PROS: Is tough and tenacious linebacker with a good motor and speed. Is a strong tackler with good pop. Can make the stop at the point of attack or in pursuit in the open field. Shows good potential as a interior blitzer with good closing burst on the quarterback. Does a decent job dropping back and working in zone coverage. Shows nice recognition and instincts. Can play in space as well as on the line of scrimmage.
CONS: Lacks ideal speed and range to make plays sideline to sideline. Will overpursue at times. Needs to improve his awareness in zone and can get caught out of position. Gets caught in traffic and has some trouble getting off blocks, getting engulfed at the point of attack. At times seemed to tip off pre-snap whether he was going to blitz or drop back into coverage.
OVERVIEW: Snyder was productive while at Stanford, playing both outside and inside linebacker throughout his career as a four-year starter. Suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the final 5 games of this past year. Managed 61 tackles, 1 for loss, and 1 sack in his first year as a full-time middle linebacker. He missed time in the spring due to a broken ankle. The prior season he played mostly at SAM linebacker where he had 58 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 3 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. As a sophomore he had his most productive year where he had 96 tackles, 14.5 for loss, 8 sacks, and forced 4 fumbles, playing mostly on the outside. For his career, he totaled 14 starts at middle linebacker and 28 starts at strongside linebacker.
NFL FORECAST: I think he projects better as a SAM linebacker in the 4-3 than in the middle. He's just not as instinctual or rangy as I'd like at that position. Playing him on the line of scrimmage I think would make him more effective. He can also play inside in the 3-4 scheme. He could play outside, although probably not as good a pass rusher as you'd like there. His health is an issue since I haven't heard any updates on him since November when he got hurt, so I'm assuming that he may be limited as a rookie. Going into this past season I saw him as a third or fourth round pick, but he just didn't look that natural as a middle linebacker this past year. Before, he reminded me of a poor man's Brian Cushing or a Scott Fujita-like player. At the very least, he has the skills to make a very good backup. Not sure he really excels in any one area where you could really exploit as a starter, but I do think he has the potential to be a capable starter. May not be the playmaker that someone like Cushing is, but I think could potentially put up similar production as Fujita has over the years, who has averaged roughly 80 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his 8 years in the pros.
ATL FORECAST: Snyder could give Nicholas a run for his money. I'm assuming not as a rookie due to the knee injury, but after a year to get healthy, he could push Nicholas hard for the job in 2011. I think in terms of his ability to defend the run and rush the quarterback, he's a comparable player as Nicholas. May not be an upgrade in coverage, but shouldn't be a downgrade. He could definitely push for time and if he won it would be a solid starter, but isn't a significant upgrade so probably won't be a long-term fixture. But could give the Falcons maybe 2-4 years as a solid starter before they found someone better.
VALUE: Because of his injury, Snyder is probably a late round pick that at the earliest should go in the fifth round for a team looking for a backup.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
PASS RUSH: 3.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.