6’3” – 247 lbs. – 4.80e
Served as a reserve during his true freshman season, then started the second half of the following year at middle linebacker, where he played for the rest of his collegiate career. Bigger middle linebacker in the traditional mold: has a thick, well-developed body and looks the part of a traditional middle linebacker. Pretty patient player who generally flows to the ball reasonably well; can work through trash and step into gaps between the tackles. Fairly physical and can thump a little bit but has a tendency to lower his head and turn his body into a projectile. Generally able to square up runners between the tackles but struggles to reach spots against outside runs. Looked a little bit faster after dropping weight as a senior but is not a very rangy player, lacking the recovery speed to catch up when he takes a false step or to chase down running backs from behind in backside pursuit; might have to play in a defense which doesn’t require him to cover too much ground, allowing him to focus on playing downhill. A bit weaker than anticipated at the point of attack, often being driven backwards by an offensive lineman’s initial punch at the second level. Will sometimes try to work around blockers and end up taking himself out of position to make a tackle. Tended to stay on the field even when the team went to its sub packages, generally with coverage responsibilities (usually spot-drop or spy). Has pretty good technique in terms of his footwork and overall balance; looks comfortable when making his drops. However, speed limitations may prevent him from being an every-down player at the next level; would probably struggle to defend pro backs releasing into the flats or carry tight ends down the field on seam routes. Had only limited blitzing responsibilities, but showed the ability to dip his shoulder and bend back to the quarterback a little bit. Something of a throwback to an older game in which instincts and physicality were prized above athleticism and versatility; was an every-down player in college, but might be more of a two-down, between-the-tackles run stuffer in the NFL. Pretty polished prospect who brings nearly three years of SEC starting experience and would probably be best in a 3-4 defense which didn’t force him to take on too many blocks or cover too much ground. Looks like a mid-round prospect.
Games watched: Alabama (’15), Mississippi St. (’16), Wisconsin (’16)