LB Oren Burks, Vanderbilt

6’3” – 233 lbs. – 4.59

Profile:

  • Began his collegiate career as a safety. Started seven of eight games played there as a redshirt freshman, and all twelve games the following season. Transitioned to linebacker as a junior and spent the past two seasons starting there for the Commodores to conclude his collegiate career. Has added over twenty pounds of bulk since 2014.

Positives:

  • Highly athletic linebacker who tested extremely well, posting excellent numbers in Indianapolis, including a 39.5” vertical leap. Offers smooth movement skills, some explosiveness, and impressive top-end speed. Can play sideline-to-sideline and reach spots. Doesn’t shy away from hitting; closes fast and uses his length to wrap up ballcarriers, offering a wide tackling radius. At his best in coverage; initial role at the pro level may come in sub packages. Capable of sniffing out screens and getting there to make tackles. Looks comfortable carrying running backs out of the backfield and down the sidelines on wheel routes. Has the length and speed to run down the seams with tight ends. Will take some snaps opposite slot receivers, working in man coverage. Rarely used as an edge rusher in the games reviewed but flashes the ability to get upfield and dip his shoulder to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Negatives:

  • Despite added weight, is still a little bit thinner than you’d like a linebacker to be, and that carries over into his functional strength. Struggles to deal with blockers; can be engulfed and struggles to use his hands to disengage. Placed on skates by power. Consequently, isn’t much of a between-the-tackles thumper; game is not predicated around stepping into the hole and mixing it up with blockers. Most of his tackles come downfield rather than at the line of scrimmage. Can be lured away from the play by misdirection. Angles are just okay. Could do a better job of breaking down in the open field; comes in too hot, preventing him from squaring up opponents.

Summary:

  • His combination of size, length, and athleticism is very intriguing, and should allow him to compete for a role as a coverage linebacker in sub packages at the next level. While his functional strength, hand use, and instincts are not quite where you’d want them to be, it’s possible that, as a player who transitioned from safety to linebacker just two years ago, a couple of seasons of development could allow him to compete for a starting role. Probably a mid-round pick.

 

 

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