce if Reddick slips to the second pick of the second round? The 49ers have linebackers, but the long-term viability of the position is up in the air. Do we see an early look at ILB?