LB Tanner Vallejo, Boise St.

6’1” – 228 lbs. – 4.67

Started six of eleven games played as a ttrue freshman, then spent the past three seasons as a starter when healthy. Undersized linebacker who projects as a weakside option at the pro level, lacking the bulk and length teams generally look for. Reportedly has outstanding character and played through injuries for nearly his entire senior season. Not a finesse player; despite his lack of size, is willing to get physical and take on blockers when playing between the tackles. Plays with good instincts and discipline in his run fits. Might struggle to anchor against power at the pro level, but did a decent job in college. Despite his lack of length, seems capable of making tackles while engaged. Plays with plenty of energy and has some explosiveness when he’s asked to plant and drive on a spot; able to sniff out screens and get downhill to put himself in position. Sideline-to-sideline player who can cover plenty of ground. Generally takes sound angles to the ball. However, has some trouble making tackles in the open field; often comes in too hot and overruns a spot or doesn’t manage to break down successfully. Lack of length gives him a limited tackling radius and will slip off of more attempts than usual. When he does manage to square up opponents, exhibits some pop on contact and will use his arms to wrap opponents. Flashes the ability to knife into the backfield and disrupt rushing attempts. Was frequently asked to line up well off the line of scrimmage and in space to provide coverage against opposing receivers; most likely early-career role is as a rotational coverage linebacker. Good mover who was asked to do some backpedaling and who can cover lots of ground and carry tight ends down the seams; might be able to rotate into the defense and work against opposing H-backs and flex options. Covers a lot of ground when shuffling and can reach deeper zones than is typical for the position. Temperamentally, seems like a good fit for a special-teams role and has a history of blocking kicks. Medical history (junior season injury, wrist surgery last season) is a concern given his lack of size and the aggressiveness he plays with on the field. If teams are comfortable with his medical situation, looks like a mid-round pick with the athleticism, instincts, energy, and intangibles to rotate onto the field defensively as a weakside linebacker and contribute on special teams.

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