LB Brian Asamoah, Oklahoma*

6’1” – 228 lbs.

Background:

Three-star recruit who redshirted, then posted 23-3.5-2.0 as a rotational/special teams player the following year. Took over a starting role the following year, going 66-5.5-2.0 with an interception and a forced fumble, then saw his output expand to 86-4.0-1.0 with two forced fumbles this past year before declaring.

Positives:

Productive two-year starter for a major program. Brings a lot of energy and toughness. Very good athlete with impressive explosiveness and true sideline-to-sideline range; able to run himself back into plays even when his initial read is off. Shows good toughness and above-average contact balance for his size when taking on blocks between the tackles. Does a nice job of finding gaps and penetrating to disrupt plays; can be a gambler at times, but also provides an impressive share of splash plays. Closes fast in the open field; looks great in backside pursuit when he’s covered and allowed to flow to the ball. Flexible with a wide tackling radius. Fast enough to shade over opposing receivers and play off-coverage or carry running backs out of the backfield. Smooth change of direction skills to stick with opposing receivers. Very nice recovery speed to get back in position. Could be an asset as a blitzer if he’s schemed open lanes.

Negatives:

A little bit on the small side, even for a weakside linebacker. Not as consistent as he needs to be; a mix of big plays and snaps where he’s caught out of position. Needs to continue developing his instincts/recognition skills to avoid false steps and maximize his athleticism. Looks uncoordinated at times. Can get caught up in congestion. Relies on his body too much to take on blockers, instead of using his arms/hands to lock them out or shed. Too many arm tackles. Comes in too fast at times and misses tackles instead of breaking down. Will overrun some gaps and let himself get sealed out of the play. Probably too small to man up on opposing tight ends. Value as a blitzer is more theoretical based on his athletic profile than something he was productive with in college.

Summary:

A highly athletic linebacker who has all the tools to develop into a sideline-to-sideline defender in the run game and an asset in coverage, but whose snap-to-snap consistency needs to improve, which will primarily involve honing his instincts and recognition skills to get the most out of his ability. May be limited to sub packages for a team which runs an odd base defense, but could potentially become a weakside starter down the road in an even front.

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