6’3″ – 236 lbs. – 4.64
Rotated into the defense over ten games as a true freshman, then started twelve of thirteen games the following year, and all thirteen in each of the two subsequent seasons. Team captain who lined up all over the field, often as the weakside linebacker or in the slot across from opposing receivers. Has good size and length for a weakside linebacker, with adequate bulk; might be able to handle more weight if needed. As his usage would indicate, is an athletic player who can play sideline to sideline in the run game. Not exactly an anticipatory player but does a good job of flowing toward the ball. Able to use his hands and length to prevent blockers from locking onto his frame; can slip opponents in order to work his way to the ball. Has more pop on initial contact than is typical for a player of his size, and also offers a decent anchor. Gets to a lot of spots an average athlete wouldn’t be able to make it to and has a wide tackling radius, but isn’t a particularly forceful or secure tackler. Might struggle to hold up against the physicality of the pro game if asked to take on blockers at the next level and would be better as a sub-package defender who was covered by his defensive linemen and allowed to roam to the ball. Had extensive coverage responsibilities in college; probably a better athlete than he is fluid and consistent in his backpedal, but offers a lot of range and at his best is capable of reading the quarterback’s eyes and putting himself in position to make plays on the ball; recorded five interceptions over the past three seasons. Was often asked to line up on the edge and rush; doesn’t have elite explosiveness off the line of scrimmage, but is fast and flexible enough to get into the backfield and make tackles in pursuit or blow up the occasional rushing attempt before it develops. There’s some inconsistency to his game in terms of his reliability as a tackler and his technique when dropping into coverage, but as a three-year starter with an intriguing combination of length, athleticism, and versatility, he figures to be a candidate to come off the board in the mid-rounds as a developmental linebacker who could contribute in sub packages and on special teams, and who could potentially earn a starting role.