Zack Follett, OLB, California

Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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Zack Follett, OLB, California

Postby Pudge » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:40 am

Zack Follett
6-2/238 California
4.75 Senior

Pros: He's primarily a pass rusher with nice straight-line speed. Has a good first step. Is a good tackler in the open field. Shows ability to match up and cover tight ends in man coverage.

Cons: Lacks ideal speed and closing burst on the ball. Needs work in coverage and doesn't have speed or quickness to match up with backs. Not great vs. the run and doesn't have the burst or pop as a tackler you'd expect from a player his size. Needs to get off blocks better at the point of attack. Overly relies on his edge speed and lacks moves as a pass rusher.

Overview: Follett plays outside linebacker in Cal's 3-4 scheme, but can
play with his hand on or off the ground. He's got potential to develop,
but needs work. Very productive as a senior with 23 tackles for loss and
10.5 sacks. Known for his locker room antics and high energy.

NFL Forecast: Follett needs work in coverage and playing the run because he was primarily a pass rusher at Cal. He has potential to develop there, but will probably need a year or two to adjust. He's not really an option to play with his hand on the ground even as a situational guy, since he's not a natural rusher from there. He can be a solid starter in a 3-4 scheme, and has some ability to potentially play SAM in a 4-3, although better in the former scheme. Don't expect him to be an impact player, but a capable starter much like a Jarret Johnson. As a starter, he could be a nice 4-6 sack guy that also produces 60-80 tackles per year. More than likely however, he'll be a nice NFL backup. You like his toughness, but he's nothing special athletically.

ATL Forecast: Follett could be a nice developmental guy as a SAM for the Falcons. BUt he's not really a threat to be a top starter, and probably won't be much of an upgrade over Nicholas long term. Although if Nicholas doesn't quite take as well to the SAM spot and needs to move to WILL down the road, Follett is a nice fallback option as a starter. But in the 4-3, his potential is about on par with that of Matt Stewart as a starter.

Value: A 3-4 team could make him a middle round pick, but I think he'd be a reach if taken before the fifth round. A 4-3 team is better off waiting until the seventh.
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