PROS: Shows good pop as a tackler. Will deliver big hits. Wraps up and can make the stop in the open field or at the point of attack. Good versus the interior run, showing ability to fill gaps and stuff the run. At best when he's attacking the line of scrimmage as he can attack downhill and make plays there. Shows decent straight-line speed as a blitzer.
CONS: Doesn't have ideal speed and burst to make plays sideline to sideline in pursuit. Doesn't show great instincts, and at times will get over-aggressive, biting on play fakes and getting caught out of position. Doesn't consistently make plays. Will get stuck in traffic at times. Lacks ideal awareness in zone coverage and will get too deep at times and doesn't show ability to really break up plays and jump when reading the quarterback. Lacks the hips and burst to be a factor in man coverage and doesn't change direction well.
OVERVIEW: Started and played all three linebacker poisitons while at Miami. He's a good run-stopping middle linebacker that can bring the pain as a hitter. Started in the middle as a senior, the only year where he started every game. Had career highs with 106 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss. Played SAM as a junior and WILL as a sophomore, after playing the middle as a freshman. I was impressed to see him tackle 248-pound Wisconsin running back John Clay all by himself.
NFL FORECAST: There is a lot about him that reminds me a lot of Curtis Lofton. He's a nice, sound tackler that is a big hitter like Lofton. He also has played multiple positions just like Lofton. In Miami's scheme, they play a similar scheme to the Tampa-2, which drops him back into zone coverage. And like when Lofton came out of OU, I think he could be a nice option in that defense in the middle. He's not great in coverage and never will be great there, just like Lofton. The difference between him is that Sharpton will have many games where he's not making a lot of plays and is kind of just there. But he also compares to Lofton in terms of size and speed. I'm not going to expect or predict him to be one of the better middle linebackers in the league by the end of his second season like Lofton. Mainly because he's a step down in coverage and instincts. But I think if he was to play in an aggressive, attacking scheme similar to what Lofton plays here in Atlanta, he should be a good starter for some team two or three years into his career.
ATL FORECAST: Sharpton would be good insurance as a backup MLB because he is a poor man's Lofton. I don't think he'd be an upgrade over Lofton as he's not going to be better in coverage and doesn't have as good instincts as Lofton does. BUt he would become one of the better backups in the middle in the league, but it's hard to see the Falcons getting a return on their investment, since he'd likely sign with another team after his rookie contract expires.
VALUE: Sharpton is a nice middle round pick. I'd take him as early as the end of the third round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 4.0
PASS RUSH: 3.0
Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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