LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota

6’1” – 237 lbs. – 4.50
Played on special teams as a freshman, then posted 45-10.5-7.5 the following year. Followed that up with 30-5.0-2.0 as a junior before enjoying his best season as a full-time starter in his senior year, recording 104 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. Team captain. Undersized linebacker who had some of the smallest hands and shortest arms at the position in Indianapolis. Capable of playing in the middle or on the weakside; would also shade over the slot at times to provide coverage on receivers. Smooth athlete with good movement skills and range. Capable of flowing to the ball and making tackles outside the hashes. Good flexibility to break down and tackle in space. Pretty physical and active with his hands to slip blocks and make his way to the ball, although he functions better as a run-and-hit type protected by big blockers up front. However, can be a little bit late to diagnose; seems a tick slow to process what’s going on, causing him to get frozen and negating his athletic ability. Too many snaps in which he over- or under-pursues the play and prevents himself from being able to make a tackle. Also doesn’t have the widest tackling radius because of his lack of length. Wrap tackler within his frame, but not an enforcer type who’s going to set the tone with big hits. Stayed on the field on passing downs and appears to have smooth change-of-direction skills to shuffle. Fast enough to pattern-match with opposing receivers in shorter zones. Has an ideal physical/athletic profile to carry running backs out into the flats. Good plant and drive when he keeps the play in front of him. Also looks pretty good when rushing the passer and had a lot of success there early in his career. Not an edge rusher but closes well and shows some bend when blitzing off the edge. Has additional value as a special-teams player on coverage units. Really helped his stock by blazing a 4.5 at the Combine, to go along with a 37.5” vertical leap and 6.95-second cone. The type of player who might be exploited a bit if thrown into a defensive role early in his career, but who has the athleticism to potentially work his way onto a pro defense with further development; it’s easy to imagine a team looking at his production, leadership skills, and athleticism and letting him begin his career on coverage units while he refines his recognition skills.

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