FS KENNY LADLER, VANDERBILT

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6’1” – 205 lbs. – 4.60e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2010: 57 – 5.5 – 0.0, 1 FF, 1 FR, 2 PD, 1 INT
2011: 53 – 1.0 – 0.0, 3 PD, 1 INT
2012: 90 – 3.5 – 1.0, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 PD, 2 INT

OVERVIEW:

Started nine of the twelve games he appeared in at strong safety during his true freshman season, stepping into the lineup as an injury replacement. Started five of the thirteen games he appeared in as a sophomore. Started all twelve games in 2012, then did the same in 2013, being named to the All-SEC First Team.

POSITIVES:

•    Has roughly three seasons of starting experience, but has contributed all four years.
•    Has a prototypical combination of height, bulk, and length for a pro defensive back.
•    Versatility is a plus; has starting experience at both free safety and strong safety.
•    Forceful hitter who can line up receivers; oan intimidating presence over the middle.
•    Remembers his tackling technique, does have some explosion but uses arms to wrap.
•    Became pretty good at stripping the ball during his senior year, forcing five fumbles.
•    Refrains from committing too quickly, takes care of his own responsibilities first.
•    Is capable of making interceptions when given a chance, had five as a senior.
•    Has also contributed on special teams; could initially see the field in punt coverage.

NEGATIVES:

•    Top-end speed is below-average for a free safety; may be more of a strong safety.
•    Range in coverage is limited, works in high coverage but can’t cover much ground.
•    Once an opponent gets past him, typically isn’t fast enough to recover from behind.
•    Conservative in zone, avoids big mistakes but can’t make many plays on the ball.
•    Hasn’t been asked to line up in coverage against slot receivers or against tight ends.
•    Misses a few tackles a game, usually because of positioning rather than technique.

SUMMARY:

Certainly a player who looks the part of a pro safety, Ladler will enter the draft with four seasons of quality experience in the SEC, culminating in his All-SEC First Team selection this season. His versatility, having started at both safety spots, will also appeal to pro teams. Generally, he is a fairly responsible, conservative center-fielder who also offers some pop as a tackler. However, his lack of speed and, consequently, range will only become more apparent at the pro level, especially if he plays free safety. He gets a little bit too aggressive in his angles at times, and is generally a bit late to make plays on the ball vs. the pass. A player who does a nice job of working within his limitations and avoiding major mistakes, but whose ceiling is limited by his average athleticism; projects as more of a reserve/special teams option.

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