IB DeDe LATTIMORE, SOUTH FLORIDA

6’0” – 237 lbs. – XXXX

POSITIVES:

•    Impressive overall movement skills, gets up to speed quickly, flows well to ball.
•    Could make sense for teams as either a middle or weakside linebacker in the 4-3.
•    Instincts are generally sound in terms of identifying/recognizing plays post-snap.
•    Physical player who gets a little bit chippy after the snap; impressive intensity.
•    More powerful than his size suggests, in terms of pop on contact and hit power.
•    Doesn’t do a great job vs. blocks but can navigate through trash reasonably well.
•    Has value as a blitzer due to his overall burst, ability to disguise post-snap intent.
•    Seems like a likely candidate for a special-teams role on kick/punt coverage units.

NEGATIVES:

•    Combination of height and bulk is barely adequate for a pro middle linebacker.
•    Angles in pursuit, need to avoid blocks can occasionally negate his athleticism.
•    Probably restricted to covering backs out of flat vs. man coverage on tight ends.
•    More of a downhill player than someone who was used extensively in coverage.
•    Gets distracted by blockers, preoccupation can lead to difficulty locating the ball.
•    Needs to do a better job of protecting his legs, susceptible to cut blocks vs. run.
•    Tends to incline more toward going for a hit than remembering to wrap runners.

SUMMARY:

A Shrine Game invite who failed to receive a Combine invitation, whether or not Lattimore’s destined for a late-round selection in this year’s draft remains to be seen, but he figures to draw interest from teams who are seeking reserve linebackers for swarming 4-3 fronts, whether in the middle or on the weakside. It’s doubtful that he’ll ever work his way into a starting lineup, but undersized, athletic linebackers tend to make effective special-teams players, which could give him an opportunity to contribute at the pro level. At first, though, he may need to spend some time on a team’s practice squad, as there are still some flaws in his game, most notably his overpursuit of the play at times. At this point, Lattimore is more dynamic as a downhill player than as someone who looks comfortable reading the quarterback’s eyes in coverage, so that may require some work as well.

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