Josh Hull, ILB, Penn State

Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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Josh Hull, ILB, Penn State

Postby Pudge » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:14 am

Penn State Senior
40: 4.76

PROS: Works well stuffing the interior run. Does a nice job attacking the line of scrimmage, able to shoot gaps and make stops in the backfield. Has good instincts and does a nice job reading and reacting. Has a good nose for the ball. Shows potential as an interior blitzer, and has good closing burst when he's running downhill. Good at the point of attack.
CONS: Struggles in coverage. Doesn't get enough depth in zone coverage, and has poor hips to match up in man. Will get stuck in the trash at times.
OVERVIEW: Hull is a good run stopper that is a smart player. But he's very limited in coverage, which will limit him from being an impact starter. A productive player that moved into the starting lineup at middle linebacker when Sean Lee hurt his knee in 2008. He managed to start both of the past two years there, combining for 191 tackles, 14 for loss, 3 sacks, and 3 picks.
NFL FORECAST: When he can play the run, Hull sticks out as an instinctual defender that is constantly around the ball. But once you put him in coverage, you see his NFL limitations. He just isn't natural there, and while he is athletic enough to be able to make due in zone coverage, his lack of awareness there and playing in space makes him a bit of a project. Eventually, he might be good enough there to be a competent starter, but would still be a liability in man coverage. In a 3-4 scheme, his limitations might be hidden a bit better there, particularly one that likes him to attack upfield, filling gaps and freeing up a MIKE beside him. He fits well in the TED position in some versions of the 3-4 scheme. But more than likely, he'll spend much of his career as a backup and playing special teams. He just doesn't have the skillset that allows him to translate to significant reps early in his NFL career. If he can stick for three or so years, then he might make a capable, but limited starter. He should definitely make an NFL roster, just may not do much rising up the depth chart in the years to come.
ATL FORECAST: Hull could land a job as a reserve behind Lofton at middle linebacker if he can excel early on special teams. But he'd be a limited starter and at least for the first few years of his career, the Falcons would likely use Wire or Peterson as the true backup middle linebacker. His job will be to perform on special teams, which I believe he can do. But he doesn't have the great upside to be a starter in Atlanta and will spend his entire career playing behind Lofton if he was to stick beyond his rookie contract. The Falcons could find better fits down the road.
VALUE: For a 3-4 team looking for an inside linebacker to develop, he could merit a nice sixth or seventh round pick.
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