6-1/232 Jackson State
Pros: Is an aggressive player that does his best work attacking the line of scrimmage. Can take on the fullback and does a nice job at the point of attack. Has potential as an interior pass rusher. Does an OK job in short zones. Is a capable tackler with some closing burst.
Cons: Lacks sideline speed and won't make much happen in pursuit. Lacks ideal instincts, but OK there. Doesn't show much awareness in coverage, and lacks the burst and quickness to make plays there. Gets caught out of position and will take some poor angles.
Overview: Speaks is a capable leader and has the aggressive nature you like in the middle. But he's too limited an athlete to match up in the NFL. Transferred from Delta State in 2006.
NFL Forecast: He has the demeanor to be a solid special teams player in the NFL, but I think that's the only way he can stick. He'll work best in a 3-4 scheme as an inside linebacker, and is the type of player that you'd like to team beside a playmaking MIKE like Patrick Willis in that scheme. He'll have to impress coaches with his smarts and work ethic to stick. Because while he may stick on special teams, his lack of speed and ideal burst will mean that there are plenty of other players with more speed and burst that can also play special teams. Lacks upside to be a factor in regular defense. But he could challenge some bubble players.
ATL Forecast: Speaks is a poor fit in the 4-3, with the only chance he could stick is potentially at SAM. But is not as athletic or rangy as you want at that position, so again he'll have to be a standout on special teams. He could push some body and potentially make the practice squad if the coaches like his toughness. But I don't see him being a long- term option and may be a nice camp body for a year or two.
Value: He's not worth a draft pick but bring him to camp and see if he
can challenge and push some bubble players.
Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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