I compiled data for height, weight, arm length, 40 time, 10 yard split, 20 yard split, bench press reps, vertical jump, broad jump, 20 yard shuttle, and 3 cone drill for every Linebacker invited to the combine since 2000, including their pro-day results when applicable. After sorting the data by category, I noticed that not a single LB measured in at a historically elite level (top 20) in every measurement, but realistically, that is simply setting the bar too high. To create rational expectations I expanded the limitations from historically elite to objectively just above average, and that resulted in the following LB standard:
Height: 6014....Weight: 235 lbs....Arm Length: 32"....Bench Press: 21 reps
40: 4.65 sec....10 yd split: 1.60 sec....20 yd split: 2.64 sec
Vertical: 34"....Broad Jump: 117"....3 Cone: 7.05....20 yd Shuttle: 4.25
These measurements are good, but by no means are they individually elite. A 4.65 40 yard dash is not exactly blazing and a 6'1.5" 235 lb linebacker is not quite a giant; however, when combining all these numbers you get a very solid all around LB prospect that separates from the hisorical pack. Since 2000, only 7 Linebackers have met or exceeded the standard in every category. They are as follows:
2000 - Brian Urlacher
2006 - Manny Lawson
2008 - Stanford Keglar
2009 - Brian Cushing
2009 - Clay Matthews
2010 - Sean Lee
2011 - Von Miller
Aside from Stanford Keglar, not exactly a bad list. You could argue that Manny Lawson would've been more effective in his career had he started in a different scheme, but a decent player nonetheless who just happens to be an free agent at the moment. (PFF rating of +10.2 in his 1st year converting from a 3-4 rush linebacker to an OLB in a 4-3) There are several players that failed to qualify for this list after falling short in only 1 category. Notable among them: Patrick Willis, Thomas Howard, James Anderson, David Thornton, AJ Hawk, Quincy Black, Martez Wilson, Jason Worilds, and yes...Jamar Chaney to name a few.London Fletcher has done okay with his 31" arms, but there aren't a whole lot of elite examples. To be clear, though, I am not saying Kuechly will be a bust because of arms that are an inch short of a fictional standard...nonetheless, it is a game of inches...or so I heard.
Oh, and in case you're wondering about Dan Connor, he fell just short in two categories: 231 lbs (4 lbs short) and a 2.66 sec 20 yd split (.02 sec short)...for what that's worth.