6’1” – 238 lbs. – 4.65e
Has been starting for the past two seasons and was a valuable rotational player and special teams contributor before that. A smaller Mike linebacker, albeit with a thick build; could potentially get some looks as a weakside linebacker as well. Aggressive player who likes to play downhill and is around the ball very often; has good instincts but might benefit from being a little bit more patient. Plays the game with a physical temperament, bringing energy and toughness to the defense. Has a good motor in pursuit, with the speed to make tackles in backside pursuit. Flows well to the ball in the run game; despite being a smaller linebacker, is willing to take on and play off of blocks. Has a pretty good anchor to handle blockers at the point of attack on inside runs. Able to make tackles while engaged; has a strong grip and is reliable within his radius. That said, sometimes gets preoccupied with taking on blocks and neutralizes himself. Stout, with solid stopping power; breaks down pretty well, looking better in close quarters than when roaming sideline-to-sideline, where he slipped off of a few tackles during the games reviewed. Fluid mover who was asked to make some drops into zones and looks good when flipping his hips. Has plus balance in coverage and the ability to pick up targets when pattern-matching. Good feel for sniffing out screens and misdirection when playing zone; doesn’t make too many false steps. Does a pretty good job of keeping his man in front of him. Fat enough to carry tight ends down the seam but is smaller than you’d like for a player with that type of role. Has a good physical/athletic profile for work on running backs in man coverage but that wasn’t a major part of his responsibilities in college. Man work against opposing receivers was also limited. Able to time blitzes, with good acceleration through the A-gap; however, his role as a blitzer is minor compared to the amount of snaps on which he’s asked to work in coverage. Can close out when he finds an open lane to the quarterback, forcing them to throw the ball away. Had two seasons (his sophomore and senior) cut short by injury and will face medical concerns which could affect his draft stock, but ultimately looks like he’s going to go in the second half of the first round, as he offers an excellent combination of physicality, aggressiveness, athleticism, and versatility which should allow him to become a starter at the pro level.