6’1” – 246 lbs. – 4.70e
Given name is Philip. Started twelve games as a strongside linebacker in 2013, then all fourteen during his outstanding sophomore season. Injured his knee (torn meniscus) during the 2015 season opener, then sprained his foot when returning against UCLA. Plays all over the field, taking most of his snaps as an inside linebacker in Arizona’s 3-3-5 defense but also working off the edge from a three-point stance. Has a very aggressive, active on-field temperament which is among his greatest strengths as a player. Has average size and above-average bulk, with arms seemingly much shorter than average for his position and affect his reliability as a tackler, as well as his radius; lets multiple tackles a game get through his grasp. Often works as a blitzer, either on telegraphed plays from the defensive-end position or on delayed rushes from further back. A little bit linear as a rusher, working a violent but generally ineffective spin move into his repertoire, but closes pretty well once he’s got a clear path to the quarterback. Will get his arms up to contest passing lanes when he’s unable to get there in time. Willing to step into the hole and take on a block in order to close a rushing lane. Pretty explosive player who can generate some force on contact. Capable of engaging fullbacks and offensive linemen while working to position himself for a tackle; uses his hands very well to stack and shed. Can get needlessly preoccupied with attacking blockers and lose track of the ballcarrier. Has quick, active feet and will pursue to the sidelines, although he will often be fooled by misdirection and run himself out of the play. Tends to overpursue a bit on attempts to the sidelines, allowing runners to cut back. Once he’s keyed in, however, takes pretty good angles to the ball. Typically more of a rusher than a coverage linebacker, but has enough speed to contest swing routes to backs and will make the occasional zone drop; looks alert and keeps offensive players in front of him. Occasionally lined up shaded to the outside against bunch formations. Size limitations will probably prevent him from being a desirable option for coverage responsibilities on tight ends, nor was that something he was asked to do regularly at the college level. Outstanding sophomore-season production and nonstop motor should earn him consideration as one of the top linebackers off the board in the draft, but junior-year injuries, short arms, and missed tackles are worrisome. Looks capable of playing on the inside of either defensive front and may be best on a blitz-heavy team such as the Steelers.
Games watched: Arizona St. (’14), UCLA (’14), UCLA (’15)