Pros: Has good speed and range. Has good closing burst and usually takes good angles in pursuit. A passionate player that shows good toughness and physicality on defense. Works well in zone, does a good job reading the quarterback and breaking up the pass. Breaks down well and can make a tackle at the point of attack. Has good upfield burst and ability to shoot gaps to make plays in the backfield, as well as showing potential as a blitzer.
Cons: Has trouble getting off blocks when you run at him and gets caught up in traffic. Runs around too many blocks. Needs to do a better job wrapping up. Needs to play with better recognition and discipline on defense. Doesn't possess a relentless motor when it comes to playing on defense.
Overview: Weatherspoon is a fast, rangy outside linebacker that can make plays all over the field. He plays mostly the weakside at Missouri, but also will play in the middle at times. He fits best in an attacking 4-3 defense on the outside. He's good in coverage and so fast and rangy, that at times it looks like he could also play safety at the next level.
NFL Forecast: If Weatherspoon plays in the right scheme, he could be an impact defender. He reminds me a lot of Will Witherspoon, and like the other 'Spoon, I think he can be a good player in an attacking scheme. Weatherspoon should be a good starter and productive player at the next level. He is a player that is best when he's allowed to flow to the ball. He's not quite a complete player because he's not great when you run at him, but the plays he can make sideline to sideline and in coverage should offset that. He should be a player that can be a Pro Bowler in the right scheme. He'll be even better if he can play with a middle linebacker that is a good run stuffer, which allow him to flow to the ball even more. Weatherspoon should be a solid, productive player with the ability to make the Pro BOwl on an annual basis dependent on the fit. Like Will Witherspoon, some team might want to move him to the middle because of his range, but he wouldn't be as effective there unless he had two big hogs in front of him that could keep blockers off him on a consistent basis.
ATL Forecast: Weatherspoon would be a good fit in Atlanta because he could impact right away in the nickel because of his coverage potential. He would likely replace Lofton right away in that role, and be groomed behind Peterson on the weakside. He's good enough that the Falcons could tinker with putting Peterson on the strong side and starting Weatherspoon right away. But by his second year he'd definitely be a starter, and would work well with Lofton in the middle because he wouldn't have to be a run stuffer, since that's Lofton's role. He could flow to the ball and make plays in pursuit. He would be a nice playmaker for the Falcons and be capable of being one of the better outside linebackers in the league in our scheme.
Value: Weatherspoon is worth a first round pick. His speed and range will make him a playmaker that can contribute right away. He's probably a better fit in the latter part of Round 1, but on a team that runs an attacking scheme, he might merit a middle first round pick.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 2.0
PASS RUSH: 3.0
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